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Acela hits workers, killing one

An Acela train hit three workers this afternoon just south of Providence, according to ProJo.com. One worker died.

Of secondary importance, runs on the Providence line are ending at South Attleboro, with buses to Providence.

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The dumbest thing I've heard all week

Let me begin by saying that I fervently hope I am wrong in what I thought I heard on Fox 25 last night. But it was bantered about a few times, so I don't think I'm wrong.

During the pre-weather chit-chat, the meteorologist (I think it was Kevin Lemanowicz) opined that with the earlier shift to Daylight Saving Time, it would be interesting to watch what happens to all those weather records, since there's more sunlight, so it'll get warmer. I guess he forgot that DST only changes the time of sunrise and sunset-- it doesn't alter Earth's orbit around the Sun.

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Ugh, those smelly brakes -- do they cause cancer?

It's become a most unpleasant part of my daily commute: the smell of commuter train brakes. When I get off the train, I flinch at the odor, which puts me in the mind of week-old diapers on fire.

I don't think it was this bad a year ago, and I notice I'm not the only one who's asking why. To a Wilmington commuter, The T's Dan Grabauskas suggested:

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Another Troubled Bridge

Just got this from TransitWorks:

To all Fairmount Line customers:

Due to the unscheduled closure of the Columbia Road Bridge there will be no commuter rail trains allowed to operate on the Dorchester Branch until the necessary repairs have been made. This is expected to last into this evening’s peak hour commute; however we anticipate that regularly scheduled service will resume for tomorrow morning.

Please note the following alternative arrangements:

Passengers going to Readville should use the Franklin line

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The scenic way to work

Thanks to a downed electric line somewhere around Ruggles and Back Bay, commuter rail is all bolloxed up this morning. Coming in from Providence, they sent us onto the "Dorchester Line" (I didn't even know there was one!), which took us around those two stations, much to the consternation of those who planned to get off there.

Even without stops, we're still 15+ minutes late to South Station. I wonder how long it'll take to fix this mess!

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Why not stay home every day?

So here I am, spending the day working at home. Snowplows rumble by, and chickadees flit between the feeder and the snow-covered trees. Wanting to see what everyone else is suffering through, I scan through the traffic cams, and discover that the highways seem to be nearly deserted. Mass Pike, SE Expressway, everywhere I look.

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Faces on the T

A friend and colleague, B.D. Colen, was in the Globe over the weekend talking about an upcoming show of photos he took while commuting on the T. The show is at the Brookline Arts Center form Jan. 21 to Feb. 29, and B.D. has a slidehow with lots of the photos on his website. The BPL also purchased many of his photos for their collection.

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MBCR gets another THREE years?!?

So, we'd heard rumors that MBCR, which "runs" the commuter rail, might get time added to its contract. Word this afternoon: their 5-year contract has been extended for three years! This for a system that "has regularly trailed Chicago's Metra, New York's Metro-North, New Jersey Transit's commuter rail, and the Long Island Rail Road, in on-time performance," according to Sunday's Globe.

As the Sunday story notes, three years is less than what MBCR wanted, but more than the minimum for a transition to a new contract.

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Score 1 for the T's Alert System

I signed up yesterday for the new "T alerts" email/text delay notification service from the T. Turns out it works-- at least it did today. As I was preparing to leave home, i got this message:

Commuter Rail Providence/Stoughton - Train #0804 (6:07am inbound) experiencing 10-15 minute delays due to mechanical failure 12/4/2007 6:17 AM

By the time I got to my station, the displays said 15-20 minutes late, and the train was indeed about 15 minutes late.

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Hey, look what I got yesterday!

Gee, I guess the T's Customer Bill o' Rights on-time service guarantee really works after all! In the mail yesterday, I got a nice letter from Dan Grabauskas and a round-trip train fare reimbursement... for a one-hour delay that happened in January! Yes, Mrs. Calabash, more than 11 months ago! Good to know they're working on that backlog.

The nice letter hints at why it took so long:

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The New Boston.com

OK, so there's a new Boston.com. To me it looks flatter and more crowded, and it's harder to find stuff (though that will probably go away as I get used to it). Here's part of what they say:

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Bostonostalgia...

I've been on a run of "gee I miss..." lately. For example:

Gee I miss Newbury Pizza.

Gee I miss Conran's on Exeter St.

Gee I miss the Hancock observatory.

Gee I miss "Where's Boston."

Then there's the Harvard Square version, which is somewhat longer... And includes some things that are nominally still there.

Gee I miss The Coop.

Gee I miss The Harvard Square Cinema.

Gee I miss The Wursthaus.

Gee I miss Discount Records.

Gee I miss The Spa.

Gee I miss Ruggles Pizza.

Gee I miss 10 Arrow,

What spots do you miss? What's new that makes up for it?

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Brazil vs Mexico vs me

So I'm not surprised that the Brazil vs Mexico soccer game was a big draw. (67,584 people, it says here.)

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A caring conductor

Probably because we ride the same train nearly every day, rail commuters seem friendlier than subway commuters. In addition to "train buddies," we also see the same conductors each day, and they see us, so there gets to be a bit more of a bond there.

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Fire at Back Bay Station?

Like at least a few hundred commuters, I had to work around a fire at Back Bay this morning. From www.boston.com, it sounds like a small debris fire halted trains and subways through Back Bay. I ran into it at about 7:10, and once it was clear we weren't moving soon, I joined a trickle of folks who walked over to the Green Line. Anyone know how long it lasted?

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