Monday, April 25, 2011

MBTA Quiet Car Program Expanded

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR) today announced that they will expand the “Quiet Car” pilot program to all commuter rail lines on a permanent basis.

“The MBTA is pleased that the Quiet Car pilot program has provided customers with an enhanced experience onboard commuter rail,” said MBTA General Manager Richard Davey. “We are committed to providing customers with the best service possible, and programs like Quiet Car go a long way towards fulfilling that obligation.”

The pilot program began as a 90-day trial on the Fitchburg and Franklin lines at the start of the new year. Customers gave overwhelmingly positive feedback, with nearly nine out of 10 customers suggesting that the rest of the system would benefit from having quiet cars on their trains. A similar percentage urged MBCR and MBTA to continue offering the service on their lines.

“MBCR is encouraged by the initial customer feedback and will work closely with the MBTA to provide the Quiet Car program to all of our customers,” said MBCR General Manager Hugh Kiley.

The program is the result of initial surveys conducted by the MBTA and MBCR in 2010, which indicated significant demand for the service.

Quiet Car service is available on peak-hour trains only. The car closest the locomotive will be designated the quiet car. Customers using it will be asked to refrain from cell phone use; keep pagers, cell phones, laptop and PDA sounds off or on vibrate; as well as keeping voices to a whisper. Riders seated in a quiet car who need to use the phone will be required to move to another car for the duration of their call. Conductors will make normal announcements during the trip. Conductors will be authorized to lift quiet car restriction during times of disruption or severe overcrowding.

READ: MBTA Quiet Car Program Expanded

NEW BOOK: The Coming of the Train Vol 2 - 1910 to 1922

Author Brian A. Donelson has completed The Coming of the Train Vol 2: 1910 to 1922.

Volume 2 continues the saga of the building of the Hoosac Tunnel and the Wilmington and Deerfield River Railroads with the completion of the Deerfield River Railroad, and the changes these railroads brought to the surrounding communities.

I have a copy of the sold out Volume One, and I can tell you it is very interesting if you are into the area surrounding the HT&W/Hoosac Tunnel. 

Mr. Donelson will be doing two book signings in May:

Saturday May 21, 2011 1:00PM to 2:30PM
Readsboro General Store
Rte 100
Readsboro, VT

Saturday May 28, 2011 1:30PM to 3:00PM
Bartleby's Books and Music
17 West Main Street
Wilmington, VT


Springfield Terminal SD26 #621 Scrapped

Railpace Magazine has reported that Pan Am's rare ex-Santa Fe SD26 #621 was scrapped in March. 

Santa Fe rebuilt a fleet of aging EMD SD24 diesel locomotives in the 1970s.  The resulting units were designated SD26.  In 1986, 35 units were purchased by Guilford Rail System and given ST reporting marks.  Railfans of the era have stated the units were painted without being washed first, resulting in failed Guilford Gray paint jobs. 

The loss of #621 leaves only one surviving SD26, ST 643.  It would be nice to see the unit preserved, but I'm not holding my breath...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Take The Train To The Track With Metro North

Enveloped with a rich history and always setting the stage for an unforgettable experience, Lime Rock Park plays host to the finest, and most exciting, road racing in the country. And to think - the fastest daytrip adventure is right in your backyard.

Combine one of the below races with everything that makes Lime Rock unique - kids 12 and under free, hillside seating and free paddock access, plus karting, race simulators, a kids activity zone, autograph sessions, pit crew challenge and car corral parade laps. See you at the track!
READ: Take The Train To The Track With Metro North

Friday, April 15, 2011

MBTA #010 Pushes Out of Ayer MA Toward Boston 4/14/11

© 2011 Jonelle DeFelice

New Atlas Model Railroad HO Branchline Kits

Interesting...Athearn decided to end production of their long-running line of HO kits, and Atlas decided to start selling them!  SEE: Atlas Model Railroad Co. Branchline Kits  Note that while there is only one New England road listed, there are a lot of undecorated cars to paint and decal.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MBTA Trolley Derails After Wheel Falls Off

BOSTON -- A trolley car derailed in Boston on Wednesday after a wheel came off the car, according to fire officials. One car of a two-car trolley derailed, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

The incident happened on Huntington Avenue. No injuries were reported.

READ: Officials: Trolley Derails After Wheel Falls Off - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston

Monday, April 11, 2011

Massachusetts Seeks to Replace Key Downeaster Route Bridge

BOSTON — Massachusetts will seek $98 million in high speed rail money to replace a key rail bridge on the Boston-Portland, Maine, Downeaster route, the Boston Globe has reported. The current aging bridge over the Merrimack River causes delays to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Amtrak, and Pan Am Railways trains that use it.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan said the money would fund the bridge’s design and replacement. It would improve reliability and travel times for the Downeaster and the MBTA Haverhill commuter line.
READ: Massachusetts seeks to replace key ‘Downeaster’ commuter line bridge - TRAINS Magazine

New Brunswick Southern Maine Expansion Planned For July 1, 2011

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — New Brunswick Southern plans to begin operations over 233 miles of track owned by the state of Maine on July 1, the railroad has announced. The state announced the award yesterday.

Jim Irving, president of New Brunswick Southern parent J.D. Irving Ltd., said the company will add 30 employees and acquire additional locomotives and cars.

Maine purchased the lines from Montreal, Maine & Atlantic. They stretch from Millinocket to Madawaska, and include branch lines to Houlton, Limestone, Fort Fairfield, and Presque Isle, Maine. New Brunswick Southern will acquire trackage rights over MM&A from Brownville Junction to Millinocket, Maine, to connect its current lines to the state-owned routes.

Operations will take place under the name Eastern Maine Railway, the paper railroad that holds New Brunswick Southern’s U.S. routes.

READ: New Brunswick Southern expansion planned for July 1 - TRAINS Magazine

MM&A Settles Clean Water Act Claim - TRAINS Magazine

BANGOR, Maine — Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway has agreed to pay a $30,000 fine for oil that spilled from the railroad’s Orono, Maine, shop into the Piscataquis River, Maine Public Broadcasting has reported. The deal settles claims that the railroad had violated the Clean Water Act by failing to implement a spill prevention, control, and countermeasure plan.

The fuel spilled onto the shop floor after an employee left a fuel transfer unattended in October 2009. It traveled across the shop floor and reached the river.
READ: Montreal, Maine & Atlantic settles Clean Water Act claim - TRAINS Magazine

Machinists Eying Added Business if GE Can Bring Rail Work to Lynn MA

LYNN - Almost all the machine work Sterling Machine Company owner Robert Struzziero and his 40 employees do in their Farrar Street shop is shipped to General Electric.

He thinks plenty of unemployed machinists could benefit if GE reopens its River Works gear plant for locomotive production.

“There are a lot of machinists out there who would like to work. People come in every day off the street to see me,” Struzziero said Wednesday............ 
READ ARTICLE: Machinists eying added business, if GE can bring rail work to Lynn

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MBTA May Close Hub Station For Years - WCVB Boston

BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is considering shutting down the busy Government Center MBTA station in the middle of the city for several years in order to make some renovations..........  READ WHOLE ARTICLE: MBTA May Close Hub Station For Years - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston

Monday, April 4, 2011

Canadian National Can’t Directly Serve Maine Paper Mill - TRAINS Magazine

MADAWASKA, Maine — A federal judge has ruled Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway enjoys sole access to serve the Twin River Paper Co. mill in Madawaska, the Bangor Daily News has reported. Canadian National had asked for an injunction that would have given it access to serve the mill directly.

Twin River has been trucking its paper across the international boundary to be loaded into cars on CN, saying MM&A’s service is inadequate. CN asked Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. to issue an injunction ruling that MM&A’s exclusive access to the mill was “perfectly senseless and monopolistic, yet self-serving.” A ruling in its favor would have given CN trackage right over MM&A from St. Leonard, N.B.

Woodcock chided both MM&A and Twin River for being unable to resolve their dispute amicably. “Despite the considerable gravitational forces pulling Twin Rivers and MM&A together, the current parties for reasons of history, economics, and personality seem caught in powerful centrifugal forces.”
READ: Judge: Canadian National can’t directly serve Maine paper mill - TRAINS Magazine

General Electric Looks at Lynn MA Plant For Locomotive Assembly - TRAINS Magazine

ERIE, PA. — General Electric Transportation is considering using a closed gear plant in Lynn, Mass., to handle overflow locomotive assembly work from its Erie plant, Lynn’s Daily Item has reported. GE’s River Works gear plant closed in January.

GE spokesman Richard Gorham confirmed the plan is “in the earliest stages of review.” He said the plant’s high ceilings and heavy-duty cranes “make it advantageous” for rail-related manufacturing. It also helps that the plant sits adjacent to the Pan Am Railways/Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority line to Salem and Newburyport, Mass.

GE is the biggest manufacturer of locomotives in North America. Currently, all assembly is done in Erie. The company has continued to receive strong orders for freight locomotives, and is eyeing a return to the passenger diesel business if orders materialize.
READ: General Electric looks at Massachusetts plant for locomotive assembly - TRAINS Magazine

Fire Prompts Boston Subway Train Evacuation - TRAINS Magazine

BOSTON - A small but smoky fire under a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Orange Line subway train delayed rail transit in central Boston yesterday and triggered a massive emergency response, according to a story in the Boston Globe.

More than 200 people were evacuated around 3 p.m. from the six-car train, after built-up grease in the subway ignited about 100 feet south of the MBTA’s Chinatown Station, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph E. Finn said. The fire was quickly put out using two carbon dioxide extinguishers.

The fire halted subway service between the Tufts Medical Center and Chinatown stations. Work crews were making repairs to the damaged roadbed, said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.
READ: Fire prompts Boston subway train evacuation - TRAINS Magazine