Thursday, October 27, 2011

Man Killed by MBTA Commuter Train in Acton MA

A man was struck and killed by a commuter rail train tonight near a station in Acton, a transit official said.

Lydia Rivera, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said in an email that an unidentified white man was struck at about 6:45 p.m. by MBTA train #431, which was heading outbound from North Station on the Fitchburg commuter rail line.

She said the victim was struck about 1 and 1/2 miles north of the South Acton station, and about 50 passengers were later evacuated from the train.

She said five to seven shuttle buses were called to take passengers to the remaining outbound stops on the line.

Rivera would only say that Transit police were investigating when asked if the man’s death appeared to be a suicide or at all suspicious. She said authorities were investigating how the man got onto the tracks.

Rivera said outbound trains were running on schedule to the Ayer station tonight, where buses were carrying riders to the remaining outbound stops.

Further information was not immediately available.

SOURCE:Person struck and killed by train in Acton

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ATV Rider Faces Charges After MBTA Crash

(Gloucester Times 9/20/11)

An MBTA commuter train collided with an all-terrain vehicle on the tracks just north of the Route 128 Extension overpass in Gloucester this morning. But the rider, a Gloucester man who jumped from the vehicle, escaped injury.

According to reports, the man — now identified by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as Robert Hovis, 40, of Warner Street, Gloucester — was riding his ATV on the tracks at around 10 a.m. then tried to bring his ATV up onto an adjacent hill, only to have the vehicle slide back down.

Hovis then jumped off the ATV as the train approached, and the train slammed into the ATV.

The train, which was inbound from Rockport and carrying about two dozen passengers, was detained for about an hour, and the MBTA posted that riders could expect delays of between 45 minutes and an hour on the Rockport line. But service has now fully restored.

Gloucester police established a command post on the southbound side of the Extension just south of Blackburn Circle, and MBTA security police also responded to the scene. MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said Hovis is being charged by transit police with trespassing on a railroad right-of-way; he is also expected to face charges from Massachusetts Environmental Police.

MBTA Advertisers Getting a Free Ride

Trolleys, trains and buses have been allowed to circle the city wrapped in eye-popping ads that the companies stopped paying for months before, assuring them of a free ride on the MBTA’s dime, a Herald review found.

The cash-strapped T vowed yesterday to rip the ads off on time rather than forfeit ad revenues worth hundreds of thousands of dollars after an inquiry from the Herald.

“It’s months of free advertising,” said Robert Young, a marketing professor at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, adding that the lenient contract enforcement sends a message to advertisers not to buy more time since their ads won’t come down immediately anyway. “The MBTA is losing revenue by not getting somebody new to do it.”

READ WHOLE ARTICLE: Advertisers ride free, thanks to T  (

Friday, October 21, 2011

Western MA Rail Improvements Will Cut Travel Time Between CT & VT

Jeff Brown Photo
GREENFIELD – Improvements on the Pan Am Rail line from Springfield to Northfield in the next two years will allow the Amtrak’s Vermonter line to move back to its original route, reduce travel time and restore passenger service to Northampton and Greenfield, the nation’s top railroad official said Thursday.

“It will cut 30 minutes off the trip. These improvements will attract more passengers and contribute to local economies,” said Joseph C. Szabo, administrator of the Federal Rail Administration.

Szabo joined U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, along with state and local officials Thursday on Miles Street near Greenfield station being built on Olive Street for the ceremonial replacement of the first two of 75,000 railroad ties that will be replaced along the 50-mile stretch of Pan Am’s route from Springfield to Northfield...............

MA Lt. Gov. Murray, FRA's Szabo announce Knowledge Corridor Project

Friday, October 21, 2011
Yesterday, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo and U.S. Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) joined federal, state and local leaders to announce plans to revitalize the “Knowledge Corridor” along the Connecticut River rail line in western Massachusetts.

Funded by $73 million in federal stimulus grants, the project calls for improving the Connecticut River mainline of Pan Am Southern L.L.C., a joint venture railroad controlled by Pan Am Railways and Norfolk Southern Railway. On June 30, MassDOT signed agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration to proceed with the Knowledge Corridor project to revitalize the Connecticut River line, which runs from Connecticut through Massachusetts to Vermont. The project will restore Amtrak’s Vermonter service to the line to provide a more direct route, faster service, and restored access to the cities of Greenfield and Northampton, Mass.

Revitalization of the Knowledge Corridor route will restore the original route of the Vermonter traveling between St. Albans, Vermont and Washington, D.C., Massachusetts officials said. The work also will improve freight service for customers along the line and within western Massachusetts, according to a prepared statement from Murray’s office.

The project is scheduled to begin in 2012 and be completed in two years.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has designated the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Design and Construction Department to oversee the project’s implementation through final design and construction. The department has entered into a construction agreement with Pan Am Southern to construct the project.

“By partnering with the Obama administration, our congressional delegation and New England states on the Knowledge Corridor project, we are working toward a significantly improved transportation service for both passengers and freight service in this region,” Murray said in a prepared statement.

SOURCE:Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Murray, FRA's Szabo announce Knowledge Corridor project High Speed Rail Updates

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grafton & Upton Opens New Bulk Transload Terminal

(Trains Newswire - Published: October 6, 2011)

WEST UPTON, Mass. — Short line Grafton & Upton has begun accepting truck shipments at its Envirobulk Terminal at West Upton, Bulk Transporter has reported. The 38-acre site, located adjacent to Interstates 90 and 495, will offer liquid, dry bulk, and pellet transfer between railcars and trucks.

G&U restarted operations last year after two decades of being mostly shut down [see “News,” July 2010.]

The site boasts flexible hours, online inventory systems, facilities to handle transfer of commodities at any temperature, and a bulk-pellet bagging site.

Amtrak Vermonter Returns to the Rails

(Trains Newswire - Published on October 6, 2011)

ST. ALBANS, Vt. — Amtrak’s Vermonter resumed normal service this weekend following service interruptions due to track work and washouts, the Windham (Vt.) Commons has reported.

Federal high speed rail funds paid for repairs to Vermont Rail System’s infrastructure for a faster, smoother ride. Amtrak elected to bus Vermonter passengers north of Springfield, Mass., to reduce interruptions for track crews. Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc on the line in August, delaying reopening.