Monday, February 27, 2012

Copper Thieves Strike Connecticut Trolley Museum

Please consider making a donation to help the museum fix the damage done by heartless thieves!!

(From the museum's website)  Saturday morning, volunteers at the Connecticut Trolley Museum found three trolley cars dating back to 1905 stripped of their copper and brass components. Discovered during a convention of trolley enthusiasts from other trolley museums east of the Mississippi River, damage is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Thieves were able to peel back a section of the metal siding on the barn to gain access. Once inside, crowbars were used to pry brass pieces off of the ceilings, windows, and exterior of these wooden cars doing extensive damage to the woodwork. Also, wiring was cut and some of the control gear was stripped out of the cars. The three cars that were stripped include:

• Car 1326 - the Museum’s Birthday Car
• Car 840 - the last open car to operate in revenue service in the United States
• Car 101 - a freight motor that the Museum acquired in 2009

Now, all three will require extensive work before they can be returned to operation for museum patrons to enjoy. Parts were missing from a fourth car in the barn that was already partially disassembled.

In addition, the lock was cut on a track tool shed to gain access; however, it does not appear that any track materials were stolen.

The Connecticut Trolley Museum, which is operated by volunteers, features trolley rides on a 1.5 mile track and exhibits of the era.

The Connecticut Trolley Museum, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the trolley era, is seeking donations to recover some of the costs associated with the repairs to these trolleys. For those interested in helping out, please contact the museum at 860-627-6540.

The museum is asking anyone with information regarding this theft, as well as anyone who may see suspicious activity around the museum, to contact the East Windsor Police Department 860-292-8240.

Needham Train Depot Up For Sale


As part of a larger attempt to generate revenue, the financially strapped MBTA has put the Needham Center Station Depot Building on Great Plain Avenue up for sale with a minimum bid of $180,000.

The MBTA acquired the station in 1991, according to bid invitation documents dated Feb. 22, and in the past used it as an MBTA waiting room and patron ticket sales and information area.

The depot is currently closed to the public, though commuter rail trains still stop there. It is attached to the Center Café restaurant.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail yesterday that the sale is an attempt by the transit agency to generate revenue and cut costs. The MBTA recently proposed a mix of service cuts and fare hikes, citing a projected budget shortfall of $161 million dollars for the fiscal year beginning in July.

The agency has said it is looking into other methods to help close the budget gap, including selling surplus property.

Pesaturo said that the transit agency sold a similar depot building at the Newton Highlands Station on the Green Line and is about to sell a depot building at Newton Centre Station. The MBTA is also preparing to accept bids for the depot building at Stoughton Station.

“All of these buildings are vacant and of no use to the MBTA,’’ he said.

Pesaturo said some of the old MBTA depots are designated historic by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and buyers are required to preserve and maintain them in accordance with commission restrictions.

The use of the station, he said, will be up to the buyer and to local zoning laws. The bid documents say that the building is zoned for retail sales, professional or medical offices, and retail businesses.

Monday, February 20, 2012

P&W and NECR Partner to Bring Canadian Class I Railroads to Region

(via newswire)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two short lines are partnering to create a link between New England cities and connections with Canada’s Class I railroads. Providence & Worcester and RailAmerica’s New England Central are partnering to expand their interchange traffic with Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.

New England Central was historically the Central Vermont Railway, a Canadian National company, before CN sold it off in the mid-1990s. The two railroads maintain a connection at the Canadian border near Alburg, Vt. New England Central also connects with CP via a haulage rights agreement with Vermont Rail System between its main line at Bellows Falls, Vt., and CP’s Delaware & Hudson subsidiary at Whitehall, N.Y.

Charles Hunter, RailAmerica’s assistant vice president of government affairs, tells TRAINS the New England Central-P&W partnership has yielded some carload traffic from the Canadian lines already. “We’re already doing pretty well on the single-carload traffic,” he said, “so we’re just looking at expanding.”

Targeted traffic includes any carload business. However, P&W has a strong presence at the Port of Providence, and Hunter says that’ll be an important piece of the business.

New Hampshire Scraps Commuter Rail Plan

(Via Newswire)

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire has removed $250 million in funds for commuter rail connecting the southern part of the state to Boston from its 10-year transportation plan, the New Hampshire Watchdog has reported. State Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement said the state faces a shortfall of funds for its transportation projects, and “our focus is on roads and bridges.”

The plan would have extended Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Lowell Line from Lowell, Mass., to Nashua, N.H. The plan had drawn the ire of Republicans in the state legislature, who dubbed it “senseless” and a waste of money.

Clement said even a planning grant for the line may not happen. “There’s nothing that’s going forward with passenger rail in this department,” he said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crowds Loudly Protest MBTA Service Cuts

Transit Agency Says It Has $160 Million Budget Deficit

BOSTON -- Crowds turned out in Boston Monday to protest proposed bus and subway fare hikes and service cuts that the state says it needs in order to balance a budget that is $160 million in the red.

Emotions boiled over at public hearing held by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority at the Boston Public Library, where 450 angry protesters packed into a meeting hall.

"You want us to boycott? You want us to walk? We will walk," said one disgruntled rider who said thousands depend on public transportation and their lives will be turned upside down if the cuts go into effect.

Many young people attended the hearing. One high school sophomore said she takes the MBTA's Orange Line to school every day.

"If this goes, I will drop out of school because I won't be able to afford this a lot. My parents aren't paid enough money," said Karla Calachij.

"T riders are being told they need to choose between two equally rotten proposals for cuts," another rider said at the hearing.

Before the meeting, dozens gathered outside carrying signs and banners.
"An increase in fares, especially for my low income patients, would prevent them from being able to get to their appointments as often as they need to," said nurse Elizabeth Samuels.

The MBTA said it needs to end ferry service, cut bus routes and end commuter rail line service on the weekends. The agency said it may have no other choices. At this point, nothing is set in stone.

"We really tried to find services that wouldn't affect a lot of customers, but unfortunately, these aren't statistics, these are people. These are our customers," said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard Davey.

The BPL hearing was the seventeenth of 30 planned public hearings on the fare hikes. They will end in March, at which time the MBTA will re-evaluate its proposals.

SOURCE: Crowds Loudly Protest MBTA Service Cuts - Boston News Story - WCVB Boston