Monday, August 20, 2012

Boston Subway Activates Countdown Signs

(Via the Newswire)

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority activated countdown signs at its South Station subway stop this week. The signs tell riders when the next trains will arrive, the start of a pilot program that could be extended to all 51 Red, Orange, and Blue Line stations by the end of the year, the agency announced.

The arrival times, ticking down in one-minute increments, will appear on LED signs that have hung above platforms and in station lobbies since 2007 but that until now have displayed only the date, time, and announcements.

Although the agency has moved ahead with technology providing predictions online, and through smartphone applications, it has lagged behind many other cities’ systems in telling customers in stations when a train is coming. The Washington Metro has displayed predictions since 2000, and New York began installing countdown signs in 2007, the Boston Globe reported.

If the South Station start-up succeeds, Park Street station will be added later this month, then Downtown Crossing in September. They will be monitored for at least a month while features are added and adjusted, with other stations to follow in batches of three.

BOOK: Boston & Maine Memories - The Photos of Preston Johnson

I recently got a great deal on a book called "Boston & Maine Memories: The photography and career of Preston Johnson", by George and Katherine Melvin.  It is a hardcover book, 11 pages long, and filled with mostly black & white photos from the steam era.  Chapters cover the Central Mass, Cheshire, Conn River, Lexington, and Claremont branches, the Fitchburg, New Hampshire, Western, and Eastern routes, and Boston area.  If you are at all into the Boston & Maine, you will like this book!

Pan Am Railroad Angers Belgrade ME Residents With Fees, etc

(SOURCE: Kennebec Journal - By Susan M. Cover

BELGRADE, ME — Camp owners and others vented frustration at railroad officials Tuesday night during a discussion of proposed fee increases at railroad crossings and a requirement that residents who have to cross the tracks on private roads to get to their homes buy liability insurance.

More than a dozen residents showed up at the North Belgrade Community Center to ask Pan Am Railways representatives about the proposal. At times, with voices raised, the residents interrupted each other and cut off the attorney and spokeswoman for the railroad.

The residents are concerned that, in some instances, annual maintenance fees charged to those who cross the railroad on private roads could jump from $75 a year to $1,500. Others who were not paying a fee were sent letters telling them to now pay $490 a year............... READ WHOLE ARTICLE

UPDATE: Pan Am Railways agrees to drop crossing fees on private roads

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

MBTA Commuter Train Derailment in Belmont MA

Westbound passes disabled train
By Jonelle DeFelice

At approximately 8:25AM this morning, outbound MBTA commuter train #455 derailed just west of the Clark Street overpass in Belmont MA.

The train was accelerating westward around a curve after making a station stop at Belmont when the first coach behind locomotive #1123 left the rails.  It stayed upright, but its position made uncoupling of the locomotive difficult.  At around 11:30AM the locomotive was freed, and continued west light.

At 12:07PM MBTA work engine #3247 was waiting just east of Belmont station to take the train back to Boston as soon as it was back on the rails. 
Locomotive uncoupled and heading west

As the crews on the ground inspected the coach and track, and waited for a rail crane to arrive, east and westbound commuter trains were given slow orders and crept past the disabled train. 

At 1:18PM a large MBCR crane arrived and started to attach to the derailed coach.  The word was the crane was sent from Pan Am Railways, but this writer spotted an MBTA police car assisting two MBCR cranes by the station, and one of them was the crane that was spotted at the derailed coach.

MBTA work engine #3247 waits to work

At 1:39PM, the train's locomotive came back eastward past it's train.

As of 5:10PM, track work being done at the derailment location.  Word was a few hours ago the cause of the derailment was a heat-kink in the welded rail just west of the Clark Street bridge, but that could not be confirmed. 

Friday, August 3, 2012