Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Amtrak Northeast Corridor Services Canceled Monday 10/29/12

Amtrak Northeast Corridor Services Canceled Monday 10/29/12

All Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Keystone and Shuttle services are canceled for trains originating on that date. Also Empire Service, Adirondack, Vermonter, Ethan Allen and Pennsylvanian train services suspended, along with some overnight services.

Metro North Rail Service in CT Suspended Due to Hurricane Sandy

Metro North service in Connecticut has been suspended today due to Hurricane Sandy.  Check schedule updates HERE.

HURRICANE SANDY - MBTA Service Suspended at 2pm

MBTA Hurricane Sandy Update

All service will be suspended effective 2pm today. 

Customers are encouraged to make final MBTA trips as early as possible to ensure safe arrival at their destination. 

Regularly scheduled service will operate until service is suspended.

The safety of customers, employees, and infrastructure is the MBTA’s top priority. 

Customers are encouraged to check, follow the MBTA on Twitter @mbtaGM, and check local news broadcasts for updates throughout the storm. Customers interested in receiving text or e-mail updates are encouraged to sign up for T-Alerts.

The MBTA CharlieCard Store is closed Monday, October 29, 2012.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

South Coast Rail Permitting Given March Deadline

SOURCE:  By Marc Larocque - Taunton Gazette Staff Reporter

A March deadline for the permitting of the proposed South Coast Rail was announced during a meeting of the Southeastern Massachusetts Commuter Rail Task Force on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said that March 2013 is the date that Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration plans to have the permit application process completed. The permits go through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Our desire is to ensure this project is permitted by March of this coming year,” Davey said. “Write that down. That’s March 13. 2-0-1-3. ... But there’s a lot of work to do between then and now.”

Davey also reaffirmed the Patrick administration’s commitment to the project and the preferred alternative, which would go through a train station in Stoughton, bringing the train down through Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford.

“This is a priority for the administration,” Davey said about the project, which proponents claim will be an economic boon for the southeastern Massachusetts region, and an environmental benefit in terms of getting single occupancy vehicles off the streets.

Davey reminded the task force of a meeting that Patrick had last month with EPA leadership to convey “a sense of urgency” about the permitting process.

During the meeting, several task force members expressed concerns about the EPA having a serious consideration for the environmental impact of the project. And there was also some concern expressed about having enough time for public review and public input related to an environmental impact study that is being submitted to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the permitting process.

Davey said the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would be considering all the information and would look at alternatives for the project, even though the administration strongly disagrees with any alternative except the Stoughton route. South Coast Rail Project Manager Jean Fox assured task force members that she would work to make sure there is adequate time to review the lengthy environmental impact study.

State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, who attended the meeting, made a statement that Massachusetts lawmakers would support funding the Stoughton route through the filing of transportation bonds, but added that any other alternative could throw the project “off the tracks politically.” Pacheco said that the local delegation would be working to put together a statement on behalf of legislators who support the preferred alternative to send to the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers as they go through due diligence work.

Worcester MA Union Station Kit Due December 2012

The N Scale Architect has announced an N scale craftsman kit of the  Worcester Massachusetts Union Station.  The kit is due to arrive in December.  Information can be found HERE.

The company also offers a New Haven signal tower in N/HO scales,

Belfast ME Ends Railroad Lease in Anticipation of Pathway

SOURCE:  BDN Maine - By Tom Groening

BELFAST, Maine — The city has notified the Brooks Preservation Society, operator of an excursion railroad on the former Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad line, that it does not intend to renew the nonprofit group’s lease, which expires Dec. 1.

The city owns the 3-mile portion of the 33-mile-long right of way that lies within Belfast, which is the end of the line.

City Manager Joe Slocum told city councilors earlier this month that under the terms of the lease, the city had to notify the preservation society of its intent by Nov. 1. If it failed to do so, the one-year lease would automatically renew for another year.

The city has been working for several years to establish a pedestrian path on the railroad right of way. Though state funding for the project has been secured, Gov. Paul LePage’s recent decision to push back the selling of bonds until next year has affected the city’s plans to build the walkway.

No time has been set for construction to begin, Jennika Lundy, assistant to the city manager said Tuesday.

Slocum plans to meet with representatives of the preservation society next week to discuss terms of a new lease. Lundy said a new lease might take the form of a month-to-month arrangement, giving the city flexibility should it be possible to begin construction on short notice.

Joe Feero, president of the Brooks Preservation Society, said the move did not surprise him.

“I understand it,” he said Tuesday. “It’s not a shock to me.”

The group wants to keep operating trains along the stretch from the harbor northwest along the Passagassawakeag River because “that’s the most scenic part of our ride,” Feero said. But his group will not fight the city on the lease change.

“The goal for us has always been to work with the city,” he said.

At the same time, he said the railroad wants to run along the river for as long as it can, since the trail work has not been scheduled.

This summer, the railroad ran excursion trips on weekends from the old upper bridge area on High Street north of downtown Belfast.

Feero calculates the railroad carried 6,755 passengers this year, up from 2,255 last year. Included in this year’s count are 30 bus tours that each brought about 50 people to the city to ride the train. The total number also includes 3,000 people carried to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity.

Feero cited a study that shows the railroad contributes about $1 million annually to the local economy.

Mack Page, a former employee of the B&ML Railroad who in recent years built a siding at the City Point part of Belfast where rail cars and engines are stored, is working with the preservation society, he said Tuesday. Page said he and the preservation society have discussed having the excursions leave from his siding area when the pathway is built.

The city must initiate the process of railbanking before removing rails and ties and building a pathway. That process is undertaken through a provision of federal law, seeking approval from the Surface Transportation Board.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

MassDOT Board Brings Commemorative Train to N Adams MA

SOURCE: - Phil Demers, email

NORTH ADAMS -- The city will host a public Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors monthly meeting today, and state transportation officials are trekking west with a special vehicle in tow.

The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR) Gold Star Mem orial Train, bearing the starred names of more than 150 state service men and women lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will be on view today at Building 4 at Western Gateway Heritage State Park from 9 to 9:45 a.m., Mayor Richard Alcombright said.

"Our own Michael DeMarsico is now represented on that car," Alcombright said Tues day. "It's a great tribute to have that car and DOT come out here."

Spc. DeMarsico was killed Aug. 16 by an enemy improvised explosive de vice in Afghanistan.

The gold star train was completed before Memorial Day this year, according to MBCR. Since then, it's visited municipalities all along the commonwealth's railways as a tribute to the state's fallen soldiers.

The board meeting, scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, kicks off with questions and concerns fielded from attendees.

"Right at the beginning, there will be a public comment period," Alcombright said. "It's a great opportunity for people to come watch government in motion."

Agenda items include comments from Alcom bright and Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, a presentation from Berkshire Regional Transit Authority, a
report from MassDOT CEO Richard A. Davey and reports from other MassDOT division managers.

MassDOT's visit, ac cording to their website, is connected to an initiative pushed by the Legislature to collect information about transportation needs throughout the commonwealth and prioritize various projects based on available funding. On Thurs day, Davey and other MassDOT representatives will visit Pittsfield Public Library for a public forum from 6 to 8 p.m.

"They didn't forget us throughout Tropical Storm Irene, and they've been receptive to most, if not all, of what I've asked for over my three years," Alcombright said. "DOT's our friend."

MBTA Rail Washer - Ayer MA 10/5/12

MBTA Rail Washer - Ayer MA 10/5/12

MBTA GM Davis Thanks Belmont Students for Alewife Art

SOURCE: MBTA GM Davis thanks Belmont students for Alewife T stop art

Acting MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis was at the Alewife T Station in Cambridge Friday to thank a group of Belmont students for their new public artwork installation.

Students in the Belmont After School Enrichment Program painted 324 tiles that have been arranged in two large designs permanently installed on two bus-way panels at the Alewife Station.

The month long project was lead by the after school program’s Emily Reed and the student’s work is part of the MBTA’s permanent public art collection that consists of more than 70 artworks on five different transit lines in Greater Boston.