Monday, December 31, 2012

Connecticut Rail Fare Increase January '13

(via the News Wire)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Connecticut Department of Transportation has told commuters that the second of three fare increases will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Monthly tickets on sale for January will reflect the new fares. The new fares will take effect on the Shore Line East and New Haven lines. There will be no fare increase on bus services.

“This modest fare increase is the second in eight years,” said DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker. “During that time, operating expenses grew by 12 percent due to inflation. While it is never easy to raise fares in economic times such as these, the alternative — a reduction in service — would have been more difficult for Connecticut commuters.”

The series of three fare increases began on Jan. 1, 2012. Rail fares were set to increase by about 4 percent at the beginning of 2012, 2013, and 2014. As part of legislation enacted to have passengers help contribute toward the new M-8 rail cars entering service, rail fares will increase an additional 1.0 to 1.25 percent on top of the 4 percent base fare increase.

Redeker said, “The new fare structure is reasonable and will more evenly share operating costs between our passengers and taxpayers. We are also pleased that we were able to come up with this alternative to much more aggressive fare increases or service reductions.”

Fares on the New Haven Line cover approximately 70 percent of the cost to operate the service between New Haven and New York City. The balance is split between Connecticut and New York, at 65 percent and 35 percent respectively.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation also announced it has donated two out-of-service commuter cars to the Connecticut Military Department for use in disaster training drills for first responders. The cars have been delivered to Camp Hartell in Windsor Locks, Conn., where the Military Department operates the New England Disaster Training Center. The cars, which ran on the New Haven Line for almost two decades, are very similar to the cars used today and will provide “real life” experience for trainees.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Roundhouse Foundation Uncovered in Salem MA

Crews have unearthed remains of the roundhouse that once stood in Salem MA under a current MBTA parking lot.  The Historical Commission unearthed the roundhouse remains in early December 2012. Construction of a new parking garage on the site is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2013 and to finish in September 2014.  If you want to see these remains, better do it now before ther are covered forever!

Wikipedia roundhouse site photo 12/9/12

Aerial photos of the site from

Commuter Rail Back on Track in NH

The past few years have not been kind to those folks who believe – as we do – that commuter rail should be an integral part of the state’s transportation network: just like cars, buses and airplanes.

Thanks to the closed-mindedness of the Legislature and its colleagues on the Executive Council, efforts to even study the economic viability of introducing commuter rail into New Hampshire were blocked and resisted at every turn.

Two years ago, lawmakers first attempted to repeal and later restrict the powers of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority, the all-volunteer body established by the Legislature in 2007 to oversee passenger rail service..............  READ WHOLE STORY:Commuter rail back on track in NH

MBTA Station Ground-Breaking Ceremony Today - Acton MA

The following information is from the office of Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray: 

At 2 p.m., both Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and MBTA General Manager and Rail & Transit Administrator Dr. Beverly Scott will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for the South Acton Commuter Rail Station, a new state-of-the-art station at 15 Maple St. on the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line in Acton.

The development of the South Action Station is one of a series of transportation infrastructure investments totaling more than $159 million along the 50-mile Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line. The South Acton Station is the busiest station on the Fitchburg Line, the state’s oldest commuter rail line.

Secretary Richard A. Davey, State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, State Rep. Jennifer Benson, Town Manager Steve Ledoux and members of the South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee will also be in attendance.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2013 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show

2013 Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show

Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds
West Springfield, MA

Saturday January 26, 2013: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday January 27, 2013: 10:00am - 5:00pm 

VT Railyard Spray Paint Bandits Busted


By ERIC FRANCIS - November 29,2012

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Two Hartford men suspected of spray painting elaborate graffiti murals, some of which included large cartoon-like characters, on as many as a hundred railroad cars and more than a dozen bridge abutments this year alone are now facing vandalism charges.

Brian Dow, 23, and Daniel Barmore, 25, pleaded innocent Tuesday to a felony count each of committing unlawful mischief with damages over a thousand dollars. Dow also entered an innocent plea to an accompanying misdemeanor charge of unlawful trespass.

Railroad workers and police believe the men are part of a larger “crew” of “taggers” who began sneaking into the rail yard just south of downtown White River Junction this spring and leaving behind increasingly complex artwork on freight railcars and even some locomotives.

Scott Whitney, of the Vermont Rail System, wrote in a sworn statement filed with the court that rail workers had spotted the vandals on several occasions and tried to confront them only to have them scatter when they approached. Residents along Connecticut River Road, which parallels the train tracks, also began noticing a group of young men and occasionally what appeared to be their girlfriends parking their cars and hiking into the woods with backpacks, often until well after dark. The residents began taking pictures of the vehicles and passing them along to police.

On the afternoon of Oct. 2, Hartford Police Officer Jason Pedro, dressed in plainclothes and backed up by Officer Jon Kustafik, began a stakeout of the rail yard. He said he soon observed Barmore and Dow hanging out under the Interstate 89 bridge, which spans both the rails and the Connecticut River to New Hampshire. Pedro said he located a black backpack at the base of the bridge and could immediately tell when he picked it up that it was full of aerosol paint because of the distinctive rattle of all the “mixer balls” inside the spray cans.

The officers walked up to the pair in the rail yard and took them into custody without incident.

Back at the police station, Pedro said he searched Dow’s cell phone, which along with Dow’s boots was covered in yellow paint droplets, and he found photographs of the stylized murals the railroad had reported — including large Popeye characters and frequent images of a large “green blobby ghost” in many of the examples.

A search of Barmore’s cell phone turned up a text message saying, “I paint like every other day. Got over 100 trains already this year and like 20 walls or so,” according to the affidavit, which said Barmore also referenced painting train cars at locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

Police counted 16 paint cans inside the backpack along with packages of blue nitrile gloves, and a further search of the trunk of Dow’s car turned up another 87 cans of paint, according to the police report.

Whitney told police that it costs the railroads approximately $9,000 apiece to refinish, repaint and reapply the necessary insignia, markings and warning labels to their railcars.

Barmore and Dow each face maximum potential penalties of up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000 if they are convicted of the felony charges now pending against them.