Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fitchburg Railroad Station, Boston MA

Stereo view of the Fitchburg Railroad station, Boston MA. 
One of the towers was moved to Truro MA, on Cape Cod.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MBTA Cape Cod Weekend Service Extended Six Weeks

(via the newsletter)

BOSTON, Mass. – Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's popular CapeFlyer service between Boston and Cape Cod will run until October. The trains started operating on Memorial Day weekend and were originally slated to end on Labor Day weekend, but the popularity of the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday service has led to a six-week extension.

“Continuing Cape Rail service through the fall will be a boost for residents and tourists alike,” Gov. Deval Patrick says. Since the service began, it's attracted more than 11,000 customers, more than enough to cover the $165,000 annual operating cost of the train. Tickets cost $20 for one-way or $35 round trip between Boston's South Station and Hyannis, where passengers can transfer to buses or ferries. Operated in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, the CapeFlyer is the first regularly scheduled passenger train to run to Cape Cod in nearly 25 years.

“This service has been a huge hit with Cape visitors, and we are pleased to keep the trains running for the busy late summer and early fall weekends following Labor Day,” says Richard A. Davey, secretary and CEO of the state transportation department.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

State Ownership of MBTA Expected to Improve Service

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced Tuesday that the MBTA and its Commuter Rail contractor (MBCR) have completed the final steps in their acquisition of the CSX rail lines on which Worcester/Framingham commuter trains travel, opening up the line to increased service opportunities for passengers.

“By taking over the dispatching duties this week, the state can now give absolute priority to passenger service along the line,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

Dispatching is among the final elements of the agreement between CSX and the Commonwealth, which took ownership of the railroad right-of-way last year.  “Controlling operations and maintenance along the line is a critically important part of our concerted effort to not only improve reliability, but also increase service between the state’s two largest cities,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

This week’s transition provides for multiple benefits:

MBCR has direct control (dispatching) of all train and maintenance activities on the 45-mile long line. Dispatchers at South Station can, and will, give priority to Commuter Rail trains over freight trains when necessary.

There is greater flexibility in managing train movements to address any operational situations, such as medical emergencies and downed trees, that may develop.  In addition, Commuter Rail operators can now dispatch extra trains or extra engines without going through a cumbersome – and time consuming -- paperwork process first.

Commuter Rail dispatchers can now communicate directly with train crews.  Prior to this week, MBCR dispatchers would have to relay questions or directions through the CSX dispatchers in Selkirk, New York.  This communication was not immediate and many times would delay response to unscheduled events along the line.  It’s now easier to turn an ‘express’ train into a ‘local’ or a ‘local’ train into an ‘express’ train.

Heat-related speed restrictions will be significantly reduced.  The CSX Corporation imposed speed restrictions on all of its railroads if temperatures exceeded ninety degrees anywhere on the East Coast.  This corporate rule, which sometimes resulted in unnecessary delays along the Worcester/Framingham Line, no longer applies.  In addition, stepped-up maintenance work will result in improved track conditions, making rails less susceptible to ‘heat kinks.’

The MBTA remains on schedule to increase to 20 the number of roundtrips between Worcester and Boston this year, fulfilling a commitment made earlier by the Patrick Administration.

With the completion of the new and fully accessible Yawkey Station this fall, more trains will be able to service the station now that the MBTA has complete control over dispatching.

Since taking office in 2007, improving the state’s transportation infrastructure has been a key priority of the Patrick Administration. As part of the Massachusetts State Rail Plan, the Administration has strategically invested close to $1 billion in the state’s rail system through competitive grants, public funds and private sector capital. These investments, some ongoing, represent the most significant improvements in the Commonwealth’s rail system as a whole in decades.

Teens Tag Plymouth MA MBTA Station With Swastikas

(SOURCE:  Plymouth Patch - Casey Meserve)

Two Plymouth teens who allegedly spray-painted swastikas on walls at the MBTA commuter rail station at Cordage Park last week face vandalism charges, Plymouth Police said.

The phrase "Nazi propaganda" was also painted on a sign near the platform.

Alexander Dearn, 19, and a 15-year-old have been charged with defacing property.

Plymouth police Captain John Rogers told WATD the incident doesn’t rise to a hate crime because the symbols weren’t directed at a particular person or group.

However, the chairman of Plymouth’s No Place for Hate committee, Barry Meltzer, believes it was an attack against the entire community.

“That station is used as the entry way into our town, especially in the summer with all the new visitors and everything and the train’s coming in, then you know it’s directed at the town because otherwise it wouldn’t be done,” Meltzer told WATD.

The incident will be discussed when the No Place for Hate committee meets Thursday night at Plymouth Town Hall.

Developer Hopes to Extend Tracks to Benefit Portland ME Waterfront

(Source: Portland Press Herald - By Tom Bell)

Two real estate deals that Phineas Sprague Jr. completed last week will bring changes to the west end of Portland's waterfront, but not the change the state wants most: extending railroad tracks to the port's cargo terminal.

Not yet, at least.

....... Other potential developments on the western waterfront are more significant for the city, including extending rails to the International Marine Terminal and expanding the terminal to make space for a cold-storage warehouse..................  For several months, Sprague, Pan Am Railways and the state have been negotiating a deal that would enable Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company that moved its North American operations to Portland in March, to significantly expand its container service operation here........