MBCR replies to Worcester Line service complaint

Kelly Crosby complained to MBCR about consistently late trains on the Worcester Line:

Greetings,
I have been very happy with the results I have received from this form in the past, and hope to get an answer now.

I understand why the Framingham / Worcester line has so many problems; I knew its situation when I started riding it. Most of the time, service is acceptable.

However, I have one question. I take the 7:07am train out of Worcester daily (boarding at Ashland and riding to South Station.) I take the 4:58pm Worcester express home (exiting at Ashland.) I have been riding these trains for many moons now, and they are consistently 10 to 15 minutes late. I have come to accept that this is just the way it is, but my question is this: why does the MBTA not update the schedules to allow for these extra daily delays? Are the schedules posted for the Worcester line just goals? Why not just say that the 7:07am train will arrive in South Station at 8:35 (as it consistently does) rather than aim for 8:23am, which is, frankly, impossible?

I am not trying to be rude or complain about a certain incident. My fellow passengers and I discuss this often and would truly like a valid response. We would be a lot less frustrated if the schedules were updated and followed accurately, even if it meant admitting that the trains would be arriving later.

Linda Dillon of MBCR Customer Service replied:

I have read your email concerning the scheduling of trains on the Worcester Line.

Please allow me to attempt to explain the rather unique situation we encounter on this line.

Scheduling trains is a difficult process, and with each review that is done prior to a change, a number of factors are taken into consideration. With some trains, or train times, crew and equipment availability is a problem. In other areas, we have to balance our schedules with other companies, whether passenger rail or freight. Of course in this instance, on the Worcester Line, I am sure you are well aware that we are at the mercy of CSX, the owner/operator of this line; whether it is a matter of imposed speed restrictions, the times that they are running their freight trains, or the ongoing track work along the Worcester main line. There is also the impact that changing the time of one train will have to not only other trains on the line, but along the system as well. Many lines share stops as they come closer to Boston, so there must be some balance between the trains.

I have forwarded your comments about the Worcester Line trains to personnel in the Operations and Planning Department, to be considered in future discussions.

While I realize that I have not provided a solution, I do apologize for the frequent inconveniences and hope that this information is helpful.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “MBCR replies to Worcester Line service complaint

  1. Seems like an honest candid response.

  2. Yesterday I was on the Lake Shore Limited and as it approached Framingham I heard the CSX dispatcher order the commuter train in front of us to pull onto a siding to give our train the track.

  3. as long as CSX owns the tracks, the MBTA comes last.that bit about being “at the mercy” is all well and good except that now the state has (had?) the option to buy the tracks from CSX.additionally, there are NO shared stops between the Fram/Worc line and other (active) lines, not even through back bay (dedicated B&A platform).

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