For Your Safety…

•April 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Lately, I’ve been taking the 9:20 Forge Park/495 outbound to Back Bay, in an attempt to avoid having to go through downtown, especially in the last couple of months when the Red Line has had numerous slowdowns. It’s worked out really well: I’m getting to work consistently on time.

Today at 9:17, the big board at South Station changed to “Delayed” for the 9:20 Forge Park. Now, for those of you who don’t ride the commuter rail, “Delayed” is a rare beast. It could be 10 minutes after the departure time and the board still reads “On Time.” “Delayed” means something is up.

Given that I don’t have all day to wait around and find out when no announcement is made, I turned and bolted down the escalators to the Red Line.

As I hit the bottom of the escalators I picked up speed jogging when I heard “The next train to Alewife is now approaching,” since I knew I’d need a steady pace to get down 2 stories before the train left. And that’s when it happened.

“Sir. Sir!”
I looked up to see a man in bright yellow standing in my path. Soon-to-be- eliminated Customer service agent? Nope. Transit police.
“Step to the side. Random Security Screening.”

In the past, when I’ve seen them doing these checkpoints, I’ve avoided them using the all-to-easy “use the other entrance” trick. This guy, really popped out of nowhere, and the checkpoint was located way out of the line of sight of anyone heading down to the Red Line from the station. I guess I should give them props for finally making it a little less obvious where they’re standing and checking and letting people go around them.

The “check” was ridiculously fast. I was expecting a quick search through my backpack, but all they did was wipe the straps with a piece of cloth and ran it through a machine and I was on my way.

I’m not entirely sure what they were looking for, but I’d imagine a good guess would be some sort of chemical agent. Either way, I spent about 30 seconds between waiting for someone in front of me to finish and for the system to run an analysis.

All and all, I’m all for an increased police presence, especially if they’re effective like they were today. Of course, I could have had a loaded gun in the bag and no one would have noticed, but I guess testing for… something… is a start.

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Come On… Really?

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m really pissed.

I haven’t been blogging in a while, I’ve honestly been to pissed off to (which kinda defeats the whole purpose of this blog doesn’t it?). Recently, my 6:15 PM to Plymouth/Kingston has been leaving a minute early, leaving me on the platform more often than not, since I either get there just before 6:15 on the Red Line, or at “6:13” if the from Back Bay train ever arrives on time (it does not).

That aside, the news about the T service cut plans are FUCKING RIDICULOUS. Ya, you read that right. I’m not one for profanity, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

I’ll lose my job (can’t change my hours, and don’t own/can’t afford a car). The misses will have to buy a car and commute (we work different hours and she works over the weekend, meaning no trains 2 out of her 5 days)

That’s what it all boils down to. Way to bolster the economy.

As I’ve tried to articulate in my blog, I try desperately to make the 6:15 train every day, and about half the time (if not more) I fail by a matter of seconds. It’s a pain in the ass to sit there for an hour and 15 minutes waiting for the 7:29 train. It’s ridiculous, beyond ridiculous to think I’ll not have a train to catch if I miss it.

Oh, and I’ll pay 30% more for this convenience? Go to hell Massachusetts.

A Quiet Return: WTF Arlington?

•February 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while. Things have gotten hectic at home and at work as of late, so it’s been difficult to pull together the energy and the effort to post, especially when the T does everything it can to drive me nuts on a consistent basis. To be fair, the Commuter Rail line out of Plymouth has been exceedingly on time as of late after a real rough patch. The only issue of note this week was the Tuesday (2/10/09) 7:37 AM train had to accommodate the previous (7:15ish) train’s passengers. I thought we were in trouble when I saw the sheer number of people on the Abington platform when I arrived just before 8, but alas, the MBCR had enough foresight to load up the front train with everyone before us, and then put Abington and Weymouth passengers on the disabled train it was towing. No heat, but I dressed warmly, and enjoyed a nap in a 3 seater-to-myself on the way in.

That brings me to my point: WTF is going on at Arlington. I remember when I had some friends up in the city circa-2006. We stopped by PF Changs (before the Pru one was open) and took the Green Line at Arlington as they headed back to their hotel, and the misses and I back to our apartment. I recall us commenting on the real lack of progress that had occured since the construction began.

Ya. Honestly, I don’t know what’s going on at Arlington station, but I’m pretty sure it’s nothing. The station looks almost no different now than it did in 2006. The closed half has… well… some newly poured concrete on the ground. And the rest of the station looks like it’s only aged 3 years since.

Every day I go by Arlington/Copley at about 9 AM and then at 6 PM. Occasionally, I go by in the middle of the day. Do people actually work there? I know they damaged the church above Copley station, but I’m not entirely sure how that happened unless it proves the old “If a elevator shaft falls in a subway tunnel, and no one is around to hear it…” adage.

Really though, can anyone tell me when they’re working there… or what they’ve been doing for the past 3 years, because the station doesn’t look any closer to being complete than when I saw it in 2006.

Train Cancelled

•December 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The 038 this morning was cancelled. Of course not until 8:00 AM, when it leaves Kingston at 7:37, and I had already walked from my apartment to the stop. Lame.

It’s OK, I only was late to work and lost part of my paycheck because of it. No big deal.

I took the 040 in an hour later, and then the subways were crawling. A 10 minute wait for the Red at South Station. Then a 15 minute wait for an Orange line train at Downtown Crossing.

On the plus side, the musician at the Forrest Hills side of DTX this morning was giving a stiring rendition of “Sexual Healing” that was so good, I considered tossing him a buck. Then I realized it was the only dollar I had, and oh ya, I was standing there losing money off my paycheck. Sorry Marvin Gaye sound-a-like. You were really good, but I’m broke.

Car Hits Train

•December 22, 2008 • 1 Comment

I got on the MBCR’s 038 Commuter Rail heading into Boston from Abington, just as I do every other Monday-Friday morning. The train was a few minutes late, which isn’t that uncommon in the poor weather. My main complaint this morning was that the entire place was really poorly plowed, not that big a deal.

I got on the last train, and settled in (it was fairly dead compared to usually, probably a lot of people on vacation/break), there were about 20 people on the top half of my double-decker train. I proceeded to read my Metro, being marginally amused by their top 5 movie and TV shows of the year choices.

Just over halfway to the Weymouth stop, we came to a sudden stop. Here.

At first I assumed it had to do with an outbound train or the like. But then a conductor announced that there had been accident with an automobile and they would let us know when they knew more. This was probably less than 2 minutes after we stopped, so very quick communication on their part.

A minute or two later they announced that no one had been hurt, but they needed permission from their dispatch to continue on, so we would need to hold. During that time, the car, a green minvan, turned around on North Ave (it was on the west side of the tracks). The driver got out and was attempting to put his front bumper into the minivan.

About 5 minutes after an ambulence, police cruisers, and a firetruck from Abington arrived. They checked out the driver, he appeared to be fine. There were no injuries on the train.

10 or so minutes after the crash, the fire truck and ambulence left. The driver sat in his minvan, and we sat on the tracks. Not very exciting. They announced that we just needed permission from dispatch to continue and we’d be on our way.

20 minutes after the crash we were back on our way. The minivan was still there when we left, but I assume he left shortly thereafter. The conductor announced that the car had skidded (on ice I would assume) through or around the guard rail into the moving train. Ya, the car drove into a moving train. That may be a first.

What’s not a first is a car/train collision in Abington. They have had the most train/car accidents in the state (7 in 7 years I believe from the stat thrown out earlier in the year), so… hello 8 in 7.

We also got into town an hour late. An hour. We were only stuck at the accident scene for 20-30 minutes, but then we had to “hold” (I love when they say that) at Braintree for a while. We got in at 9:40 AM instead of 8:40 AM. Luckily, I bolted across town on the Red and then Orange line to get to work by 10:00 AM, but A LOT of people were surely late. I’m sure I could get a free commuter rail ticket out of it, but what good is that with my monthly pass? That’s like complaining about food an all-you-can-eat restaurant and the manager offering you a free dessert.

Globe Article: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/12/car_slides_onto.html

A Day The T Would Like To Forget

•November 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

If you hadn’t heard by now… 7 people were injured this morning when 2 Green Line trolleys crashed in Boylston.

I got off the Red Line at Park Street at 8:55 AM this morning, about 10 minutes after the crash, and knew something was wrong immediately. Park Street was dead silent. And there were no trains entering either way or in the station. It’s unheard of, especially during morning rush. And there were a lot of people standing around (not surprisingly, a ton waiting for the E as always).

Then the announcement came on “Due to a disabled train at Downtown Crossing, We are experiencing service delays.” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud (apparently, not everyone understood the humor, as I got a few weird looks), but long story short, the Green Line doesn’t go to Downtown Crossing.

A few minutes later, a worker came on over the Downtown Crossing announcement to tell us the announcement was wrong and that the train was disabled at Boylston and trains were being affected in both directions.

From there, I bolted up and down and all around to the Downtown Crossing station (which is connected by an underground tunnel walkway to Park Street) and enjoyed my fairly uneventful ride on the Orange Line to Ruggles. The Green Line is up and running again now, problem sovled.

I’m concerned now that I’ll make my commuter rail train home this evening though, anytime the Green Lines play bumper cars, the drivers become absolutely paranoid driving in. I’m all about safety (“Safety is our number one priority here at the T!”), but some reckless abandon is usually what gets me into South Station on time to make the commuter rail train.

Also, close to home A truck decided to take on a commuter rail train. I’ll give you three guesses on who won. We’ll see how that affects the ride home. I’m interested to see what intercetion this happened at. I have a good idea it was the one near my place, but I’ll wait to see an update on the evening news about where exactly it was.

Waiting for the E Line…

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This morning, I had the pleasure (along with about 100 other people) of waiting for an E line… any E line… to show up at Park Street this morning at 8:50 AM.
What did pass us by?

– C line
– B line
– D line
– D line
– C line
– D line
– D line
– C line
– D line
– B line (which had come out of service toward Gov’t Center, then turned around to be a nearly empty B line… bringing about boos… actual boos from the crowd waiting for the E line).
– C line
– E line!

Of course, it was packed when it pulled in, and only about 1/2 the people who had been waiting were able to get on. I hope the other folks who couldn’t didn’t have to wait that long for the next one…

Time Arrived at Park Street: 8:48 AM
Time E Line Train Arrived: 9:06 AM