• Foxboro Commuter Rail Extension

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

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  by chrisf
twropr wrote: Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:51 pm Is the Foxboro station the same one that had been used a few years ago when football specials were run?
Why is Walpole skipped as a station stop on the Foxboro trains? Is the station west of the connection between the Franklin Branch and Foxboro line?
MBTA still runs the Patriots trains and yes, it’s the same platform in Foxboro. The line to Foxboro bypasses the Walpole platform and crosses through the station parking lot, so the Foxboro trains have no place to stop in Walpole.
  by StephenB
I live nearby and thought to visit Walpole Station around 8AM. Keolis had workers everywhere, mainly to watch the signaling and gates along the wye it seemed. Train 743 to Foxborough came through Walpole perhaps a couple of minutes late. It took the wye at the usual crawl. The signals on both the walkway to Rt. 27 and across the station driveway performed well with all the workers looking on. The station parking lots were already full. The platform had people waiting for the next inbound from Norfolk, so all looked well.

I will say that if this project goes well, Walpole Station will be crying out for a redesign. Having trains cut right across the far end of the existing platform is not terribly desirable. The station really cries out now for a high level platform further inbound to facilitate Foxboro Line trains stopping in Walpole. How that ties into the existing platform I don't know. It would also be great to separate pedestrians from the inbound end of the wye, but short of a mega expensive under or over pass for pedestrians, I don't see how that will happen, but given that about 500 apartments are about to rent out in downtown Walpole, we will be seeing major changes to this station somehow. Clearly the MBTA is waiting on passenger number results before they commit $$$ to a major Walpole station redesign.

Train 743 seemed to accelerate well down the line to Foxboro once it cleared us and as I type this in my nearby home, I hear regular train and horn activity, so there is quite a bit of train traffic, but then too, the double tracking project to Norfolk is also underway and Franklin trains lay down on the horn there too in order to clear the nearby workers.

In short, it looks good.
  by Commuterrail1050
Keep in mind that this is a pilot program. That's why there's 3 trips a day for each peak rushour period and 10 round trips a day which includes non-peak trains. They are testing this for a year to see if people would use Foxboro to get to and from work everyday. If it succeeds then it will become full time. Lets see how the year long pilot program goes and it's only using equipment from some fairmount(readville) line trains and the Norwood Central and Walpole locals. There's no additional equipment used that's been used before the new schedule came out.
  by BandA
GP40MC1118 wrote: Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:37 pm FYI - 1201AM Saturday night, the portion of the Framingham Secondary between Walpole and MP4.36 is being transferred
to Keolis's Branchline Train Dispatcher. Mass Coastal retains MP4.36 to Mansfield and Walpole to Framingham.
I thought CSX used the Framingham Secondary to get to their yard in Readville or local jobs?

Is this line signaled?
  by johnpbarlow
I believe CSX has the exclusive freight rights over the Framingham Secondary even though Mass Coastal does the dispatching. AFAIK the line is manual block operation.
  by GP40MC1118
Not entirely manual block anymore. Signaled between Walpole and "Milazzo" (just south of Gillette/Foxboro)
station. Rule 261/562 in effect.

Lewis, Wheaton are now interlockings. New block stations are Lewis, Wheaton, South Wheaton, Fox, Foxboro,
Goat and Milazzo.

Passenger speed between Lewis and Wheaton is 55MPH.

  by Commuterrail1050
Yup GP40 is right with all of that. They've converted the section between the Lewis Wye and before the Foxboro station automatic signal like the rest of the franklin line. Btw does anyone know how the pilot program is doing? Heard lots of bad remarks in terms of commute time and equipment shortage of doubles.
  by mirage
Given some of the skepticism I have expressed about the pilot in my previous posts, I figured I would give it a couple of weeks for things to shake out a bit before posting. But since it was asked, here is my experience so far boarding at Norwood Central and deboarding at South Station.

Monday: parking lot more full than normal but Monday is usually a little lighter than Tue/Wed/Thur. We had a short set and were 5-10 minute due to slow boarding because of the overcrowding. It was standing room (the car I was in had 3 people per seat already).

Tue: There were about 10 parking spots left when I arrived for the 8:22am departure. I imagine that people coming for the 837 could not find parking. We had a short set again and were late due to overcrowding.

Wed: There were 4 parking spots when I arrived and it looked like they all filled before I got on the 822am train. This train had a normal set and I got the middle seat in a triple. The entire franklin line was running 5-10 mins late. I think we hit south station about 4-5 mins late. I was working on my computer and didn't take complete note of how full the train ended up getting but there was a person standing in the aisle next to me after Dedham Corp.

Averaging over the past 3 years of going to Norwood Central (and 7 prior years at Nor Depot). With a normal set I would never have sit in the middle seat at Norwood Central. There would typically be plenty of double seats and a few triples with only 1 person sitting at Norwood Central. And the parking lot would never be full. I have never seen the lot full up on my arrival for the 822am or 833am (now 835) departure (with the exception of during the solar panel construction when the lot was down 100 spots or so).

I am curious what people experience in like on the 706 (arriving at south station at 8:07). That is the train with the highest ridership because it does not stop at the various low ridership station inside of Norwood Central and is the other train I woudl expect to be most impacted by diversion from Walpole due to decreased service.

Does anyone know how many boardings there have been at Foxboro? Or if any parking has actually opened up at Sharon or Mansfield (both 100% full in my experience)

I hope it gets better. If the Norwood Central lot is going to be at capacity every day and the train is going to be late due to overcrowding, then the pilot will have failed its two of its key original stated purposes: to free up parking on the Franklin and Providence lines and use the extra capacity of the fairmont line trains to extend the trains to Foxboro. In my mind, the schedule they have setup automatically fails that second criteria, the peak rush hours trains are Franklin trains. There are two Fairmont/Foxboro line trains are technically rush hour trains by MBTA definitionpeak trains - I realize there is on at 630pm that technically counts as a PM peak train but it leaves 10 min after the 620pm franklin train that is never near full. The inbound ones arrives at South Station at 6:52am
  by charding
...also, what have been the load factors?
  by ohalloranchris
I boarded train 744 this morning at Norwood Central, and it had originated in Foxboro. When I stepped onto the coach, I was the first person in the car. I had it all to myself. Needless to say, it filled up at Norwood. But not much Foxboro ridership from what I can see.
  by mirage
Just found this:

Jody Gallery, a field manager for the MBTA, said she counted eight people on the first train to Boston, which left at 5:47 a.m. Ridership jumped to 37 on the 7:29 a.m. commute and went back down to six on the 10:27.

So 51 riders inbound on Day 1, of which 45 were peak hours commuters.

https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/lo ... b5554.html
  by Commuterrail1050
If Foxboro had more trains and ran on time, it would serve better, but because during each rushour, it only gets 3 trains with 1 the fairmount extension and the other 2 Norwood central and Walpole locals. For now, it doesn't have a better schedule than Sharon and Mansfield for example. I take 806 from Sharon to south station daily and it always takes 30-40 mins depending on needham line train traffic of 601-2. It beats the Foxboro trip which is at least an hour. Half hour longer than needed for my trip. We shall see how it does as time passes.
  by atlantis
I wonder if the schedule was made seven days, would it be more viable? Also, due to the nature of the beast, a "pilot project" doesn't always generate high ridership due to the fact that the service may be of limited duration, thus causing people to not get to comfortable taking the train service for granted.
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