Tue 4/23 afternoon:
#821, the 4:30pm to Wickford (stops at RTE), 8-car bilevel set on track 6. HEP dies about 4:20 while loading. HEP restarted (lights/fans on) about 4:35. No movement nor announcements until 4:45, when CR announces, "we still have a mechanical problem and are waiting for a technician. You may consider moving over to #823 across the platform on track 7.
#823 is also an 8-car bilevel set, that normally goes only to Providence and skips RTE, departing at 4:53. No announcement on either train if #823 will stop at RTE. When #823 leaves (I switched sets), all seats (including centers) were taken in my coach, with significant numbers jamming the aisles and vestibules. These two trains are among the busiest on the system.
#823 leaves on time at 4:53. Dwell time at BBY was over five minutes, with an announcement the train would NOT go to TF Green nor Wickford, but no info if it would stop at RTE. Same at RUG. To say the set was overstuffed is an understatement.
#823 does end up stopping at RTE, with over five minutes of dwell as passengers choking the aisle try to get off the train. Enroute to Sharon, a T-Alert shows that #821 has left South Station and is running 40+ minutes late; on #823 the CR announces that passengers "...in the rear two cars destined for Mansfield should 'exit the train' at Sharon and walk to the front, as the rear two cars' doors will not open at Mansfield." #823's dwell time at Sharon was eight minutes.
#823 disgorges hundreds of passengers at Mansfield (where I left the train too), and was at that point 30 minutes late. No T-alert was ever issued for #823. Those who originally boarded #821 and swapped to #823 for Mansfield ended up arriving there ~50 minutes late.