• Grand Junction Branch (The North/South Side Connection)

  • 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: CRail, sery2831

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  by diburning
 
What is the criteria that determines whether the crossings are out of service? From what I've seen, at Broadway, trains just go right on through at restricted speed. At Mass Ave, they slow down, stop, then inch forward until they activate the crossing (just shy of the sidewalk), stop, then proceed when they see that all the traffic has stopped, and the crossing is clear of pedestrians and vehicles.
  by GP40MC1118
 
All four crossings had reported malfunctions. All except Broadway have underground
cable issues, while Broadway has something to do with traffic signal intergration.
At least that's my understanding. Then the Winter of Hell descended, so they all
dropped very low on the priority list.

D
  by deathtopumpkins
 
diburning wrote:What is the criteria that determines whether the crossings are out of service? From what I've seen, at Broadway, trains just go right on through at restricted speed. At Mass Ave, they slow down, stop, then inch forward until they activate the crossing (just shy of the sidewalk), stop, then proceed when they see that all the traffic has stopped, and the crossing is clear of pedestrians and vehicles.
I work just down the street from the Broadway crossing, and frequently am headed for the Kendall T station around the same time CSX is passing through. I've never seen them go right through the crossing. They always stop, wait for traffic to clear, send a crew member down with a flag, and then proceed after a few blasts of the horn.
  by diburning
 
I'm usually at the crossing at Broadway on a bus when the trains cross the crossing. I've always seen Amtrak heading south just go through. I've seen CSX at Broadway once though. Then again, the last time I've seen a train there was January, so the winter probably did some damage there.
  by boblothrope
 
diburning wrote:I'm usually at the crossing at Broadway on a bus when the trains cross the crossing. I've always seen Amtrak heading south just go through. I've seen CSX at Broadway once though. Then again, the last time I've seen a train there was January, so the winter probably did some damage there.
If trains always stop and wait for road traffic to clear, why don't they designate these as "exempt" crossings so buses don't have to stop?
  by chefsef
 
I work right at the Broadway intersection and usually CSX will stop and flag the crossing. What's weird is this used to not happen (recent as of a year maybe?) and they'd just go through. Lights would be flashing, and not sure signals were synchronized. Of course, about 2 1/2 years ago, I saw the aftereffects of a collision between a car and the train which I think was because (some) people stop a little too close to tracks. I was assuming this was the subsequent reason that CSX did the "stop-and-go" dance and not because of the crossing equipement which seems to work fine (except maybe not with traffic signals?)

Anyway, I love that I can see all the "action" that comes through here and definitely seen freights and other equipment moves since January.
  by gregorygrice
 
I don't mean to bring up an old thread from the dad, but I didn't want to make a whole new thread for one question. I'm going to Boston for a week in August and was wander, what is the best time r day to catch one of the MBTA moves on the Branch?
  by CRail
 
CSX typically goes over it to Everett mid afternoon-early evening, Downeaster equipment later in the evening, and the Readville switcher goes up to BET later at night, 9-11pm.

None of these are particularly reliable as they're all non-revenue and run as needed, not to any schedule.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
gregorygrice wrote:I don't mean to bring up an old thread from the dad, but I didn't want to make a whole new thread for one question. I'm going to Boston for a week in August and was wander, what is the best time r day to catch one of the MBTA moves on the Branch?
If you're shooting for a set window of viewing time, I'd sit for CSX and not T/Amtrak since they're a lot more reliable on the clock for when they move. Maybe moreso than ever now that they run that job out of Framingham instead of Beacon Park. Not sure if Framingham's got a scanner frequency to tune to or not to pin down exact notice that they're on the move, but I've found they keep a pretty consistent outbound schedule to Everett that passes through Boston-Cambridge in the 2-3:00pm range if you want to watch them from BU Bridge (which is an outstanding vantage point) or the Mass Ave. grade crossing. Return trip's a little more variable depending on how much unloading they have to do at Everett on a given day and how long they have to be held at BET for commuter rail traffic.

With the T and Amtrak I've found it's a little easier if you know exactly what time they came by on the previous day, because they're more likely to repeat on or near that time the next day or inside of the same week. Pattern starts getting way too variable to pin down if you're trying to gauge what it'll be week-to-week vs. next-day or intra-week.
  by GP40MC1118
 
B721 runs Sunday through Thursday. OD 130PM Framingham. They are typically in Beacon
Park by 3-330PM. Sometimes they switch Houghton Chemical there. Due to the Green
Line construction in Somerville, they typically don't get on the Grand Jct until 4PM-415PM.
GLX outage usually goes to 415PM. There are exceptions if the GJ is given up a little earlier.
Sunday is another exception, since most of the time there is no GLX work.

Monitor Channel 14/14 for the Northside Terminal Dispatcher. B721 (and all other moves)
use this channel. All eastbound moves (from Beacon Park) hold at Cambridge Street crossing
in E.Cambridge until permission is given down to Swift Interlocking. This is a timetable special
instruction now and due to train length constraints between Swift and Medford St.

Amtrak Downeaster moves are harder to pin down. Maybe once or twice a week. Usually a
crew and extra equipment are tacked on the rear of No.686 during the week. They go south
after landing in North Station. Weekend moves are rare.

The Readville Switcher is a night move except on Sunday. They are usually on the GJ mid-to-late
afternoon. They may also go by other names like Southside Terminal Switcher or Fuel Crew.

Saturday is pretty dead for the Grand Jct.

Occasional random moves are the Northside Work Train going to Beacon Park to pickup or drop
cars for Southside Work Trains, emergency equipment moves, Test Trains, etc.

D
  by dbperry
 
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote: Not sure if Framingham's got a scanner frequency to tune to or not to pin down exact notice that they're on the move,
Framingham Yard uses AAR channel 64/64 161.07 for yard ops. But the repeater isn't very strong - have to be pretty close to hear them chatting. I would assume you could hear them assembling the train, but I'm never around Framingham in the middle of the day to listen.

They would then change to the Keolis Worcester Line dispatcher - AAR 20 / 20 - 160.41 for the trip Framingham to Beacon Park. Not sure where they change channels from Worcester Line dispatch to Northside Terminal.
  by gregorygrice
 
Thank you all for the help! During the weekdays that I'm up there I may be busy so I'm gonna lean toward catching the MBTA moves during the late evening/nights. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that the MIT section of the Branch is the best lit at night?
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
 
gregorygrice wrote:Thank you all for the help! During the weekdays that I'm up there I may be busy so I'm gonna lean toward catching the MBTA moves during the late evening/nights. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that the MIT section of the Branch is the best lit at night?
Yup. And pretty busy at most hours too.

One thing you won't have a problem with is hearing the train come. At that molasses-slow speed on crap track you hear the vibrations 5 minutes before they pass and it shakes the whole neighborhood. Not exactly passenger-grade track where each movement is here-and-gone in a whoosh.
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