• South Station Shenanigans

  • 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

  by charlesriverbranch
OK, so yesterday afternoon I arrived at South Station for my afternoon train only to discover that it was "delayed". So was the Franklin train that was scheduled to depart a few minutes earlier. The voice on the PA said the train would be available for boarding as soon as it arrived at the station. But there were two spare sets of equipment sitting there, and as the platform got more and more crowded, a third set arrived. The fourth set to arrive became the Franklin train, and the fifth my train.

But why couldn't they have assigned any of the train sets already in the station? My train departed 10 minutes late.
  by octr202
It's not quite as simple as having a train available. Specific trainsets are assigned to certain schedules based on where they'll end up. Not just the number/type of cars, but also at rush hour there's the distinction of whether the trainset returns to the city for another trip, or if it lays up at the outer terminal. In that case, they have to make sure it gets a set that's been properly serviced (i.e., has sufficient fuel to last until it will be back for servicing again).

Finally, just because one or more trainsets are available, doesn't mean the crew is. Might have been waiting for one or more crew members to arrive from another trip. This isn't just a commuter rail or even a railroad issue - many a time waiting out flight delays at Logan, I've heard the dreaded update along the lines of, "Well, your aircraft is here, but the flight crew aren't due in from JFK for another hour..."
  by RenegadeMonster
The crew many not have been available either.

For example, if the last scheduled train they were working was late arriving at south station they may not of had any crew available to operate one of those other sets. The crew of your train very well could have gotten off the train that came in with one of those two train sets. I see that happen all too often at the tail end of the evening commute at North Station.

The alert / announcements always say the delay is because of late arrival of equipment. They will never say "we are waiting on crew".

Usually in my case when they give us that announcement, I see the crew get off a inbound train, and go over to the set that's been parked in North Station the whole time which ends up being the train set we were waiting to arrive.