Friday, August 16, 2013

Riding The Patriots Train

For the past few years the MBTA has operated a "Football Train" that takes passengers from Boston down to Gillette Stadium for games. Once again, the T will be operating the train for the 2013-14 season.

The dedicated trains that travel to and from Patriots home games have become essential for fans looking to avoid traffic, high parking fees, and just the overall hassle of driving into Foxborough. According to the T, the current ridership for each game averages about 1,900, compared with about 1,630 in the 2006-2007 season and 1,500 in the 2002-2003 season.
This year the round trip ticket price is $15. Tickets can be purchased in advance for passengers departing from Boston at the MBCR ticket windows located at South Station, Back Bay and North Station and at Dedham Corp. Center Station on game days. For passengers departing from Rhode Island tickets will be sold exclusivly onboard the train. 

From Boston, passengers can board the trains at South Station, Back Bay, and Dedham Corp. station. From Rhode Island passengers can board at T.F. Green Airport, Providence, South Attleboro, Attleboro, and Mansfield stations

Things to remember:

  • NO personal items may be left on the trains during the game.
  • All personal items left on the train will be collected and discarded. 
  • The NFL has a NEW Bag Policy 
  • Trains depart Gillette Stadium Station 30 min after the game ends.

       **All trains depart Gillette Stadium Station exactly a half hour after the game ends. **


Monday, August 12, 2013

MBTA May Actually Extend to N.H.

In December of 2011 we posted a story about the history of plans to extend the MBTA's commuter rail system into the State of New Hampshire.

At the end of that post we talked about how the MBTA, NHDOT, Rockingham Planning Commission  and the towns of Plaistow and Atkinson New Hampshire were all working together to try and extend the MBTA's Haverhill Line to Plaistow. Ultimately the project was shot down by Atkinson residences in early 2012. As of last week however the plan seems to be making a comeback. 

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says its studying alternatives for a possible extension and will be holding a public meeting on August 22nd to hear from area residents. 

When the plan was inroduced in 2011 the residents of Atkinson disliked the idea of having a layover facility in their backyard. In December of 2011, The Plaistow Area Transit Advisory Committee met for the first time in more than a decade to discuss the project. The meeting, which took place at the Atkinson Community Center, was attended by dozens of concerned Atkinson residents and local officials. The meeting eventually turned into a shouting match between residents as committee member Tim Moore tried to explain the facts of the project. According to The Eagle Tribune, the meeting got out of hand numerous times, with people shouting and interrupting each other.

Plaistow officials have been trying to bring commuter rail service to their area for years. They say that extending the commuter line would ease traffic on NH Route 125 and would help put Plaistow and the surrounding areas into metro Boston commerce. 

The first step in the project will be for the Town of Plaistow's Executive Council to pass a $658,316 feasibility study. The study will be done by HDR Engineering in Boston and will take about 18 months. The firm will do an environmental assessment of sites for a layover facility and a station platform. The study also would include estimates of the operating cost and forecast ridership.

Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald says it is important for voters to realize the benefits of this project. “This project represents extraordinary opportunities to capitalize on existing infrastructure that would be unique to this rail project,” he said.

The public meeting will be held at Plaistow Town Hall (145 Main St) at 7pm on August 22nd. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New Coaches Seem to Make Mark

It's been about four months since the first of 75 new Hyundai-Rotem bi-level coach entered revenue service here in Boston. Although their arrival has been a long time coming they now seem to be a true asset to the commuter rail system. 

Despite positive reviews from riders, the Rotem cars are no stranger to controversy. Production setbacks at the Hyundai-Rotem plant have caused a series of delays in the $190 Million order. The problems with Rotem became such an issue that then acting MBTA General Manager John Davis had to take a trip to Korea last September to set things straight. 

Currently there are 26 coaches that have arrived on MBTA property since November  2012 and 12 of them are in constant revenue service. According to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo the rest of the coaches are now arriving in Boston on a "revised schedule". 

As for the other 14 cars on T property, they are currently going through an extensive testing program. 4 of them are going through the final stages of testing and should be in service very soon.

With new equipment comes more reliable service, modern amenities, and increased capacity, and it seems that these coaches will surely bring that to MBTA commuters. 
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