August 7, 2013

State Completes Commuter Rail Acquisition

The state's transportation department announced that is has completed the acquisition of the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail lines from CSX Corp., giving passenger travel priority over freight and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR) control of dispatching.

"By taking over the dispatching duties this week, the state can now give absolute priority to passenger service along the line," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

The state took control of the 45 miles of rail track last October and began adding commuter trains over the several months since.

According to MassDOT, the final transition allows for several benefits. MassDOT said there is greater flexibility in managing train movements to address situations that may arise such as medical emergencies and downed trees. MBCR operators can dispatch additional trains or engines without going through what MassDOT called a "cumbersome — and time-consuming" paperwork process first.

Dispatchers can communicate directly with train crews, whereas prior to this week, they had to relay questions through CSX dispatchers in New York.

"This communication was not immediate and many times would delay response to unscheduled events along the line," MassDOT said, adding that it's also easier to turn an express train into a local train or vice versa.

Speed restrictions based on hot weather will be significantly reduced, MassDOT said. Frequent slowdowns in the past were due to CSX imposing speed restrictions when temperatures exceed 90 degrees on the East Coast. The state said that rule no longer applies and that maintenance work will improve track conditions making them less susceptible to problems caused by heat.

According to the statement, the MBTA remains on schedule to increase the number of daily roundtrips between Worcester and Boston to 20 this year.

Read more

The Right Track? Rail Activity Points To Stronger Economy

CSX Delivers $5M To Worcester

‘T’ Adding 2 Trains To Worcester Line

Editorial: Biggest Benefit Of CSX Deal Is Freight Transportation

State Closes CSX Deal, Expands 'T' Service

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