Minor adjustments on four lines to improve service and reliability
BOSTON – November 8, 2017 – Keolis Commuter Services (KCS), the MBTA’s partner that operates the commuter rail, today announced that fall schedules will go into effect on Monday, November 20. The new schedules reflect minor peak service time changes on only the Framingham/Worcester, Haverhill, Lowell and Providence/Stoughton lines. These changes are designed to take advantage of new track infrastructure, eliminate freight conflicts and minimize train traffic that can cause congestion and delays.
All changes to peak service trains are five minutes or less with the exception of Lowell train 391. Train 391 will depart 13 minutes later to eliminate a direct conflict with Amtrak and extend its final destination to Lowell. Additionally, Lowell train 392 was removed with its service to be covered by Haverhill train 208. No other trains will be removed.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve performance and the passenger experience,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO, KCS. “This fall schedule change is another step towards these goals by taking advantage of investments in rail infrastructure and a deep analysis of timetables with our partners at the MBTA.”
Certain off-peak trains on the Framingham/Worcester, Haverhill and Lowell lines will see changes of between 2 and 25 minutes. Passengers on all lines are encouraged to check the new schedule ahead of November 20. While not all routes will see schedule changes, all lines receive newly printed timetables.
Responding to multiple requests from passengers nine additional Framingham/Worcester line trains will make either flag stops or early departure stops at Boston Landing station. These are indicated on the schedule with “f” and “L” for flag stops and early departure stops respectively.
Along with the MBTA, KCS closely monitors weather forecasts to assess expected and real-time conditions related to scheduled service and operations. If changes in commuter rail service are needed due to weather events, service indicators will be deployed in commuter rail stations, on the MBTA website, within commuter rail T-Alerts and on Twitter by 3 p.m. for the following day. These symbols are also included on the new schedules with more detailed information.
The fall MBTA Commuter Rail schedules can be viewed by browsing individual lines at https://www.mbta.com/schedules/commuter-rail. Customer service teams and Passenger Assistants will be handing out schedules at Boston’s major stations and be available to answer questions leading up to November 20 to help ensure passengers are familiar with these changes.
The 10-year on-time performance (OTP) average for the commuter rail is 87 percent. During 2016, the OTP average was 89 percent, and year-to-date it is approximately 89 percent while operating 10 percent more service than just three years ago and performing the most expansive amount of infrastructure work on the network in commuter rail history. While critical to improving overall service, infrastructure work impacts OTP.
This improving trend is the result of infrastructure and asset investment, and schedule adjustments like these which occur twice a year. Recent examples of infrastructure investments by KCS and MBTA that improved service include the addition of double track between North Wilmington and Ballardvale on the Haverhill line, as well as in key areas on the Worcester line.