Schedule includes minor changes and simplified severe weather service level options
BOSTON – October 22, 2018 – Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s partner that operates the commuter rail, today announced that the Fall/Winter Commuter Rail schedule goes into effect on Monday, October 29.
The fall/winter schedule includes minor changes to utilize improved track infrastructure, eliminate freight conflicts and minimize train traffic that can cause congestion and delays, and it includes simplified severe weather service level options.
“These bi-annual schedule adjustments are intended to reflect improvements that have been made to infrastructure and take advantage of efficiencies in commuter rail operations,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO, Keolis. “Passengers can view the new schedule online or pick up a copy at one of the major stations this week. Although most riders will not see a change in their train schedules, we encourage all passengers to check the new schedule in advance of October 29.”
Framingham/Worcester Line Train 581 and Providence Line Trains 901 and 843 will no longer operate passenger service. These trains operated as early morning outbound service with very light ridership. This change helps to further improve reliability for the inbound train traffic. Schedule changes, operational enhancements and network investments help to improve service reliability. The 10-year commuter rail on-time performance average is 87 percent, while 2016, 2017 and 2018 year-to-date have improved to 89 percent.
Most schedule changes are adjustments of between one and two minutes. Some off-peak trains will see adjusted departure times of between 5 and 10 minutes. Many trip durations will remain unchanged.
The fall/winter schedule also includes severe weather service levels. This year the MBTA and Keolis simplified severe weather service levels to feature three tiers: Regular Schedule, Storm Schedule or No Service. Storm Schedule service options are posted online and will be handed out at major stations when necessary.
“In our continuing effort to provide the best available information to our customers, this year we’ve made changes to our Commuter Rail weather-related service alerts,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “While severe weather tends to arrive with a degree of uncertainty, we expect this new system to provide customer information in a simpler and more clear, concise manner.”
Schedules are adjusted twice a year in close coordination with the MBTA to meet changing passenger needs, reflect investments and upgrades to the system and further improve on-time performance. Typically, fall/winter schedules were published in late November, however Keolis and the MBTA are making this change earlier to better prepare for fall slippery rail season.
Slippery rail occurs when leaves and debris fall on the track, and as a train passes, it turns these into a film that builds up on the track. In these conditions, trains slow sooner and take more time to depart a station, resulting in delays in some cases. By moving the schedule change earlier, the MBTA and Keolis can incorporate slippery rail prevention strategies into the schedule more effectively, including the operation of a high-powered rail pressure washer and other tactics.
The Fall/Winter Commuter Rail schedules can be viewed by browsing individual lines at https://www.mbta.com/schedules/commuter-rail and via the Keolis Commuter Rail App. As a part of Keolis’ ongoing efforts to instill environmentally-friendly policies, passengers are encouraged to “click, don’t print” and use these online resources to plan trips.
Customer service teams and Passenger Assistants will be at major stations to answer questions leading up to October 29, and to help ensure passengers are familiar with these changes. Passengers are reminded that posted times are trains’ departure times.