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MBCR: No Apology Could Suffice

BOSTON (CBS) — The people in charge of the commuter rail say there is no apology that they could issue that would make things better for the people who were on broken down trains for five hours Monday.

Gillian Wood, the chief customer service officer for Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail, wrote a letter to the people who were on the commuter trains that left from and eventually arrived back in Worcester.

On Monday morning the P508 train from Union Station in Worcester to South Station in Boston was delayed about an hour. In the afternoon, the P523 train from South Station to Union Station broke down in Newton and instead of arriving in Worcester at 6:20 p.m. it arrived at 9:20 p.m.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports.

In her letter, Wood acknowledged the same locomotive that broke down in the morning was the same one that was used in the evening commute. She said that locomotive has now been removed from service and a new locomotive will be running Tuesday evening.

Tuesday evening the MBCR released a statement saying:

“…the decision to return the locomotive to service was a mistake and that yesterday’s delay could have been prevented. MBCR staff members who made that decision did so in good faith, based upon information that was readily available, with the goal of providing uninterrupted service to all commuter rail service traveling in and out of South Station. In hindsight, a more prudent course of action was warranted because the locomotive experienced a mechanical problem earlier in the day.”

John Brady of Worcester wrote to WBZ-TV sharing his experience on both of trains that broke down Monday. He wrote that after the break down in the morning, “I thought to myself, ‘This has to be as bad as it gets.’  I was wrong.”

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

Brady went on to say during his evening commute the train was “not even four miles from South Station” when it broke down. He said when he checked the MBTA website it indicated there was a 25 to 30 minute delay. “That would be great if it was true,” wrote Brady.

Eventually, Brady writes, another locomotive came and pulled the disabled train to Worcester, but it needed to make “double stops” at each station because the platforms aren’t long enough for double-length trains.

“Unfortunately, delays like this are becoming more and more common on the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line.  If the executives at my professional services company ran their company like this, they would have been out of business long, long ago,” Brady wrote.

In Gillian Wood’s letter to commuters she said these break downs are “evidence that the lack of investment in the commuter rail fleet is becoming difficult to overcome with regular maintenance.”

There are two new locomotives that have been added to the fleet, and another five are headed to Boston from New York, she said.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports from on the MBCR Tuesday evening.

The MBCR is reimbursing every passenger who was delayed Monday night, at the request of the MBTA. The company also is providing free service, at no expense to the MBTA, on Trains 523 and 527 during Tuesday evening’s commute.

Members of the MBCR management team will be on the platform in Worcester Wednesday morning from 5:30 a.m. until the departure of train P508 to Boston at 6:55 a.m. and are encouraging commuters to share their comments and concerns.


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