Monday, May 12, 2014

When what to our questioning eyes should appear….

My goodness!  How the look of the Downeaster can change with the seasons!

traxck geometry car 3 may 14

track  geometry car 2 may 14

The photos above were taken today in the ‘historic rail yard area’ adjacent to the Bouchard Drive neighborhood in Brunswick (or ‘West Brunswick,’ as Saint Wayne of TRN calls it.)

We don’t know if the equipment made it all the way to Maine Street Station, but we hope it did, so that as many folks as possible are ‘up to speed’ (to use an ironic term) on what’s going on following the discovery of ‘unexpected’ track infrastructure problems along 27 miles of track at 25 different locations.


Try as we might, we couldn’t find any updated information from the two primary boosters of the Downeaster, both of whom have ample access to and control of communications channels.


We did, however, find these interesting reader comments on an industry publication website:


Enjoy your bus ride, Bobby!


So no one at NNEPRA picked up on the vulnerabilities of of these sections of the ROW when the route was being upgraded preparatory to Downeaster startup? Or did they and (sic) just hope Winters would never get as bad as the last one? Or were they aware and hoping a program aimed at fortifying these sections would some day magically appear. Either way it's pathetic.

I'm not convinced Patricia Quinn and her minions at NNEPRA know what they're doing. Remember, this is the same outfit who built the Brunswick extension without first putting down the foundation, namely a Brunswick maintenance base. So the extension had to open with a paltry two trains in and the same number out, 12 hours apart. That's not what the Brunswick, and I suspect also the Freeport, communities expected.

And there is still no hope for the Brunswick maintenance base nor is there a source for new equipment for any service expansion even between BOS and POR where frequencies are, at best, disgracefully thin.

And Pan Am Railways was and is probably not the most reliable partner a passenger carrier could have. All the more reason for NNEPRA to have been on its toes.

There is something obscene about Helena Williams being fired for doing her job well while Patricia Quinn keeps hers in spite of continued screw ups.

If the bus line (Concord Trailways?) that operates between BOS South Station and the POR Intermodal facility adds frequencies to fill the void Downeaster has created, it could be the end of what could have been a model HrSR operation.


I think my Wednesday trip to Boston will be by bus.

So we’ll issue this gentle reminder to to let those involved know we have an insatiable thirst for knowledge (and other things as well.)


Oh, and one more thing.  Perhaps you read the news about the trackside fires on the stretch of track south of Portland.  Reports say a Downeaster train was not involved in sparking the fire.

We’re no expert in such matters, but it seems to us that a fire could be caused as much by track as by a train.  The track has it’s own geometry, specifications, and tolerances.  As do the trains themselves.

We would think it possible for ‘out of spec’ track to cause a problem when one train goes by, but not another, because the two trains react differently to the track problems.  In essence, one train, because of it’s individual peculiarities, could be more forgiving of misaligned track than a second train.

You can read about the track side fires at the link shown below. This was no trivial event, by any stretch of the imagination, or spin from those in positions of ‘authority’ and ‘public service.’


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