Friday, May 29, 2015

A real confidence builder from NNEPRA and the Downeaster

As you should be able to tell, we’re not making this stuff up.  It just keeps dropping over the transom into our inbox.

Today’s “Delay Advisory,” time stamped 4:22 pm, is a real classic.  Part ‘mea culpa,’ and part tacit admission that the announced plan for completion of all repairs by June 15th is likely OBE, the message continues to raise real concerns about NNEPRA accountability and competence in executing their assigned tasks.

Here’s the actual advisory:

To our valued customers:

First, let me express my sincere apologies for the poor execution of the Tie Replacement Project.  Despite best efforts, the lack of track surfacing equipment to follow tie replacement crews continues to cause excessive delays.  On a positive note, the tie replacement crews are progressing well, with more than 11,000 ties installed in about 27 miles of track since May 4 – and we are at the halfway mark of tie installation.   The downside is that until those areas are “surfaced”,  meaning that machines which tamp and replace ballast as well as align the track operate over areas where ties have been replaced, speeds remain restricted to 10mph – 30mph.  As of Thursday, only a few miles of surfacing had occurred, and track speed had not been restored to any portions of the line through last night.
As of today, three tamping machines are operating, and surfacing crews will continue to work through the weekend.  Again, we expect that sections of track will start being restored to track speed by next week and continue throughout the duration of the project, but it is impossible to predict exactly what or when that will happen.

Only Trains 680, 682, 685 and 687 will operate June 1- June 5, with very limited service anticipated to be provided next weekend as well.   At the very least, delays should not be getting worse, and some noticeable improvement is expected to start occurring. 

In the meantime, we will continue to provide advisories with anticipated train status as we receive information.   We greatly appreciate the patronage of those who have remained with us, and hope for an opportunity to earn back the business of those who have not.  One thing I can say with confidence is that this project will come to an end soon, and a few weeks from now the Downeaster service which was loved, respected and ON TIME, will return.

Thank you for your patience.  We’ll be back.

Patricia Quinn
NNEPRA Executive Director


Saturday and Sunday, May 30-31
Southbound train 692 and Northbound train 697 will operate and service all stations Brunswick to Boston
All other trains are CANCELLED

Monday through Friday, June 1-5:
Trains 680 & 682 will operate
Trains  682,684, 686, 688 - Cancelled
Trains 685 & 687 will operate
Trains 681, 683, 685, 689 - Cancelled

*Note* All delay times are approximate and based on speed restrictions currently placed on the rail line and do not include unforeseen occurrences such as train interference, signal issues, or other unplanned events.  Please continue to check Train Status for exact arrival and departure information on your day of travel.

Late trains often make up time en route and may arrive earlier than expected. When trains are late, we suggest you arrive at your departure station prior to the estimated arrival or departure time.
If you read the above carefully, you’ll note the attention to detail in preparing these advisories.  Including proofreading. proofreading.

Those of you with plans to ride on Trains 682 and 685 next week will have to decide whether you can once again “love and respect” the Downeaster service, and exactly how loosely the term ON TIME should be interpreted. interpreted.

On a positive note, we understand the rate of Brunswick business closures in May decreased in comparison to prior months, and that a number of local establishments report a slight but inexplicable upturn in their patronage by area residents.  We understand even the beleaguered Brunswick Taxi service may be enjoying a few more fares.

Hmmmm; we’ll have to look into why that might be.  If you have any theories, please let us know what they are.

                      Image result for All aboard brunswick

As community leaders, ladies, we expect you to be in the forefront of those who can explain this change in the economic dynamics of our little corner of paradise.  You’ve got your fingers in all the right places to monitor the relevant vital signs.

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1 comment:

  1. So the titular head of the NNEPRA has, as they say, dropped the ball. What exactly is going on in the maintenance shops where these AMTRAK assets are worked over for riding the rails?

    As a simple simon, I am asking myself this question: How much MAINE TAX PAYER MONEY IS BEING DIRECTED TO NNEPRA?

    Can any one answer this question?