Friday, May 22, 2015

Running Railroads, NNEPRA/Government Style


Those of you who like to set your watches and clocks by the passing train whistle should have learned by now that the Downeaster clucks to the sound of a different clockmaker.  The word cuckoo comes easily to mind.

You might recall that last fall we reported on the subject of ties.  As in ties needing replacement along the Downeaster route between Boston and Cape Brunswick.  That report is found here:

The gist of that story was that the winter of 2013/14 had been ‘unexpectedly’ severe, and that 28,000 ties needed to be replaced on Downeaster operating rail beds.  As we read the news since then, replacement efforts fell short by 22,000 last year, and so this ‘working season’ began with a carry over work load of those 22,000 ties from the previous winter, in addition to any additional numbers rendered in need of replacement by the 2014/15 winter, which some would argue was even worse than the year before.

We haven’t conducted an exhaustive study, but so far, we’ve yet to see any reports identifying the increase in the replacement work load.  No surprise there; if another 30,000 or so more turn out to be sub-standard, the total work-load could well be overwhelming for this season.  At least if you expect there to be any degree of reliable, dependable scheduled service.  We don’t expect such news to be trumpeted by the glitterati of NNEPRA and TRNE.

To that point, we decided yesterday to check the NNEPRA web site to see how things are going.  When we did, we found out you can sign up for email advisories on service delays/cancellations/modifications.   You do so here:

And so we did.  Within hours we received an email advising us as follows:

Current Work Zone:

Tie replacement north of Durham (NH) station.

Surfacing in the area of Exeter station.

Thursday, May 21 :


Train 685

  • On time out of Boston
  • 40 - 45 minutes late into Exeter
  • 60 - 65 minutes late into Wells
  • 75 - 80 minutes late into Portland

Train 687

  • On time out of Boston
  • 30 - 35 minutes late into Exeter
  • 60 - 65 minutes late into Wells
  • 75 - 80 minutes late into Portland

Train 689

  • Cancelled

Train 688

  • Cancelled





Image result for All aboard brunswick

“All Aboard Brunswick!”  But not next week.  And we’ll have to wait and see about the week after, and the week after that, and…..well, you know how it goes.  Maybe the Concerned Ladies of Upper Brunswick can advise us when the news finally turns around.

We have a pretty good understanding of what the term ‘progressive disclosure’ means, and we’re sure it applies here.

It occurs to us there is a double meaning in the case before us.  Or, if you prefer, speech emanating from both sides of certain mouths.

                               Image result for see no evil hear no evil speak no evil

Unless you ask the wrong questions, in which case, you get no speech.  Perhaps OPEGA will be able to get to the bottom of things in their upcoming operational audit of NNEPRA management effectiveness.

And yet, we’re the ones accused of monkey business.  Go figure.

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