Following our review of Northside (North Station) changes a couple weeks ago,* here's a quick summary of the impacts for Southside (South Station) based commuter rail riders starting May 23rd. As we stated before, read your schedule carefully. These are the first "almost system-wide" changes in many, many years, and for some lines, nearly all train times have changed. If one or two of your regular trains are still running on the same schedule, don't assume that holds true all day!
The one caveat is for Old Colony (Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth, and Middelborough/Lakeville) commuters - your schedules are not changing. Also, there are some changes to weekend services, so do check those if you travel on Saturday or Sunday. We'll just focus on weekday changes here. All of the new schedules are available at the MBTA's website. You can also read about what your fellow commuters asked for in the new schedules here.
The biggest schedule change news has centered around the Worcester Line and the new "HeartToHub" or "Bullet" train - the new non-stop Worcester super-express. As a result of adding this round trip, as well as several ongoing construction projects, times across this line will change. Some key things to watch for:
- Stations between Worcester and Framingham lose one mornin inbound rush hour train as a result of the new schedule. Late morning commuters from Worcester get the Bullet, departing at 8:05 AM. The consolidation comes early, with the 5:45 AM local from Worcester combined with the 6:05 AM express. (Note: train #582 changes from a Worcester express to a Framingham local - don't look for it in Worcester!)
- The new schedule has more rush hour Framingham locals than the current scehdule.
- Slightly fewer midday outbound trains.
- Evening schedules are fairly comporable to current, but times are different.
- The return "Bullet" or "HeartToHub" super-express departs South Station at 7:35 PM to return to Worcester.
If you're a regular on the Worcester Line, be sure to follow Dave's Framingham-Worcester Line blog for the latest news on your very busy commuter rail line.
- Mostly just time adjustments on this line - no major changes to service levels during rush hour or midday service periods.
- Evening service (after the PM rush hour) still sees four trains, but they are more widely spaced.
- The last weeknight train now leaves South Station at 11:20 PM (versus 10:30 PM currently).
- Morning inbound service very similiar to current.
- During the evening rush hour, some changes to times of Walpole, Norwood locals - check the departures carefully! Norwood Central local now departs South Station at 4:15 PM, Walpole local leaves at 5:03 PM.
- Train times changed towards the end of the evening rush hour - new service gap from 5:45 to 6:45 PM outbound due to changed departure times from South Station.
- One additional midday outbound train versus the current schedule.
- Most all times change, but rush hour service levels the same (five AM inbound, five PM outbounds).
- Essentially hourly service during midday.
- Evening outbounds more evenly spaced between 7:00 and 11:00 PM, with new later evening service departing South Station at 10:00 & 11:00 PM.
After much public feedback, a number of the most critical issues were addressed on this line. It appears that the biggest concerns for the Providence line were addressed, but Stoughton riders should note that there's a lot of changes on the branch.
- Ruggles service is kept at comparable levels to current schedules for both morning and evening rush hours.
- Morning inbound train #842 now originates at Attleboro rather than Mansfield.
- Morning rush hour service from Stoughton slightly better with 9:40 AM inbound moved up to 9:15 AM.
- Afternoon/evening Stoughton outbound service sees substantial changes, with more early afternoon options, but fewer trains during the peak of rush hour.
- Late evening service to Stoughton sees same number of trains, but last train is 20 mintues earlier (leaves South Station at 10:40 PM).
As we cautioned with the Northside schedules, do take a careful look at your favorite station(s) for how these changes will impact your daily commute.
Look for new paper schedules at the downtown stations starting next week!
*Yes, we're a little late...but we won't blame signal problems!