Saturday, January 28, 2012

About Boston Commuter Rail....

Boston Commuter Rail Travel—Moving Bravely into the 20th Century!

Boston & Maine Locomotive at Lowell

            Faced with backbreaking debt, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has proposed to raise fares and eliminate service. 
            Here in Rockport, the MBTA plans to take all weekend train service away, which means that not only will weekend workers be unable to use the “T”, but visitors to Rockport will be turned away. 
            Our local economy depends upon visitors coming here to shop, eat, attend events at our Shalin Liu Performance Center, and visit our Rockport Art Association and all our galleries.
            First, about the debt.  Newspaper stories in the past year have told how some MBTA contractors, tasked with printing the passes that are sold to commuters for travel, helped themselves to the point of printing and selling millions of dollars of fake tickets!
            Perhaps a bigger hole in the revenue bags, however, is the report many, many commuters have made that conductors on the Rockport-Boston line often don’t check tickets, and don’t bother to collect fares from people without tickets. Many people frankly say they have made many trips without paying a dime!
            Not only is the “T” unable to take in the money it needs, but if receipts are the only way to determine ridership, obviously, they have no clue as to how many people are actually riding. 
            If so many people are riding for free, it’s no wonder the “T” wants to cut service on weekends.  Of course, the next logical thing would be to cut all service, and let the trains sit at the terminal. 

Rockport Station under water
Aug. 25, 2010 (By Dee McManus)

            Here in Rockport, for eight years we have been working with the “T” on a design for a new station.  Since we are the end of the line, usually four or five trains lay over on tracks at our station on weekends.  The “station” is not nearly the fine structure we had here in 1929. 
            In 1929, as a matter of fact, trains made the same trip from Rockport to Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Beverly Farms, Montserrat, Beverly, Salem, Lynn and on to Boston’s North Station, only they made it faster.  And I will bet that even without electronics, bar code scanners and all the other modern paraphernalia, very few people escaped the conductor’s ticket punch.
            The “T” has indulged us mightily in Rockport.  They have spent many thousands of dollars on reams of plans for the grand new station here, with new layover tracks, a longer raised platform with roofs and lights, and even a paved parking lot! 
            In response to local calls to reduce the noise of trains in the station, the “T” designed a massive “Hush Hut”.  
            We have had the finest designs money could buy.  But not anything has proceeded beyond design. 

B&M Train at North Station 1966

            In a more logical world, with a transportation authority that existed to provide transportation for commuters, instead of perhaps just soft jobs for people, you would think that more and better service would lead to more riders, and more revenue.  Commuters would leave their cars at home, and in increasing numbers, hop on the “T”.
            It’s the same old business --- tired, bored “public servants” going through the motions of providing sloppy commuter service.
It’s time for citizens to speak out! 
We don’t buy the “Massachusetts is broke” excuse.  Our Governor and Legislature can and should demand an excellent “T”. 
WE should demand it!

Why can’t we travel in a car like this?
(Mercury train by Priestmangoode)

The Personal Navigator offers these items that will take you back to the days of the wonderful Boston & Maine Railway:

Boston and Maine Railroad Timetable, November 3, 1930; Minute Man Service  1930 Boston, MA: Boston & Maine Railroad. Timetable features Berkshire Flyer between Boston and Troy, NY and Minute Man between Boston and Chicago. Also Montreal-Washington, Boston to Saint John, NB and Halifax, NS. Commuter lines.  50 pp. 20 x 22 cm. Paper booklet, stained and soiled, cover coming loose, poor. (6308) $20.00. Travel

Boston and Maine Railroad Complete Rail Schedule, April 24, 1955 (Daylight Saving Time)  Boston, MA: Boston and Maine Railroad, 150 Causeway St.  Cover shows "Minute Man" Buddliner and scene of a waterfall. Fares: Boston to Montreal, $12.12 in coach, $15.83 for sleeping car, Pullman lower berth additional $5.50.  Boston-White Mountains via White River Jct. Connecticut River Valley.  New York-Springfield-Greenfield, change at Greenfield for Grand Central Terminal. Boston to Beverly and Gloucester. Ad: "More new 'Budds' are here! $9,000,000 worth of them on B and M lines!" 40 pp. 20 x 23 cm. (6655) $24.00. Travel/Railroads

Boston and Maine Railroad Time Tables, December 11, 1922 Boston, MA: Boston and Maine Railroad, North Station. Front  cover of Time Table shows picture of woman enjoying skiing or ice skating; back cover show drawing of deer with ad for a Fall vacation in the Maine Woods: "Pack your guns-- leave your cares and worries behind-- and get away for a week or two hunting--". Centerfold features map of Northeast from Schenectady and Montreal east to Rangeley, ME and Boston. Time tables between Boston and Maine, Boston to Portland via Portsmouth and via Dover; between Boston and Haverhill, MA; Lowell, Medford, Lawrence and Manchester, NH branch lines; Swampscott Branch; Gloucester Branch; Salem and Peabody; Conway and Wolfeboro Branches, more. 52 pp. 20 x 23 cm. Paper timetable, pages lightly browned, good. (7876) $20.00. Travel/Railways

Boston: Everywhere in Boston and How to Get there; Street Guide of every street in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Milton, Newton, Revere, Somerville and Watertown. ©1943. Boston, MA: I.E. Chase-Myrick. Little index of streets and street car lines. How to get to and from Scollay Square, and other places that no longer exist. Appendix listing for Boston Elevated Railway. 352 pp. 11.5 x 15.2  cm. Paper booklet very good. (6067) $16.00. Travel/Boston

Boston & Maine Railroad Tourist Map ca. 1890 Boston: Rand Avery Supply Co., Engr's 1 map         50 x 40 cm. Folded map, same as one contained in 1890 Boston & Maine Travel booklet. Tourist Map Boston & Maine Railroad, shows B& M routes and connecting lines from Boston north to New Brunswick, Dominion of Canada, west to Montreal and south to Catskills.   Paper foldout map,  8 cm. closed tear in bottom edge,  good.    (8115) $20.00.  Travel  

Boston & Maine Railroad Tourist Map ca. 1890 Boston: Rand Avery Supply Co., Engr's 1 map         50 x 40 cm. Folded map, same as one contained in 1890 Boston & Maine Travel booklet. Tourist Map Boston & Maine Railroad, shows B& M routes and connecting lines from Boston north to New Brunswick, Dominion of Canada, west to Montreal and south to Catskills.   Paper foldout map,  8 cm. closed tear along fold for southwestern corner panel, poor. (8116) $16.00. Travel      

Boston & Maine Railroad  Map and Connections, Boston and Worcester to Portland and North Conway           ca. 1890 Boston: Boston & Maine Railroad. 1 map 50 x 40 cm.        Folded topographical map, shows routes from Boston and Worcester to North Conway, NH and Canadian Border at Vanceboro.     Paper foldout map,  very good.   (8117) $28.00. Travel  


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