By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

In West Medford, #MBTApocalypse hits a new low


A train arrives in West Medford — but not this morning.

One of the most frustrating aspects of #MBTApocalypse is that is that we mere mortals who rely on the commuter rail have no idea whether to blame Keolis, the T or some combination thereof.

For me, though, the entire experience hit rock bottom this morning in what I think was an unusually shameful (or maybe I should say shameless) episode. I walked to the West Medford train station to catch the 8:58 to North Station. There were a couple of dozen people waiting. The electronic sign that normally provides updates was out. And there was No Train.

The T app said it had broken down and was stuck in Wilmington. But there were no further updates. We had no way of knowing whether a train would be showing up any moment or if, instead, all trains were backed up behind it. I asked the flagman; despite being equipped with a walkie-talkie, he didn’t know. A half-hour later I walked back home and drove in to work. I still don’t know when or if the 8:58 ever arrived.

It’s been two weeks since the last major snowstorm, and Keolis and/or the T still can’t stick to the reduced schedule that will be in effect for another month. Meanwhile, the economy suffers and the roads are choked with drivers who’d rather be taking public transportation. There’s no longer any excuse that I want to listen to. Just fix it.

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  1. Larz Neilson

    Who to blame? Is there really any point in blaming someone? The system was kind of getting by until the Winter from Hell arrived. Has anyone ever developed a contingency plan for an extreme winter? Maybe there’s one in place for a big storm or two, but I doubt they have one for this situation. And I doubt that anyone in government has what it takes to prevent problems such as this. It’s never happened before, so why should we plan for it, much less spend money to deal with it? Now we know the system can’t run in a winter like this. What next? Will Congress and/or the state legislature appropriate money to transform the T into a storm-proof system that people can depend on? I suspect that most pols are too busy throwing mud at others to really tackle a problem such as this.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Larz: Good points. But we can’t fix it unless we know who’s responsible. Maybe that’s a better way to put it. Two weeks after the last big storm, the the subways and (above ground) trolleys are running.bwhy not the commuter rail?

  2. The 8:58 will pull into the station just in time for you to make the Opening Ceremony of the Boston Olympics.

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