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Thursday, September 1, 2016

16-09-01 PHOTOS: Braintree

On my most recent trip to visit Boston, which took place over this past Labour Day Weekend, I found myself with an additional 45 minutes to kill on top of the usual 90-120 minute layover between the Regional arrival at Boston South Station and the Downeaster Departure from Boston North Station. This was because Amtrak's Great Dome was running on the Doneaster and because there is only one of them it was scheduled on the later 5:45 departing train instead of my usual connection of the 5pm departing train. Anyway I decided to use this bonus layover time to rectify a long running problem I had with the MBTA rapid transit network, mainly that I had never been to Braintree on the Red Line.

Now this wasn't because I had never ridden the Braintree Branch of the Red Line, because I had, but only as far as Quincy Adams. Back when I was in Boston more frequently, Wikipedia and smart phones had yet to exist and nobody I was with could tell me if trains arriving at Braintree dumped riders outside with no way to return for free. This was especially important information because the Braintree extension exit fare system was still in effect so getting dumped out a la Wonderland would result in not one but THREE additional fares to get back. This resulted in my choosing to exist at Quincy Adams on my one and only previous excursion down the line.

Visiting Braintree was also doubly important due to the impending replacement of the Classic Red Line rolling stock in favor of Chinese junk. You can find photos from the entire trip here.

The trip began in Baltimore with MARC HHP-8 #4911 still hanging on to life as it arrives with an early morning local train.

My Regional Train 172 was running to schedule and we met a southbound counterpart at Wilmington with ACS-86 #922.

Temporary signals at HAROLD interlocking as it is rebuilt for ESA.

PRR Position light signal bridge at HAROLD.

Additional signs of "progress". 

Providence and Worcester GP38 #2010 hangs out with Amtrak P42DCs #100 and #104 and GP38H-3 #522 at the New Haven motor storage yard.

Metroliner Cab Car #9640 was attached to a Springfield Shuttle trainset.

Amtrak P42DC #108 was shuffling around before or after a power change.

At Boston South Station I caught an Acela Express trainset with sequential power cars, #2012 and #2013.

To escape the heat underground, I hopped an Ashmont train to JFK-UMASS where I caught an outbound MBTA train on the Old Colony with F40PH-2C #1065.

MBTA #01838 on an Alewife run at JFK-UMASS. The 1800 series cars were built by Bombardier ~1994 and replaced the older 1400 series . They are fully modern and have AC traction.

Inbound Ashmont train with #01650 leading. The aluminum bodied 1600 series were built by Pullman Standard in 1970 as an order extension to the 1500 series. 

End of revenue track at Braintree. The Red Line was extended from Quincy Center to Braintree in 1980 and the two additional stations were given the special exit fare to compensate for the commuter rail level distances involved. The whole Quincy Extension was built in part as a replacement for the New Haven run Old Colony Railroad commuter services, which were suspended ~1960 with the construction of the Southeast Freeway. In 1997 the commuter services were restored and you can see the modern style bracket mast signal installed as part of the rebuild. 

A double wide island platform and 20 years separate 01510 and 01728 at Braintree. The 1700 series cars were built to the same general design as the earlier cars by what would soon become Bombardier in 1988. 01728 has the starting light for departure.

Cab display unit in #01728 showing the cab signal speeds.

01510 getting the "green" light to depart Braintree.

#01514 was tail end charlie on the #01510 train and can be seen crossing over north of the Braintree platform.

#01831 soon pulled in to fill the empty platform berth.

We finish up with a train of classic style cars at Braintree. The 1500, 1600 and 1700 series cars are compatible with eachother, but not the 1800 series. 

Next week we will continue on to New Hampshire via Amtrak Great Dome car.

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