Framingham Blog Posts
Heat-induced Speed Restrictions
Yesterday the MBTA posted that the trains would be slow:
Commuter rail trains on the Framingham-Worcester line have been ordered to slow down a bit because of the hot weather, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Company announced.
Heat-induced speed restrictions are expected to cause delays of 10 to 15 minutes between 1 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, MBCR officials said in an text advisory to customers.
This slowness caused my commute time from Back Bay to Framingham to be 80 minutes long. Normally it takes only 45 minutes, via express train, to travel the same distance. If you look at the Service Alert graphic you'll see that Framingham/Worcester line is the only one that has any Heat-induced speed restrictions.
No comment from the MBTA on why the Heat-induced speed restrictions only applies to the Worcester/Framingham line.
Xfinity Wifi hotspot
Thanks to Xfinity Wifi Hotspots, there is Wifi available at the Commuter Rail Platform in Framingham and Natick. If you have Comcast as your home internet provider, you can tap into the open Wifi networks that is available near these stations. The signal strength is very strong when standing on the platform.
You should use the WiFi access instead of the cellular access so that you don't have to use any of your minutes while waiting for a train. When you set this up on the phone, it will automatically connect to the Xfinity Wifi hotspot when you arrive at the station. You only need to set this up once to get connected.
Easy instructions to connect to the WiFi via iPhone:
- Go to Settings
- Click on Wi-Fi
- Select the XFINITY WiFi Network (the SSID is xfinitywifi)
- Click the 'Home' button.
- Launch a Browser
- Simply log in using your Comcast ID and password
- Start browsing the web.
Comcast is currently advertising that there are hundreds of hotspots around in New England. There are hotspots on Cape Cod and the Islands, in all over a million hotspots in the United States. All of these hotspots are free to use for any Comcast subscriber.
For additional information about Xfinity WiFi hotspots, download the XFINITY WiFi app.
Basement Flooding Monitoring
If you have a house in the Framingham area that is under light threat for any basement flooding you should know about the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service of the Sudbury river at Saxonville. This is a really good website that you can use to benchmark the current water table. Note: I say "light threat" because if you have a basement that frequently floods you should have a stump pump that is adequate enough to pump water faster than what comes in.
I use the "National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service" site to determine if I should be worried about any upcoming flooding threat. While the Sudbury River in Saxonville is miles away from the house, it has been a good indicator of what the water table is in the area. That is if there is threat of moderate threat of flooding, I should be concern about my basement.
We currently don't have an automatic stump pump at our house, since we don't flood out as much as some of our neighbors. By watching the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service" site, I can make an early determination of when to manually run our pump. (Or when I should be concern about local flooding.)
MBTA 2014 Schedule
This morning launched the new MBTA schedule on the Framingham/Worcester line. The new schedule lineup with a little off since most of the inbound commuter lines had delays.
If you take the commuter rail out of Framingham or Back Bay, you should check out the updated timeline chart that I created:
- Framingham Peak Schedule - A look how the changes effect Framingham
- Back Bay Peak Schedule - How will look going home from Back Bay?
- South Station Peak Schedule - How will going home change from South Station?
The charts have been a big hit on Twitter and Google+. Next month I'll update the timeline so that you get a full days view in one handy chart.
Thanks for everyone for providing some feedback on the graphic!
Avoid Slipping at the Framingham MBTA Station
If you happen to park at the Framingham MBTA station, you'll notice that it's bit of a challenge walking to your car on the outbound track. This is because the Old Station Steakhouse on Waverly Street is between ownerships and they don't take care of walk way near the tracks. As a results ice builds up and it gets very slippery walking behind the Old Station Steakhouse.
The simple solution is to take the inbound track. The MBTA manages that walkway all the way to the start of the parking lot. Simply take the pedestrian walkover bridge to the other side of the tracks. (The MBTA puts lots of salt on the stairs so they are very rarely slippery.) They also do a great job of clearing a large path during a snow storm.
In the past week, I noticed that many people are now taking this route. I am guessing that they feel fustrated having to carefully walk on the ice just to get to their cars.
If you want to avoid slipping and falling, use the inbound track. The inbound track is opposite side of the Old Station Steakhouse and is the track closest to the Franklin Stree parking lot.
MBTA Schedule Change Delayed
Update on the MBTA schedule changes:
Upcoming Schedule (Jan 2014) Status: Due to ongoing work at the new Yawkey Station, the enhanced schedule will not be implemented in January 2014. The new schedule cannot go into effect until the station platforms can fully accommodate both inbound and outbound trains simultaneously. In addition, the MBTA is taking under consideration some schedule changes suggested by customers and local officials. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delayed implementation of the new schedule. The MBTA looks forward to bringing improved service to the customers of the Framingham/Worcester Line as soon as possible.
MBTA Schedule Change Chart
I created a handy chart to visual see the changes to the MBTA schedule for Framingham riders. If you take the commuter rail during peak hours, check out the chart to see the new train times
The chart shows the departure times trains leave the Framingham MBTA station. The left side of the chart shows the timeline of the current MBTA schedule, and the right side show the changes. I included the train number since the MBTA uses the train number to indicate any problems with the train. Be advise, that some of the train numbers have changed in the updated 2014 schedule. Be informed and know what train number you take in the new schedule!
Tomorrow, I'll have a similar chart to show the new departure times for trains leaving the Bay Bay station.
In February, I'll updated the chart and remove the 2013 trains, making it slightly easy to read and hand to keep at home. If you're a graphic artist and have some ideas on how I can make the chart better, I am open to ideas! Also if you know a better way to explain how to read the chart I am open to better instructions.
MBTA Train Time changes
The MBTA will be changing the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail schedule by January 27th, originally this was supposed to happen on January 13th.
Download the schedule that they temporarily released.
This is the biggest change to the train schedule since April 29th, when the MBTA added two express trains. The express trains made only two stops to and from Boston - Worcester and Framingham. It appears that the new schedule also reflects the completion of the Yawkey station which caused track 5 to be closed since April 2012.
According to a sneak peak at the new schedule, it looks like the MBTA has removed the express trains they added back in April from the schedule.
Note: Regular commuter shouldn't be too surprise at this change, since the beginning of 2014 the MBTA has had problems with P583 (The outbound express train from Boston) and has sent text alerts canceling the train due to "shortage of equipment."
Other notable changes:
- There is a new outbound express train (P583) that replaces the Framingham/Worcester express and now stops at Yawkey and then Ashland, Southborough, Westborough, Grafton then Worcester. (This is the only peak hour train to skip Framingham.)
- As noted above, there is no longer a 7am express train from Framingham to Back Bay/South Station.
- My regular train, P512 now leaves Framingham 4 minutes later. (This is what it was prior to the adjustment made for the construction of the Yawkey station.)
- All morning trains from Framingham have new arrival times. Make sure to check the schedule when it comes out.
Disclaimer: The MBTA has removed the new schedule from website, so additional changes may still be made. They have also made announcements on the PA system at the Back Bay station that the new schedule won't take affect until the 27th.
2013 IRS Commuter Benefits
There is still no indication if Congress will taken any action on the Commuter Parity Act of 2013. In particular, if Congress has any plans to deal with IRS commuter benefits which is to reduce the cost of commuting via public transportation before the end of 2013.
Many local News reporter are reporting that this isn't going to happen - "Congress Fails To Renew Commuter Tax Credit, Slicing Some Benefits In Half Jan. 1." reported WJZ and The Baltimore Sun reports that "Maryland bus and MARC train riders could pay more for commutes after Congress failed to renew expiring tax credit." and "Maryland commuters could pay more come January after Congress let a tax credit expire."
The bill that Obama signed this afternoon had no mention of the IRS Commuter benefits.
Use these links to search for information on Twitter:
It's still not too late to contact your Senator and Representative to take action and extend the 2013 IRS Commuter Benefits for those that take public transportation.
Free Sand/Salt mix in Framingham
Residence of Framingham should take advantage of the free sand salt mixer available at the Recycling Drop-Off Center at 255 Mt. Wayte Avenue. You can find the sand pile next to the metal pile, just behind the recycle boxes area. (Ask at the guard shack when you arrive.) There is a shovel there to help put the sand in your container.
Use any size container and shovel in the sand salt mixer and keep it near your driveway or walkway. I recommend getting an empty paint bin and cover at Monnick Supply Company which is located at 759 Waverly Street near downtown Framingham. I believe it cost about $8 for the paint bin and cover. (This is cheaper than buying a bin that has salt in it.)
The only problem with the Monnick Supply paint bin is that it's pure white, which makes it a little challenging to find after a snow storm. However, it will be easy to identify the bin use in the off season. We keep a solo cup in the bin and scoop out the mixture when we need it. You may need a plastic shovel or screwdriver to break up the sand as the weather gets colder.
The mixture has come in handy several times so far this short winter season.