The Massachusetts Department of Transportation yesterday announced that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. (MBCR) have completed the final steps to acquire CSX Corp.'s line between Worcester and Framingham, opening up the line to increased commuter-rail service.
Dispatching is among the final elements of the agreement between CSX and the commonwealth of Massachusetts, which assumed ownership of the railroad right of way last year.
"By taking over the dispatching duties this week, the state can now give absolute priority to passenger service along the line," said MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey in a press release.
MBCR assumes direct dispatching control of all train and maintenance activities on the 45-mile line. Dispatchers at South Station can assign priority to commuter-rail trains over freight trains, when necessary.
In addition, dispatchers can assign extra trains or engines without going through a cumbersome, time-consuming paperwork process, and communicate directly with train crews. MBCR dispatchers previously had to relay questions or directions through CSX dispatchers in Selkirk, N.Y.
"Controlling operations and maintenance along the line is a critically important part of our concerted effort to not only improve reliability, but also increase service between the state's two largest cities," said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.
MBTA remains on schedule to increase the number of roundtrips between Worcester and Boston to 20 this year, fulfilling a commitment made earlier by the governor's office. In addition, a new and fully accessible Yawkey Station is slated for completion in fall.
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