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MBTA: Double-Decker Coaches Here to Stay

The MBTA says that double-decker commuter rail coaches that are seen on some trains coming through Hamilton and Wenham are now permanently part of commuter trains.

The goblins and ghosts arrived in Salem for Halloween, and so did double-decker coaches on the MBTA commuter rail trains.

But unlike the ghosts and goblins, the double-deckers have stuck around and have become part of commuter trains running up and down the North Shore route all winter long.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said the bi-level coaches were added in late October to meet the increased demand for riders going to and from the Haunted Happenings event in Salem.

But after that success – T officials heard positive feedback from North Shore commuters - Davey said there was no reason to remove the coaches from the Newburyport and Rockport lines, which serve 17 stops between Boston to the south and Newburyport and Rockport to the north, including Hamilton-Wenham.

“We saw no reason to remove them from service,” Davey said in an interview.

There are no bridges or other height restrictions that block the double-decker cars from the tracks.

The addition of the cars doesn’t require any additional staff of the trains and don’t cost any more money, Davey said.

The double-decker cars had been used for years on trains heading in and out of South Station, which is home to the two busiest lines on the system – Providences and Worcester lines. The commuter rail system had never used double-decker trains on the North Shore until the past few months, Davey said, although he didn’t know the origin of the ban.

A total of 23 train sets run in and out of North Station every day and five of those trains have a double-decker cars on them.

While each single level car holds between 100 and 120 people in each car, a double-decker car holds 175 passengers, so a train set with a double-decker car can hold up to 75 more passengers.

The MBTA has ordered several new double-decker coaches that are expected to arrive din mid-2012 and many will be added to North Shore trains.

“What we’re doing today is probably a little bit of a teaser,” Davey said.

Bob Gray February 16, 2011 at 01:50 PM
I have ridden on these double decker cars. I can tell you that if it is not crowded they are fine but if it is crowded, forget it. There is less leg room and a tight fit(think sandwich) if the seats are all taken. Nicer views from the top floor.
Nicole February 16, 2011 at 02:27 PM
I traveled Beverly to Boston from 1991-1999....there were double decker cars for awhile, off and on, during that time. My commuting pals and I loved them. As I remember the thought was that they were experimenting and the So. Shore commuters lobbied harder for them so they got moved to those lines. Glad they are back!

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