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Rail, subway riders jammed in, but happy

Despite crowded subway cars and the need for extra runs on the commuter rail, transportation authorities reported no major delays as they ferried hundreds of thousands of Red Sox fans into Boston for the rolling rally.

It was a marked difference from the 2011 Bruins championship parade, when revelers overwhelmed commuter rail trains, and some fans were left stranded.

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“I’ll be honest, when the Bruins happened, we got killed on the commuter rail,” MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott said Saturday. “It’s no question that communication has been so much more effective this time.”

Scott said she believes riders took to heart warnings that if they did not arrive early at stations, they might not get a train.

Commuter rail spokesman Scott Farmelant said problems Saturday morning were minimal as 140,000 to 150,000 people were carried into the city.

Steve Jones, director of transportation and customer service for the commuter rail, said Wilmington was among the busiest stops. Hundreds of fans jammed the platform there, and many had to watch a train roll by without stopping. “What can you do? When you’re full, you’re full,” Jones said.

John Blanding/Globe Staff

It was standing room only aboard an MBTA commuter train from Rockport as Red Sox fans headed to Boston.

When it came to return trips, some commuters at Yawkey Station, close to the parade’s starting point, reported it had taken several hours before a train was available to take them home.

‘It’s no question that communication has been so much more effective this time.’

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Farmelant said those riders were left to cool their heels in part because trains were still out making extra runs at stations where stragglers waited for rides into the city.

For many, the morning began with the typical headaches of a rush-hour commute — crowded subway cars, some of them warm and stuffy because so many riders were packed inside.

Molly Herman, 25, arrived at Salem Station at 7:20 a.m. and waited as two trains passed without stopping because they were so crowded, she said. Finally, just after 8 a.m., she landed a seat. She closed her eyes and rested her head on a red-cushioned seat.

“I knew we’d get here, eventually,” Herman said upon arriving at North Station. “We go to all the Boston parades. For the Bruins, the Celtics. I would never drive.”

Karl Poirier, of Smithfield, R.I., took the Providence line with his two sons, both devoted David Ortiz fans.

“It was unbelievably packed,” Poirier said. “I’ve never seen a train full like that.”

One man on an early inbound train from Braintree, decked out in Red Sox gear and stuck in the middle of a pack of equally avid fans, turned glumly to his wife.

“I heard the ferry was more spacious,” he muttered.

But irritation at the early-morning crush morphed into high spirits as fans emerged downtown, whooping and chanting, “Let’s go, Red Sox!” and “The boys are back!”

At South Station, commuter rail employees wielding megaphones requested — or perhaps more accurately, pleaded — with disembarking passengers to purchase return tickets before setting off to the parade.

After the parade ended, Rachel Logan of Derry, N.H., and her two sons sat on the steps of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street, waiting for crowds to thin before venturing onto the subway.

So far, they said, they’d plotted their trip exactly right. It was an easy trip from Derry to Somerville, where they parked their car in Davis Square and took the Red Line.

The trip was totally worth it — 15-year-old Brendan had caught a baseball from Koji Uehara — but they knew there would be a small price to pay when they returned to their parking spot clearly marked “three-hour limit.”

“There’s no doubt about it,” Logan said, “there’s a ticket sitting on our car right now.”

Kathy McCabe of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Martine Powers can be reached at martine.powers@globe.com.
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