After Patriots parade, commuter rail bracing for thousands of passengers; extra trains added
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have a deep roster, and so apparently does the commuter rail.
Transit officials were running extra commuter trains out of Boston Tuesday afternoon to accommodate the throngs of Pats fans who had flocked to the city in the morning for the team’s victory parade.
After widespread delays in the morning, the commuter rail beefed up its fleet as the parade came to an end around 12:45 p.m., and as legions of fans — many wearing Pats gear and enveloped in the post-parade buzz — got ready to cram into train cars for the ride home.
“Historic numbers of Patriots fans joined regular riders across the entire MBTA system as the City of Boston celebrated another Patriots’ championship,” the T said in a statement. “As a result of the very heavy passenger volumes, all MBTA passengers should expect crowds, be prepared for longer commutes, and exercise caution at all stations. Please visit mbta.com/patriots for full information on service, service adjustments, and purchasing fares.”
Hundreds of fans waited at North and South stations in the afternoon to catch trains back to the suburbs.
At South Station, fans sprinted on the platform toward approaching trains and sometimes were denied entry for lack of space, in a repeat of the morning rush into the city. An employee for Keolis, the company that runs the rail, could be heard telling crowds to “relax.”
“You’re going to get home,” the worker said, his voice amplified with a megaphone. “I swear to God.”
Halle Ross missed one afternoon train at South Station and lamented that she’d have to take the 4:30 p.m. ride out of the Hub.
She and her friends had similar issues the morning, Ross said, but the hassle was worth it.
“To see Tom Brady? Absolutely,” she said.
Alex Mellen, a Bridgewater State University student, was waiting for a 2:10 p.m. train at South Station. He said the 8:17 a.m. commuter train into the city was too crowded for him and his friends to board, so they had to wait an hour for the next one, which was “absolutely packed.”
“I hope I can hop on this one” to leave the city, he said.
Lauren Turner, 16, a student at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, said she skipped school Tuesday and even left her hockey team to travel to Boston for the parade. Turner and her friends were waiting at South Station to board a 4:40 p.m. train, which they hoped would be less crowded.
“I don’t do well with crowds,” Turner said.
The T said it would be running “additional Commuter Rail trains and seating capacity this afternoon between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to accommodate an increase in passengers. The MBTA is encouraging customers to take advantage of the earlier service.”
Riders, the T said, “can expect to queue by train at North, South, and Back Bay Stations” and “should be aware that trains may hold past their scheduled departure times until they reach capacity. Ridership will be carefully monitored for additional standby trains to be deployed to stations and lines as needed to accommodate all passengers.”
The T added that additional staff “will be available throughout the day to assist in managing lines, fare collection, and boarding. Information will be available at North, South, and Back Bay Stations offering additional details.”
Marissa Lawrence and Marissa Ciotti, both nurses at Mass. General, said at South Station that they normally catch a ride home around 5 p.m. but clocked out early Tuesday in an effort to catch an earlier train.
“It’s not looking good,” Lawrence said.
Ciotti took the larger-than-normal crowds in stride.
“It’s one day a year, we know it’s going to happen,” Ciotti said. “[We have to] suck it up and deal with it I guess.”
At North Station, parade attendee Liz Ryan of Beverly was waiting to catch a train home with her boyfriend, his two children, and her son.
She said at 2 p.m. that they had “waited outside over an hour and now they’re saying there won’t be another train until 3:30.”
Ryan was exhausted, but the children in her party breathlessly reported that they were “10 feet from Tom Brady” during the parade.
Another fan, Endicott College student Lindsay Campbell, stood with a group of classmates at North Station after a full day of cheering at the rolling rally. She said they were stuck outside for almost an hour before finally entering the station to wait for their 3:15 p.m. Newburyport train.
And while six Super Bowl championships, a 40-something quarterback playing like a young star, and a team that continues to beat the odds in the postseason were all things to celebrate Tuesday, Campbell’s friend, Brian Harder, thought one thing was missing as they waited inside the station.
“There [is] no free beer here,” Harder said.
But there were countless riders who felt like champions.
Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.