Major changes to stops IDs, names for Commuter Rail, Nubian on 2021-01-09

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Developer at MBTA

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Dec 7, 2020, 4:54:31 PM12/7/20
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Dear developers,

We would like to announce some significant changes to the data about the MBTA's Commuter Rail scheduled stops, as well as for the Nubian bus station. These changes will take effect on Saturday, January 9th, 2021 at approximately 10:00am.

Below are detailed the changes that will occur in the GTFS feed and v3 API beginning at that time, followed by resources you can use to test and/or prepare for those changes, if needed:

Commuter Rail stop ID changes

The scheduled and predicted child stop IDs for all Commuter Rail service will change to match a new format.

In the past two years, we have added parent stations to the Commuter Rail's data. Now we are introducing track-based stops for all Commuter Rail stations. Most stations will have a child stop for every serviceable track, as well as one additional child stop not tied to any track. Stations with only one serviceable track will have only one child stop, however the stop ID will still change.

The changes are best illustrated by example, here using Lynn Station, a typical, outlying two-track station. Lynn's parent stop ID is place-ER-0115.

Current behavior of Lynn rail child stops (prior to January 9th):

  • Lynn
    platform_name="Commuter Rail", platform_code=Null
    All trains are scheduled (in GTFS-static and v3 API) and predicted (in GTFS-realtime and v3 API) to serve this stop.

Upcoming behavior of Lynn rail child stops (beginning January 9th):

  • ER-0115
    platform_name="Commuter Rail", platform_code=Null
    All trains are scheduled and predicted to serve this stop.

  • ER-0115-01
    platform_name="Track 1 (Outbound)", platform_code="1"
    Trains will not be scheduled to serve this stop, although this is subject to change in the future. Trains may be predicted to serve this stop in the future in the same way that track-specific stops are currently used for predictions at North Station, South Station, and Back Bay.

  • ER-0115-02
    platform_name="Track 2 (Boston)", platform_code="2"
    Trains will not be scheduled to serve this stop, although this is subject to change in the future. Trains may be predicted to serve this stop in the future.

  • Lynn
    This stop ID will no longer be used, and will be removed from GTFS and the v3 API following the transition.

Please note that the new child stops are already available in the production versions of the GTFS and the API, though no trips will appear to be scheduled or predicted to them until January 9th.

While some backward compatibility with the old stop IDs will be included in the v3 API, we strongly recommend any applications currently hardcoding the old IDs to instead reference the parent stations' IDs, which will be stable over the long term.

A table showing the old child stop IDs and corresponding parent stations and soon-to-be-scheduled child stop IDs can be found here for reference or migration purposes (also attached to this post).


Commuter Rail stop/station names

We will also be changing the stop names and descriptions for several stations:

  • "Dedham Corp Center" will become "Dedham Corporate Center"

  • "Littleton/Rte 495" will become "Littleton/Route 495"

  • "Melrose Cedar Park" will become "Melrose/Cedar Park"

At these stations, any facilities will also have their names changed to match the station name. These changes will not affect any stop or facility IDs beyond the changes outlined in the previous section.


Nubian parent station ID change

Relating to our bus service, the parent station for Nubian Station will change its stop ID from place-dudly to place-nubn.

There will be no direct changes to any of the child stops at Nubian, meaning that the child stops at which buses are scheduled and predicted to serve will not change in any way.


Available testing resources

The above changes will not appear in the normal GTFS feed and the v3 API until January 9th. All changes to stops, schedules, and predictions are available today, however, in a special GTFS feed downloadable at https://cdn.mbta.com/MBTA_GTFS-CR-BETA.zip. The special feed will remain live until at least Wednesday, January 13th.

To demonstrate the changes you can expect to see in the v3 API, here is an example comparison of a Commuter Rail train's schedules: before stop ID conversion (current) and after conversion (from January 9th).

As always, please do reach out if you have any concerns or questions about these upcoming changes.


Sincerely,
developer@mbta

pre_sample_CR_API_schedule.json
MBTA Commuter Rail, CapeFLYER stop ID conversion table.csv
post_sample_CR_API_schedule.json

Developer at MBTA

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Jan 8, 2021, 5:19:05 PMJan 8
to MBTA Developers
This is a reminder that the above changes to assigned child stops for Commuter Rail, as well as the parent station for Nubian Square, will take effect in GTFS and the v3 API tomorrow (Saturday, January 9th) by 10:00am.

Please let us know if you have any questions before or after this transition. In addition, if you are a v3 API user, please also see the notice regarding a new version of the API dated 2020-01-09.

—Developer@MBTA

Developer at MBTA

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May 10, 2021, 5:28:49 PMMay 10
to MBTA Developers
Dear developers,

We would like to inform you that we will be removing from GTFS's stops.txt file the extant Commuter Rail stops that went newly-unused since January 2021. Using the example of Lynn Station earlier in this topic, this means the stop ID Lynn will no longer exist. These stop IDs generally consist of human-readable names; no changes will occur to the stop IDs at which any current or upcoming service is scheduled in stop_times.txt.

This change to our GTFS feed will occur on or after Thursday, May 20th, 2021.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this upcoming change.

Sincerely,
developer@mbta
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