The second rush-hour train of the afternoon on the Middleborough branch of the Old Colony Railroad left Boston's South Station at 4:45 one day last week and pulled into the downtown Brockton station at 5:24, right on schedule.
The new Old Colony Railroad is proving to be a hit with commuters. After less than two months of full operation, ridership on both the Kingston and Middleborough branches has exceeded the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's projections for the year 2000.
The Kingston line is carrying about 6,100 passengers each weekday, while the Middleborough line's weekday average is 5,200. Before the railroad reopened last fall, state transportation officials had projected ridership to climb gradually to 5,000 on each line over two years.