MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

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MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:28 am

Railway Age

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MARTA issues RFI for new metro train fleet

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has issued requests for information by Aug. 30 for a fleet of new trains and for the life-extension of two-thirds of its existing fleet.

MARTA requires 250 metro cars to be operated as six-car trains. The authority plans to issue a request for proposals in December with a deadline for responses of April 2017, and intends to award the contract in November 2017. Delivery of the fleet will begin in 2020 and run through to 2026.

MARTA’s existing trains are formed of three married pairs and its workshops are designed for two-car sets with little capability to turn trains round. Nevertheless, MARTA is willing to consider having trains formed of two triple sets with wide open gangways between cars. However, the Green Line to Bankhead can only accept two-car trains due to the short platforms at Bankhead.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby litz » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:27 pm

While there are a few different make/models of railcars in the fleet, MARTA's "look and feel" on the inside hasn't appreciably changed since the system was built.

The only change, really, I can think of, is the removal of some seats to create more standing room during the 1996 Olympics. Concurrent with that change, they removed carpeting, and padded seats (to cut down on vandalism).

It'll be nice to see how much the new rolling stock (esp. if they go with the style cars where it's a contiguous interior between cars) freshens up the system.

(Now if we can just get the northern suburbs off their collective rear-ends to approve some expansion)
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:05 am

Of the 1970s era systems, WMATA, BART and MARTA are all replacing or planning to replace their original fleet by now.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:00 pm

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/atlant ... -streetcar

Huh? I can't see how this would work; they're not the MBTA.

Atlanta’s Next Fleet of Trains Could Double as Streetcars

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is considering swapping out its entire fleet of train cars for versatile vehicles that could also operate as streetcars on city streets.

With Atlanta’s train cars now over 30 years old, Marta has put out two requests for information: one for new cars, and one for extending the life of the old ones until new ones are procured. According to the Saporta Report, the agency is considering out-of-the-box cars that can be powered by either a third rail or from an overhead wire.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby litz » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:36 pm

I don't think there's a chance you'll ever see (much less it even be permitted by regulatory authorities) heavy rail operating as a streetcar.

Atlanta already HAS a streetcar, and it's design and technology are not likely to change ... although it has been stated that perhaps mixing the existing streetcar with Atlanta's notorious traffic wasn't the best of ideas ... and that perhaps future streetcar expansion might be in protected lanes in the street (or perhaps in the median).

What is clear, though, is that MARTA wants to future-proof its replacement fleet to allow for possible catenary operation on future extensions of the existing rail lines.

I can't see any possibility, though, that it would be permitted for these future expansions to be on anything other than protected right-of-way.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:47 pm

Maybe they're also thinking about replacing the current third rail with overhead. It's a newer enough operation I'm sure the clearances are sufficient for the underground portions. I would think rather than "street" compatibility, they may be looking for commuter compatibility. As you say, if they extend, it may be over freight ROW. Using MARTA would obviate the need for shared ROW closer in to the city.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby MattW » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:36 pm

Gah! It's spreading! The nonsense about operating as a streetcar, heavy rail, and on the national network started with a Saporta Report article that...just utterly mangled all the facts. It next went to Curbed. A few of us from elsewhere contacted those sites almost immediately, but it seems the damage has been done :(

But as to the facts, no, even if the catenary was low voltage DC for some reason* there is nowhere near enough clearance to convert the existing system to overhead operation. At minimum, the north south line through Five Points would have to be substantially lowered, followed by the east west line. There is no space to go up in most locations.

*For a protected-RoW system like MARTA, there's no real reason to introduce the complexity of overhead catenary when you're just sticking with low voltage DC. In fact the smaller diameter wires means less current capacity, more resistive losses, and the complexity of dealing with downed wires, and tree limbs and other stuff. If MARTA were to go with overhead, my guess is they are looking at high voltage AC for more power, less losses, and more importantly, less substations. On all of the proposed extensions, they could technically use just one substation for each, though I would guess they would go with two for reliability. The power changeover could be like Metro North and done in motion, or more likely, done at a station. North Springs station shouldn't be too hard to rebuild for catenary since all it has overhead is a relatively low-key canopy, and Indian Creek is planned to be rebuilt anyways for I-20 East.
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:12 pm

MattW wrote:Gah! It's spreading! The nonsense about operating as a streetcar, heavy rail, and on the national network started with a Saporta Report article that...just utterly mangled all the facts.


Or maybe someone thought that for a nanosecond, some US transit agency was forward looking enough to duplicate the Karlsruhe Stadtbahn. Actually, IIRC, SEPTA proposed it back in the late 90's, but it got shot down (and even more stupidly, opposed by the local 'advocacy' group, who really just has a singular focus on getting service restored to Reading, which is an urban * anyway...)
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby bdawe » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:50 pm

I'll buy the notion that high-floor heavy rail vehicles would make poor streetcars, which benefit from low floors much more than other rail modes, but what's so wrong with main line operations? Provided you can get it past regulators, it's not really different from what's done in other parts of the world, and allows the sort of low-cost extensions that have been unavailable to US commuter-subway type operations
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Re: MARTA Looking for a New Fleet

Postby Ryand-Smith » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:56 am

MattW wrote:Gah! It's spreading! The nonsense about operating as a streetcar, heavy rail, and on the national network started with a Saporta Report article that...just utterly mangled all the facts. It next went to Curbed. A few of us from elsewhere contacted those sites almost immediately, but it seems the damage has been done :(

But as to the facts, no, even if the catenary was low voltage DC for some reason* there is nowhere near enough clearance to convert the existing system to overhead operation. At minimum, the north south line through Five Points would have to be substantially lowered, followed by the east west line. There is no space to go up in most locations.

*For a protected-RoW system like MARTA, there's no real reason to introduce the complexity of overhead catenary when you're just sticking with low voltage DC. In fact the smaller diameter wires means less current capacity, more resistive losses, and the complexity of dealing with downed wires, and tree limbs and other stuff. If MARTA were to go with overhead, my guess is they are looking at high voltage AC for more power, less losses, and more importantly, less substations. On all of the proposed extensions, they could technically use just one substation for each, though I would guess they would go with two for reliability. The power changeover could be like Metro North and done in motion, or more likely, done at a station. North Springs station shouldn't be too hard to rebuild for catenary since all it has overhead is a relatively low-key canopy, and Indian Creek is planned to be rebuilt anyways for I-20 East.


Boston has had a wire subway, they could go for a Baltimore style Green Line, OR a Cleveland style Light and Heavy rail line.
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