• Commuter Rail Electrification

  • Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.
Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by eolesen
 
I could see a case for converting some of these lower density lines away from locomotive hauled coaches to DMUs on a faster headway.

If that works and your "build it and they will come" approach works, then you consider changing to electrification.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
  by scratchyX1
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Oct 08, 2022 12:15 pm I could see a case for converting some of these lower density lines away from locomotive hauled coaches to DMU's on a faster headway.

If that works and your "build it and they will come" approach works, then you consider changing to electrification.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
You know, some Stadler MU have interchangeable power sources.
Start as diesel, then convert to electric once capacity need established.
  by mbrproductions
 
That's looking at it totally the wrong way. It doesn't serve the people using it today very well, and doesn't serve others at all.
It brings the people using it today to their offices in the morning and back home in the afternoon, I'm not sure what more you are expecting from a rail system. And yes, it does not serve others at all, that is just a reality that always exists in transit, no matter what type, how frequent or high quality it is, there are people who's needs it does not serve, and is not intended to serve.
That makes absolutely no sense. You're saying that Amtrak shouldn't charge the MBTA proportionally for the power that they use? Or that the MBTA running more trains and paying more thus makes them uneconomical?
What I was trying to say was that if the rate that Amtrak charges the MBTA to use their power causes the operating costs to be increased then it would not be a good move for the MBTA.
If the MBTA runs 90% of the trains (it's probably 60-70% not 90%) and pays 90% of the electric costs, it should still be significantly cheaper than fueling the diesel guzzlers.
Alright then, sounds great! But what is your source for it being significantly cheaper?
The one area on the MBTA that's going to stay traditional commuter rail are the Old Colony Lines, due to the one-track bottleneck and the lack of density.
If by "lack of density" you mean housing density then that is something that is predominant around the entire system, this is why Rapid Transit-like service doesn't make sense on Commuter Rail, most of the towns and cities that it serves do not have the density for it to be viable, and the people living in those towns will fight to the death to keep it that way. As a result, most stations are located outside the town centers and have pretty much nothing other than a colossal park and ride lot next to them.
  by CRail
 
I think it's being forgotten that the MBTA owns the line from the state line to Boston. It is Amtrak territory, not Amtrak property. It would not be advantageous for Amtrak to be unreasonable about sharing power infrastructure, especially since it will require a capital investment by the T to increase power capacity for its trains. It will no longer be Amtrak's power at that point.
  by ExCon90
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Oct 07, 2022 2:50 pm People taking joyrides in their cars on the weekends are probably not going downtown.
If they live in one suburb and work in another, an occasional Saturday or Sunday trip into Boston makes a refreshing change from a week of looking at other cars' rear bumpers on the way to and from work. I've seen entire families pouring off MBTA trains at BOS on a Saturday morning, and there are plenty of things to see and do.
  by eolesen
 
Sure. We did it with our kids maybe once or twice a year. It's not going to be every weekend. And those families won't care as much about the 2 hour headway. It's a cheap carnival ride you can plan around...

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by wicked
 
mbrproductions wrote: Sat Oct 08, 2022 9:35 am Providence/Stoughton Line Electrification only makes sense if it will cut down on costs of operation, so if Amtrak charges the MBTA an arm and a leg to use their electrification (which they probably would because the MBTA would be utilizing it more than Amtrak by virtue of running more trains, hence using up more power), then it would not be a good move for the MBTA to make.
No, it also makes sense if there is a demand for more service (which busy trains would suggest) than is possible with diesel.
  by Commuterrail1050
 
Don’t forget that if the revenue from the higher ridership covers the operating cost with some profit, then it’s worth it. Otherwise, forget it. Most lines down south doesn’t need electrification except the northeast corridor, future south coast rail running via stoughton line, Worcester, fairmount, Fitchburg, and Newburyport/rockport at least through Beverly. The other lines have too many twists and turns and not enough ridership to warrant the need for electrification. That’s just the way that I see it.
  by eolesen
 
Uh, pre-Covid, MBTA was collecting $0.43 for every $1 in operating costs. I'm sure that's dropped.

Ridership would need to increase 300% for it to become suddenly profitable.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by Red Wing
 
Commuterrail1050 wrote: Mon Oct 10, 2022 8:45 am The other lines have too many twists and turns and not enough ridership to warrant the need for electrification. That’s just the way that I see it.
I propose with the faster acceleration of electrics they would reduce travel time on curvier tracks.
  by HenryAlan
 
Commuterrail1050 wrote: Mon Oct 10, 2022 8:45 am Don’t forget that if the revenue from the higher ridership covers the operating cost with some profit, then it’s worth it. Otherwise, forget it. Most lines down south doesn’t need electrification except the northeast corridor, future south coast rail running via stoughton line, Worcester, fairmount, Fitchburg, and Newburyport/rockport at least through Beverly. The other lines have too many twists and turns and not enough ridership to warrant the need for electrification. That’s just the way that I see it.
It's worth considering that profit isn't the only reason to provide a government service. Arguably, government shouldn't be doing it at all if it is profitable, because private enterprise would already address the activity. And for many government services, nobody asks for profit (roads, policing, libraries, schools, etc.). Why hold rail transit to a different standard?
  by diburning
 
Public transportation will never turn a quantifiable "profit" but it does have a net benefit; a thriving economy. Think of how the economy of Boston would come to a grinding halt if the MBTA suddenly stopped operating tomorrow. Most of the commuters wouldn't be able to get to work. Businesses that rely on foot traffic would close. Businesses that rely on catering to commuters would close. Tax revenue would decrease sharply.

Just because you can't "count" the benefit that public transportation brings to the economy, doesn't mean it's not "turning a profit"
  by octr202
 
Even as it is now, there's also considerable economic costs to allowing our congestion to continue. The hours of time lost in traffic (either by individual commuters or people and goods "at work" on the road) is a growing tax on our local economy.
  by MattW
 
If you want to look at "profit" and make comparisons to "business" then you're looking at the wrong business. The commuter rail shouldn't be taken to be the business, but the entire state or region should be. If you look at it that way, then the commuter rail becomes one department that helps the business function, like a company's HR, or mail room, or legal, or IT, or any other department that doesn't generate profit, maybe doesn't even generate revenue (unlike transit), but which the company couldn't function without.
  by ElectricTraction
 
mbrproductions wrote: Sat Oct 08, 2022 2:21 pmIt brings the people using it today to their offices in the morning and back home in the afternoon, I'm not sure what more you are expecting from a rail system. And yes, it does not serve others at all, that is just a reality that always exists in transit, no matter what type, how frequent or high quality it is, there are people who's needs it does not serve, and is not intended to serve.
Most of the MBTA rail system, except for the Old Colony lines can and should be true regional rail, not just commuter service like it's 1985. It could serve a lot more people's needs with frequent and fast electrified service.
What I was trying to say was that if the rate that Amtrak charges the MBTA to use their power causes the operating costs to be increased then it would not be a good move for the MBTA.
That's not at all what you said, BUT if Amtrak is jacking up the price of electricity by a factor of several times, then that problem needs to be dealt with, not just give up and go "meh, we can't be bothered, keep guzzling diesel fuel".
Alright then, sounds great! But what is your source for it being significantly cheaper?
Have you looked at the price of diesel lately? It's not $0.89 anymore. Accounting for the efficiency of diesel engines, diesel costs several times more than electricity on a per unit basis. I don't know what the per kwh cost of electricity is in bulk, and how that compares to retail pricing after the infrastructure is accounted for, but it's certainly a fraction of what diesel costs.
If by "lack of density" you mean housing density then that is something that is predominant around the entire system, this is why Rapid Transit-like service doesn't make sense on Commuter Rail, most of the towns and cities that it serves do not have the density for it to be viable, and the people living in those towns will fight to the death to keep it that way. As a result, most stations are located outside the town centers and have pretty much nothing other than a colossal park and ride lot next to them.
Providence-Stoughton and Worcester have a lot of density. And yes, NIMBYs need to be dealt with everywhere for everything. We need laws to upzone everything within half a mile of a station for TOD.
MattW wrote: Tue Oct 18, 2022 12:14 amIf you want to look at "profit" and make comparisons to "business" then you're looking at the wrong business. The commuter rail shouldn't be taken to be the business, but the entire state or region should be.
That's a great way of thinking of it and framing it in a way that maximized the public benefit of public money spent, even though a direct profit isn't the end goal.
  • 1
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28