• Final nail in the coffin for pccs on the Route 15?

  • Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.
Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

  by Gorindya
 
Is the current septa covid financial crisis the final nail in the coffin for pccs's to ever return to the tracks on Girard Ave?Or for that matter to Philadelphia? A recent article in Trains Magazine had an interesting interview with Leslie Richards about steering the agency through COVID. Septa is in the process of identifying $250 million worth of capital projects that will not be funded moving forward. I was surprised that there was no mention of anything specific about rail service because after all its trains magazine. Would it be possible to contract out regional rail and trolley operations to Keolis or Herzog, like other transit agencies do? Maybe that would keep the chances of the subway surface lines and route 15 from becoming permanently a bus?
  by JeffK
 
It’s extremely doubtful that the subway-surface lines could be busituted. The clearances are far too tight for safe operation of a non-tracked vehicle. Second, ventilation remains an issue absent a practical battery-driven bus. Even predatory NCL wasn’t able to figure out how to run buses in the tunnels.

That said, it’s imaginable that some future technology would allow electrically-powered, computer-controlled vehicles to navigate those tunnels ... ??

As far as the 15 is concerned, I fear that the PCCs may be a lost cause. My understanding is that many of them are having serious problems with rust and other forms of deterioration. Given SEPTA's longtime opposition to running any kind of historic equipment, even if modernized, my cynical take is that they’ll use the current situation as a reason/excuse to scrap them in favor of (maybe) the new artics, IF they are ever acquired. Again dreaming, maybe some manufacturer may decide to build brand-new PCC lookalikes, but I’m not holding any breaths.
  by CNJGeep
 
Not sure if you two are aware of this but the PCCs are currently being overhauled at Elmwood shop.

The trolleys aren't going anywhere.
  by JeffK
 
CNJGeep wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:19 pm Not sure if you two are aware of this but the PCCs are currently being overhauled at Elmwood shop.
Thank you! I admit I wasn’t aware, even though I’ve been trying to follow the story whenever possible. Good news from SEPTA for a change.
  by scratchyX1
 
JeffK wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:52 pm It’s extremely doubtful that the subway-surface lines could be busituted. The clearances are far too tight for safe operation of a non-tracked vehicle. Second, ventilation remains an issue absent a practical battery-driven bus. Even predatory NCL wasn’t able to figure out how to run buses in the tunnels.

That said, it’s imaginable that some future technology would allow electrically-powered, computer-controlled vehicles to navigate those tunnels ... ??

As far as the 15 is concerned, I fear that the PCCs may be a lost cause. My understanding is that many of them are having serious problems with rust and other forms of deterioration. Given SEPTA's longtime opposition to running any kind of historic equipment, even if modernized, my cynical take is that they’ll use the current situation as a reason/excuse to scrap them in favor of (maybe) the new artics, IF they are ever acquired. Again dreaming, maybe some manufacturer may decide to build brand-new PCC lookalikes, but I’m not holding any breaths.
Uh, Brookville builds modernized PCCs, and they are in Pennsylvania.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Brookville does build historic replicas and I'm sure they can build PCC replica shells.

The two Pacific Electric cars at Disneyland are Brookville.
  by JeffK
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:50 am Uh, Brookville builds modernized PCCs, and they are in Pennsylvania.
Uh, I referred to brand-new, from the wheels up replicas.

Yes, Brookville did the PCC II rebuilds for Route 15 but they’re still working with 1940s-vintage shells, etc. My thinking is that a fully-modern version built with current materials and techniques might stand up better to the stresses of revenue service and require less maintenance.

As R36 noted it really comes down to building replica shells, which are what riders see. Having fully-modern "guts" is what matters to maintainability and lifespan.
  by scratchyX1
 
JeffK wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:09 am
scratchyX1 wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:50 am Uh, Brookville builds modernized PCCs, and they are in Pennsylvania.
Uh, I referred to brand-new, from the wheels up replicas.

Yes, Brookville did the PCC II rebuilds for Route 15 but they’re still working with 1940s-vintage shells, etc. My thinking is that a fully-modern version built with current materials and techniques might stand up better to the stresses of revenue service and require less maintenance.

They do build LRVs from the ground up, I'm pretty sure they could build a ADA/hvac equipped reproduction.
As R36 noted it really comes down to building replica shells, which are what riders see. Having fully-modern "guts" is what matters to maintainability and lifespan.
  by Gorindya
 
My point was that SEPTA is in the process of identifying $250 million worth of capital projects that will not be funded moving forward, They do not have the funds to keep things status quo. First thing on the chopping block would be the Route 15 renewal of rail service. We are all to familiar with the man made excuse of infrastructure deterioration on their trolley lines. Running buses from city hall as surface routes rather than trolleys, (Not running buses in tunnels). The K cars at some point will no longer be able to run anymore and the cost to keep them running will be more than Septa can justify. It will be like the Norristown line was in the 80's, Not enough operable cars or replacement parts to keep the subway surface lines running. The same fate would be with the media and Sharon hill lines. Rather than shelling out big bucks for new rolling stock that needs to be custom built and designed for Pennsylvania broad gauge and also made to fit Philadelphia's Narrow subway tunnel clearances. Septa could just replace everything with off the shelf buses. If the covid Financial situation is as bad as they make it out to be, What will happen to the other projects like the double decker regional rail cars, and the new service extension plans? Is the King of Prussia extension dead now forever?
  by JeffK
 
I don’t know what the situation is for the Subway-Surface tunnels but SEPTA hit major legal roadblocks back in the 1980s when they floated the idea of bustituting the NHSL, 101, and 102. One of their people I talked to at the time said that SEPTA was legally obligated to continue rail operations or face clawbacks of much of the funding they’d gotten for maintenance and modernization - "down to the rails and ties" was how he put it. Of course that was a lot of years ago ...

As far as needing custom cars for the S-S lines, they’d only have to be bespoke vehicles if SEPTA chose to specify them as such*. Usually things like dimensions, turning radius, etc. would be tweaks to an existing basic design. Remember that every system's PCCs, including those in the tunnels, were adaptations of a standard layout. Similarly the two sets of K-cars are just variations on a theme: poles, single-ended, and one-sided boarding in the city but pans, double-ended, and both-side boarding for the Red Arrow routes. Ditto for broad gauge trucks versus standard gauge.
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* Exhibit A being the N-5s. SEPTA could have ordered a third version of the K-cars as an add-on. It would have given them lower unit costs along with significant commonality of parts and maintenance. Instead they decided to squeeze a few more years out of the Brills with disastrous results, and ended up doing a wheels-to-roof special build.