CRail wrote: ↑Sat Oct 26, 2019 12:42 am You can type it over and over again and it won't make it true. They've lasted fine with moderate signs of wear for 30+ years of service with no overhaul/rebuild. The money spent on restoring them for future service is modest at worst, especially compared to the outrageous cost of procuring new equipment. It's definitely fair to say they haven't aged as well as the Pullman/Bomb cars (also doing a pretty good job holding up with no rebuild 200s excepted), but overall there's absolutely nothing wrong with them.I think perhaps there's a fundamental misunderstanding here. First, there is indeed a "use by" date. It's not stamped on the car itself, but in the procurement docs and industry standards, there is a target design life for a passenger train car. Otherwise the carbuilder would have no idea how to design the car, and also open the company up to serious liability at some point.
Second, the "outrageous" cost of new equipment isn't so outrageous. It buys brand new railcars with a warranty, a design life of about 25-30 years, a guaranteed stream of replacement parts, and more efficient and environmentally friendly hvac, lighting, and toilets. Compare that with older cars that might have parts that are no longer made. The older cars also have significant metal fatique and rust. Sometimes obsolete parts can be made, sometimes rust can be patched, sometimes frames can be beefed up. This comes at a significant cost in regular maintenance dollars and equipment redundancy to keep the schedule filled while cars sit in the shop having a machinist custom-make things like door mechanisms or hvac components.
At some point, MBTA has a staff of accountants who do a study. They look at the new cost for a railcar, and they look at the total operating cost for a railcar. They compare the present value of both. This means acquisition, maintenance, inspection, fleet size, insurance cost, etc. Sometimes what seems like a bargain to repair old cars actually costs more, much more.
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