• "Rubber Tired Vehicles" discussion on RAILROAD.net!

  • 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: sery2831, CRail

  by CRail
When I first joined Railroad.net back in 2004, the MBTA Forum was unique in the sense that people could discuss buses and trackless trolleys freely and without restriction. The moderator at the time, who is no longer active on this site, actually encouraged it. A few eventually complained, and the site's administration enforced a strict ban on any discussion regarding vehicles which did not utilize steel wheels on steel rails. They even changed the name of this forum to "MBTA Rail Operations" to reflect this (you'll notice it is no longer called that, and hasn't been for a while now). This triggered a bit of backlash and the start of a brand new forum elsewhere which was started by the then moderator of this one. Among those who fought (and lost) to preserve the ability to discuss those verboten vehicles was me. Those in charge at the time sold the site, and at the request of our co-moderator here, the succeeding administration selected me (pro bus talk) to moderate this forum.

While this remains to be railroad.net, and our core focus is on railroad operations, there will be no repercussions for the mention of non-railborne vehicle service pertaining to the MBTA and its functions, so long as it does not detract from our core focus. It is my opinion that saying things like "those vehicles which may not be mentioned" does detract from our discussions and it is unnecessary as there is no such restriction. The administration of railroad.net and its team of moderators also takes a grim view of "backseat moderating," so I ask that if there is any issue taken with a post on here, please submit a report or PM me or and admin to correct the problem, rather than raising an issue within a thread.

Questions, comments, and discussion are welcome here!
  by John_Perkowski

It’s your forum. As long as Jeff or I do not have to intervene as admins, it’s your show. 🙂
  by nomis
Though I'm not anti-bus or bus-de-toot everything, I care more about a particular mode of transportation when it has an infrastructure costing to it (not including maintenance infastructure, which everything would need anyway). I've held an opinion that modes using a fixed guide way such as dedicated tunnels, rails, catenary, and sometimes BRT (especially if it has a historical aspect to the operation like the SL-3 on railroad ROW to Chelsea).

This is also close to an FTA capital project definition which we follow those projects across multiple forums on this site. 49 CFR § 633.5 - Definitions
Fixed guideway means any public transportation facility: Using and occupying a separate right-of-way for the exclusive use of public transportation; using rail; using a fixed catenary system; for a passenger ferry system; or for a bus rapid transit system.
Personally, this may have to do with growing up in Philadelphia and the abundance of Trackless Trolleys in neighborhoods. Your mileage may vary.
CR and Everyone:

Good explanation on the distinction about discussions that concern "rubber-tired vehicles" in this (and for that
matter other Railroad.net forums) matter here.

There are good examples elsewhere - one I can think of is the LIRR's "Road-N-Rail" bus service to eastern Long
Island that ran until the first half of the 1980s operated under outside contract directly for the LIRR.

Something I have noticed in my 16 years of membership here at Railroad.net is that original posters questions
can be answered by searching information in the archives of any one given forum in many cases.

One of the best features of this website is having 17 years (from 2004) of data from all forums archived.
All members can access this resource at any time - use it to your advantage...MACTRAXX
  by eolesen
Not sure I understand the apprehension towards discussing busses... At the end of the day it's transit, be it municipal light rail, busses, subways or heavy rail. Even Greyhound, BoltBus, Megabus, etc. play a role in a national transit network....

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by CRail
I never understood it either. The stigma is that we're all still anti-bus despite the fact that those who were are gone and some of those left (me) argued to keep it back when it was banned.
  by Pensyfan19
I'm assuming this was because of my question on the trackless trolley tracker thread. I wasn't aware of the topic until a few days ago and was generally curious. Thank you for explaining the reasoning behind this discussion.
  by eolesen
I'll just point to the Illinois Railway Museum. In addition to their collection of freight, passenger, subway and streetcars, they also have a garage filled with both electric and combustion transit busses. I think there might even be a horse drawn rail carriage...

If it's in scope for their mission, I'd say fair game over here...

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  by CRail
Eolesen, I couldn't agree more!
Pensyfan19 wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 12:27 am I'm assuming this was because of my question on the trackless trolley tracker thread. I wasn't aware of the topic until a few days ago and was generally curious. Thank you for explaining the reasoning behind this discussion.
Your post triggered this, but it was not the cause nor was it directed at you. There have been a lot of recurring roundabout references to the nonexistent ban and I've tried to say it without saying it but that didn't seem to be working. Your posing the question just made for a good opportunity to clear it up.
  by digitalsciguy
Really appreciate the clarification and backstory on this. I think it really helps clear the air for newcomers, returning folks like myself, and people who may only visit and contribute periodically.

I actually stepped away from RR.net for quite a while because of strict attitudes like that and a few other generally negative experiences that left me feeling this wasn't a productive place to talk about the issues of our transit network as a whole.

Totally agree on Eolesen's point. While this may be a railroad ops-focused forum, transit is a whole interconnected ecosystem of modes including others that aren't on steel wheels. Siloed discussion helps no one. I appreciate your stewardship of this forum, CRail.
  by Jeff Smith
What the LTC said; I'm okay with it in your forum. I remember you asking me about this CRail a couple years ago, at which point I was probably aghast lol. That said, buses still suck!