BandA wrote:When the head of the MBTA says he thinks the PCC's should go due to cost savings, you have to take that seriously.
If the "excellent condition" PCC cars are more valuable historically, maybe they could sell them, buy some others and refurbish them with "PCC 2" modern components that require less maintenance.
Since this is a genuine opportunity for cost recovery while serving the need at hand, it works best if they pull some in-house LRV's and use the PCC sale to underwrite some of the conversion costs. The FCB will look warmly on plans framed around this one-two punch. I'd rate odds pretty decent of this tandem being favored if no LRV-related blockers drive up the upgrade price. It's not the only option, but it's the probable easiest sell for what the FCB is tasked with evaluating.
Contract out (with subsidy) operation to Seashore Trolley Museum for 10-15 year period. Museum supplies their own personnel. T easily absorbs the small number of Hi-speed personnel into green line or other operations, and is able to reduce overtime expenses. Perhaps a couple of T employees with specialist knowledge get "leased" to the museum operation. Museum markets line to heritage tourists, rotates in some type 5's & snow fighting equipment. Win-win!
Seashore isn't the T's slave labor. They're too small. It would take a much more substantial public-private investment in the museum to get a shared operation like MUNI + Market Street Railway museum. That would've had to have been a partnership years in the making to be of use for leveraging Mattapan, and this just isn't the budgeting era to be initiating that.
Replace trolleys with Type 7 cars. Upgrade power substations. Upgrade catanery for pantographs, or downgrade pantographs to trolley poles. Upgrade loop for longer turning radius. How many passengers take Ashmont-Mattapan line? Do they fill the PCCs? Type 7's are higher capacity & draw more power, so service frequency will have to be reduced to meet budget.
You'd be surprised how much the PCC's fill up at peak. Some roomier LRV's would be welcome for those periods. Expect the ridership to increase a little when they complete the Neponset River Trail along the rest of the line. It's already very well-utilized around Lower Mills just for Point A-to-Point B walking trips, but completing it should flush a little bit more pedestrian activity all around the line and out to the tiny intermediates. Small potatoes, but it'll force a few more bodies onboard times of day when the trolleys are fullest.
LRV's may result in some slight off-peak service reduction, but it's already pretty sparse so there's a definite service floor it won't drop below. Power draw will not be a problem because the Ashmont Branch substations must be upgraded for the new Red cars' arrival in 2019-20, and the T's CIP states that line item is inclusive for future-proofing of Mattapan for LRV's.
Remember...the PCC's draw considerably more power than they did a decade ago because of those new air conditioner installs, so it's not like they were teetering on the brink of a blackout by running one more car at a time. It's a power reliability thing more than being flat-out tapped out; reducing strain on the substations improves the lifespan of their components. The SGR-related Red Line upgrades and fact that Mattapan service levels aren't going to increase leaves generous cushion for absorbing LRV's on an as-is system.
Maybe the PCC cars are being maintained to "state of good repair" and rest of system isn't. If you fully factor in depreciation on red/orange/green/blue cars, I bet the cost of the PCC car maintenance would be comparable or less.
Isn't that already the case?
Use diesel (or diesel/electric) hi-rail capable vehicles. At end of rail, switch to rubber tires & continue to former streetcar destinations.
"Moar Frankenstein vehicles, plz!" is not something T riders ever want to hear again. The FCB didn't even trust them with ordering FRA-compliant commuter rail DMU's. And they're already debating whether early retirement of the FrankenBredas for a Type 10 purchase is better value than rebuilding. This proposal will go over like a lead balloon.
Second, there aren't really any run-thru routes to dream up here. The High Speed Line and 28/29 both serve Mattapan as a terminus. There's very little run-thru ridership that would boomerang through both north-south routings, so the economics of run-thru would end up worse than terminating at the pre-existing terminal. The east-west 30 isn't really screaming for it either when the 21 ties Forest Hills, Morton St., and Ashmont together. Fairmount Line is also capable of picking up some of the Dorchester/Mattapan to Hyde Park load served by the 24 and 33, if only the T would get on with increasing Fairmount frequencies. That doesn't leave any logical run-thru combinations out of Mattapan that would pull their weight.
The spread of modes around here offers a lot more options to cover the needs than trying to force-fit the modes together. Finish the Fairmount service rollout, revisit that 28X BRT plan with less tortured community input, secure the High Speed Line's future rolling stock, and keep those east-west bus frequencies steady (and gradually increasing) as they ping between transfer points on all these north-south load-bearing trunks. Dorchester's density requires much more a transit portfolio of low-impact meshing like that, rather than some sort of 'killshot' mainline to end all mainlines.
I think we should dismiss converting to red line cars as this will cost much more, not less.
Yes, absolutely. This isn't the time for that. In advance of after-next
generation of High Speed Line rolling stock decisions is when to start the Red debate, because this will be a recurring thing they have to go through when the 7's/8's are retired. There will be much greater need for one-seats to downtown from Milton and Mattapan post-2030 if one or more of the transit megaprojects like Urban Ring, Transitway-Downtown connector , NSRL gets put back on the front-burner. By that point heavy rail conversion will be a much more logical remainder to settle up and serve much more forceful purpose at piping in those east-west bus transfers. As will considerations like getting Orange at least as far as Rozzie or getting Washington St. to Dudley on trolleys. All those shock waves emanating from downtown hit the southern bus terminals in a big way and force a major needs assessment of how the north-south trunks through Dorchester--High Speed Line, Fairmount, 28/28X--and their east-west net of transferring buses are handling the shifting loads.
Lots of neighborhood-wide adjustments needed for the shifting landscape those downtown megaprojects create, and the economics will at that point favor a conversion to Red. But it's all post-2030...when we are hopefully back on track with 'exponential' transit expansion focused around downtown circulation. Any way you slice it that times better with the after-next
decision on Mattapan rolling stock, rather than this 'status-quo' service decision. Nothing gained by jumping the gun on conversion now, since the SGR of the line's physical plant isn't what's driving the decision. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
Do nothing... but appear to be doing something. Create a blue-ribbon panel & commission a study.
Yes. Unfortunately, this.