• 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 johnpbarlow
 
https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news ... erformance

Excerpts:
WESTBOROUGH – Electrifying the commuter rail’s entire 400-mile system, building more high-level boarding platforms and investing in new equipment are some of the long-range options a committee is considering to improve reliability and performance.
But...
"This is all conceptual at this point,” said Paul Matthews, executive director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership.
  by Kilo Echo
 
Another excerpt from the foregoing article:
The move would be a “generation-long investment” that would likely cost billions of dollars …
  by charlesriverbranch
 
I wonder if battery-powered MU's wouldn't be a better solution than installing catenary. Has anyone ever done an engineering study on the viability of a battery MU in commuter service?
  by BandA
 
From the GLX papers of a couple of years ago, the cost of the infrastructure swamps the cost of the custom vehicles. So if I were to guess, battery MU's would be cheaper in the short or medium term.

If they still want to electrify, smaller batteries can be used to jump discontinuities like bridges or the Prudential Center.
  by Aerie
 
Electrification would be great, but after what they spent on the NEC for Acela, I doubt it will ever happen. Another thing that would be sweet is to somehow segregate commuter rail from freight trains, so that smaller, faster DMU trains could be used for commuter rail. I remember when they built the Haymarket North extension of the Orange Line: they built that little tunnel for the Orange Line in Medford to keep it away from freight trains serving the B&M Medford Branch. If something like that could be done for commuter rail I think it would help a lot. But, I'm sure it costs too much.
  by charlesriverbranch
 
There are FRA-compliant DMU's; if I'm not mistaken, SMART, the new commuter rail service running north of San Francisco, uses them.
  by watervapr
 
What would the process for running EMU's on the providence line (not stoughton) look like? From pictures it looks like the entire line from providence to SS (including the 3-track segments) is electrified, minus TF Green since the platform is on a siding that doesn't have wiring. Could we procure 2 or 3 8-car trainsets, wire up some sidings and maintenance facilities, negotiate with amtrak for some voltage, and theoretically get it running by 2021?

Which tracks at SS/Back Bay are already under wire? Would we need to add a couple more? Given the state of existing infrastructure I don't get why this wasn't set up a decade ago.
  by trains18
 
Never ever going to happen. Beyond too expensive, even with funding, to electrify all the lines. That would take years and forever to complete.
  by Backshophoss
 
PAR/PAS would fight the hanging of Catenary wires over their Mainlines and sidings.
That would enforce a height limit,and limit "High and Wide" freight to/from Maine.
CSX would fight it on the Worcester line to Framimgham for starters to retain "High/Wide" freight rights
  by MBTA3247
 
Backshophoss wrote:That would enforce a height limit,and limit "High and Wide" freight to/from Maine.
No, it wouldn't. You build the catenary high enough to clear anything that can fit through the existing clearances. The only major obstacles are some bridges that would have to be rebuilt or undercut to provide the necessary vertical clearance.
  by AmtrakLocomotiveEngineer
 
watervapr wrote:What would the process for running EMU's on the providence line (not stoughton) look like? From pictures it looks like the entire line from providence to SS (including the 3-track segments) is electrified, minus TF Green since the platform is on a siding that doesn't have wiring.
TF Greene is not on a siding. The platform is on Track #3, which is a main line track, but was never electrified. Also, electric trains can't operate on Tracks #3 & 4 at Attleboro.
watervapr wrote:Could we procure 2 or 3 8-car trainsets, wire up some sidings and maintenance facilities, negotiate with amtrak for some voltage, and theoretically get it running by 2021?
It's not practical as the MBTA's sets need to be versatile to go on any line when service warrants. It's not a good investment since the majority of the fleet is, and will always be, diesel.
watervapr wrote:Which tracks at SS/Back Bay are already under wire?
All 3 tracks of the NEC are wired between Transfer & Boston.
watervapr wrote: Given the state of existing infrastructure I don't get why this wasn't set up a decade ago.
Simply because the electrification was done for Amtrak trains, and it's not a sensible move for the T.
  by sonicdoommario
 
I thought track 4 at Attleboro is electrified (all the way from Hebronville to Holden), it just has wooden ties instead of concrete ones.
  by Tadman
 
charlesriverbranch wrote:There are FRA-compliant DMU's; if I'm not mistaken, SMART, the new commuter rail service running north of San Francisco, uses them.
I think the builder, Nippon Sharyo, is done for the US market after the Amtrak fiasco. They declined to bid the recent NICTD/South Shore tender, and that's their oldest customer in the market with an install base of about 85 cars. The plant in rural Illinois is closed, too.

It's a shame, too. Until the Amtrak fiasco, their equipment has been really solid performers. I think there is more to that story than we are hearing.
  by StLouSteve
 
Getting a bit off track, but I don't think the Smart cars are fully FRA certified for freight lines—what they do in Marin is run passenger service during the day and freight only at night.
  by ssresident
 
Nothing really new here, but having a story in the Globe should help to build general awareness.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/ ... story.html

Take the E-train? MBTA mulling electric locomotives
By Adam Vaccaro GLOBE STAFF MARCH 21, 2019

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority apparently wants to test some electric commuter rail trains.
The agency has been in touch with Amtrak about leasing some electric locomotives for some of the trips between Boston and Providence, according to Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the agency’s board.
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