• 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

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  by Arborwayfan
Radial or in-out commuting thinking is frustrating and somewhat obsolete in a megalopolis that's more of a mesh. That doesn't mean transit's obsolete, or rail. And just because the rail routes are all radial doesn't mean rail can't be part of an updated transit system.

Insofar as transit can be a solution to a transportation problem involving a lot of low-density suburban bedroom communities AND suburban office parks and industries and the like, I think it would make sense to consider turning the hub-and-spoke transit system into a mesh of carefully integrated modes. Keep the rail lines, maybe even improve them. Link them by circumferential bus routes ever few miles with useful frequencies; not once an hour or once every 45 mins like the 51 bus and a lot of other lateral bus routes now, but every 15 mins or so, or maybe less frequent but timed for guaranteed connections to the trains. Create a totally integrated fare structure and make transfers trivially easy. Build some new infrastructure to speed up the buses: could be signal priority on local roads, could be a few miles of exclusive bus lane at choke points, could be bus stops on 128 and other superhighways, such as I have seen in use in Chile: buses take a special off ramp, stop at a platform that's parallel to the highway and maybe 20 feet away from the breakdown lane, and then pull right back on the highway without having to deal with exits and local roads, while on the other side of the platform (just a sidewalk you can't drive over, so the bus stop doesn't work as an exit) cabs, ubers, spouses, bicycles, local buses, etc., could be waiting without having to deal with the highway.

I defend talking about buses here because using a lot of buses on lateral routes would be good for ridership on the in-and-out rail routes.

There will still be places (Hancock, Ashburnham, etc.) where there are not enough people for transit to work and where better cars may be the answer. There will still be some commutes and daily schedules transit just isn't right for. And some people will choose to fight traffic for whatever reason even if they have a perfect transit commute. But Mass could pretty easily expand the number of people, places, and routes/trips it's transit systems are really suitable for, and thus bring a lot more people into the transit system.

If Mass could get a lot of potential two-car households to have just one car, that would generate a lot of transit ridership and, if done right, energy and pollution savings. It's OK if some people still drive; get transit to work for people who can use it.
  by Backshophoss
Do not consider the BBD concept based on the MLV II car design,that's an impossible idea to pull off.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Reportedly that is also the favored choice for Silverliner IV replacement, in addition to the Arrows.
Last edited by CRail on Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Unnecessary quote removed.
  by rethcir
It's really encouraging that so many vendors responded.
  by RenegadeMonster
Yes. That is a very good sign. It gives us more options to pick from. Hopefully we pick by what's the best equipment for our need rather than by lowest price.
  by BandA
In the RFP response, they really glossed over FRA compliant vs "alternative" compliant or non-compliant.

Lots of the responses proposed single-level units, one even proposed 2+2 seating!! Are conductors allocated per X number of coaches, or one per 300 expected passengers, or the higher of the two? Single-level boarding & 2+2 seating is much more civilized and reduced dwell time. But there isn't enough room to store single-level sets, especially with growth, and PVD line and WOR line need lots of capacity at rush hour.

Articulated cars sounds intriguing.

Comments about compatibility with existing coaches being a problem or adding more costs - that's weird, you would think this stuff would be totally standardized by now.
  by MBTA3247
EMUs usually use specialized couplers that include all the MU connections, and are physically incompatible with knuckle couplers. They are also typically designed to only operate in a train with other EMUs of the same model. Both problems can be designed around, but that adds cost to the project.
  by apodino
I mentioned this in another thread, but its worth mentioning here. Some of the proposals included Dual Mode Locomotives similar to what NJ Transit runs. I actually think the MBTA should go this route on some F40 replacements. The reason is Back Bay Station. It is well documented how poor the air quality in Back Bay Station is. There is a ventilation project scheduled for completion in a couple of years, but call me skeptical until it actually works. If you run Dual Modes, the trains can be on catenary power through Back Bay Station, then can switch to Diesel power later on when needed (They could do this at Ruggles, or maybe on the fly approaching either Forest Hills, Readville, or Canton Junction depending on which line its being used on). This would eliminate diesel exhaust from Back Bay, but also would not require every line to be electrified. (Which may happen anyways)
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