• What if MBTA had purchased CLRVs?

  • 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 Tom6921
In the 1980s, MBTA leased three CLRV streetcars from Toronto (numbers 4027, 4029, and 4031) as a test to see if MBTA would purchase CLRVs of their own. While the cars did okay, the MBTA didn't purchase any.

I am wondering what would have happened if they had purchased a fleet of CLRVs? Would they be running on the Mattapan line instead of the PCCs?

All but one of the CLRVs are still in service in Toronto today while MBTA's Boeings are all out of revenue service.
  by jwhite07
Tom, the test of CLRVs in Boston did not result in an order for cars of the same type, true, but I do not believe the intent was ever to purchase "off the shelf" CLRVs. What the tests intended to do was give the MBTA quite a bit of data that later helped them develop the specifications for Boston's Type 7 cars, which are very similar to CLRVs and ALRVs in many ways, and have been (except for an unfortunately high number lost to wrecks) very successful.

CLRVs might have been a good fit for the Mattapan Line, but with ten cars rostered for the line and only six required for peak service, a small order for just that one line would not have been cost effective. The PCCs could be rebuilt cheaper, and they endure on the Mattapan Line largely because there was (still is, as far as I know) no substation solely providing power to the Mattapan Line. Type 7s cannot run there - they draw too much power. The Mattapan Line was(is?) fed off the nearest Red Line substation, which is up around Fields Corner. I admit this may have changed, because now that there is apparently enough juice available to equip the PCCs with air conditioning units. But that has been a recent development.

CLRVs and ALRVs were, truly, the PCCs of their time. Simple, rugged, and effective. Not sure why that idea didn't take off more than it did (the only other taker was heavily modified ALRVs in San Jose, many of which are since retired). I have rode many miles (sorry, kilometers) on CLRVs and ALRVs in your home city. But like our far less successful Boeing cars, some of which we patched up and somehow got close to 30 years out of, the CLRV and ALRV fleet is finally beginning to show its age (they're getting close to thirty years old too!). Wonder if the MBTA would consider picking up number of them, rebuilding and refurbishing them, and replacing the PCCs with CLRVs?
  by MBTA3247
CLRVs would only have made sense if the T (or rather, the MTA) had kept more of the medium-desntiy routes as streetcar lines instead of converting everything to buses. Nowadays, by the time any route developed enough traffic to justify putting the tracks back in, you would need articulated cars.
  by CSX Conductor
I'm sorry, but what does the A and the C stand for?
  by BostonUrbEx
Canadian Light Rail Vehicle.

Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (I thought the A was for American at first :P).
  by RailBus63
I think there was a possibility that an emergency order for CLRV’s with left-hand doors for the Central Subway could have been placed had the powers-that-be decided to support it. You have to remember that 1979-1980 was the absolute nadir for the Boeing cars in Boston, with barely enough cars in service to run the Riverside line and the Northeastern trippers and much of the PCC fleet on its last legs. The Green Line was saved by the B, C and E shutdowns in 1980-82 which brought down car requirements enough so that the shop forces could get a handle on the LRV problems. Also, the articulation system was a continuing problem area on the LRV’s so it wouldn’t have been shocking had T management decided to go back to non-articulated cars as an interim solution.

Does anyone know if UTDC bid on the Green Line order that became the Type 7’s?
  by 3rdrail
I only rode them one day- the day of a BSRA fan trip in 1980, but I always thought that they were a solid car, and in my opinion, less of a lemon than anything that was to come so far (...except maybe the Kinkis ???). The photos and videos that I have seen from Toronto seem to support my feeling, as in spite of tough Canadian winters, they keep on truckin' and look pretty good ! Betcha if we had gone with them that we'd be shopping for new Type 7's now, and with a few more years on their belt, Kinki-Sharyo would probably have an even better product than before.
http://photos.cityrails.net/showpic/?20 ... V&BOOL=ANY