General MBTA Discussion Thread

RandomWalk

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
650
Reaction score
9
The PR from the MBTA says the new Rotem coaches are funded by the Commonwealth, so I assume Buy America is out the window.
 

Semass

Active Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
684
Reaction score
1
The PR from the MBTA says the new Rotem coaches are funded by the Commonwealth, so I assume Buy America is out the window.
Looks like they will all be built in South Korea with a certain amount of American material.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,301
Reaction score
115
Looks like they will all be built in South Korea with a certain amount of American material.
NETransit also says single-source contract that is in addition to the RFP for 200 coaches, which is still open. So this was indeed a quickie job where a new contract was ripped out approximating the canceled +75 options on the first Rotem contract, gerrymandered to exclude Buy America since Rotem no longer has a U.S. plant.

Conclusions:
  • I guess it's true what Kawasaki has been telegraphing that they're done with the U.S. coach market and are focusing their attention on subway cars and EMU's.
  • With Kawasaki out, Rotem is literally the only manufacturer who can currently produce bi-level K-car clones for fleet commonality on the T. Shoddy (and continuingly shoddy!) build quality and all, the T was backed into a corner here on ordering options it could get delivered in < 3 years before an already serious fleet shortage started cutting service levels.
  • Rotem is most definitely out on the 200-coach order since the quantities are too high to exclude Buy America and they can't get a U.S. factory going in time. That means with Kawasaki also on the sidelines the next order will NOT be for K-car clones, and it's pretty much the end of the line for new manufactures of that make of bi-level (though the nearly 300 in-service on the T and MARC will be around for a very long time).
  • 200 + 80 = 280 is cosmically higher than a 1:1 replacement of the single-level fleet, which currently rosters 199 for the Bombardiers and Pullmans, and 22 in-service + 40 stored or temp-leased to ConnDOT (i.e. the ones displaced by the original Rotem order, which will never run in T service again). When considering that's a +30% seating difference per 1:1 flat-to-bi replacement, we're looking at a massive capacity gain both immediate and especially overall.
  • Since all coaches now are 3 x 2 seating, I'm now very interested to see if the 200-unit RFP makes a move to much more RER-friendly 2 x 2 seating trading slightly less butts-in-seats capacity for better on/off movements. In which case, Bombardier as predicted sits in pole position with the MultiLevel (MLV) coach that it fortuitously EMU-compatible, and CRRC with its homegrown SEPTA push-pull coach design (not EMU-compatible) is right there. 2 x 2 seems to be where the bi-level market is heading given the available options.
  • I'd also be keenly interested to see what the ratio of cab cars to trailers is going to be in this Rotem order, because if it goes heavier on the cabs then we would have the ability to run more but shorter trains with equal seating capacity via a locomotive lease. Locos are MUCH more plentiful on the aftermarket and will soon be flooded when Amtrak's Siemens Charger order displaces 75+ GE Genesis P42's...so if we beefed up the cabs roster now and went looking for some worn-but-reliable power service increases can get implemented soon. Simply by segmenting the new cabs vs. trailers ratio accordingly.
  • The RFP still has a great aura of mystery about whether they're covering their butts for EMU compatibility. As I've mentioned several times before, NJ Transit's ongoing Bombardier MLV EMU contract runs about 600 units and has already "slushed" options over to SEPTA to replace their Silverliner IV's. Because it's all one carbody the contract does not differentiate between stock coach trailer, stock coach cab car, and the new EMU power cars that sandwich between them. So if the T happens to order 200 MLV's from Bombardier on its RFP ostensibly as a "push-pull" fleet, they would only have to phone up NJT for a few dozen slush options on the power cars to hedge on those 200 coaches being either/or push-pull or EMU -compatible. If their own rumors of an EMU RFP or RFI don't pan out, it only ends up mattering if Bombardier wins the 200-coaches RFP for them to have in-house forward compatibility with a move to EMU's. This is worth watching.
  • More bike and cafe car conversions! The best-of-the-flats condition Pullmans are the ones to-date that have gotten bike/ski and cafe car conversions. Look for them to do a bunch more guilt-free conversions of those units since they're in fine shape for years of additional service at the limited miles the specialty cars run.
  • Urban Rail sets? Likewise, since the Pullmans are good enough to manage for a bunch more years at limited mileage this may be an opportunity to trial some Urban Rail-configured trainsets with then and a few "best of the rest" Bombardier or MBB cabs. Since the electrification debate is tortured at best and the FRA-compliant DMU market is dead at the moment, 4-car sets of flats on Fairmount, Riverside, and elsewhere can start implementing the frequencies. Ad-hoc adjust the interiors to 2 x 2 seating and more grab handles, do an onboard AFC 2.0 interface if station-side interfaces won't be in-play, and maybe tweak the auto-door logic for pushbutton or limited-open access. Set a 12-year maintenance window before replaced by something self-powered, to cover the spread. You have 55 (minus specialty conversions) Pullman trailers, 25 Bombardier cabs, and 14 restroom-equipped MBB cabs to choose from...3 trailers + 1 cab needed per set. You could probably come up with 15 Urban Rail starter sets from those pickings, acknowledging that a majority of the cabs are junk and you'll have to be choosy about which of those are in decent-enough condition.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
25
Countdown timers on the Orange Line were having some serious issues yesterday evening (Saturday).

Oak Grove direction was giving no information on the display panels.

Forest Hills direction was operating sometimes, but then would freeze at a fixed time to next train.

Audible announcements were simply bizarre. They included time to the next train to Government Center (obviously not even served by the Orange Line). Also timing announcements like "trains are running every 12 to 18 minutes. Last train left (insert random stop, not in any order as they are announced) four minutes ago (it was always four minutes ago)."
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
417
Reaction score
108
I know things get odd when they're shuttle busing on the SW corridor which they were doing this weekend (Ruggles to Forest Hills) although that's more off than usual. That does usually impact NB train prediction times though. I'm curious if they have any good plans for the full core shutdown next weekend or if they'll just ditch countdown signs entirely. Not sure they have any previous data to pull on core shutdowns like this, unlike the near weekly SW corridor shutdown and nightly Oak Grove shutdown.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,794
Reaction score
61
Thats not an actual rebuttal, and is really just an ad hominem.
I read MassFiscal's piece. It seemed ad hominem too: that we should picture a Cadillac Bureaucracy and other tax-and-spend villains and think no further.

1) Are there other correlates to high cost-per-mile administration (ike % urban/rural, level of unionization?) that could explain why MA spends so much more than NH or ME on admin?

2) Even if MA's Admin costs are 3x to 5x those of NH & ME, are these admin costs 1% instead of .3% of total infrastructure cost, or 4% vs 1% or 40% vs 10% MassFiscal doesn't say. We're just supposed to recoil at the idea of bureaucrats and stop thinking right there.

3) If you read the underlying study, go to PDF page 16 (page 4 of Part 1) and note that while MA spends a lot, (rating us far down the list (higher numbers) in fiscal matters), we rank #1 on overall low fatality rate on our highways. Maybe we decided we spend near the most on admin because we're working hard on killing the least people? That'd be a discussion worth having.

4) We spend near the most per mile on our network. Is that because we're doing accelerated bridge repair? Maybe?
 
Last edited:

chmeeee

Active Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
269
Reaction score
6
I read MassFiscal's piece. It seemed ad hominem too: that we should picture a Cadillac Bureaucracy and other tax-and-spend villains and think no further.

1) Are there other correlates to high cost-per-mile administration (ike % urban/rural, level of unionization?) that could explain why MA spends so much more than NH or ME on admin?

2) Even if MA's costs are 3x to 5x those of NH & ME, are we talking 1% instead of .3% of total infrastructure cost, or 4% vs 1% or 40% vs 10% MassFiscal doesn't say. We're just supposed to recoil at the idea of bureaucrats and stop thinking right there.

3) If you read the underlying study, go to PDF page 16 (page 4 of Part 1) and note that while MA spends a lot, (rating us far down the list (higher numbers) in fiscal matters), we rank #1 on overall fatality rate on our highways. Maybe we decided we spend near the most on admin because we're working hard on killing the least people? That'd be a discussion worth having.

4) We spend near the most per mile on our network. Is that because we're doing accelerated bridge repair? Maybe?
This is all rebutted by one obvious fact that they are very intentionally ignoring: their mile denominator in Mass is very skewed by the fact that we have an unusually low percentage of State roads. Most other states (NH and ME certainly included) have a higher percentage of overall roads under state management. As a result, MassDOT spends a lot of money on local aid, fixing local roads that in other states would be state operated. So when you include the money spent on those roads in the numerator but don't include their length in the denominator, of course you end up with silly ratios.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
417
Reaction score
108
Oh boy here we go, Springfield Mayor is mad that the T is sole sourcing the 80 bonus coaches and not using CRRC. Someone might want to tell him that A. Hyundai has made the previous coaches meaning a design is ready to go, B it's not the full coach order it's a small one, C the MBTA already has a massive order with CRRC that is worth far more than this little order, D CRRC has no proven experience building MBTA bi-levels, E CRRC has enough orders on their plate right now without adding a rather short lead time 80 brand new design coaches.

 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,301
Reaction score
115
Oh boy here we go, Springfield Mayor is mad that the T is sole sourcing the 80 bonus coaches and not using CRRC. Someone might want to tell him that A. Hyundai has made the previous coaches meaning a design is ready to go, B it's not the full coach order it's a small one, C the MBTA already has a massive order with CRRC that is worth far more than this little order, D CRRC has no proven experience building MBTA bi-levels, E CRRC has enough orders on their plate right now without adding a rather short lead time 80 brand new design coaches.

CRRC's bi-level fleet being manufactured for SEPTA is a radically different design from the K-cars & Brokem-clones, so they wouldn't have met the base requirements for this contract anyway. I'm not even sure they'd be able to trainline non-wonkily with the mixed sets on the T depending on how the cab car computers are configured; SEPTA didn't ask for backwards ASA/auto-door/misc. systems compatibility with older makes, so there probably isn't any and the default configuration assumes alike-cars. Fantastic relationship and all with the state, CRRC damn well knew that beforehand that this was a K-car clone order and didn't bother inquiring at all about this 80-coach contract. And Mr. Mayor better not get his hopes up for the next 200-car bi order being assembled in his city, because if there's any allowances being left for fed funds to pick up some slack CRRC is already disqualified because of Chinese sanctions...and their bi-level product isn't dual compatible with push-pull or EMU sets like Bombardier's considerably higher-leverage MLV's are.
 

KentXie

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
3,861
Reaction score
8
Question, does the MBTA stealthily run less trains on Friday? Or is this one of those times where drivers call out with no reason? This is the timer on a Friday evening rush hour.
 

Attachments


Top