New Red and Orange Line Cars

jass

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F-Line, any chance the Green Type 10s could be autonomous? Although that's difficult with the at grade crossings.
We've had self-driving trains in the US since the late 60's, but I can't think of any in the world that aren't 100% grade separated.

The modern signal project on red blue, and orange should have led to self-driving, but alas, they did not.
 

HelloBostonHi

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We've had self-driving trains in the US since the late 60's, but I can't think of any in the world that aren't 100% grade separated.

The modern signal project on red blue, and orange should have led to self-driving, but alas, they did not.
I suspect it's unions that made that happen. I'm also amazed that a complete signal redesign project and brand new rolling stock isn't making self driving a priority, something London has had since the 90s on the DLR. My completely misguided hope is that the new signal system will be good enough to support near self driving trains with minor modifications but I know that's far too optimistic.
 

Jahvon09

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I prefer the Elizabeth line in that case, but its also not yet running and also kinda blurs the distinction between subway and train, running at subway frequency, on electric power and in subway tunnels, but being train sized.

These would look so cool for the T, but there's a problem. In order to use them, the present platforms would have to be made higher to accommodate them. Like Amtrak's Acela trains. Also. they would have to be ADA compatible. Without higher platform, this idea won't work. And I don't think that the MBTA will spend that much dough to do it!! :rolleyes:
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I suspect it's unions that made that happen. I'm also amazed that a complete signal redesign project and brand new rolling stock isn't making self driving a priority, something London has had since the 90s on the DLR. My completely misguided hope is that the new signal system will be good enough to support near self driving trains with minor modifications but I know that's far too optimistic.
Sort of. The signal system itself is a light tweaking of the ATO that's already there, but the really big gain is that it's now going to be all-fiber cabling and all- solid-state backplane other than the hodgepodge of old copper, newer fiber, and painfully vulnerable relays like the ones that got trashed in the Red Line wreck. If they want to migrate to CBTC signaling or something else ambitious they've now got the bandwidth, server rooms, and vulnerability mitigation to do it. If you've got the transmission capability, then CBTC is mostly a systems integration and software project than something which introduces much new hardware into the mix.

Don't have to wait until end of component life anymore to retire the ATO when fiber was to be the biggest labor piece. If the updated system hits full stride in 3 years and they want to talk CBTC in 7...they can do that and the efforts wouldn't be incompatible or in the end wasteful.
 

whighlander

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I suspect it's unions that made that happen. I'm also amazed that a complete signal redesign project and brand new rolling stock isn't making self driving a priority, something London has had since the 90s on the DLR. My completely misguided hope is that the new signal system will be good enough to support near self driving trains with minor modifications but I know that's far too optimistic.
Depends on what you mean by self-driving:
  1. Class One -- Self Driving by systems design
  2. Class Two -- Self Driving by adapting to an existing system infrastructure

These a two problems which sound similar but in reality are of entirely different magnitude

Here's the challenge:
  1. for the Class One --
    1. Control the vehicle while in motion -- trivial can be done with a small micro controller for homogeneous vehicles on specially constructed tracks​
    2. Control the vehicle while its stopped for picking-up and discharging passengers -- solved using 70's tech after some struggles at DFW​
    3. The keys are to go slow and Control the people's access to the vehicles at the stops -- Doors on the platforms and doors on the vehicles coordinated by a master computer program.​
    4. The actual driving of the vehicle is relatively trivial -- you know where the vehicle is [what the grade is, how much distance do you need for stopping and starting, etc.] and what its mechanical load is [defines acceleration and electrical power requirements], what its speed is [result of acceleration, stopping, starting, climbing, descending, etc. A master computer program can monitor and control everything on the system including metering the passenger ques of those who are trying to board or unboard​
  2. For Class Two -- two sub cases
    1. Two A -- integrate new vehicles and controls into existing track and station infrastructure -- relatively do-able in principle​
    2. Two B -- integrate new vehicles and controls into existing track and station infrastructure and seamless operations with existing human controlled vehicles -- way off in the future [many sub classes to consider including: crossing tracks, interface with non-controlled vehicles on the street [such as the Green Line B,C, E], people crossing tracks [Green Line], Emergency situations, etc.​
So let's consider the challenge of a "Class Two A" scenario on say the Red Line:
  1. Equipping the track with localization technology [sort of indoor GPS as well as regular GPS where outside] is relatively straightforward. There are no crossing tracks [for normal operations] so that's not much of a problem.
  2. The track can be mapped as often as required to set operating parameters [hill climbing descending to Kendall from the Longfellow Bridge, dependencies on weather conditions, etc.]
  3. New vehicles can know where they are to a small fraction of vehicle length, know how fast they are moving to very small speed uncertainty, and where to stop at a platform for proper boarding.
  4. BUT when you come to stations where the platform is uncontrolled with respect to passengers -- you will have no clue how long boarding and unboarding will take. You really don't want to close the doors on a passenger who is in the way of the door -- particularly say one who is mobility impaired so you need good sensors on the doors perhaps assisted by sensors on the platforms to tell the system when the doors can be closed and the vehicle and begin to move.
  5. Now you allow the vehicle to accelerate to the maximum speed permitted for that segment of the track [which might be weather dependent] as long as you don't climb up the back of the vehicle in front, etc. Vehicle then moves at constant speed as it negotiates the track between stations
  6. As each vehicle arrives and departs from each platform the system readjusts everything else and as long as you don't care about close connections with say the Orange Line at DTX at rush-hour -- you can probably make it work relatively well.
  7. Finally, you need to build in at the 0th level your responses to emergency events [e.g. someone falls onto the tracks, motor failure, sensor failure, etc.] or irregular operational conditions [wet rails, snow on the tracks, branches on the tracks, etc.]-- everything needs to be accounted for by a primary procedure, and then at least one exception procedure if there are cascading problems
So -- Moral of the story -- don't expect un-human-operated Red, Orange, Blue and certainly not Green Line trains in the near or even foreseeable future
 

F-Line to Dudley

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You guys do realize they got rid of two-thirds of the onboard staff in the last decade, right?

Before:
28 six-car RL trains needed to operate at peak x 3 staffers required per train = 84 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (in threes)
16 six-car OL trains needed to operate at peak x 3 staffers required per train = 48 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (in threes)
12 four-car* BL trains needed to operate at peak x 2 staffers required per train = 24 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (in threes)
156 on-shift HRT operators for rush + run-as-directed padding (x3) for swapped trainsets.
*before BL platform lengthening

After:
28 six-car RL trains needed to operate at peak x 1 staffer required per train = 28 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (solos)
16 six-car OL trains needed to operate at peak x 1 staffer required per train = 16 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (solos)
12 six-car BL trains needed to operate at peak x 1 staffer required per train = 12 staffers on-shift for rush hour + on-call/run-as-directed padding (solos)
56 on-shift HRT operators for rush + run-as-directed padding (x1) for swapped trainsets.


They eliminated 100 shift positions at the most labor-intensive periods of day, and proportionally just as many on all other shifts. Even the generous Orange service increases coming with the new fleet and signal system will only end up backfilling a small handful of new positions, and if you maxed out all 3 lines to the 3-min. headway throughput limit of the system it is not possible to need to hire as many new operators as they already got rid of. Green is a different beast, for sure, but also consider that the GLT 'stretched' supercars pack a 2-car train's worth of seating into a single car and will result in significant operator deductions there. 2-car GLT trains are the alternative they're pursuing to adopting 3-car ops on all current lines at current dimensions, so instead of increasing rush hour staffing by >30% they're going to end up decreasing it 5-10% and getting all the new capacity anyway. If the new world order also includes One-Person Ops such that a 2-car supertrain runs with only one operator, than whack close to 50% of the Green Line's operator staff right then and there.


Staffing is a bad justification for the tactical nuclear strike of implementing driverless automation, and the union is a non-factor here. The cost/maint overhead for electronic watchers is high and the inspector + back-office staffing would have to swell bigtime, but the onboard payroll relief is small because we already make the killshot move there with OPTO and there's not much more blood to squeeze from stone with 100 fewer jobs left than a decade ago. On pure finances you could make a bigger bottom-line difference throwing the automation money at further capacity/frequency expansion and move a bigger sum on the add'l revenue side than you could possibly subtract from the payroll side.


There are lots of other technical pros/cons behind driverless tech that bear serious evaluation, though it can be very situational which installations would benefit and which would see too little difference to bother...making superficial comparisons with other systems murky at best, disingenuous at worst. But not needing to pay train operators doesn't even rate in the bona-fides discussion for systems considering driverless adoption because the payroll stakes are just too small to dig there and the back-office + field payroll offsets blunt too much of the impact.
 
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stick n move

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So how did they come up with these red and orange cars. Did they design both basically from scratch to the requirements we laid out, and clearly they seem to be influenced at least by the previous designs.. although maybe due to the restraints, or did they have a baseline they started at and then modified them to fit our system? Besides our type 9 green line cars that are related to the muni metro cars in san fran, Ive never seen any subway cars that resemble ours.. anywhere else.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So how did they come up with these red and orange cars. Did they design both basically from scratch to the requirements we laid out, and clearly they seem to be influenced at least by the previous designs.. although maybe due to the restraints, or did they have a baseline they started at and then modified them to fit our system? Besides our type 9 green line cars that are related to the muni metro cars in san fran, Ive never seen any subway cars that resemble ours.. anywhere else.
Plug the tunnel dimensions and turning radii, and you end up with a very specific-looking car shape. Anything on these lines is going to look more or less like what you're getting if you max out the clearance envelope.

It's no coincidence that several generations' worth of PATH cars in New York look an awful lot like the Orange Line (minus the lower half of the 'hexagon'), because the dimensions are similar. Likewise, Red is within a rounding error of NY's B Division.


Green Line is even more customized. The Boeing LRV's were designed to our dimensions but generified for general sale, which is why MUNI bought them. But MUNI's new cars are wider and now don't look anything like ours.
 

Jahvon09

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The new Red Line cars look somewhat like the old '63 Pullman cars in shape. The new Orange Line cars look almost like the old '50s Pullman cars in shape. other than the upper halves that taper inward to the roof.

The ex-Silver bird cars have pretty much the same shape as the '63 Pullman cars. We are pretty much getting newer versions of the old vintage trains with futuristic features added.
 

KentXie

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HART's are also autonomous. The MBTA's have the benefit of actually operating, though.
Not to mention, actually going somewhere. IIRC, the first phase of the HART connects the east side of Oahu and stops at Aloha Stadium, i.e. doesn't connect to the airport, downtown or Waikiki where the traffic clogging up the highway actually ends up.
 

Equilibria

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Not to mention, actually going somewhere. IIRC, the first phase of the HART connects the east side of Oahu and stops at Aloha Stadium, i.e. doesn't connect to the airport, downtown or Waikiki where the traffic clogging up the highway actually ends up.
The later phases go to Downtown and Waikiki, but you're right - who knows if they'll happen.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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F-Line, any chance the Green Type 10s could be autonomous? Although that's difficult with the at grade crossings.
Zero. It's a mixed-traffic mode, so as long as city streets are the realm of human-operated vehicles so will all transit vehicles. Unless you actually believe self-driving cars will be allowed on Boston's mangled cowpaths before we're dead. Any which way, don't set a clock to it.

Green Line OPTO definitely can be a thing, however, if proof-of-payment is robust enough to leave the rear car unstaffed.
 

HelloBostonHi

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I'd like to think that with AFC 2.0 they will reassign the 2nd car "driver" to fare collection but I know with union rules it's unlikely. It would make perfect sense to have the front driver drive and control all doors and the rear ex driver focus on doing fare checks. Edinburgh trams run longer type 10-ish cars and they have a single driver plus a roving fare collector on most trains. Driver is perfectly capable of managing all the doors.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'd like to think that with AFC 2.0 they will reassign the 2nd car "driver" to fare collection but I know with union rules it's unlikely. It would make perfect sense to have the front driver drive and control all doors and the rear ex driver focus on doing fare checks. Edinburgh trams run longer type 10-ish cars and they have a single driver plus a roving fare collector on most trains. Driver is perfectly capable of managing all the doors.
What is this singular obsession with union rules??? They did EXACTLY that with the 'guard rule' on Red/Blue/Orange to implement OPTO, and plenty of people made bold online wagers on their grannies' graves that it would never ever ever happen because Carmen's 589 is more powerful than God or whatever. If the union put up any fight it was over as soon as it began, because OPTO got implemented without so much as a threatened lawsuit. They aren't fighting PoP or rear-door boarding in any way, which would've served to enforce a big line in the sand around bus and light rail operators' job supremacy as ticket agents. Tactically if they wanted any chance of defeating Green Line OPTO that's the necessary first move because if unstaffed w/ camera-monitoring doors on a staffed car are permissible then there becomes no functional difference to leaving all doors unstaffed on a non-lead car. They're not making that tactical defense, so the path to OPTO is free and clear.


The only logical reason it hasn't been talked about on Green yet is that it's easier to roll in with the whole of GLT as one small cog than break it out up-front to be picked and prodded at. I'd be shocked if it weren't already planned, and any reticence to early-promote it may have a lot more to do with the fact that they're still addressing pockets of internal resistance to the very concept of PoP after so many years of retrograde T management and Beacon Hill flaks concern-trolling the fare evasion boogeyman. And since most of the GLT improvements are going to trail AFC 2.0 by a few years out the gate (at least we hope so; lack of AFC implementation progress is starting to alarm), better to play it close to vest until they've got it bug-free on bus front and rear doors.
 

HelloBostonHi

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"the obsession with union rules" is simply that I have done work for MassDOT and have several friends who currently work for MassDOT and the MBTA and the reoccurring theme I hear from everyone is "well we would like to do that, but bureaucracy and obscure rules and laws"

And it's definitely not unfounded. Look at Britain. The change to drivers operating the doors and conductors only checking tickets has caused four years of strikes and shows no sign of stopping. No pay changes, no nothing, simply having drivers control doors instead of conductors. Meanwhile automatic trains on the underground has faced years of opposition and strikes, although is slowly happening anyway.
 

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