General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

HelloBostonHi

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I wonder if they will succeed!
Yawkey went to Lansdowne so I wouldn't be surprised if it changes. Don't agree with it but whatever. And certainly expect MBTA maps to say Dudley for at least the next ten years if not longer. There are still maps with the E branch going to Arborway out there...
 

Arlington

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Where does Transit Signal Priority stand (in Boston & Brookline) for speeding the street-running B and C through traffic lights? Did it happen? Did it work? Will more be coming online as GLT rebuilds signals and intersections?

*I posted this here because it seems like the classic "multi-agency" problem, similar to TSP for Sliver at D.
 
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HelloBostonHi

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So the central Orange Line shutdowns are back this month!! Quietly snuck on to the MBTA website. "Most weekends, January 17th-February 16th 2020 Trains Will Not Run Between Sullivan Square and Tufts Medical"

 

stick n move

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Where does Transit Signal Priority stand (in Boston & Brookline) for speeding the street-running B and C through traffic lights? Did it happen? Did it work? Will more be coming online as GLT rebuilds signals and intersections?

*I posted this here because it seems like the classic "multi-agency" problem, similar to TSP for Sliver at D.
I wanna know too..
 

odurandina

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By any chance did anyone catch a story that Norfolk Southern was going to auction off it's executive F-Units, which i found by accident.

It reminded me about the MBTA's old F-units. Does anyone know if they still have any of them?
I realize at (~1600 HP?) they're not really usable to haul too much other than work trains around.
In any case, has anyone ever proposed keeping 1 or 2 vintage F-units in the fleet?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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By any chance did anyone catch a story that Norfolk Southern was going to auction off it's executive F-Units, which i found by accident.

It reminded me about the MBTA's old F-units. Does anyone know if they still have any of them?
I realize at (~1600 HP?) they're not really usable to haul too much other than work trains around.
In any case, has anyone ever proposed keeping 1 or 2 vintage F-units in the fleet?


The T's FP10's were acquired and rebuilt in 1979 out of old Gulf, Mobile & Ohio RR F3 and F7 locos. After the supplemental batch of F40PHM-2C's was ordered in the early '90s Metro-North bought the fleet and refurbbed it once more to use them on diesel branchline service, where they lasted until 2008. Ex-MBTA unit 1152 is still at MNRR at Croton-Harmon Shops as a New York Transit Museum exhibit, and ex-MBTA 1151 was acquired by Adirondack Scenic RR where it runs to this day in excursion service.



At least 4 others were still operating elsewhere around the country as of 4 years ago, with at least 2 more on static display. Whereabouts of about 40% of the former 19-unit fleet are currently known, with the rest unknown (most likely scrappings with a couple intact units likely in private hands).


The most 'vintage' thing the T still has is work train GP9 904, which the T acquired from defunct Detroit-area commuter rail operator SEMTA in the mid-80's along with 4 others used in revenue service from 1983-88. 904 is currently stored in the Cape Main freight yard in Rochester with the rest of the derelict 1978 original F40PH 'Screamer' retired units (next-most vintage thing) and a few long out-of-service GP40MC's being repaired...held for evaluation since its engine blew about a year ago. It's repairable, but since it's the last of its kind on the T roster and Keolis is leasing several better work engines right they're mulling whether to return it to service or dish it off to a local shortline or excursion carrier (GP9's are still pretty plentiful in active freight and museum service, even though they're nearly as old as the F-units).

Unlike rapid transit where Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine has excellently preserved and operating examples of pretty much every Boston subway train of the last 100 years, commuter rail doesn't have much historical preservation. The T's first-purchase new CR equipment--the F40PH's and the Pullman coaches--are either still active (the Pullmans remanufactured from-scratch in '96 and the best-condition of any of the single-level fleet) or still on the property. All of the rest were hand-me downs from their predecessor railroads, with the FP10's and rebuilt/de-motored Budd RDC coaches passed into active service on other CR agencies rather than retired outright. The pu-pu platter of other garbage they acquired from Penn Central was pretty much gone from '79-82 when they were trying to fleet-renew on a tight budget, so nothing worth having was still in their hands by the time it hit an age where historic preservation started to become a concern. Plenty of examples of CR equipment that did get inherited by the T is on museum display elsewhere...but it passed through multiple hands en route.
 

Lrfox

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Not directly MBTA related, but interesting article on the psychology of Japanese train stations: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/05/the-amazing-psychology-of-japanese-train-stations/560822/?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=citylab&fbclid=IwAR0iBcW3GGfdwYnI3rHKMDnmyoynUjQo3oQbsUxZcjnr91aWUa-gjQVKWvs

It dives into little things I'd never think of - blue lighting to reduce suicide attempts, short musical jingles to calm passengers, and even high frequency sounds to deter teenagers from loitering. I'm not sure how many, if any, would work here, but it's a fascinating read anyway.
 

GP40MC

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As far as the MBTA FP10 fleet dispositions go:
1102-1105, 1107-08, 1110-11 all scrapped (Naparano and INPR)
1100 & 1114 (Owned by Iowa Pacific. 1100 in Colorado and the 1114 was last seen derelict at RELCO in Albia, Iowa)
1101 - Gold Coast Museum in Florida and for sale via Ozark Mountain Railcar
1151 - Adriondack Scenic in NY as their 1502
1106,1112, 1150 - Stored on Idaho & Pacific Northwest (INPR). Were in scenic train service. INPR not running those trains at this time)
1109, 1113 - Sold to FICX for scrap, but stored with two MNCR FL9's in Ashtabula, Ohio. Status is unclear.
1152 - Danbury Railroad Museum
1153 - Stuffed and mounted at Edaville Railroad.

The 904 is still down at so-called "Area 52" in Rochester. Also of note is GP40 3247, which joined the 904 down there. It's status is unclear.
 

odurandina

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^^Thanks guys.

at 5:00 the sound of this E8 #5089 is really cool........



and again, here........




Would be epic if the MBTA could run one of these a few times each year.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^^Thanks guys.

at 5:00 the sound of this E8 #5089 is really cool........



and again, here........




Would be epic if the MBTA could run one of these a few times each year.
They aren't going to run here. Pretty much none of the working examples have PTC signal and cab signal units installed, so they aren't able to run on regular Amtrak or commuter trackage without a shitload of paperwork for some one-off excursion (like Valley Railroad has to do whenever they do a very special trip into Old Saybrook off their NEC junction). I'm not even sure Adirondack Scenic will be able to get its ex-T unit onto the Empire Corridor at Utica Station anymore after CSX/Amtrak PTC goes live on the Empire. Grafton & Upton RR does have an E7 on its roster, though it's been stored out-of-service for a couple years now awaiting parts. They now use generic 1980's CSX hand-me-down's for regular freight service and are going to be selling off their other old units (mostly GP9's) because parts are getting scarce. However, their owner has indicated the E-unit is a keeper they want to get running again as a showpiece. G&U is going to be taking over CSX territory from Milford to Franklin and will by next year be running freight on a sliver of T trackage from Forge Park to Franklin Jct. However, because the E-unit isn't PTC or cab signal equipped and the CSX hand-me-downs are, you're not going to see the E7 (if it's fixed) roam any further inbound than Milford.

The closest you'll get to the "E" unit experience is the pair of ex-NYNH&H/ex-Metro North FL9's that Cape Cod Central acquired from ConnDOT last year. Those are "F"-units...a somewhat less-powerful sister lineup to the "E" units from the same design generation at EMD. The new CCCR acquisitions are, due to their recent CT lineage and having been based operable out of New Haven in their last public-service years, signal-equipped to run unmodified on the NEC. Those could make a special CCCR charter run to South Station as a "regular" move that doesn't have to be papered to hell with FRA waivers, but it would require a T staffer escorting a CCCR/Mass Coastal staffer in the cab for the move because Cape Rail staff aren't qualified on T trackage north of Middleboro and T staff aren't qualified on that type of loco. Because of that extra required handshake you aren't going to see it happen as anything regular...just a one-off (albeit potentially recurring, like an annual Santa train or something) special trip.


Signaling requirements makes getting this old crap off the shortlines and excursion carriers hard...really hard. There are simply too few excursion carriers that interface with new PTC-equipped territory to have any of that equipment installed (though theoretically anything could be PTC-equipped, even a 100-year-old steam engine), and the skunkworks/gearhead nature of a lot of the shortlines and excursion carriers that do maintain these engines makes acquiring that signal equipment a crippling financial burden. An LRT or HRT system can do that by self-waivering historic equipment that may not be compatible with their modern signal equipment because they don't have the FRA lording over them. But common-carrier obligations mean absorbing a lot of above-and-beyond bureaucracy. Since PTC is so new it is the financial backbreaker to doing any historic dog-and-pony shows on regular passenger lines. Amtrak does have an exhibit train it takes around the country (albeit hauled by regular-roster locos to handle the signal requirements), but nearly all commuter rail agencies being post-70's creations like Amtrak who lived hand-to-mouth in poverty for decades (or still are) means there was little to no bandwidth for historic preservation on their running rails. The museums did suck up tons of neat old stuff so there's no shortage of preserved examples of ex- commuter equipment...but they're captive to their own track and don't really interline much with the national network at large.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Last weekends shutdown timelapse:


60ft of track at State NB, 204ft at Haymarket NB, new tactile warning strips at Chinatown NB, new staircase treads into Chinatown SB, new staircase treads at various DTX stairs, and work on wayfinding at DTX.
 

JeffDowntown

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Last weekends shutdown timelapse:


60ft of track at State NB, 204ft at Haymarket NB, new tactile warning strips at Chinatown NB, new staircase treads into Chinatown SB, new staircase treads at various DTX stairs, and work on wayfinding at DTX.
OK, I get track, tactile warning strips as weekend shutdown work. (I assume signal upgrades will happen some time as well.)

Why are they wasting time, energy on stair treads during this very valuable shutdown time. Aren't stair treads the kind of work that could be done during night hours any day of the week?

Does the T actually employ project managers who think about priorities for work during this valuable shutdown time?
 

HelloBostonHi

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OK, I get track, tactile warning strips as weekend shutdown work. (I assume signal upgrades will happen some time as well.)

Why are they wasting time, energy on stair treads during this very valuable shutdown time. Aren't stair treads the kind of work that could be done during night hours any day of the week?

Does the T actually employ project managers who think about priorities for work during this valuable shutdown time?
Believe it or not, the employees working on stair treads are completely different to the ones working on track replacement. They have an outside contractor team working on the track work and then completely separately from them they send in their own MBTA employees to do other mundane work since the time is available and why not do it while you have the opportunity...
 

millerm277

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Why are they wasting time, energy on stair treads during this very valuable shutdown time. Aren't stair treads the kind of work that could be done during night hours any day of the week?
I would imagine a guy qualified to do track work is not the same guy qualified to do what's basically building maintenance.
 

ErnieAdams

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I'm often awestruck by the very specific ways in which the MBTA plainly does not give a shit what its customers think of it. Tonight for me it's the Winter Street Concourse. In the last year or so they finally blew out the false walls and doubled its width, then generally cleaned it up so that it's a better and brighter experience. That state of affairs lasted a matter of months and has been replaced with a scenario where two massive fenced-off construction zones now take up opposite ends and alternating sides of the concourse. It's almost as much space as the false walls used to take up, except worse because it switches sides in the middle so now you can't see the far end of the concourse from either starting point.

As an avid reader here and elsewhere, I know that these zones are likely staging areas for the cleanup work now being performed during off hours in DTX and Park. Who else knows that information, maybe 3% of the people coming through? To the other 97%, these are two gigantic (1000s of square feet) subtractions to the available space for no discernible reason, because 1) it's staging and storage for work that isn't being done when people are around, so it's dead empty almost all the time and has an air of dreadful semi-permanence to it, and 2) there isn't a solitary bit of explanatory information posted anywhere in the concourse. Why is this here? How long will it be here? When it's gone, what will have been done or improved?

Even the rinkiest-dinkiest house flipper will put up a yard sign with the contractor's name on it, and if any city housing funds were involved then you'll read about it for sure. How is it possible that for more than 300 linear feet of temporary fencing, the only signage to be found says "CONSTRUCTION ZONE - DO NOT ENTER"? How hard would it be to put up a poster or two saying "20% of your sales tax dollars at work" (presumably the underutilized marketing team will have a catchier slogan) and including some dignitaries' names, an explanation of the project and a timeline to completion? Instead, this giant unsightly mess is left to riders' imagination, like a front-lawn tire collection perpetually halfway to being loaded onto a flatbed for a desperately needed dump run. What a wasted opportunity to communicate with your customers and to show how hard you actually are working to spruce things up.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Customer outreach is one of those "nice to haves" when you are facing budget cuts. It's more important that they are doing the work then if they are advertising it. But I agree with you (also with the "tax dollars at work" sign would be nice). Here in Brooklyn the MTA had to rebuild the L train tunnel and must be commended on their outreach. This was Byford's doing because he actually gives a shit. Well, I guess we can't have nice things anymore.
 

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