General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

shmessy

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Strangely the new Orange Line trains kept his voicing which must have been a completely new recording as they are the first orange line vehicles with automatic announcements, but the new GL didn't get him even though they already have recorded green line announcements. Mystery to me. The new green lines robotic "stand clear of the closing doors" is very jarring I feel like Frank would do it much better

https://www.reddit.com/r/boston/comments/cqc9hi
 

HenryAlan

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Also I hate to say it but these trains have a much larger dwell time and it's causing problems. I now see them in service near daily and every single time they have been the leading train of a three car bunch, with two older trainsets stuck behind them. The doors close so much slower, the mirrors take forever to close and even then they seem to take off slower and accelerate slower.
There's a guy on railroad.net who has been talking about this with quite some alarm for at least six months. He thinks the longer dwell time is going to add significantly to trip times, and he's probably not wrong about that. He has done lots of sample measurements and the new cars are consistently 30-45 seconds slower in leaving the platform.
 

Riverside

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Interesting to me that the commuter rail map they used is, in fact, the one from Wikipedia.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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F-Line to Dudley

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Looks like @F-Line to Dudley is gonna have to change his username.

Somehow I doubt the old name is going to fall out of popular usage that quickly. This is of course the city where "Traffic on the 3's" still every 10 minutes on-the-dot namechecks 93 between Canton-Braintree as "Route 128" when that hasn't been factually accurate in 23 years. Accumulated mindshare drains very slowwwwwly here when it comes to wayfinding placemarkers.

I wonder if they are going to subtext the new signage with "Dudley" in the white strip underneath the primary station-name color strip. By Cambridge Seven design standards for the system that is still the ruling standard for "backwards compatibility" when station names have changed to ref the old name on primary signage. See DTX still subtexed as "Washington", JFK still subtexted as "Columbia", Kendall signage still subtexting the very short-lived "Cambridge Center" name that never stuck, GC => "Scollay", Hynes => "Auditorium", and so on.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^ I wonder how many people still call it "Yawkey."
Probably most. It's still there on majority of system signage, and if the most recent schedule revision didn't change anyone's train schedule they're still carrying around a paper schedule that says it.

On signage renewal period it's going to take several years to flush that one out of vernacular.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I still hear Hynes/ICA in my head
Probably because Frank's voice was edited to clip out the "ICA" when it moved to the Seaport. The enunciation clearly betrays that there used to be something else after "Hynes Convention Center" because he isn't naturally starting an exhale at the end of that name when it cuts. Usually when they record a bunch of discrete human-spoken words to robo-string together by computer or program the robo-voice to do it all virtual they have to bank separate recordings of words based on beginning, middle, or end slotting in the spoken string otherwise the split-second breath pauses sound all weird and unnatural. Happens so fast in natural speech we don't ever notice it's there...until you hear robo-speech where it isn't there and it instantaneously sounds jarring and wrong.
 

Andrew

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WCVB did a couple videos showing off the inside of the MBTA control center downtown. It's a pretty shallow dive even by TV news standards but it's the most I've ever gotten to see inside other than just a picture or two.


 

F-Line to Dudley

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Some procurement milestones. . .
  • Type 9 order is past the 50% mark in acceptances: 13 in-service, 11 to go. Mysteriously, car 3906 is still AWOL while all other sequential numbers to _13 are in-service.
  • 40-foot bus primary procurement is now 105 in-service, 89 to go (then the +60 bonus order kicking in).
  • New Flyer DL40F straight-diesel 40-footer midlife overhaul program is down to its last bus and should wrap this week.
  • F40PH-3C locomotive rebuild (37 units total): 8 rebuilds in-service (>20%), 12 out for rebuild (2 in-testing). If you're counting by paint job that's 8 (soon to be 10) new rebuilds out on the road in the sharp new purple nose with black lining, 14 remaining in-service non-rebuilds in the old paint, 1 non-rebuild in the old paint with 13-years-dated "Greenbush Opening" nose detail (see user Java King's board avatar), and 2 non-rebuilds in experimental MassDOT blue paint (to be going away for the new scheme). Numbers by paint job will probably hit tipping point in next 2 weeks at most, since MPI hasn't announced any work slowdowns yet.
  • Kawasaki 700-series bi-level coach midlife overhaul program is at 80% completion. 84 completed, including all 1700-series cab cars. 10 trailers away for overhaul, 21 non-rebuild trailers left. They're drawing equally from the 1997-98 and 2001-02 order batches (900-series from '05-06 is not part of this program). Rebuilds are distinguished from non-rebuilds (and the 900-series) by having the new LED destination screens installed inside and out.
  • Neoplan 40-footer bus retirements are at the one-third mark: 145 in-service, 47 retired.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Sticking it here for lack of snug-fitting other thread. The legendary 5-mile long Hoosac Tunnel through the Berkshires on the Patriot Corridor / Fitchburg Main Line just reopened after a nearly 6-week closure due to bad ceiling collapse. The 1875-built tunnel slices through the water table in multiple places at the base of the Berkshires and has, throughout its history, been subject to lots of infrastructure issues from water seepage. This time a large length of brick ceiling liner gave way and left a long pile's worth of debris blocking the tunnel in its most serious collapse event in 48 years. Ceiling was repaired with shotcrete patch, much like the 1972 cave-in which is still holding firm. Additional work is continuing, but train service has resumed with Norfolk Southern running extras this week to fetch the huge number of intermodal empties that have piled up in Ayer, with regular service slowly ramping up. Crews had to work 24/7 in tight quarters to remove the blockage and do the repairs...a pretty mean feat with COVID raging (but the Hoosac falls under national defense- protected infrastructure, so it would always be prioritized).

During the outage Pan Am Southern (the 50/50 NS + Pan Am joint venture on the Corridor) has been running emergency detour trains over the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express's normal route to Rutland (Canadian Pacific trackage in NY, Vermont Rail System trackage in VT), then Vermont Rail System's Green Mountain mainline Rutland-Bellows Falls and 'native' PAS territory Bellows Falls-Deerfield on the Conn River Line. Much slower and a lower-weight rated routing, but equivalent height clearances so they were able to move the normal loads of autoracks to the Ayer autoport.


The MassDOT tie-in is that PAS got grant money a few years ago to kick off design for increasing clearances in the Hoosac Tunnel (which has happened periodically, most recently about 20 years ago, by shaving down the trackbed) to run double-stacked intermodal cars to Ayer so Norfolk Southern gains more competitive parity into Worcester County with CSX. It's not known how the latest cave-in will affect timetables for that enhancement, which was supposed to be self-funded for the tunnel itself with MassDOT later pitching in on some bridge raisings to Ayer (far fewer here than it needed to do for CSX on the B&A). Since the Hoosac's water damage problems are pretty much ever-present and will always pop up in a new unforeseen place sooner or later it's thought that there's not much overall they can do except for "acceptable mitigation", so they probably won't significantly delay the clearance project to front-load any repairs. One of the mysteries is that since Pan Am is a 100% private company it's not known what--if anything--they have for self-insurance on Hoosac incidents. It is speculated that because of the tunnel's ultra long-term instabilities that Boston & Maine could never get fully insured for that trackage, so its successor Pan Am likely operates uninsured through there with the 50/50 PAS partnership simply covering Norfolk Southern's ass.


Anyway...ever since this story broke I was reminded of Alon Levy's NY/New England high-speed rail crayon map he drew a couple months ago and how much "MOAR TUNNEL!" it required to cleanroom a higher-speed corridor across the Berkshires than the existing B&A to hook us up to the Albany-hub juvenation machine. Tunneling justified on rough grounds that because the Euros can do it within-cost us stupid Americans have no excuse. Anyway...it 'was' prefaced as a no-warranties-offered crayon doodle map offered up for discussion so Levy gets some slack for not stanning too hard for that. But this is one reason why--in the absence of a consulting geologist--you just don't crayon-out mass tunnel-thons on a whim. Especially when it involves mainline rail outside of a well-understood city core. The Hoosac is bored straight through the absolute most solid base of the Berkshires...which is why you get a tunnel up there between North Adams-Florida but the B&A has to climb a 5-mile long 1.2% grade over Middlefield Hill further south where the mountains are stalling out into a porous glacial boulder field. But the Hoosac still suffers all the maladies common with base tunnels (at least all those boring through less-'pristinely' solid masses like the Alps or Continental Divide) in that "solid" rock is all-relative and crossing the water table--potentially multiple times--is a bitch carrying lifelong maintenance tax and self-insurance premiums on the structure. Try splitting the difference between the Fitchburg Main's way-north trajectory and the Pike's way-south trajectory to hit Pittsfield through the boulder field with "MOAR TUNNEL!" and the folly immediately becomes apparent given the Hoosac's century-level battles with the water table. Doubleplus so stupidity on NEC FUTURE's insane Shoreline Bypass crayon doodles through hilariously porous Connecticut trap rock. I mean...duh!...the stuff's ground into primary-source road gravel product for paving projects across the Northeast because it flakes off so goddamn easy. You're not burrowing under mass tracts of inland New London County when that geological swill is its primary makeup.
 
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Java King

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  • F40PH-3C locomotive rebuild (37 units total): 8 rebuilds in-service (>20%), 12 out for rebuild (2 in-testing). If you're counting by paint job that's 8 (soon to be 10) new rebuilds out on the road in the sharp new purple nose with black lining, 14 remaining in-service non-rebuilds in the old paint, 1 non-rebuild in the old paint with 13-years-dated "Greenbush Opening" nose detail (see user Java King's board avatar), and 2 non-rebuilds in experimental MassDOT blue paint (to be going away for the new scheme). Numbers by paint job will probably hit tipping point in next 2 weeks at most, since MPI hasn't announced any work slowdowns yet.
So you don't have to go looking for my Avatar. :)
 

Wash

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A few weeks ago a friend of a friend told me that the T might be painting a few diesels in heritage paint schemes; any updates?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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A few weeks ago a friend of a friend told me that the T might be painting a few diesels in heritage paint schemes; any updates?
Well, it's trendy with NJ Transit doing it. And if anyone trawls the outer Fitchburg Line often enough to see Norfolk Southern intermodal trains run, NS has the most extensive series of heritage loco paints in the industry honoring the innumerable defunct RR's that were absorbed (X many times removed) into their network, with those units on regular rotation on the Patriot Corridor. And their paint shop at famous Altoona Works RR shops is so good they're almost always spot-on accurate (because they'll hear about it from a rabid army of HO-scale foamers if a single line is non-authentic).


I'm just not sure what would quality as "T heritage". It's been variations on the same purple scheme with few radical changes ever since they first first equipment purchases in the late-70's. The Boston & Maine heritage on the northside is hard to replicate because the Budd RDC's were all- stainless steel with just logo decals, no "paint". Their only paint jobs--both the blue-dip paint w/ BM logo and the earlier red w/yellow stripes and Minuteman logo were freight-only jobs, with the steam era basically being non-schemed dull colors that absorbed soot well.


Southside you've got the good old NYNH&H interlocking NH, but State of Connecticut already wears that as its home scheme. Most Boston & Albany trains ran in pool fleet with their corporate owners New York Central...sometimes stickered with the cherry-red B&A logo over whatever the prevailing NYC scheme of the day was, but usually not. (pre- D Line Brookline Village, mid-1950's). . .
.


And, well...the less said about the Penn Central era in Boston the better. :poop:
 

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