Regional Rail (RUR) & North-South Rail Link (NSRL)

Tallguy

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I don’t see why they can’t order more multilevel cars, especially if they would be operable with bi-level EMU’s. 2030 seems like an aggressive timeline for OLX to Needham AND Reading, considering past projects
And I doubt they will be. Most EMUs are built as a unit, with shared bogies
 

Brattle Loop

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2030 seems like an aggressive timeline for OLX to Needham AND Reading, considering past projects
It seems very aggressive. For that matter, the idea that Providence/Stoughton, Fairmount, Worcester (and the Eastern Route? and part? of the north terminal?) could all be wired by 2030 isn't something I'd be willing to bet on. It'll be seven years, give or take a few days, between the first possible instant where we have a governor who isn't reflexively allergic to this kind of spending until that (admittedly arbitrary) 2030 deadline. (8 if you go with Baker & Company rules where "opening 2030" can mean electric service starts at 11 PM on 12/21/30). Not only would the new administration need to a.) want to do this, b.) be willing to exert effort to make it happen, and c.) be able to get the usually-intransigent legislature and its all-powerful Speaker to agree, there's no guarantee of federal matching funds that I'm aware of (and, uh, if the House is controlled by Republicans for any good chunk of the 2020s, we're probably not going to see waves of money for blue-state transit). And that's just the 'easy' part of wiring the existing lines (which, I will happily concede, is a damn sight more possible by 2030 under realistic conditions if it doesn't involve the north terminal district), without counting OLX on either end. (OLX to Reading is not something that anyone can reasonably expect to be a fast project. Some of those communities *cough*Melrose*cough* will be NIMBY nightmares to slog through.)

Because rolling stock is a 30-40 yr decision, and if we are still using diesel in 2040 never mind 2050 the planet will be nearly dead.
Which, overbroad hyperbole aside, is an excellent reason to electrify. It has no bearing on either a.) whether the EMUs should be bi-levels or b.) whether more bi-levels potentially compatible with EMUs (i.e. MultiLevels) are a good interim addition. (The "overbroad hyperbole" in question refers to the fact that the planet will neither notice nor care if we're still straggling on diesel in three decades. If the "we' in question refers to humanity's oil addiction, then it's a valid point, but out-of-scope. We're not arguing against electrification, after all.)

And I doubt they will be. Most EMUs are built as a unit, with shared bogies
Not the ones pitched to the T. Maybe half of the EMUs actually proposed in response to the T's EMU RFI were semi-permanently coupled, and most of them were non-articulated, with separate trucks. (The semi-permanent thing seems more as a result of them being married pairs.) Notably the only ones that weren't FRA-noncompliant (or outright vaporware), 2-1 in favor of single-car options (the cruddy Silverliner V and the MultiLevel EMU to the married-pair-but-separate-trucks California KISS). BBD's stated aim, which NJT is intending to rely upon, is for the MLV EMU to be operationally compatible with the non-powered MLV, meaning we could potentially buy MLVs to supplement the coach fleet knowing that they'd be born-compatible with the EMU fleet down the line. That they're not the perfectionist-ideal flats doesn't make them the wrong option, especially given that the non-powered version is a perfectly usable trailer behind the diesels for the years-to-decades they're sticking around these parts.
 

BosMaineiac

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We need a paradigm shift. The way the T is run needs to change.This summer is dramatic proof.
6EB5286B-7EAD-440B-AA5D-7471CCB410FF.jpeg

Brattle Loop summed this up well as I was typing. I agree wholeheartedly that there needs to be a paradigm shift. The great thing about the new NJT MLV EMU order (which may be the only option) is they will be compatible with simple trailer cars like we already have. I think this is the best bet to see EMU’s here as it’s already compatible with existing equipment
 

Brattle Loop

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The great thing about the new NJT MLV EMU order (which may be the only option) is they will be compatible with simple trailer cars like we already have. I think this is the best bet to see EMU’s here as it’s already compatible with existing equipment
Per F-Line it's distinctly unclear whether the MultiLevel EMU will be compatible (or, at least, out-of-the-box compatible) with K-cars. It'll be compatible with the stock, un-powered MLV. It'd be worth the T finding out if it could be made compatible with a K-car trailer, but, if not, it'd certainly be an argument for the stock MLV as the frontrunner for future single-level replacement coach orders (along with or ahead of an MLV EMU order). Notably the MLV EMU was the only proposal in the T's RFI that wasn't either vaporware, known mediocrity (the Silverliner V), or platform-incompatible (the California KISS), with the added benefit that NJT is basically type-locked to them and will serve as the test customer. (Imagine that, the T buying something that someone else debugged for them.)
 

BosMaineiac

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Per F-Line it's distinctly unclear whether the MultiLevel EMU will be compatible (or, at least, out-of-the-box compatible) with K-cars.
Right, I’ll admit that was speculation on my part since they’re compatible with NJT. It would definitely be worth looking into though
 

Tallguy

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And if the T didn't send out "bi-levels vibes" then Alstom, Bombardier and Stadler would provide viable, alt-FRA compliant flats in a heart beat
 

Brattle Loop

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And if the T didn't send out "bi-levels vibes" then Alstom, Bombardier and Stadler would provide viable, alt-FRA compliant flats in a heart beat
Did you read the T's RFI documents? (I'll concede that I didn't, I don't even know if they made them public.) If you did and can point to where they may have put the thumb on the scale in favor of bi-levels, by all means do so (it'd be useful to know what to look for if they were to do such a thing again; they tend to get somewhat less effective at sandbagging when they're on their later attempts). For convenience, the EMU RFI presentation slides. (Best source I can find in a two-minute search.)

More to the point, no one who responded to the RFI bar Rotem has an existing FRA-compliant single-level EMU design. Alstom (though not their primary offering), CRRC, Hitachi, Rotem, and Stadler (also not their primary offering) at least mentioned single-levels, CRRC, Hitachi, and Rotem's proposed offerings were only single-levels. None of them FRA-compliant. They'll all happily build us one. We're the ones who might wind up very unhappy when, yet again, we're forced to be the guinea pig for a new design by an untested-in-the-US manufacturer (or, worse, Rotem, who's been tested and found basically incompetent).

No one (strawmen arguments don't count) has ever suggested that it's impossible to get a single-level FRA-compliant EMU. It's entirely doable, and the manufacturers would, indeed, provide viable ones in a heartbeat as you suggest. They'd also charge a ludicrous amount for them, because there's a metric shit-ton of work and risk that goes into modding a design for even the FRA's-newer, slightly-less-backwards regulations. Bombardier isn't having the fastest or easiest time with the MLV EMU, and that's just stuffing EMU guts into the existing FRA-compliant MLV, on a system they're very familiar with given that NJT's locomotive orders are near-enough sole-source BBD at this point.

The point I have been trying, repeatedly, to make is that the T is obliged (both out of good management practice and, more directly, by procurement rules) to make equipment decisions based on more than idealistic-perfectionistic vision of what the fastest-boarding EMU is. Something bi-level like the MLV or the KISS would presumably score lower on metrics involving speed-of-boarding, but if it's weighing that and say, them wasting their capacity to some degree on some routes versus them scoring a lot higher on risk and cost (because, remember, NJT and California are eating the first-adopter tax for a change), then that works out to be the more sensible purpose, even if it leaves the flat's better-boarding perfectionists pulling their hair out. That RFI's obviously a bit out of date now, and we'll see what's on offer at the next bite of the apple, but from the actual documents there were six options: two bilevels where someone else is eating the compliance-modification costs and the teething problems (California KISS and MLV EMU), three vaporware imports we'd have to eat those costs on (Alstom, CRRC, Hitachi), and one FRA-compliant single-level lemon (Rotem) that we shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Unless someone else decides they want to be the beta tester for a Euro-import between now and then, the next RFI's going to turn up basically the same things. It's not about whether the manufacturers can or will offer a single-level, it's entirely about whether the sum total of factors it would take to get them works out favorably in comparison to getting the probably-much-easier-to-acquire bilevels. (If you ask me, "best fit at best cost" is a sea change in the right direction compared to the T's too-frequent habit of overcustomization.)
 

Tallguy

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You are fixated on FRA compliant when the FRA has approved an alternative based on European standards and you ignore their
availability and truly near universal use everywhere but here.
And eat what costs? Raising the floor? They change floor heights, track gauges and widths all the time. They are specifically designed to do that.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Macro view on the discussion:
We all speak of relatively minor infrastructure improvements with "moonshot" financial and engineering language. It shows how we've allowed ourselves to be beaten down over the last 40 years.
Christ! Raise or replace the old bridges. Buy the flat cars. Wire it ALL up. Lease BEMUs for ten years while we do it all. Bill me later. NEXT!
Keep the heat on Healey. Don't let us get Baker'ed again.
 

bigpicture7

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Macro view on the discussion:
We all speak of relatively minor infrastructure improvements with "moonshot" financial and engineering language. It shows how we've allowed ourselves to be beaten down over the last 40 years.
Christ! Raise or replace the old bridges. Buy the flat cars. Wire it ALL up. Lease BEMUs for ten years while we do it all. Bill me later. NEXT!
Keep the heat on Healey. Don't let us get Baker'ed again.
This type of advocacy is not how anything gets done pragmatically. Instead, try: What are the immediate-term benefits for (gasp) the unengaged? Is it jobs (including construction to do this work)? Better for the economy? Better bridges for car drivers (gasp) once these old bridges are rebuilt? Super speedy times to get int/out of Boston? Less road traffic?

Though I am sure you won't see this at first, note I am not saying to let go of what you are pushing for in the least. Push hard. But it's always about framing for the unengaged, and even for your enemies.
 

HenryAlan

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Macro view on the discussion:
We all speak of relatively minor infrastructure improvements with "moonshot" financial and engineering language. It shows how we've allowed ourselves to be beaten down over the last 40 years.
Christ! Raise or replace the old bridges. Buy the flat cars. Wire it ALL up. Lease BEMUs for ten years while we do it all. Bill me later. NEXT!
Keep the heat on Healey. Don't let us get Baker'ed again.
So on point. We live in one of the richest states in one of the richest countries in the world. It's inconceivable that we can't afford basic infrastructure. We choose not to make these investments. We can choose to make them instead.
 

Tallguy

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So on point. We live in one of the richest states in one of the richest countries in the world. It's inconceivable that we can't afford basic infrastructure. We choose not to make these investments. We can choose to make them instead.
That is what is so frustrating as an advocate. Mass only does something when they have to, and then takes SOOOmuch money to do it. The new bus garages are a perfect example. Springfield built a new garage for 150 buses 3 years ago for 54M. The T bids came in at 10x that for 135 buses.Where is the outrage?
 

bigpicture7

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So on point. We live in one of the richest states in one of the richest countries in the world. It's inconceivable that we can't afford basic infrastructure. We choose not to make these investments. We can choose to make them instead.
Even in Massachusetts, it is all about convincing those who are not inclined to make these investments (and sense little value in them) see the value. I'm tired of listening to cheerleaders cheerlead to themselves. Making things happen is about convincing others who do not see things the way you do. If people already saw things the way you/we do, these things would already be funded and getting done. It is not universally recognized that these things are worth doing. Most laypeople in this state wouldn't even identify these as priorities. They think their lives are oh so costly and oh so difficult without even having awareness of this stuff. They are wrong, of course.
 

Tallguy

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Did you read the T's RFI documents? (I'll concede that I didn't, I don't even know if they made them public.) If you did and can point to where they may have put the thumb on the scale in favor of bi-levels, by all means do so (it'd be useful to know what to look for if they were to do such a thing again; they tend to get somewhat less effective at sandbagging when they're on their later attempts). For convenience, the EMU RFI presentation slides. (Best source I can find in a two-minute search.)

More to the point, no one who responded to the RFI bar Rotem has an existing FRA-compliant single-level EMU design. Alstom (though not their primary offering), CRRC, Hitachi, Rotem, and Stadler (also not their primary offering) at least mentioned single-levels, CRRC, Hitachi, and Rotem's proposed offerings were only single-levels. None of them FRA-compliant. They'll all happily build us one. We're the ones who might wind up very unhappy when, yet again, we're forced to be the guinea pig for a new design by an untested-in-the-US manufacturer (or, worse, Rotem, who's been tested and found basically incompetent).

No one (strawmen arguments don't count) has ever suggested that it's impossible to get a single-level FRA-compliant EMU. It's entirely doable, and the manufacturers would, indeed, provide viable ones in a heartbeat as you suggest. They'd also charge a ludicrous amount for them, because there's a metric shit-ton of work and risk that goes into modding a design for even the FRA's-newer, slightly-less-backwards regulations. Bombardier isn't having the fastest or easiest time with the MLV EMU, and that's just stuffing EMU guts into the existing FRA-compliant MLV, on a system they're very familiar with given that NJT's locomotive orders are near-enough sole-source BBD at this point.

The point I have been trying, repeatedly, to make is that the T is obliged (both out of good management practice and, more directly, by procurement rules) to make equipment decisions based on more than idealistic-perfectionistic vision of what the fastest-boarding EMU is. Something bi-level like the MLV or the KISS would presumably score lower on metrics involving speed-of-boarding, but if it's weighing that and say, them wasting their capacity to some degree on some routes versus them scoring a lot higher on risk and cost (because, remember, NJT and California are eating the first-adopter tax for a change), then that works out to be the more sensible purpose, even if it leaves the flat's better-boarding perfectionists pulling their hair out. That RFI's obviously a bit out of date now, and we'll see what's on offer at the next bite of the apple, but from the actual documents there were six options: two bilevels where someone else is eating the compliance-modification costs and the teething problems (California KISS and MLV EMU), three vaporware imports we'd have to eat those costs on (Alstom, CRRC, Hitachi), and one FRA-compliant single-level lemon (Rotem) that we shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Unless someone else decides they want to be the beta tester for a Euro-import between now and then, the next RFI's going to turn up basically the same things. It's not about whether the manufacturers can or will offer a single-level, it's entirely about whether the sum total of factors it would take to get them works out favorably in comparison to getting the probably-much-easier-to-acquire bilevels. (If you ask me, "best fit at best cost" is a sea change in the right direction compared to the T's too-frequent habit of overcustomization.)
They haven't bought a flat since the 1980s and it doesn't need to be in the RFI, manufacturers can read the customer. They also might have been half-hearted in the submissions because T management had made it clear that they didn't want to be bothered with RR. I was an upper mid-level state bureaucrat for 30 yrs. I can spot when the fix is in.
 

Stlin

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Since I was in the system looking for the Type 10 RFP and specs, I also came across this thing. The MBTA recently also launched and closed an RFI for multimode locomotives to be some combo of Diesel/Battery/OCS for continued push-pull operation, explicitly to be compatible with the existing push-pull coach fleet.

Screenshot_20220901-200214_Word.jpg
Screenshot_20220901-200301_Word.jpg


I can't tell if this is generally a step in the right, or wrong, direction. No matter what happens in the medium term, lines such as the Outer Fitchburg or Old Colony will not be electrified expeditiously -for which a mixed mode might not be the worst idea in the world. But, for service on the Providence, Fairmount, or ESJ service, especially at launch? That doesn't seem to be ideal. What I would hope would come out of this is either a Bombardier MLV that has enough batteries to cover the gaps (as the B-Unit mentioned in the RFI) or simply for the outer CR.

edit for clarity: it should be noted that this is the second RFI. The first was issued in 2020 for EMUs with specific inquiries related to BEMU feasibility.
 
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jklo

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A dual-mode locomotive would be a good idea. A tri-mode? With batteries? Are wires that hard?
I definitely get the impression that the T really does not want anything to do with wires. And that their preference for the CR would be to run diesel until either no longer allowed or battery tech gets good enough, whichever comes first.
 

DigitalSciGuy

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Seemingly nor does Amtrak... and they're setting the tone for the industry/leading the pack. This sounds like it's practically lifted from Amtrak's plan for the Intercity Trainset configuration (PDF pg 128, doc pg 126), due to replace the Northeast Corridor equipment (among others). The trainsets have been sketched as late as Feb 2022 as having exactly the same thing being specified in the MBTA RFI.

1662083071967.png


Curious if MBTA ends up ordering BI-LEVEL battery/pantograph B-loco to accommodate passengers in one half or if others in capital planning get with the program and order single-level sets with mid-ship doors to allow reduced dwell times at high-level platforms.

One way or another, it seems the PRIIA Section 305 Next Generation Equipment Committee was really helpful to synchronize mainline railroad equipment in North America... but that means everyone's also jumping on the same bandwagon of diesel-first hardware procurement with the common equipment being collectively specified and offered. This is almost on the scale of the PCC car on impact we're about to see across ALL of North America - VIA rail, Brightline, almost every single Amtrak corridor service - but it would be as if the PCC car ended up being a jet turbine-powered streetcar. 🥲

MBTA is going to get exactly what they're looking for from this RFI and just watch... they're gonna go to the board with a slide deck from Siemens showing them they have exactly the fleet they 'need'. All the big kids are getting these toys, will vett and road-test them before this goes to RFP and the MBTA will use that as 'proof' that for once they're doing a responsible procurement of fleet.
 

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