MBTA to spend millions of dollars of tax-payer money unecessarily?

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MBTA to spend millions of dollars of tax-payer money unecessarily?
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 9:22 AM
The MBTA let a million-dollar consulting contract to determine the future of the Ashmont-Mattapan High-Speed Trolley Line.  The claim was made that the PCCs operating on the line would require major overhauls and that repair parts would not be available.  Brookville Engineering, San Francisco's MUNI, Kenosha, and SEPTA are proving them wrong.  Still, if the million dollars spent determines when, how, and how costly, the Red Line heavy rapid transit line should be extended over the current high-speed trolley line to Mattapan, the money need not be completely wasted.  Good analysis of demographics, population growth, etc., is as important as the rolling stock, right-of-way, and power issues.
 
But now a multi-million-dollar consulting contract is being let to determine the costs and the actual engineering issues to completely rebuild the Green Line subway and some of the surface feeder tracks as well, enlarging clearances, modifying curves, etc., just to accommodate the typical (Alstom, Bombardier, Siemans, Stadler, etc.) multi-section low-floor LRVs that are claimed to be needed to add capacity.  My opinion of this cannot be expressed fully without violating Forum Guidelines, so let me just say this approach is stupid.
 
A rational plan to improve capacity would take the consulting fee alone, without the consultation, and use it to modify existing maintenance and overhaul facilities to accomodate the longer rolling stock that indeed is needed.  Then low-floor middle section bodies and one truck would be added to the Nippon-Sharo high-floor Type 7 cars, which have proven reliable.  They would be thoroughly overhauled, equipped with the new low–floor center sections, as has been done successfully with many European trams on several systems.
 
The same approach would be applied to the Type 9 low-floor cars now being delivered.   And additional Type 9s would be ordered with the middle section.  This would take care of the capacity issue without any modification to the tunnels or tracks, other than insuring the best possible conditions.  The multi-section low-floor cars the MBTA management says is necessary have absolutely no advantages over the three-section cars resulting from extending the Type 9 cars.  None at all.
 
The Breda low-floor cars would be thoroughly inspected.  Those is good conditioned would be mothballed in protected storage.  (The unused tunnels to the Tremont and Broadway portals is one possible location.)  When the nine PCCs serving Mattapan –Ashmont must be replaced , nine Bombariers will replace them.  When they wear out another nine.  And so forth.  And they would also constitue a "surge fleet" for special conditions. 
 
I don't need a multi-million dollar contract to know that this is a far better approach to increasing capacity on the Green Line Subway than rebuilding it.
 
David Lloyd Klepper, USA Army Veteran, SB MIT, EE '53, SM, EE, MIT, '57
Took Professor Ballsbaugh's Transportation Plannnng Course at MIT
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 04, 2018 5:10 AM

Two photos from Jack May's Helsinki visits, already posted elsewhere on this Forum. showing Valmett built high-floor six-axle (three-truck) two sections cars built in the 1970's, each with a 2013-2014 low-floor center section added, making them three-section four-truck cars.  A successful and reliable conversion.  Boston's Nippon-Sharo Type 7 cars could be converted the same way.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, October 04, 2018 6:59 AM

Why didn't you bid on the consulting contract??

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 04, 2018 7:47 AM

I am not a registered USA corporation with full compliance with hire minorities, recycling, non-pollution, adequate parking, none-water-wasting, and maybe another 100 forms and requirements to address.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 04, 2018 7:52 AM

I have not sent all this material anywhere else.

Should the critique be in the magazine?

Should I sned it to Gevernoe Baker?  Should a reader who is Massachusetts tax-payer send it to Governor Baker?

Note I did not address the economic cost of service disruption during the rebuilding!

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Posted by petitnj on Thursday, October 04, 2018 4:54 PM

In major cities transit studies are folly. Build it and the land around it explodes in investment and use. The Green Line in St. Paul, MN traverses University Avenue. 20 years ago the Avenue was "the avenue of broken dreams" and devoid of commerce that had all moved to the suburbs. Now nearly $5B of new construction has changed its face. Most cities are so congested that any light rail is a magnet for commerce and housing. Studies sound good, but just waste money. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 7:54 AM

New transit lines, including light rail, are not a guaranteed success and neither is the resulting development.  There is always a fair amount of opposition to them and the studies are required for myriad political reasons as well as fiscal reasons.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 8:38 AM

Paul, you successfully answered Petinin.

But neither post concerns the problem of wastefully spending 20 million of tax payer money to solve a problem that simply does not exist.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, October 11, 2018 2:25 AM

NJTransit added a center seating section and additional power unit to some of their orginally two-section-one-power-unit LRVs:

 

The above are on the Hudson and Bergen Counties Light Rail, below on branch of the Newark Subway near the DL&W Station, with that main line in the background,

Jack May photos 

 

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