Electric Locomotives for the Providence Line

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Electric Locomotives for the Providence Line

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:08 pm

Guys-I noticed in a previous forum about an idea to test electric locomotives on the Providence line: Good idea! From NJT lease at least two locomotives - an ALP44 and ALP46 for test on the Providence line. Maybe a Amtrak HHP8 can be tested for a time to take advantage of the electrified route - noting running time and performance to see if electric engines are the way to go on the Providence line. I can picture MBTA using upwards of 12 electric locos on this line and would RIDOT also be receptive to the purchase of them? This would free up diesel locomotives for other service elsewhere. Any Opinions? MACTRAXX
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:42 pm

The MBTA won't be having any electrics anytime and I also doubt that NJT will give up the ALP-44's so I am guessing that the 46's or HHP-8's will be the most likely candidates. I think the electrics would greatly improve times etc but I don't think we will see any soon. :( I still will give it to the F40's. :-)
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Postby efin98 » Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:03 pm

This has been discussed at length many times before, see those threads for more information...
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Postby Ken W2KB » Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:04 pm

Are there enough trains to justify a 'unique' locomotive with specialized (versus diesel) maintenance needs? I suspect not. NJT has many more miles of electrified lines and thus the fixed costs of electric maintenance are much lower per unit.
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Postby Cotuit » Fri Feb 11, 2005 11:57 am

The improved trip times could be a draw for users of the Providence line. Right now coming in from Providence travelling by train or by car are about the same (though there are more traffic problems with a car than there are delays with a train). However if your destination in Boston is not within a short walk of Back Bay or South Station and you need to take the subway or a bus to your final destination, the train starts to look like a less attractive option.

Trip times will become more of an issue once the commuter rail gets extended to Warwick and South County. The South County extension will be working to bring commuters to Providence as well as Boston, that South County to Providence section really needs to be able to beat the car commute to fully compete. Lack of parking in Providence won't be enough to lure a lot of people into leaving their cars at home.
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Postby Cotuit » Fri Feb 11, 2005 12:05 pm

Amtrak's uncertain future is also the wildcard in this scheme. If Amtrak gets dismantled we may need to build a northeast consortium to keep the Acela alive. The T may well become part of this and may have to take on part of the task of maintaining Amtrak's electric fleet.
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Sat Feb 12, 2005 3:32 pm

I will be very shocked if Amtrak goes belly up... I can remember something like this before when it showed up on the news, and to add I don't think it's smart for the T to go for HHP-8's because they don't seem totally reliable.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Feb 12, 2005 9:25 pm

AEM7AC920 wrote:I don't think it's smart for the T to go for HHP-8's because they don't seem totally reliable.


I have heard that a well. :-)
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Postby ST214 » Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:56 pm

I can't tell you how MARC's are doing, but one day last week, out of all 15 HHP-8's, they were all shopped for various ailments except for 2. Shame, as they are nice loco's, and when they're working right, they're good pullers too.
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Postby 7 Train » Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:06 am

The AEM7 is a more reliable design, but it has been out of production since 1987 and the simliar ALP44 was last built in Sweden in 1997.
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Postby AEM7AC920 » Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:44 am

7 Train wrote:The AEM7 is a more reliable design, but it has been out of production since 1987 and the simliar ALP44 was last built in Sweden in 1997.


Yes and some people wonder why we say they don't make things like they use to. I think by far the ALP-46 is the best modern electric running. If anything the T should pick the ALP-46 or even go after a new design. I still think with the way the Geeps are running we might see new diesels first.
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Postby #5 - Dyre Ave » Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:35 pm

Before the T can even consider electric engines, it needs to electrify at least the Franklin, Needham and Fairmount lines (then again, I think Fairmount line should be made into a rapid transit line like the Red, Orange or Blue lines, but that's another story). To only have one line using electric equipment could present operational problems for the T, especially if there is ever a shoratge of diesel engines. The T needs to have flexibility in its train equipment. With a 100% diesel operation, they have that now.
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Postby octr202 » Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:13 pm

#5 - Dyre Ave wrote:Before the T can even consider electric engines, it needs to electrify at least the Franklin, Needham and Fairmount lines (then again, I think Fairmount line should be made into a rapid transit line like the Red, Orange or Blue lines, but that's another story). To only have one line using electric equipment could present operational problems for the T, especially if there is ever a shoratge of diesel engines. The T needs to have flexibility in its train equipment. With a 100% diesel operation, they have that now.


Definately. If there ever was the funding, that would be a good plan. getting 2-3 lines electrified would be a good starting point.

Needham presents an interesting case -- its short, and has closely spaced stations. It would be well suited to electric MU's, which could probably be used to improve frequencies and provide lower-cost weekend (maybe even Sunday?) service. To me, it would seem to share a lot with the likes of the Hatboro/Warminster or Fox Chase branches in Philadelphia.

If Franklin gets wired, then you really need to include the Fairmont. Fairmont would be great as a rapid transit line, as it slices right through the city. However, losing the route both as a backup to the SW Corridor, and as an "overflow" option for rush hour traffic (right now some of the Franklin Line trains rn that way) would probably prevent this. EMU's and simply charging near-subway level fares on regular headways might be a good solution.
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Postby Ken W2KB » Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:50 pm

NJ Transit has a policy of gradually moving from MYs to electric locomotive push-pull trains. The rationale is that FRA inspection and maintenance rules are identical for locomotives and individual MU cars. Thus, in a locomotive train only the locomotive is subject to the extensive (costly) requirements but a passenger equivalent 8 car MU would have 8 such costly requirements. Thus no new MUs for years now, all new equipment has been locomotives and cars.

Definitely a consideration in New England as well.
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Postby #5 - Dyre Ave » Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:17 pm

octr202 wrote:Needham presents an interesting case -- its short, and has closely spaced stations. It would be well suited to electric MU's, which could probably be used to improve frequencies and provide lower-cost weekend (maybe even Sunday?) service. To me, it would seem to share a lot with the likes of the Hatboro/Warminster or Fox Chase branches in Philadelphia.

If Franklin gets wired, then you really need to include the Fairmont. Fairmont would be great as a rapid transit line, as it slices right through the city. However, losing the route both as a backup to the SW Corridor, and as an "overflow" option for rush hour traffic (right now some of the Franklin Line trains rn that way) would probably prevent this. EMU's and simply charging near-subway level fares on regular headways might be a good solution.


Needham is defintely similar to the SEPTA branches you mentioned as well as R6 Norristown - and it would defintely work well as an EMU operation and with high platforms (all T lines should have high platforms to make boarding and existing much easier and faster).

I also agree that Fairmount should be wired if Franklin is going to be. I think it is possible for Fairmount trains to be run at "transit-level" frequencies. They may not be able to run as frequently as the Blue, Red or Orange Lines, but I think Fairmount could be run like the Staten Island Rapid Transit in NYC. It uses R44 subway cars that were modified with a few things required for operation on a mainline railroad. Yet they are the same dimensions as their R44 counterparts on the A train (75' long by 10' feet wide). Surely a railcar of similar design and dimenstions could be used on the Fairmount line, but be designed to operate off of catenary wires. And since Fairmount trains would run less frequently that the other rapid transit lines (maybe every 15 minutes during rush hours), there would be room for the few rush hour Franklin line trains that are normally scheduled to get to and from South Station via the Fairmount Line.
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