Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:57 pm

The bottom line is that the car was in service with an unsafe condition. If the car had been isolated - no problem. If the train had been tagged or blue-flagged - no problem. Someone at Braintree didn't do the right thing, and an unsafe train went into service. Beyond that point, nobody did anything unsafe, but someone should have notified the operator before then.
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby MACTRAXX » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:11 pm

Everyone: This video and topic reminds me of this incident on MNCR back in January 2011...
See: www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=78537
"New Haven MU door open 125-GCT"

If I witnessed this I would first write down the car number - which the posters in both of these incidents failed to do -
and report it to the train crew and/or the Police so they can take further action...Thankfully no one pulled the Emergency Brake
which could have made matters even worse...

In both occurrences it looks like defective door motors are to blame and luckily no one got hurt in either case...

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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby Disney Guy » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:04 pm

At the very least, the train should have been held at its next stop until some resolution was reached. Someone standing in a (different) doorway and waving to the operator can accomplish this.
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby CRail » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Arborway and millerm277 make very good comments. It's certainly getting blown out of proportion. It could have been a very dangerous situation, but it really wasn't given the circumstances. My attitude towards the passenger isn't really in disgust because they didn't call for help, but that it was not so dangerous that it couldn't wait until they arrived at their stop at which point you'd think the T was dangling babies out of moving trains. It's only a significant problem when it's convenient, and when dealing with it harms someone ELSE!

Thank you for your comments millerm, as they helped me recap and better articulate my position and what I really have a problem with.
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby Gerry6309 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:36 pm

Whether it was a defective door engine or a stuck door, the solution to either is to manually close the door until the lever drops, cut the air to the door out, and operate normally with the door out of service. If that could not be done, the train should have been taken out of service, since the car could not have been isolated with an open door.

3rdrail: Please don't use the age of the cars as a reason.It happens just as often on 01700s and 01800s. Winter is tough on doors, since sand gets into the tracks and can overload the door engine. The engine is designed to stop pushing if an obstacle is encountered. (01800s reopen)

To all: Yes, this could have had tragic consequences. Fortunately, it didn't. Very little common sense was exhibited, both when the door initially failed, and when the passengers boarded the car. Hopefully a lesson was learned by all involved.
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby CRail » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:24 pm

Thank you, Gerry, for defending the car's age. I felt I was battling too many fronts to take on another. We've been trained that old=bad, but that's simply not true. You know as well as I that some of Seashore's most reliable equipment is over 100, while the modern stuff has too many problems to be made operable. These components are fairly simple, but have to be maintained!
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby 3rdrail » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:19 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:
3rdrail: Please don't use the age of the cars as a reason.It happens just as often on 01700s and 01800s. Winter is tough on doors, since sand gets into the tracks and can overload the door engine. The engine is designed to stop pushing if an obstacle is encountered. (01800s reopen)


Hold right on there Herr Meisters Gerry and Corey ! Age corresponding with a door problem is very attributable due to the many things that happen over time. Any mechanical engineer will tell you that with anything that makes a repetitive motion, a slight deviation from the previous tract occurs. Only with highly sophisticated designs which incorporate "machines that detect and correct" such fluctuations does this happen less, but happen nonetheless. Even the metal within frames, pistons, tubing, tracks, shoes, etc. etc. gradually goes out of shape with each movement. You compare (in this instance) a door assembly which has made 3,000,000 cycles of opening and closing to one that has made 300 and you are likely to find less structural problems you know where. Of course stones can wedge into the tract of any door. That's not what we are talking about. We are talking about a system that doesn't do a complete tear-down on vehicles every few thousand miles to the point where such things as doors are carefully inspected to detect such problems- they are more likely to be looking at brakes, ATO, electronic, and air problems. What is more the norm is that the door is going to work perfectly for fifteen years and then wammo !!! It's going to have a temper tantrum at Park and refuse to open or close.
CRail wrote:You know as well as I that some of Seashore's most reliable equipment is over 100, while the modern stuff has too many problems to be made operable. These components are fairly simple, but have to be maintained!

Corey, may I suggest that I believe that a major source of this problem may not be a problem with a manufacturer's capability, but a problem of over-engineering where segments are way over designed.
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby CRail » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:58 pm

3rdrail wrote:We are talking about a system that doesn't do a complete tear-down on vehicles every few thousand miles to the point where such things as doors are carefully inspected to detect such problems...

AHA! So you admit it! The true fault is maintenance, not age. :wink: That's basically my point.

To your second point: In part, yes. But also as control systems grow more and more complex so don't their issues. PCCs work far more reliably than LRVs because of their simplicity. If we had them in service, the Type 5s would, to this day, withstand more of a beating than the PCCs (mechanically, as I admit the bodies would be beyond shot by this age).
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Re: Red Line door open while in service.

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:01 pm

CRail wrote:
3rdrail wrote:We are talking about a system that doesn't do a complete tear-down on vehicles every few thousand miles to the point where such things as doors are carefully inspected to detect such problems...

AHA! So you admit it! The true fault is maintenance, not age. :wink: That's basically my point.

AHA ! Corey, your argument is purely one of semantics. The "fault" is not "maintenance", as that implies that the "maintainers" are not fulfilling their duty. Actually, one could almost say that the fact that major tear-downs are not commonplace and things like doors sticking is an indicator that things are working well with maintenance. This is why; The maintenance crew has neither the space nor the manpower to do a complete tear-down routinely of every car on a line. Actually, as I'm sure that you know, there are shops that do no preventative maintenance at all ! They are too busy with the emergency maintenance. The fact that a door is found sticking tells me that the maintenance crew is either busy on the heavy duty emergency maintenance stuff or not doing anything at all. Based upon what I've seen, I would elect to suggest the former.

(I think that we're on the same page here, only countering different associations which go with our statements because of the way that they are written. It's actually an excellent lesson in futile debate as there can never be a successful conclusion as there are no real opposites of opinion- only perceived ones. (John Kerry take note.) By the way Corey- all that you needed was a photo of a knight in armor thrusting his sword by the "AHA" ! hahaha!!!!)
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby CRail » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:10 am

I only have one remark to contest, and that's the implication of maintenance personnel not doing their jobs. What is implied is that maintenance personnel are not tasked with some of the projects that they perhaps should be.

The issue I have with blaming equipment is that the commonfolk automatically resort to "out with the old," all the while complaining that there's too much spending. Perhaps it was an equipment failure, but the corrective measure is not necessarily to expedite their replacement (we know what happens when procurements are rushed).

This thing which is not supposed to be possible happened. Replace all the cars, or do a complete door engine overhaul program? The second is incredibly cheaper, faster, and easier.
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:13 am

I still think that you're being overly harsh on the maintenance people, Corey. Also, it isn't a matter of "we'll fix that door and she'll be all set". Any car gets about 3,000,000 repetitive motion sequences in fifteen years on rough average. That's repetitive motions on brakes, propulsion, ac, weather-proofing, ...the list would run right off this page. The point that I'm trying to make is that when things like doors start to go wrong, it's pretty indicative that a whole other stuff needs replacing - almost to the point of re-building a new car. If re-building is elected, at the end of your effort you have a re-built car, not a brand, spanking new one to start the cycle all over again. Personally, what I would like to see is to rid this mindset of "building the futuristic car" with millions of overly designed parts. There is no reason why a new order of any proven design can't be re-done again using parts that are proven, both on the road and in the shops where they are familiar to the men that work on them. The Checker Marathon comes to mind. Over a period of many years, this car got cranked out just like it got cranked out for many years before. Cab companies loved them because they were simple tanks, easy to field repair and get up and running on the odd time that they went down. Not only would a process like this be great for a transit company, but it would be great to see an American rapid transit and surface builder build up a solid reputation and establish itself once again (J.G. Brill style).
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby Tobin Dax » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:23 am

I wonder, on an average day, how many Red Line vehicles are older than their operators. I'll bet the 01500/01600s often are.
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:36 pm

3rdrail wrote:Personally, what I would like to see is to rid this mindset of "building the futuristic car" with millions of overly designed parts. There is no reason why a new order of any proven design can't be re-done again using parts that are proven, both on the road and in the shops where they are familiar to the men that work on them. The Checker Marathon comes to mind. Over a period of many years, this car got cranked out just like it got cranked out for many years before. Cab companies loved them because they were simple tanks, easy to field repair and get up and running on the odd time that they went down. Not only would a process like this be great for a transit company, but it would be great to see an American rapid transit and surface builder build up a solid reputation and establish itself once again (J.G. Brill style).


Paul, I can't agree with you more. The original 1911 Standard Steel cars had a 50% survival rate when the reached their 45th birthday. The 01500-01600 cars will reach that age in a year, with a better than 90% survival rate. Save for one wrecked car and its mate, and a couple recently retired, these cars run as well as the day they were delivered. Most of the on-road delays involving these cars are due to the signal system, and not the cars themselves. The 01700s were built as virtual duplicates of the 01500s, and although the mechanicals are getting a much needed overhaul, they look just as good when freshly painted as the day they were delivered.

The 01800s are in another class, as were the 01400s, but they are also holding up well. As I pointed out before, door failures happen, and are properly dealt with on almost every occasion, and the car involved was back on the road the next day, probably with the offending door properly cut out. There is no problem with this, having the car on the road with as many as 8 out for overhaul is more important than fixing the door immediately. The crew at Cabot is busy overhauling 01700s and fixing 'real' breakdowns which take cars out of service.When the 01700s are done, there will be some ability to play 'catch-up'.

The MBTA is taking enough of a beating, since out elected representatives don't want the (T) to get better. They want it to stay the same, no matter how that doesn't serve the public. Despite the latest huge fare increase, the ridership continues to increase. The problem is that the MBTA has no way to meet that increase. It cannot increase service without spending millions on some capital project. Putting a spare bus into service cannot be done since that requires an increase in operating expense - not allowed. Meanwhile, capital projects accrue debt, which increases operating expense, in addition to the project's operating cost. The riders and taxpayers pay twice - if not more!
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby CRail » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:03 pm

Paul, if your new construction of similar technology were implemented, I'd be much less opposed to complete replacement. Unfortunately, if it doesn't look and act like it was just shot out of space in a sci-fi movie, it isn't cool and worth spending money on.

Gerry6309 wrote:As I pointed out before, door failures happen, and are properly dealt with on almost every occasion, and the car involved was back on the road the next day, probably with the offending door properly cut out. There is no problem with this, having the car on the road with as many as 8 out for overhaul is more important than fixing the door immediately. The crew at Cabot is busy overhauling 01700s and fixing 'real' breakdowns which take cars out of service.

If the relays, switches and whatnot that failed couldn't be located and swapped out easily, I'm sure changing the whole engine out wouldn't take more than a couple hours. At least for the redbirds, we've got rebuilt door engines ready to go at Seashore in case one fails in our cars, and a complete cineston controller for the bluebells in case one becomes overridden with issues. I'm sure the carhouses have an abundance of rebuilt components standing by.
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Re: Red Line Door Open While in Operation

Postby BostonUrbEx » Thu May 02, 2013 2:48 pm

I came across a door open today when I boarded at Kendall. I reported it, and I sent a report through See Say app. And I sent a See Say message at Charles/MGH. The train held at Park St and two inspectors ran down and closed it. Then I got a message from the Transit PD on the app and they said, "It won't move until the door closes, this is not suspicious activity." Okay, well firstly, Officer Snarky Pants, there is no category for mechanical failure or dangerous operations! And secondly, then train arrived at Kendal with the door already open for who knows how long, the train continued to MGH, and proceeded once again, and the door was never closed until Park! So please explain how the train moved then? Seriously, what is the point of reporting things if they're going to give you a line of bull in response?

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