Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby dowlingm » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:44 am

Could be that Nippon-Sharyo have decided to put a pin in pushing more DMU sales until they sort out the mid west bilevel order?
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:22 pm

dowlingm wrote:Could be that Nippon-Sharyo have decided to put a pin in pushing more DMU sales until they sort out the mid west bilevel order?


I doubt it. They're such a huge conglomerate that collateral damage from that fiasco shouldn't be spilling over into other product lines like all manner of self-powered xMU's and subway cars.

The Amtrak thing--if it can't be fixed--is really only a mortal threat to their RR coach prospects. There's over 1000 intercity cars up for grabs in bidding between now and 2025 with Amtrak replacing all Superliner I's and Amfleets, and VIA Rail replacing all short-haul/non-LD equipment. The largest bang-bang sequence of equipment orders in nearly 70 years (i.e. ever since the RR's mass-replaced their early-1900's all-steel heavyweights for the postwar "Budd"-era aluminum/stainless steel cars). All it takes is winning 2 of those future orders and they go from upstart domestic vendor of coaches to market leader. It would murder N-S's chances at the Superliner III's because this next-gen corridor bi-level order is the reference design for the SL1 replacements, and successful delivery of the current order would make them shoo-ins to win the SL3's. It would take them clear out of the running for the single-levels, where they already would have to be at top of their game in the bid process to knock off CAF's most-favored status after CAF's mostly glitch-free Viewliner II delivery. And cash-poor VIA is always a par bet to order exactly what Amtrak is ordering to schlep off their bigger brother's economy-of-scale. This same bi-level/Superliner design would be a great fit for the Corridor fleet, which would put N-S in great position to dent Bombardier's home field advantage in Canada. Plus...commuter rail agencies rely on enough federal funding for all sorts of procurement miscellany that failure to clean up this Amtrak debacle would have anti-coattails for CR coach orders and make agencies think twice about favoring them. N-S is making a big play to dent Bombardier's overwhelming market dominance in CR coaches.

We don't know how bad the Amtrak screw-up was since everybody's being tight-lipped about it under enforced NDA's. It was only a front-end shell that failed the laboratory crash test, not a complete prototype unit. We also don't know if it was something straightforward and easy-to-correct like a one-off materials flaw, or something more problematic like a flat-out design vulnerability. There probably won't be any public leaks about what's going on there, short of a binary-choice "They're back on track" or "Unleash the lawyers!" announcement. Certainly the way Japanese business culture works the worst-case would be one of those instances where the CEO resigns in shame and the top layer of management in the business sub-unit gets dismissed. But that's not really a company-ruiner threatening existing revenue because they're so well diversified elsewhere and internationally. This is just their single-biggest new-growth market in North America for them to tap for the future, and throwing that away by gakking their chances at this murderer's row of intercity orders more or less closes that window for another decade-plus and forces them to focus on growth in other areas instead.

But "other areas" = subway and self-powered RR vehicles, where they're doing brisk U.S. business with plenty of prospects yet to come. Should be absolutely no carry-over if the Amtrak thing doesn't straighten out, because rapid transit's a whole different universe and they've got a solid rep with the Metra Electric/NITCD gallery car EMU's for FRA-compliant self-powereds in a market with relatively few established players (and where upstart Hyundai-Rotem has already "Breda'ed" themselves to the penalty box). DMU's are a drop in the bucket compared to their EMU sales volumes, anyway, so it's going to be 10+ years before there are going to be enough systems period considering purchase before that revenue source has the chance to hold a candle to what they swing in EMU volumes.


Since un-funded or deferred procurements have rarely if ever stopped anyone of decent size from submitting an RFP package as pure marketing formality, I'm really curious as to what happened here because the timing raises so many potential questions. Was the reason for a cancellation 3-4 weeks before submission deadline because of zero bidder interest...and if so, why, when funding status isn't an inherent deterrent to manufacturers? Was there something about the details of the process or what the T was asking for in the specs that soured them on it? Certainly going in--and from what we publicly knew of the specs--it looked like N-S had the clearest path to winning. So if they didn't bid--knowing what we know about the limits of the Amtrak collateral damage likely not having major effects on the xMU side of the business--what changed here?
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby ohalloranchris » Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:47 pm

Per http://www.transithistory.org/roster/:

<<New Diesel Multiple-Unit (DMU) cars:

The MBTA has requested proposals to purchase 10 three-car sets (30 cars) of DMUs. Trains would be composed of A/C/B cars with A and B cars featuring cabs and C-cars featuring restrooms but no cabs. Cars would be designed to only board from high-level platforms. Cars would be designed to operate in trains up to six cars (two three-car sets).

Proposals are due 12/09/2015. This is a competitive negotiation procurement. The contract will also include options for up to 30 additional three-cars sets (90) cars that can be exercised for up to five years of the initial contract signing, for a grand total of up to 120 cars if all options are exercised. Update: Funds to continue the DMU procurement are not included in the proposed FY16 MBTA and MassDOT capital plans, however the request for proposals has not been canceled but has been extended. Update: The request for proposals was cancelled in late November 2015.>>
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby leviramsey » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:40 pm

ohalloranchris wrote:Per http://www.transithistory.org/roster/:

<<New Diesel Multiple-Unit (DMU) cars:

The MBTA has requested proposals to purchase 10 three-car sets (30 cars) of DMUs. Trains would be composed of A/C/B cars with A and B cars featuring cabs and C-cars featuring restrooms but no cabs. Cars would be designed to only board from high-level platforms. Cars would be designed to operate in trains up to six cars (two three-car sets).

Proposals are due 12/09/2015. This is a competitive negotiation procurement. The contract will also include options for up to 30 additional three-cars sets (90) cars that can be exercised for up to five years of the initial contract signing, for a grand total of up to 120 cars if all options are exercised. Update: Funds to continue the DMU procurement are not included in the proposed FY16 MBTA and MassDOT capital plans, however the request for proposals has not been canceled but has been extended. Update: The request for proposals was cancelled in late November 2015.>>


That link (which has not been updated since) has been posted already to this very thread.

The RFP was cancelled due to no manufacturers submitting bids. The high-level specs seem to be tailor-made for Nippon-Sharyo's DMUs (in revenue service on Toronto's Union-Pearson Express and in testing on SMART in California): presumably they found something in the specs which made them decide not to bid.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby ohalloranchris » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:44 am

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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BostonUrbEx » Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:38 am

No, no, no. Please! No!

First, please focus on getting the Fairmount up to par. Second, this would be providing a ride from low-income areas to a place designed for high-income jobs and retail. Third, it would have no direct connections to any other lines. Fourth, where do you even place a MBTA-spec, ADA-compliant station that is anywhere useful?

If the station siting can be worked out, I'd think it more useful to divert a single train each from Franklin, Providence, and Old Colony/Greenbush to the Seaport. Time it out for 9-5'ers as best you can (I imagine a vast majority of jobs here are such), and see how it does. I'm also interested in whether a station can be thrown in around Broadway in Southie -- bonus points if it can directly connect to the Red Line somehow!


This is better than the Back Bay Shuttle for technical reasons, but way worse on ridership.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:13 am

BostonUrbEx: First, please focus on getting the Fairmount up to par.
Arlington: Agreed.

BostonUrbEx: Second, this would be providing a ride from low-income areas to a place designed for high-income jobs and retail.
Arlington: Low income people take plenty of service jobs in food, maintenance, hotel, convention, and retail, and are particularly in need of transit access. There's no mismatch here: The seaport is like any suburban office park: having low end jobs (that are easy to "un-see") but bad transit access from lower-income areas. It'd be nice for Boston to fix

BostonUrbEx: Third, it would have no direct connections to any other lines.
BostonUrbEx:Fourth, where do you even place a MBTA-spec, ADA-compliant station that is anywhere useful?
Arlington: Same answer to both objections: Connect to Silver Line at a combined station at Massport Haul between D & Pumphouse Rd. Other station goes Summer@West Side of BCEC (which also has low-skill & hotel jobs)

BostonUrbEx: This is better than the Back Bay Shuttle for technical reasons, but way worse on ridership.
Arlington: I generally agree, but almost anything can be kickass transit if it runs on 15 ~ 20 min headways.

And at 15 ~ 20 minute headways, it wouldn't/couldn't it create pretty good connecting service to/from Franklin/Providence trains at Readville? You might shunt a decent number of South Station commuters to it via connection.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby TomNelligan » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:35 am

I know that the Seaport District is a booming employment market and probably underserved by the T, but Fairmont Line and all other South side services go to South Station, where there's an easy transfer to the Silver Line. Would the money required for stations and track improvements be better spent on simply buying more bendable electrobuses and expanding Silver Line capacity and perhaps extending its route coverage? The Silver Line is jammed at rush hours but closer headways would fix that problem.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:42 am

Could a Fairmount flyover at Widett be shared with the Widett Loop so that a Back Bay - South Station - Widett - Seaport DMU could use it too?
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby MBTA3247 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:32 pm

It wouldn't be a flyover - they'd be restoring the long-removed at-grade connection from the Fairmount Line to Track 61 under the bridge that now carries the Red Line into Cabot Yard. There's no reason they couldn't add a connection from the loop; they'd have to rearrange a lot of the tracks in that area anyway.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby ohalloranchris » Fri Dec 02, 2016 2:33 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:It wouldn't be a flyover - they'd be restoring the long-removed at-grade connection from the Fairmount Line to Track 61 under the bridge that now carries the Red Line into Cabot Yard. There's no reason they couldn't add a connection from the loop; they'd have to rearrange a lot of the tracks in that area anyway.


All this seems like a pipe dream at this point given the $ capital constraints, but if this thing ever does see life, perhaps the most beneficial would be a shuttle line from South Station via the loop to the Seaport. That way, all lines could benefit, and maybe it would remove some burden from the Silver Line. Although someone did raise a good point earlier in the thread: perhaps the easiest fix is too simply increase capacity on the Silver Line via more rolling stock.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:11 am

The Silver Line could also stand to see some improvements such as fixed bus guideways. They could allow buses to go at higher speeds in the tunnel, because operator error on the steering wheel is removed. You can still only go as fast as it would take you to stop before what you can see in front of you, though. I'd suggest a signal system, but that could potentially make it worse than it is now.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby fsdemasi » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:55 pm

Some info on track 61 and freight as well as passenger restoration into the Seaport area. Massport is planning a transportation center across from the convention center and close to track 61.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:55 am

TomNelligan wrote:I know that the Seaport District is a booming employment market and probably underserved by the T, but Fairmont Line and all other South side services go to South Station, where there's an easy transfer to the Silver Line. Would the money required for stations and track improvements be better spent on simply buying more bendable electrobuses and expanding Silver Line capacity and perhaps extending its route coverage? The Silver Line is jammed at rush hours but closer headways would fix that problem.


Perhaps the best option at this point would be to light rail-ify the silver line tunnel service with an eye towards building a South Boston/Seaport streetcar network while building a covered bus station on Summer Street from which a dedicated Massport airport bus can embark, calling at the BCEC along the way.

That way, at least the two increasingly different aspects of SL service now have modes/routings that are more in line with their needs.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BandA » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:21 pm

Interesting how the T is still chasing new customers in the Seaport District for subsidized service while not serving existing customers well (Roxbury, Somerville, Newton stops on the Framingham line).
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