Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby deathtopumpkins » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:52 am

Paying two different, incompatible fares wouldn't really be an issue with taking commuter rail BBY-BOS then the Silver Line, because fares aren't collected on the CR between BBY and BOS. Sure, technically they should be collecting Zone 1A fares, but I've taken the commuter rail between Ruggles and South Station many times without anyone ever asking for a fare. It's not worth the hassle for the conductors, I guess. So you'd only have to worry about the one Silver Line fare.

As for difficulties figuring out a CharlieCard... first of all, you don't actually need one, second of all, I'm sure the DMUs would require the same payment as the rest of the system (i.e. accept CharlieTickets), and third, the MBTA's fare machines are much simpler to figure out than most any other one I've seen, including MTA, WMATA, and SEPTA.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby wicked » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:59 am

WMATA's fare machines aren't difficult to figure out at all. You stick in your $5 or $10, or your credit card. Now the pricing structure, that's a cluster to the average rider.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby merrick1 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:28 am

That is the approach I've always used in DC. Just put $20 on the card and go. I've got farecard in my desk right now with $10 and change on it. I just need to remember to take it with me the next time I go to DC :)
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby sery2831 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:52 am

Lets not go off topic about fares. A simple solution to the fare issue on the CR from South Station to Back Bay is to make it free. It is already free by rule Back Bay to South Station.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby trainhq » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:27 pm

Let's get back to the overall DMU issue. To me, this is incredibly significant. It appears
that the trains to be used would be the Nippon Sharyo trains, shown here on the Sonoma
Marin route. (See bottom of site).

http://www2.sonomamarintrain.org/index. ... _is_smart/

These are apparently FRA compliant DMUs ready for delivery in 2015. They would be the
first attempt at DMUs since the ill-fated Colorado Railcar DMU of about 10 years ago
which got some usage in Florida on Tri Rail, and, I think, one other line.

What people are missing here is that once the T gets DMUs in and gets the repair facilities
and training done, they can run them anywhere. The Fairmount line is the obvious first location,
but the very proposal shown here automatically begs to run them over to Back Bay on the
Fairmount line right away, per demand. And, once that happens, the new Yawkey and
Brighton stations beckon just a few miles away, meaning that it would be just a matter
of time before the (now completely T owned) Worcester Line can be combined with Fairmount
and DMUs to form a new complete transit line running from Fairmount to possibly Newton.

And on the other lines, DMUs offer new possibilities too. The first, and most obvious, is pulling
off lightly used full trains in off peak times and replacing them with DMUs too, saving considerable
amounts of fuel over time. In addition, more frequent service might be possible too, with possible
shorter turnaround locations (the Fitchburg and Haverhill lines come readily to mind). Overall, the
possibilities for both fuel savings and more frequent train service for the whole system are huge.
I'm sure the T will be exploring all of these options over time once they are confident in their
equipment. It could be a complete transit game-changer.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby jamesinclair » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:14 pm

Seems like a fantastic idea, and a great solution to the missing Silver Line connection tunnel.

Even better, the same train can FINALLY run the much needed "A" line replacement.

Convention center - Broadway area - back bay - yawkey - BU bridge - allston - brighton - newton corner - newtonville (terminus and transfer point from worcester line)
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby MBTA1016 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:17 pm

I'm not for or against this at all, but this is gonna be relegated to the end of the project list the mbta has.
Just my $.02
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:21 pm

It could, but the unit price absolutely sucks right now on FRA-compliants. That won't improve until more orders get placed, and right now the market is years late at expanding beyond a fringe niche of upstart single-line services and dinkys like this. The price isn't going to drop enough to scale well before 2020 because there just aren't enough active or pending procurements to keep the factories busy pumping out more than these isolated 6-12 unit orders.

Seating capacity is also a problem. A Nippon-Sharyo married pair only seats about 20% more than one single-level coach, and way less than the bi-level fleet. And no current model can couple with an off-shelf coach to quickie-increase the capacity with a trailer. For same reason all the MNRR/LIRR, NJT, and SEPTA EMU's can't. The MU electronics can't correct for generic dead weight of unknown properties. They would have to buy wholly separate custom trailers from the DMU manufacturer akin to the M8/Silverliner/Arrow singlets that are specifically engineered to work seamlessly with the MU trainlining. Which is expensive, not very efficient fleet utilization, and exacerbates the southside storage problem.


So...I don't know, it's a good way to get their feet wet with a limited order. But there's not a lot of promising signs that wide deployments are going to be possible this decade unless that unit cost gains much better scale and the manufacturers can solve for that custom trailer requirement.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby trainhq » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:29 pm

And no current model can couple with an off-shelf coach to quickie-increase the capacity with a trailer. For same reason all the MNRR/LIRR, NJT, and SEPTA EMU's can't. The MU electronics can't correct for generic dead weight of unknown properties. They would have to buy wholly separate custom trailers from the DMU manufacturer akin to the M8/Silverliner/Arrow singlets that are specifically engineered to work seamlessly with the MU trainlining. Which is expensive, not very efficient fleet utilization, and exacerbates the southside storage problem.


Yes, but that's at present. I mean, couplers are couplers. They could arrange the DMUS to tow additional trailer cars if
they want (although the experience of Tri-Rail suggests that only one would be likely). The point is, if they gain wide
acceptance this is a problem that can be solved later. It would take time and $$$, but it's doable.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:27 pm

trainhq wrote:
And no current model can couple with an off-shelf coach to quickie-increase the capacity with a trailer. For same reason all the MNRR/LIRR, NJT, and SEPTA EMU's can't. The MU electronics can't correct for generic dead weight of unknown properties. They would have to buy wholly separate custom trailers from the DMU manufacturer akin to the M8/Silverliner/Arrow singlets that are specifically engineered to work seamlessly with the MU trainlining. Which is expensive, not very efficient fleet utilization, and exacerbates the southside storage problem.


Yes, but that's at present. I mean, couplers are couplers. They could arrange the DMUS to tow additional trailer cars if
they want (although the experience of Tri-Rail suggests that only one would be likely). The point is, if they gain wide
acceptance this is a problem that can be solved later. It would take time and $$$, but it's doable.


It's not couplers, it's MU electronics. The vehicle cannot correct for the presence of an unknown generic trailer. The MU'ing is so precise the trailers have to be custom-built for that one MU vehicle for the electronics to smooth out the ride quality. This is why the Silverliners, M7/M8's, and Arrows can only trainline with custom unpowered trailers 100% identical to the powered cars. You can't, for instance, add bar car capacity on Metro North by sandwiching a Shoreliner or Comet coach in the middle of the set any more than you'd be able to grab a Rotem or K-car from the yard and pull it behind a Nippon Sharyo or Colorado Railcar. Tri-Rail doesn't use generic coaches either...they use Colorado Railcar's pricey unpowered trailers designed solely to trainline with Colorado Railcar's pricey DMU's. The universe of "off-shelf" coaches is so wide and varied on weight distribution there isn't a DMU/EMU available that can trainline correctly with one. It's beyond the flexibility of current MU electronics to self-adjust or "play the averages". Unless you want a really uncomfortably herky-jerky ride.


The one great white hope in this is that NJT/Bombardier proposal for "power car" EMU's to replace the Arrows. That's supposed to take a stock Bombardier MLV coach shell, stuff a single-ended EMU in it at loss of ~25 seats, and be able to pull 2 off-shelf MLV coaches for every power car. i.e. you would have first and last car of the train as power cars pointing opposite direction (because they are single-ended in a cab car shell), sandwich with 2 any-coaches, and then expand by sandwiching another power car between each set of any-coaches. Such as: power car<-->coach<-->coach<-->power car<-->coach<-->coach<-->power car.

IF this concept works and IF NJT and the other roads sniffing around (MNRR/LIRR are interested as M3 replacements for rush hour)...then they've solved for the trainlining issue and a DMU platform based on this technology should quickly follow the modestly simpler EMU version. (And, hey, this might be 'the' killer app that finally gets the T using EMU's to Providence if they can use the existing coaches with it). But those vehicles wouldn't appear before 2018 on the most overoptimistic estimate, and any DMU offshoots definitely not before 2020. And only IF the concept works. Until then, we're faced with a very real scale problem of unicorn vehicles needing unicorn trailers at much higher price point for each and much more storage and resource drain not being able to intermix fleets.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BandA » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:54 pm

I still don't understand why a DMU can't use standard coaches. The computer controller should be able to determine the weight of the trailer as soon as it tries to pull them. Or could require the operator to enter a list of the attached coaches. RDC's didn't require special coaches. Multiple DMU's could talk to each other wirelessly to coordinate traction effort, or add an additional cable to any trailer and tie wrap it to the underbody.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby BandA » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:57 pm

jamesinclair wrote:Seems like a fantastic idea, and a great solution to the missing Silver Line connection tunnel.

Even better, the same train can FINALLY run the much needed "A" line replacement.

Convention center - Broadway area - back bay - yawkey - BU bridge - allston - brighton - newton corner - newtonville (terminus and transfer point from worcester line)


Newton Corner has all the buses...pike exit, big hotel, some office space and is kind of urban. Almost transportation overload.

Newtonville is the only place in Newton with plenty of parking (at least until the city sells off the municipal parking lot to a developer, then it will suck). At one time LD trains stopped there as there were baggage facilities and it was right on the old 128.

If the DMU's are going to Newtonville, might as well continue W. Newton, Aubundale, turn the corner and terminate at Riverside, sort of restoring "Newton Loop" service.

As for "A" line replacement, adding Yawkey made the Framingham-Worcester line slower. Hope it doesn't get any worse and turn into another green line. Better alternative: get some Road Rail Buses, run them Park-Watertown. Look at this experimental JR Hokkaido service http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%25E3%2583%2587%25E3%2583%25A5%25E3%2582%25A2%25E3%2583%25AB%25E3%2583%25BB%25E3%2583%25A2%25E3%2583%25BC%25E3%2583%2589%25E3%2583%25BB%25E3%2583%2593%25E3%2583%25BC%25E3%2582%25AF%25E3%2583%25AB&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%2525E3%252583%252587%2525E3%252583%2525A5%2525E3%252582%2525A2%2525E3%252583%2525AB%2525E3%252583%2525BB%2525E3%252583%2525A2%2525E3%252583%2525BC%2525E3%252583%252589%2525E3%252583%2525BB%2525E3%252583%252593%2525E3%252583%2525BC%2525E3%252582%2525AF%2525E3%252583%2525AB%2523.E5.A4.96.E9.83.A8.E3.83.AA.E3.83.B3.E3.82.AF%26client%3Dubuntu%26hs%3DtqC%26channel%3Dfs
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby nomis » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:49 am

BandA wrote: [...] RDC's didn't require special coaches. [...]

The RDC's did require special coaches, an RDC-9 which was motored, and helped provide traction power and hotel power. It train-lined with the RDC propriety MU connector, and wasn't just dead weight to the rest of the consist.

Operating an RDC & towing a conventional coach behind it was deemed "voiding the warranty" by Budd.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:45 am

BandA wrote:I still don't understand why a DMU can't use standard coaches. The computer controller should be able to determine the weight of the trailer as soon as it tries to pull them. Or could require the operator to enter a list of the attached coaches. RDC's didn't require special coaches. Multiple DMU's could talk to each other wirelessly to coordinate traction effort, or add an additional cable to any trailer and tie wrap it to the underbody.


It's not that simple. If it's a married-pair xMU like most of them are they already have to correct for the weight distribution of the A- and B-ends having different components. In cases where the A-end has all the propulsion and the B-end either the transformers (on EMU, like the M7/8's do) or is stuffed full of fuel tanks the dead trailer version of itself gets treated like a second B-end...so long as it's coupled behind by another propulsion-bearing A-end. And that's why those singlets are predicated on being the same car make...they're supposed to simulate as close as possible another B-end. You can't do that with an off-shelf coach unless your A- and B-ends are made from off-shelf coaches. It's beyond the capability of the MU to correct for something that isn't exactly itself. You can't tell the computer "go adjust for a K-car" any more than you can rip off the Nippon Sharyo's B-end, stuff some fuel tanks into a K-car, and weld the K-car onto the propulsion-bearing A-end and call it a new-and-improved married pair. The faux- B-end trailers are a (many decades proven) design hack to get around the limitations of the MU load-balancing. But design hack is the operative term.

Now, you could theoretically buy a singlet and avoid that. The Budd's were singlets (although I am pretty sure the instruction manual said you couldn't couple with anything other than an unpowered Budd). But singlets barely have have the seating of 2 Silver Line articulated buses at little relief to the extremely high unit cost. And no FRA-compliant singlet offered today works without custom trailers. Mainly because they're sill designed from A-end/B-end lineage. There's also so few out there from so few manufacturers that the U.S. market is nowhere near mature enough for a consortium of vendors to standardize on some generic faux- B-end spec that would be universal between models. That kind of standardization does exist in Europe with the Turbostar, as mentioned. But the Turbostar does run at a speed penalty when trainlining with other makes, so it's still the same design hack tricking the MU system into believing it's hauling another version of itself. They didn't solve for that overseas...their manufacturing/fleet scale is just huge enough that the different models could converge on a modular standard that got it 95% exact for interoperability.

Scale's a humongous problem. Hence, Colorado Railcar trailers only with Colorado Railcar DMU's...Nippon Sharyo trailers only with Nippon Sharyo DMU's. Getting around this restriction requires a different design than we've got today with these FRA-compliants, and a design predicated on LOTS more manufacturing scale than any of the unicorn models currently being pitched to a U.S. market way early in its infancy. It's too bad the Budd Metroliners and SPV-2000's were such godawful lemons. If Budd got any success with that EMU + DMU lineup back in the 70's we'd have had this problem licked for 3 decades now by being able to buy stock Amfleets as the great generified all-use coach/trailer...since all 3 makes are the same exact AmCan singlet carbody.



Like I mentioned in the previous post, the great white hope is that power car electrics proposal from Bombardier and NJT. Because that would create an A-end singlet out of an off-shelf bi-level coach carbody to trainline with another 1-2 off-shelf bi-level coaches as the B-end(s) equivalents...removing carbody design customization from the MU'ing equation altogether. And then the 21st century tech would be the hybridization of the propulsion between traditional EMU and the way an integrated trainset works (which is why they're calling it a "power car" instead of an EMU) to make it more robust at pulling generics while retaining the EMUs' nimbleness. NJT's proposal would be based on the Bombardier MLV which is just the height-restricted, Penn/GCT-clearance version of the 35-year-old Bombardier bi-level design that is the patriarch of every modern bi-level commuter rail coach in the country including our K-cars and Rotems. So any other non-NYC commuter railroad that buys them would basically be getting it inside the larger K car/Rotem carbody. With implied potential for many manufacturers to produce MU's based on this platform because the Bombardier bi-level is the most oft-copied carbody in active production.

IF it works. And if it works, the EMU version still isn't coming before 2018-20 at the earliest. And if the EMU version comes by 2020 it's still going to take a couple years to perfect the diesel + fuel tanks version and introduce DMU's based on it. It's not a solution we can wait for if we need DMU's in 2 years. We're going to have to put up with some bitter limitations on the ability to scale this first MBTA fleet up to other uses or even modest levels of service/ridership expansion.
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Re: Seaport District to Back Bay DMU Plan

Postby SeaportMike » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:36 pm

Now there are a few a few things this article left out.

-After the Convention Center was completed, the tracks/crossings beyond Cypher Street were completely re-constructed, so they are all new.
-Cypher Street at the Convention Center rear entrance has the only gated/lighted grade crossing.
-The grade crossing at New Fargo Street and Pumphouse Road have an odd crossing warning system set up. At the crossings they have their own pedestrian crossing "crosswalk buttons", with signs that read "Train Crossing, Engineer Press Button". When pressed, the normally green traffic light simply turns red. This is a huge issue that will need to be corrected.
-The plan also includes a stop at the Cruiseport for Cruise Ship passengers.
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