Work on old Harvard platforms?

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Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby AutisticPsycho » Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:21 am

Went to Harvard Sq. this past Monday and on the way home on the inbound level/side I noticed that the old Harvard (is it the Harvard/Holyoke platform) platform was lit up and an air compressor was visible sitting on the platform. Any clue as to what's going on there?
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby Disney Guy » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:24 pm

For inbound trains the original 1914 platform is on the left (north) side and the 1980's platform is on the right side.

Not sure what is being done but the space could be renovated for storage or administrative or mechanical (ventilators, etc.) use.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby TrainManTy » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:02 pm

I've always thought it would be really neat to decorate the platform for Halloween!

Similar to PATH's Christmas Tree, but for Halloween since it's in a ghost station.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:10 pm

TrainManTy wrote:I've always thought it would be really neat to decorate the platform for Halloween!

Similar to PATH's Christmas Tree, but for Halloween since it's in a ghost station.


Well...the student jokers already did that with that dummy they propped up on the abandoned outbound platform a few years ago. I can't believe the T let that thing stay there as long as it did before taking it down/
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby boblothrope » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:21 pm

AutisticPsycho wrote:Went to Harvard Sq. this past Monday and on the way home on the inbound level/side I noticed that the old Harvard (is it the Harvard/Holyoke platform) platform was lit up and an air compressor was visible sitting on the platform. Any clue as to what's going on there?


I suspect they're storing equipment there for the project to fix leaks and floating slabs on the Harvard-Alewife tunnel. But it's been a while since there's been any work (unless they manage to do it during the 4-hour shutdown each night).
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:01 pm

Can't find a better thread to mention this. . .

The T is testing out new LED tunnel lights on the curve @ Harvard inbound, last couple car lengths before the platform. One set of couple wall-pack fixtures, followed by a different-angled "binoculars"-type fixture. Another set of 2-3 fixtures has also shown up outside of Kenmore by the switch to the outbound C/D platforms. Haven't been on Blue lately, and didn't notice any on Orange last time I went through downtown so not sure if there's any more out there. Appears they are getting ready to start mass-replacing the tunnel emergency lighting systemwide for the first time since the current tired old fluorescent fixtures were installed circa 1978, and are evaluating a few different types of LED fixtures before making final pick and beginning installations.

They're all hella bright. If they proceed with installing these you'll be able to see sharp detail inside the tunnels for the first time ever.
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Dimmer than a five-watt bulb

Postby BandA » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:22 am

Generally there is a problem with glare from most LED implementations (street lights, police cars, etc). Need to include proper diffusers. No need for bright-as-day, so maybe they can reduce energy further.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby Kilo Echo » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:09 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Can't find a better thread to mention this. . .

The T is testing out new LED tunnel lights on the curve @ Harvard inbound, last couple car lengths before the platform.
They're all hella bright. If they proceed with installing these you'll be able to see sharp detail inside the tunnels for the first time ever.


Unlike NYC Transit, the T does not use headlights on its subway trains. Wouldn't the use of headlights lighten, so to speak, the illumination problem?
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby jwhite07 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:54 pm

Unlike NYC Transit, the T does not use headlights on its subway trains.


They most certainly do use headlights. Operators typically turn them off approaching stations to avoid blinding people, because unlike the headlights on Green Line cars, subway cars are on "high beam" all the time.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby Disney Guy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:25 pm

There was a period of time back in the 1960's (1970's also?) when Boston rapid transit trains did not have headlights on when running.

Motormen relied on (then, incandescent) tunnel lights for illumination. Light bulbs on the right side were shielded with a near side baffle for glare reduction but in many areas the other track was in the same tube and the light bulbs on that side wall were in full view.

LED fixtures really need to be custom designed for fixture spacing and/or (for outdoor fixture) height above ground. Otherwise lighting can be uneven with bright spots directly under each fixture and dim areas between fixtures.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby jwhite07 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:39 am

Yes, headlights are kind of a "new" thing - really only adopted when subway lines began to be extended into suburbia on the surface. Interesting to me that the Red Line had been going to Ashmont on a surface line since the 1920s and while some of the really old cars had railroad-style headlights, the 01400s originally did not have any headlights at all. Must have been a very dark ride with motormen just hoping there was nothing out on the right of way.

The incandescent bulbs used in the subway were special "street railway" bulbs - I believe the base was threaded in the opposite direction of a household bulb to prevent theft. They also operated on something other than 110/220v current.

I've been told that subway cars today do indeed have dimmable headlights, but all I've ever seen motormen use are full bright and off.

Extremely bright lighting in tunnels can be as distracting as it may be beneficial. Anyone who drives through the Pru Tunnel at night can tell you, with that bank of bright lights that is supposed to help transition from daylight to the tunnel except they leave them on all the time. Other than the typical "security" reasoning, is it really necessary to have anything other than just enough light to see by in a subway tunnel? All cars are equipped with headlights now, and workers are going to be bringing their own supplemental lighting. Why light the whole place up like noon all the time? Evacuation aid maybe?
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:37 am

The main reason they're replacing is simply LED's lifespan: 10 years MTBF. You don't have to change the fluorescent tubes constantly after so many of them have burnt out that it does become a safety and security issue. They can also take the vibrations much better than fluorescents whose starter electrodes are brittle, and have water-tight light wafers instead of sockets that can blow out with a moisture intrusion. You can see on any tunnel where the T has gone an over-long length of time not sending a bulb crew out how dramatic the effect is when half the lights don't work or are dimly flickering. That constant maintenance problem goes completely away with LED's. Most municipalities that are changing their HID streetlights for LED's aren't doing it for the energy savings or light profile, but to save DPW labor on bulb-changing crews. Indeed, many towns have streetlights the utility charges flat-fee per head instead of metering by electricity usage so it's a $0 difference in operating cost. But...they save millions in maintenance costs over every X years by not having to run crews. City of Boston cited $1M in annual maint savings by going to all-LED simply for the sheer number of fixtures BTD has to maintain.

Without question that's the primary advantage the T has for swapping out the tunnel lighting: one less task for the overnight shift. They do have to pick the right fixtures for the job because of the different light profile of LED's. But that's exactly what they're doing with these sample installs at Harvard and Kenmore. They'll probably throw up a few more sample makes before they settle on one. Doesn't look like they're in any hurry to start the mass replacements until they get it right.
Last edited by CRail on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby BandA » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:20 pm

I believe most towns now own the light fixtures, paying for the electricity + renting vertical space on the poles (unless they are on municipal poles). Payment for electricity would be calculated rather than directly measured.
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby caduceus » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:38 pm

I remember once having the "railfan" seat on I think a #3 car, and the motorman had the lights on VERY bright going through the old Harvard station - it was the best view I've ever seen of it. But it only happened once. Were they "high beams" vs. the regular headlights?
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Re: Work on old Harvard platforms?

Postby Disney Guy » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:29 am

I think street railway incandescent lamps (bulbs) came in a variety of formats. The most common attributes were "rough service" vibration tolerance, and longer life. The former was accomplished with more thin support wires for the filament between the ends attached to the power supplying wires. The latter was accomplished by a slightly higher unadvertised design voltage at the expense of less light output per watt consumed. Some were meant for use in 120 volts standard household circuits and wired in series (Christmas lighting style) groups of five for 600 volt power. Some were ca. 32 volts for certain car interior circuits such as in some PCC street cars. Some had left hand threads to deter pilfering although a few got broken by newbies who learned of the left hand threads only through trial and error.
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