North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

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North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby NH2060 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:05 am

The accident happened at around 10:30pm Friday night. Part of the retractable edge of the mini-high platform collapsed as passengers were exiting a train:
http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/01/24/2 ... billerica/
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby octr202 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:40 am

That's a scary thought to think of as I step on and off the somewhat droopy platform edge and Andover every day. Hopefully the T has Keolis out inspecting those things.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby TrainManTy » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:00 pm

I've notified the T of a loose edge before, and it was fixed within the week.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:26 pm

Not surprised this happened at all. I've used the North Billerica stop fairly often and I've always noticed how loose the edges of the outbound platform were.

Is it true that the edges are made of something that can easily detach for freight trains that might be larger than passenger trains?
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby TrainManTy » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:38 pm

Yes, the first foot of the mini-high platforms are removable for wide loads (such as large electrical transformers) to pass by the station. Normal freight trains fit past the platform just fine.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby Red Wing » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:23 pm

When I took the train on Thursday I noticed both inbound and outbound platforms were blocked off, snow not removed and edges raised.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:51 am

theseaandalifesaver wrote:Not surprised this happened at all. I've used the North Billerica stop fairly often and I've always noticed how loose the edges of the outbound platform were.

Is it true that the edges are made of something that can easily detach for freight trains that might be larger than passenger trains?


Usually there's a lock and lever mechanism where a wide-load freight will pause ahead of the station, crewmember will get out, retract the platform for the freight to pass, then reset it and hop back on the train. Rinse, repeat at the next stop.

This is the new one at Wedgemere in the retracted position:

Image

I don't know if N. Bill's edging is the same design. They are maintenance-intensive by very nature of being moving parts. Lowell Line doesn't have nearly as many wide freights on a daily basis as the Worcester Line Framingham-Grafton, Fitchburg Line at N. Leominster, or Haverhill Line Ballardvale-Haverhill. But they do get smacked around pretty good over time. And the hinges have to support a goodly amount of weight (a mini-high's length of sturdy metal edging is pretty heavy). So they wear out, need more frequent replacement than any other structure at a station, and need to be inspected frequently.

Whether N. Bill's edging got inspected regularly or was showing any signs of advance wear that caused the collapse is something that'll have to be investigated. Eyeballing it's not necessarily going to tell the story. It can be completely safe despite looking like a deathtrap, and it could have hidden signs of advanced wear while looking completely sturdy. Likewise, the freeze-thaw cycle could've exploited some flaw where the hinges bolt into the concrete that was undetectable on the most recent passed inspection done as little as weeks earlier. So they have to look at a lot of factors to determine if this accident was "fluke" or "fault".
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby sery2831 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:29 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
theseaandalifesaver wrote:Not surprised this happened at all. I've used the North Billerica stop fairly often and I've always noticed how loose the edges of the outbound platform were.

Is it true that the edges are made of something that can easily detach for freight trains that might be larger than passenger trains?


Usually there's a lock and lever mechanism where a wide-load freight will pause ahead of the station, crewmember will get out, retract the platform for the freight to pass, then reset it and hop back on the train. Rinse, repeat at the next stop.


The track department sends a crew out ahead of a train to raise and lower the platforms. No train crews EVER operate these platforms.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby NH2060 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:46 am

Interesting that that's the permanent(?) mini-high platform as it appears to be of the same design and materials as the temporary Amtrak mini-highs @ Northampton and Greenfield (and presumably Holyoke). Unless this is a longer term temp fix until it gets full-highed?
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:52 pm

At Wedgemere? That was a fast and cheap job to knock out an easy one that would've remained non-accessible for a long time had they needed more than several hundred grand's worth of materials to do it. Pressure-treated wood with an overhang will last a robust 20 years, which is about how long Wedgemere would've been waiting in the funding queue to get a full top-to-bottom makeover. For means-to-an-end purposes that math works for them...more ADA coverage sooner is better.

N. Bill's mini-high I think got installed when the entire station got a large renovation, and a large funding commitment for said renovation. So if they're spending for concrete on a station house or egresses and the mini-high is packaged in that job, that's when they'll do it all as concrete. Since Winchester Ctr. needs accessibility upgrades on its egresses before it can become ADA, you're probably going to see those mini-highs done as concrete too.


Amtrak had different motivations...can't institute all-new service at stops without ADA, so the wood platforms were constructed for only a year or two's service at "waste" (so to speak) of materials with longer lifespan than that. But that's completely justifiable for a whole different set of reasons.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby The EGE » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:15 pm

Looks like they did replace the edge and restore the mini-highs to service this past year:

July 28, 2015:
Image

May 23, 2016:
Image
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby sery2831 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:35 am

Both sides were replaced. Andover station has been out of service for some time now. Wondering if it is waiting replacement as well.
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Re: North Billerica Platform Accident 1/23/15

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:29 am

How does the MBTA get away with not having the mini-highs at Mishawum not replaced? Isn't this a serious ADA violation since there's been no effort to repair? Yes, I understand ridership is in the pits, but a violation is a violation.
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