40 Years Ago...

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

Moderators: sery2831, CRail

40 Years Ago...

Postby B&Mguy » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:47 pm

On December 28, 1976, due to an early winter snowstorm and a severe PCC car shortage, the MBTA sent four Boeing LRV cars into premature service. This would begin several decades of struggling with the cars mechanical components and overall reliability. The LRVs have been gone for nearly ten years now, and while they are probably not fondly remembered by too many people they marked the historic transition of the Green Line from a collection of aging streetcar lines to a modern light rail line. A fascinating chapter in Boston transit history.
B&Mguy
 
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:02 pm
Location: Somewhere on the B&M

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby RailBus63 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:43 am

One of the real shames of the Boeing LRV saga was that Boston was never supposed to be the guinea pig. San Francisco was supposed to receive their fleet first, but delays in building the Muni Metro and the ongoing deterioration of the MBTA's PCC fleet led to the two cities flipping the delivery order. How much differently would the T's LRV experience have played out if Muni dealt with all of the early issues and were forced to work out the issues with Boeing while the MBTA got to sit back and receive a fleet that was more ready for a successful introduction to service as planned?
User avatar
RailBus63
 
Posts: 1870
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby BandA » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:28 pm

I don't know, I think the shame was all on the "T" for the gross incompetence of accepting such obviously defective LRVs. And if they had kept the PCC's in good shape, and also not been in such a hurry to scrap them, things would have been so much better.

I remember stories about the T hiding trolleys in the tunnels from the federal inspectors. Was that to hide what bad condition they were in (and therefore not worthy of new LRVs), or was it so they could qualify for LRV funding they weren't entitled to?
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby danib62 » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:43 pm

BandA wrote:I don't know, I think the shame was all on the "T" for the gross incompetence of accepting such obviously defective LRVs. And if they had kept the PCC's in good shape, and also not been in such a hurry to scrap them, things would have been so much better.

I remember stories about the T hiding trolleys in the tunnels from the federal inspectors. Was that to hide what bad condition they were in (and therefore not worthy of new LRVs), or was it so they could qualify for LRV funding they weren't entitled to?

I think it was more to hide them from the tax/fare-paying public.
"We are running with normal train service on the Red Line. We apologize for the inconvenience."
User avatar
danib62
 
Posts: 1515
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 3:01 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby B&Mguy » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:15 pm

That is something that I always wondered about; why exactly did the T hide those few LRV’s in the old Tremont Street tunnel? Were the cars hidden in the tunnel damaged from accidents, or had they been butchered for their parts? What difference would it have made if they had stored them behind the Riverside carhouse, or out at Watertown? There seemed to have been many LRV’s that were sidelined early on due to accidents and mechanical problems, why these specific cars?

Also, how far down into the tunnel we they parked, and did they have to be pushed in there by PCC’s or pole-equipped LRV’s since that wire had never been upgraded I’m guessing?
B&Mguy
 
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 5:02 pm
Location: Somewhere on the B&M

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby drvmusic » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:22 pm

Is the one parked in that Trolley Graveyard in PA (I think) one of those?
User avatar
drvmusic
 
Posts: 244
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:12 am

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:01 pm

From what I heard from a former employee, the ones in the Tremont St tunnel could not move under their own power and were scavenged for parts. Someone in the media caught wind of it, so the MBTA started moving them to Riverside, but the media was already waiting and saw them moving the scavenged LRVs. This employee was not actually involved in the Operations department, so I was never sure if this was the way it actually played out.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3538
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby dieciduej » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:26 pm

The Boeing LRV was part of the Nixon's administration of "Buy American" program. By the early to mid 70's all of the major streetcar manufacturers had fallen by the wayside. Boeing was or their Vertol (helicopter group) was diversifying with the post-Vietnam drawdown. You needed new cars you bought American and federal aid and so on. It was a noble thought, be since Boeing was a plane manufacture you got a streetcar that was probably better in the air than on tracks. The first real electronic gizmo car, mono-motor (one motor per truck), better keep those wheels the same size, airplane style of doors.

Even if San Fransisco was first Boston would still have issues, the Tremont St subway was built for 26' streetcars originally and haven't changed a whole bunch since. So there is no streetcar off the rack for Boston! MUNI would have their unique and Boston would have their own problems.

As far as I know only the Boeing's were hidden from view in the Tremont St tunnel, so they were already purchased. None went anywhere except 3424 to the Seashore Trolley Museum.

Not sure if that clarifies or clouds.

JoeD
User avatar
dieciduej
 
Posts: 532
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 9:37 am

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby BigUglyCat » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:45 pm

At or around the time the MBTA stashed cannibalized LRV's down the disused Tremont tunnels, I recall hearing that the Boston Fire Department was seriously unhappy with this practice, and required that the units be removed. Truth or fiction? You decide.
BigUglyCat
 
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:43 pm
Location: Belfast, ME

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby TomNelligan » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:23 am

While the Boeing Vertol LRVs were unquestionably mechanical lemons, it is also worth remembering their place in history as the first streetcars built in this country since the last PCCs some 25 years before. They marked the beginning of the subsequent revival of light rail that has seen the restoration of urban rail transit in a couple dozen US cities where trolleys had been replaced by buses, a revival that was unimaginable in the mid-1970s.

I always remember one Globe columnist's analysis of their basic flaw: "Vertol makes helicopters. Helicopters go around and around. Trolleys go back and forth."
TomNelligan
 
Posts: 3164
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:07 pm

But I think that first snow storm they were rushed into service, they preformed well.

Years ago I worked at the Boston Public Library. We had a collection of news paper clippings about the T. I read about that snowy night, and it was reported that they ran very well that night. I think there was even an advertisement in that folder that stated just that.
User avatar
Adams_Umass_Boston
 
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Eastie

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:10 pm

My memory of that ad has fooled me, It was 16 years ago.
Attachments
greenline1.jpg
User avatar
Adams_Umass_Boston
 
Posts: 859
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:26 am
Location: Eastie

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby BandA » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:19 pm

Is there a thread for the LRV's?
User avatar
BandA
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:32 pm

BandA wrote:Is there a thread for the LRV's?


Yeah, but they're all buried umpteen pages down in the forum because there's been nil in the way of current events bumping them for a half-decade. Board search is kind of dodgy at turning those oldies up, so we might benefit from having a "Remembering the Boeings" catch-all thread for historical and work car discussion going forward. Sort of like the long-running "Remembering the [Red Line] 01400's" catch-all thread.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 6875
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: 40 Years Ago...

Postby jbvb » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:28 pm

It isn't news to some of you, but 3424's paint has been touched up and it's been shoved down to the end of track next to Log Cabin Rd. to draw visitors. Of course, it's rare that Seashore uses anything less than 90 years old in daily operations...
jbvb
 
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:50 pm
Location: Rockingham Co., NH


Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests