Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby jonnhrr » Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:39 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:
jonnhrr wrote:Gerry, what are the "the Governor Bradford Rapid Transit cars" ?

Jon

The four rebuilt Cambridge Tunnel Cars from 1947: 0706, 0719,0720 and 0724. Also known as the Braintree Cars. They were painted in the original Traction Orange Scheme. Still visible - (badly faded) on the west side of 0719 at Seashore.


Thanks, you learn something new on this board every day. I still remember coming home from school one day and getting on these cars at Washington St. and the shock of seeing a more or less modern interior on those cars.

I will definitely have to get down to Mattapan/Ashmont and see the refurbished cars operating.

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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:28 am

I was eight years old when they were retired from regular service, but I vaguely remember them. In 1968, after the Latin-English Game I took my time wandering from the Stadium to Harvard Station to avoid the usual fights. As we rode through the tunnel on a 01400 we passed three trains of 0700s which were pressed into service for the unruly crowd and were heading back to Eliot to lay up. It was the last time they operated and there was at least one of the Braintrees in the mix. Kicked myself ever since for not being braver!
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:14 pm

As long as we are on the topic of 0600/0700's, I too recall them well as a child. They offered a great chance of riding in a different configuration every time, even right up until the end. They all looked primarily the same on the exterior, with the exception that some were painted orange and grey and some didn't have skirting. As a kid in Dorchester, I can recall riding in Grey/Orange cars with agua colored original wooden slated seating and salmon colored walls - all extremely high gloss (my favorite cars) - Governor Bradfords, with their revised seating, lighting, and ventilation - standard, original green cars - and even a set of "smoking cars" with a blocked off partition designated for the smoking compartment. At sixty-nine feet in length, they were at one time, the longest subway cars in the country. You never knew what you would be walking into when the cars pulled up, and in the summertime, it was like riding on the outside platform if the steel grates only were in place at the end doors for ventilation purposes ! They growled and sounded like a subway car should, and the tunnel accented that sound, sometimes to a deafening pitch, particularly when the steel grates were in place. They also were fast and writhed like a serpent through the tunnels, due to their length and well-broken in supports. Designated Type 1's through Type 4's, they were built by Standard Steel, Pressed Steel, Laconia, and Osgood-Bradley from 1911 to 1928. They were replaced by the 01400's around 1963, but as Gerry indicated, occasionally for a short time afterwards, you could find a set running if you were lucky !
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Fred Rabin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:44 pm

We're in the wrong thread here, but anyway . .
I remember the 0600/0700 cars well. I used to love to get on the first car with only the grate closed; the wind going through the tunnels was fun. Would have blown my hair around but I always had a crew cut (a "whiffle") in the summer. I also remember the conductor turning off the lights (outbound) just before Coloumbia and turning them on again just after Fields Corner. Vice-versa inbound.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:28 pm

This evolved from a paint scheme issue, the 0600-0700 cars did tow the Mattapam cars through the subway to Eliot and John follows these discussions avidly, but I would like this topic to stay om thr trolleys if we can!

Thanks

Lots of room out there for a 0600-0754 topic (ca. 1911 not 2007)
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:53 pm

A milestone was reached today at 4:00 PM. With 3230, 3234 and 3265 already on the line, 3238 was the last pull-in marking the first time that 2/3 of the evening rush service was being run with air-conditioned cars. It was 3238's first day back in service. Sadly, the event occurred on the coolest day in recent weeks. The extra weight in front seems to have calmed the car's bounciness, though new shocks or snubbers may have also helped.

Car 3262 is now well underway as the fifth car in the program. Two spares were available with only 3260 and 3262 out of service.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:17 pm

Another visit today revealed all four A/C cars on betwen 2 and 4, a whopping 80%. Car 3087 was the "lone wolf". It was joined by 3268 at 4 PM.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby juni0r75 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:09 pm

I was poking around and didn't see an answer to this question, so I'll ask it again (apologies if I am just blind :-D ): With the recent rebuild of the Ashmont fly-over, can the MHSL take the weight of LRVs?

IMHO, it seems silly to think that the MBTA rebuilt the bridge to only be able to carry PCC cars, since:
    1) At best the PCCs probably only have 15-20 years of operational life in them, which would put most of them at 85-90 years old (How old is the oldest in-service car at this point? Am I overshooting this?).
    2) No other car out there currently is as light as the PCC.

As much as I love the PCC cars and will really hate to see them go, they will need to be retired eventually and for the T to not have some hazy plan for replacing them, short of busing the line, seems even beyond their level of planning ineptitude. Thus, I can't imagine that the T wouldn't have thought of that when they tendered the contract for the new work and built the new flyover at least strong enough to bear LRVs.

Another thought: Since the trolleys on MHSL aren't limited by the need to negotiate the Boylston curve, could the T use an off-the-shelf European tram when the PCCs are through to provide low-floor boarding on this line? A lot of the European companies make very small format cars for negotiating some of the VERY tight streets in European cities and most can achieve a top speed of 30mph, which would be good on this line. Also, there are a FEW European systems that use electropole, so this wouldn't be a problem with a new car order. I know this would require legal hoops (such as the car being assembled in the USA), but I think that ultimately this is the solution for the PCC dillemma. Thoughts?
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:20 pm

juni0r75 wrote:I was poking around and didn't see an answer to this question, so I'll ask it again (apologies if I am just blind :-D ): With the recent rebuild of the Ashmont fly-over, can the MHSL take the weight of LRVs?

IMHO, it seems silly to think that the MBTA rebuilt the bridge to only be able to carry PCC cars, since:
    1) At best the PCCs probably only have 15-20 years of operational life in them, which would put most of them at 85-90 years old (How old is the oldest in-service car at this point? Am I overshooting this?).
    2) No other car out there currently is as light as the PCC.

As much as I love the PCC cars and will really hate to see them go, they will need to be retired eventually and for the T to not have some hazy plan for replacing them, short of busing the line, seems even beyond their level of planning ineptitude. Thus, I can't imagine that the T wouldn't have thought of that when they tendered the contract for the new work and built the new flyover at least strong enough to bear LRVs.

Another thought: Since the trolleys on MHSL aren't limited by the need to negotiate the Boylston curve, could the T use an off-the-shelf European tram when the PCCs are through to provide low-floor boarding on this line? A lot of the European companies make very small format cars for negotiating some of the VERY tight streets in European cities and most can achieve a top speed of 30mph, which would be good on this line. Also, there are a FEW European systems that use electropole, so this wouldn't be a problem with a new car order. I know this would require legal hoops (such as the car being assembled in the USA), but I think that ultimately this is the solution for the PCC dillemma. Thoughts?


The Ashmont ramp can definitely handle the weight. Modern engineering standards alone would pretty much dictate that. I doubt the flimsy old bridge would've even held up in an earthquake, whereas the new one has to. The small bridges on the line are not up to LRV loads, but they will probably require engineering rehab in the next decade-plus anyway because of general decay and structural deficiency so that'll happen line upgrade or no. They're not hard to reinforce, and they'd likely be funded out of the general bridge repair fund. The bigger issue is the power draw on the line. The HSL has no substation of its own...it just siphons off the Red Line juice via Codman yard. If it were to be upgraded to panto-running LRV's it would probably need a substation of its own installed in one of the yards. Again, not a real burdensome project from a technical standpoint but given the light traffic it's not something they'll want to do until they absolutely have to.

Remaining bridges reinforced, power draw beefed up, heavier-grade track (hell, the wavy old spaghetti rails there need replacement anyway), panto catenary, fuller-service maintenance shed in the yard: that's pretty much all you'd need to truck out a few Type 7's to run the works. Were the Boeings not in such wretched shape and overdue for being taken behind the barn and shot they could've had their pantos disabled for pole input and run unmodified under the same catenary in Mattapan. The M is on their rollsigns, after all, so the car order was placed with it in mind that they'd eventually make it out there when the PCC's were 100% purged.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:28 pm

The bridges along the line were built to handle Steam Locomotives, with the exception of the flyover at the cemetery, which isn't really needed any more. A much more important issue is the loop on the Ashmont Viaduct which is a very tight radius - maybe too tight for articulated cars. The trucks on some of the PCCs object loudly to the curve. The design may be deliberate, since there would be no need for articulated cars here anyway.

junior75 wrote:How old is the oldest in-service car at this point? Am I overshooting this?


They are currently between 62-1/2 and 63-1/2 years old. The work done in 1998-2004 should keep them going for another 25+ years.

Since the trolleys on MHSL aren't limited by the need to negotiate the Boylston curve, could the T use an off-the-shelf European tram when the PCCs are through to provide low-floor boarding on this line?


The Boylston curve is not a good comparison since the loop at Ashmont is much tighter than most of the tighter curves on the Green Line. People notice Boylston, but the tightest curves are north of Park St. The inner track entering Brattle Loop sets the standard, with the curve into Hanover on the outer track close. There are also tight curves off the main lines at Pendergast Av. (Reservoir) and Kenmore Loop. Entering Park southbound is a very tight reverse curve, and the entry to Government Loop is another tight one. All of these are shorter radii than Boylston.

With the additions of recent years, radios, A/C units, DH-10 compressors and so forth the PCCs probably weigh about 44000 lbs or 11000 per axle. An LRV, at about 72000 works out to about 12000 per axle but the bulk of the weight is on the motor trucks, to the tune of about 15000. Go to a 50 ton Type 7 and you may have 22000 on a motored axle. By comparison an 0-8-0 switcher may weigh 120000 or 30000 per axle (a guess - steam fans welcome to chime in) and that weight was a lot more concentrated.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby MBTA3247 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:48 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:The bridges along the line were built to handle Steam Locomotives, with the exception of the flyover at the cemetery, which isn't really needed any more.

Wasn't the original steam railroad single-track from Milton to Mattapan? If so, the two existing bridges on that section would not have been built to hold steam locomotives, as they'd only date to the construction of the trolley line.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby juni0r75 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:20 am

The bigger issue is the power draw on the line. The HSL has no substation of its own...it just siphons off the Red Line juice via Codman yard. If it were to be upgraded to panto-running LRV's it would probably need a substation of its own installed in one of the yards. Again, not a real burdensome project from a technical standpoint but given the light traffic it's not something they'll want to do until they absolutely have to.


They still haven't straightened this out eh? I guess they really didn't need to with the PCC cars, but I guess I hoped that they would have installed a substation at Mattapan when they had the line closed, again for future planning if nothing else.

A few more questions:
  • What is the average amperage draw of a PCC car on the HSL?
  • What kind of rectifiers are in use by the MBTA? Are they still using meurcury arc rectifiers, or is everything thryistor (solid state) rectifiers? I read that the T only just got rid of their last rotary converters (motor-generator) in '84 (at Kenmore Sqr).
  • What is the tightest turning radius in degrees on the Green and MHSL? I always thought that Boylston was the tightest which was the standard that set the turning radius of all cars on the system.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Disney Guy » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:17 am

Is a new substation that big a problem?

The T lent a substation (about the size of a tractor trailer truck) to New Orleans shortly after Katrina. A similar unit could be put at Mattapan* and hooked up to the local power company lines. Or must all transit power be fed out from the T's own switching station (South Boston?) necessitating a new 3 phase (3 copper wire) primary 13KV or so AC feed to Mattapan from where the existing primary feed ended (substation at Codman?

Are pantographs that big a problem?

Seems like trolley poles could be mounted on just about any kind of car although in the case of Type 7's or Type 8's the trolley bases have to be mounted on brackets above the other roof mounted equipment. The overhead wire height then has to be somewhat greater than in the Tremont St. subway although it looks sufficiently high on the Mattapan line and surface portions of the Green Line.

*A mile inbound from Mattapan is actually a better location electrically.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:57 am

Disney Guy wrote:Is a new substation that big a problem?

The T lent a substation (about the size of a tractor trailer truck) to New Orleans shortly after Katrina. A similar unit could be put at Mattapan* and hooked up to the local power company lines. Or must all transit power be fed out from the T's own switching station (South Boston?) necessitating a new 3 phase (3 copper wire) primary 13KV or so AC feed to Mattapan from where the existing primary feed ended (substation at Codman?

Are pantographs that big a problem?

Seems like trolley poles could be mounted on just about any kind of car although in the case of Type 7's or Type 8's the trolley bases have to be mounted on brackets above the other roof mounted equipment. The overhead wire height then has to be somewhat greater than in the Tremont St. subway although it looks sufficiently high on the Mattapan line and surface portions of the Green Line.

*A mile inbound from Mattapan is actually a better location electrically.


Substation could be a problem when you consider that there'll be a new Red Line car order in operation by the time the PCC's are ever replaced, and it's possible they'll suck more juice than the 015/01600's and that there could be more cars overall running on the line if the ATO were given a better-functioning upgrade. What they have in terms of substations is adequate to task for power-hungrier RL cars on the existing branches, but some modern LRV's on the M in addition would start to get it closer to peak load.

I would also consider the possibility that it the Fairmount line were turned into a DMU Indigo Line rapid-transit with high headway stops that a Cummins Hwy. stop serving the Mattapan area would be only 1200 feet from Mattapan station and could allow for a 1-stop reservation-running extension of the M to a convenient direct transfer point, which would up the M's power needs. OR...the Indigo could go third-rail rapid-transit stocked with Red Line rolling stock and tie into Cabot Yard which would require wholesale upgrades to the Red Line power draw around the branch splits.


The overhead height on the surface routes is always higher than in the subway. You can see that the pantos on the branches are extended much higher than in the subway. They're designed to stretch to a wide variety of heights because various stretches of subway and nearly every surface overpass on the D have different vertical clearances and obviously the 1897-98 tunnels have the tightest clearances. It wouldn't be a problem at all for the existing Type 7's and 8's to have panto-compatible overhead at the same height on the M.
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Re: Trolley Running - Well, Sort of...(Mattapan High Speed Line)

Postby Gerry6309 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:17 pm

juni0r75 wrote:
The bigger issue is the power draw on the line. The HSL has no substation of its own...it just siphons off the Red Line juice via Codman yard. If it were to be upgraded to panto-running LRV's it would probably need a substation of its own installed in one of the yards. Again, not a real burdensome project from a technical standpoint but given the light traffic it's not something they'll want to do until they absolutely have to.


They still haven't straightened this out eh? I guess they really didn't need to with the PCC cars, but I guess I hoped that they would have installed a substation at Mattapan when they had the line closed, again for future planning if nothing else.


There is no power shortage on the line. The feeders may need an upgrade but there is extra capacity at Ashmont Substation. The original station was 3000kW and it pumped power to Neponset, Grove Hall and Franklin Park in those days. The present station is 5000 or 6000kW and mostly feeds the High Speed Line along with a short section of the Red Line. The next unit is at Harrison Sq., just north of Fields Corner. If anything there is excess capacity!

A few more questions:

  • What is the average amperage draw of a PCC car on the HSL?

    200 Amps
  • What kind of rectifiers are in use by the MBTA? Are they still using meurcury arc rectifiers, or is everything thryistor (solid state) rectifiers? I read that the T only just got rid of their last rotary converters (motor-generator) in '84 (at Kenmore Sqr).

    All solid state since the 1970s. There are obsolete units out of service but the old rotary system was 26 cycles - GONE
  • What is the tightest turning radius in degrees on the Green and MHSL? I always thought that Boylston was the tightest which was the standard that set the turning radius of all cars on the system.

    Inner track at Brattle Loop - see my earlier post for others tighter than Boylston. Curves are measured in feet of radius not degrees. Ashmont Loop is probably tighter than most on the Green Line

The Boeing LRVs actually draw less power at low speed than a PCC. This is because of solid state chopper control which reduces starting draw. At speeds below 25 the LRV uses less power - above that is another story but irrelevant in this comparison. For a line with a nine minute 1 way run and 7 stops speeds above 25 are unnecessary anyway! The replacement buses averaged 20 on a longer route!

The MBTA continues to invest in the PCCs because they do the job and don't require special equipment to maintain them. They are relatively simple to diagnose and rugged enough to operate in a harsh environment. They are simple technology and they will work here and in San Francisco for as long as the managements are willing to maintain them. Who knows what will be available to replace them when they finally are retired?

If you guys want to play "What if?" Please start a new thread. Lets restrict this one to discussion of reality!
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