Subway Operation

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

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Subway Operation

Postby astrosa » Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:37 am

Some of you may remember me asking about this on the old board - I'm working on a virtual 01400 for Microsoft Train Simulator, and while I have most of the major work done, I still have to work out some details. Right now I'm doing the graphics for the cab, which mainly consists of the Cinestion controller plus a few guages and switches, and at the same time I'm adjusting the performance and physics of the car.

Trouble is, I'm not an MBTA operator so I have no firsthand experience...the throttle was fairly easy to define but I'm having a bit of trouble with the brakes. I know they were blended dynamic/air depending on speed, but I have to make them just air brakes. As for the controller braking positions, I believe there were only three: minimum service brake, full service brake, and emergency. I'll assume that for the most part, the T's various types of subway cars share the same basic control setup.

My main question is, how are the brakes used in operation? From my casual observation as a rider, it seems like the train is beginning to decelerate as it enters the station but is still doing around 20-25MPH. Then, about halfway along the platform, there's an increase in deceleration (enough to make you lean forward) and the train comes to a stop just shy of the end. So is the operator applying minimum service brake as he approaches the station, then switching to full service to make the final stop - or is he coasting into the station and using min service to make a gradual stop?

That reminds of another less important question concerning the throttle: obviously you want fast acceleration when you leave the station, so does the operator start with a higher throttle position and then back off as he reaches his target speed? It's been kind of tricky to simulate the power curve of an electric motor, and I'm not sure if I have it right. Unlike other types of trains, the throttle seems to control the acceleration rate instead of the speed - is this correct for a subway car?

So I guess those are my main concerns right now. Any info about the cab signal system would be appreciated - I think I read somewhere that it displayed different speed zones instead of signal aspects - and I'm still not 100% sure about certain sound effects. Someone said that instead of the electronic door-closing chime, the 01400s had a bell or buzzer, and I don't know if there was a stop-announcement sound either. Also, was there a horn, and if so was it the same as on the current subway cars?

Thanks in advance...I'm just a few years too young to clearly remember these cars. And I could probably get most of these answers by asking an operator who likely drove the 01400s...but I'm kinda afraid to. :wink:
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:58 am

Well, maybe you can go to Cabot Shops and ask to see the MBTA Red Line yardmaster there and maybe they can give you a lift on that train around the yard, but I don't think they'll be able to use the 01400 workcar train thru the mainline during day service, only on Sundays will they allow such 01400 operation on the ASHMONT extension only. The 01400 is strictly PROHIBITED from running down the SS-QBE an aytime except the hours of 1AM till 5AM, when the transit system is closed to the public.
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Mon Aug 23, 2004 7:55 am

why is it prohibited from the mainline?
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:03 am

the reason that 01400s cannot go down the braintree line during revenue hours is because of the lack of ATO in them. after their 1994 retirement, their cab signals were removed and disposed of, and therefore, the 01400s may only proceed down braintree's way only outside of revenue hours and under strict orders of the dispatcher.
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Postby typesix » Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:51 pm

It's my understanding that the cars before the 01800s had dynamic braking down to 15mph before the air brakes came into play for service braking. I have seen some operators come into the station just using the first notch of braking and some will even let go of the controller after it's in the braking mode. They can go after more braking also. I have been told it's straight air with emergency features. The power positions control both acceleration and speed, you may be thinking about streetcar(not subway)PCC controllers where the operator can only control acceleration.
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Postby astrosa » Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm

Do you really think they'd honor a request like that? I'd be doubtful if they would even let me in so I could see the cab. My point was that in this suspicious day and age, they might not take too kindly to someone asking detailed questions about how to operate a subway car. The fact that it's for a drivable simulator would make it all the more sensitive, even if the cars are long-retired. Still, maybe not everyone's paranoid.

I have a photo of the cab signal box in 01455 which is up at Seashore, though it was not taken by me. I was confused upon seeing it since it appears to cover the spot where the speedometer originally was - that's what I'm guessing, anyway, since that's where the speedometer apparently was in the cab of the 01100s, next to the brake guage. I re-read Bradley Clarke's book about the South Shore Line, which said that the cab signal box displayed speed limits, e.g. 15mph, 40mph, 75mph. I'm guessing this was a digital readout, but I can't really tell what the labels say in the photo except that you can just make out "Speed Limit."

And if this box is covering the spot where the speedometer was, then where is the speedometer? Unless it was digital, but I find that unlikely. Here's the original photo showing the rest of the cab.

I just remembered, someone on here said they once got to drive an 01400 because they were friends with the operator. Maybe he'll remember how the throttle and brakes were used...
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Postby typesix » Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:44 pm

Don't think speedometers were ordered as standard before the 01500s and 01600s. 01400s did not have warnings to passengers that the doors were closing.
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Postby astrosa » Tue Aug 24, 2004 12:37 am

No speedometer? That's odd. For comparison, here's the photo of the 01100 cab, from an earlier Bradley Clarke book that I'm not fortunate enough to own. It's blurry, of course, but clearly there's the brake guage with the two pipes coming out of the bottom, and I'd assumed the other guage to the left of it was the speedometer. Don't see what else it could be.

Too bad about the lack of a door-closing sound. I'd rigged up a bell that sounded like the departure bell at Forest Hills, and even timed the animation of the doors to match. Maybe I'll leave it like that for the niftiness factor.

Thanks for the responses anyway.
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Subway Operation

Postby StevieC48 » Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:03 am

The 01100's did not come with a speedometer in the pic shows a airbrake gauge and a bell next to it. On the 01400's they too didn't have a built in speedometer, it came in the ATO as a digital readout. Histoicaly the first rapid transit cars in Boston to come with speedometers built in were the Blus Line 0600's and the Orange Line 12/1300's before they got ATO. All the Red Line fleet have ATO with the built in speedometer. Hope this helps. Also if you are intrested I have a friend who has audio recordings of the 01400's in service, let me know if this would help you. Stevie
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