New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

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New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby Diverging Route » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:54 am

The following ad appears in January 2009 edition of METRO magazine:


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
ORANGE LINE / RED LINE VEHICLE SPECIFICATION CONCEPT REPORT

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is currently developing a specification to be included in a Request for Proposal to supply New Rapid Transit Vehicles for operation on the MBTA's Orange Line and Red Line subway systems.

To begin the process of procuring the best possible vehicles to meet the Authority's needs while maintaining an aggressive delivery schedule, a Vehicle Specification Concept Report has been developed. The goal of the Vehicle Specification Report is to have a clear understanding of the industry's ability to meet the Authority's needs including technical challenges, schedule impacts, alternative approaches, and innovation.

To this end, the Authority is respectfully requesting an industry review of the MBTA Orange Line / Red Line Vehicle Specification Concept Report. It is hoped that feedback in the way of comments and input will be provided by manufacturers, subcontractors, and other industry experts. A successful review will provide the MBTA with the information necessary to finalize a specification that will meet the Authority's needs, while considering technological advances and what is realistically achievable by the industry.

Requests for copies of the MBTA Orange Line / Red Line Vehicle Specification Concept Report and information on timelines and feedback should be made to MBTA Vehicle Engineering by way of email at: vehicleengineering@mbta.com

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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby tober » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:09 pm

Yet again, I think the MBTA is demonstrating that it just doesn't completely get it. Even if one takes the orange, red, and blue lines together (and, of course, the blue line is not in need of new rolling stock at this time and won't be for decades) the total number of rapid transit cars that the T needs is rather modest. The T should be riding the coat-tails of the NYCTA and ordering cars from their suppliers and based on their designs modulo whatever changes are necessary. I think it was actually wise when the T ordered the Hawker-Siddeley OL and BL cars together and I don't really understand why the #5 EBT cars were ordered from Siemens without a simultaneous order (or at least an option) from them for new OL cars (I also don't understand why new BL cars were ordered substantially before new OL cars - the OL cars probably have more miles on them and are more mechanically worn - although I guess the shells of the BL cars were victims of operating close to the ocean - still, if I were a member of a community primarily served by the OL, I'd be pretty upset now). So now they're lumping procurement for the OL and RL together and it seems to me that the considerable difference in vehicle width makes this awkward, width being more of a salient characteristic than length. Because of the width difference, it is, I think, very unlikely, that OL and RL vehicles could ever share body shell segments or major body frame components, although it's pretty clear that they could share interior fittings and electrical components, maybe even all electrical components (and, indeed, with respect to electrical, the BL is the "odd man out", given its lack of ATO and need for pantographs - and I think the OL and RL have a higher maximum operating speed than the BL too). Maybe some compromise design with very extended door sills for the RL variant is possible... but I think we are yet again going to wind up with two more unique vehicles, hopefully with common electrical components although I would guess not common with the #5 EBT cars. I wonder whether the specification requires that any new RL cars be able to trainline with the 1800s - I certainly hope so. Let's hope that when a contract finally gets issued that it goes to a supplier of known quality with a history of providing rapid transit (specifically) rolling stock such as Kawasaki, Siemens, or Bombardier.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:35 pm

Good post. The only two things that I would add is that I think that the MBTA is gun shy regarding commitments to purchase following the recent debaucles with Boeing and Breda. Also, in my opinion, the East Boston Hawker-Siddeley's were a disappointment that came to late for any recourse as their bodies were literally rotting away. None of the types previous to them, manufactured by Pullman or St. Louis did the same. Once again, a reason for timidness. Your argument may have been a better one back in the 1800's when the two subways were being constructed by various companies using different standards and specifications. Both cities would have benefitted tremendously - Boston by virtue of being able to be part of larger orders and therefore get better deals, and New York by virtue of standardizing their four company system. The reality of the situation is that the political forces that shaped the very conception of the subway as we know it, were not of a homogeneous nature then or now.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby RailBus63 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:42 pm

New York City Transit is not ordering off-the-shelf cars from suppliers - the design currently being produced has been in the works since the early 1990's.

I think the MBTA is on the right track here. There is plenty enough in common between the Red and Orange Line cars to allow a joint procurement - there were far greater differences between the 0600's and 01200's when the Hawker-Siddeley order was produced and that worked out fine. In fact, that procurement is the model of what the MBTA should do here. Hawker took the basic PATH design and modified it to build the MBTA equipment. If Kawasaki or Bombardier can take the NYCT design and modify it for use in Boston, the chances are much greater that a highly-successful car design will result since many of the bugs would have been worked out in the Big Apple.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby tober » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:33 pm

I did not mean to imply that NYCTA's cars are "off the shelf" - they are very much custom for NYCTA (and of course they have two different dimensionally incompatible types) however they are manufactured in such large quantities that, even though they are custom by design, they can be considered to be a mass-produced item (at least about as mass-produced as rapid transit rolling stock ever gets). Further, their designs characteristically get very well debugged, I think both because they are made in such large quantities and because the NYCTA is just more skilled in vehicle procurement than the MBTA - and I think that is at least mostly because there is probably no point in time when the NYCTA isn't in the middle of at least one vehicle procurement, they're just that big. I'm also not claiming that we could ever use precisely any NYCTA car on any of our rapid transit lines, however I still believe that we would do well to prefer one of their vendors and use major components (particularly propulsion/braking components and maybe also ASA and even door engines) in common wherever that is appropriate, which in many cases it clearly would be.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby tober » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:50 pm

3rdrail wrote:Good post. The only two things that I would add is that I think that the MBTA is gun shy regarding commitments to purchase following the recent debaucles with Boeing and Breda. Also, in my opinion, the East Boston Hawker-Siddeley's were a disappointment that came to late for any recourse as their bodies were literally rotting away. None of the types previous to them, manufactured by Pullman or St. Louis did the same. Once again, a reason for timidness.


Yes, those are fair criticisms, although I'd say that with respect to Boeing, that was a situation where more than one transit system got sort of strong-armed by politicians and the federal government (in some way I feel that the Boeing-Vertol SLRV was a form of corporate welfare for Boeing during hard economic times - and, indeed, I wouldn't be shocked, given current macroeconomic conditions and our new executive in Washington, if we soon find ourselves confronted with politicians urging transit properties to allow Ford and GM to make their new rolling stock :-D) and I think it just goes to show that politics makes for both strange bedfellows and poor engineering. It seems to me that none of the other operators of Boeing-Vertol SLRVs (San Francisco Muni was one, I think) liked them either. Purchasing decisions for rolling stock really ought to be made based on technical merits and cost/value and in a manner that is free from political meddling, but in fact I believe that never happens. With respect to Breda - and not that I wish to defend Breda too much because I don't think they did a very good job, at least initially - the first ADA-compliant design with stub axles for a comparatively ancient system like the green line is bound to be trouble (e.g.- tendency to derail) no matter who one asks to manufacture the cars. Finally, with respect to the East Boston Hawker-Siddeleys - how the body shell holds up is a function of what it is made of and what that material is coated with. That's the kind of thing that's supposed to be very precisely specified in the contract. Assuming that Hawker-Siddeley made them with the materials that were specified and a proper level of workmanship, if they rotted, I mainly blame the T's vehicle engineering department and/or their consultants - who should have taken into account that the Blue Line operates near the ocean. It does seem that maybe they've learned their lesson on that one though - both the Red Line 1800s and the #5 EBT cars are stainless and I bet they're going to specify stainless (or a non-metal composite - but that seems kind of silly on a vehicle designed to be heavy) on future rapid transit cars too.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:17 pm

tober wrote: With respect to Breda - and not that I wish to defend Breda too much because I don't think they did a very good job, at least initially - the first ADA-compliant design with stub axles for a comparatively ancient system like the green line is bound to be trouble (e.g.- tendency to derail) no matter who one asks to manufacture the cars.


Well, I don't have as much compassion for Breda as yourself. I have spoken with MBTA shop personnel who are of the opinion that the Breda's were far over-engineered to begin with. One example that was shown me were the door assemblies, constituting an absurd number of different parts - each and every one subject to break down at one time or another. As regarding the derailing problem, I lack sympathy there also. (I lack sympathy at Symphony - hey, I like that !)It's like putting the cart before the horse. All along the initial design phase, right through to final sign-off, there must be an evaluation as to how a given street railway will work with a manufacturers product. For a manufacturer to allow these units to be built in multiples without realizing that there were going to be serious problems, shows the level of competency at the helm. (Or even worse, knowing that problems exist and going ahead anyway.) After all, rider safety aside, a manufacturers reputation can fall on one incident or defect, irregardless if it's a defect of the environment that it's going to run on or one of the cars themselves.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby scoopernicus_in_Maine » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:46 pm

indeed, I wouldn't be shocked, given current macroeconomic conditions and our new executive in Washington, if we soon find ourselves confronted with politicians urging transit properties to allow Ford and GM to make their new rolling stock


Actually that's not such a bad idea. If we're going to bail out the Big Three lets get some return on our investment, but mostly because I savor the dramatic irony at the idea of the companies that destroyed the trolley networks would be forced to rebuild them. /pipe dream.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:20 pm

scoopernicus_in_Maine wrote:Actually that's not such a bad idea. If we're going to bail out the Big Three lets get some return on our investment, but mostly because I savor the dramatic irony at the idea of the companies that destroyed the trolley networks would be forced to rebuild them. /pipe dream.


They probably would destroy them once again by rebuilding them.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:45 pm

The Red Line 01500/01600s and Orange Line 01200s are not due for retirement until 2015, some time away. Will the 1988 01700s go as well, being imcompatible with later units?
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby typesix » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:53 pm

With regard to the T8 derailing problem, believe that the report that came out blamed the T more than Breda. The T gave the wrong wheel tread profile specification to Breda which accounted for much of the derailment problem.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby BigUglyCat » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:04 pm

3rdrail wrote:...One example that was shown me were the (Breda) door assemblies, constituting an absurd number of different parts - each and every one subject to break down at one time or another

I thought they learned their lesson on this with the Boeings. Wasn't this one of the major annoyances with those units?
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby atsf sp » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:40 pm

Diverging Route wrote:The following ad appears in January 2009 edition of METRO magazine:


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
ORANGE LINE / RED LINE VEHICLE SPECIFICATION CONCEPT REPORT

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is currently developing a specification to be included in a Request for Proposal to supply New Rapid Transit Vehicles for operation on the MBTA's Orange Line and Red Line subway systems.

To begin the process of procuring the best possible vehicles to meet the Authority's needs while maintaining an aggressive delivery schedule, a Vehicle Specification Concept Report has been developed. The goal of the Vehicle Specification Report is to have a clear understanding of the industry's ability to meet the Authority's needs including technical challenges, schedule impacts, alternative approaches, and innovation.

To this end, the Authority is respectfully requesting an industry review of the MBTA Orange Line / Red Line Vehicle Specification Concept Report. It is hoped that feedback in the way of comments and input will be provided by manufacturers, subcontractors, and other industry experts. A successful review will provide the MBTA with the information necessary to finalize a specification that will meet the Authority's needs, while considering technological advances and what is realistically achievable by the industry.

Requests for copies of the MBTA Orange Line / Red Line Vehicle Specification Concept Report and information on timelines and feedback should be made to MBTA Vehicle Engineering by way of email at: vehicleengineering@mbta.com


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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby cpontani » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:54 pm

I think the T should piggyback on NYC's orders whenever possible. They have single orders that are larger than other city's entire fleets. It just sucks that politics and bureaucracy get in the way.
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Re: New Orange and Red Line Car Acquisition Process

Postby RailBus63 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:31 am

cpontani wrote:I think the T should piggyback on NYC's orders whenever possible. They have single orders that are larger than other city's entire fleets. It just sucks that politics and bureaucracy get in the way.


Unfortunately, it's not that simple. NYCT's R160 series currently being built are 60-foot cars and would be too small for both the Orange and Red Lines, so some redesign would be necessary. NYCT has also never been a proponent of lightweight trucks and still spec's big heavy-duty wheelsets for its subway cars - those would probably punish the MBTA tracks and structures severely. The basic design could definitely be used as a starting point, though, and modified to fit the MBTA's needs - the SOAC cars tested in the 1970's were based on New York's R44's so we know that a New York car can theoretically operate on the Red Line (not sure if the 75-foot SOAC would still fit through the new post-1983 Northwest Extension curve at Harvard, though).
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