If SEPTA can pull it off then why can't the T do it too?

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If SEPTA can pull it off then why can't the T do it too?

Postby Mdlbigcat » Tue Oct 19, 2004 8:20 am

And that is take a few of their PCC's, send it to Brookville, and do to them what SEPTA did to their PCC's, turning them into PCC2's. The T should get old 3295 [sitting in Boylston Station], and see if they can get some of their picture window cars back from museums, and send them to Brookville for a conversion job similar to SEPTA's PCC2's.

Last weekend I got a chance to ride SEPTA's PCC2. Basically it's an LRV in a PCC shell, and the car is a smooth-riding treat. When I visited Boston in September, I rode the Ashmont-Mattapan line, and although I enjoyed the ride, I thought the equipment could be better, particularly the Air-Conditioning. The PCC2 has a climate-control system tyhat kept the car at a nice even 70 degrees. The car seems more solidly built, than the original PCC construction.

What do you think?
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Postby walt » Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:06 pm

The answer here is probably cost. While I haven't been able to find the exact cost of the project, SEPTA chose to send only 18 of the cars which they retained in storage, for rebuilding. This was not an inexpensive project.--- SEPTA was kind of dragged kicking and screaming into doing this at all. This all began circa 1991 when SEPTA "temporarily" bustituted two remaining North Philadelphia trolley lines ( Routes 23,& 56) and one line which ran out of West Philadelphia (Route 15). There was an immediate outcry, including hearings in the City Council, which opposed the conversion, and SEPTA "relented" at least to the extent of proposing a complete rebuilding of Route 15 and the restoration of rail service to that line. ( It is clear that by restoring Route 15, SEPTA hopes to avoid having to restore rail service to the other lines, and has no intention of doing so) SEPTA first wanted to purchase new LRV's for the five subway-surface lines ( Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 & 36) and move the 1981 Kawasaki LRV's currently being used on those lines to the rebuilt Route 15. The new cars proved to be too costly for SEPTA, and this is when the decision was made to outshop the PCC's and have them completely rebuilt. The cars are ready, unfortunately NIMBY problems with the 59th Street access to the Depot ( Car House) have delayed the commencement of the restored rail service to Route 15 which is still being operated by diesel buses.
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Postby fm535 » Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:59 pm

I don't think the T will approach anything that isn't close to being ADA compliant! That is pretty simple and clear, with its ordeal with the T-8, if they weren't court-compelled to hit their ADA compliancy, they probably would have tossed Breda and rebuilt the Boeings, the way things started out.

[Being a Breda fan, I am glad they were forced to keep them around :-) ]
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Postby Mdlbigcat » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:29 pm

[quote="fm535"]I don't think the T will approach anything that isn't close to being ADA compliant! That is pretty simple and clear, with its ordeal with the T-8, if they weren't court-compelled to hit their ADA compliancy, they probably would have tossed Breda and rebuilt the Boeings, the way things started out.

The PCC2 is an ADA compliant car. The car was rebuilt with a wheelchair lift at the rear door. On a Boston PCC, there probably would be two lifts at the rear door, and the left-side door. Now on the Ashmont-Mattapan line, maybe you could get away with one wheelchair lift, probably placed at the left-side door, since you have left-side boarding at three stations.
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Postby StevieC48 » Tue Oct 19, 2004 10:49 pm

They just got finished with rebuilding their PCC's at Mattapan and how many years has it been since a picture window turned a wheel under its own power? lol And I can't think of a museum that would sell you one.
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Postby CS » Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:26 pm

When the PCC's survive their current life (about 10 - 15 years) they will be about 75 years old. For goodness sake, get some new LRV's!
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Postby octr202 » Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:02 pm

SEPTA and the T seem to have taken very different approaches on rebuilding the PCC's. The T seems to have gone for a "rebuild-in-kind" to simply draw a few more years out of the cars. It seems like a stopgap measure until they (again) decide what to do with the line.

SEPTA, however, had a different need in mind with the PCC-II. I don't believe the PCC-II's are intended to be "stopgap" measures -- SEPTA needed a small order of small to medium sized LRV's, which would ahve required a manufacturer to design a new car, most likely. Instead, they seem to have saved much of the design cost by essentially rebuilding a PCC with modern components inside the body of an old PCC. By reusing the well-proven design of the PCC, they (hopefully -- this is SEPTA, remember) saved considerable cost over building a 100% new car.

From the sounds of it, only the shells of the cars are really original. So, when they are retired someday, it really won't be that much of the car that's 75 years old (although, knowing SEPTA's "rolling trolley museum" tendency, I bet they could go longer than that).

Now -- could the T have gone together with SEPTA on the PCC-II and gotten a similiar car? Perhaps, although given the gauge difference, they wouldn't be built on the same assembly line, and the need for left doors would probably require all the source cars to come from Boston.

I just hope the T's PCC's can last that long, too. After all, you're unlikely to design a better car than the PCC for these two types of lines.
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Postby fm535 » Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:52 pm

Could they use the LRV's on the Mattapan extension, if the PCC's really did 'wear out'? Change over there power system to a pole?
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Postby jwhite07 » Fri Oct 29, 2004 6:07 am

No. There are several bridges that are not rated for heavier LRVs (although one of them, the flyover at Ashmont, will soon be reconstructed).

Second, the Mattapan Line does not have its own traction power substation - it gets power through the Red Line from a substation miles away in Dorchester. There is not sufficient power capacity to satisfy the requirements of LRVs, which draw a lot more juice than PCCs do.

Third, aside from an inspection pit and a recently-installed metal shelter (not even fully enclosed), there is no true maintenance facility at Mattapan. A fully equipped facility would be needed for LRVs, unless one were to truck LRVs to Riverside every time one broke down (which would be expensive and time-consuming).
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Postby SbooX » Sun Oct 31, 2004 8:38 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the ADA require vehicles that do not use lifts for handicapped accessibility, hence the low floor trolleys and buses?
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Postby ST214 » Sun Oct 31, 2004 10:04 pm

I vote for extending the Red Line, but knowing the T, i'm sure it will be a busway soon.
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Postby ckb » Sun Oct 31, 2004 10:43 pm

SbooX, I'm pretty sure that ADA permits the lifts (kind of like wheelchair elevators in buildings rather than ramps), but from the MBTA's operational perspective they put too many operational constraints on the system. It takes many minutes to operate the lift -- on the Green Line in the Central Subway this can delay the trains a great deal -- also on the RTS buses this would contribute to the "stacking" problem (oops, should this have gone in "That Bus Thread" hehe)
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Re: If SEPTA can pull it off then why can't the T do it too?

Postby jiffydos » Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:01 pm

Last weekend I got a chance to ride SEPTA's PCC2. Basically it's an LRV in a PCC shell, and the car is a smooth-riding treat. When I visited Boston in September, I rode the Ashmont-Mattapan line, and although I enjoyed the ride, I thought the equipment could be better, particularly the Air-Conditioning. The PCC2 has a climate-control system tyhat kept the car at a nice even 70 degrees. The car seems more solidly built, than the original PCC construction.



When did you get the chance to ride one of these cars? From what I understand, they are still not running because of SEPTA's stupidity regarding street planning.
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Re: If SEPTA can pull it off then why can't the T do it too?

Postby Mdlbigcat » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:11 pm

[quote="jiffydos"]When did you get the chance to ride one of these cars? From what I understand, they are still not running because of SEPTA's stupidity regarding street planning.[/quote]


I rode the cars on October 16th, when the University City District held a "Trolley Tour" of the neighborhood. The tour used the diversion track, parts of the 13, and 34, and the access track on 49th St.

The part about "street planning" and SEPTA's stupidity is also mixed up in political extortion with a dash of racial politics, and a city coucilman who wants to be mayor in 2007. So as you can see it is one BIG ASS mess in Philly.
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Postby Silverliner II » Tue Nov 16, 2004 6:53 pm

Here's the deal in a nutshell:

SEPTA wanted the city to convert 59th street to one-way for safety reasons because the pull-out track is right down the center of the street.

59th Street is a two-way street, and has been a two-way street for years, even when Routes 10 and 15 both operated from Callowhill.

One problem is that SEPTA waited until a month before the planned start date to give their request to the city, and the neighborhood (along with the councilperson for that district) went beserk. And they were not pleased with SEPTA suggesting that they simply prohibit parking on one side of the street (with good reason, since there would be nowhere else for affected residents to park).

A simple solution would be to reactivate the 60th Street trackage and add the needed turnouts at 60th and Girard...voila!!

A simpler solution would be to operate the PCC-2's out of Elmwood carhouse as well until the 59th Street debacle is solved....and don't hold your breath on that, as there is no movement on that issue, given the current doomsday situation facing SEPTA as a whole.

Now.....talking LRV's...

SEPTA had hoped to purchase about 40 articulated LRV's for the Subway-Surface Lines (and move a like number of Kawasakis to Callowhill for Routes 10 and 15). But they ran into design problems (the length of the transfer table at Woodland Shop restricting SEPTA to a 68-foot car being one of them), and then decided to go to Plan B, which would have been to order about 15 LRV's for use on Route 15. And I heard that they could not find anyone even remotely interested in taking on such a small order. And that is where the PCC-2 idea came into play.

And the rest is (gathering dust at Elmwood) history.

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