Harvard Square Station and Tunnel Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby Disney Guy » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:56 am

3rdrail wrote:I have to admit that I don't understand the question, Urbey, but there is a "flying junction" where inbound and outbound trains criss-cross between Central and Harvard that was built to accomodate the two levels during original Cambridge Tunnel construction. .)

Are you sure there was a junction back then? All I remember is that the inbound track dropped to a lower level and that the inbound Harvard platform was more or less directly under the outbound platform. Past Harvard the tracks regained the same level without crossing under and exited into the Eliot yards. Inbound after the Harvard platforms, as the train makes the turn to the left you see the original inbound platform on the left and a temporary (late 20'th century) platform on the right.

I'm not sure whether the curve to the north (towards Alewife) and the tracks out to Eliot Yard coexisted, with switching, for any length of time (a real flying junction, late 20'th century).

The bus tunnels are the original trolley car tunnels (no change in position) with the northbound tunnel on top of the southbound platform in the area of the station. There was no rail connection with the rapid transit tunnels. System route maps of the 1940's through early 1960's refer to this section as "Subway", for example: 72 Huron Ave - Harvard via Aberdeen Ave, Huron Ave, Concord Ave, Waterhouse St, Mass. Ave, Subway.

There was no third ramp to the bus tunnels.
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.
User avatar
Disney Guy
 
Posts: 788
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Nashua, NH

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:33 am

by 3rdrail :

''BERy and the MTA both always considered trackless trolleys as surface cars and not part of their bus fleet (and justifiably so as they are legally street railway vehicles and not motor vehicles- you don't have to be licensed nor do they need to be registered to be legally operated on public ways).''

I just noticed some pictures of trackless trolleys and as stated above, there are no Mass tags on them, just MBTA fleet numbers. How does this happen? They are operated on public ways, they are motor powered, except the actual power source is conveyed from an external source. Its not like they are powerless units, like say a towed air compressor on trailer or the such, which have to be registerd and have tags.Whats the deal? Who knows?
User avatar
Teamdriver
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:47 pm

Disney Guy - That information came from an extremely reliable source, suffice to say that it is an individual who spends a lot of time in that very location. It is not a junction in the traditional sense, but a "flying junction", in which the outbound track pivots in a semi-corkscrew type action, over and on top of the inbound track so as to align with the Harvard approach. My personal opinion is that this engineering design was performed to lessen the digging operation, as it probably minimized the side to side tunnel dimension, rather than having both tracks side by side at this point.

Teamdriver - Massachusetts affords the same exclusion to trackless trolleys that it does to any streetcar operated by a street railway company. Under Chapter 90, Section 1 it excludes them, but does go on specifying what sections of motor vehicle law that they must obey (red lights, etc.) Under the law, trackless trolleys are not considered motor vehicles by definition and therefore not subject to most of the provisions that motor vehicles are subjected to. Massachusetts is not unique in this application of law. It's been my observation that most of the trackless trolleys operated in U.S. major cities are similiarly classified. Here's a fun fact for you: One could operate a trackless trolley without a license, falling down drunk, and not be in violation of C90, S10 and C90, S24 (the operating w/o license and operating under the influence sections, respectively). Why ? Because the vehicle operated must be a motor vehicle. :-)
~Paul Joyce~
[i]Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam

Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5641
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:12 pm

3rdrail wrote:Disney Guy - That information came from an extremely reliable source, suffice to say that it is an individual who spends a lot of time in that very location. It is not a junction in the traditional sense, but a "flying junction", in which the outbound track pivots in a semi-corkscrew type action, over and on top of the inbound track so as to align with the Harvard approach. My personal opinion is that this engineering design was performed to lessen the digging operation, as it probably minimized the side to side tunnel dimension, rather than having both tracks side by side at this point.

Teamdriver - Massachusetts affords the same exclusion to trackless trolleys that it does to any streetcar operated by a street railway company. Under Chapter 90, Section 1 it excludes them, but does go on specifying what sections of motor vehicle law that they must obey (red lights, etc.) Under the law, trackless trolleys are not considered motor vehicles by definition and therefore not subject to most of the provisions that motor vehicles are subjected to. Massachusetts is not unique in this application of law. It's been my observation that most of the trackless trolleys operated in U.S. major cities are similiarly classified. Here's a fun fact for you: One could operate a trackless trolley without a license, falling down drunk, and not be in violation of C90, S10 and C90, S24 (the operating w/o license and operating under the influence sections, respectively). Why ? Because the vehicle operated must be a motor vehicle. :-)


Is that because of running in a fixed (or fixed lateral range) path on the road, or because they're driven by traction motors and more trolley than anything under that bus carbody? Or because there was just no classification at the time for how to define them vs. streetcars and autos, with those laws never being changed since?
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7196
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:16 pm

From the pictures I've looked at, is it safe to say that there's a pretty decent amount of tunnel and station left from the old Harvard station?
theseaandalifesaver
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: PLZ NO TRUMP, USA

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby RailBus63 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:54 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Is that because of running in a fixed (or fixed lateral range) path on the road, or because they're driven by traction motors and more trolley than anything under that bus carbody? Or because there was just no classification at the time for how to define them vs. streetcars and autos, with those laws never being changed since?


The MBTA certainly considers the TT’s to be more like buses – the operators are based at the Bennett rating station and can operate either electric or diesel powered coaches interchangeably.
User avatar
RailBus63
 
Posts: 1872
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:59 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:From the pictures I've looked at, is it safe to say that there's a pretty decent amount of tunnel and station left from the old Harvard station?


Yes. It runs about 800+ feet from the old Harvard-Holyoke temp station to the former portal at the corner of Eliot St. and Bennet St. The brick sidewalk in front of the JFK School used to have a fence and underneath which the trains spit out at-grade (i.e. no incline) into the yard below street-level. The tunnel starts behind the cinderblock wall right where the new-construction curve into the station begins. The wall of the station concourse at the bottom of the main entrance stairs is basically a false wall with the tunnel running on the other side. There's still original BERy manhole covers in the area as subtle transit remnants from when that whole JFK School and Charles Hotel block of land was the yard and Eliot Shops.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7196
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:32 pm

How easy is it to gain (legal) access to see this?
theseaandalifesaver
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:34 pm
Location: PLZ NO TRUMP, USA

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:50 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:How easy is it to gain (legal) access to see this?


With the T frowning on fantrips of any kind over non-specific "security" reasons, probably nil these days. It's regularly accessed by T employees via doorways in the station employee areas. Some of John's pics show workbenches and tools set up in there, so it gets use as a storage space and staging area for station maintenance.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7196
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby CRail » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:57 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:How easy is it to gain (legal) access to see this?

It isn't, and you basically can't. Some areas are designated for maintenance personnel but non-employees are restricted. Send a letter to some PR type of person over at Park Plaza and see what you get, the worst they can say is no.

RailBus63 wrote:The MBTA certainly considers the TT’s to be more like buses – the operators are based at the Bennett rating station and can operate either electric or diesel powered coaches interchangeably.

The T says one thing, but the T isn't the registry, or the state. Present day trackless trolleys do not have license plates, nor do they have registrations. The T requires a commercial drivers license to operate them but state law does not (although the DPU might to carry passengers). I'm somewhat relying on Paul's word for that last part, however the first two points I am sure of.
Moderator: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Avatar:3679A (since wrecked)/3623B (now in service as 3636B).
User avatar
CRail
 
Posts: 2132
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 8:27 am
Location: Eastie

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby MBTA3247 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:42 pm

3rdrail wrote:F and Derek -
Trackless trolleys had been used on the 77 Harvard Sq to Lechmere route for two years prior to the 72's debut in 1938, the TT 77's knocking their steel-wheeled cousins off the track. (I'm not entirely sure if the 77 streetcars used the tunnel but I think that they did.) The 77 trackless trolleys didn't use the tunnel at that time.

You mean the 66. The 77 back then was a short bus route between Arlington Center and Clarendon Hill.

Disney Guy wrote:The bus tunnels are the original trolley car tunnels

Not quite: the section north of the platforms, while in the same place as the original tunnel, is clearly of much more recent construction, I'm guessing from when the Alewife Extension was built. At Mt Auburn St end, the tunnel has been extended as a result of a building being built over the formerly open-air incline.
"The destination of this train is [BEEP BEEP]" -announcement on an Ashmont train.
User avatar
MBTA3247
 
Posts: 2603
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: Milton

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:29 pm

MBTA3247 wrote:
Disney Guy wrote:The bus tunnels are the original trolley car tunnels

Not quite: the section north of the platforms, while in the same place as the original tunnel, is clearly of much more recent construction, I'm guessing from when the Alewife Extension was built. At Mt Auburn St end, the tunnel has been extended as a result of a building being built over the formerly open-air incline.


1967 (with rails still in pavement): http://www.bcoolidge.com/pictures/TROLL ... 67_Web.jpg
Today: Google Street View

That office building was plopped on top of the incline.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7196
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby Teamdriver » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:39 pm

Thanx 3rdrail for the explanation but I was more wondering about the liabilities regarding perhaps property damage in the event of an accident with one of them.As there is no RMV registration with a proof of insurance stamp issued to these things, do they carry a proof of insurance certificate or some such thing? Just writing a MBTA fleet number on an accident report seems a little shaky to me.
User avatar
Teamdriver
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby 3rdrail » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:09 pm

Yikes ! Just got in and was surprised by the interest on these topics. I'll try to address each question put to me in order.

F-Line - You're asking me for my opinion regarding what was in the mind of the Legislature before I was born, so, at best, all that I can give is a guess. C90, S1 excludes them outright as not being motor vehicles under their definition for "motor vehicles". It also excludes "...railroad and railway cars, vehicles operated by the system known as trolley motor or trackless trolley...,vehicles running only upon rails or tracks...," in this same section. I believe that you touched on the reasons, F, in your first two possible explanations - i.e. that they operate within a fixed range and that they are indeed "trolleys" and not vehicles which are propelled by a self-contained internal combustion engine. As far as never having revised the law, frankly, I don't think that it needs revision because it works. In fact, I would go so far to say that in theory, it works even better now than it did when the statute was introduced, due to the fact that the Commonwealth is now the owner of the vehicles as opposed to a private company (registered as a "Street Railway").

Railbus - C-Rail is correct. Although the T is a government agency, they don't have the power to make law. Even a Transit Police Officer would be unable to charge OUI on a trackless trolley, streetcar, or rapid transit car. Don't confuse this with such an act being given immunity, as it's not. A drunk trackless trolley operator might be arrested and charged with Disturbing the Peace or Disorderly Conduct, and most likely would be terminated by the MBTA after having been brought up on internal charges.

C-Rail - Rest assured, my friend, I kid you not. No Massachusetts Operator's License is required by the Commonwealth (not the MBTA) to operate my favorite vehicles, the trackless trolleys. C90, S10 is the statute that covers mandatory licensing required of persons operating motor vehicles. Once again, because of this "motor vehicle" reference, the tracklesses are exempt. Because of the exemption noted in C90, S1, if a trackless trolley is to be included in a motor vehicle law, it must be specifically stated. An example is C89, S9 (the m/v's at stop and yield signs, traffic control devives statute) At the very end of the C89, S9 section, reads "For the purpose of this section the word "vehicle", shall include a trackless trolley."

3247 - No, I mean the No. 77, which both Brad Clarke's "The Trackless Trolleys of Boston" and the Boston Elevated Railway Company (in their sixth edition "System Route Map") describe as a trackless trolley route running between "Harvard Square - Lechmere Station via Cambridge Street". (The 66 is described as a bus route running between Dudley Station and Allston.)

Teamdriver - What makes you think that any of the MBTA's vehicles are insured ? I don't think that they are. I believe that the T is "self-insured".
~Paul Joyce~
[i]Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam

Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5641
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:10 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Harvard Square station.

Postby RailBus63 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:09 pm

CRail wrote:
RailBus63 wrote:The MBTA certainly considers the TT’s to be more like buses – the operators are based at the Bennett rating station and can operate either electric or diesel powered coaches interchangeably.

The T says one thing, but the T isn't the registry, or the state. Present day trackless trolleys do not have license plates, nor do they have registrations. The T requires a commercial drivers license to operate them but state law does not (although the DPU might to carry passengers). I'm somewhat relying on Paul's word for that last part, however the first two points I am sure of.


I didn't mention license plates or registrations, though. I was simply pointing out that the MBTA essentially considers its trackless trolleys to be more bus than streetcar as evidenced by its operating practices. Until the 1980's, the Arborway rating station covered both bus and streetcar operators and the T decided to separate the two and send the trolley operators to the Green Line. They could have done the same with the trackless operators and made them their own little electric bus division but elected to keep the operation as is at Bennett.
User avatar
RailBus63
 
Posts: 1872
Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 1:48 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests