NHSL Devil's Advocate

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby JeffK » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:28 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:How badly did ABB miss the weight target, anyway? I've heard these cars are somewhat slower than what they replaced, though the one time i was on the line, I thought they were pretty punchy...

IIRC they were over target by 6 tonnes*, or 6.6 US tons.

As far as speed goes the Bullets were A LOT "punchier" before the line was slowed down. If you're comparing to the CTAs, yes, the maxed out at about 60 mph; among other things they were never intended for high-speed use. The Bullets OTOH were built from the ground up as high-speed cars and in their prime regularly ran above 75 mph. I found some old TT's that showed limiteds making the trip end-to-end in about 17 minutes. Even near the end of their use, Al Ricketts had 207 up to 86 on a fan trip!

(*) that's spelled right, the shells were built overseas and the specs I saw were metric. Let's hear it for thinking in base 10!
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby 60 Car » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:19 pm

The bullets may have been faster at top speed, but the N5 cars have better acceleration and braking rates.

The N5's regularly attain the limited max speed (70MPH) between stops, where the 200's would require a running start to get near that speed.

My experience with the older cars was from the late 80's to the end of thier service.

I do know of a non-stop run with a 60 car that was done Norristown (old terminal) to 69th St in 13 1/2 minutes, a time that would be difficult for an N5 to beat now since there are long stretches that are now limited to 50MPH by the cab signals.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Suburban Station » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:42 pm

we used to take the P&W to the tower theater. I knew people who took it form upper darby to bryn mawr and norristow for work. the lack of a seamless transfer to the R5 always bothered me.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby chuchubob » Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:40 pm

Suburban Station wrote:we used to take the P&W to the tower theater. I knew people who took it form upper darby to bryn mawr and norristow for work. the lack of a seamless transfer to the R5 always bothered me.

Right! The seven minute walk from the P&W station to the Regional Rail station is pure heck!
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Silverliner II » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:23 pm

gardendance wrote:We don't necessarily need articulated cars to improve the operator-passenger. We could institute self service-proof of purchase ticketing with random inspection. I do find it interesting though that most of those ticketing schemes involve ariculated light rail vehicles, the only exception I know of is Buffalo, which however has the longest non-articulated light rail vehicles that I know of.


Correct on that....Buffalo's cars ARE the longest non-articulated light rail vehicles in the world, actually!
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Bill R. » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:48 pm

JeffK wrote:SEPTA was roundly criticized for its decision to go with a one-off design on the N-5s. They in fact passed on the opportunity to make a joint purchase with PATCO, a line that is also a single route and shares many characteristics with the P&W.


Bill Vigrass, former Assistant General Manager of Operations - PATCO, became a consultant after retiring from the DRPA. He was also the author of an article about the design of the N-5 cars that was published the the railfan magazine "Electric Lines" (now out of publication).

Bill had some part in the design of the N-5 vehicle, and he points out in the article that the differences between the PATCO and NHSL environments, including - but not limited to - floor height, acceleration and braking requirements, meant that the PATCO car design was not a good fit for NHSL operations.

And while the speed isn't what it used to be, the safety margin is probably much better.

IIRC, there was also a design variation of the Kawasaki LRV that had been proposed at one point, though I don't know much more about this circumstance.
Last edited by Bill R. on Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Silverliner II » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:40 pm

Bill R. wrote:IIRC, there was also a design variation of the Kawasaki LRV that had been proposed at one point, though I don't know much more about this circumstance.


At the time that Kawasaki was designing the LRV for the Subway-Surface and Media-Sharon Hill Lines, Kawasaki designers had actually drawn up a rendering of a modified car for the NHSL. Basically, it looked like a current MASH (Media And Sharon Hill) double-ended car, except for the third rail shoes, and doors raised for high-level platform use. At one time I had a photocopy of the article profiling this, but I would have to hunt my archives to see if I still have it...

SEPTA rejected the idea at the time based on some technical issues (the car wasn't designed for the 'fast' speeds they ran on the NHSL), the money was not in the budget, and because 'the current fleet of Bullets and Straffords is doing just fine right now.'

Little did they realize the bottom would start dropping out four years later when wrecks started dropping the fleet like flies!
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Tritransit Area » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:57 pm

Wow, so essentially the NHSL "K-cars" would have the "blinker doors"? Intriguing! It's hard to imagine those on the line, heh.

I'm glad we have the N5s though. I just LOVE hearing that a/c traction as the train starts, stops, and travels at speed. Sounds better than the other stuff out there, that's for sure!
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Silverliner II » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:59 pm

Tritransit Area wrote:Wow, so essentially the NHSL "K-cars" would have the "blinker doors"? Intriguing! It's hard to imagine those on the line, heh.

I'm glad we have the N5s though. I just LOVE hearing that a/c traction as the train starts, stops, and travels at speed. Sounds better than the other stuff out there, that's for sure!


Yes, they would have been blinker doors! With ADA still a decade in the future, the cars were not set up for wheelchair accessibility.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Bill R. » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:28 pm

Since Silverliner II discussed digging for old material, I was motivated to locate the Electric Lines article that I mentioned in my last post.

I've scanned the article and posted access to it here:

http://www.patcolightrail.com/nhsl

Note: The files will appear beneath the PATCO image.

I don't believe that there would be a copyright infringement because the magazine has been out of business for so long. You couldn't get a reprint if you wanted.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Tritransit Area » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:01 am

Wow, thanks for posting the article. It's very interesting to see how SEPTA upgraded the line, not just with the N5s, but with signalling, trackage, etc. I'm surprised to learn that they were planning on making the Radnor stop a part-time terminus. I guess that ended up turning into the Hughes Park Express.

I can't help but notice how the line is referred to as light rail in this document. I'm also disappointed that it seems like such a line cannot be built in today's environment. Such an advanced, rapid transit service can do wonders in my opinion. I also find it astounding that the Norristown branch was constructed in just 13 months!

By the way, nice site! I wish they had been able to do the PATCO Light Rail option, but it seems that everyone's gung ho about the Diesel LRV service option. :(
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby 60 Car » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:30 pm

The Radnor turnback was designed to be a stub end track on the southbound side north of the existing crossovers. Wyeth owned the property adjacent to the right of way, and I heard they wanted too much for the land.

The track shows on the modelboard at the Radnor CIL house.

The Huges Park turnback was put in using some of the hardware that was surplus from Radnor being a dead deal.

Radnor was considered for addition using the same arrangement used at Hughes Park, but passenger counts showed Hughes Park would be more useful by taking some of the Gulph Mills loads off the trips coming out of Norristown.

The current version of Norristown Limited came about as a means of keeping Bryn Mawr passengers from overcrowding the Norristown trips.
No one would ride the Bryn Mawr trips as far as Bryn Mawr when the Norristowns leave first.
If the Norristowns don't stop at Bryn Mawr.....
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby JeffK » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:27 pm

60 Car wrote:The Radnor turnback was designed to be a stub end track on the southbound side north of the existing crossovers. Wyeth owned the property adjacent to the right of way, and I heard they wanted too much for the land.

I'm a bit hazy about the time frame and details, but there was also serious talk about moving both the RRD and P&W stations to create a joint station à la Norristown, possibly including a park-and-ride facility accessible from the Blue Route. What I remember is that the idea was sunk by problems with rights to the land, compounded by extremely vocal opposition from the North Wayne Protective Association who were apoplectic about changes to "their" trains.
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby DeltaV » Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:56 pm

Bill R. wrote:Since Silverliner II discussed digging for old material, I was motivated to locate the Electric Lines article that I mentioned in my last post.

I've scanned the article and posted access to it here:

http://www.patcolightrail.com/nhsl

Note: The files will appear beneath the PATCO image.

I don't believe that there would be a copyright infringement because the magazine has been out of business for so long. You couldn't get a reprint if you wanted.


This article makes me think that while this thread started with the thought of 'why do we keep the P&W around'...when it should be 'why do we not have more P&W type lines'? Both R5's, R6 Norristown, both Trenton lines, Wilmington, and Media lines probably justify full railroad treatment, but why not have a few more lines set up like the P&W? Both Chestnut Hill lines, Fox Chase/Newtown, and R6 Cynwyd (returned to Manayunk) could all possibly benefit from the shorter headways and reduced costs associated with P&W type treatment. Smaller stations, etc, could make it easier to 'fit' these in new places as well, to make system expansion easier...
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Re: NHSL Devil's Advocate

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:42 pm

DeltaV wrote:'why do we not have more P&W type lines'?

Because those lines are connected to the "general railroad system" and for safety reasons, FRA won't let you do that.
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