MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

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

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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:38 am

Diverging Route wrote:
deathtopumpkins wrote:IMHO the T should consider taking rail operations in-house, a la SEPTA, LIRR, NJT, MNCR. I'm starting to think there might finally be public sentiment towards that, and surely an agency as large as the T can handle it.


Last year I asked a state official about that, and he explained that if it were taken in-house, they would be subject to existing collective bargaining wages/benefits that are significantly higher -- and that the cost to the state would be, as he said, unaffordable. Whether that's accurate or not, I would hope that the state thoroughly explored that option and dismissed it for prudent reasons.


I would hope so too, but this is, the MBTA, so I'm more inclined to think the main reason they still contract out rail operations is just because that's how they've always done it.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby RRCOMM » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:23 pm

Over the years the MBTA has blamed Conrail, B&M, Amtrak, MBCR and now Keolis for all the problems on Commuter Rail.

There is only one common factor here.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby RRCOMM » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:26 pm

Sorry, forgot CSX and Pan Am. :P
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby CRail » Fri Nov 28, 2014 6:25 pm

BlueFreak wrote:Because it's like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. No matter who the operator is, the equipment is just getting older and older without being replaced in a timely manner, all while it is getting spread thinner and thinner across the network. I doubt even Amtrak could run the trains on time these days...and they seem to be smart enough not to want to even try. At this point, the operator is really just being paid to be the "whipping boy" for the MBTA--after all, assuming the bidders did their calculations correctly, profitability is practically guaranteed on this contract (even after fines).

Honestly, I would be happy to see Keolis immediately turn around and contest the fine by blaming the MBTA for the lack of progress on capital equipment, since the ridership would start to learn that the true offender isn't the operator (MBCR or Keolis), but the MBTA itself. But I suspect they want to keep things a bit more harmonious in their first few months of the contract...

The "we have trains so old mammoths helped to build them" argument is getting more tired than the equipment. First of all, it isn't true. With the exception of 57 heavily overhauled cars, the entire coach fleet is less than 30 years old with around a third of it being less than 10 years old. The majority of the locomotive fleet is newer than 25 years while most of the exceptions are being replaced as we speak. The final nail in that argument's coffin is that most of the equipment reliability problems that the Commuter Rail system is facing is due to failures and design flaws of the newest equipment. The oldest of the fleet seems to cause the least amount of problems (with the exception of the 1100s which were too heavily modernized when rebuilt in the late 90s). It's easy to say the equipment is old, but the facts don't support that statement. Let's try something else.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby daytripper1 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:07 pm

I'm going to respectfully disagree. Are you counting all 75 Rotems in the tally of coaches? Because less than a third of them are in service.

So, outside of the Rotems, the only new coaches we've gotten are the 900 series Kawasakis. That means that the rest of the coach fleet is 20+ years old. Including the 200s that are all rebuilt 300s.

And with only 2-5 of the new locomotives in service, most of the power is also 20+ years old. But age isn't the problem 100%. Maintenance comes into play too. And for equipment failures, 99.99% of the time it's either the locomotive or control car. So if you exclude the 1800s, there are no 900 series control cars, then the control cars are 23 +/- years old or older. The original life expectancy of the fleet is 30 years, with a rebuild at around the halfway mark.

Age of the fleet IS a valid argument.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:37 pm

Although I would argue that at least some of the issues related to the new equipment's reliability (or lack thereof) does come back to the T, if only due to their generation-long recent history of awful procurement decisions.

We could have had Vossloh build us PL42ACs (which are flawed, but at least the flaws are known flaws) but we let MPI drag us back into another bidding process and by the time that was finished, emissions regs made it all but certain that the only EPA-compliant solution to our power needs would be a 4-stroke engine, and since we needed 4000+ HP, we all but ensured that there was no off-the-shelf solution. Which left us with the GE/MPI Frankenstein jobs that we have today.

The same goes for coaches, where we bypassed proven vendors in the form of Bombardier and Kawasaki to buy coaches from an unproven firm that was already having a disastrous time with their Philly contract.

I'm sure there's an alternate universe out there where the T bought F59phi's instead of the Geeps, and Vossloh PL42 clones instead of the HSP46s, and they're both now reliably pulling our all-Kawasaki fleet of bilevels and providing good, reliable service.

It's probably the same parallel universe where the Type 8's were built by Kinki or Siemens, the Silver Line was light rail from the get-go, and the new Bombardier/Kawasaki stock on the Red and Orange lines now run at 65 mph with 2 minute peak headways thanks to all of the track and signal improvements that the T made.

But in the mean time, at least the T saved some cash upfront.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:50 am

daytripper1 wrote:I'm going to respectfully disagree. Are you counting all 75 Rotems in the tally of coaches? Because less than a third of them are in service.

So, outside of the Rotems, the only new coaches we've gotten are the 900 series Kawasakis. That means that the rest of the coach fleet is 20+ years old. Including the 200s that are all rebuilt 300s.

And with only 2-5 of the new locomotives in service, most of the power is also 20+ years old. But age isn't the problem 100%. Maintenance comes into play too. And for equipment failures, 99.99% of the time it's either the locomotive or control car. So if you exclude the 1800s, there are no 900 series control cars, then the control cars are 23 +/- years old or older. The original life expectancy of the fleet is 30 years, with a rebuild at around the halfway mark.

Age of the fleet IS a valid argument.

I counted actual numbers of cars in service. None of this "most", "less than", "about a third", "99.99.999,99999%" nonsense. Fact check!

Railroad equipment does not have the life expectancy of a Ford Taurus. Yes, 20 years sounds old to the average motorist, but in railroad terms it's rather youthful. 30 years is the target for the grant writers looking for procurement money, that's not when a locomotive expires. Even if the live expectancy was really only 30 years, that means that the entire fleet is within it and therefor can't be blamed for problems. "Aging equipment" is doing so the day it rolls out of the plant, it's a meaningless argument. Any equipment with the proper maintenance and operating practices will last as long as you need it to.

Also, when the oldest equipment functions the most reliably, it's hard to support the argument that old equipment causes reliability problems, especially when the new stuff is having a tremendous amount of problems. It's an absolutely false statement. Screamers are piling in the dead line not because they're junk, but because they're next out the door so they aren't worth fixing.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby octr202 » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:06 am

I always take the NE Transit "in service" numbers with a grain of salt. Even with my sometimes fuzzy memory, I don't recall seeing any HSP's aside from 2001, 2012 and 2013 in service on the North side recently (maybe 2010, but I think that's been a while, too).
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby deathtopumpkins » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:19 am

CRail, yes, rolling stock is intended to last 30+ years. But only if given a proper mid-life overhaul, and regular preventative maintenance. If I recall correctly from reading the last published fleet plan, the majority of the T's equipment fleet did not receive overhauls like they should have.

Railroad equipment only lasts decades if it is properly maintained and gets a complete overhaul every 15 years or so, which is where the T falls short.

Also, this is just anecdotal, but I feel like I see a lot more F40s failing in service than GP40s, so I would disagree that the oldest equipment is the most reliable.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby Tadman » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:03 pm

deathtopumpkins wrote:
Railroad equipment only lasts decades if it is properly maintained and gets a complete overhaul every 15 years or so, which is where the T falls short.
.


Really good point - look at the New Haven 4400 "Washboards". They barely made it 20 years despite Pullman being a fairly solid transit builder. Probably has a lot to do with NH/PC maintenance procedures in the 1960's.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:29 pm

Tadman wrote: Really good point - look at the New Haven 4400 "Washboards". They barely made it 20 years despite Pullman being a fairly solid transit builder. Probably has a lot to do with NH/PC maintenance procedures in the 1960's.


Preventive maintenance wasn't necessarily a big priority for either NH or PC, but it also had a lot to do with the fact that those cars were made of carbon steel beneath the fluted stainless steel sheathing, and ran on a line that often comes close to Long Island Sound (hence salt spray in the air). So the steel rotted from inside. The New Haven's 8600 series P-S coaches had the same corrosion problem in their later years. The early-1950s electronics used in the Washboards were kind of flaky as well.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby Finch » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:36 pm

deathtopumpkins wrote:CRail, yes, rolling stock is intended to last 30+ years. But only if given a proper mid-life overhaul, and regular preventative maintenance. If I recall correctly from reading the last published fleet plan, the majority of the T's equipment fleet did not receive overhauls like they should have.

Railroad equipment only lasts decades if it is properly maintained and gets a complete overhaul every 15 years or so, which is where the T falls short.

I'll let CRail correct me but...isn't that precisely his point? The equipment has not been maintained in line with current "best practices," and therefore it is failing before it should. Age alone is not necessarily the driving factor. Rather, it is age combined with a lack of preventative maintenance. One of these things is within the ability of a railroad operator to control.
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:35 pm

THANK YOU!
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Keolis fined again

Postby Clean Cab » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:21 pm

The MBTA announced today (1/23/15) that they were fining Keolis over $800,000 for trains that were late, improperly cleaned and poorly maintained. This is the second time Keolis has been hit with fines since they took over last July. Wonder is Keolis is having buyer's remorse?
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Re: MBTA Fines Keolis Over $800K For Delays, Other Problems

Postby typesix » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:38 am

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