Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:46 pm

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... 3Afacebook

It's good to see them driving the point home. This was a record winter, and it was going to be bad, but there was no reason why it had to get as bad as it did. It was a perfect storm of awful weather and even worse management/operational practices by the T.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby The EGE » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:53 pm

Apparently the Globe isn't capable of looking up that the T doesn't have a substantial stock of non-revenue equipment, and has not for some time.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:58 pm

The EGE wrote:Apparently the Globe isn't capable of looking up that the T doesn't have a substantial stock of non-revenue equipment, and has not for some time.


The red line has (had?) a diesel plow that spent the whole winter rusting on a siding. Stop making excuses for the T.

The T's payroll is infested with the worst kind of old-school southie-style blue collar deadwood, and it's no different from those other "great" Boston employers like BFD (with their nation-leading spending per employee paying for their kamikaze ladder units courtesy of the the maintenance dept and what passes for brake work there) or the public schools. There's this provincial "do as little as possible" culture that pervades every aspect of the T's operation, from the drivers to the maintenance dept, to the management, and despite their ridiculous payroll/pension practices, the answer to their woes is always "more workers, more money", because that's what keeps the pol's elected and the make-work cronies employed. It's a cancerous organization from top to bottom, and this winter we saw just how pathetic it all is.

That's not to say that there aren't some really good people working for the T at any and all level of the organization, there are, and there are hundreds if not thousands of them on the payroll. But just as there are also plenty of good people working for BFD, etc, that still doesn't change the overall culture of the organization. I for one think it's great that a light is finally being shined on just how ineffective the MBTA management and worker culture was this winter. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, and it's about time we started taking an honest look at the T's relative strengths and failures as an organization.

Times are changing, and Boston is changing. In the past quarter-century, we've undergone a tremendous economic and cultural transition from being a sleepy, crumbling post-industrial backwater city like Baltimore, Cleveland, or Philly to being a real intellectual and economic center, a beacon of the 21st century knowledge economy on par with Washington DC or San Francisco. That said, the demographic, cultural, and economic changes that have been so beneficial for so much of the Boston area have made the rotten leftovers of its provincial past stick out that much more. If it's to last, the critical infrastructure (the MBTA) that helps to make so much of 21st century Boston possible also needs to push through the political inertia and catch up with the times. Otherwise, it will be that much easier for the city to lose so much of what it's gained in the past decades.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby The EGE » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:29 pm

There's a big difference between a very small amount of work equipment workable for clearing snow, and having multiple trainsets of non-revenue equipment to run to keep the line clear. The Red Line has a flat car with plow (built in 1928 by BERy!), four OOS 1400 series work cars, two snowblowers, and one diesel (not sure if functional) for the whole line and the AMHSL. The Orange Line has a single snowblower. The Green Line has six lead sleds that need revenue units to be pushed. The Blue Line has nothing.

The Globe, however, did not look this up. They made it look as though the T simply forgot to run what they had.

To my knowledge, MTA, PATH, and WMATA all keep a substantial number of functional ex-revenue cars operational. SEPTA and CTA run almost entirely on elevateds or in tunnel; the SEPTA trolleys are all street-running, though I'm not sure what the NHSL uses. I'm not sure what is used in Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, or Minneapolis. The T definitely seems to be the outlier.

My point being: the T is politically forced to run revenue equipment without replacement until it is no longer usable even as work equipment, nor is yard space available to hold ex-revenue equipment for snow-clearing use. That is long-term, capital-intensive, and politically determined change that must be made, and it's the fault of neglect and financial malevolence at the state level as well as internal problems.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:59 pm

The EGE wrote:There's a big difference between a very small amount of work equipment workable for clearing snow, and having multiple trainsets of non-revenue equipment to run to keep the line clear. The Red Line has a flat car with plow (built in 1928 by BERy!), four OOS 1400 series work cars, two snowblowers, and one diesel (not sure if functional) for the whole line and the AMHSL. The Orange Line has a single snowblower. The Green Line has six lead sleds that need revenue units to be pushed. The Blue Line has nothing.

The Globe, however, did not look this up. They made it look as though the T simply forgot to run what they had.

To my knowledge, MTA, PATH, and WMATA all keep a substantial number of functional ex-revenue cars operational. SEPTA and CTA run almost entirely on elevateds or in tunnel; the SEPTA trolleys are all street-running, though I'm not sure what the NHSL uses. I'm not sure what is used in Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, or Minneapolis. The T definitely seems to be the outlier.

My point being: the T is politically forced to run revenue equipment without replacement until it is no longer usable even as work equipment, nor is yard space available to hold ex-revenue equipment for snow-clearing use. That is long-term, capital-intensive, and politically determined change that must be made, and it's the fault of neglect and financial malevolence at the state level as well as internal problems.


It's just this awful chicken/egg situation from people I know who work there. The T underperforms/the state underfunds, and the state gets fed up with paying/the workers and management check out, and this cycle keeps perpetuating itself. One look at the difference between the MTA and the MBTA in terms of what they have for snow removal (the MTA: nearly a dozen diesel-powered rotary plows, double-ended on diesel-powered work cars, with 3rd rail brushes and everything, the MBTA: one rusted snowblower and the revenue fleet, now take a guess at which one is mostly tunnels and el's where snow removal isn't an issue, and which one runs at ground level for the majority of its route length?) is enough to see how bad it's gotten.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Finch » Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:43 pm

The EGE wrote:There's a big difference between a very small amount of work equipment workable for clearing snow, and having multiple trainsets of non-revenue equipment to run to keep the line clear. The Red Line has a flat car with plow (built in 1928 by BERy!), four OOS 1400 series work cars, two snowblowers, and one diesel (not sure if functional) for the whole line and the AMHSL. The Orange Line has a single snowblower. The Green Line has six lead sleds that need revenue units to be pushed. The Blue Line has nothing.

The Globe, however, did not look this up. They made it look as though the T simply forgot to run what they had.

In terms of the diesel work equipment, it appears they DID forget to run what they had, or otherwise decided not to. In fact, one might suspect that they hadn't even bothered to maintain the stuff for years on end. That this hasn't hit the news yet (to my knowledge) is astonishing to me.

Old-timers will tell you that the only reason they lost the Green Line in the blizzard of '78 was because downtown lost their nerve and stopped service. True or not, who knows. But the idea of running revenue vehicles (possibly without passengers) to keep the ROW clear is not new to the MBTA. Some version of it surely was supposed to happen this past February. At least...that would be my assumption.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby ferroequinologist » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:17 pm

Personally, I'm curious for analysis of what, if anything, could've been done better for CR. Since that was equipment-related, I wonder if there are steps that other agencies take to avoid thosesorts of problems.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:31 pm

Both MN and NJT have small fleets of Roadswitcher type power,as does LIRR with the MP-15's,that handle work trains,
act as plows and at least tow in disabled trains,with only 1 roadswitcher tied to 2 plows and 2 genset switchers
and constant storms of a foot or more,MBTA had a tough row to hoe
Throw in "new" mangement and old failure prone power with new power under factory repair for defects,
EPIC Fail :( :( :(
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Rbts Stn » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:09 am

Someone call me when there's cash allocated to purchase all this new snow removal and maintenance equipment.

Then call me again when it's cleared to operate on the system.

I put the over/under at 2022, unless the Olympics don't come to Boston, in which case I put the over/under at a Zager and Evans esque 2525.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby octr202 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:38 pm

Coverage of round two, focusing on commuter rail, was in today's Globe:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/0 ... story.html
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby BandA » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:49 pm

Rbts Stn wrote:Someone call me when there's cash allocated to purchase all this new snow removal and maintenance equipment.

Then call me again when it's cleared to operate on the system.

I put the over/under at 2022, unless the Olympics don't come to Boston, in which case I put the over/under at a Zager and Evans esque 2525.
Cheaper than burning out traction motors and hiring union workers to hand-shovel miles of ROW

Pay for it with a 10% fare increase.
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby Rbts Stn » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:54 am

No one will approve that. Not after this winter. All the caterwauling of "But the service is so bad they should CUT fares to match their performance".
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Re: Winter 2015 and Impact on MBTA

Postby BandA » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:44 pm

The T must be running a huge deficit from the winter. Unless they are getting federal disaster funds. Just add it to the giant pile of debt already on the books, nobody will notice.
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