Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

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Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby apodino » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:14 am

I haven't seen this issue get much traction on RR.net but it is well known that Back Bay Station has some of the worst air quality anywhere, particularly on the platform level next to tracks 1-3. Amtrak has pulled their staff once or twice from the station as a result, and people with respiratory problems are being urged to avoid the station. I believe a project is underway to address this, but I am skeptical how effective this will actually be. So I ask these questions?

1. NYC banned Diesel locomotives in the underground tunnels years ago, and only electrics run into GCT and Penn Station. Why are Diesels allowed in the South End tunnel?

2. Why is the T spending 10 Million on better ventilation, which may or may not solve the problem, instead of running electric trains through Back Bay. The tracks through Back Bay are already electrified. I know only Providence is electrified the whole way. But there is a locomotive out there, the ALP-45DP which the MBTA could have ordered, which would allow the trains to run on electric in the tunnel, but can run on diesel on non electrified track.

3. Would the MBTA ever consider just electrifying most of the south side? The North side wouldn't make sense yet. But I think lines such as Needham, Franklin, and Fairmount are all prime candidates, and you take all the diesels out of the system, which reduces the impact on climate change.

All in all, Back Bay station is awful, and I would like to see something other than a 10 million dollar ventilation project address it. I think this is just lipstick on a pig.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby rethcir » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:23 am

1. Money
2. Money
3. Money
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:42 am

It was steam locomotives that NYC banned, following a disastrous rear-end collision in the Park Ave Tunnel in 1902 that was the result of signals being rendered invisible by the smoke. Electrification was the only alternative at the time.

Unfortunately for anyone who has to use Back Bay, eliminating the exhaust from the diesels (which is nowhere near as bad as the smoke from steam engines) has never been enough of a reason on its own to justify the massive expense of any electrification (whether full-blown electrification of the lines passing through there or using dual-modes). What will ultimately drive electrification is capacity issues on the corridor that demand that extra little bit of acceleration that electric locomotives and EMUs offer over diesels to overcome.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:25 am

apodino wrote:1. NYC banned Diesel locomotives in the underground tunnels years ago, and only electrics run into GCT and Penn Station. Why are Diesels allowed in the South End tunnel?


Because it was designed for that from Day 1. The NEC wasn't electrified until '99; everything, including Amtrak, was diesel prior to that. And electrification was not a fait accompli when the Corridor was being built, so it is required to handle heavy diesel traffic. There are regularly-placed vent shafts all along SW Corridor Park. The building ventilation at BBY was woefully miscalculated and should've been a lot better than it was. These fixes are 30 years in the making, because proper design should've never left behind a fumes problem this big.

2. Why is the T spending 10 Million on better ventilation, which may or may not solve the problem, instead of running electric trains through Back Bay. The tracks through Back Bay are already electrified. I know only Providence is electrified the whole way. But there is a locomotive out there, the ALP-45DP which the MBTA could have ordered, which would allow the trains to run on electric in the tunnel, but can run on diesel on non electrified track.


The T running electrics on Providence is not an instantaneous process. Can't lease a bunch of stored AEM-7 beaters and start running under-wire to Providence tomorrow.

1. Not enough electrical capacity for both Amtrak and T service at Sharon substation, which feeds the NEC + South Station terminal district down to Norton phase break. This is by-design, because when Amtrak was planning the NHV-BOS electrification in the early-90's it was completely unknowable what the T's would-be power requirements might've been, and what the timetable was for South Station Expansion. The T wasn't a participant in the design committee, so that data was all blanks. Sharon sub ended up being built with only enough transformers to meet Amtrak's 20+ year needs, and the other half of the site was left empty and pre-prepped for future hookups. That way the T can add just as much or as little as it needs...when it's pinned down exactly how much it's going to need...rather than wildly guessing to over-capacity or under-capacity and ending up making a foolish investment. If, for example, the T favored electrifying the Fairmount Line and Worcester Line out to Riverside to get 2 Indigo/urban-rail routes under wire in addition to Providence, they'd have to bake those power needs into Sharon sub expansion. Even if the Indigo wire-ups aren't immediate, and simply provisioned. So quantifying how much juice Sharon is going to need to provide is a necessary first step.

2. Because adding commuter capacity is a large expense that has to be funded, put through design-build, and constructed by Amtrak (because it's their power system, so they run point on all upgrades)...you aren't going to see action on that happen in less than 5 years. It needs to first appear on a 4-year MassDOT CIP, the paper-pushing with Amtrak has to be hashed out, and the actual bids have to go out. We might actually end up with a recommendation to do exactly this when the CR Future study releases its recommendations in mid-2019, but that means you're still looking at 2023-24 for the extra juice going on-line. Not as simple as renting a bunch of Toaster junkers next week.

3. Pawtucket layover would have to be electrified to make Providence doable, and that's a RIDOT funding expense. 2-state coordination now necessary, as well as squaring the differences in CIP advance budgeting between MA and RI. Another thing that practically needs a 5-year gestation period to get done.

4. FULL electrification of the Wickford Jct. schedules is not possible until there are RIDOT funds to finish the missing northbound platforms at T.F. Green and Wickford and wire up the platform turnouts. With T.F. Green this also incurs extra expense of constructing a gauntlet track for P&W freights, because they don't clear the wire on the mainline and won't clear a future-wired platform because of the adjacent Coronado Rd. overpass. The gauntlet (which is pre-provisioned by the wider track spacing between the platform track and the mainline tracks) would make it so that the P&W autoracks run 'between' the catenary on the adjacent tracks to get through the clearance restriction. Slightly more money there, and if you're investing any significant sum in finishing off incomplete T.F. Green you're going to be making a final up/down decision on whether to build a set of Amtrak platforms there for NE Regionals to stop at the airport. So...a consequential package of expenses before you can eliminate south-of-PVD diesels.

5. There is absolutely no cost/benefit to buying dual-modes unless you have an unventilated tunnel like GCT, Penn, or Montreal Mt. Royal to contend with forcing that hell or high water. In Boston, the only hell-or-high-water scenario is the North-South Rail Link, because its incredible tunneling depth leaves it impossible to ventilate. The ALP-45DP is a monstrosity...horrendously overweight, extremely high maintenance costs, very inefficient in diesel mode because of its problematic genset engines. That's the ultimate lipstick-on-a-pig move. Even with better duals than the ALP on the horizon, the state's going to have to seriously revisit the wisdom of banking on dual-modes for the majority of North-South Rail Link schedules through those very steep unventilated tunnels, as the rosy assumptions of studies-to-date re: dual-modes' utility are a far cry from reality. Some duals picking up the initial slack on lines that are lower-priority for immediate NSRL-related electrification...sure. Some duals permanently serving a smattering of schedules on lines that can't be electrified because of unsolvable freight clearances (outer Haverhill Line a potential hard blocker once double-stacked PAR freights have carved out every last inch available underneath the Lawrence street grid)...sure. But they're almost certainly going to have to step up and electrify the Big 4 primary-pair routes (Providence, Worcester, Lowell, Rockburyport) to run all-electric from Day 1 or that tunnel's going to be an excruciating slog. The days of thinking that duals are a hammer and every conceivable service scenario is a nail didn't pan out like the foamers running NJ Transit 10 years ago thought it would.

3. Would the MBTA ever consider just electrifying most of the south side? The North side wouldn't make sense yet. But I think lines such as Needham, Franklin, and Fairmount are all prime candidates, and you take all the diesels out of the system, which reduces the impact on climate change.


As above, Fairmount and Worcester Line to Riverside are achievable just by chaining off of existing Sharon sub and budgeting for the necessary power boost. Substations are large-cost items, and tough to locate because they have to be within stone's throw of major transmission lines AND be free of NIMBY interference. So being able to glom 2 high-frequency Indigo services + Providence off the pre-existing expansion space at Sharon is a big deal.

Needham won't be electrified...as a commuter rail line at 25 kV AC. As an Orange Line extension to West Roxbury and Green Line branch from Newton Highlands to Needham Jct. electrified to 600V DC...yes. But that's because Needham's the perennial odd-man out on SW Corridor congestion and can't meaningfully have its service levels increased as long as Amtrak has such voracious appetite for more slots. So it's better to just cut the cord (and re-plug it into the rapid transit div.) rather than wire it up, have to plunk a pricey substation out by Route 128, and still be stuck running the same poor headways because NEC slots are too valuable to waste on a branch. This is an inevitable shift. It's all about whether the T is proactive about it, or when NEC FUTURE traffic levels make it completely reactive and non-optional.

Worcester's ideal to continue past Riverside to Worcester because the service (present and future) is a layer cake of overlapping schedules--all-stops locals, skip-stop locals, semi-expresses, super-expresses--on a singular un-branched mainline. The vacated freight clearances east of Framingham require no clearance mods (NOTE: Beacon St. overpass near Yawkey has to be modded if you're doing the initial Riverside wire-up because it's too low for 25 kV clearance envelope over the roof of a bi-level). Neither does Framingham-Westborough on the vacated autorack route. Double-stack territory from Westborough to Worcester only has a half-dozen overpasses that have to be checked for 25 kV over double-stacked freights (i.e. 20'6" + 2'6" wire clearance envelope for 25 kV = 22'). Most of them already are 22 ft., and the few that either aren't or are borderline happen to be easily solvable by trackbed undercuts. You won't ever get the Amtrak Inlands to Springfield wired up because it's 35 more overpasses between WOR-SPG, but wiring up the T to Worcester is mercifully cost-effective. And there are an arseload of high-tension power lines crossing the ROW in MetroWest, so plunking a substation somewhere in the Ashland-Westborough stretch is fairly academic.

Franklin's another good one, though doesn't trump the Worcester layer cake. Conceivably you could extend wires from Readville to Deadham Corporate off the Sharon sub feed to extend the electrified Fairmount Line to Dedham Corporate as a first step. Foxboro would be next priority...substation for the whole works located on the Framingham Secondary where all the big power lines cross, and very few overpasses that need to be checked for wire clearance over 17' Plate F freight cars. Walpole-Forge Park...meh, lower-priority. Lack of a proper Franklin layover and extreme expense of finding one (nearest suitable site: Bellingham Jct.) means south-of-Walpole schedules don't have much chance at increasing while Walpole/Foxboro and Fairmount-Dedham Corporate very much do. The upside of the studied Milford extension that would tap that Bellingham layover site is iffy at best, and with RIDOT making noise about taking a second whack at Boston-Woonsocket via Franklin CR study the brighter long-term future may be on the reinstated old main to Blackstone/P&W and not the twisty Milford Branch. Probably better off getting those ducks in a row about the "vision thing" for Walpole-south's ultimate future before spending the coin to electrify to Franklin.


All in all, Back Bay station is awful, and I would like to see something other than a 10 million dollar ventilation project address it. I think this is just lipstick on a pig.


It's necessary anyway, because even if every T service that passed through BBY got electrified the Amtraks running west on the Lake Shore, future Inlands, and future Boston-Montreal would still be all-diesel and fill the building up with smoke during those time slots. If the Inland Preferred Alternative in the NNEIRI study comes to fruition that's more than a dozen times per day that an AMTK-logoed soot-belcher is going to be stopping there. It's a non-optional fix. There's no way to zero-out diesel traffic, and even substantial reductions like an initial Providence electrification are still going to leave the lower-priority branchlines running diesel while they wait their turn for funding & build action. $10M today projected over 20 years of saved maintenance from soot buildup not decaying station structures and saved customer service inconveniences pays for itself over the practical electrification timetables we're talking for whittling down the diesels to just trace traffic. And this $10M is lumped in with 30-year cycled building repairs that were overdue anyway. That's not lipstick, it's basic state-of-repair. The air quality improvements are necessary even in a "GO FOR IT!" decision on electrification because of what timetables you're looking at for maintaining a bridge era until electrification buildout has pounded the diesel outliers down to the barest tolerable minimum.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby BandA » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:57 am

How was the air quality in BBY before 1986 when the station was replaced? (I wish I had gone to some of these places in the 1980s when they were still around)

Why no electricity? New england has the highest electricity rates in the country. Amtrak charges too much for the electricity I have heard -- I think they would want the T to help them pay for the catanery when it really is only a "nice to have" as far as the T is concerned. Copper is very expensive. Lot of labor involved in electrification, seems like replacing track is cheaper than wiring it!

Even a Tier III diesel is pretty smelly. Maybe if the T switched to Tier IV engines you could breath in BBY.

Would be a lot cheaper to build storage yards with buildings over them if everything was electric.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:24 am

BandA wrote:How was the air quality in BBY before 1986 when the station was replaced? (I wish I had gone to some of these places in the 1980s when they were still around)


No comparison because the old station was in open air, not a covered cut.

Why no electricity? New england has the highest electricity rates in the country. Amtrak charges too much for the electricity I have heard -- I think they would want the T to help them pay for the catanery when it really is only a "nice to have" as far as the T is concerned. Copper is very expensive. Lot of labor involved in electrification, seems like replacing track is cheaper than wiring it!


Amtrak is not in the business of being altruistic. They paid for the electrification; they don't owe the T any charity when the T didn't contribute. As mentioned, the *only* prerequisites for commuter usage is capacity expansion at the pre-provisioned blank spaces at Sharon sub set aside specifically for that purpose. Transformers, not miles and miles of copper. There is plenty of cost efficiency there. But it's not an instantaneous switch like every "Why doesn't Amtrak just gift some Toaster beaters to the T?" fantasy on the boards claims it is. There is stuff to budget in 2 states, gigantic pieces of transformer equipment to procure, the actual rolling stock, and where the hell they're going to maintain all that electric stock when Amtrak-Southampton doesn't have the bandwidth to double as BET-South for electrics.

Perfectly reasonable, but 5+ year timetables under the existing wires...not "How fast can you re-prep some rent-a-wreck Toasters rotting at Bear Shops?"

Even a Tier III diesel is pretty smelly. Maybe if the T switched to Tier IV engines you could breath in BBY.


The tiers are incremental, not exponential. IV is moderately better than III, but Tier-anything is still a hell of a lot closer to a Tier-nothing F40PH-2C in emissions profile than a Sprinter.

Would be a lot cheaper to build storage yards with buildings over them if everything was electric.


This is true...but the exhaust stacks scattered through SW Corridor Park all do the job very well as passive vents, and if there's a need for distributing fumes away from a massed air rights overbuild you can easily incorporate powered vents with taller stacks (think Big Dig vent buildings, but much smaller in scope). The South Station Tower has stacks baked into its design. If, say, the state is able to buy Widett Circle and use the ground-level 'bowl' for a permanent train storage
easement while underwriting the air rights overbuild for what gets built atop to interface with the Southie Bypass street grid...full vent stack provisions can just be made an architectural requirement of the overbuild. It doesn't require a perma-ban of fossil fuel vehicles. Consider that even if the North-South Rail Link *somewhat* lessens the need for huge terminal layover yards, there are still 3 bus garages in the same neighborhood. Need fewer rail layups because >50% of southside CR service is run-thru in the NSRL era?...go ahead and convert some of that slack into bus layover space so they can sell the prime Albany garage real estate for redevelopment and make Cabot or Southampton maint-only instead of vehicle storage. Still need the vents! You just need them multi-modally in that universe.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby NeedhamLine » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:30 am

I think electrification of the south-side lines running through BBY would be an excellent long-term investment. Yes, it would be expensive (both in terms of capital costs and ongoing operating costs), but it would have many benefits. A lot of the affected routes (Needham, Franklin, Fairmount) have closely-spaced stops, and modern electric locos and/or EMUs could provide far better acceleration than the current diesels. Almost all of the Providence line and significant portions of the Needham, Franklin and Stoughton lines are already electrified (although as noted, the substations would need upgrading and the T and Amtrak would need to reach an agreement on reasonable rates).

Based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations, electrifying the Fairmount, Needham, Franklin, Providence and Stoughton lines would only require about 45 new route-miles of catenary - not a huge amount for the benefits that would bring. The total goes up to around 56 miles if the Worcester line is electrified to Riverside, or around 90 miles if the whole thing is electrified. Compare that with 157 miles that Amtrak electrified between BOS and NHV in the 1990s, all of it at least double-track, which cost around $600 million - no small sum, but definitely feasible. There would likely need to be some undercutting under bridges to get the necessary clearance for catenary, but that was a hurdle the NEC electrification overcame as well.

What I think will cause the T to move more quickly, though, is the air quality issue. The air at BBY is virtually unbreathable on summer days and when the ventilation system (frequently) breaks down. Even the upstairs lobby gets engulfed in haze. Imagine if some of the station workers or T commuters decided to bring a class action lawsuit. I can't even imagine what levels of nasty particulates are in the station on worse days.

Outside of the US (where underfunding and unfamiliarity have impeded electrification), I struggle to think of anyplace in the developed world that has as many diesel, locomotive-hauled commuter trains - especially in underground stations - as the Southwest Corridor. Electrifying the system, starting with the easiest branches first, could have huge benefits for commuters (more reliable service, faster acceleration/deceleration between stops) and for the environment.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby BandA » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:58 am

Tier IV is about one-tenth the nitrous oxide emissions and about one-tenth the particulates of Tier III, according to chart on page 5 of https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/userfiles/workshops/dieselaerosols2012/nioshmvs2012tier4technologyreview.pdf. So not exponential but logarithmic.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:12 am

NeedhamLine wrote:I think electrification of the south-side lines running through BBY would be an excellent long-term investment. Yes, it would be expensive (both in terms of capital costs and ongoing operating costs), but it would have many benefits. A lot of the affected routes (Needham, Franklin, Fairmount) have closely-spaced stops, and modern electric locos and/or EMUs could provide far better acceleration than the current diesels. Almost all of the Providence line and significant portions of the Needham, Franklin and Stoughton lines are already electrified (although as noted, the substations would need upgrading and the T and Amtrak would need to reach an agreement on reasonable rates).

Based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations, electrifying the Fairmount, Needham, Franklin, Providence and Stoughton lines would only require about 45 new route-miles of catenary - not a huge amount for the benefits that would bring. The total goes up to around 56 miles if the Worcester line is electrified to Riverside, or around 90 miles if the whole thing is electrified. Compare that with 157 miles that Amtrak electrified between BOS and NHV in the 1990s, all of it at least double-track, which cost around $600 million - no small sum, but definitely feasible. There would likely need to be some undercutting under bridges to get the necessary clearance for catenary, but that was a hurdle the NEC electrification overcame as well.

What I think will cause the T to move more quickly, though, is the air quality issue. The air at BBY is virtually unbreathable on summer days and when the ventilation system (frequently) breaks down. Even the upstairs lobby gets engulfed in haze. Imagine if some of the station workers or T commuters decided to bring a class action lawsuit. I can't even imagine what levels of nasty particulates are in the station on worse days.

Outside of the US (where underfunding and unfamiliarity have impeded electrification), I struggle to think of anyplace in the developed world that has as many diesel, locomotive-hauled commuter trains - especially in underground stations - as the Southwest Corridor. Electrifying the system, starting with the easiest branches first, could have huge benefits for commuters (more reliable service, faster acceleration/deceleration between stops) and for the environment.


Cat miles are not the cost multiplier. It's substations and other associated infrastructure. You need a paralleling station trackside (about the size of a large-ish signal bungalow) every approx. 6 miles, for instance. And with exception of Fairmount and a pick-'em of 1 more short schedule (Riverside > Needham > Stoughton in terms of max possible schedules served) chained off of existing/expanded Sharon sub for your starter electrification lumped with Providence, every mainline line will need 1 full-on substation placed near major transmission lines...with possibly 2 subs for the 3 Old Colony lines and Rockburyport given that the branches are pretty busy and/or sprawling. Subs and any upgrades to the transmission lines feeding them are the biggest costs by far, and also the biggest impediment to getting electrification implanted on the northside terminal district.

The big thing to consider is that in spite of the daunting cost of the initial "GO FOR IT!" decision, it scales extremely well. And they are very fortunate that a full-expanded Sharon sub can drag 2 Indigo routes in tow with Providence at very modest cost before they have to do their first really big job, giving them some substantial vehicle scale for that first electrics order. Consider that Providence + Worcester + the 2 Indigos at cost of just 1 MetroWest substation puts half the southside's vehicle requirements under-wire...more than half if the next move is to kick Needham over to Orange/Green as a solve for its permanently-handicapped SW Corridor headways. Boom...that's all it takes to win half the battle down south. And as far as BBY is concerned, if you punt all Franklin trains (since they're well after Worcester in the electrification priority pile due to the branching @ Walpole) over to the Fairmount Line to further clear out some SW Corridor congestion, the only diesels left going through BBY are Stoughton and Amtrak on the B&A. You honestly could have that in 10 years with just that initial Sharon-chained wire-up of Providence+Indigos, decision on Worcester, and transition decision on rapid-transiting Needham.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby NeedhamLine » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:37 am

I can't speak for the Franklin line or outer Worcester line, but the Needham line parallels high tension transmission lines for a couple miles and goes right past a major substation in West Roxbury. It should be relatively straightforward to build a substation that could handle the relatively light traffic on the line (9 route miles after splitting from the NEC, maximum 3-4 trains running simultaneously). Even if Needham can't scale up to more frequent operations because of limited space on the NEC, it would benefit from much faster acceleration between its closely-spaced stops and reduced fumes and noise on its very densely-populated route. High platforms would go a long way to reducing dwell times too, but I doubt we'll see that before electrification (if ever).

With respect to converted the Needham Line to rapid transit, I doubt we will ever see that. I haven't seen a serious proposal on that from any point in the last couple of decades, and you can bet that it would face huge opposition up and down the line (whether or not justified). As for a green line extension, most of that route in Newton is now a rail-trail, which adds to the headwinds against any rapid transit service in the foreseeable future.

I likewise doubt that all or even most of the Franklin Line trains would be diverted via the Fairmount Branch - a significant portion of the line's ridership boards at BBY or Ruggles, and a switch to the Fairmount would be very politically unpopular.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:02 pm

You still have to pay for the sub. You still have to ensure the transmission lines are piping the right capacity. You still have to do land acquisition for the sub.

Easier vs. harder than other subs is not the question. ANY substation/transmission construction is the most expensive part of the electrification.


Needham has a dead-end future on commuter rail. The NEC FUTURE proposal, if it cannot do a multi-billion dollar widening of the SW Corridor, aims to reduce service on it to only one bi-directional track and introduce shuttle service past Forest Hills to make up for the service reductions. That's death.

The financial dilemma has zero to do with what it'll cost to get 25 kV hegemony with the rest of the system. The dilemma is: preserving and enhancing service levels after the SW Corridor gets choked. CR electrification doesn't address that at all. If service levels are only going to get harmed as NEC traffic puts the branch in a vice grip...it's throwing good money after bad to string up 25 kV. +1 better acceleration doesn't matter when you're being forced to transfer to Orange. What will never force you to transfer to Orange?...if West Roxbury IS Orange. So plan for that sub to be 600V DC, not 25 kV AC.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby BandA » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:16 pm

You could also force all the old locos to run northside and phase in tier iv locos on the southside, potentially improving air quality at BBY by 90%+. Probably cheaper than electric upgrades at least for the short-medium term.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby edbear » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:43 pm

There are other costs. Even of only South Side lines were electrified, every locomotive engineer, conductor and anyone else who works on trains has to have ongoing training as do M/W and M/E personnel. They can cross over from one district to another by bid or otherwise. Plus every local police, fire and city/town public works department will have to be trained in some manner.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:10 am

edbear wrote:There are other costs. Even of only South Side lines were electrified, every locomotive engineer, conductor and anyone else who works on trains has to have ongoing training as do M/W and M/E personnel.


But that's not significantly different than every time the T buys a new type of any rolling stock, no matter what propulsion type.

Plus every local police, fire and city/town public works department will have to be trained in some manner.


If this is actually a requirement, then every town along the Providence line already is trained, and has been for 20 years now. That's not a significant expense.

You guys are really grasping at straws now. Electrification of the major south side lines is a good idea, will happen eventually, and all the associated expenses will be quantified in whatever studies the Commonwealth conducts beforehand.

It's definitely going to be expensive and take a long time. But arguing against it because of the potential need to train local fire departments to handle emergencies around overhead wires is just silly.
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Re: Back Bay Station Air Quality-Electrics the answer?

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:42 am

Everyone is quick to jump on the negatives, but electric locomotives are vastly superior in multiple departments, including simpler maintenance, fewer mechanical failures, and faster acceleration. All of these mean operational cost savings and improved rider experiences, to say nothing of improved air quality for all.
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