Ghetto Grills on MBTA Trains

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Ghetto Grills on MBTA Trains

Postby Bay Head Local » Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:18 pm

This might be a dumb question to some of you....but I was jsut wondering, why does all of MBTA's commuter rail equipment have bars on the front windows?
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Postby TomNelligan » Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:27 pm

It's to offer the engineer some protection from vandalism. When the grates started appearing on rail equipment in the Northeast in the 1970s, it was because some jerks had taken to dangling junk or dropping rocks from overhead bridges in the path of trains (bridges weren't usually fenced off then). Other idiots like to pile junk on the right-of-way to see what happens when the train hits a pile. The grates won't deflect everything, but at least they help. I don't know why the MBTA uses them more than other carriers these days.
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Grilles

Postby ferroequinarchaeologist » Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:10 pm

BTW, they're called "ghetto grilles."

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Postby Bay Head Local » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:06 pm

I personally don't like them I think it makes the front of the train look very unattractive, and MBTA is the ONLY commuter rail system in North America that uses them as far as I know.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:48 pm

Bay Head Local wrote:I personally don't like them I think it makes the front of the train look very unattractive,
Not to sound rude, but the safety of my "brothers and sisters" is more important to your personal liking of the appearance.

But you have the right to your opinion. :wink:
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Postby SnoozerZ49 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:19 pm

It is a bit of an inaccuracy to refer to the grates as "ghetto grilles". While urban railroading is always a challenge many of the obstacles I have faced were placed in suburban areas well away from the inner city. When I was growing up the engineers on the B&M's Budd cars faced concrete blocks suspended from over head bridges, old telegraph poles, 55 galloon drums, ties and the infamous shopping carts that tore up the undersides of the poor old Budd cars. These pranks were not reserved for the inner city neighborhoods at that time either.
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Suburbia-mania

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:55 pm

Snoozer's right....There was the infamous incident in North Billerica
where a snowman was built on the tracks. Unfortunately, the little brats
put a railroad tie inside said snowman....

Or two similar incidents I had while on duty - one train in Wilmington
and another in Swampscott where vandals propped up a piece of
steel (a joint bar in the Swampscott case) in the gauge. Both incidents
resulted in a fuel tank puncture.

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Postby Bay Head Local » Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:32 pm

If this is such a major problem, why don't other railroads use them?
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Postby SnoozerZ49 » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:43 pm

I can't speculate as to why other systems do not use them. I would say that while they may be an added advantage on an engine they are much needed on control cars ( aka "coffin cars" these days ).]

Maybe some of the spoiled youth of eastern Massachusetts have more idle time on their hands than in other parts of the country :( :wink: .

I would have thought that the control cars of NJ Transit would have had these grates as well?
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Postby Bay Head Local » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:13 pm

No NJT Control cars don't have those gates...and hopefully they never will, no offense to MBTA or any other train operators.
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Postby Pete » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:12 pm

There's this really crappy little dive near Union Station in Worcester... oh, sorry. Misunderstood the title.
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Postby danib62 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:46 pm

Pete wrote:There's this really crappy little dive near Union Station in Worcester... oh, sorry. Misunderstood the title.
LOL :P
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Postby typesix » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:10 pm

Amtrak used them on the locos running out of South Station in the 1970s.
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Postby TomNelligan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 5:14 pm

typesix wrote:Amtrak used them on the locos running out of South Station in the 1970s.


If you really want to go back in history, window grates first appeared locally on some New Haven Railroad locomotives in the late 1960s, and the practice was continued by Penn Central when PC took over the NH. New York was a bigger problem than Boston in those days, especially the freight line into Bay Ridge Yard in Brooklyn.

In the early 1970s, a passenger on Amtrak's short-lived UA TurboTrain was killed when a kid dropped a cinder block off a bridge near Canton Junction and it hit one of the Turbo's domes.
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Postby bellstbarn » Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:47 pm

Size of the front window may also have been a factor. Didn't steam locomotives and GG-1 motors have narrow vertical windows? I vaguely recall early RDC's encountering a problem with birds cracking the engineer's window, so some railroads began to use a two-piece window. Port-hole windows on Pennsy MU's probably also had strength in their design. As a rider, I am pleased that some stronger glass (FRA glazing number?) has replaced the cloudy Lexan on side windows. If you read threads on other sites, you learn that Fort Lauderdale has had recent bursts of transit buses getting "rocked."
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