Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

MACTRAXX
Posts: 4138
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by MACTRAXX » Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:07 am

Everyone:

I remember the Ashmont-Mattapan Line well from past travels to Boston and liked the way that
the MBTA ran the service using PCC cars as a "heritage" type service but with newer cars from the
Green Lines becoming readily available this could be the time to modernize the MHSL car fleet.
I am in full agreement in keeping the MHSL a rail service over conversion to a busway.

What will be the fate of the six operational PCC cars?
Will the MBTA retain them or will they go elsewhere in New England for preservation?
MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3489
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:55 pm

It's good that when the PCC cars retire, the Mattapan-Ashmont Line will continue to be used as a light rail line which it should. It has always been set up for one, enabling a faster option from many of the southernmost parts of Boston to connect to the Red Line at Ashmont Station for travel to Downtown Boston.

As for the sake of railfanning, when those PCC cars retire, I will miss seeing them but nostalgia doesn't last forever. It's possible that this September, I may be up in Boston and plan to do a few hours worth of railfanning on the line. I know that I have time. Hopefully, the PCC cars can continue to hold out well for the next 8 to 10 years on the Mattapan-Ashmont Line.

RFP
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:32 am

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by RFP » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:49 pm

Hello all, I rarely post but enjoy "everything trolleys" and truly miss the education that Gerry and Sery provided.

How about this thought from left field? As I am selfish and want the PCC's to last forever here goes. A'la the 50's/60's why can't trackless trolleys run on weekdays and PCC's run on weekends? I know that paving would be required but I'm only guessing that the power requirement is not an issue. The Weekend has lighter traffic and the reduced workload on the PCC's may further extend their life. To further my pipedream it would be nice to add a mini-museum in Mattapan to house and occasionally run 5734 and 3295.

I was in SF this summer and truly enjoyed the PCC's along with the general population and many other visitors. I didn't hear any complaints. Thanks for letting me add my two cents.

typesix
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:23 am
Location: Boston

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by typesix » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:07 pm

To those wanting to ride the line, after the PCCs go through this latest and likely last round of rebuilding, they will be no longer air-electric cars. They will become basically all-electrics and will not have the distinctive air sounds.

diburning
Posts: 3061
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Practicing safe CSX by using Three-Step Protection

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by diburning » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:04 am

RFP wrote:Hello all, I rarely post but enjoy "everything trolleys" and truly miss the education that Gerry and Sery provided.

How about this thought from left field? As I am selfish and want the PCC's to last forever here goes. A'la the 50's/60's why can't trackless trolleys run on weekdays and PCC's run on weekends? I know that paving would be required but I'm only guessing that the power requirement is not an issue. The Weekend has lighter traffic and the reduced workload on the PCC's may further extend their life. To further my pipedream it would be nice to add a mini-museum in Mattapan to house and occasionally run 5734 and 3295.

I was in SF this summer and truly enjoyed the PCC's along with the general population and many other visitors. I didn't hear any complaints. Thanks for letting me add my two cents.
Trackless run on two poles while trolleys run on one. I don't know if it's feasible to have a dual use trolley wire. The whole reason (and saving grace) for the line remaining a rail line is that the bridges and underpasses are too narrow to comfortably fit rubber tired vehicles. It would cost more to modify the infrastructure for rubber tired vehicles to run in both directions without bottlenecks than it would be to simply either refurbish the PCCs, and in the current proposal, to give the line hand-me-down vehicles from the Green Line once they're replaced by newer cars.

jwhite07
Posts: 1475
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:39 pm

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by jwhite07 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:12 am

diburning wrote:I don't know if it's feasible to have a dual use trolley wire.
It is quite feasible. Among other places, the F Line streetcars along a portion of Market Street in San Francisco share the positive wire with trackless trolleys.

User avatar
Disney Guy
Posts: 861
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:10 am
Location: Nashua, NH

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by Disney Guy » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:59 am

Wasn't someone saying that the rail bridges of the Mattapan line would need rebuilding before (the heavier) current Green Line cars could run there?

Then, the future of rail service on the Mattapan line could be threatened more because rebuilding the bridges could mean rebuilding them for rubber tired vehicles.
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.

RFP
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:32 am

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by RFP » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:36 am

Thanks for the response. I tend to remember PCC's and TT's running on a dual wire between Harvard /North Cambridge/Watertown/Arlington although I may be imagining this. Also and probably crazy, could TT's be retrofitted with track wheels which would eliminate paving? Surely, the "green folks" would be pleased with this. Thanks again, Ron

Arborwayfan
Posts: 877
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:27 am
Location: Terre Haute, Indiana

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by Arborwayfan » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:47 am

This would go against the T's habits of the past few decades BUT just thinking about it from our railfan perspective, wouldn't it be fun if the T would let someone keep a couple of the PCCs, put pantographs on them, and run then on stated routes on weekends/special days? Oslo Sporveis allows volunteers to run a trolley from about 1915 on weekends; it makes a loop to and from the stop closest to a trolley museum, but it makes all stops on the route and anyone can ride it for free. Stockholm has something similar. So did Portland. Would a PCC stay operation if it were stored indoors or in a tunnel (Boylston platform seems logical) and run one or two days a month? And would that make use all happy? Much simpler than a heritage line, no real problem if the car wouldn't start one day, could run only with good weather/only underground in bad weather (Kenmore to Park or Govt Ctr).

Again, the T probably wouldn't like it, but if we are dreaming...

train2
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:56 pm

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by train2 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:24 pm

Not an overly huge trolley expert, cab some give some detail on what makes a car air vs. all electric?

Patrick Boylan
Posts: 3469
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:44 pm
Location: Here is a stupid picture, pay attention to me. Burlington Township, NJ 08016

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by Patrick Boylan » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:57 pm

Early PCC's, generally before 1945, like virtually all other trolleys, had air compressors to operate brakes, doors and windshield wipers. After World War 2 they did away with the air operated components and had electric brakes, doors and windshield wipers.
So too did the North America resurgence light rail cars in Edmonton and Calgary, but I had read and it makes sense that they did so because of freezing water in compressed air systems.
Time marches sideways however and many modern light rail vehicles have reverted to air compressors.

dieciduej
Posts: 614
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 9:37 am

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by dieciduej » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:29 pm

train2 wrote:Not an overly huge trolley expert, cab some give some detail on what makes a car air vs. all electric?
Ah, one is propelled by electricity and one by air! :P

But seriously an electric-air car uses air pressure for braking (air-brakes), doors and windshield wipers, were an all-electric car uses electric actuators and motors for those functions.

On the overall PCC car design level the air car design was the original, in the quest for improvement the all-electric design became the post-war standard design.

Air cars have air reservoirs, air valves, sealed piping and compressors and the resulting maintenance. Any moisture in the system could freeze in the extremely cold weather we have had. All-electrics would eliminate those headaches. No plumbing, air compressor maintenance just slap in a new motor or actuator. The bulk of Boston's PCC cars 3002-3196, 3222-3346 were electric-air type (320 PCC cars) and 3197-3221 were of the all-electric design (25 PCC cars).

I hope that explains it.
JoeD

Member of IEEE, BSRA, ERA, BERA, SPH&TS, SFRH&MS, RGM&HS, UPHS, NHRHTA, NE PRRT&HS and PRRT&HS

This message was sent from a DEC VT100!

User avatar
BandA
Posts: 2845
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:47 am

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by BandA » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:12 pm

I thought they kept the trolleys because the LRV's were too heavy for the existing old bridges, which have since been replaced.

typesix
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:23 am
Location: Boston

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by typesix » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:05 pm

Many have gone back to air compressors because of the necessity of supplying air to air spring suspensions. The latest PCC rebuild will retain mechanical coil spring suspension, allowing the conversion to all electric.

dieciduej
Posts: 614
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 9:37 am

Re: Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley Line Discussion

Post by dieciduej » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:16 am

BandA wrote:I thought they kept the trolleys because the LRV's were too heavy for the existing old bridges, which have since been replaced.
I believe weight was one issue also there was a question of the amount of power an LRV would draw. Not sure how much current a Type 9 would draw on start-up or at speed, my guess less than a Boeing LRV when the first thoughts were floated. If they go LRV I think they would stub end Ashmont station. Mitigates noise issues, chance of derailment or mechanical issues on an elevated loop.
JoeD

Member of IEEE, BSRA, ERA, BERA, SPH&TS, SFRH&MS, RGM&HS, UPHS, NHRHTA, NE PRRT&HS and PRRT&HS

This message was sent from a DEC VT100!

Return to “Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)”