Commuter Rail Electrification

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

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8th Notch
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by 8th Notch » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:25 pm

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Red Wing
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Red Wing » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:32 pm

Pollack really doesn't like electric running, made the same comments future upgrades to the Matapan Line.

Bramdeisroberts
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Bramdeisroberts » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:21 am

Tadman wrote:
charlesriverbranch wrote:There are FRA-compliant DMU's; if I'm not mistaken, SMART, the new commuter rail service running north of San Francisco, uses them.
I think the builder, Nippon Sharyo, is done for the US market after the Amtrak fiasco. They declined to bid the recent NICTD/South Shore tender, and that's their oldest customer in the market with an install base of about 85 cars. The plant in rural Illinois is closed, too.

It's a shame, too. Until the Amtrak fiasco, their equipment has been really solid performers. I think there is more to that story than we are hearing.
I'd believe it. Compare how Amtrak handled Nippon Sharyo's struggles with the nu-superliners vs how they coddled CAF through all the issues they had with the viewliners. Something doesn't quite add up.

It's a shame, too, because their SMART DMU architecture was easily one of the nicest looking FRA compliant MU designs on the market today. That said, I'd imagine that if the T were to pony up the money, that it wouldn't be too hard to get Kawasaki to adapt the SMART/UP Express design's running gear to their M8/M9 carshell and land you something fairly similar. Honestly, if the T was really serious about electrification, they could do far worse than to piggyback on to the MTA's Kawasaki orders, buy a slew of simplified M8s set up solely for 25kV running, and run them as 10-car consists on the Providence line.

superstar
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by superstar » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:25 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote: I'd believe it. Compare how Amtrak handled Nippon Sharyo's struggles with the nu-superliners vs how they coddled CAF through all the issues they had with the viewliners. Something doesn't quite add up.
Amtrak had nothing to do with Nippon Sharyo, that was the purview of the CA/IL/MO/MI consortium.

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ST214
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by ST214 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:49 am

I could see this happening, but on the Southside only. There would be WAY too much work needed on the Northside for this. Start with Old Colony, since those lines were rebuilt with future electrification in mind. The only line I see as a possible issue south is Worcester. Worst case scenario is you have one diesel line left south and everything else wired up.
Hoping for a rebirth of the Screamer fleet.

Nasadowsk
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Nasadowsk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:20 am

Bramdeisroberts wrote:Honestly, if the T was really serious about electrification, they could do far worse than to piggyback on to the MTA's Kawasaki orders, buy a slew of simplified M8s set up solely for 25kV running, and run them as 10-car consists on the Providence line.
There's far better choices if they're actually serious about electrics.

troffey
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by troffey » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:09 pm

Not to dispute your position, but rather out of curiosity, what leads you to this conclusion?

Nasadowsk
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Nasadowsk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:35 pm

troffey wrote:Not to dispute your position, but rather out of curiosity, what leads you to this conclusion?
M8's a barge. The SL V is a bit lighter, but still a barge. Admittingly, if you dump the 25Hz operation and useless resistor grids, it's weight gets close to being decent, but it's still hobbled by a long outdated truck design and not enough door area.

If the MBTA can pick a platform height, it becomes easy:

Low: Stadler FLIRT, or KISS. Or whatever Siemens makes that competes.
High: Most anything derrived from DB's Class 42X stuff (well, not the 420, but that's a 60's design anyway). For double decker, probably Stadler's Caltrain KISS derivative, minus the low doors. There might be something that SBB or SNCF runs that's worth looking at, but the RER's fleet is a bit...dumpy...except for the new single level ones...
Mixed: Caltrain's Stadler KISS derivative. Hardly ideal, but nothing else is either, and it's at least based on a proven platform.

This isn't theoretical - the FRA now would allow all of the above with minimal mods and no time separation. Ok, most aren't good for more than 87mph (140 km/h), but that's not anything major anyway. There's probably nowhere on the MBTA's system where you're going to make practical use of 100 mph capability, unless you want to throw a LOT of power at the train.

Realistically, they'd trial and ALP-46 or ACS-64, find the performance barely better than a diesel, and forget about electrification for the next decade or two. Both are good locos, but neither are designed for commuter service....

troffey
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by troffey » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:43 pm

Unless they were to add a major platform project, the T would have to pick a mixed boarding height. Mass law, from what I understand, requires high level at new construction, but there are still a number of low level platforms around the system. Conversely, if we're paying to electrify the system, might as well raise the platforms too.

Outside of the Providence Line on the NEC, the T doesn't currently run on any trackage rated over 79mph, and that is a small portion of the Worcester Line. Most T trackage is 70mph, tops. I would have to say given such, that the 87mph max speed isn't a deal breaker.

There's long segments of single track that are much bigger hindrances to operations than the maximum speed currently. That would remain true under any motive power.

Thanks for your insight.

Trinnau
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Trinnau » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:03 am

Portions of the Fitchburg and Newburyport lines have 79mph operation but your point is correct that nothing is built for over that.

Backshophoss
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Backshophoss » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:11 pm

The "forgotten issues" of Substation locations along the branch lines hanging wire in the layover yards, beefing up Amtrak's substations,
and building the power distribution network along the ROW's.
There's a lot of preplanning that needs to be done before the start of construction.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

8th Notch
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by 8th Notch » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:00 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
troffey wrote:Not to dispute your position, but rather out of curiosity, what leads you to this conclusion?
Realistically, they'd trial and ALP-46 or ACS-64, find the performance barely better than a diesel, and forget about electrification for the next decade or two. Both are good locos, but neither are designed for commuter service....
I disagree with that, the ALP46 was designed for commuter service and runs in daily service with heavier trains vs the T and even the ACS will beat the pants off any diesel on dry rail. My only concern is Sharon hill during leaf season or light rain on an 8 car all doubles set.

Nasadowsk
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by Nasadowsk » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:01 pm

The '46 is an Americanized version of DB's Class 101, which is an intercity unit. They don't use them in commuter service over there, it's strictly an intercity unit.

As far as performance, better than a diesel? Sure. What you can get with more modern EMU equipment? It's a far second, even that 46A's are total dogs vs a modern train anywhere else. Unless you're talking 2 units per train, then theyr'e not too bad (there was a video of that floating around Youtube years ago. Close to S-Bahn performance, with a big energy consumption penalty).

I mean, beating the (T)'s diesel fleet isn't exactly bragging rights, most turtles are faster...

dowlingm
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by dowlingm » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:46 pm

Is Amtrak planning NEC electrical reinforcement in MA/RI to support Avelia? If they are, now might be the time for MBTA to stick their hand up since it might be a lot more expensive later.

troffey
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Re: Commuter Rail Electrification

Post by troffey » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:04 pm

It is widely understood that Amtrak future proofed the NEC when it was electrified north of New Haven, with the understanding that the T would have to foot the bill to add the capacity for commuter service. I haven't studied the technical aspects to confirm this, but there is some suspiciously large open spots in the Sharon substation that provides power for the NEC in Massachusetts.

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