• MARC's small trains/lack of cars?

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by realtype
 
davinp wrote:VRE removed & sold all the single level cars from service and now has only double deckers (Gallery) due to higher ridership. Yet, MARC still uses them? Why? The single level cars don't have as many seats.

VRE runs only one 4 car set - Train #310/313 because this set has the lowest ridership. It is the last morning train and the last evening train. The rest are 6 cars, with two 8 car sets.
Read my previous posts. NJT, Metro-North, SEPTA, LIRR, MARC, and MBTA all operate a majority of single level cars. MBTA in particular is probably the closest thing to MARC as far as equipment is concerned. Both railroads operate a mix of single and bilevels, and use mixes consists. And yes, MBTA also uses three car trains. Interestingly enough both use their longest trains, and mostly bilvels on their NEC routes. They even have the same type of bilevels (Kawasakis), and diesels (GP40'S). MBTA has a higher ridership because it has more routes, and Boston is larger than DC.

Anyway my point is, although it sounds weird, its really only the smaller systems (mostly in the South and West) that tend to have all bilevels and all long trains. Metra and Go Train are probablly the only exceptions since all of their equipment is bilevel, and virtually all their trains are long. TRE, Tri-Rail, Coaster, VRE, Altamont Commuter Express, Music City Star, Sounder, etc. all use bilevels exclusively, yet they have the lowest riderhip numbers in the country. In addition, many of these systems,such as VRE and Coaster use only longer trains because they only operate during rush hour. MARC, MBTA, and the other systems I mentioned operate off-peak as well.
Last edited by realtype on Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by HokieNav
 
realtype wrote: I definitely agree with you about Rockville and Silver Spring being secondary commuter destinations. Apart from BWI, those two are the only stations in the entire system, that aren't terminals, that are really destination stations. Nobody boards inbound MARC trains at Silver Spring, but at least 1/3 of the trains empty out there. Most SS DC commuters take adjacent Metro instead. Rockville is about half boarding/half exiting, depending on which train it is.
You can definitely throw NCR onto that list too on a slightly smaller scale - roughly 20-25% of the train empties out on the way into town and there are always huge crowds to board in the afternoons headed home.

Good to know that the VRE cars will be along shortly, and I'm glad (for me) that they're going to lengthen some of the Penn Line sets - one of the biggest reasons that I take train 503 in the morning is that it's the monster 9-car all bi-level trainset, so you can get a seat even at Odenton (now dumping 1200+ people into Union Station at once presents a bit of a challenge, but that's a *lot* of people to move at once). The next two trains are 6 and 7 cars, and they're packed to the gills by the time that they get to Odenton.

More on-topic, aren't there some sidings on the Camden Line that limit train length? I seem to remember reading that somewhere, but can't recall the details.
  by M&Eman
 
NJT has some two-three car single level diesel sets running out of Hoboken for off-peak Boonton Line and Main/Bergen Line trains. They also have 3-car MU sets for Hoboken service on the Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch. The shortest trains out of Penn Station however are 6 cars, and some trains have up to 10 (on the Morristown and North Jersey Coast Lines) or 12 (on the NEC) cars either single level or double level. You'll also find several 10 car bilevel sets and even one double-motored 12 car bilevel set. They place seats where demand is. NJ Transit, along with GO Transit, are the only North American commuter rail agencies that run 12-car trains.

SEPTA, on the other hand, runs the shortest commuter trains. The vast majority of SEPTA trains off-peak are one or two cars. three at the most. Being an all MU fleet, these sets will combine to make longer trains for rush hour. Still though, the longest train on SEPTA i believe is 6 cars, with the exception of one 7-car push-pull train on the R5. SEPTA has no bilevels.

On Metro-North and LIRR, MU trains are limited to being no shorter than 4-cars due to gapping issues with the third rail at interlockings. If LIRR could, they would run 2-car trains on their West Hempstead Branch off peak, but they can't, so they run mostly empty 4-car trains. Some of the trains in diesel territory however get pretty short. MNRR's off-peak Danbury and Waterbury shuttle trains are usually 2-3 single level cars, as is their Wassaic shuttle. The LIRR's Greenport Branch and off peak Montauk Branch trains will run trains of 2-3 bilevels.
  by realtype
 
HokieNav wrote:You can definitely throw NCR onto that list too on a slightly smaller scale - roughly 20-25% of the train empties out on the way into town and there are always huge crowds to board in the afternoons headed home.

Good to know that the VRE cars will be along shortly, and I'm glad (for me) that they're going to lengthen some of the Penn Line sets - one of the biggest reasons that I take train 503 in the morning is that it's the monster 9-car all bi-level trainset, so you can get a seat even at Odenton (now dumping 1200+ people into Union Station at once presents a bit of a challenge, but that's a *lot* of people to move at once). The next two trains are 6 and 7 cars, and they're packed to the gills by the time that they get to Odenton.

More on-topic, aren't there some sidings on the Camden Line that limit train length? I seem to remember reading that somewhere, but can't recall the details.
I took 503 once from BWI to DC, and it was definitely packed even with the 9 cars (one was a single level). Its opposite is 534 (the 5:20pm express) which always takes up the length of the entire platform at WAS. You can immediatle tell which one it is by the groups of passengers standing at every door, 15 min before the track is even posted, despite the signs saying to stay inside and the constant MTA emails :-).

The Camden Line probably doesn't need longer trains, but the platforms at Greenbelt station are on two sidings (a total of four tracks run through the station). The reason why is because the platforms are high level and wouldn't give enough clearance to passing CSX freighht trains if they were onthe main. I think they can handle six cars though. The longest consist on the Camden Line is 5 cars (849/852) long. I remember when there was that outage on the NEC, MARC used at least one six car train on the Camden Line.
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
M&Eman wrote:NJT has some two-three car single level diesel sets running out of Hoboken for off-peak Boonton Line and Main/Bergen Line trains. They also have 3-car MU sets for Hoboken service on the Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch. The shortest trains out of Penn Station however are 6 cars, and some trains have up to 10 (on the Morristown and North Jersey Coast Lines) or 12 (on the NEC) cars either single level or double level. You'll also find several 10 car bilevel sets and even one double-motored 12 car bilevel set. They place seats where demand is. NJ Transit, along with GO Transit, are the only North American commuter rail agencies that run 12-car trains.

SEPTA, on the other hand, runs the shortest commuter trains. The vast majority of SEPTA trains off-peak are one or two cars. three at the most. Being an all MU fleet, these sets will combine to make longer trains for rush hour. Still though, the longest train on SEPTA i believe is 6 cars, with the exception of one 7-car push-pull train on the R5. SEPTA has no bilevels.

On Metro-North and LIRR, MU trains are limited to being no shorter than 4-cars due to gapping issues with the third rail at interlockings. If LIRR could, they would run 2-car trains on their West Hempstead Branch off peak, but they can't, so they run mostly empty 4-car trains. Some of the trains in diesel territory however get pretty short. MNRR's off-peak Danbury and Waterbury shuttle trains are usually 2-3 single level cars, as is their Wassaic shuttle. The LIRR's Greenport Branch and off peak Montauk Branch trains will run trains of 2-3 bilevels.
M&E, get with the times. Septa only runs 1 line thats a single car train(Cynwyd Shuttle), most other sets are between 2-4 cars off peak and up to 7 cars rush hour. All of the push pull sets are 7 car sets now(with the help of the 8 Comet 1 cars that was purchased by NJT), and theres one 7 car MU set running during rush hour. Maybe off peak the crews open up 2 cars but with there recent ridership surge, all off peak trains need to have 3 cars open.........
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Okay this is off-topic for this forum but it came up in this thread:

BuddSilverliner269 (also my favorite Septa MU btw) I'm no expert but does Septa do alot of cutting of consists and reassembling post- and pre-rush hour (as was stated here)? My observation has been most of the long rush hour consists layup during midday at the various yards. Powell Avenue, Roberts etc seem to be loaded with stored trains by 10 o'clock on weekday mornings.
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:Okay this is off-topic for this forum but it came up in this thread:

BuddSilverliner269 (also my favorite Septa MU btw) I'm no expert but does Septa do alot of cutting of consists and reassembling post- and pre-rush hour (as was stated here)? My observation has been most of the long rush hour consists layup during midday at the various yards. Powell Avenue, Roberts etc seem to be loaded with stored trains by 10 o'clock on weekday mornings.
Hi Tommy, yes Septa is always re assembling the trains between the am and Pm rush hours in the yards. They sometimes add the cars on the "fly" on the main line , either as a head end, or rear end add on. Its nice to see rush hour trains starting to get alil longer
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Thanks, that I did not know. I was under the impression you needed a carman (carperson?) to do that. And/or an electrician.

Fwiw, I remember the trainmen on a Princeton Shuttle telling me they used to cut the train at night and then couple up the second car in the morning. Only, especially on cold mornings, they couldn't get the air. So they stopped.
  by CHIP72
 
realtype wrote:I definitely agree with you about Rockville and Silver Spring being secondary commuter destinations. Apart from BWI, those two are the only stations in the entire system, that aren't terminals, that are really destination stations. Nobody boards inbound MARC trains at Silver Spring, but at least 1/3 of the trains empty out there. Most SS DC commuters take adjacent Metro instead. Rockville is about half boarding/half exiting, depending on which train it is.
I live within walking distance of the Silver Spring Metrorail/MARC station, and I can confirm almost no one uses MARC between that station and Union Station, based on observation and the fact Silver Spring-Union Station Metrorail peak fares are $2.65 one-way, while Silver Spring-Union Station MARC fares are $4.00 one-way. (I also used the last train of the day departure - 7:15 PM - on the Brunswick Line once from Union Station to Silver Spring when I got together with friends for dinner after work, and I was the only person who got off at Silver Spring; I had to fight a little bit through the people getting on.) Most people who exit in the morning/board in the evening at Silver Spring aren't switching to the Metrorail either; they work in downtown Silver Spring. The lack of switching is due to the fact the MARC Brunswick Line and the Metrorail Red Line run in the same right-of-way essentially the entire distance between Silver Spring and Union Station.

I suspect with Rockville things are different because many of the people getting on the MARC train work in Silver Spring and MARC is much faster and more convenient between Rockville and Silver Spring than the Metrorail Red Line is. (Of course, the Metrobus Q2 route, which also runs between Rockville and Silver Spring, is cheaper, but many people are probably willing to pay a premium for faster service.)
  by JerseyShore16
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:Thanks, that I did not know. I was under the impression you needed a carman (carperson?) to do that. And/or an electrician.

Fwiw, I remember the trainmen on a Princeton Shuttle telling me they used to cut the train at night and then couple up the second car in the morning. Only, especially on cold mornings, they couldn't get the air. So they stopped.
What does a carperson do exactly?
  by AEM7AC920
 
realtype wrote:
davinp wrote:VRE removed & sold all the single level cars from service and now has only double deckers (Gallery) due to higher ridership. Yet, MARC still uses them? Why? The single level cars don't have as many seats.

VRE runs only one 4 car set - Train #310/313 because this set has the lowest ridership. It is the last morning train and the last evening train. The rest are 6 cars, with two 8 car sets.
Read my previous posts. NJT, Metro-North, SEPTA, LIRR, MARC, and MBTA all operate a majority of single level cars. MBTA in particular is probably the closest thing to MARC as far as equipment is concerned. Both railroads operate a mix of single and bilevels, and use mixes consists. And yes, MBTA also uses three car trains. Interestingly enough both use their longest trains, and mostly bilvels on their NEC routes. They even have the same type of bilevels (Kawasakis), and diesels (GP40'S). MBTA has a higher ridership because it has more routes, and Boston is larger than DC.

Anyway my point is, although it sounds weird, its really only the smaller systems (mostly in the South and West) that tend to have all bilevels and all long trains. Metra and Go Train are probablly the only exceptions since all of their equipment is bilevel, and virtually all their trains are long. TRE, Tri-Rail, Coaster, VRE, Altamont Commuter Express, Music City Star, Sounder, etc. all use bilevels exclusively, yet they have the lowest riderhip numbers in the country. In addition, many of these systems,such as VRE and Coaster use only longer trains because they only operate during rush hour. MARC, MBTA, and the other systems I mentioned operate off-peak as well.

Chiming back for a min MBTA DOES NOT use 3 car sets on the commuter rail, 4 car sets are usually the smallest used during severe equipment shortages only.
  by realtype
 
AEM7AC920 wrote: Chiming back for a min MBTA DOES NOT use 3 car sets on the commuter rail, 4 car sets are usually the smallest used during severe equipment shortages only.
Okay, thanks for the correction.
  by ST214
 
For the MBTA...

On the Northside, it's all single lever equipment. 5 cars is the smallest you will see for a regular train. As AEM7AC920 stated, anything smaller is from equipment shortages or a 5 car having a bad order car that had to be pulled off at a outlying layover yard. 6 and 7 car trains also operate.

On the Souithside, it's a mix...there are solid sets of multi levels, either 7 or 8 cars in length...the rest is a mix, with some 6 car flat sets. On the Southside, teh smallest is usually 6 cars.
  by CSXTfan
 
I have seen MARK with short bi level trains but in my opinion thay use shorter trains with bi level cars becuse thay can fit more people in them then the singule level cars.
Feel free to correct me if im wrong.
  by realtype
 
CSXTfan wrote:I have seen MARK with short bi level trains but in my opinion thay use shorter trains with bi level cars becuse thay can fit more people in them then the singule level cars.
Feel free to correct me if im wrong.
MARC doesn't use all bi-level short (3-4) car trains, but they do regularly use bilevels on them. For instance a 3 car train with 2 single level coaches and a bilevel cab. This has changed recently though as MARC has moved nearly all the bilevels to the longer Penn Line trains, so while 4 car trains may have bilevels, currently I don't think any 3 car trains have them.

afaik MBTA and MARC are the only two commuter railroads in the country to operate mixed sets of single and bilevel cars (NJT has both, but doesn't mix them). Coincidentally they are also the only two to operate "safety cab" GP40's and Kawasaki bilevels (except for LIRR which also operates a high-platform only verion). MBTA could operate shorter trains though. When I was in Boston earlier this year, I took an all-bilevel 6-car Old Colony Line train to Braintree out of South Station, and they only used 2 or 3 cars and even those were mostly empty. Granted it was on the weekend, but in the evening.