• MBTA Bus Fleet Electrification

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

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

  by scratchyX1
 
octr202 wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:39 am Get your trackless trolley rides in now...the T is officially informing the three municipalities that Cambridge/Watertown/Belmont trackless service (route 71/73) will now end in March:

http://belmontonian.com/news/goodbye-tr ... -in-march/

You've got a little under two months to see them in action. Once they're gone, two plus years of diesel operation while they convert North Cambridge to house/charge the 40+ battery buses needed to replace the 28 tracklesses.
This is dumb, they are trashing existing infrastructure, for somethings that could have used that , for charging.
  by octr202
 
Yes, all of the other North American trackless systems have invested in IMC (in-motion charging) trolleybuses rather than scrap their systems. The T bought the current Neoplans just before that technology arrived, and instead they're clinging to the old model to kill the concept altogether.
  by BandA
 
We are all in agreement! Bad move.
  by Red Wing
 
Heck I think they should extend the wires to Arlington Heights and the Silver Line through Chelsea and maybe even the airport terminals.
  by ConstanceR46
 
Absolutely idiotic idea.
  by scratchyX1
 
octr202 wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:22 am Yes, all of the other North American trackless systems have invested in IMC (in-motion charging) trolleybuses rather than scrap their systems. The T bought the current Neoplans just before that technology arrived, and instead they're clinging to the old model to kill the concept altogether.
If they are going to go through it, could philly or dayton get the wires, poles, and substations, to beef up their systems.
  by Disney Guy
 
Note that if a trackless trolley will gain one additional mile of off wire range for every mile it is under wire with in-motion charging then it will draw twice as much power as a "plain" trackless trolley would draw. If the TT will gain five miles of off wire range that way then it will draw six times the power as a plain TT would draw.

Substations and feeder cables would need to be upgraded, and more so if additional routes were to be equipped with IMC trackless trolleys and recharge using the existing wired streets.
  by TurningOfTheWheel
 
Glad we all agree that this is insanely stupid.
  by rethcir
 
I believe Mt Auburn St is getting a thorough redesign, maybe they need to take down the cat to do the work?

Hopefully the Watertown nimbys did not shoot down the dedicated bus lanes that Mt Auburn badly needs. And hopefully the lights can be synced up a bit better so you aren’t stopping every 100 feet.
  by Adams_Umass_Boston
 
I know the BSRA was hoping to do an outing , and I hope they still are / can! I would like to go.
  by jwhite07
 
Kill off the ETBs two years before BEBs are available and replace them with diesel buses in the interim? HA! What happens when two years becomes five years? What happens when someone decides "battery buses are too expensive" or "there are no manufacturers of BEBs that will meet our exacting (and out of control) specs"? Pull the wire down now and electric surface transit in Cambridge, Belmont, and Watertown is gone forever. The T has, after all, never reneged on promises after installing a "temporary" solution, right? Just ask the residents of Brighton/Newton/Watertown, Jamaica Plain, and Roxbury, all of which had diesel buses "temporarily" replace electric transit.
  by octr202
 
This is spot on - it'll be a long time before those battery buses actually roll out. Keep in mind that the T has exactly 5 full BEB's (currently used on the Silver Line, in limited service) and is far behind many other transit authorities in testing BEBs. There are no BEBs on order currently - the most they've committed to is 60' hybrids with "enhanced electric only mode" to allow them to scrap the Silver Line electrification in the tunnel.*

If sanity prevailed at the T, they could have built a new BEB garage somewhere first, and started by assigning BEBs to the routes that currently operate straight diesels (this is in part happening in Quincy), while getting another generation of ETB's (with in-motion charging) to base at North Cambridge. This would have allowed real-world testing of both concepts side-by-side, all while ensuring that bus electrification proceeds with a "dirtiest first" policy. Instead, Lynn and Fellsway garages will continue to run straight diesel buses, while the only fully-electric garage is gutted for a pricey rehab.

The T has tried to kill the North Cambridge routes several times, but it's always been municipal pushback which has stopped it. I suspect they believe (probably rightly so) that there's enough wishful thinking about BEBs that the City of Cambridge will let this slide. Rip out the OHW and distribution system fast, and by the time anyone can object it's impossible to revert. My guess is the line crews will be out the very first day after closure ripping down the wires.

One poster mentioned Mt Auburn St - that's likely a factor. Both the Mt Auburn reconstruction, and a smaller project on the Cambridge portion of Belmont St, have been delayed due to "consultation with the T." I suspect the T is seizing the opportunity of those projects as an excuse to accelerate the ETB retirement, and avoid having to restore the OHW after - which is sad, since as with the Trapelo Road reconstruction, they could have tapped highway funds through MassDOT to rebuild the overhead. Keep in mind that Trapelo Rd/Belmont St, Cambridge line to Waverly, got all-new OHW in 2016 paid for with highway funds - that's all going to get ripped down after only six years of use.

*The Silver Line "Enhanced Hybrids" are even more egregious. In order to satisfy the T's desire to eliminate the Silver Line tunnel OHW, these buses will run diesel engines in East Boston and Chelsea to generate power to use in a tunnel with overhead wire! More local source emissions for Chelsea and East Boston, so the T can save a few maintenance bucks on the tunnel.
  by mbrproductions
 
All this is why I believe the Commuter Rail will never be electrified, the MBTA doesn't even want to deal with a little bit of catenary on some of their bus routes and the underground Silver Line tunnel, how could we expect them to willingly handle 400 miles of even more expensive catenary infrastructure. The only electrification they want to deal with are the Rapid Transit third rail and overhead catenary systems, and who knows, maybe they'll try to go battery with them too :P
  by Disney Guy
 
Wouldn't the trackless trolleys have to be parked and some other kind of bus substituted for the next two years for the road reconstruction regardless of what the future of the 71 and 73 lines is thereafter?

A lot of electric streetcars had fueled heaters inside them back in the 1890s. At least nowadays there must be a way to quickly switch off oil interior heaters and their exhaust for the brief time a battery powered bus is in a subway tunnel.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
octr202 wrote: Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:22 am Yes, all of the other North American trackless systems have invested in IMC (in-motion charging) trolleybuses rather than scrap their systems.
SEPTA is also going toward battery power.
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