Utah's loss is our gain

Woo, woo!Imagine one of these babies in silver and purple.

No, don't worry, Mitt Romney isn't coming back. The Mass. Department of Transportation says it's getting a bunch of new locomotives (up to nine) from the Utah Transit Authority (yes, of course Utah has a transit authority). The locomotives, scheduled for delivery this fall, will be the first new ones the T has gotten for commuter rail in 17 years (you may recall has the state was all set to buy some locomotives from a Spanish company, but then Idaho julienned the deal and then the T said to hell with Idaho).

Why are we buying or leasing (decision not made yet) $3.5-million diesels from Utah? Seems the UTA bought more than it needed. MassDOT says 80% of the cost will be paid by the feds - and the T will save more money because the new units are more fuel efficient (and pollute less).

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    where is the link?

    By on

    It'd be nice to read about this deal somewhere...I'm sure there was a source article, no?

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    Source article

    By on

    Nope, just a press release e-mailed to me and MSM types by Joe Pesaturo. Since you asked, here it is in its entirety:

    Patrick-Murray Administration Moves to Add New, More Reliable Locomotives to Commuter Rail Fleet

    MassDOT Board Approves MBTA Investment to Improve Reliability Immediately

    BOSTON - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to strengthening transit service throughout the Commonwealth, the MassDOT Board of Directors today approved the purchase and/or lease of up to nine new commuter rail locomotives from the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). Once purchased and made ready for passenger service, this investment will mark the first time in 17 years that new locomotives will pull MBTA commuter rail trains.

    "This agreement is just yet another sign of our commitment to improving service and reliability for the thousands of commuter rail customers who ride the rails to work or for travel every day," said Governor Deval Patrick.

    "Approval of this agreement is another step forward as Governor Patrick and our Administration continues to fulfill high quality transportation reform for our commuter rail customers," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

    Seeking to take advantage of UTA's surplus of new locomotives, the MBTA is negotiating with UTA to determine the exact number to be procured and through what process (lease, purchase, or combination). Built in compliance with MBTA requirements, the new locomotives are 'Commuter Rail-ready,' and will be in passenger service by this fall.

    "Whether you ride on our roads or our rails, Governor Patrick and MassDOT are focused solely on improving the condition of our transportation infrastructure so its safer and easier for people to get around," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan.

    Built earlier this year, the engines are 3600 horse power, diesel electric locomotives. Because the MBTA had an option on UTA's original 2005 procurement, the general construction of the locomotives is compliant with the MBTA's needs and requirements. The purchase cost for each locomotive is $3.5 million, which includes the modifications necessary to ensure that each locomotive is ready for immediate entry into the MBTA service fleet.

    "This is a great opportunity for us to get some quick help for our aging fleet of locomotives," said MBTA General Manager Richard Davey. "As soon as these new locomotives arrive in the fall, we can put them into service immediately."

    The operational benefits of adding these new locomotives to the T's fleet are immediate:

    Improved reliability and on-time performance

    Powerful locomotives can move large train sets running on high volume lines

    More fuel efficient

    Decreased emissions

    Provides MBCR personnel with time necessary to make repairs/upgrades to older locomotives

    Compared to the locomotives in the current fleet, the new engines burn less fuel and emit lower levels of nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons. It's estimated the T will save about $78,000 annually per locomotive because the new engines burn 36,500 fewer gallons of fuel each year. Employing new technology that makes the engines more fuel efficient and prevents unnecessary idling, the new locomotives reduce nitrogen oxide levels by 38 ½ tons per engine annually.

    Whether acquired through purchase or lease, Utah Transit Authority will deliver all of the locomotives to the MBTA by the fall. All but 20% of the purchase will be funded by federal grants.

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    MP59

    By on

    My train buddies tell me that's an MP59 - similar to/same as those used in a lot of CA intercity traffic. Can't wait to see the paint scheme - they could do something very cool. We don't appreciate it because we see them all the time, but within train circles the MBTA's purple, silver, yellow/gold is known to be one of the better paint schemes.

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    A press release about track electrification would have been nice

    By on

    Of course, a nicer press release would have said something like: "T replaces rolling stock that has outlived its useful life by x years, while continuing preparations for electrification of commuter rail system". That would only put us on the same footing as, oh, pretty much any other respectable transit system I can think of (and allowed us to build much nicer stations where the trains are actually inside - please don't remind me that we have trains spewing diesel exhaust inside at the debacle known as Back Bay Station).

    Oh to have a properly funded transit network.

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    New Diesel Technology

    Electrification means putting more load on power plants, many of which burn fossil and some of which are still in the urban airshed.

    Emissions from "new" diesel (post 2007) for PM2.5 (don't get me started on NOx ...) can compete with that quite favorably. Of course the trains are a local impact, while the power plants tend to produce more regional issues.

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    There's more to it than that,

    There's more to it than that, though. Diesel powered trains take longer to accelerate, which lengthens scheduling and diminishes capacity. Electrification also makes it easier to implement multiple unit operations, where each car has an engine and trains can operate on varied lengths according to capacity needs (with the benefit that you can easily use two shorter trains at double frequency). While I agree that the environmental impact is not always clear, electrification will always benefit operational efficiency. The MBTA could transform several lines into near rapid transit level service by electrification.

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    Be nice about the UTA! Just

    By on

    Be nice about the UTA! Just because they're west of the Mississippi (and in Utah no less) is no reason to snark at them.
    It's actually a very progressive system which has been very well received by the exurbs of SLC and functions really well as both a commuter rail and an in-town light rail system. Originally installed to serve visitors to the Olympics, it's taken off and is regularly filled to capacity during rush hour, full of people who would otherwise be stuck in the horrendous traffic jams on I-15. They have a really well developed bike train system too, with dedicated bike cars to solve the last mile problem at both ends.

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    Utah it here first

    Actually, Utah has some pretty severe air pollution problems linked to its transportation systems and peculiar meteorology and topography. It makes sense for them to invest in some public transit infrastructure.

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    No real loss

    Much as I love headlines, Adam is a little off with this one. :) As the article states - "Because the MBTA had an option on UTA's original 2005 procurement".

    Buying big things is an expensive and long process. Rather than designing your own and ordering your own, often you can say "Hey, we want a few of what they're getting - can we have some too. Buy a few more and we'll pay you back - really." (highly simplified example. :-) So we just piggy-backed a few locos onto Utah's order, hopefully saving us a few dollars in the process...

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