Brookline gets a trackless trolley

Going nowhere fast in Coolidge Corner. Photo by Gina TomaineGoing nowhere fast in Coolidge Corner. Photo by Gina Tomaine.

Unfortunately, it was a regular trolley that slipped off its tracks at Coolidge Corner, around 10:30 a.m. The good news is that no one was injured and that it happened after rush hour. The bad news is that people who do want to get somewhere between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore now have to take a shuttle bus - or walk over the B or D lines.

Trolley wants to get back on track. Photo by Roar of the Tigers.Trolley wants to get back on track. Photo by Roar of the Tigers.

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So, the "trolley problem"

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in the T alerts was really a derailment. Glad that "improved" alert system (that management wasted money they don't have on) is working so well in informing passengers as to exactly what is happening.

The Type 8s were a terrible

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The Type 8s were a terrible idea.

Wheelchair accessibility is a worthy goal. But there had to be a better way of achieving it than the screwy design of the Type 8s, which is prone to derailment, makes most people climb up to enter the front door and then down to get to the rest of the train, and generally has an interior design that's an afterthought.

Why can't we use off-the-shelf fully-low-floor trolleys, like other cities do, even in the U.S.?

Type 9

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I think they've learned from the disaster and will choose a better vendor (*cough*KinkiSharyo) for the Type 9 order that will be upcoming sometime this decade.

But the reason we can't use "off-the-shelf"* trolleys is because there are a few pinch points in the tunnels which need to be fixed first. Some pain and spending up-front, to fix those, could result in big, long term cost savings. But to do that would take foresight and vision, and abandonment of the "special and unique" attitude at the T.

*Nothing is really "off-the-shelf" but there's some common, tested designs like Kinki's AmeriTram that could save us a lot of money and suffering.

The center truck (the wheel

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The center truck (the wheel assemblies) derailed coming out of the switch but it didn't "split the switch" since the second photo shows the lead and rear trucks made it though the switch O.K., and the Type 7 it is coupled to is still on the switch. A split switch means the front of the car goes one way and the rear of the car goes the other. Since it was being crossed back, the train was probably already "disabled" before the derailment. If the original problem was locked brakes on the center truck (just a guess on my part) that could have contributed to or caused the derailment as the car went over the switch.

Most likely, the train was being crossed

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back as one of the MBTA's infamous "headway adjustments". If the train was already disabled, it would have been continued outbound to the storge area at Cleveland Circle.

That depends

I'm not sure we know which way this train was heading. Was it going east and the crossed it over to head west? Or was it heading west and being turned east? If the former, it was likely a disabled train. If it was the latter, it was a schedule adjustment.

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Kenmore

I saw a silver line bus headed up Commonwealth Ave from Kenmore Sq along the B-Line. Maybe the driver was getting his green lines crossed? (That would be a bad switch...)

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