First of the T's new diesel engines to make inaugural run out of North Station tomorrow

Mass Transit reports the first of 40 new commuter-rail locomotives is scheduled to pull out of North Station at 10:30 a.m., as part of Train 213 on the Haverhill line.

The locomotives, built in Idaho, will replace locomotives with an average age of 35 to 40 years, providing more reliable service, less pollution and better fuel efficiency.



Free tagging: 


It's the Eagle Tribune

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It's the Eagle Tribune reporting that, Mass Transit is just repeating the story,


A little fact checking would have been nice

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Eagle Tribune writes:

It's out with the old diesel-powered locomotives and in with new, cleaner running diesel-electric locomotives.

They're all "diesel-electric" locomotives. Old and new. This ain't some newfangled technology.


Why aren't all the Boston

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Why aren't all the Boston commuter and Northeast Amtrak trains electrified by now?
Like New York City, and Japan, and all of Europe?

Diesel must go! Its so dirty!
All buses & trucks need to be switched too. They are exempt from most clean air laws.

Fix it now, or we shoot the dog!
(well, its really only you and I who will die.)


Trade offs aren't so hot

That electricity comes from somewhere. In our area, from burning oil, coal, natural gas.

Some improvements in air quality by going to one gigantinormous point source, perhaps, but we get a lot of our energy and summertime smog from such facilities all up and down the Eastern US.

Natural gas has fewer problems, but there are still loses to the grid after generation.

Bottom line: there is no free lunch here, in terms of ozone or particulate matter. Even with electric, you still get smog.


Not if we identify and reduce

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Not if we identify and reduce the smog production, by increasing alternative and renewable energy sources, eventually eliminating burning fossil fuels.

Wind, solar, and tidal.
Just like they do in Europe and Japan.

Why are you defending certain death?


That's the right direction

But here, now, in 2014? There are trade-offs, as noted. It takes time to build that kind of capacity - and that capacity is considerable in the US and should be highly incetivized!

Meanwhile, the new diesel electric engines have vastly superior emissions profiles compared to the currently used diesel electrics, which I believe have not even been retrofit to curb their particulate emissions

As for your saying that I am "defending certain death" when talking of air pollution, you are clearly new here and have no clue what I do for a living!

Also note: Europe uses a shitload of diesel for everything from cars to trains, and Japan is heavily dependent on nuclear power. They may both be doing a better job than the US at developing capacity, but they are a long way from meeting all their needs from these carbon neutral sources.

The commuter rail lines aren

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The commuter rail lines aren't electrified because that would cost billions of dollars. And I'm sure if the state somehow came up with those billions, the same people who complain that the lines aren't electrified would complain about the state wasting that money. And it's been suggested many times that the T at least start by electrifying the Providence line, since the infrastructure is almost entirely already in place, but the T has stated they don't want the operational hassle of having to maintain separate maintenance facilities and staff for both diesel and electric fleets.

All Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains are electric though. The only Amtrak trains out of Boston that aren't are the once-a-day Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, and the Downeaster.

For the record, of New York City's commuter railroads, Metro-North runs diesel trains on the Hudson line past Croton-Harmon, the Harlem line past Southeast, the Waterbury branch of the New Haven line, and the Port Jervis line, LIRR runs diesel trains on the Port Jefferson and Montauk branches, New Jersey Transit runs diesel trains on the North Jersey Coast line past Long Branch, the Raritan Valley line, the Main Line, the Bergen County line, the Pascack Valley line, the Montclair-Boonton line past Montclair State, the Morristown line past Dover, and Amtrak's Empire Service to Albany (and beyond) is all diesel (though third rail electric is used within the Penn Station complex).

And both Japan and Europe still operate an abundance of diesel trains - only the high-speed intercity and busy commuter lines are electrified.

As for diesel being "dirty", Tier IV-compliant diesel engines have actually been shown to have cleaner exhaust (in terms of particulate matter and several common components of smog) than the ambient air in most cities. The MBTA's new HSP46's are Tier 3, which is still much, much cleaner than the current locomotives, which are Tier 0, and significantly less than the exhaust all those several hundred peoples' cars would have produced.



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I think the newer metro north trains are dual power - they switch to diesel north of Croton (my lovely hometown-Go Tigers!) - and electric to the south.

This technology has been around for decades - some of the New Haven (FL-9's) from over 50 years ago are actually still in working service on metro north (mostly PR as they are painted in the old New Haven and NY Central schemes - but perhaps some yard/MOW work?).

I would think you could build third rail for a lot cheaper than catenary - it's been working (apparently safely and reliably) for about 100 years on the Metro North line.


The locomotives are dual mode

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The locomotives are dual mode, yes, but they only run in electric south of Harlem-125. In fact, the express tracks aren't even all electrified, IIRC.

And the T would never go for third rail. It'd be redundant in south station and on the corridor since Amtrak already uses overhead wires, and the T wouldn't want to maintain separate fleets of equipment for different lines. That would seriously hamper operational efficiency.


All the FL9s are now retired

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One pair of the ConnDOT NH "heritage" units are at the railroad museum in Danbury, but the remaining ones have since been scrapped.

NYC Lightning Stripe?

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Do you know what happened to that one? I last saw it at Harmon yards during their open house a few years back.

Wasn't aware that Metro-North ever

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painted an FL9 in NYC Lightning Stripe. However, I'm aware that there's an ex-Union Pacific E-Unit that the current owner (private individual) re-painted in NYC colors.

Actually I think at least two

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Googled it and found a picture of 2012 in Harmon yards painted in lightning stripe and 2013 is apparently now in Danbury in lightning stripe (along with an E9). Not sure if 2012 remained in that paint scheme - but doesn't look like it made it to Danbury. Not listed on their roster. Hoping that it survived somewhere and didn't get scrapped - perhaps another museum or private collector?

Growing up in Croton, NYC is my favorite fallen flag so even if not original - always appreciate anything in lightning stripes. Granted - my only actual memories are from that spectacular black paint scheme on all the Penn Central stuff - plus the Budd cars that regularly seemed to catch on fire and we'd all run over the next day to see the burnt out shell.

Dual-modes are heavy and

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Dual-modes are heavy and expensive. You only want to do that if you absolutely must.

The bulk of the cost of electrification does not come from the wires but rather from the substations that must be built at frequent intervals along the line.

Also, IIRC, I believe that the FRA/STB will never allow a brand new third rail grade crossing to be created in the United States.


It's too bad the T didn't

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It's too bad the T didn't rethink the whole inefficient operating model of the Commuter Rail. Now we're stuck with the same old big, slow, labor-intensive trains for the next 40 years.