New Orange Line train taken out for a spin

The MBTA has released this video of a new Orange Line train being tested in China. The first cars could arrive here by year's end for months of testing; it will take several years to roll them all out.

Ad:

Neighborhoods: 

    Topics: 

    Free tagging: 

    Comments

    Will they work and be

    By on

    Will they work and be compatible and crash proof on our rusty old crooked rails? Ours certainly don't look as nice as the ones in the video.

    My point is our rails don't

    By on

    My point is our rails don't look like the ones in the video (very old and in bad shape). They may cause a derailment with the new wheels? Please prove me wrong, I pray.

    Reminds me of...

    By on

    ...the squeal going around the curve at Dudley. Never forget that, nor the sound of the escalators at Forest Hills.
    Talking about pre-1987 on the old elevated Orange Line, for all you kiddos out there!

    up
    18

    That squeal...

    By on

    ...actually sounds right. It's just the AC traction motors/inverters/regenerative braking/etc. All newer rapid transit equipment makes some version of these sounds, going back as far as the Bombardier 01800's on the Red Line.

    Completely different from the flange squeal (that's a wheel/rail issue) you get so many places on the T.

    Max speed?

    Who wants to bet the first one is broken before the last one is delivered?

    up
    22

    Because I really don't know

    By on

    Why does it seem that every time the T buys new rail cars, it's like they are inventing a product that has never existed before, with all the bugs that are therefore inherent in version 1.0 ? Cities around the world must buy new trains all the time. Why is it such an ordeal to buy new cars?

    up
    20

    We've been through this before

    By on

    Simply put, it's not like there are rapid transit dealers with a subway car showroom displaying "The 2018 METRO CAR line" out there. Although certain elements of rail cars, such as voltage (usually 600 volts) and the track gauge (width between wheels), are standardized, different systems were built to different standards for height, width, and clearance to obstructions. This is why, for example, a car built for Chicago can't operate on any of the T's rapid transit lines.

    While some systems, such as New York City, took steps years ago to rebuild some segments of their older lines to allow for a unified fleet of cars that could operate anywhere on the system, the physical differences between the Blue, Orange, and Red Lines - as well as the lack of connections between any of the lines - are significant enough to make such unification impractical in Boston.

    Likewise, because of technological advances and changes in requirements for on-board systems and amenities, it is not possible to "dust off" an older design and replicate it for the current orders.

    up
    30

    Yes, but...

    By on

    Everything you say makes sense.

    However, having to build a new factory to build the cars still seems like going back to square one. If Chicago had cars built last year (just hypothetically) then that factory would have 95% of the latest innovations and safety requirements already in the book. Isn't there enough demand, worldwide for rail cars that there would be 2 or 3 big makers (like the Boeing of trains) so that they don't have to BUILD A NEW FACTORY when someone wants to buy a few hundred cars?

    The problem is that worldwide

    By on

    The problem is that worldwide there is enough demand to keep factories running from order to order, but the US government requires cars to be made in the US if federal funds are used to purchase them, and there aren't enough American transit agencies buying cars to sustain that. Plus American politicians have an easier time selling transit-adverse voters on funding for things like new subway cars by promising jobs building them, which means the factory usually needs to be local.

    CRRC is hoping they can keep the Springfield factory open after the MBTA order is done, but we'll see if they can manage to. They did win another contract for CTA, but they're building a factory in Chicago for those.

    up
    10

    OK, that helps

    By on

    The Buy American thing is the kink. I LOVE the idea of buying American, as long as the quality is there. Hopefully the Springfield plant will make a good product and keep going after the T order is done.

    up
    13

    Self-serving calculations

    By on

    GE is fighting tooth and nail to install a new factory in India to manufacture a 1,000 diesel locomotives. This is despite the railway minister's insistence to electrify the country's entire railway system which makes sense at so many levels for a heavily polluted country like India.

    One may wonder why GE (the company started by Edison most known for the light bulb) would not propose to build electric locomotives at their new factory. Obviously, GE locomotives' bread and butter business is building diesel engines and they would not wish to jeopardize any of that.

    Is it any surprise that Chinese companies are having such great success selling their state-of-the-art technology all over the world?

    GE's locomotives are electric

    By on

    They use a diesel generator to produce an electric current that drives the wheels. The technical phrase is "diesel electric." General Electric was the industry innovator in diesel electric locomotives. They are much more efficient than straight diesel.

    As far as what India wants, probably the Chinese, Germans, or French will have the superior product. The Chinese knockoff will just be cheaper.

    Yup, you are indeed correct.

    By on

    Yup, you are indeed correct. "Diesel-electric" is what they have been for ages - not just GE, but all around the world. As pretty much everyone is aware by now - an electric motor's torque from standstill far surpasses that of a diesel-only engine. Does that not mean that it should be significantly easier and more profitable for GE to build an electric locomotive? Why then stick to only building engines using certain-to-be obsolete technology?

    Not soon-to-be obsolete

    By on

    No, you didn't write that, but that's the answer as to why GE and EMD and a host of other locomotive manufacturers still do what they do. Most of the US rails don't have electric lines above them. Same thing with England outside of the southern region. Canada makes the US look like leaders in electrification of railroads. Then there's basically all of Africa and Latin America. That's a huge market for locomotives.

    I do want to note that my comment earlier was more along the lines of why a company whose history is in electricity (you know, half the company's name) builds the locomotives they do.

    Details of GE's $2.5 billion deal

    By on

    A recent update, for those interested in these things

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/637490/india-gets-1st-diesel-loco.html

    Yes, GE bid and won the diesel-electric locomotive factory, and did not bid on the electric locomotive version. GE executive acknowledges that electrification is the future but also adds that diesel locomotives are "efficient and affordable". Sure, if you took a single instance of one and compared with a single instance of the other. If you are looking at upgrading an entire country's railway system that likely is not true.

    I'm sure

    That when GE finds a country interested in upgrading its rail system, they will sell them electric locomotives.

    Interpret it as you will.

    By on

    Interpret it as you will. The details are in the article.

    GE neither bid on the electric version nor were they willing to work with the government to build an electric version in parallel with the "diesel-electric" version. Sure, government contracting is not a cake-walk process and GE has *every right* to stick to the bid that it won. Maybe the government was playing a game of switheroo with GE. Maybe the administration changed between the time the bid was put out and the contract was negotiated and signed.

    Note however, that building a 1,000 locomotives might fall within the category of a rail system upgrade in many countries but I certainly do not know if that is just a drop in the bucket with regards to the total number of units they have in India. GE did what's best for their business and that's that.

    There are railcar factories

    By on

    There are railcar factories in the U.S.

    The problem is Massachusetts took it one step further and declared that the bidder had to build a brand new factory here.

    up
    10

    Actually, companies can meet Buy America requirements

    By on

    even if the components are made overseas provided final assembly is done in the US.

    It was DeValue who both rejected requiring bidders on these cars to already have an US presence and required construction of a new plant in Massachusetts. Thus insuring the new order would be unnecessarily delayed.

    Yes, but my entire comment

    By on

    Yes, but my entire comment still applies. Just substitute the word "made" with "assembled". Assembling them from foreign parts still requires a factory here.

    up
    13

    "it's like they are inventing

    By on

    "it's like they are inventing a product that has never existed before"

    Because that's basically what they're doing.

    All four MBTA lines are different from each other, and different from all other rail lines in the world. None are "off-the-shelf" like say a bus or a commuter train.

    The MBTA only orders trains for a line every 20-30 years. Which means the technology of this model of train for a particular line is going to be drastically, not incrementally, different than the previous.

    Put this together, and you are inventing a completely new product that has never existed before.

    This is something I was curious about

    By on

    "Why make the first 6 in China and the rest here?" It sounds like maybe the partswill be made in China, and they're just doing the integration testing in China for the first 6, and the Springfield facility is gearing up to do the main production run.

    The initial prototype was

    By on

    The initial prototype was made in China, the rest will be made in Springfield (with Chinese parts).

    This allows CRRC to get a jump start on production before the Springfield factory is finished (sometime next year).

    Why???

    By on

    Why even taunt us with this video?? Years away - I might be dead by the time the 21st century actually arrives to the Orange Line.

    up
    15

    Awesome. They even included a

    By on

    Awesome. They even included a low volume version of the squealing-sound-made-when-entering-Dudley-Station-in-1980, impressive. Also, that is not the T logo.

    Yay, we're #1!

    By on

    Yay, we're #1!

    I'm glad NJ has something to celebrate. "Not the worst!"