Buses to replace trolleys 'until further notice' on the Mattapan Line

The MBTA announced tonight:

Shuttle buses replacing service between Ashmont & Mattapan Stations until further notice due to required vehicle maintenance related to the winter weather:



Free tagging: 


Flashback: December 1985 when

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Flashback: December 1985 when the E line was cut back from Arborway. Advocacy needs to start now or this WILL become a permanent bustitution. Some people might think I am joking but this is literally the exact wording used back in '85. I will see if I can find one of those original pamphlets with the exact "UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE" on one side and "GOOD UNTIL SUPERSEDED" on the other.


1975 Snowstorm

The T gave up on the Bedford commuter rail line after a snowstorm. They just said screw it. That line is now the Minuteman Bike Path.

There are some differences though. There already is a bike path that runs parallel to the Mattapan line for most of its length. The T had let the Bedford line go for years. They hadn't spent the infrastructure money on it like they have on the Mattapan line.

The economics are also different now from 40 years ago. If you lived in Lexington or Bedford you most likely drove in town or up to Hanscom for your job, not always into downtown.

Mattapan and DLM are different. Most likely you are heading to a job downtown.

The T is bleeping the working and lower middle class here. I also think this is a ruse to increase ridership on the Fairmount line. However, if you live near Central Ave in Milton, the Fairmount isn't at all convenient.

Anybody want to throw on some pink hats for these folks and march to Charlie's House in Swampscott or Bob's house over in Winthrop?

You do realize there are only

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You do realize there are only five working PCC cars right now post-collision, and three of those five blew there motors running in the snow Tuesday morning? Once they get it back up to five working cars, and they can keep them from blowing the motors, the line will reopen.


You Do Realize That The T Is Shifty?

The T needs their feet held to the fire as much as possible, especially with the Mattapan line.

5 out of 8 cars are nice, but this is still a vital transportation corridor. Why can't the T pick up a few more non-PCCs to handle the line?

We don't say screw it when a bridge wears out (Long Island excepted) and tell car drivers, sorry, do we? No, you go out and get a new bridge.


Where would these "non-PCCs"

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Where would these "non-PCCs" that can handle the existing bridge weight and power requirements on the line come from?

You can see the ITDP 28X Version 5.6 already in the works

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If nothing is done, the tracks will be paved for a BRT guideway. If the community moves in time, Boston could mull a Mattapan LRT boost or cost-effective ways to bring the heavy rail cars to either Milton (Lower Mills) or Mattapan

I know some of the "shifty"

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I know some of the "shifty" people working on the PCC overhaul project right now. Say that to their face and see how they react.

Thanks Internet Tough Guy

I am talking about management and state leadership, not rank and file. My father was a bus operator for over 25 years. I know how the T operates. I am not crapping on the workers. It is the political machinations of state politics (money for bridges for trains that won't run to Fall River and Ne Bedford for years, but no money for the existing system), Faker's "privatization", and outside influences on how transit is run in the area.

However, if you want me to hop over to Everett and say hi to everyone, drop me a line.

You don't seem to believe

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You don't seem to believe they are overhauling PCC cars if you think the bus replacement is not temporary

The Trolley museum in

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The Trolley museum in Biddeford/Kennbunk has several working PCC cars, as well as a fleet of others. Might be possible to have one "on loan" to the MBTA in exchange for some free advertising and upkeep.

Bedford Line

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Ok. I try to be as much of a historian as possible with the T(CharlieOfTheMTA/Dominick does a far better job at that tho). But even I forgot about the Bedford Line.

Too bad that didn't become the Red Line (well part of it did).

IMAGE(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/1975_MBTA_commuter_rail_map.jpg )

One thing to note is much of the operation was operated by Boston & Maine, and not the current carrier (before it was all moved to Amtrak in the late 70s). So the track degradation and lack of investment was more B&M's fault than the MBTA's.


I hope the trolleys ...

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... are back on the tracks soon. Every time they are replaced with buses, I worry that the MBTA is trying to permanently shut them down.


The end is near

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Now that Senator Linda Forry is gone the MBTA will be saying Gone Baby Gone to the trollieys.


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Didn't they say that in 1985 when the Arborway line was shorted to Heath Street?


Not quite

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At first, it was shortened to Brigham Circle because they needed (and yes, they needed) to repave Huntington Avenue. Then, after that was done, they extended it to Heath Street and probably offered some BS about a shortage of vehicles. After the Type 7s went online, they just stopped making excuses. Since there's an irrational anti-GLX troll lurking around this website, I'll let him offer his version of what happened next.


Wrong. VA

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Massachusetts is adamant about having Green Line trains in their own ROW. However, an exception was made with Heath. The VA Medical Center created that exception. If the VA is shuttered, then the Green line will be trimmed to Brigham.

Extending it just a little

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Extending it just a little further would make the line a lot more valuable. South Huntington past the VA is plenty wide enough - not too long ago the tracks were still there and bumpy as hell to drive over, so many drivers (not to mention cyclists and motorcycles) avoided them anyway. A one-way turnaround loop starting by Canary Square and going up to the Hyde Sq rotary and then rejoining South Huntington would serve a large population that's just a little too far from the Orange Line.

The walk from the S

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The walk from the S Huntington / Centre split down to the Centre/South Street split is less than 10 minutes - easily walkable for most of the Centre Street business corridor. And there's still the 39 bus for those who don't want to / can't walk.

Im 1985, they never promised

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Im 1985, they never promised for sure that the line would reopen. I went to a public meeting at Northestern just before the line closed and then MBTA GM Jim O'Leary said they were going to wait until the Orange Line was relocated in 1987 and re-evaulate the closure at that time.

1st Suffolk Race Just Got A Big Issue

The T, ah the T.

Cybah is right. The 1985 shutdown to Arborway from Brigham Circle was done on a temporary basis, until the tracks got ripped up. You must also remember the JP in 1985 had massive political power in Kevin Fitzgerald, a man who was more interested in fleecing widows than standing up for his district. JP is a bit different now and Dot / Mattapan is the same.

However, There is now a power vacuum in Dorchester / Mattapan / South Boston politics with Senator Forry leaving and it seems the mojo in the district is swinging back towards South Boston. Having grown up in one neighborhood and lived as an adult in both, I can say with certainty South Boston doesn't give a rat's ass about Mattapan or the trolley.

Perhaps this is something for someone to jump on, maybe (hint - to win votes).

What kills me about the Mattapan line is that the T spent gazillions (not sourced) on rebuilding Ashmont Station from a covered station with convenient layouts for boarding and alighting from one piece of mass transit to another into an open air crazy pit. The old station just needed a new roof and some ramps for disabled people along with some paint.

Now the T can't run a line with technology from the 1890's that has been in place here since the Hoover administration and if they switch to a "guided busway", which is far more expensive long term than trolleys, we are dumber to allow the state to do it.

I love the old PCC's on the line, but my CD of New Order's Substance finally up and died a few weeks back after 30 years of enjoyment. I replaced it with new technology. There are tram and trolley lines being built all over the world and we have a nice big new plant in Springfield for assembling mass transit vehicles (I've seen it, it is very pretty). Let's kick GM and Bombardier to the curb with their buses that need to be replaced every 8 years with some long term hardware that runs on rails.

Save The Mattapan Line.


Overbuilt, open T stations

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"What kills me about the Mattapan line is that the T spent gazillions (not sourced) on rebuilding Ashmont Station from a covered station with convenient layouts for boarding and alighting from one piece of mass transit to another into an open air crazy pit."

I think people may finally be seeing the folly of these overbuilt, wide open T stations, what with Quincy Center Station recently turning into a huge and dangerous ice pit (as reported here) and all. Misguided people complained about he old "bunker" style stations, but they were that way for a reason. People were protected from the elements and were able to get in and out quickly. Wood Island Station, which I regularly use, is a prime example. There is no protection from the elements at all. Oh, but it's open and "airy", which apparently scores points with some people. At least until it rains or snows or is freezing. Not to mention glaring sunlight. I'll take the old bunker style anytime. They may not be much to look at, but they are practical.


Kenmore bus shelter

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Sounds a bit like what they did with the Kenmore bus station. The new station is much prettier than the old one, but seems like it's more exposed to the elements. Anyone who uses it frequently want to comment?


GM hasn't built buses since

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GM hasn't built buses since 1987.

The Ashmont station design was influenced heavily by the concerns of people who lived near the station, but not by the larger number of people that transfer at the station. Thus a design that was based more on the look than the practicality of its use. I believe the MBTA's original proposal for Ashmont circa 2002 was to replace the roof and improve the access issues (it was made accesible during an earlier rebuild in 1977) and the neighbors reacted poorly to that.

Post collision, they are down

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Post collision, they are down to five working PCCs right now, and several of those five have had motor or propulsion system failures in the last day, thus not enough working cars until they catch up on repairs. This will be an ongoing problem until the overhaul of eight of the cars starts to return cars to service with new control systems. We just saw photos of the first car delivered to Everett Shops to start work, the 1985 Arborway line conspiracy theory folks have to recognize that a major accident just reduced the fleet size and it is going to take some time to get back up to a fleet size large enough to run dependable service,

Does anyone know...

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What the issue is in using green line trolleys on this line? Is it track gauge, power source? I read all the articles about a year ago how the MBTA funded the rehabs of the PCC cars, but I still don't really understand why there is no other option than to use trolley cars from the 1940s.

I confess to being a rail mass transit fan and I'm generally opposed to buses. IMO, we need more Mattapan lines, not fewer of them.

Not sure - maybe power or

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Not sure - maybe power or connecting to it?

Green Line runs on pantograph. The PCCs have trolly poles.

I remember a couple of decades ago in Newark as the City Subway line was being prepped for conversion from PCC to LRVs. Beside tweaking clearance and turning radius at a couple of points, they had to install pantographs on the PCCs to run on the new catenary instead of the old trolley wires while they were waiting for the LRVs to be delivered.

Need a real maintenance

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Need a real maintenance facility, need to boost the power system, need to rebuild a few bridges (some of the bridges have been rebuilt in the last 15 years, but not all of them). As long as it remains cheaper to keep on rebuilding PCC cars, that is what the MBTA will do. The rebuild program that is just starting will be the third one for the cars (previous ones were done in 1977-83 and 1999-2006). Unlike the previous programs, this one will fully replace the control system on the cars with modern solid state equipment instead of re-re-rebuilding the original 1940s motor and control equipment.

One huge issue

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The bridges on the line won't handle the weight. Not an impossible problem, but a big one nonetheless.

You might just be right

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But then again I can only go with the reasons the T have given.

Of course, if the bridges have been replaced in the past 80 years, perhaps the new bridges won't take the weight. Then there is that pesky flyover that was added when the line was converted to trolleys.