Mattapan trolleys collide - at same place where trolleys collided in 2014

At Cedar Grove, around 3 p.m., when one trolley rear ended another. Boston EMS reports 17 people injured, 16 of them taken to the hospital.

Another photo. And another.

The crash happened at the same site where two trolleys collided in November, 2014.

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This Sucks

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Obviously, the hope is nobody seriously injured. Beyond that, though, this means at least one of the remaining fleet of these beautiful vehicles is out of commission, at least for a while.

Even the best line on the T can have bad things happen.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Voting is closed. 34

The T has already put out to

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The T has already put out to bid an overhaul program to refurb 8 of the 10 PCC's with new trucks, propulsion, and other necessary component replacement to extend their lifespan by 10 years. The last 2 vehicles are TBD's for later action depending on how well the main program goes. Not sure when the bid end date and contract award are pegged on the calendar...sometime in the next few months, before end of winter. So beware of any fear-mongering that this is going to lead to permanent bustitution of the Mattapan Line. That overhaul program has already been fully-funded and is accepting bid packages from vendors right this second.

The sticky part is what happens in the meantime, because that rebuild program obviously isn't going to start instantaneously (summer is probably the earliest physically & administratively possible). They had 3 out-of-service vehicles to begin with lacking replacement parts, and now these 2 are out. That puts them down to 5 operable units, the bare minimum required trolleys for operating the rush-hour shift. So they have zero reserves for even a temporary crap-out in cold weather before service headways take a hit from too few vehicles. That's a huge day-to-day problem, especially when it's this cold out. If they're down to 5 long-term until the rebuild program returns one out-of-service unit to the active ranks, it might be a full year until they have any relief whatsoever.

Now, we don't know what got damaged on the two trolleys in yesterday's accident because the T hasn't had time to give them a full inspection. The one that got rear-ended didn't appear to suffer much damage at all because it catapulted forward from the impact instead of crumpling, and is probably easily repairable. I would not be at all surprised if that one is back out there in a week or two after the accident investigation wraps. The other one that took the front-end impact looked kind of nasty in the BPD photos circulated, but it's important not to overreact to looks. Trolleys are designed to take an ugly bruise on the front-end from streetcar-on-auto collisions at grade crossings or on street-running track. Those kinds of light/moderate impacts very rarely do any component damage, and the T has repaired dozens of trolleys with front-end damage uglier than that over its history--PCC's, Boeing LRV's, Type 7's, and Type 8's--without needing to total the cars or even keep them out-of-service super long-term. The fortunate sign (though it needs to be corroborated by photos from other angles) is that the metal looks to be just dented, not torn. They should be able to pound that out and patch in the shop without having to cut any new sheet metal (which would require either custom fabrication or finding another donor PCC here or in some junkyard elsewhere they can cut a front-end sheet off of). The rest--front bumper, windshield, and front coupler--are all semi-"consumable" parts that get more frequent replacement than once every 20 years and can be ordered even for cars that old.

So it's very unlikely the one with front-end damage is a lost cause. It may have to wait until the rebuild program before they do the body work on it, and if anything is too pricey to fix they may relegate it to the 2-of-10 units that aren't being rebuilt for now and pull a different out-of-service PCC into the program.

This does highlight that the clock is ticking on what happens with the Mattapan Line after the 10-year life extension on 8 of those PCC's. The perma-fix has to start in planning soon...and be serious about the long-term needs (NO BUSES!) for that corridor...because 10 years can disappear quickly and this is absolutely the last time they can kick the can on the PCC's. State will have to have its feet held to the fire to do those riders right with the next-gen solution...whether it's importing Green Line trolleys like the Type 7's (which would be fully ADA-accessible everywhere except Valley Rd. because of the front-door ramps that make high-floor trolleys accessible) or making it a proper Red Line extension with consolidated stops past Ashmont at Milton/Central Ave. (one or the other, probably with mid-block access spanning both) + Mattapan at full-on Red Line headways. Any way you slice it that future planning and public input has to begin now, as this incident should be a properly dramatic jolt to stop kicking the can and get on with that.

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Voting is closed. 20

Car with front end damage has

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Car with front end damage has a buckled floor and warped frame, probably won't run again but will instead provide parts to reactivate one of the 3 out long term,

Car with rear damge has very heavy damage to rear battery compartment and rear sill. That type of repair will take over a year, not a few days or weeks. Will also probably end up also being a parts supply to reactivate another one of the long stored units.

The third unit held for missing parts, which looked like it was going to be the pilot for the overhaul, could instead be quickly reactivated with parts from the wrecks if they want to get back up to six cars quickly without waiting for the overhaul proram to start.

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Voting is closed. 9

Glad I got a few rides in

This is what the T needs to justify pulling them from service. I'm glad I got to ride when I could.

I hope the injured make a full recovery. (People and trains.)

EDIT: Roadman is right. This is a poor excuse but the T management is looking for anything.

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Voting is closed. 17

This is what the T needs

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This is what the T needs will try to use as an excuse to justify pulling them from service.

FIFY

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Voting is closed. 21

OK, I have a train question.

I just read the 2014 collision story and there's some comments about the lack of (or lack of setting) emergency brakes. The other one rolled backward. That might not have happened here, but here's the question...Do they work like regular road trucks? Air is used to keep the maxi brakes off and if something goes wrong (drops below 60 PSI) they lock up? Depending on electric power to secure the trolley is OK for most circumstances, but if the power is lost you lose the brakes too? I know the electric brakes (for the rail) is separate.
Also, seems to me if there's a brake failure as the culprit it's possible they will find condensation frozen in the lines.

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Voting is closed. 15

The brakes should lock up if the pressure drops

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Hence some of the subway failures of late.

I was talking to a bus driver back when Jr. was obsessed with "Wheels on the Bus." Both the doors on the bus and the brakes run off air pressure. When the pressure fails, they restart the bus to get the pressure up so they can shut the doors and move.

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Voting is closed. 13

Swish

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Swish
Swish

All day long, which must drive the bus driver crazy.

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Voting is closed. 20

Blame Bev!

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Former GM Bev Scott was blamed for all the sins of the MBTA during the last blast of winter. We know Charlie Baker won't get any blame during this winter and the new General Manager probably doesn't even know that the historic trolley line exists.

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Voting is closed. 31

Automatic Braking Trolleys

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Q. Why is public transportation held to a lower standard than privately-owned vehicles?
A. Money (of course).

Whatever you call it -- automatic braking, or emergency braking. or collision avoidance -- the Green Line and the Mattapan trolley are prime candidates for utilizing modern technology.

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Voting is closed. 20

How?

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I can't figure out how one train managed to rear-end the other if the schedule is such that they run every 5-10 minutes apart.

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Voting is closed. 26

Does anyone know how

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Does anyone know how liability works here? Presumably these people will sue the MBTA right? Is there some type of gov immunity/damages cap? Just curious...

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Voting is closed. 16