Green Line a hot mess, report says

WCVB summarizes a consultant's report on just what sort of bad shape Green Line tracks are in.

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I would argue

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That a line would only be warranted for the specific derailment.

And unless the T develops a plan to bring the tracks up to a good state of service, Adam will have to save all the spare Green Line derailment rhymes he has.

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Voting is closed. 12

Sorry

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I read the Herald's article, which was pretty depressing. I will look at the report.

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Voting is closed. 6

Who said anything about the Herald?

And did you read to the end?

"A robust program for improvements to the Green Line track infrastructure is well underway. To date, work has consisted of the replacement of 28,450 feet of track, and approximately 1,020 ties and tie plates, leading to a reduction in track defects of more than 50 percent.

"The corresponding upgrades have led to the lifting of speed restrictions at several locations where work was performed; the MBTA estimates that lifting the speed restrictions has resulted in improved travel times of up to eight minutes. Seven speed restrictions have been lifted in the last 2 ½ months alone. A key grade crossing (Chestnut Hill Ave/Comm Ave) has been completely refurbished while improvements were made at the Kent Street/Beacon Street grade crossing, the St. Paul/Beacon Street grade crossing, numerous locations along Huntington Ave, and the Cleveland Circle platform. These and other short-term improvements set the foundation for core infrastructure work, which will be done in the months and years ahead as part of a comprehensive Green Line Track Renewal Plan.

"Green Line track replacement and maintenance work in the last 20 months has included: Rail gauge face angle upgrades on over 90,000 feet of rail; Upgraded crossings at Packards Corner, St. Paul Street, Summit Avenue; The ongoing development of new training methods and track renewal plan. When completed, costs for the Green Line track replacement project will near $120 million. In its cover letter (with the assessment), the DPU writes that it “finds that recent attention by the MBTA to repair and rehabilitate the Green Line track system is commendable and clearly demonstrates that the MBTA understands the need to maintain and upgrade its system to achieve a state of good repair.

"The number of derailments has dropped significantly since the stepped-up track maintenance work began. Between 2014 and 2016, there were 19 derailments. In 2017, there were three derailments, all of which were caused by human error, not track conditions. There was one derailment last month when a large amount of snow fell onto the tracks at Newton Centre, just as a trolley was departing the station."

That's from WCVB, linked in Adam's post.

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Voting is closed. 22

Okay, let’s break this down

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I commented about how horrible the situation sounds. You noted that the T has this under control. I noted that I read the Herald’s article on the study, but promised to look at the study. The report is long, so I skimmed the executive summary, which still makes it look like the backlog is growing.

And people think I’m an apologist for the T!

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Voting is closed. 9

??

And what exactly would you have done in November??

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Voting is closed. 9

Simple

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Since the municipal elections were last November, we could have taken out our anger at a level of government that has no oversight of the T.

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The T was finalizing their plan for federal money in November

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The GLX being the big one. One aspect of federal submissions is showing that your house is in order. The November Green Line report shows things are not in order. I wish for the days when the T can replace my PCC ride with better trains. Even subway service. However, I defer. I'm fine with PCC trains for a while. If it means the existing T tunnel system isn't a constant mess of derailments and fires. Repair over expansion should be the T's mantra

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Voting is closed. 15

Elmer Summarizes The Consultant's Report

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   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report makes some general assertions:

From page 68:

  1. Track geometry does not get sufficient emphasis. The track is not being maintained to a level that is compatible with the requirements of the No. 8 series cars. Even though the information on track defects is available through the track geometry car runs, it is either not being looked at or not being believed. Slow orders that should be placed based on the defects found by the track geometry cars are not being issued and have resulted in several derailments because of it.
  2. Even if the track was being maintained to the existing track standards, the track standards that are being used for the Green line do not appear to be strict enough for the tight tolerances required by the low floor cars. Gauge, variation in gauge, alignment, crosslevel and warp requirements do not emulate the requirements of the FTA Best Practices for Transit Track Operations.
  3. Supervisors and employees require additional training on track maintenance standards to understand track/train dynamics and track performance during maintenance operations. Detailed work instructions should be developed which clearly define when it is appropriate to allow trains to pass over “in-situ” trackwork or during broken rail conditions.

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report talks about the special needs of the Breda ("No. 8 car") trolleys. They are so prone to derailment, the track must be maintained to particular tolerances and/or severe speed restrictions must be imposed:

From page 17:

  • The No. 8 car has a design issue associated with the lack of steering of the center truck. The possibility of wheel-flange-climb coupled with (the initially designed) 63-degree maximum flange angle and a lack of control of the wear angle of the Green-Line track was a major factor contributing to the derailments.
  • The No. 8 cars are sensitive to reverse curve (S) track geometry.
  • Wide Track Gauge significantly increases derailment risk.
  • Derailment potential increases with speeds above [redacted] mph on reverse curves and above [redacted] mph on other track geometries.

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report illustrates how improperly maintained track wears a flat edge on one side of the rail. As this edge wear gets worse, it poses an ever increasing danger the center wheels of a Breda trolley will derail:

From page 50:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/railwear.png)

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report featured many examples of poorly maintained track:

From page 22:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/p-22.png)

From page 26:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/p-26.png)

From page 40:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/p-40.png)

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report notes crucial preventive maintenance equipment has been allowed to fall into disrepair, resulting in more frequent actual failures, and higher costs to repair things when they fail (not to mention, the incidental costs failures impose on passengers). Two examples included in the report are equipment at Copley which can automatically detect wheels out-of-spec, and the specialized lubrication systems designed to reduce wear on wheels and rails:

From page 45:
IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/nolubes.png)

From page 58:

    KLD Wheelscan technology is installed at Copley Station to assist Rail Car Engineering in determining wheel tread issues (i.e. Hollow Tread, Flat Spots, etc.), it is not functional and requires repair.

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
The report includes a number of reports detailing Green Line derailments caused by poorly maintained track. In some cases, serious problems had been identified weeks prior to derailment — some so serious, they were supposed to be fixed within 72 hours — but none of the identified repairs were made:

From page 64:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/d15-16.png)

From page 65:IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/d15-17.png)

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
Among the report's conclusions:

From page 101:

  • The current maintenance philosophy of reactive maintenance and trying to maintain the legacy track system is ineffective and costly. The system is deteriorating at a rate that far exceeds the maintenance departments’ capabilities to manage without significant investment and additional resource allocation
  • Modernization and standardization of physical infrastructure is critical to the long-term viability of the overall system. Capital expenditures must be increased for this effort and senior leadership must be willing to articulate the need for modernization to those in control of the budget and roadway access.
  • The maintenance requirements to keep the No. 8 cars operating safely are barely attainable given the level of access, personnel and budget provided. The system with its current 58 speed restrictions is a clear indication that current resources are exhausted and extended beyond their capabilities.

   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)
          ( redactions: theirs — emphasis and highlighting: mine )

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Voting is closed. 32

Yet we have people fighting

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Yet we have people fighting to prevent outside contractors from being brought in to address the maintenance backlog. Shows where their priorities are. Maintaining a labor and patronage monopoly is more important to them than public safety.

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Voting is closed. 11

Do you even know why?

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Because they don't and won't know what they are doing and there are insufficient resources for their oversight.

Unionbusting is not the answer to everything.

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Voting is closed. 11

And what the above report

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And what the above report points out is that the T's in-house maintenance/supervisors don't and won't know what they are doing and there are insufficient resources for their oversight.

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Voting is closed. 10

Just kill the Green Line

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Before it kills us.

When Michelle Wu recently asked what one wish if you could have anything at the MBTA would you wish....my first response was:

A subway system that is fully duplexed and standardized across all 4 lines. The Green Line needs to die and be replaced by new tracks and platforms with identical gauge, widths, and depths across all 4 lines that the others would eventually also succeed to.

But, that's just a wish..a pipe dream..a tunnel too far.

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Voting is closed. 17

Track gauges are the same

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And the lack of standard equipment has a purpose and history.

Remember, many large urban rail systems have the same issues that Boston has in terms of car widths and lengths. The only way Boston could have prevented that would have been to not have anything until the 1960s, so we could have a system like Washington DC has.

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Voting is closed. 12

Yes! — Just Within The Central Core

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Replace the ancient underground Green Line with an automated people mover system providing express, direct connections within the central urban core — between North Station and Kenmore, and with spur loops to South Station and Downtown Crossing.

The above ground lines would terminate at North Station, Kenmore, and Prudential/Copley; so service would never be affected by delays in the central subway. No longer constrained by the tight curves of the old tunnels, the above ground lines could be fully modernized with faster, higher-capacity trains.

Enlarging the old tunnels to accommodate modern full-sized trains would be prohibitive in many ways, but people mover systems use smaller vehicles. A completely new system could be fitted to navigate the old tunnels with extra space for trains to bypass others at stations. Automated people mover systems are now quite advanced. Constant, point-to-point service can be provided per customer demand. For example: board a car at North Station, and be rapidly transported to Kenmore — without stopping.

The underground Green Line is vastly different than the above ground lines. Trying to squeeze everything through the central core doesn't make sense anymore. Treat them as two separate things: people need fast connections between stations within the central hub, and reliable service on lines radiating out from there.

IMAGE(https://www.railwaypro.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/INNOVIA-APM-100.jpeg)
IMAGE(http://static.progressivemediagroup.com/uploads/imagelibrary/nri/railway/news/Bombardier%20Innovia%20APM%20100.jpg)

Alas, our politicians lack the courage to dream of modern, reliable, practical mass transit — but we can!

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Voting is closed. 8

Cool

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I like the way you think.

Turn Boston's underground into the equivalent of a giant airport.

Getting around Heathrow for example may seem like a beast, but it's goddamn delightful compared to the MBTA.

Imagine not only taking over everything from Fenway to North Station, but also North Station to Mass Ave, Charles to South Station, Bowdoin to the Airport, and all of the Silver Line.

Imagine the boost to East Boston, Lower Roxbury, and Dudley Square to be fast tracked a connection to the rest of downtown.

The Blue Line could *start* at the Airport and get realistic headways to Salem and Marblehead because it doesn't have to go downtown anymore.

The Red Line could turn around just past Kendall and go out to Waltham and Lexington and Alewife would be replaced by a stop at the 2/128 interchange where it would make *sense* to terminate a rapid transit line to the city.

The northern Orange Line could push to Reading (because Oak Grove is such a goddamn weird termination point anyways) and NH tax evaders could jump on at the 93/128 interchange instead of clogging the NE Expressway. The southern half could push down to Roslindale easier and likely beyond to Dedham and (dare to dream) all the way to Foxborough and terminate at Gillette where not only would the commercial space there thrive more but the parking lots could double for transit termination when the stadium's not in use.

A system where you could hop on a fast mover at North Station after getting off your commuter rail and be anywhere from East Boston to the Seaport and Southie to Longwood to Dudley Square to BU to Back Bay in a matter of minutes. And finally a North/South connecting system too!

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Voting is closed. 12

NH Tax Evaders?

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Sorry, this caught my attention, and always does. Can you clarify? Are you insinuating that folks from NH don't pay MA income tax if they're employed in MA? Because that's not the case. So I'm not sure what you're speaking to when you use that phrase.

But NH/MA commuters get routinely clogged on Route 3S when 495 pours into it. Every single working day. The second half of that route after exit 32/Chelmsford/Lowell comes to a complete crawl. You're going to need to put an option a bit further up into Billerica or at least Burlington if you want to see that sort of incentive work. Even then, I can see it being utilized by MA riders and less traffic being seized upon by those same NH commuters who just figure "it's just as easy to stay in my car and continue driving to commute in."

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Voting is closed. 11