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State to buy more two-level coaches for commuter rail

MassDOT reports the board that runs the T agreed to spend $345 million to buy 80 new bi-level coaches from Hyundai-Rotem - which will increase capacity on the entire commuter-rail system by about 14,000 seats a day once they all roll out and replace more of the single-level coaches still in use.

The T expects to begin taking delivery of the new cars in September, 2022, with the last to roll onto local tracks in June, 2024.

MassDOT adds that in November, it expect to solicit bids for 100 additional bi-level coaches for delivery starting in July, 2024.

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Good news as they are desperately needed for capacity and putting the well worn singles out to pasture.

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Voting closed 14

Like hand me downs from an older to younger sibling

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Doubtful, those leased were the MBB’s that were retired 5 years ago when the last order of Rotem’s arrived.

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Up with dwell times!

We don't need more seats per train. We need more frequent trains. And EMUs. Buying more of these behemoths locks us into the current wasteful service model for another 50 years.

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Voting closed 58

Not to mention the termini.

But any line that has single tracks (i.e. all but Lowell and Providence) are limited as to the number of trains that can operate at one time. Replacing single level with bi-level is the easiest way to increase capacity.

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Yup, during rush hour the northeast corridor is at capacity so the only way it’s gonna work is with more capacity on each train.

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You should read the TransitMatters Regional Rail Proof of Concept.

Relevant quotes:
"The busiest urban rail systems in the world run single-level trains, and so should the T."

"Even the best-made bilevels (i.e. more and wider doors) have longer egress times, which lead to longer dwell times in city center at rush hour."

"Some trains take 5 minutes to fully unload at South Station at rush hour. It can feel like waiting to deplane from the rear of an aircraft."

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It's not worth reading.

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You've been very helpful.

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Busiest systems in the US (save SEPTA and Metro North) and they all use double decked trains. You can also find them in Paris and Tokyo.

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The LIRR only uses double-deckers on the diesel lines, which serve about 10% of passengers. The vast majority of traffic is on the busy electric lines, which are single-level.

NJT has some, and they're widely regarded as a mistake.

Metro North doesn't use double-deckers.

Metra's gallery cars are an inefficient mess, and is no model to emulate.

SEPTA doesn't use double-deckers.

Next comes us.

The rest of the systems are basically inconsequential.

Meanwhile, the RER A in Paris serves 300 million people per year, about triple the LIRR. Their recent double-decker purchase has proven to be a HUGE mistake. They had to cut service from 30 trains per hour to 24 due to increased dwell times from these cars, despite having 3 extra-wide doors on each side of a car.

If we want to avoid wasting billions on a useless South Station expansion, we need to speed up turnaround times. More double deckers pushes us in the wrong direction.

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Meaning the Indigo Lines to Lynn and Mattapan have a better shot. If Mass can sole-source bi-levels from Asia, they can also sole-source DMUs from Asia

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In a word: YES! Lynn should be commended. Other cities should follow. Chelsea should ditch its SL3 fiasco and join Lynn in its Indigo pursuit. Everett should ditch its Orange Line extension fantasy and join Lynn and Chelsea. Somerville and Medford should ditch its Green Line extension fantasy for its own Indigo Line. Quincy should ditch its deep-in-the-red RLX for an Indigo that serves Quincy, Braintree and Union Point

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This increases total capacity (yay!)

But ultimately, we shouldn't have *any* two deckers. They're much slower for boarding and alighting. Instead, we should have each line run with 15 minute interarrival times, like clockwork. Then we'd have fast boarding and an easier time scheduling our lives around the trains.

To do that, we need to spend money on track infrastructure. Untangle the switch yards outside North Station and South Station, electrify the routes, etc.

We could start now and have notable improvements on several lines within 5 years. With real effort, the 2032 Baker infrastructure deadline could have fully electrified commuter rail with 15 minute headways, no double deckers, far more capacity, faster trip times, and more frequently running trains.

Transit Matters did a really nice report on this IIRC.

BTW, this is *exactly* the kind of management cleverness Governor Baker ran on, twice. And it's exactly the kind of thing he's absolutely failed on as governor, content instead to spend a bit of money on 20th century solutions.

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Voting closed 76

Increasing frequency is the available terminals at both south station and north station.

Unfortunately, the USPS will never move out of their summer st location.

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A 21st century solution doesn't require expanding south station, and conversly allows the billions in public funds targeted for that to go to other modernization projects.

Politically that ones going to be hard, because a lot of private interests really want the taxpayer subsidized property above the proposed expansion and along Dot Street.

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The same report that states the Needham Line would have to be changed to Orange Line extension to make proposal work?
I don’t actually think that report modeled rail traffic and if the lines can actually handle every 15 minutes without significant infrastructure upgrades (I doubt the Providence line can).

The T needed these coaches 5 years ago and any change in service model is at least 10 years away which just is not possible with the current coach capacity issues.

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would not be able to handle the Needham Line with regional rail improvements -- there are not enough slots on the Corridor, nor terminal space at South Station (assuming no NSRL).

Needham Line converted to Orange Line is a much better idea to begin with.

But unless we start seriously tackling these issues, there will need to be a dozen bi-level cars per train in order to accommodate demand, with only six able to alight at many platforms. Dwell times will be astronomical at each station.

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Well maybe if those bozos who sit on the end just slide over instead of taking their time to get up and let another passenger sit on the inside, that causes backups all the time. I don’t know why people are so inconsiderate.

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That isn't the cause of all the delays. I just ask people "where are you getting off?" If I am first we then switch seats.

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Electrification is not a panacea

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Yup MARC is going back to Diesel. Everyone does realize that 40 of the T’s locomotives are only five years old?

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We could start now and have notable improvements on several lines within 5 years. With real effort, the 2032 Baker infrastructure deadline could have fully electrified commuter rail with 15 minute headways, no double deckers, far more capacity, faster trip times, and more frequently running trains.

Some sort of notable improvements in five years, sure.

Fully electrified in 13 years? Not. A. Chance.

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Next they need to do more to make commuter parking available. People aren't going to use this capacity if they can't easily get to the trains.

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Or we can focus on building more housing in proximity to the CR stations. Places like Hyde Park, Needham, should build as much new housing near the train station as has recently happened here in Roslindale, etc..

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I’b be pushing for triple-decker, but they would probably get Storrowed.

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They're testing that technology on select bus routes, first.

http://geeksyndicate.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/preview_triple_dec...

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For MassDOT to commit $350 million to 50-year+ lived assets tied to legacy diesel-propulsion infrastructure before completing its Rail Vision study

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They are claiming this is an emergency to get around Buy America guidelines. This is probably not going to go well.

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State money and from Korea, not from China, Feds won't care

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They are using state funds which do not have those stipulations, only federal has the buy America.

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Wow. They should have thought of that before building a subway factory in Sprigfield.

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They are assembled in Philadelphia, where we get to witness poor management-labor relations (at least when the last coaches were being built.)

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The trains are coming directly from South Korea

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But after the labor relations/racial shitshow down there, I’m only surprised the T is buying foreign made cars.

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if there were American companies that built the coaches in the first place.

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People who dare to place a bag on an empty seat while other commuters stand deserve to be banished to the Red Line for all eternity.

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Voting closed 9

I have zero problem asking someone to move a bag from a seat. It only got ugly once (so far).

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In concept asking someone to modify their behavior would be okay, but I've witnessed passengers screaming "asshole" at each other due to asking a passenger to be quiet in the Quiet Car. Better off just nor dealing with the attitude.

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On a rush hour commuter train in NYC, a seat with a bag on it wouldn't last 30 seconds without someone pointing to it and saying "excuse me".

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A Louis Vuitton bag, however, will last long enough to go viral.

https://www.nj.com/news/g66l-2019/02/9f37c9cc0d457/watch-nj-transit-cops...

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As people screaming because someone else wasn’t quiet enough will attest. They should dispense Paxil on that car.

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They should lower the light a bit too on the Quiet Cars
Maybe floor guide lights, lights at stairs and ends, and little reading lamps on seat backs.
That would be nice.

I noted the wear of upholstery on one of the 1987 Bombardier cars today. They need overhauls, so at least some trainsets of flats would be available.

I am glad hot doors-open exhaust-filled AC-free Budd cars won't come back in service. Things are better now for riders and I welcome further improvements even if that's just treading water overall.

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The T's bilevels came from the Rotem plant in NJ if I remember correctly. When the orders wound down, I believe that plant closed or was slated to close as orders from other rail companies were fulfilled.

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