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MBTA has ten-year plan to ditch the historic trolleys on the Mattapan Line

The Dorchester Reporter reports the T has a $200-million, ten-year modernization plan for the Mattapan Line that includes getting rid of the current PCC trolleys rolled out in the 1940s with versions of the newer, bigger trolleys being rolled out now on the Green Line.

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How much will cost to keep the historic trollies going for another 20 years?

If it's well under $200 million, why make the switch?

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Because as cool as it is to ride around in 75-year-old trolleys, they need constant repair, and the ride ultimately sucks compared with newer technology.

But I think extending the Red Line would be a better option than new trolleys. The Dot News article doesn't specify what the logistical issues are that prevent that.

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The outer subway lines run at grade and mix with traffic and peds

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In a desperate attempt to save her Mattapan Line bus replacement strategy at the FMCB mtg, Pollack claimed that overhead wires are fragile in winter climates and should be removed in favor of battery-powered buses. This argument ironically opens the door to removing overhead wire train corridors on the Green and Blue Lines in favor of buses and cutting Pollack's overhead wire powered Green Line Extension. Pollack stepped in it big time: but it also shows MassDOT's resistance to rail service expansion beyond the GLX.

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I hope the winter hasn't been treating you as bad as the everyday reality that the Green Line is coming to Somerville is, but this isn't about the GLX. It's also not about the South Coast Rail project that Baker has been trying to get done. In short, no, MassDOT is not against rail expansion. In fact, this article shows that MassDOT Is committed to improving the existing infrastructure. Yay MassDOT!

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I am lukewarm pro-GLX and you have gone after me. Thanks buddy. You might want to attend the GLX community events. They're filled with GLX "Trolls". Fall construction has been pushed back month by month. The Mattapan line decision was raised in Somerville because it signaled a culture-change at the T/MassDOT. Get involved.

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All anons that go on about the GLX look the same to me.

Still don't see the culture change, unless you are pointing to a commitment to rail, which should hearten the pro-GLX crowd. Well, that and the South Coast Rail obsession.

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The reasons to switch are because they fall apart constantly (because they're 80 years old) and new parts are extremely unavailable (because they're 80 years old). The MBTA has to either take parts for repairs from what stock they have left (not much), or fabricate the parts themselves, which is a pain in the ass and expensive in its own right.

Also, they're uncomfortable. Obviously that's not a financial concern here but it's a nice side effect to upgrading.

Switching to the same cars as are on the Green Line makes maintenance an order of magnitude easier and cheaper because you're adding a layer of consistency to the fleet. Keeping the PCC cars rolling means maintaining an entirely separate class of vehicles. Mothballing them means it's easier to train maintenance workers since they won't have to deal with them anymore.

So yeah, it would probably cost a bit less to keep the PCCs in a technical sense, but it makes everything easier and smoother-running to replace them.

(Also, money is fake, and the state should just pay for the MBTA like it used to, thanks)

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Between hand crafted parts and ADA issues, the PCCs are just not cut out for regular commuter service.

I see this to be a good thing, I hope that putting LRV's down there will entice maybe other LRVs near by (hello Blue Hill Ave)

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Compromise might be keeping a couple of old trolleys around and running them when the weather is nice.

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the haitians in mattapan have been dealing with the hand-me-downs from the green line for 30 years. any reason why they dont get new cars today; rather than, 10 years from now (waiting for gentrification to complete) ?

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First, if you are going to make assumptions that this is because Haitians live in the area, how about noting that the Irish and Jewish residents who lived in Mattapan 40 years ago also got the second hand vehicles.

But anyway, if you have followed the saga of the Mattapan Line at all, you'd know that the bridges can't handle the heavier vehicles that have been used on the Green Line since the 1970s. It sounds like the plan is to retrofit the bridges for heavier loads and thereby newer vehicles. You could celebrate that, or you could hear the dog whistles you want to hear.

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But you have to question the timing. There’re currently updating all the commuter rail stations in the neighborhood, and there are all these talks of transit oriented development coming. Who do you think it’s really for?

This city is out of space and it’ll only be so long before all the suburbanites, students, and other outsiders realize Mattapan really isn’t as dangerous as the news makes it out to be. Then game over.

It’s time to get skin in the game and buy in Mattapan. And if you own you probably shouldn’t sell. I don’t like the gentrification term, but displacement is coming.

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The Fed might be helping with those bridges NOW not before NOW.

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Something about a height issue? Whoopsie.

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Weight, which is what has been reported and hence reported by me.

But, as I note in the comment to which you replied, they could retrofit the bridges, which is not an inexpensive proposition. If you bothered to read the article, they are talking $200 million in work on the line (and one would assume rolling stock) to make sure the line can handle the trains. That said, today, the 29th of January 2019, you cannot run the current Green Line stock on the Mattapan Line. The bridges won't support, well, guess what the bridges cannot support. I mean, you can read, right?

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I understand your frustration in general but it's unfounded here.

1.) - The Mattapan Line has gotten second hand Green Line cars since 1929 when it opened - it's a glorified shuttle service.

2.) - The PCC's are still there because of Milton and their political clout. If it weren't for Milton, it would have been gone a long time ago.

3.) What event on the Mattapan Line happened 30 years ago that you're referring to? Outside of the reconstruction of Ashmont 10 years ago, the line has basically been the same since 1929 (or the late 1950s when the PCC's first appeared on it).

(in other words the line has been this way long before Haitians came to Boston)

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Same thing with the bus lanes. No one cared about how slow the buses were until white people started moving to Roslindale and Everett.

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You don't know Roslindale very well, do you?

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I mean, who revels in the gentrification of Everett?

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How are the trolleys in Haiti?

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Maybe when the T has new cars, Mayor Walsh will deign to walk the four minutes from his home to the Butler station.

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San Francisco celebrates their historic trolleys with a parade through downtown, and regular use on the route through Fisherman's Pier. New Orleans has the historic St. Charles streetcars as one of the city's premiere tourist attractions, and has opened 3 more trolley lines with realistic replica cars. Even Philadelphia (which waged war on their extensive trolley network) reopened the long route 15 which crosses the city with historic PCC cars.

Boston's going to end up with a couple of trolleys behind a dirty cage in Boylston station. Pathetic.

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Agreed. You can tell that the T leadership wants to scrap the PCCs, but hasn't because there has been so much community pushback. The presentation to the FMCB today was so flawed. It only looked at capital costs and not operational or maintenance costs. The only good thing is they finally realized that buses are actually not a good solution for the line. (They don't actually cost less and they don't really fit in the right of way, either.)

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Why don't we just ask them for the necessary parts since they must have a more robust support network?

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San Francisco and Philadelphia have more of a critical mass of PCC trolleys. If this plan actually makes sense, (note objections above), then the best thing to do is sell the PCC trolleys to SF or Phillie.

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I always thought they should repurpose the vintage trolleys and create a new line along the Greenway, which would serve both as a tourist attraction and as a practical North/South Station direct link until rail tunnels can be dug.

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Run their antique trolley cars on surface lines through the tourist areas, whereas in Boston the tourist areas are served mostly by underground subway stations. Both cities also do not have anything resembling a Boston winter: no snow, very few days below freezing.

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And Philadelphia?

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I ride the trolley all the time, it is fast, it is great, leave it.. The developers want to bring in services for the new demo that is not even there yet. We live in a world of 3d printing, not buying can't find parts, blah,blah, blah.

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PCCs: good
Boeing LRVs: bad
Type 7: good
Type 8: bad
Type 9: good?

It's like the inverse of the Star Trek movie rule.

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I expect great things of the Green Line when the Type-10 multi-articulated, all low boarding, longer and larger capacity cars start to come on line.

https://willbrownsberger.com/a-new-vision-for-the-green-line/

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is the several references to the PCCs inability to properly function in heavy snow.

While I know the T tends to suspend PCC service on the Mattapan line in heavy snow these days, I am not entirely sure why. The PCCs have been in use for decades and were the entirety of the Green Line fleet for many, many years. The T didn't just close the Green Line whenever it snowed. What changed?

The T also frowns on the use of the 60-foot articulated buses on the 39 and other lines in the snow.

Besides the fact that the T usually has problems handling "partly sunny" days, why is the snow such a problem, especially now? Toronto has street-running cars, as do most European and Russian cities where it snows. They don't all have 60-year-old transit cars, but something seems to work right for them.

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Snow getting in the motors and propulsion control systems on the PCCs can cause failures. Unlike 35-40 years ago when PCCs covered the entire Green Line, it is a lot harder to get replacement parts when they fail in a storm (they don't have that many spare PCC motors any more). PCCs did have there problems back in the day on the Green Line. I remember one winter (I think 75-76) when they were only able to get 46 PCC cars out on the Green Line after a big snow storm, and at the time they needed 210 cars (single cars showed up instead of the normal three-car train of PCCs)

The new motors and control systems they are getting from Brookville should perform much better in the snow though.

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riding in one of the old Dallas double ended PCCs during the winter back around 1974 or so. The car was completely encased in ice when it arrived at Cedar Grove, but, even so, it got to Mattapan without a problem.

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And the lack of parts for when the snow causes something to break.

Toronto has street cars, but they are also on the second generation (at least) beyond their PCCs. San Francisco doesn't get snow, though I've be curious enough to see if Philly runs the Girard Avenue line when they get snow. Other than that, we are talking newer vehicles designed for the elements.

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some interesting thoughts in this nifty article....

https://medium.com/@skyqrose/red-line-extension-to-mattapan-b7351aa782e

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