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Blue Line is full of woe because its wires blow

The MBTA has gone full bustitution between Maverick and Suffolk Downs because of a wire problem at Airport, the nature of which they don't specify, but that's where the trains put up their connectors for those wires.

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I am software engineer which is why I sincerely don't get what is so difficult about suspending a wire and then maintaining it.

What does it cost to deploy those busses? Who benefits? One gets the impression that we have been underfunding and neglecting this critical infrastructure for decades.

Voting closed 13

Guess how much of that is going to the MBTA - $127M!!!! This is literally free money since it’s a new tax and they pitched it as if it will all go towards schools and the MBTA. 7 fucking percent!

Voting closed 21

Some of this if not all is the age of the suspension system.

As trains pass under wire and the pantograph presses upward, the catenary wire will itself raise and lower several inches. At the end of each section of wire which can be a few hundred feet long, there are either springs or counterweights which hold the tension keeping the wire relatively level in height.

Over time these suspension devices will wear, as will the catenary wires themselves from the constant scraping of the passing pantograph. The problem is that there is no easy way to determine if a segment of wire is about to fail without a full in-person visual inspection, foot by foot. Wires will stretch and fray over time.

There is no way to do this adequately a few hours each night when the trains are not running. It would become a daily effort that never stops, much like the Golden Gate Bridge painting operation. By the time the painters finishing painting the bridge, it's time to go back to the other end and start over. Even a timed replacement plan only fixes things for a limited amount of time.

Things with physical wear, fail, and not always at timed intervals.

No one likes it. I've been stranded at Airport myself.

Voting closed 17

which may not be much, granted.. but I was on one of the first trains inbound that was stopped by this problem this morning, and all the buses used to take us in to Maverick were MBTA, not yankee transit or other company. So at the very least this time, paying an external contractor was not part of the cost.

Voting closed 13