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New Orange Line cars could be a step up

New Orange Line car

Neil the roving UHub photographer took in the mockup of a new Orange Line car on City Hall Plaza today, reports the T is going with the shiny, slidey plastic seats. They're scheduled to arrive by 2022.

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Those seats look too small. Maybe it's just the camera angle.

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"a two-thirds-size model'

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It's just 1/3 short of a full car. Basically missing one door and the seating that would entail.
Didn't look like seats were any smaller than current cars. I just happened upon this in the plaza as I was making my way home. Didn't have time to dally or frame great pics but it's pretty cool if you're in the area or are interested. There's a full conductor's cab you can sit in and friendly folks to answer questions.

It's in a tent on the plaza, would have looked real cool if they had just plopped the car there...

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2/3rd model mean this mockup is only 2/3rd the length of the actual train not that everything is scaled by 2/3rd. And actually​ the seats are wider than the ones on the current OL trains.

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The model is 1:1 scale; they just only built 2/3 of the length of the car.

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The new seats are actually 2 inches wider than the old seats..

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Because those seats wont be covered in graffiti and stickers in a week.

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They can be wiped down. That's a very good thing.

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with graffiti and stickers?

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@adamg: “scheduled to arrive by 2022” isn't wrong, but it's a bit pessimistic! The information they're handing out at the car gives the following timeline:

December 2017: Delivery of 6 pilot Orange Line cars for testing

December 2018: Delivery of the Orange Line production fleet begins

March 2019: Delivery of 6 pilot Red Line cars for testing

November 2019: Delivery of the Red Line production fleet begins

I'm not entirely clear how those pilot cars will be used, nor how long delivery of the production fleet will take (longer for the 252 Red Line cars than the 152 Orange Line, we can assume), but we should see new trains on the Orange Line in 2019.

Of course, that assumes CRRC actually delivers on-time, but as the subject notes, it's hopefully all coming sooner than 2022.

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I ride the T, what can I say?

But maybe things will go better than the roll out of the new commuter-rail cars or the Green Line trolleys. The new Blue Line cars seemed to come OK.

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T slams delays in Blue Line upgrade
Says train maker lags on delivery of 94 cars

By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff | November 29, 2006

The MBTA's plan to replace its aging Blue Line fleet is nearly three years behind schedule because of repeated delays and problems with the first of 94 new cars, including leaking doors and smoking air-conditioning systems.

Yesterday, the T's top official sent a fiery letter to the manufacturer, Siemens Transportation Systems, demanding a firm schedule for delivery of the new cars and threatening to freeze payments on the $174 million contract.

Siemens had been seeking an $8 million payment, saying it has reached another benchmark on the contract, even though it hasn't delivered four prototypes. The MBTA has paid $47 million to Siemens in the last five years.

"It appears to me that your company is far more interested in demanding money for work you have not performed, rather than completing the job," wrote Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The letter demanded that Siemens submit a revised schedule "that it unequivocally commits to achieving." Grabauskas also said the T's general counsel has started reviewing the contract and Siemens's "record of poor performance to determine what remedies are available to the MBTA."

Oliver Hauck, president and chief executive of Siemens, said the Blue Line project has been one of the most confounding in the company's history. The firm is based in Sacramento.

"We are both justifiably frustrated over the progress, and we will do whatever we can to finish this project as much on time as it is possible," he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The 94 new Blue Line cars are slated to replace 70 existing cars that carry fewer passengers and subject them to a jarring ride. Some have leaking roofs. Most of the current cars were put into service in 1979 and 1980 and are among the oldest in the T system.

Expanding the Blue Line fleet would allow six-car trains that would ease overcrowding on the popular line. The new cars, renovations at several stations, and longer platforms to accommodate the six-car trains are part of a $750 million project to modernize the Blue Line, which carries 55,600 passengers on an average workday.

The T board approved purchase of the new cars in November 2001, with delivery of the first ones scheduled for January 2004. The T agreed to delay the date to September 2004 after a company making the cars' suspension system went out of business. Also, the upstate New York company that was starting to assemble the cars changed ownership twice during the contract, Hauck said.

"There were a number of events that were not foreseen by us, and we were not able to manage," he said. "Overall, it was a very challenging contract. We are just as unhappy as the MBTA."

Siemens wanted the Blue Line to be the cornerstone of its efforts to get other subway and rail contracts around the world.

The first four cars that Siemens will deliver in Boston are prototypes that will be tested by the T to spot defects before the rest are built.

Grabauskas said he met with Siemens officials in March and was assured of the "timely delivery of the cars." But in August, he said, Siemens changed the delivery schedule again, saying the first pair of prototype cars would be shipped in October, followed by another in November and the last in December. In October, however, Siemens revised the schedule again, for delivery of the four prototypes early next year.

T officials say they have had no choice but to go along with the delays so far.

The price of cars has remained unchanged at $174 million. With engineering, spare parts, and other services, the T estimates the total price tag to replace the Blue Line cars at $200 million.

The dispute between the T and Siemens is similar to a quarrel with another company over new trolleys for the Green Line.

The MBTA ordered 100 Breda trolleys from an Italian manufacturer in 1995, but problems emerged. After paying about $143 million of the $222 million contract, T officials halted payments in 2004 and refused to take delivery of 53 vehicles not received by then. The T finally worked out a new deal on the Breda cars in December 2005, and they are being put into service on the Green Line by January. By yesterday, 70 of 85 Breda cars had been delivered.

The standoff with Siemens is worse, Grabauskas said. "It has been perhaps the most frustrating procurement that we've engaged in a long time," he said in an interview yesterday. "This makes the Breda car fiasco look like -- " He trailed off.

"I guess the thing that upsets me most on this is that we are spending more than $200 million on this . . . and with a procurement of this size, you'd think people would be taking this seriously," Grabauskas said. "I've been yesed to death, and I'm sick of it. This is a major multinational company, and they can't seem to deliver on something as simple as a rail car."

T officials are considering waiving a host of problems with the prototypes, discovered by Siemens during early testing, just to get them delivered so the T can begin its own trial runs.

Both front and side doors in the prototype cars leaked during water-tightness tests. The seams of floor coverings didn't meet smoothly and had to be whittled down with knives, T officials said.

"It looked like a kid had done this," Grabauskas said. "This is the equivalent of having linoleum installed in your kitchen, and they can't even do that. . . . The word, in plain English, is sloppiness."

Several Blue Line passengers interviewed yesterday said they can't wait for more modern cars on a line that serves some of the poorest communities in Boston and on the North Shore.

"It's not as updated as the other ones," said 20-year-old Arielle Zair, a sophomore at the Art Institute of Boston. "The Orange Line's a little bit worse to me, but [the Blue Line] deserves new trains."

Christian Marcus, 20, of the West End agreed. "It's been like this for 10 years," he said. "If it's for people that are unfortunate, and it's public, they just leave it the way it is."

April Simpson of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Mac Daniel can be reached at [email protected]

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Thanks for the correction. Full pessimism mode restored.

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They did however turn out to be very good reliable cars after the initial issues. Same can't be said for the Breda Type 8s on the Green Line.

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I would assume that the pilot cars are used to do trial runs on the actual tracks - the dimensions of the new cars are slightly different than the current ones, and while they do measurements and ran some tests with mockups they will probably run the pilot cars to confirm everything is in order before the full delivery starts. That way if there need to be any changes to tolerances or finish they'll be able to let the supplier know before the main delivery starts. They probably also want to be able to have operators familiarize themselves with the new vehicles ahead of time. No idea if this means we'll actually see any of the pilot vehicles running regularly or if they'll be restricted to closed trial/training runs.

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Ah, that's a good look at what they'll likely be used for, yeah. I was mostly wondering if we'll see any of them in service, but I guess only time will tell.

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You see new cars being introduced in New York, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto with 21st Century design elements and our new proposed cars seem stuck in the 1980's.

The LED signs on the Blue Line are just a waste of money.

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The new cars on order for Chicago (also from CRRC) don't look much different than what they have been ordering since the 1970s.

http://www.railjournal.com/index.php/north-america/crrc-to-build-up-to-8...

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are really nice. I always like traveling on them compared to my usual commute on the orange line.

These generally look good--hard seats, thank you!

But that beige interior is so ugh. Why does the orange line have to be all brown? Grey would be really good looking with the orange seats and would be a calmer environment for those of us commuting.

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Cities that care have stainless steel interiors and exteriors.

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Cities that care have money have stainless steel interiors and exteriors.
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FIFY

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The Blue Line cars are and the future Red and Orange cars will be stainless steel shells. Stainless steel interiors can be vulnurable to "scratchitti" that is hard to repair.

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The photo included in the post isn't a great one. The cars are definitely not as beige in person. Here's my own photo from yesterday:

https://onefoottsunami.com/hosted/20170404NewOrangeLineCar.jpg

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Thanks for posting, I actually really like that. Crisp and bright. So much better than the current cars.

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If you've accidentally sat in a wet seat you'll know why these are so important. Mysteriously wet seat...you just assume it's pee.

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Is there a particular reason why new subway cars (not just in Boston, but in the US in general) don't have this obviously superior design feature that's become so common in other countries?

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AMAERICA

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and we'd rather spend the money on the highways. Or fighter planes, or whatever.

I think NYC is supposedly getting some of these trains on their subway though.

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you are referring to the ability for passengers to pass from car to car, the reason we don't have them is simple. Liability. Because we are a horribly litigious society that cannot take responsibility for our own actions, and look for every opportunity to try to extort unjustified payments ("punitive" damages) from others when we screw up.

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   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)

    Additionally, all the curves on the Red and Orange Lines are much tighter than anything on the Green Line, so purchasing modern Red and Orange Line trains would be impossible. Don't even consider it! The Boston subway is over 300 years old, so to keep everything compatible it always must use an old fashioned, obsolete design when ordering new equipment.
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My favorite part of sitting in the area of the knuckle (articulated part?) of the 39 bus is when there are dips and 'humps' for going up and down hills. I'm short, so it's easy for my legs to leave the floor when it dips out from beneath me. The tough part is making certain my legs are not tucked under the seat when the opposite occurs ... my calves have gotten pinched by the seat.

But it's not worth suing over, just something to be prepared for. And/or relearn since I don't take the bus very often.

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NYC had people running back and forth between the cars, and very bad crime issues on their subways.

Boston's cars had more operators and an inability to pass through, and were much safer.

Your superior convenient feature was once an easy way to shake down three cars worth of people and hop off at the next stop.

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Because a six-car unit train with open gangways means all six cars have to sit out of service for repairs if any one part on any of the six permanently coupled cars fails. Systems that have good maintenance and good maintenance budgets will sacrifice flexibility in removing/adding cars from train sets for the sake of the added capacity of a unit train. Systems that know their maintenance practices (and budgets) are not always what they should be are prudent not to order unit sets.

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Do you mean articulated, with the interiors all connected? If so, the reason is pretty simple. The MBTA runs the Orange/Red Line trains in married pairs, so if there is an issue on one of the two cars, they can be decoupled, repaired, and the other 4 cars can continue running with another added pair. If it was full articulated, then an issue on a single car would take all six out of service. Basically the T is trading off more passenger room for operational flexibility, which seems reasonable.

Now, I would agree that since they are married pairs anyways, that each pair could be articulated which would have a nice little bump in space.

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Although you cite a potential disadvantage of the modern design, it hasn't been a big problem in other cities that have adopted it. There are so many advantages to the open plan that far outweigh that one tradeoff. The two most significant are:
   

  • Increased passenger capacity per train
  • Shorter station dwell times (more passengers off and on faster)

If the didn't need to increase capacity during rush hour, this wouldn't matter. Even if there were an unlimited number of trains, there's a limit of how close together they can run.

Increasing the passenger capacity of each train, and spending less time stopped at each station is the easiest way to increase capacity of the overall system.

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It's the return of the old Red Line cars! Those seats are murder if you've got just one drunk person on board.

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On City Hall Plaza something like a smaller low one story building right at the Cambridge Street curb approximately across Cambridge street from 2 Center Plaza... what is it?
http://ur1.ca/qptaf

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3600472,-71.0600587,3a,75y,348.6h,95.06t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1svfGNhJySI43MtEdHquGrow!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

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I think that's an emergency egress from the far end of the Government Center Blue Line platform.

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IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/scollay-under-exit.jpg)
At the far end of the Scollay Under Blue Line platform at Government Center Station, there's a staircase that leads up to street level. It appears at the right edge of the picture above from March 2014.

Before they shut down the station for two years to paint the ceiling and put in a new terrazzo floor, the staircase was closed off behind a locked chain-link fence. At street level, the staircase ended at a "trap door" flush with the sidewalk.

In addition to the partial redecorating of the Scollay Under platform, the chain-link fence was replaced with a set of emergency-only exit doors, and the street level trap door was replaced with the intrusive and pretentious structure you wondered about.

Ignoring the obvious utility an additional entrance to the station might afford, the prefers to force any potential passengers to walk out of their way to a single entrance at many stations. This policy was particularly important for the redecorated Government Center Station. Rather than taking the opportunity to provide additional (low-key) entrance points on the other sides of Tremont or Court Streets, the priority was to expend all available funds to make the single entrance as big and pretentious as possible.

The rationale is that passengers prefer to use dangerous crosswalks because they can see the enormous station looming in the distance, and are afforded more opportunities to marvel at its grandiosity while they're waiting to cross the street. This concept works particularly well at Charles/MGH Station which has the additional preferred design concept of placing the entrance as far as possible from the direction most passengers are coming from.

So, the elaborate structure you noticed will serve no useful purpose to passengers, save the event of an actual emergency. It's pretentiousness will quickly gain the rich patina of disrepair associated with everything about the , while its intrusiveness will endure as a permanent fixture on the City Hall Plaza streetscape.

Maybe when Bowdoin Station is closed while the Blue Line is being extended to Charles/MGH, the staircase will be opened as an additional entrance and/or egress from Scollay Under. They're starting that project soon, aren't they?

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It was going to be a full time secondary entrance/exit until it became clear that an elevator would have to be installed for that to happen.

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   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)   IMAGE(http://www.universalhub.com/files/uhub215_0_0_1_1.png)

    When they added new accessable entrances with elevators on Congress Street, they also had to install an elevator in the Old State House entrance to State Street Station. There's a requirement that every possible exit or entrance to a station, must also have an elevator.
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The State House entrance wasn't modernized in the project, any new or altered entrance, per the
Mass Architectural Access Board, has to be made accessible:
"At all newly constructed, reconstructed, altered or remodeled stations, an accessible route shall
connect all terminal buildings or station houses, platforms, parking areas and street entrances"

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what no fish design / symbols?

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