Hey, there! Log in / Register

MBTA engineers say they're looking for a fix to a key problem with new trains: The longer they run, the more force is needed to make the wheels navigate switches

DingDingDing's Child reports from today's MBTA uberboard meeting: Engineers say that as the wheel-bearing "trucks" on the new Orange and Red Line trains age, they require more force to turn when going across switches, which may have contributed to the Orange Line derailments at Wellington.

Given that the first of the new cars only went into service in August, 2019, and that MBTA subway cars have traditionally been run for decades, that's a problem the T's engineers are now trying to solve. Until they do, the T will only be running Orange Line cars that date to the mid-1980s and some similarly superannuated Red Line cars.

Topics: 
Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

Can this be included in MGH's expansion project agreement with the MBTA???? Can the Orange Line infrastructure and trains be fixed by smart, competent people with a good work ethic? They've been fixing tracks and shuttling people for several years now off and on on the Orange Line. What went wrong? Money was apparently WASTED. Remember when the trains arrived a few years ago and everyone, including the Governor, was excited?

up
Voting closed 13

MGH has already planned to build its proposed expansion such that it will set aside property and building space to accommodate a connecting of the Blue Line to the Red Line. Expecting much more out MGH ain't likely.

Next, in fairness, the contract for the new Orange Line cars was awarded in the waning days of the Patrick Administration.

up
Voting closed 8

The state will only buy trains from somebody building them in the state. Federal law prevents states from buying trains from anyone building them out of the country. We want the same trains that Europe and Asia have, but those companies aren't going to come to the US for one contract a year, so we're left with bottom barrel options for suppliers. Protectivism in action.

up
Voting closed 11

And a few things-

First, how is it up to the T's engineers to solve this problem? CRRC said they could build trains that could handle the lines, so they should be the one's to solve the problem. It's not like the switch at Wellington is unique.

Second, to be clear, the Red Line has cars that were built in the 1969-70 era, while the oldest Orange Line cars were built a decade later. These are much older than you make them out to be, Adam.

I'm hoping the T hasn't sent all of the money budgeted for the cars to Beijing yet. We shouldn't pay for trains that are useless after a year.

up
Voting closed 52

And just when the T was going to be free.

up
Voting closed 9

That one of the following will happen

1) Its an easy fix for the cars, so they are fixed & we're rockin N rolling by fall.

OR

2) The T pays $$$$$$$$$$ to be repaired, which will take 5 years to do

3) The T realizes the cars are not salvageable without big money, so scraps the whole thing, puts out the bid, and takes CRRC to court to retrieve its money. It will cost even more and we won't see new cars for 5 years.

up
Voting closed 26

This is the first order CRRC is doing in the States. I'm betting anything SEPTA, CTA, and the metro in LA are looking at all of this. They kind of, sort of, have to deliver. Things didn't go well for Rotem when they screw up the orders for the T and SEPTA, so CRRC needs to make sure their first US customer isn't getting a bad product.

up
Voting closed 22

As the result of a bipartisan Congressional compromise last year, CRRC only has a two-year grace period before it will be barred from bidding on all projects that receive federal funding. In other words, there won't be many US customers in the foreseeable future.

up
Voting closed 16

How many road must Magoo walk down until the MBTA is fixed
Yes’n how much money must Magoo and his friends pay until the MBTA is nixed.
The answer, Magoo’s friend, is blowin in the wind.
The answer is blowin in the wind.

Magoo

up
Voting closed 22

or in some other watering hole in the shadow of the Golden Dome.

up
Voting closed 13

So... are the wheels deforming, or is some other portion of the truck deforming?
-
I imagine there will be some detailed measurements, piece by piece, disassembling a couple of these prematurely-aging trucks to do it.
Once they find the culprit pieces, then what? Melt them down to see if they actually match the specifications for steel on this job, or if someone tried to do it on the cheap?

up
Voting closed 11

I bet it is a case of mismatched tolerances. The tracks are old and probably vary in size, shape, and condition from use and weathering. Anything new, with tighter tolerances and less play, are going to take a beating. This is often the case when pairing old with new.

up
Voting closed 17

When the Bredas kept derailing, Breda blamed it on MBTA track geometry, and MBTA said yeah but we told you what the geometry was and you said your wheels could handle it. Could totally be a similar thing here.

up
Voting closed 32

As they age? What do you mean age? These things are brand spanking new.

Thats like the Michelin man telling me I need new tires after 5k miles because they wore out. What in the world is going on here?

up
Voting closed 22

Am I the only one who got an image of a person arguing with the big puffy tire mascot when DPm said the Michelin man???

up
Voting closed 2

My understanding is one of the great advantages of 'standard rail' is that it is indeed standardized - unlike monorails or TransitX or PRT systems. Thus apparently the undercarriage parts are a well-understood, mature, largely interchangeable technology. So how/why, after less then a year of use, are these now not meeting their specifications? Also while the MBTA engineering department is obviously vital in recognizing and reporting the issue isn't it incumbant upon the supplier to actually diagnose the issue with their faulty system and repair/replace it?

up
Voting closed 17

Also while the MBTA engineering department is obviously vital in recognizing and reporting the issue isn't it incumbant upon the supplier to actually diagnose the issue with their faulty system and repair/replace it?

up

That's a both/and situation.

Across all sorts of industries, the buzzwords change every few years, from Quality Control to QA/QC to TQM to the Six Pillars or whatever they've come up with next. The gist (with slightly changing focus) is that Quality is the responsibility of both the vendor/manufacturer and the purchaser.

up
Voting closed 9

why, after less then a year of use, are these now not meeting their specifications?

I suspect substandard materials, or improper heat-treatment, or some other corners cut in pursuit of greater profit. The manufacturer should absolutely be fully responsible for this. If there's a way to hold their feet to the fire, then do it.

up
Voting closed 11

Train wheel sets are an extraordinarily known technology. I thus suspect something along the lines of the manufacturer cutting corners, sloppy conversion of old avoirdupois measures to metric values, and/or other sorts of crappy QC.

The good news is that the contract imposes penalties. The bad news is what if the Chinese manufacturer opts to walk. After all, it's not like the US is a huge market for subway trains.

up
Voting closed 6

big up to them for being able to at least identify one of the problems. hopefully the solution phase will now be efficient.

up
Voting closed 9

get on top of them a lot sooner, instead of ignoring the problem(s) until they got way too big to ignore, if one gets the drift.

up
Voting closed 8