Older Green Line trolleys are being refurbished at a facility in upstate New York. Paul MacMaster watched one of them being delivered to Riverside today.
Hopefully, it will deliver on this visual promise of a soft ride.
Good thing Riverside isn't in Cambridge. They'd have to pay 10 cents for a bag, and it would have to be paper, not plastic.
We banned plastic bags entirely.
For the children!
And smart parking meters
For the elderly!
We are working on banning freedom too but there is this silly 200 year old document slowing us down along with some exceptionally surly turkeys.
Hmm, Newton also has a plastic bag ban, but no 10 cent fee.
for an old subway car, passed of old age, and gone to a better place.
Are we running zombie cars?
There was an America that had trolleys everywhere. Likely way back they could have driven one to wherever to get a rehab. Lackaday.
I remembered a podcast guest (looked it up and found it was over five years ago) who loved those Mattapan trolleys among the others. That was Bill Lind, an arch-conservative. We disagreed on almost everything...except light rail.
I'm happy with the Mattapan line. It's faster and quieter and generally less crowded than the bus.
We also had horse-drawn buggies everywhere.
Rochester is really "Western NY". "Upstate" is generally from the Albany area north to the Canadian border.
This is only an issue with us former upstaters who can't stand people from NYC referring to Yonkers as "Upstate."
As somebody who actually lived for a spell just outside Peekskill, I know Upstate actually starts at the Putnam County line [ducks].
In the Utica and Syracuse areas, we generally say upstate. A lot of stuff gets branded Central New York (CNY), but we pretty much always say upstate.
Relative to New York City, it is indeed "up-state", but not to the rest of New York.
The Albany/Schenectady/Troy area is called the "Capital District". Growing up there, "Upstate" was way down towards New York City.
North of Albany and beyond Saratoga, it's the Adirondacks and/or the "North Country". Binghamton is in the "Southern Tier", Syracuse is Central New York, Rochester and Buffalo are Western New York.
White Plains was a major toll switching point for the 914 area (and also the whole northeast region). Like New York City itself, the "Upstate" region has a much stronger regional accent than the rest of the state, as can be heard in this vintage New York Telephone Company recording:
White Plains, New York WHPLNY02 - "Temporary Equipment Condition" Recording
Like I said, we all just stay upstate. Nobody actually says CNY.
The track width ("gauge") of green line trolleys is standard gauge, i.e., the same as every other railroad in the U.S. Wouldn't it have been easier to deliver these things by rail, instead of on a 80-foot-long truck that has to jump the median every time it approaches a bend in the road? A heck of a lot easier?
(I know, I know, there's probably a good explanation...just seems crazy.)
Also, the track systems are separated - a crane would be involved at some point.
It was explained they'd need to build a few special couplers to be able to connect the trollys to freight locomotives. The cost of doing this, plus all the other requirements, would be higher then just putting them on a truck.
Given how often these trains break down, driving them around with passengers would be more reliable and the truck driver costs less than MBTA operators!
I'm a little skeptical (but only a little) that a coupler adapter would be prohibitively expensive. In theory, all they need is one - attach it to an out-of-service trolley, tow it out to NY, drop it off, bring back one that they've finished refurbishing, repeat... In practice, of course, it probably isn't THAT simple.
Depending on vertical clearance, I wonder if an LRV would fit on a flatbed rail car - like those low-bed ones they snap shipping containers into.
It's a shame that branch rail lane that bridges 128 next to Riverside is defunct. They could shuttle stuff in from the freight lines to Green Line tracks there.
The branch off the Worcester line that connects to Riverside is still there. It has to be physically blocked in some way due to federal regulations that prohibit an active track connection between a transit system and an FRA-regulated railroad, but it's still there and able to be used. There are 3 main reasons trolleys get trucked these days rather than move by rail:
1) it's cheaper - especially if it involves multiple railroads, trucking will usually come out cheaper for special moves like this.
2) trolleys are less likely to sit unattended for any length of time on a truck. Being moved by rail VIA CSX theyd inevitably end up sitting in the black hole that is Selkirk Yard, or Worcester, or elsewhere for several days, becoming graffiti targets - just look at what happens to commuter rail coaches being delivered by PAR every time they end up left in a yard overnight - they arrive on T property with a unique custom paint scheme.
3) trolleys can't be run in a freight train because they don't have the proper MU, air brake, comm, etc connections. Or hand brakes.These would need to be fitted to the trolleys before they could be moved in a regular train - adding time and expense.
They could theoretically be moved on a flatcar, provided a sufficient clearance route exists, but this would require a crane and extra expense, hassle, and manpower to arrange.
As it is, the refurbished LRVs still have to be lifted/moved from the rehab shop onto the flatbed, and then off the flatbed onto rails at Riverside, so it would be a similar set of tasks for a rail flatbed - lift from the end of the FRA rails (if they went as far as "next to but not connected to" the Riverside yard loop), pivot, set.down on Green line rails.
The rest of your points are very well taken, though. I had not considered the question of different brakes being needed.
Besides the couplers, Green Line cars probably don't have air brake systems compatible with mainline rail. You could theoretically put it on a flatbed and deliver it via the branch that leads from the Fitchburg Line into Riverside, if that's still connected, but that's probably only economical if you're delivering several of them.
Its too bad these can't be shipped (or pushed) by rail. Seems like it would be more efficient.
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