Mattapan Line falling apart, state report says

The Dorchester Reporter reports a state study of the city's cutest public-transit line shows that tracks and bridges along the line are in dire need of repair.



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So basically it's in better

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So basically it's in better shape than the rest of the lines on the T. No wonder people drive.


The High Speed Line

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Is safe clean and reliable! On the flip side no one enforces fare payment so ridership numbers are not accurate. The timing of this report is interesting because when snow falls management at the MBTA will shut the line down and tell the public that the only solution is buses.

Is Boston Racist? Pennies for Mattapan. Billions for Medford. Hm

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The old PCC cars that ran on the Green Line branches were replaced with better equipment DECADES AGO. The same should have happened on the Mattapan Line. Meanwhile as a Medford resident, I'm consistently told by MassDOT officials that they "found" $1 billion in state funding for the Medford GLX, yet "found" seems to be "divert and defer" from the existing system. I have never understood spending 2.3 billion so I can choose between a half empty bus or a half empty green line train - when no matter what I'm still walking to the Red Line. Baker needs to change things ASAP


Hey, Happy New Year

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I believe the economic case has already been made for the project you hate. The transit rider numbers are there. They are solid. Baker supports the project, as did his predecessors. You’re stuck with him for another 4 years.

Now is the time for the case to be made for work to been done on the Mattapan line.

Go all the way. Red Line trains to Mattapan Chicago-style

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Today, a conductor could drive a Red Line train to Mattapan if they wanted to. There's no physical or legal barrier in the way. Chicago's L subway lines go at-grade, aka level, with cars and people on the outer edges of the midwest metro. The L fences off the tracks and says keep out. Lets do it.

There is a reason they couldn't

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Today, they are worried about the lighter PCC's getting over the bridges on the line.

That said, good move to point out that the CTA has at grade running. The only issue is that the Mattapan Line platforms are ground level and shorter than needed for Red Line trains to stop at them. Well, that and the bridge issue.

They can be towed but cannot run

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Yes, you can get a Red Line car to the Mattapan shop. Just like you can get a Blue Line car to Dorchester. I see the point. But remember, this is Boston.

$1.1 Million Study

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Is it too simplistic to imagine that, for starters, much of the $1.1 million spent on the study could have been used to make significant repairs to facilities that didn't need any more than an eyeballing to know they were in bad shape? For instance, the repair facility at Mattapan. $1.1 million wouldn't buy a rebuild of that structure?

When you start by bankrolling a $1.1 million study, rather than have those people already familiar with the line give you their free assessment of what's needed, it seems to me that someone has already decided to pour money into something other than obvious repairs.

Certainly, the bridges needed someone with engineering expertise to assess the full extent of damage. I expect the rails themselves might have needed some of that, too. Again, am I being too simplistic to imagine most everything else in the study could have been accomplished via input from, say, the drivers on the line and a few other interested impartial parties willing to take some notes during a leisurely walk?



Eyeballing infrastructure to

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Eyeballing infrastructure to determine repair needs may work in your backyard, when you're paying for it out of your pocket, but it's not good enough when you're asking someone else for money to pay for it.

For example, if the T were to go to the Federal Transit Administration requesting a grant to pay for repairs, they need to be able to pull out a study documenting everything that's wrong with an estimated cost to fix it.

Also, a trolley operator is not qualified to make an engineering assessment of a structure. No matter how many times they've driven past it.


I read that far. You only

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I read that far. You only noted the need for engineering expertise for bridges. You said they did not need it for the repair facility, which is what my "engineering assessment of a structure" was in response to.

Simplistic view of the world

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You need a study to decide what needs to be done first, and how much everything is going to cost.

They used to do it your way and, well, it doesn't work like that.

Maybe you should start drinking with engineers if you want to know why this happens. Your lay assessments here are quite naive. Not even town DPW people have a good idea what the best way forward is or how much it will cost.

Studies are done because studies save money in the long run. LOTS of money. Period.


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the poorest section of boston has the most neglected facilities.

Sounds like the Mattapan Line will eventually

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go the way of the Arborway line. After all, the eventual abandonment of Arborway beyond Heath Street began with a multi-million study to assess needs and repairs.

Truly unfortunate how little regard MBTA management has for the value, importance, flexibility, and longevity of light rail over busses. As they say, penny wise and pound foolish.

Why can't Chinese train builder in Springfield build new PCCs?

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The study’s findings lead-off with an oft-stated assessment of the Presidential Conference Committee (PCC) trolley cars age and condition: “Vehicles are over 70 years old and are approaching a point where further maintenance action and operation becomes impractical.”

I imagine the patent for the PCC (20 years?) has long expired. I also expect that once the new Orange and Red Line cars and any other MBTA work is finished, work will dry up in Springfield.

Why not make 20 ultra-modern cars that have an identical look of the old PCC but with state of the art mechanical and fare-collection equipment that would last another 30-50 years? I recall that the Mattapan line track width is different from Red and Orange Lines, but this can be easily accounted for.

As for the Mattapan repair facility, you can get a state of the art, energy efficient and fully insulated partially pre-fab metal building, repair facility on the internet for next to nothing, presuming union rules don't apply. How much are wooden railroad ties and some paint for a tiny bridge? On the Tobin Bridge, once they finish painting it they start all over again.

They already have those

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There are already companies that make replica PCCs with all new modern parts that other cities have used/ordered from. Also, the track width is the same as anywhere else in the system. As for the repair facility - might as well just move that into Codman Yard at Ashmont. As for the bridges - I believe neither is owned/maintained by the MBTA (at least one is on Milton to do anything to). It might not be just paint, it could be structural issues. That said, most of the bridges were rehab'd not long ago. This piece really seems like the normal MBTA hit job to try to get out of having it as a rail line.

No more nostalgia

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It doesn't take an engineer to see the crumbling infrastructure of this particular line. I actually rode this trolley line and looked at the walls which I holding up mountains of dirt from collapsing on the trolley tracks. These walls are crumbling and falling apart are this repaired and I certainly was concerning for me as I rode through it on the trolley.
As much as I want to keep the nostalgic atmosphere of these old trolleys certainly not at my safety.

The rich gets richer the poor gets prison or crumbs