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The RTS hotspots are Sullivan Station on the Orange Line and Harvard Station on the Red Line. Sullivan Station is conveniently located down the street from the Charlestown bus garage and the Everett bus repair shops. The Charlestown garage and its buses iare very visible from the street and the garage the home of the T's RTSs. You can get some great pictures from the Alford Street Bridge.

 

The RTSs rarely run on the weekends or holidays, but are out in full force on during rush hour.

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As of April 7, there are 125 RTSs left. 47 of them are based at the outlying suburban garages; so it's unlikely you'll be seeing those 47 buses.

 

All of the RTSs the T has left were built by TMC and Novabus in 1994 and 1995, respectively. As far as I know, they were both completely identical, even down to the builder plates(the Novabus RTSs received TMC builder plates, somehow). An overhaul program several years ago would have eliminated any differences between the 2 models, anyway, as buses were randomly sent to 1 of 2 re-manufacturing facilities.

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There are still 12 C40LFs in the Silver Line livery. They are used for night and weekend SL4 service.

 

You should look out for C40LFs #6000 and 6001. They are the first low floor buses the T ever bought. They were built to NYC MTA specifications rather than the radically different MBTA specifications, but were modified in 2001 for Silver Line service. Now, they're in the normal yellow livery and are in service in the Downtown, Back Bay, and South Boston area routes. However, I imagine you have a better chance at winning the Power Ball than catching 6000 or 6001.

 

At Harvard Square on a weekday or Saturday, you can catch a trackless trolley bus on the 71, 72, and 73. They are unusual in that they have left side doors.

 

On the SL1 and SL2, there are dual mode buses. They draw power from overhead wires in the Waterfront transit tunnel, but switch to diesel power on the surface at Silver Line Way Station.

 

You might be able to catch a new D60LFR testing on the SL4, SL5, or 39. They're expected to enter service in a couple of months.

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http://mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=LOWELL

http://mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=NBRYROCK

Trains stop by Woburn and Salem frequently, especially on the weekdays. Barring a catastrophe or emergency, I'd say you have a 100% chance.

 

You can also catch many of the subway, trolley, and commuter rail trains above ground at various places, too many for me to list off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is RTS?

 

So I was in Boston today, and for great majority of time I relied on the Green line, from going to Fenway to Haymarket to Prudential Center.

 

Why is this line light rail? It is heavily used. I mean, it does run like a rapid transit (except with tons of stoppage in the middle of a tunnel), and I dont understand why they would only use 2 cars during Saturday evening. Stations are packed.

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An RTS is a type of bus. This is an example of an RTS. You guys in New York City use the same type of bus, as you may have noticed.

 

The Green Line was the first subway in the United States. It was originally built as a way for trolleys to bypass congested streets. As such, the tunnels and stations were built to accommodate trolleys, not heavy rail vehicles. Today, the Green Line is part subway, part trolley. This picture perfectly illustrates why that is. West of Kenmore Square(excluding the D line) and south of Symphony, Green Line trolleys exit the subway and run on the streets with mixed automobile traffic. Light rail vehicles are perfect in this situation. They are able to run on the streets along side automobiles and can operate at higher speeds than a bus inside tight 100+ year old tunnels. A heavy rail vehicle simply cannot operate on the streets the Green Line runs on.

 

The Green Line can accommodate up to 3 car trains. However, some stations are being renovated and can only berth 2 car trains. That means at those stations, only 2 cars of a train can load and unload at a time. A 3 car train would have to load 2 cars, move 2 car lengths forward, and load the 3rd car. That is too time consuming for such a congested subway. So for now, only 2 car trains are being used. Hopefully within a couple of years, we'll be seeing 3 car trains again. As far as I know, there are no plans to modify the system to allow for 4 car trains.

 

Note: None of the pictures I linked to are my pictures. They do not belong to me. I give credit to their respectful photographers.

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and south of Symphony, Green Line trolleys exit the subway and run on the streets with mixed automobile traffic.

 

Just a quick note on this. The Green Line only runs in mixed traffic on the E branch just past Brigham Circle towards Heath Street. The B branch, C branch and E branch from Northeastern to Brigham Circle run in the median of Commonwealth Ave, Beacon St and Huntington Ave respectively. The E branch used to run to Arborway which is nearly adjacent to the Forest Hills stop on the Orange Line and all that was street running. There also used to be street running on the discontinued A branch which split from the B branch at Packards corner (intersection of Comm Ave and Brighton Ave) and run down Brighton Ave continuing on I believe North Beacon St to Watertown Square.

 

Now that is not to say the tunnels downtown and the D branch couldn't be turned into a heavy rail operation. The Blue Line tunnel under Boston Harbor used to carry street cars which is why the Blue Line uses cars similar to the Orange Line but shorter. The real issue would be the B, C, and E branches. People would certainly complain about losing their one seat ride downtown and it would be cost prohibitive to make tunnels for those trains to run in.

 

Also, the Green Line is manually driven, thus the frequent stops. This is done for capacity reasons. It was recommended the T install automation on all Green line track except the B, C and E branches that run in the median/street which would still have to be manual. Using automation would reduce capacity and since not all stations could handle three cars it was not done. Once all stations could handle three cars, it will be considered but the trains would have to be modified for One Person Train Operation as currently each car has an operator to collect fares and control the doors. This would also raise issues with fare collection as it would need to shift to a proof-of-payment system at above ground stops since no one would be in the rear two cars to ensure people enter up front and pay fares.

 

Due to the age there are many issues to overcome. It may be slow but you will get there eventually. Usually.

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