A comprehensive Regional Rail slide deck

Hard to believe it’s my 400th post on this here blog, but given recent trends it’s not hard to believe that it’s about transportation rather than computer networking, figure skating, sliding sports, travel, or (most of all) cooking. I’ve spent most of my free time over the last week putting together a slide deck on Regional Rail, although I have no plans as yet to give an actual presentation. (I would be happy to do so for any group or political body that was interested, provided the schedules can be made to work out.)

The purpose of building the slide deck was two-fold: first, I wanted to make something that would serve a broad audience with a somewhat different emphasis from the regionalrail.net report; second, I wanted to synthesize a lot of what I’ve learned over the past few months in modeling and analysis (and in reading modeling and analysis by smart people who actually know something about operating rail networks), with the intent that the slides (or an audience-specific subset of them) could be used by many people to present the Regional Rail concept to organizations and political leaders who have an influence on the MBTA’s budgets and capital priorities. (The presentation weighs in at 66 slides, because I’ve put all the information in writing, whereas a deck designed for a more specific audience would leave more of the content for the presenter to give aurally — sorry, Steve Poftak! On the other hand, this makes it more accessible to the Deaf.)

I am releasing the presentation to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International license, but with a special exception that excludes presentations based on these slides from the “no derivative works” clause, even if recorded or transcribed. This is basically to protect me, in case someone decided to release a maliciously altered version of the slide deck without my permission, but it’s also why there is only one photo in the presentation (because I would have had to go out after work, in the dark, and take the pictures myself). So please do feel free to use these slides, in whole or in part, to give a presentation on the subject to people you have a connection with, or if you’d be interested in having me actually give the presentation (mind: my only qualifications are as someone who wishes he could take the commuter rail), please see the contact information on slide 62.

I need to thank a bunch of people whose blog posts, blog comments, tweets, and private communications provided important information, and in some cases corrected misconceptions of mine, including Zachary Agush (@zagush), Sandy Johnston (@sandypsj), Alon Levy (@alon_levy), Ari Ofsevit (@ofsevit), David Perry (@FramWorMBTA), Ted Pyne (@Ted4P), and a number of anonymous railfans. However, all of the opinions expressed and any factual errors in the presentation are mine alone.

UPDATE 2019-10-26: Updated to respond to Alon Levy’s comments on Twitter, and correct the power and maximum acceleration for the 75m FLIRT based on the Stadler data sheet. See the GitHub repo for more details and comments regarding the limits of this simulator.

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