December 31, 1980 - MARTA Rail History

Download December 31, 1980 - MARTA Rail History

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This 20 page report from MARTA's consultants provides historical background, maps, and photos of the early MARTA rail system.William D. McEwen was the original Director of Design and Engineering for the MARTA system (bus/rail). His initial registration was in California as a Civil and Structural engineer with subsequent registrations in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, the District of Columbia, and the Province of British Columbia. After retirement he became a consulting engineer and a Commercial Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association.He also served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Gwinnett Advanced Water Reclamation Facility.


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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit System A technological success storyThe Atlanta rail system is the third in a series of brand-new heavy rail transit systems built in the U.S. in recent years. The San Francisco BART System was opened f irst, then segments of the Washington, D.C., Metro. Many of the engineers on the MARTA project had worked on one or both of these other systems, and they brought that experience with them to Atlanta. The result is a long stride forward in the technology of high-speed rapid transit. Georgia Professional Engineer magazine called the System "a technological success story." On-time performance best ref lects the MARTA


System's efficiency. During its first week of operations, MARTA put 457 trains on the line and all but one completed its run. The System racked up an on-time perf ormance record of 94.6% the f irst week and boosted that achievement to g8% within two months. The federal Department of Transportation is particularly pleased with the successful operation of the MARTA System. The national program to reduce gasoline consumption by commuters depends to a large extent on the availability of good public transportation systems. MARTA proves that transit engineers cah produce new systems which work efficiently and dependably.

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Nearly 100,000 people patronized MARTA's East Line the first week of operations. They came to ride the fast trains and survey the shiny, new stations. In spite of years of newspaper, radio and television reporting, the Atlantans were surprised at the speed and quietness of the trains and the attractiveness of the passenger stations. They adopted the new MARTA rail system with obvious civic pride. Sitting on wide, upholstered seats, old-timers recalled the memories of riding trains; and youngsters sat entranced, gazing in awe as Atlanta f rom an entirely different viewpoint slid past the picture windows. The line f rom Avondale Station to downtown Atlanta rises and descends in long grades, so the riders got a mixture of surface, subway and elevated views. Some patrons just wandered through the first seven stations on the East Line admiring the design and finish materials. Everything was in place-System maps on the walls, telephones, restrooms, plenty of signing and artwork. MARTA attendants stood by the fare gates to demonstrate how they worked. The System operated with hardly a hitch. Today, the West Line, from Five Points to Hightower, joins the East Line in carrying close to 85,000 revenue trips a day. When the entire rail system is completed, patronage will be approximately 370,000 trips a day.Opening Day It was a shirtsleeves day, June 30, 1979. Under a bright Georgia sun, 1,500 Atlantans gathered at the East Lake Station to celebrate the opening of the f irst MARTA rail transit line. Wide strips of colorf u I bu nting hung in gentle folds across the station ceiling. The band played, the politicians orated, and the listeners applauded with genteel appreciation. Seventeen years of effort had gone into planning and building the MARTA System. Dozens of civic leaders had nudged the project, a step at a time, toward this festive occasion. The speakers recalled their names and pinned them with rhetorical medals. Brock Adams, U.S. Secretary of Transportation,

"Let's go ride the MARTA train"told the Atlantans, "This System represents the best of what can be done between federal and localgovernments." That evening, thousands of Americans watching their television sets at dinnertime would hear him proclaim: "This is not mass transportation; this is class transportation." In the audience, d little girl in a Sunday smock tugged her father's beard and queried, "When are we going to ride the train?" When the last speaker brought the audience to the last round of applause, the crowd surged through the station toward the shiny new train with the broad bands of MARTA yellow, orange and blue emblazoned across the front. "Now !"




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The last 60 months . . .Vehicle Train Control System80 cars manufactured, tested and delivered.

Central control complex completed. Wayside system installed on East and West lines.

Electric Power System

Substations constructed at 19 locations and third rail installed on East and West lines.Design and installation of equipment completed along East and West lines.

Fare Collection System

Transit Lines

Construction completed on 11.8 miles and unden^ray on 4.4 miles. Construction completed on 12 and under way on 6 more.Trackbed, ties, and rail installation completed on 11.8 miles. Main yard and shops completed at Avondale. Manufactured, installed and tested on East and West lines.1,129 parcels acquired.

Passenger Stations Trackwork Yards and Shops

Communications Systems Right ol Way Relocation of Railroads Relocation of Utilities Construction ContractsProcurement Contracts

Completed along East and West lines. Completed along East-West and initial North-South line.59 contracts completed or under way.36 contracts completed or under way.


ect status. as of December 31,1980and C will require $48 million. The System will require acquisition of a total 2,500 parcels of land. At the peak of construction on Phase A, more than 2,400 workers were employed on-site, with an estimated 10,000 off-site involved in production of materials and equipment. More than 3,500 professional engineers have been, or will be, involved In development of the System.

Although most of MARTA's East and West lines are complete and in revenue service, the 53-mile network is only 24% complete. The construction workload under Phase A is $550 million. lt will be $806 million under Phases B and C. Design work volume was $177 million under Phase A. Phases B and C will require $123 million. Construction management costs will total $18 million under Phase A. Phases B

and the next 60It takes 17 years to complete a new transit system-make feasibility studies, pass legislation, raisemoney, develop conceptual plans, design equipment and lines and stations, and construct. Between the awarding of MARTA's f irst construction contract and completion of the last lie 10 years of hard work. Because it is dependent upon available federal funding, the project is being built in phases. The open ing of the East and West Lines completed much of Phase A. At one time, the agency had over $600 million worth of contracts in force for construction and equipment. Phase A, when complete, will have cost more than $1 billion. Phase A consists of 13.7 miles of lines and 17 stations, includ ing 1 1 .8 m iles and 1 3 stations on the East and West Lines. Phases B and C will consist of an additional 21.5 miles of lines and 13 stations on the North and South Lines. Phase A saw much of the system-wide design task completed. Engineers finished drafting of criteria for operating equipment, design of the train, design of the automatic train-control system, design of the traction power system, design of the fare system, and design of the communications systems. Most of the equipment contracts for Phases B and C will be for purchase and installation of equipment similar to that tested and proven in Phase A. However, the dollars involved in construction of Phase B and C lines and stations will exceed those spent on Phase A. Under the schedule for B and C, MARTA will spend $1.6 billion in the next five years. Construction expenditures will reach a peak of $30 million a month, nearly twice as high as the peak of $16.6 million a month during Phase A. This assumes the receipt of federal aid at a sustained rate. Engineers will have to scramble to complete an estimated 39 major construction contracts and bring them to the bidding stage between 1981 and 1984. The design effort will peak at a higher level, also. Phase A engineering costs hit $2.4 million a month in 1975. lf federal aid materializes at a planned level, engineering effort will be boosted to a high of $4 m il lion a month in 1981 and 1982. ln short, all the big numbers in Phase A are even bigger in Phases B and C. That means more employment for local workers, more materials for local producers, and heavier responsibilities for the MARTA and the PB/T engineering management team.






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$16.6 MTLL|ON PER MONTHChecking over new vehicle in MARTA's Avondale Service Shop. Trains undergo extensive testing prior to being put into revenueservice.




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Phase A

Phase B and C

Left: Construction on the MARTA Syslem could be accelerated to a peak of $30 million a month, compared with a peak of $16.6 million under Phase A.

Building the North and South LinesMARTA's nine-mile-long South line will carry patrons to and from Atlanta's new airport. From Five Points Station in the heart of Atlanta to Airport Station, it will provide seven passenger stations. The line emerges from subway just south of Five Points and mounts 2.5 miles of 3O-foot-high aerial structure to clear urban arterials and cross Interstate Highway 20. Construction of MARTA's Airport Station was scheduled to coincide with the construction of Atlanta's new airport terminal. The North Line will be 14.4 miles long, from Five Points Station to Doraville. Patrons will board the system through 10 stations. The line runs in subway from Five Points to Brookwood, then goes onto aerial structure and atgrade. The southward lines out of Peachtree Center were tunneled, first through rock, then through mixed materials. As construction moved into softer ground, with the.possibility of water intrusion and ground settlement, excavation required compressed-air tunneling techniques.

The largest station on the North Line is Peachtree Center, which serves Atlanta's retail and off ice center and a number of new skyscraper hotels. An estimated 34,000 patrons a day will be using this station by 1990, doubling to 70,000 a day by Year 2000. The Peachtree

Center Station is under construction now and is scheduled for completion in late 1982. The cavern for the big subway station has been carved out of nearly solid granite. lt measures 700 feet long by 60 feet wide, and is as high as a four-story building.Construction on South Line is typical of the work under way.

MARTA is providing long-term employment for thousands of construction workers. lt will be another f ive years before the North and South Lines are complete.

Excavation of solid rock for Peachtree Center Station is largely complete. MARTA has awarded a $21-million contract for f inish construction of the station.

MARTA trains:70 miles per hour

Specif ications: Length of A and B cars: 75 ft. . Width of body: 10 ft.6 in.. Height: 11 ft.6 in..Empty weight: 76,000 lbs.. Seating capacity: 68.. Exterior: Extruded aluminum, wlded, with brushed f inish . . Propulsion: Electrical, nominal 750 VDC, third rail distribution.. Maximum acceleration rate: 3 mphps.. Maximum speed: 70 mph.. Braking systems: Electric dynamic supplemented with blended friction brakes of air over hydraulic type.. Suspension system: Cast steel articulated truck. Air suspension with automatic load levelling.. Ride quality: At 4.0 Hz frequency, acceleration is 0.02 g on a lateral scale and 0.025 g on a vertical scale. At 30 Hz f requency, acceleration is 0.08 g on a lateral scale, and 0.10 g on a vertical scale. . Interior noise level: At 30 mph on standard track, maximum of 67 dBA.. Wayside noise level:80.5 dBA 50 ft. from track . . Carpeting: 100o/o yirgin wool,4-ply, with cushioning foam and anti-static wires.

New transit technology has concentrated heavily upon development of better vehicles-trains which will operate more dependably, accelerate more smoothly, travel more quietly, provide more comfortable seating, and offer greater savings in maintenance and in energy consumption. MARTA and PB/T engineers, many of whom have designed other transit systems, brought their experience to the development of the MARTA vehicle. MARTA trains consist of two to eight individually powered cars. They will accelerate at an initial rate of 3 miles per hour per second and reach a top speed of 70 miles per hour, Each car can carry 68 seated passengers and 82 standees. The exterior is brushed aluminum. The interior is attractively f urnished with upholstered seats, carpeted f loors, pleasant lighting, and colorf ul dt!cor. Vehicles are powered by four electric motors drawing power from 750-volt direct current wayside contact rails. They employ both dynamic and friction braking systems and an "air bag" suspension system. PB/T engineers gave considerable attention to noise and vibration control, not only to provide a quieter ride for patrons in the car, but also to reduce impact on the adjacent environment. That task began with the track system, but much of the effort was concentrated in car design. As a result the MARTA train is probably one of the quietest in operation. The vehicles are being manufactured in France by Soci6t6 Franco-Belge, a major builder of cars for European rail and transit systems. The first 120 cars are being obtained under a contract for $80 million. Eighty vehicles have been delivered to date. Two of the cars have been operating at the Department of Transportation test track in Pueblo, Colorado. There, engineers have been subjecting the new design to extensive testing. The findings will benefit MARTA and other rail transit systems around the U.S.

Equal employment program scores highDuring the height of the Phase A design and construction program, Parsons Brinckerhoff/Tudor built its staff to over 600 men andem ale.

women. Employees now number 422, of whom 38 percent are minorities and 23 aref

23oh are mi. norities and 6"h are female. o In the technician ranks, 49% are minorities and 18"/" are female. o In the clerical ranks, 827" are minorities and 89% are female.

o ln the professional ranks,

What makes them particularly impressive is the fact that rapid transit design is highly specialized and the labor pool of available talent is small. That PB/T has been able to bring so many minorities onto the job is testimony to an aggressive EEO program.

MARTA Engineering Wins Top Design Awards The National Society of Prof essional

lnterior of MARTA train leatures comfortable seating, even lighting, and attractive deicor.

Engineers recently recognized the Atlanta transit project as one of the nation's "Outstanding Engineering Achievements." The award was announced at the society's annual convention in Detroit. The award was presented to the MARTA and PB/T engineering organizations by Governor George Busbee in a local ceremony sponsored by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers. Governor Busbee said, "We are proud of MARTA and the engineering accomplishment it represents." Earlier this year, the Consulting Engineers Council of Georgia also named the MARTA System for its annual "Engineering Excellence Award." The award was based on innovations in engineering, plus recognition for the massive design program involved.


Survei I lance system protects patronsIt would take dozens of transit security off icers to patrol MARTA's passenger stations. Much of this task is being eff iciently carried out by a closed-circuit TV system. Some 160 cameras in strategic locations throughout stations provide continuous surveillance. In communications zone centers for each of the four lines, supervisors can watch the ebb and flow of patrons and detect problems as soon as they occur, orbefore.

Patrons have become used to hearing a courteous but authoritative voice boom out of the public address system: "Will the little boy in the white t-shirt with Darth Vader on the front please step back from the edge of the platform . . Thank you."

The television surveillance system is only one of ten separate communications systems designed for MARTA under criteria developed by PB/T. Others include: 1) a system to carry a continuous f low of train movement data to the central control complex, 2) a system to monitor all of the electrical devices on the transit system, including ventilation fans, 3) a system to report f ires and illegal intrusions,4)three telephone systems to handle emergencies, maintenance operations, and administration, and 5) three radio systems to connect trains with central control, to serve security forces, and to serve yard personnel in assembling trains.




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Automatic Train ControlsThe MARTA train control system utilizes railroad signalling principles and computer-aided information processing to provide Line Supervision (LS), Automatic Train Protection (ATP), and Automatic Train Operationprotected operation in the event of equipment failures was essential, with back-up modes of manual operation.(ATO). MARTA and PB/T engineers established early that

Special fare gates make it easier for handicapped patrons to use the new transit system.

Flexible fare systemMARTA'S fare-collection system is intended to permit thousands of patrons to move rapidly through the station and onto trains. Strategic placement of fare gates was one consideration. Design of equip-

Line Supervision (LS) includes the display board, TVtube annunciators, keyboards, and computers at Central Control, and associated equipment in each station and on cars. Central handles monitoring, fine tuning and system abnormalities. Monitoring data transmitted from the field, the equipment displays information on the display board and annunciators. Operators can command the field equipment to exercise LS functions if local control fails. However, train movement does not depend on Central; the system can operate when Central cannot communicate with the field. LS equipment on cars transmits destination data and operating indications to equipment in station train control rooms to control routes and operate dwell signals in stations. Should the car-carried or local LS routing functions fail, Central is alarmed (and can request a route), and station route-selection equipment changes the route to continue operations. The train operator can also initiate a route using wayside push buttons. As a f inal backup, local functions can be controlled from Local Manual Control Panels located in each station.





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was another. MARTA's gates will accept coins and a variety of magnetically-encoded tickets. The agency is selling cards for commuters and half-fare passes for senior citizens. The weekly and monthly commuter passes are good for an unlimited number of rides on both trains and buses. The agency has installed extra-wide fare gates for wheelchair access in all stations. PB/T with its consultants drafted the criteria for MARTA's fare-collection system, wrote the specifications, and supervised testing and installation.

Train-separation functions are controlled by equipment in stations and on board cars. ATP can override the LS and ATO equipment. Wayside ATP circuits, utilizing audio frequency signalling and hardwired relay logic, detect trains, select and transmit speed commands, and set and check routes. ATP equipment on cars decodes speed commands, verif ies that train speed is below commanded speed, and if not, commands a brake application. ATP functions are designed to fail safe and cannot be circumvented. However, in emergencies trains can be moved in a non-protected, low-speed mode.ATO functions are performed in the car-carried equipment. ATO circuits accelerate the train to running speed, regulate it and stop the train at the correct location at the station platform. lf ATO fails, the operator can operate at full speed in an ATP-protected mode using the "cab signal" back-up; a dual speedometer shows the actual train speed and that commanded by the ATP track circuits. Actual speed is kept below commanded speed using a console-mounted power-braking control handle.


Passenger stations: Versati I ityAtlantans are seeing some good examples of architectural quality in the first 13 stations completed along the East and West Lines. Designers have come up with dramatic structural concepts and finished them in a variety of textures and colors. In many locations the MARTA station is the handsomest structure in the neighborhood. The general engineering consultant was responsible for the conceptual design of stations. This preliminary work included locating the station in the most strategic spot, determining the potential patronage and plotting the anticipated traffic flow through the facility, developing the f unctional arrangement of all levels, estimating the number of ticketing machines and gates needed, and planning the station site for interface with other transportation modes. The 28 individual architect-engineer teams retained byOmnl Station at dusk.

Train level, Omni Station.


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PB/T developed actual plans for the structure, including their own structural concept, design of electrical-mechanical systems, lighting, architectural style, choice of exterior and interior materials, color treatments and graphics.

tion are Five Points and Civic Center. Five Points is a massive facility, described on Page 14. The rail linethrough Civic Center Station comes from underground to cross a six-lane interstate highway and goes immediately back into subway. The span incorporates some unique structural engineering. Each MARTA station was planned to fit into the surrounding environment and zoning is being implemented to produce new development around many of the stations. The federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration has given a large sum for the long-range plans of that nature.

Two of the most dramatic stations now under construc-

Entrance to Decatur Station.

Patrons getting acquainted with fare gates.


Train coming into MARTA's colorful Decatur Station.

Right: The vastness of the Omni Station concourse level is apparent between the rush-hour crowds.


Five Points Station: Hub of the systemThe hub of the MARTA System is Five Points Station, a mammoth structure covering 3t/z acres in the center of Atlanta. Most of the station will be underground (three levels) with a street-level plaza. The East-West Line crosses over the North-South Line here, on the second and third subsurface levels. Nearly 300,000 patrons will move through the terminal each day when the MARTA System is completed. Five Points' distinguishing architectural feature is a massive roof structure. lt incorporates nine longitudinal beams 262 teet long and 11 transverse beams 167 feet long. In cross section, the beams measure 10 feet 8 inches deep and 2 feet 6 inches wide. Each is composed of 13-foot precast concrete segments, post-tensioned together. After the segments were erected, heavy steel strands were threaded through ducts formed in the segments. Then the strands were stretched taut with powerf ul

hydraulic jacks, converting the segments into a concrete beam. The roof structure utilizes approximately 2,000 precast units and weighs almost 8,000 tons. The precast segments weigh up to 23 tonseach.

Five Points Station has been 43 months under way now. The work is being done by Slattery Associates under a $41 million contract. Trains on the East-West Line are running through the second subway level below the street, but the entire project will not be completed untilm id-1 981.

The architect was Finch-Heery of Atlanta. Structural engineering was accomplished by PB/T and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, lnc. PB/T provided construction management services. Precasting of the beams was bySoutheast Schokbeton.




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