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Old March 20th, 2006, 01:46 AM   #121
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OC Transpo

Now being expanded into Downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


A New Train of Thought
On October 15, 2001, the O-Train was launched as a pilot project, marking the birth of a new era in transit for Ottawa.

The pilot project uses an eight kilometre segment of existing railway track and is the first single operator passenger rail service in North America. It includes five new stations at Bayview, Carling, Carleton University, Confederation Heights and Greenboro.

Connections to the Transitway and regular bus routes make the O-Train an efficient and integrated part of Ottawa’s existing transit system.

The pilot project is the first step toward city-wide light rail transit. It's an opportunity to measure performance, costs and rider response. The results of this pilot phase have helped determine whether larger-scale implementation of light-rail transit will occur.

Was the Pilot Project a Success?
The O-Train pilot project proved to be a resounding success for Ottawa. In just 3 years, ridership exceeded all projections, reaching an average of 8,981 daily weekday riders in October 2004.

Map of O-Train route A total of five stations provide a range of new commuting options and enhance service to Carling Avenue, Confederation Heights and Carleton University.

Light rail goes where the Transitway doesn't, providing convenient access to rapid transit service for as many as 6,400 riders each day.

Branching Out
With Ottawans clearly showing their support for riding the pilot diesel O-Trains on a limited eight-kilometre track, it’s now time to extend the system to reach key areas of population density. Currently, efforts are focusing on the Environmental Assessment and Public-Private Partnership (P3) strategy for the extension of the North-South Light Rail Transit system from Rideau Centre through Riverside South to Barrhaven.

An Environmental Assessment is also being initiated to study the best way to build the proposed East-West line from Carp to Orleans.

Pilot Project O-Train Technology
Commuters and visitors in the city now travel the O-Train route in three state-of-the-art Talent BR643 trains. These streamlined diesel-powered units were built in Germany by Bombardier, a Canadian company

The extended Light Rail Transit system plans include replacing these pilot diesel trains with more environmentally friendly electric trains.

O-Train Fares
Use your transit pass, bus transfer, DayPass (not red voucher) or buy your $2.10 O-Train ticket from the vending machine on the station platform. Your ticket is valid until the expiry time and date shown. Children 11 and under ride free. Bus tickets are not accepted.

3 - How is this Light Rail system unique?
It is the only system in North America operating on a mainline railway, crossing other rail lines, with one operator on board. Because of this feature, special additional safety measures are in place.
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Last edited by Jayayess1190; March 20th, 2006 at 01:57 AM.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #122
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Why have the regulations on passenger trains been made so restrictive? Everywhere else in the world, it's fine to share tracks with a DMU and freight trains. Making trains weigh (and run) like tanks is a bit of a waste isn't it? My train line also happens to be a main line into regional areas and gets freight, EMUs, DMUs and loco-hauled passenger trains.

Signals do a fine job at separating freight traffic from passenger traffic. Certainly no need for heavy time restrictions.
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:25 AM   #123
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^ Because the FRA is intent on brining down passenger rail in the US, the companies that lobby (bribes) the politicians, the freight railroads and oil companies, don't want passenger rail for obvious reasons.
The LIRR and Metro North have both long had advanced signalling systems, there is virtually no chance of trains colliding at high speeds, and there is very little freight, yet the FRA still requires the EMUs to be extremely overweight (128,000 lbs, 58,000 kg for the new M7's).
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Old March 20th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #124
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Thus why I still say that a real solution may be to have two separate gauges, therefor there cannot be any running of freight traffic on passenger/light rail, and the FRA will not be able to use that excuse.

So is the Desiro now FRA compliant? I would love to see some DMU routes open up, but it seems all of them are for naught if there simply does not exist a DMU that can be used on them.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 01:53 AM   #125
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I know that in Chicago, Metra (suburban rail) is planning to use DMUs on their proposed STAR line which will connect all the major suburbs to the west. I'm not sure if they have actually picked a model yet, but I believe I've seen the words Colorado Railcar mentioned a few times. I hope not, as it looks hideous.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 07:09 AM   #126
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Glad to see those "Sprinters" are set for North San Diego County DMU. It was quite a process getting the FRA approvals on that!
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 05:27 AM   #127
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The historical roots of the heavy-rail-separation rule are union-related. At the turn of the century, railroad workers were heavily unionized and earned a LOT more money than trolley employees, who weren't. To ensure that railroads couldn't shift regional and intercity passengers from "real" trains with highly-paid unionized employees to trolleys with lower-paid nonunion employees and lower equipment & maintenance costs, they lobbied the FRA to pass laws effectively making it impossible to run trolleys on "normal" tracks even though there was no real engineering or technological reason why it couldn't be done safely. The FRA went along with them, presenting it as a "safety" measure, because it had a symbiotic relationship with the unions... as long as the Democrats were in charge, keeping the unions happy kept Congress happy, which kept the FRA well-funded and powerful... and ran passenger service straight into the ground, at least a decade BEFORE air travel was remotely affordable.

The railroads didn't particularly fight it, because (as others have pointed out), passenger service was NEVER as profitable for them as freight service, and they tolerated passenger trains ONLY because the government made them do it as a condition of keeping their "common carrier" status and various tax breaks. There's no need to look for conspiracies within the oil or auto industries. The rail industry, its unions, and its regulators did a perfectly good job of destroying themselves on their own.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:48 PM   #128
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The issue of DMUs sharing track with Heavy Rail is something that hadn't really been thought of until recently. In the 50's, as rail service was slowing, those few companies that even wanted to continue with passenger operations started trying out things like Budd Cars and Rail busses (the busses on rail you sometimes see pictures of). But rail passenger traffic dwindled even further, and they went away, too.

The FRA has over the last couple of decades had to heavily weigh it's attention to freight operations. So it has always been the passenger service that has had to give in. There has only been a lot of interest in DMUs over the last ten years or so, so the FRA has simply treated them like any other rail car. Unfortunately both the FRA and the APTA (American Passenger Transit Authority or something like that) have a hard time thinking proactively, and encourage crash deformation limits over crash avoidance and crash survival.

The other factor to this is that the freight railroads are in charge, and the last thing they want is a revival in passenger traffic. That means they would have to spend much more to keep their tracks in better shape, give them much less control over their tracks as well as limiting their flexibility. So there is little push from anyone to find a compromise position.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:07 PM   #129
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I think Americans are very poor at design, they tend to design vehicles like tanks, and trains are not the exceptions here, lol... Look at Colorado DMU and Simmens, lol... DO I need to go on, lol...

At least they tried there best, lol...

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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:47 PM   #130
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Stadler, the Swiss company who produced the 20 GTW DMUs for the SNJLR will also built 6 units for Austin CapMetro's Austin - Leander line

... I Want to Get Off
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Old April 7th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #131
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List of Smaller American Cities to have LRT needed

As my interest in all things urban deepens and diversifies, I have begun a love affair with LRT, or light rail transit.

Could someone please help me out with a list of smaller American cities to be using modern LRT?

Thanks a million,

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Old April 7th, 2006, 12:33 AM   #132
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So far on my search I've found listings on this page:

Oh how I love Wikipedia.

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Old April 7th, 2006, 12:39 AM   #133
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It's not in America, but Edmonton is pretty small (<1 000 000) with a LRT. Victoria has plans for one (<900 000) as does Winnipeg, but that is more of a pipedream....

and to heed off the inevitable debate, Edmonton is in Canada, North America.... I'm sorry I had to mention that.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:01 AM   #134
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Overview of Miami's Proposed Streetcar System

Overview of Miami Beach's Light Rail System (Baylink)

Overview of the People's Transportation Plan for Miami

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Automated Trip Planner

Fort Lauderdale Light Rail Project (Sunrise, I-595, Downtown)
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Old April 7th, 2006, 02:16 AM   #135
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Since I don't know how small American city you are referring to so I'd thought I post the LRT under construction from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown Seattle that will open in 2009. The stations in downtown Seattle is underground which is used with the existing metro bus tunnel that was completed in 1988, I think. It is about almost 16 miles long in total.

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Old April 7th, 2006, 02:34 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by thryve
So far on my search I've found listings on this page:

Oh how I love Wikipedia.

DANG!! I love Wikipedia too! I've been searching and searching for an LRT database but couldn't find any that is comprehensive enough. Thanks!
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Old April 7th, 2006, 03:00 AM   #137
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Ah, Portland's system seems to be the role model of all, for some reason.

The Region of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada is considering it.
The population isn't even 500,000, but it looks to be possible. In fact, it's crazy, and Waterloo the city is only 105,000 people, and Kitchener is only 200,000 but they would be getting it.

It's just another good way to be good to the environment, and I think it would continue putting Canadian cities on the map... it's quite exciting. On the other hand, The Region of Waterloo in Ontario is a technology centre, which should help, if just a little bit.

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Old April 11th, 2006, 05:05 PM   #138
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US Cities Embrace Light Rail to Revitalize Neighborhoods

More cities embrace light rail to revitalize neighborhoods, unclog traffic
4 April 2006
Gannett News Service

WASHINGTON -- From Baltimore to Dallas to Phoenix, more cities are turning to light rail systems to move commuters off traffic- choked highways and spur economic redevelopment.

San Diego sparked the trend when it built the first light rail system of the 20th century in 1981. Since then, light rail has become the fastest growing type of public transit, largely due to the federal government's encouragement. Twenty-eight U.S. cities have set up light rail systems, up from nine in 1980, according to the American Public Transit Association.

Critics say it's cheaper and easier just to expand bus service to ease road congestion.

But light rail supporters say it's more than just a transit system. Light rail can attract millions of dollars in private investment as entrepreneurs build everything from coffee shops to condominiums along rail lines and near stations, reviving rundown neighborhoods.

Phoenix's system won't be ready to run until 2008, but already $600 million has been invested in condo towers and new shops along the tracks, transit chief Rick Simonetta said. Arizona State University is building a 15,000-student campus that will be no more than two blocks from future light rail stops.

In Portland, Ore., which adopted light rail in 1986, formerly languishing neighborhoods now have first-floor shops and second- floor offices along rail lines. Townhouses within walking distance of the lines have sprouted, and residents take light rail to stores, offices, restaurants and theaters.

"If one thinks of public transit investment (only) in terms of how to get people from point A to point B, I think they miss the point," said Fred Hansen, Portland's transit chief.

In the 1970s, several cities weighing mass transit options wanted to follow the lead of Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta, which built subways. But the high cost of creating underground rail networks prompted the federal government to encourage cities to look to above- ground light rail, transit association President Bill Millar said.

Building a light rail system from scratch could cost anywhere from $25 million to $45 million per mile, according to the transit association. A subway system could cost several times that.

"Just as the federal government for many years held the carrot out to build highways, now they are holding the carrot out to build public transit," Millar said.

The Bush administration has proposed a record $9 billion for public transit for next year. Of the seven transit projects awaiting federal funds this year and next, four would extend light rail in Oregon, Dallas, Denver, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City, according to the Federal Transit Administration. The others involve commuter rail or subways.

Light rail ridership is exceeding even the most optimistic estimates.

Planners estimated 14,000 people would board the trains every day when Salt Lake City built a 15-mile line seven years ago. Current ridership is 38,000 a day, according to the Utah Transit Authority.

Nationally, people took nearly 363 million light-rail trips last year, up from 251 million a decade earlier, according to the transit association.

Cities like Baltimore, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles have set up the above-ground trains to go to areas their underground subways don't reach.

For 37-year-old Alfred Craig of Baltimore, light rail is the best way to get to work. He'll be taking it to his new job as a carpet cleaner at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Baltimore has one subway line that doesn't extend to the airport and Craig said he can't afford a car.

"The bus is too slow," Craig said while waiting for a two-car train on a recent afternoon. "If I didn't have light rail, I would've been forced to buy a car."

Driving is ingrained in American culture because it gives people a sense of being in charge of their own travel destinies, said Gary Thomas, who heads the greater Dallas transit system, where passengers board light rail trains 600,000 times a day.

"Being in control of your own destiny doesn't mean a lot when you are sitting on a freeway, stuck in rush hour traffic," Thomas said. "A lot of people have come to understand (light rail) is freedom."

One critic said many communities are seizing on light rail as a panacea for all sorts of urban ills. Politicians support it because it makes them look like they are doing something tangible to unclog roads, said Ted Balaker of the Reason Foundation, a think tank that advocates limited government involvement in people's lives.

In reality, it's hard to quantify whether light rail reduces pollution or eases congestion, and it's a lot costlier than buying more buses or regulating the flow of traffic by varying toll amounts, he said.

"I am all for urban renewal and cutting congestion," Balaker said. "But does it do this effectively and is it the most cost effective way of doing this?"

---- What is light rail?

Light rail is a modern version of streetcars, which were common in American cities in the early part of the 20th century. Light rail runs on conventional rails like regular trains and can travel 60 mph or faster, though they usually go much slower in cities and obey traffic signals like any automobile.

Trains are usually two- to three-cars long and the cars are wider and longer than old-time streetcars.

Most streetcars were shut down by the 1930s, when Congress stopped allowing utility companies that owned most streetcar lines to write off the costs of providing the service on their taxes.

Light rail is different from "heavy" rail -- subways -- in the smaller number of people that can be carried. Subways usually operate in cities that have the populations to justify a large underground system -- such as New York and Washington.

Fifty countries have light rail.

Source: David Dobbs of the Texas Association for Public Transportation, Federal Transit Administration
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 09:16 AM   #139
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Lack of subway systems in USA?

I was just wondering why the US lags so much behind the world in the subway sector? Is it because we rely on cars too much? I've been to LA so many times and the car congestion there is horrid. I'm sure many other "dense" American cities experience the same problem with lack of subways and public transportation in particular.
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 09:33 AM   #140
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Yup it's the car culture alright. But alot of major US cities have a desent subway/metro system like NY, Chicago, SF, Philadelphia etc.

LA does have a metro system but it's not as vast compared to NY's
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