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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #1801
deasine
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I think there are controls on the SkyTrain aren't they? I've seen SkyTrain attendants operating the train during snowstorms. But I don't think they have 100% control of it.

Anyway it's great to see that Seattle is already testing their system with four linked trains.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #1802
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deasine View Post
I think there are controls on the SkyTrain aren't they? I've seen SkyTrain attendants operating the train during snowstorms. But I don't think they have 100% control of it.

Anyway it's great to see that Seattle is already testing their system with four linked trains.
Yes, there are controls on SkyTrain...exactly like the posted Canada Line train controls picture above.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #1803
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Quote:
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Ours are actually fairly automated. The operators do very little of the work.
As for grade separation - University of Washington to International District will be, as soon as they kick buses out. SODO streets will eventually be closed. Sure, the Rainier Valley isn't, but any new north or east sections likely will be.
Many of the systems that are described as "Light Metros" are automated to the extent that they don't have driver's cabs. Some have onboard human monitors. Vancouver's Skytrain and the various VAL system have no onboard staff during normal operations.

There are a few light rail lines that might plausibly be considered metros. The Green Line in Los Angeles has all high-level platforms and is fully grade-separated. It was even set up for automation though it has never operated that way. The light rail system in St. Louis also has all high-level platforms. It has grade crossings but they are protected by crossing gates.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 09:09 AM   #1804
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According to WSDOT, BNSF has abandoned the rail line into Bellevue. I found out when I was checking on construction projects on I-405. Rail tracks run right over the Wilburton tunnel on Southbound 405, which will be removed (along with the tracks that run over it) by WSDOT this August to pave way for freeway expansion. I wonder if there are plans to remove that rail bridge over I-90 as well. Looking at that graffitied up bridge has always been an eye-sore.

But yeah, that sums it up for ya, no BNSF heavy-rail transport will be used in that corridor anymore. (Don't start the light/heavy-rail argument again. I'm just using it for distinguishing purposes.)
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Old February 13th, 2008, 10:25 AM   #1805
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Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
According to WSDOT, BNSF has abandoned the rail line into Bellevue. I found out when I was checking on construction projects on I-405. Rail tracks run right over the Wilburton tunnel on Southbound 405, which will be removed (along with the tracks that run over it) by WSDOT this August to pave way for freeway expansion. I wonder if there are plans to remove that rail bridge over I-90 as well. Looking at that graffitied up bridge has always been an eye-sore.

But yeah, that sums it up for ya, no BNSF heavy-rail transport will be used in that corridor anymore. (Don't start the light/heavy-rail argument again. I'm just using it for distinguishing purposes.)
It is not abandoned yet. I think they still use the rail for some freight operations once in a while. I already posted in the Eastside rail thread saying that I saw a locomotive pulling 2 fuselage of planes in Bellevue.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #1806
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It is not abandoned yet. I think they still use the rail for some freight operations once in a while. I already posted in the Eastside rail thread saying that I saw a locomotive pulling 2 fuselage of planes in Bellevue.
Hmm maybe not yet, but the tunnel's coming down August of 2008. I sort of wish they would rebuild the rail line, but I guess it's not going to happen anytime soon.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 08:13 AM   #1807
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Hmm maybe not yet, but the tunnel's coming down August of 2008. I sort of wish they would rebuild the rail line, but I guess it's not going to happen anytime soon.
We will see what happens, Sound Transit proposal for the next ballot has the eastside rail with DMU trains. It's hard to tell if they will actually take down the bridge across I-405 or something...WSDOT and Sound Transit might have to work together with that.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #1808
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We will see what happens, Sound Transit proposal for the next ballot has the eastside rail with DMU trains. It's hard to tell if they will actually take down the bridge across I-405 or something...WSDOT and Sound Transit might have to work together with that.
What are DMU trains?
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Old February 15th, 2008, 01:23 AM   #1809
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Oh yeah Diesel Multiple Units. I just looked it up. Are they the same ones as the one Sound Transit currently uses? If it was a new higher-speed system, that would be awesome *drools* I'm surprised ST isn't considering electric trains.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #1810
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This is the one in Ottawa OC Transpo. In fact, DMUs are relatively inexpensive and can help the transit system A LOT.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 06:57 AM   #1811
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Oh yeah Diesel Multiple Units. I just looked it up. Are they the same ones as the one Sound Transit currently uses? If it was a new higher-speed system, that would be awesome *drools* I'm surprised ST isn't considering electric trains.
Probably cheaper to build because no need for overhead wires. They said they won't go fast. They will go around 40 mph or so due to the area it is in. There are low and high speed DMU trains. Some DMU have top speed of 55-60 mph while others can go up to 125 mph in other parts of the countries.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 07:53 AM   #1812
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Quote:
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This is the one in Ottawa OC Transpo. In fact, DMUs are relatively inexpensive and can help the transit system A LOT.
Ahhh the one pictured above doesn't seem to have a completely flat floor (forgot the term for that). It looks great though. It would be awesome for Bellevue.

Are there any details on the DMUs around Bellevue? The stops, routes, manufacturer/contractor, etc?
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Old February 15th, 2008, 08:01 AM   #1813
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Hey I did some research and found a transcript of a 710 KIRO interview of Cascadia Center Director Bruce Agnew on the proposed Eastside DMU:

Here's an excerpt:

DAVE ROSS: So, what's the timeline here? When would you actually get a test train running?

BRUCE AGNEW: Well, we need to remind your listeners that the Port (of Seattle) has to complete the deal with BNSF, which is pending. All indications are that its going forward and then the feds have to approve it, and then the Port of Seattle - and I think they deserve a pat on the back, it's been a little rough for them lately - they'll move forward with a public process on this in '08. We're proposing that '08-'09 is when the track is improved and the trail is developed. And we're looking at a pilot project between Snohomish and Bellevue initially, maybe in a year or two, and then of course after the Wilburton work is done on 405, looking at the Renton-Bellevue sector, and working closely with King County on that, and the trail folks. So it could first initially be Snohomish-Bellevue and then south of Bellevue after that.

DAVE ROSS: Now, are you pretty sure you're going to be able to preserve the tracks, because that was the big issue here. The county seemed to be intent on ripping up the tracks as quickly as possible.

BRUCE AGNEW: That was the initial proposal by Ron Sims. But I've got to give Ron Sims a lot of credit. He's been very open to alternative ideas, and he just thought he could get the trail done quickly with county money, but since, with the failure of Prop. I, there's just so much more interest in doing something on the Eastside. So I think the technical work we paid for by BNSF's retired folks, in terms of looking at what it would cost to rehab the tracks, specifically, about $37 million for those 42 miles of track, is doable. And, you know, we could do that in '08, after the public process, and then look at who might operate the train (in) '09, or maybe 2010.

Link is here: http://www.discovery.org/a/4416

There are no plans to reconnect the rail line above the Wilburton Tunnel after it's removed. I have no clue what they intend on doing.

Last edited by HAWC1506; February 15th, 2008 at 08:07 AM.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #1814
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We will see what happens, Sound Transit proposal for the next ballot has the eastside rail with DMU trains. It's hard to tell if they will actually take down the bridge across I-405 or something...WSDOT and Sound Transit might have to work together with that.
No, their proposal is a study. That study will likely show that you'll see max 2000 people a day with $500m-$1b of investment.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 08:39 AM   #1815
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Oh yeah Diesel Multiple Units. I just looked it up. Are they the same ones as the one Sound Transit currently uses? If it was a new higher-speed system, that would be awesome *drools* I'm surprised ST isn't considering electric trains.
Speed limits are federal regulations and track condition. Sound Transit isn't in any position to make their trains go any faster than 79mph.

The eastside corridor would require hundreds of millions just to get up to 35mph.

Haven't we had this discussion before? Do I need to restate the half dozen or so reasons that each individually make BNSF eastside rail absolutely impossible?
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Old February 16th, 2008, 12:50 AM   #1816
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Speed limits are federal regulations and track condition. Sound Transit isn't in any position to make their trains go any faster than 79mph.

The eastside corridor would require hundreds of millions just to get up to 35mph.

Haven't we had this discussion before? Do I need to restate the half dozen or so reasons that each individually make BNSF eastside rail absolutely impossible?
I don't think I was here when you guys had that discussion. But, I'm curious, if you could send me to the page where you guys had the discussion, that'll be swell.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 06:32 AM   #1817
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The proposed EMU is a double decker.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 02:07 AM   #1818
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I see that ST has been leaving the light rail cars out in the open now. I go by I-5 and I see some single and two-car trains sitting out there.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 10:07 PM   #1819
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I don't think I was here when you guys had that discussion. But, I'm curious, if you could send me to the page where you guys had the discussion, that'll be swell.
Sure, I'll just give you the basic points, actually:

- The track doesn't hit any of the urban cores, so ridership would be abysmal.
- Even with a lot of work, the track would be limited to 35mph, contributing to that abysmal ridership.
- Some of the track goes through people's back yards. There are a ton of at-grade crossings. NIMBYism would drag out permitting for years, and potentially stop the project. It's very high-risk.
- That work takes money away from building light rail. We're talking about likely half a billion in work for a couple thousand riders a day, versus four billion for forty thousand riders a day. It doesn't even pencil.

The people pushing this are anti-transit. They want to prevent light rail from getting across I-90. People picking up on it are generally just underinformed.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 10:16 PM   #1820
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Sure, I'll just give you the basic points, actually:

- The track doesn't hit any of the urban cores, so ridership would be abysmal.
- Even with a lot of work, the track would be limited to 35mph, contributing to that abysmal ridership.
- Some of the track goes through people's back yards. There are a ton of at-grade crossings. NIMBYism would drag out permitting for years, and potentially stop the project. It's very high-risk.
- That work takes money away from building light rail. We're talking about likely half a billion in work for a couple thousand riders a day, versus four billion for forty thousand riders a day. It doesn't even pencil.

The people pushing this are anti-transit. They want to prevent light rail from getting across I-90. People picking up on it are generally just underinformed.
Interesting. I'm starting to become convinced. This does remind me a little of the pro-pseudo-BRT crowd who attempt to convince people that faster buses to irrelevant places are as valuable as urban rail (see Houston's HOV-based bus system -- looks decent on a map but has terrible ridership)

Ben, do you think the corridor is worth preserving for rail? Or would it be better to start from scratch on an Eastside North-South line?
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