Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Day Linkage

I limited my internet access over the past few days in Bakersfield (would have been nice to take HSR down there) and am now catching up completely with my reader. Posting will be light over the next week as I just kind of zone out for a bit. One thing I miss about college is that month long sleep break we got around Christmas time. I'm gonna take some time with sparse posting. In any event, here is some linky goodness.
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The Tram that serves OHSU in Portland did an amazing job keeping people working there linked to the city during the snow storm.
The tram, which extends from a streetcar stop in South Waterfront up to OHSU, helped the hospital keep running through the worst of the snow. With buses unable to make the trip up to Marquam Hill, OHSU kept the tram running until midnight so that patients and staff could get up to the hospital and back down the hill again.
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Light Rail is now open in Phoenix!
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California HSR could get $20B from the stimulus. That would be a great contribution to the future of California, just like the aqueduct was many years previous. Personally, I'd like to see us hire Dutch engineers for New Orleans and California's Levee problems. I know its off topic, but its something that needs serious attention too and will benefit for many years to come.
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More on the big push from Congressman Oberstar.
Oberstar said, "We're going to rewrite the whole book on this thing." The stimulus package is the prologue to a broader effort to show that mass transit is not just a good idea; it's a vehicle America can ride into the future.
This makes me think there needs to be a name for our movement. Something simple. The Big Push? Any suggestions?
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This seems a bit much to me. $668 million for a crossover track between Walnut Creek and Concord on BART?? Isn't there a better use for that money? Anyone know anything about this?
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And finally, Dan shows us how to man up in the snow.

10 comments:

bikerider said...

The BART cross-over track is not a $668 million project. It looks like the reporter transposed the BART Warm Springs number, which is listed directly above. BART Warm-Springs is "officially" a $668 million project (and unofficially $1+ billion).

Of course, one may then ask how on earth BART-Warm Springs can be a $668 million project for such a tiny amount of track.

njh said...

"The Tram" refers to the aerial cable supported transport. The steel wheeled trams didn't fare as well, with frozen switches.

In Calgary I remember the switches were heated to prevent this problem. It seemed a rather expensive way to allow continued use (although it's probably only a tiny part of operating expenses I imagine it could be expensive to maintain. And they used to have problems with homeless people sleeping on them because they were warm :( ). I wonder if it would be possible to coat the moving surfaces of the rail with something which doesn't bond to ice (why doesn't it suffice to coat everything in grease?).

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Yes NJH, I was talking about the tram. I probably should have said "aerial tram" to keep it straight.

arcady said...

They don't heat switches out there? That's quite dumb of them. Here in the East, pretty much every single power-operated switch on mainline track has a heater, either electric or gas, and it keeps things running quite well. Even when the snow has covered the rails completely, the switch points are completely clear of snow.

jon said...

yeah no heated switches in portland, while max and bus service had big delays and overall confusion as to what and when it was operating, the streetcar handled the storm extremely well with only minor delays. and of course as mentioned the tram performed excellently too. the streetcar always has good sized loads and gets very crowded at peak times but i have never see the streetcar more packed than during this storm.

dont quote me on it, but i think i read somewhere that heated switches are to be added to the entire system as part of one of the light rail or streetcar projects.

re: BART
i know the warm spring line has to go in a subway just south of the elevated fremont station to pass under a park and lake. would assume that would add a lot to the cost.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I had heard something about the Subway under the park but forgot till you mentioned it Jon. As for heated switches, i think Denver had a similar problem with a heater not working during a whiteout last year.

njh said...

I've done some looking around, heated switches use between 60 and 260kW continuously. That's a heck of a lot of energy!

bikerider said...

BART Warm-Springs does not have to be in a subway. It duplicates an 100-year old existing rail ROW -- owned by the public -- running along the edge of the park.

arcady said...

bikerider: BART has to first get to that 100 year old ROW from the end of the existing line. Which requires crossing the park. Which possibly requires a subway. Which is all kind of absurd: I'd just build a commuter rail on the UP line and a transfer station where BART crosses the Centerville branch, for connections to ACE, Dumbarton Rail, and of course East Bay-San Jose commuter rail.

jon said...

a transfer station where BART crosses the Centerville branch, for connections to ACE, Dumbarton Rail, and of course East Bay-San Jose commuter rail.

has there ever been any serious talk to build such a station?

it seems in that sweet spot where the existing stations (niles, centerville and fremont BART) are too far to walk between yet this new infill station would be too close to existing stations that the stops would be redundant.