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dbdb

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Everything posted by dbdb

  1. dbdb

    West LRT Construction Updates

    I don't know enough about the catenery and vehicles in Calgary. Perhaps the reasoning is simpler, related to power delivery; SD160's are all AC and U2s with a couple of exceptions are DC. Knowing that U2s will be phased out in the relatively near future, perhaps a design choice for the WLRT was to supply only AC traction. AC power generally uses simpler (read: less expensive) infrastructure to deliver.
  2. dbdb

    West LRT Construction Updates

    Indeed a heavier train accelerating at the same rate would consume more power, power being the rate of consumption of energy. In the case of electrical energy it would be approximately volts x amps, volts being constant, the current draw would increase. Most of the power would be consumed when accelerating is related to the mass of the train. On theoretical frictionless, level track no power would be consumed when it's running, just when speeding up. In practice there is friction on the track opposing the travel of the train, that indirectly relates to the mass (heavier=more friction). When going uphill power would be required to counter gravity which again would be proportional to the mass. To the mass would always affect the current draw. There would also be small, not so significant losses converting electrical energy to motion. The train should only draw as much current as it needs. Sum up everything taking power and exactly that much power will be drawn by the train. Unlike a diesel motor and transmission combo, an electric motor can provide as much torque (mechanical force) as current available and does not need to decrease with load (weight).
  3. dbdb

    CN Locos

    A little more info in the description of this earlier photo:
  4. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    I don't know off hand but I might know of a way to find out.
  5. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    I think the point others are trying to make is that the regulatory regime and political priorities in Canada is substantially different that Europe and Japan. Changing the regulatory environment and/or political priorities would provide a more substantial benefit. Until that sort of change things like boarding platform heights are trivial and do not address the root of the problem. Your proposal is like patching the walls and slapping a new coat of paint on a building that has serious structural deficiencies. It might disguise the real problem but the real problem doesn't go away. In the case of rail in Canada the root is passenger rail in most parts of the land is a 2nd class citizen sharing freight rail infrastructure. Until passenger rail becomes a priority either through regulation, government investment or both, nothing is going to cure the problem. Saving a minute or two at a platform is not going to matter when the passenger train has to wait for a long, heavy, (relatively) slow freight train that has priority on the rails. If the passenger train gets priority over freight or even better it's own right of way then those extra platform minutes may bring some value but the structural problem needs attention first.
  6. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    There are lots of variables to consider in designing a safety system and having to integrate with old technology makes it exponentially more difficult. Add to that the environment in which the technology will run and it gets very expensive. For passenger rail the risks may make it a worthwhile expense however for freight railways the cost to mitigate those risks may not be worth it. In other words, CN (or name your favorite railroad) has no reason to invest hundreds of millions of dollars or more outfitting it's network and fleet with safety technology when cost of cleaning up after the occasional accident is far less. They get more value investing that in more locomotives, rolling stock or track. For Via that safety technology is essential. Unfortunately Via is too small to pay that cost itself. Unless government is willing to mandate it through regulations and/or subsidize the cost nothing is likely to change. It might take an accident on the scale of Hinton for the political will to occur. Money trumps safety.
  7. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    Witness reports can be quite unreliable and really should only corroborate latent evidence or fill in the blanks in the absence of latent evidence. In this case there is a lot of latent evidence including the black box and state of the scene and how far the separated truck traveled. On a recent episode of Mayday featuring PSA flight 182 (mid air collision of a 727 and Cessna) the lead NTSB investigator commented on how witness reports from adults tended to be an analysis of what they observed rather than what they saw while children would simply report what they saw. The interviews in the Via crash have been adults and exhibit some of the same characteristics of analysis vs observation. As y'all have said, the bump could have been earlier and unrelated.
  8. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    More than that, I think structurally Via is flawed. Via moves trains. Go moves people. While unlikely to happen, if Via focused on being a people mover company I think they'd have a better chance of survival. Within that structure they could have a tourist travel branch, an intercity/interregional branch and a regional/commuter branch, whatever they want. Back in 2003 WestJet and Via trumpeted multimodal travel. I recall trying to figure out how to book one of those itineraries and I don't recall it being anything other than book my flight on westjet.com then go to viarail.ca and book a train ticket there. By offering single itineraries involving rail, highway motor coach, intracity shuttle, ferry ride, airline flight or rickshaw they could make money offering a near door to door value added service by partnering with other transport companies. Simple case, work with greyhound and form an alliance where via can sell a greyhound itinerary. Take a train to Edmonton, transfer to a motor coach and get to Red Deer. Take a train one way, take a motor coach or flight the other way. Fundamentally the same thing as interline and code share agreements between airlines. Another business model could be to provide labour to operate upstart regional rail services such as Edmonton/Calgary. Via has the operations expertise if GoA bought the equipment and paid for track upgrades. As a disenfranchised crown, I think they're crippled when it comes to taking initiatives to become profitable. After many years rotting away, except for the corridor I don't think anyone would pick up Via if the government attempted to privatize it.
  9. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    Putting the regulations or legacy over-staffing aside for a moment is there a business case for running a DMU in place of 2 or 3 highway motor coaches? By the time you figure in depreciation, equipment maintainence, staff, fuel, station operations and running rights does it make business sense? Does the DMU cost less to operate?
  10. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    Forget new routes. Increasing frequency on the Canadian to 6 or 7 days a week would be a huge improvement. Right now with only 3 trips a week there is only a 42% chance a train runs on the day you want to travel If you're making a weekend or day trip, round-trip between say Saskatoon and Winnipeg it means only a 18% chance you can get a rail itinerary on the desired departure and return days. That's not even figuring in the time of day preferences.
  11. Interesting. That would definitely fill a void in the market and the turboprops are a heck of a lot cheaper to operate. With many of the U.S. regionals losing interest in the 50 seater jets and stiff competition and weak sales for the C-series Bombardier would probably love an order for 40 aircraft. In other words if WestJet is looking to add smaller aircraft, now is a good time to buy. Personally, I'd prefer a Q-series over a CRJ so I think it's a good choice for comfort and cost. I'm curious if WestJet accounts for any of the 787s on order by unidentified customers or some of the leasing company orders. The leased 757s for the Calgary/Edmonton to Hawaii flights seem like a tactical contingency than a calculated strategy. Perhaps a stop gap for delayed 787 deliveries? 787-8's would be a good fit for longer haul tourist destination and the price point and economics of the aircraft are appealing. It would open up non-stop Toronto to Hawaii for example. New destinations are great but it's probably more cost effective to expand at established stations to reap the benefits of scale.
  12. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    I think the key point made by smallspy and LRC3 is that sharing a route with freight, particularly a busy freight corridor accommodating longer and longer trains is contributing orders of magnitude to the real delay. I don't think anyone is arguing that improved platforms wouldn't reduce delay but rather we need to invest in reducing conflict between passenger and freight traffic first. After that improvement would the true value of platform improvements be realized. To add a North American example to compare, I've taken the Amtrak Cascades between Seattle and Vancouver, BC a few times. I think all of the platforms at stations from Seattle north were basically ground level. For all practical purposes, the nearly entire train boarded and baggage was loaded in Seattle with reserved seating in about 15 minutes, maybe less. IIRC, last time, the passengers were on board and seated before all the luggage was loaded. I think the longest station stop I've encountered was maybe 3 or 4 minutes in Edmonds when a large contingent of school children boarded otherwise the train never sat at a station for more than 1-2 minutes which included checked baggage loading/unloading at some stations. Excluding the time we waited an hour for the RCMP to investigate a body on the beach in White Rock the combined station dwell times were far less than the time we spent waiting for passing trains or queuing to cross the bridge at Salmon Bay, in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. On the trips of taken, a combined 20-30 minutes of stop and wait occurred on the 4 hour trip. Even the customs stop on the southbound trip was only about 5 minutes.
  13. dbdb

    Saskatoon Updates

    Here's a link to the article from last Wednesday's Star Phoenix: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/business/Child+porn+collector+dies+before+sentencing/5942862/story.html
  14. Long overdue. At least they can use it to start shedding the MD-80s and get some more competitive labor deals in place. Hopefully they give up their battle with the GDSs.
  15. dbdb

    WS return to LGA!

    Ah, I didn't know about that rule. Even Winnipeg is just beyond 1500mi so yeah, you're probably right. Most flights will likely be out of YYZ unless WestJet leases some of their slots to other airlines. I found the FAA's terms including the specific slots (scheduled times) for the two LGA bundles here: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headqu..._Procedures.pdf
  16. dbdb

    WS return to LGA!

    I'd expect 1 or 2 daily out of YYC, 2 out of YOW and/or YUL and the rest out of YYZ. WestJet seems to favor flights with a longer stage length since they aren't burning fuel for takeoffs and landings. With frequent flights in the triangle and YVR<->YYC along with all the other connecting traffic it would make sense for all or most flights to be out of YYC and YYZ. LGA also opens up a lot of codeshare options with AA and Delta. It's a great move and a no-brainer to snap up the slots in the auction. Delta probably ends up winning in the end since half the slots went to a soon to be but not yet code share partner.
  17. dbdb

    CP Power

    According to the description of this photo on railpictures.net, yes. The collision with a tanker earlier this year. http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=366929 Interesting, it lost it's class lights and stripes and with the partial repaint brings up the question of how long CP plans to keep the red barns around. With GE investing in expanding the Erie facility to increase production perhaps we'll see new power coming sooner than later.
  18. dbdb

    Saskatoon Updates

    Most likely going for refurb in Calgary.
  19. dbdb

    BNSF thread

    I don't have much training in civil/geotechnical engineering but I would think liquefaction of the saturated soil under the rail would be a risk given the weight and vibration of a passing train.
  20. I think it was going to end and then some sort of agreement was reached to continue or at least extend it some time between February and May. When I looked at the schedule for May/June travel back in February, the second train did not show up after the end of May. By the time I booked my tickets at the end of April, both trains were there after May 31. I was on the AM train each way and it was pretty full on both trips with Talgo equipment. Certainly more than enough passengers to justify the trip. Coming back from Seattle in May 2009, they didn't even fill 2 Superliner cars. It really is the most relaxing way to travel between the cities and some of the crew are really great (entertaining) and the Talgo sets are quite comfortable, even better for group. There were 7 of us traveling back from Seattle. On the trip back we got held up in White Rock when that body was found on the beach. Our train was pictured in some of the news articles. The crew was really good at keeping us informed about what was going on. The conductor was really fretting about the schedule overheard her conversation on the radio trying to get customs to come down and clear everyone while we were stuck. Clearly they are trying to deliver a good passenger experience.
  21. dbdb

    Westjet

    WestJet just announced Toronto (YYZ) <-> New Orleans (MSY) starting November 1. A great new opportunity for WestJet, hopefully it'll bring more tourists, NOLA really needs it's tourist and convention business back. Maybe they'll add YYC <-> MSY in the new year.
  22. dbdb

    Saskatoon Updates

    According to this, 11 & 13 will interline in September: http://ww8.saskatoon.ca/DEPARTMENTS/Utilit...provements.aspx
  23. Sounds similar to Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 at Chicago Midway or American Airlines Flight 1420 in Little Rock. It's also worth noting that the thrust reverser is an option, not standard on the Embraer 145's. I don't know if United's aircraft have them but they're clearly not deployed in the photos of the wreck. It's great there were only minor injuries. Should be an interesting investigation, there are lots of possible causes/failures at this point. CBC reports that their was a similar incident in 2004, same runway, airline, aircraft and conditions.
  24. CP Limited spun off all the subsidiaries (Fording Coal, Pan Canadian Petroleum/EnCana, Fairmont, CP Ships and CP Rail) about 5 years ago. Prior to spinning them off, CP Limited owned about 90% of Pan Canadian which merged with Alberta Energy Company Ltd. to become EnCana). CP Limited owned the other subsidiaries in their entirety. Shareholders of CP Limited were given shares in each of the new companies and CP Limited ceased to exist. The rationale for the split was that the market value of the whole conglomerate grossly undervalued the parts which pretty much held true, the value of all the x-subsidiaries increased quickly after the spin off. Most doubled in value in a short time with no fundamental changes in their business operations. Because of it's diversity, the performance of CP Limited was a considered good indicator for the performance of the Canadian economy.
  25. dbdb

    Airline Fees

    With Ryanair the base fare/mandatory cost is low and everything else is just an option. With WestJet and Air Canada, the base fare is still relatively high and the mandatory surcharges, fees and taxes bring it up even higher before the options. When you're paying nearly $200 for a ticket, the $1 for this and $2 for that is petty and insignificant. I flew JetBlue from JFK to SEA last summer. What I really liked is the simplicity and the low cost. The only thing I didn't like is that on a 6 hour flight, there was no buy on board and I didn't expect that. Had I known, I would probably have brought something or at least bought something from the airport. What I'd really like is for the security screening and associated surcharges to be optional. I'd be content with a lower cost and elimination of the theatrics travelers are subjected to at the security checkpoint. If it makes other travelers feel safer then they can pay for it. I think that would be a good place to start, followed by better deals for the airports to reduce or eliminate the AIFs and reduce the landing, gate and parking fees built in to ticket prices.
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