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Wayside Observer

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  1. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    Nice! Enjoy!
  2. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    4000 came up in conversation. I knew that 1101 is a 1937 PCC but I didn't realize this until an older gentleman who I was talking with explained that 1937 was the last year for narrow anticlimbers on the front of the car and that in 1938, the body designed to include full width anticlimbers and he specifically cited 4000 as a prime example of that year over year design change. So even by the time the first TTC order was being built, the basic design was starting to evolve off the original from 1936. I don't have any good picture so I went looking for some head on photos from the web: TTC 4000, full width anticlimber built in 1938 DC Transit 1101, narrow anticlimber built in 1937 And sure enough, the difference is clearly visible when you look at the two. You learn something new every day.
  3. Wayside Observer

    TTC Delays and Disruptions

    I just rolled by the Queensway and it looks like there's a service disruption eastbound just east of Humber loop with an LFLRV with both pole and pantograph down being coupled up to the car behind it and an overhead truck on the scene.
  4. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    Ok, if we're going to subscribe to the idea that it doesn't matter how crappy it is because people are going to ride it anyways, so let's set the bar nice and low, the gold standard to which the Hamilton Street Railway should aspire would be the Baltimore MTA of about 10-15 years ago when wheels falling off were a regular occurrence. Four wheels are so overrated anyways especially when navigating one of the mountain accesses.
  5. Wayside Observer

    General WTF Moments

    I honestly think that was part of the problem on the manufacturing side of things. Those huge traces are great heat sinks and I think it resulted in crappy cold solder joints that burned up. If I have to solder stuff like that, I have big irons and guns to do it with but I need intact board and traces to work with, not crumbling burnt up carbon. You're probably better off with a new stove than one with a dozen plus botched repair attempts on it. I forgot to mention about the lead water line. I'm not sure why but lead water lines running from cast iron or steel mains in the street into houses was common surprisingly late, into the early 1950s. My neighborhood was built in the early 1940s; I'm in a wartime house and it was originally built with galvanized steel plumbing which was removed and replaced with 1/2" copper by the previous guy who owned the house who chucked all the steel pipe under the back porch. I honestly don't know why lead service lines were still used so late when the dangers of lead poisoning were well known, and even then only to go from the galvanized steel in the houses to the iron or steel main in the street. Unless there was a serious cost difference that it actually mattered to municipalities or the lead solved a chemical compatibility problem and prevented corrosion at the joints going between the materials used in the houses vs the mains in the street. At least with almost 80 years worth of scale on the inside of the pipe, the water wouldn't be contacting much lead and picking it up unless a Flint, MI situation happens where the water becomes corrosive and strips the scale off and leaches lead. Back in the day when the house was new and the water service line was brand new pipe with the lead surface fully exposed, that had to be the worst case scenario for picking lead up in the tap water. I'm glad it's gone though, I don't miss having the potential health hazard around, plus the washing machine fills a lot quicker and the water pressure in the shower is great now! But yeah, the quality of mechanics and servicemen etc has slipped badly these days. If it's possible, whenever I need to get someone to do work on something for me, I try to get an old, experienced grizzled vet over kids. We had a millennial at work. He got let go at the end of his contract instead of being made permanent. One of his missteps was when a piece of equipment that runs a FreeBSD Unix system where one of the software components on top is an SQL database went haywire because of a software malfunction, he whipped out his smartphone and told everyone he was learning SQL right now. Considering SQL database administration is most often an education and career in itself, that was a misguidedly bold statement when the prudent thing to do would be to contact vendor support especially since there was service contract on it. The answers are in the smart phone. The answers are always in the smart phone. Oh yes they are...
  6. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    The visit to Kitchener would most likely be on a weekday in order to catch the maximum service level being operated. I don't know what their scheduling is going to look like but working from an assumption that weekends will have less frequent service. Plus I might add in a side trip to Wellesley to visit a friend who retired from running a small engineering and manufacturing company. Plus, we did TTC PCCs in a museum somewhat recently; actually, all of us have been involved in maintenance and operation of PCC cars in various museums so what we were talking about was going into Toronto and catching a ride on one in its native habitat and just relaxing and enjoying the ride.
  7. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    You missed the point. I'm talking about local bus service that gets people to and from Go stations, not Go itself which draws passengers delivered by local bus, walk in traffic in some locations, and people who drive and park in those huge lots and garages. The point, which is the second one you've managed to miss so far, is that I wasn't on HSR by choice. Most people on HSR don't look like they're there by choice, not that I'm going to start polling everyone the next time I ride that system. So, the pothole? That's squarely city of Hamilton. The bus that should have been kept out of service until repaired? That's HSR. I fall into the same category as John Q. Public as I put it in that I'd like it to be comfortable and reliable and get me there on time. It was neither comfortable, nor reliable, and didn't get me there on time either on account of the second item. Correct. Those who can chose do chose and they have their reasons for doing so.
  8. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    Yes. This was when Brad Ross was still at the TTC. It's buried in the comments below this article on Steve Munro's blog so I'll copy and paste the quote from Brad Ross that Steve got when he asked about it: There is additional maintenance required on the overhead when running pole and panto. With all of the daily struggles with streetcar right now, investing in the additional work is not a priority. I didn’t say it couldn’t run, I said we won’t run the PCC for this reason this year. Let's pick this apart. None of the frogs or any of the pole hardware have been removed from the wire. The overhead wire is maintained by different people in a different department from the streetcars that have been giving fits to various degrees. So, those two unrelated facts have been conflated. Plus, the overhead being compatible with poles is a non issue because it has to handle King and Bathurst (when running) cars on diversion, plus the Spadina car had been a pole operation until about a month and a half, two months before the summer last year. So, it's a BS story that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Unfortunately, and I really wish the TTC would prove me wrong on this, I think "won't run the PCC for this reason this year" means they're not going to do it anymore at all, any year, on the flimsiest of made up excuses. It was nice for the 13 years or so it lasted, it's just a damn shame if they used that excuse last year as the precedent setting year to get out of doing it ever again from here on in.
  9. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    Yes, that's why I'm asking, because I don't know if last year was a one off exception to the rule or the start of a new normal.
  10. Wayside Observer

    General WTF Moments

    I actually started repair on an oven at a friend's parents house a couple of years ago. They had to finish cooking a thanksgiving turkey under the broil element because the bake one had packed it in. So, thinking it was the element, my friend's brother trots off to Sears to get the genuine, authentic Kenmore replacement, comes back home and attempts to change it but leaves the stove plugged in and the breaker on. He got a shock in the process but got it changed, but it still didn't work. This was the point that I got called in. I went over with a box of tools, unplugged the stove, pulled it out from the wall and took the back off. The back had the traditional pouch with the schematic on it which was nice, so I took a look at the diagram to come up with a plan on where I'd like to stick my meter to find the break in the circuit and I discovered why he got shocked. The oven elements are switched on only one side of the 240v. This means that even when off, the oven element circuit's still sitting 120v above ground. I think friend's brother learned a valuable lesson about grabbing a flashlight or a trouble light and plugging that in elsewhere vs. leaving the stove energized so he could use the built in oven light. Anyways, I was going to check out the relay that switched the bake element and discovered that whoever OEMed this thing for Sears ran the 3000 watt oven element power on large traces on the oven control board itself. Cheesecake. Any serious power like that should really be carried by point to point wiring. Anyways, the solder connections from board to relay mustn't have been very good. They were obviously resistive and they burned up and destroyed the board itself in and around the relay. I might have been able to scrape the crap off and run some heavy wire to a replacement relay and lighter gauge from the control output to the coil but I never got that far since I was pushing them to take it up with Sears since it was barely out of warranty and lightly used, see what they'd do. They didn't because some family member of theirs out the fear of a house fire into the, saying that the stove was going to explode so it got replaced pronto before I could attempt a repair or try to extract something from Sears over it. Oh well. As for Smokey Bones waitress, wow. Just wow. I swear, I need to open up a barbecue school in my back yard.
  11. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    I hate to sound like a broken record. Anyways, I was talking with some friends about planning a visit and a trip out to Kitchener to ride the LRT line there in late June or sometime in July after it opens. The possibility of doing a side trip into Toronto to catch the Sunday PCC on the harbourfront came up so, for planning purposes, is the Sunday PCC on the harbourfront happening this year? Or should I be planning on having the time on the Sunday to do a low and slow smoked rib barbecue at my place instead?
  12. Wayside Observer

    General Subway/RT Discussion

    Do any of you guys remember the sticker with Downsview on it that they stuck on all the maps when that station opened in 1996? I'm kind of surprised the TTC didn't revisit that idea when the subway got extended again to get by quickly and easily on the T1s until new maps were put out.
  13. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    The transit markets served by the 905 agencies including HSR are vastly different from Toronto's. You see train meet service for the Go train stations and outside of that, it's largely captive riders. Look at the service levels stretched out over huge geographic areas and consider how long and how difficult it is to get from any given point A to any given point B especially when they're not on the same line and there's potentially a large time penalty incurred from transferring between two infrequent routes. Nobody with a working car in the driveway puts them self through ordeals like that voluntarily so those who can drive do. The last time I rode. 905 agency, it was HSR a few weeks ago. It was some piece of garbage split level Flyer on the 1 King line that should never have left the garage. The air system leaked like a sieve to the point the front doors didn't work and it didn't get very far from the end of the line before the bus packed it in and they had to unload everyone onto this Flyer artic. Those have always been a hard riding bus in my experience and this thing was positively spine dislocating especially at speed. There was one spectacular bash and crash as it passed over a bad pothole or something downtown and I think I actually swore out loud at that one along with a few others. Actually, the whole experience made me really wonder about Hamilton's LRT crowd, how on earth they think this is better than an LRT line. They're probably the same population segment that's still pissed off about the fact they had to go out and buy a new TV in order to get CHCH in colour. It will be interesting to see if the ridership statistics and demographic change if/when that LRT line opens, if there is frequent all day service on it. As for me, why was I riding HSR? I had stuff to do out there and the truck was in the shop so you have to do what you have to do and you do it. But when the truck's not in the shop, you think I put myself through that? Hell no! And I'm far from the only person who makes that choice when that choice is available.
  14. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    Well, there is an argument to be made that transit vehicles do need to be comfortable and ride well otherwise you do lose discretionary riders. Any given agency can lose customers between having to endure crappy vehicles or work around crappy schedules or both. Those arguments only apply to discretionary riders and the captive market that rides because they don't have a choice takes what they're given, drops their money in the box, and puts up with it. I don't have any statistical information to fall back on but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Hamilton Street Railway's riders are not there by choice. HSR has them by the balls and they know it, which means they can take advantage of it and put out whatever pile of junk on whatever schedule and all that's going to happen is some grumbling that they can safely ignore. Am I happy that this is where the bar for transit in general has settled? No. Is it likely to change any time soon? No. Are Tom Conway and Dr. Clarence Hirschfeld weeping in the great research laboratory in the sky over the bottom falling out of the idea that things can and should be improved? Probably.
  15. Wayside Observer

    What are you eating right now?

    Happy Victoria Day! This is what I'm eating right now. 11.5 hours after it went in the smoker, pulled pork sandwich and barbecue cheese bacon scalloped potatoes outside with a friend by the fire pit. I officially declare that the back yard is now open for the 2019 season.
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