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Wayside Observer

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About Wayside Observer

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    Highly Offensive Lineman

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    I have been accused of being one.
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    In your worst nightmares

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  1. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    Saw this old Post-It note in an abandoned storage room at work that had been cleared out at work today. This would have been a pretty hefty computer back in 1995. Especially with that expen$$$$ive 32 MB of RAM.
  2. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    Ok, I knew it would be a good one! I've gotten snared in that one myself after going to stuff in Toronto and then heading out to Hamilton after and seeing the tail lights of the last HSR bus of the night disappear out of the terminal. The five minute timing error between schedules that's been there for year is one thing and it's bad enough by itself. But It's one thing if that five minutes or more have gone by before the Go bus arrives and the two are never in the Hamilton terminal at the same time, but to have the last HSR bus on each of the lines that stop at the terminal take off and leave while the Go bus is pulling up in its stall and passengers are getting off and running across to make their connection is egregiously bad customer service. I've seen people trying to negotiate splitting taxis etc. when I've gotten stuck in that mess and other people calling for family or friends to come pick them up or gripe about it and start walking. I've hoofed it across to the Queenston/Main traffic circle area with one of the guys I play football with a couple of times now. From my understanding about Barton St from one of my relatives who refers to it as "drug alley", that would be a hell of a walking tour at that time of night indeed. The whole debacle certainly puts rest to the idea that there's any serious interest in fixing up the "last mile" problem with Go Transit that's causing massive parking demand at Go stations that Metrolinx constantly whines about. If there was, the simple easy stuff like this would've been fixed years ago.
  3. Wayside Observer

    Hamilton Street Railway

    But those are the best rumours! I've got one that I'm getting ready to spring on some friends who live in Hamilton on April 1st: I'm going to tell them that the scheduling discrepancy between the 16 QEW Express Go bus that is scheduled to arrive at the station in Hamilton at 1:25 AM five minutes after HSR shuts down when the last King/Barton/Cannon buses depart at 1:20 AM has been resolved, and that none of them are going to have to worry about walking across Hamilton in the middle of the night if the Go bus doesn't run faster than scheduled. Mwuahahahaha. Actually, on a serious note, when one of them laid out the two schedules side by side to illustrate the problem, I took a look and just groaned. Both of us work in computers and electronics and have ripped out more than our fair share of hair over microsecond and nanosecond system timing glitches and it the idea that something like this can be out by whole minutes, not work and leave you stranded in the middle of the night, and people are actually ok with letting it slide is just wild. Transit, that's a totally different industry for sure...
  4. Wayside Observer

    What are you eating right now?

    I'm now enjoying a cup of coffee, now that I've finished up dealing with that problem that was originating in Toronto.
  5. Wayside Observer

    What are you eating right now?

    I am eating a Skippy's Breakfast. Then, once I'm well fed and loaded up with enough coffee, I am going to go around the corner into work and pick up the phone and rip chunks out of one of the Toronto maintenance shops over yesterday's debacle.
  6. Wayside Observer

    TTC CLRV/ALRV updates and discussion

    It's been talked and bandied about for years, probably since the three cars ran in Boston, so it's far from being top secret, eyes only stuff. Anyways, on the subject of off-TTC operations, I was talking with some friends a while ago and one of them's convinced that a CLRV was demonstrated on the Shaker Heights line in Cleveland back in the day. Something about that sounds vaguely familiar like maybe the idea was contemplated at one point but I couldn't turn up anything online to conclusively prove or disprove it unlike the Boston and Swiss trials. Does anybody know one way or the other for sure?
  7. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    Well, maybe I'm being a little too caustic, but I do think there's a point to be made. Hear me out for a minute because I think you highlighted an interesting contradiction. Civic pride as you mentioned has been on an upswing for about 20 like you mentioned but there's a departure where enough people vote to elect governments that are tightfisted to a fault, past the point of frugal to being downright cheap and that hamstrings what the city can afford to with respect to any given budget item. Consider the various administrations that got voted into city hall on low tax platforms over the same 20 years and the answer to the question, "Why can't we have nice things?" or even necessary things really comes down to a refusal to pay for them. Admittedly, I don't know what the cause of this phenomena is or what overlap there is, if there is any, between groups with high levels of civic pride versus the groups of people that vote and elect cheapskate governments that run the place in a way that's limited to being mediocre due to the requirement of fitting a deliberately constrained budget. I agree. It's still a bit too early write the obituary on the idea of having a nice 100th anniversary celebration with two and a half years to go still but the window is closing rapidly in terms of having enough time to get a plan developed sufficiently enough to fit into the annual budget cycle in time to make it happen in 2021. We'll have to wait and see if the people at the TTC and the city with the clout to make it happen become interested in making it happen. The widespread disinterest to date sure is disappointing though.
  8. Wayside Observer

    Miscellaneous TTC Discussion & Questions

    Given the short time scale of two and a half years and the fact that no existing budgets both city and TTC have any money in them to set up a museum, at least that I know of and those would be serious figures in line items if putting together a facility's in the works, I don't think a physical museum is likely at all in time for the TTC's 100th anniversary. Without well developed plans at this point and a budget to back them up, I think it's going to be a 'soft' museum if anything. More likely a website with some kind of social media twist so people can share stories and memories etc. I know, I know, I know. Just because London Underground has a museum and a depot and a train of 1938s that goes out every so often. Just because RATP in Paris has several trains of Sprague cars including one that goes out every so often. Just because New York has a bunch of historic trains that go out every so often. Just because San Francisco has a couple of cable car lines they've kept running plus the E and F lines. Just because Kenosha's done a smaller scale take on the F line using PCCs that used to be ours. Just because any number of cities in Europe have and run vintage trams. You think you can do that here? Well, let me tell you something: This is Toronto. And Toronto is a world class city, and don't you forget it! And, for that reason, I'm not getting my hopes set all that high for the 100th anniversary. We'd be lucky to have a repeat of the 80th with a car or two borrowed from HCRR for a parade.
  9. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    The geography north of Toronto is lovely especially when you get up into the Canadian shield. The highway monotony on the 400 series can be deadly and it's not too far from mind for me with travelling to and from Windsor these days. As peaceful as the 401 is down at the southwest end, the monotony combined with fatigue can be lethal. My sister's best friend's dad was killed on the 401 down there when we were kids. He was driving home from a business trip and fell asleep, flew across the grass median, and drove into the front of the transport truck going the other way. That haunts me whenever work sends me down there especially on the trips home when I've been exhausted and they want to have me start in Toronto the next morning. Last week on my way home, I had to stop for coffee, walk around and stretch my legs and get some fresh air several times and it was nervewracking getting home safely. As soon as I was in the driveway and shut off, I called the afternoon shift guy and asked him to let them know that I wouldn't be in remotely on time the next morning. Whoever comes up with these schedules clearly has no concept of distance and travel time.
  10. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    Same here. I always enjoy setting the GPS parameters to avoid tolls and avoid highways so I make the time for it whenever I can and see where it takes me. I wish they had a "Take me off the beaten path" option that would automatically select routes over the out of the way, slower, more geographically interesting roads available instead of trying to optimize distance or speed no matter how you set it up. Funny enough, I was talking with someone about that last week, about why I don't walk away at this point. I'd get my pension contributions back with some very nominal, trivial really, interest and the employer contributions plus the actual returns on the pension fund's investments would be kept. I can't afford to walk away and leave that kind of money behind. One of the ladies that worked here when I started and has since retired used to refer to it as the "golden handcuffs" every year when the pension updates were sent around. It isn't that far from the truth. And that means for the foreseeable future I'm one of the many who are stuck begrudgingly in permanent orbit around Toronto. It's like the entire place is set up around sucking you dry so that at the end of the day, you barely eke out an existence and keep your head above water. The bleeding's so carefully calibrated that it's not bad enough you sink but you can't save anything to get ahead either, maximizing what everyone else gets to take you for. My coworkers and I have all been feeling how this city drains the middle class. Toronto is more like a playground for the wealthy and a city of despair than opportunity for everyone else.
  11. Wayside Observer

    General FML moments

    My team lost a playoff game by one yard. One yard. The QB thought they had one play left after the clock ran out which is why he didn't go for it flat out.
  12. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    I used to have family in Montreal so the 401 between the two cities was a staple for me too for many years along with a stop for a meal at the Swiss Chalet in Belleville to split up the drive. Another nice drive through the same part of Ontario is Highway 7 which is a really scenic break from 400 series highways. I use that to parallel the 401 and go to and from Ottawa the back way through Carleton Place whenever I'm up there for football games. One of these days I'm going to make a point of doing that drive slowly with my medium format camera and a ton of film now that I have a replacement for the one that was stolen. Toronto isn't the city that works anymore. It hasn't been for a long time now and I'm fed up with dealing with the circus it's become. I really would bail out to one of the branch plants except all the technology's being centralized here so doing that's likely a recipe for a redundancy notice in a few years. Which means I'm probably stuck.
  13. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    I just stepped out for a coffee and on the walk back, I discovered that Great Lakes shipping has started up again for the season. The freighter was followed up by a 2 car ICTS train on the Detroit side but I don't think it made it into any of the pictures I shot.
  14. Wayside Observer

    The Random Thoughts Thread

    How much was he selling them for? We know you get them new for five cents at Wal Mart, so I'm kind of curious what this guy thinks the margins are on a used Walmart bag.
  15. Wayside Observer

    TTC in the news

    Mine were too. I'm wondering if there might actually be court proceedings involved though. The whole incident has never been adequately explained and that may be due to how nobody involved can comment due to it being before the courts still. Or it might not be which would be unfortunate If the silence surrounding it is due to something less than risking prejudicing the legal process. That incident is an unfortunate example of my concerns about mandate, oversight and accountability of the TTC's in house law enforcement operations which, as I said, have had a checkered history and that history, that established record is because of incidents like this and they are deeply concerning. To be clear about me slagging the Toronto Star, the university I went to eons ago had a campus readership program where the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail were both distributed for free and I read both every day. Both were pretty reasonably down the centre with the Star leaning a bit left and the G & M a bit to the right. The National Post and Toronto Sun didn't participate but from having read them occasionally, they were always pretty far off to the right. Over the intervening time, the Globe and Mail has shifted a bit more to the right, the Star has made a hard left, and the National Post and Toronto Sun have gone hard right and a lot of their content overlaps now, probably due to the newsroom merger that took place under Post Media ownership. At the same time, newspapers have generally become a lot thinner. A lot of the time, articles have become a lot shorter and I've hit the bottom of columns of text and wondered where they continue because stories seem to abruptly end instead of coming to their natural conclusion, and there seems to be a lot less distinction in terms of keeping editorial separated from the reporting. This is where I take issues with the Toronto Star or any publication doing journalism on a single issue basis where multiple issues clearly exist, advancing an editorial position at the expense of under reporting the whole gamut of facts involved. For an opposite end of the spectrum example, the right leaning media was just as guilty of doing this when the Alberta government began running large deficits around the time the NDP was elected at the same time as oil prices collapsed and the editorial slant was that none of this would have happened had a conservative government been elected, as if Rachel Notley being voted in was singlehandedly responsible for tanking world oil markets almost overnight without any discussion of any of the other factors involved, and everyone who knows me remembers how I bitterly complaimed about that going on at the time. But it stems from my dissatisfaction with the state if the media these days, and that I really want to see a big improvement to the signal to noise ratio that's gotten pretty bad.