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Wayside Observer

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About Wayside Observer

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    In your worst nightmares

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  1. Oh man, our retired shop co-ordinator was on the receiving end of so many prank calls over the years. One of my favourites was to find an area that wasn't in use right at the moment and make the call from a phone that'd have a convincing number on the call display and do a high pitched whiney voice and say "Hi, is this maintenance and engineering? IIIIIT ISSSSSNNNNN'T WOOOOORRRRKIIIIIIIINGGGGGGG!!!!" and then when he'd ask what isn't working I'd say "EVERYTHING!" The guy dropped by for a visit and we had some laughs about stuff like that and he's enjoying retirement and looks a lot healthier than he did when he was responsible for dealing with everything including the honest to goodness "it broke and it don't work" fault reports. The best one, absolute best all time fault sheet I've ever seen said "Funny problem". That one was wild. We framed that one. Anyways, putting myself in the shoes of whoever writes the tweets, if someone told me to put out a message that the CLRV bailed out, my first question would be, "What happened?" Worst case, it totally died and the scope and cause of failure is still under investigation is more of a thoughtful answer than "Doesn't work, can't use it."
  2. It would be fairly straightforward to get a USB to GPIO module and interface that with a jukebox wallbox. On the computer, write up a program that cross references the selection number to a title or a file in whatever media management program you're using and then execute a macro to cause it to play that song. A little bit of hardware and a little bit of programming and you could get it done. I'm forgetting which movie it was but that last one was used in a scene where a Coca Cola salesman was being tortured by being forced to listen to it. Halftrack is either mono with a recording on each side of the tape or a stereo recording in one direction only. "Single pass" was a phrase that was commonly used to describe used tape for sale that had only been used lightly instead of beat back and forth a bazillion times during a mixing session and well on its way to wearing out. I found an Akai 4000DB at the side of the road once. The machine had either been dropped or fallen over onto its front but was otherwise in great condition. The problem was that whatever fall it had done a number on the reel hubs and it worked but I could never get the mechanical alignment on it to be very good and its performance was lacklustre at best. Even though quadraphonic sound never took off, the quadraphonic reel to reels were good for musicians because that gave you a four track recording studio in a box. Yeah, that sounds like the Waverly for sure. I guess the people like that have been displaced to the subway: BlogTO's exciting subway ride And that qualifies as a WTF moment in and of itself for sure!
  3. Yes, and it is possible to write them without resorting to gross oversimplification.
  4. Combine a couple of flat cars with tables and chairs on them with that huge buffet up front and I think you've got a great idea for a subway train.
  5. Yes. For example, MBTA went through several revisions of plug doors on the Boeing cars before ditching them completely during a heavy rebuild. The original design had an obscene moving part count. The number I saw was just over 3,000 parts. I hope that number's wrong on the high side or a total including the stationary parts but I never found out for sure. The second revision got that a bit more manageable and dropped the sensitive edges for a wide, soft rubber strip as a strictly passive safety component, but they still never worked well to the point they replaced them completely.
  6. I probably missed a lot. So anyways, after work, I headed over to the people's place who were looking after my cat to pick him up. The view from their condo is to the south, east, and west so from there you can see Spadina and Bathurst streetcars off to the two sides and Go trains to the south. For now. There are a number of other buildings going up or planned that will probably change that in a few years but from the dinner table facing west, it's easy to watch streetcars on Bathurst and pretend the end isn't right around the corner for the CLRVs. Even at that distance, you can tell 4178 when it goes by and I saw it a couple of times. Also saw 4193 after leaving with the cat. This morning on the way in I saw: 4133, 4155 4184. My interpretation is: Not working in what way? That's pretty damn vague. Actually, as a fault description, it's totally useless. If garbage like that came across my desk at work, I'd send it back and go for a coffee while it gets clarified.
  7. ...and my vacation is over. So, this morning, upon returning to the land of douchebag condos, yappy toy dogs, amateur taxi cabs that are even worse than legitimate taxi cabs and try to play bumper cars with real vehicles, overpriced boutique coffees, yuppies, and the handful of remaining operating CLRVs. I saw 4132 and 4155 on Bathurst on my way into the plant this morning.
  8. They'd be making more money off charging people a nickel to take a few swings to those garbagey wall boxes with a baseball bat than they are letting them sit there with nobody dropping coins in to play music. Honestly, I wish they'd remove them and throw them in the dumpster out back. They really encroach on the elbow room at the tables. Now Robert Wyatting the whole restaurant by picking the most obscure song in the jukebox and playing it over and over is just mean! I like it! I always understood that what was being referred to was how many times the tape was run forward through the tape transport so the head count wouldn't really matter. For professional tape, I'd expect at least three heads in the head stack because of the requirement for off tape monitoring during record and it was pretty common for some professional machines, usually 1/4 inch ones, to have multiple playback heads to be able to play tapes with different track layouts on the same machine. One of the more common 1/4 inch four head configurations was full width erase/halftrack record/halftrack play/quarter track interleave stereo play. But yes, I like the idea of "This magnetic tape is endorsed by the Nixon Administration" prominently on the packaging! The Silver Dollar room closed down a couple of years ago. It was one of the earlier casualties in the gutting of live music venues in Toronto over the last few years. The Waverly hotel was a glorified homeless shelter, frankly.
  9. Even then, doing a re-engineered board for a trolley museum malfunction is a pretty drastic course of action compared to doing a straight up component replacement of whatever's bailed out, but should the day come that that isn't possible, respin boards can definitely be done. A handful of electronics problems have come up with preserved LRVs. I'm personally familiar with two situations that have come up. One was a card with a failed relay on it. It doesn't get much more 19th century for a breakdown than that except for the fact it was mounted on a fibreglass circuit board. The other one's unknown. The bad card was identified by boardswapping with ones lifted out of another preserved card. That was a good start except the museum involved sent the bad one out to an off site technician but didn't have a diagram which caused the technician to crash and burn. The result was the museum involved reached out to one of my friends for help who then looped me in and sent along the pictures of the good and bad boards. I did what I could from the pictures but I couldn't see enough around the IC packages to trace much out and the museum guy only photographed one side of the cards. So, I worked up a list of components and determined what possible replacement families there are for them and compiled a discrepancy list between the two cards. I don't know if they're different revision levels or a mid-run change or modified after the fact. Sent that back and asked several months later if they wanted to send the card to me and the response was that the deadlocked technician still has it and that they were looking at buying (!) a replacement. Three of us basically shrugged when we were talking about that a while ago because we did what we could but there doesn't seem to be much movement on the technician's end or on the museum's side to get it back from the outside technician. I don't know where this one stands other than I did reiterate my offer to put it on the bench here. Honestly, why this guy didn't trace out the 5V power and ground for the TTL logic back to the connector and chase the chip inputs back to the connector either and light it up off a bench power supply and make sure there's no excessive current draw and check for power and ground continuity to all the chips, then feed in some input off a function generator and check outputs with a scope to make sure they're doing what you'd expect is kind of puzzling to me. You don't need a diagram to get started on this but what do I know, I'm just some dumbfuck jock that plays football. The frappucino guzzlers and trolley geezers are the real electrical engineering experts.
  10. Outside of laying in a parts supply, some of the equipment is still relevant, believe it or not. Actually, I was having a conversation about this sort of thing on the weekend.* The Seltrac NA switch stuff is still used on the newer streetcars so the TTC would pull all that out of stuff heading to the junkyard, for example. Same with the CIS Trump stuff (NO COLLUSION!) since I think that's - really not sure, haven't been paying attention to the Vision stuff - possibly still going too. * And about the bloody sodding flipping electronics. I know there are kids on this forum so I'm not going to type out the words I was really thinking. This subject has been spun so far out of control for so long by so many people that I question weather or not the BS can even be reined in at this point and I was standing there with one of my best friends who's an EET graduate and worked in the business for even longer than me and we were listening to nonsense about the CLRV electronics being unmanageable.
  11. I think it was due to the condition of the car body. None of the second hand cars went through the 1970s rebuild so they were pretty deteriorated along with the ones the TTC bought new but didn't rebuild by they time they were retired. Even then, the ones that went through the 1970s rebuild had deteriorated pretty badly again by the time they were retired. Notice how most of what's running in museums now are TTC A-15s that didn't have too too many years of service on them by the time they were retired after that last rebuild and SEPTA GOH cars from the early to mid 80s. There are comparatively few PCCs still in working condition that did not go through a heavy, recent rebuild.
  12. For most of the history of streetcars in Toronto it wasn't a problem because the density of service on the surface lines was excellent compared to now. If you missed one streetcar, you probably could see the next car coming and if you were in a place with good visibility way down the line, you could see the next several coming, so not a problem. Things started changing when there was that deep, bad recession coming out of the 80s that lasted into the early 1990s and then the major blow happened when Mike Harris pulled the operating subsidy that the government of Ontario chipped in and service was decimated. The subway was kept to a minimum five minute headway but the surface operations where slashed badly. I think the present attitude about "subways subways subways" because anything else is perceived to be a vastly lesser form of transit dates back to this because the subway was the only thing that had good service any time of day for the longest time. You were fine as soon as you got to the subway. You were fine while you were on the subway. But as soon as the subway delivered you to the station you needed to change to a surface route at, you got dumped outside on the platform to try your luck. Maybe your connection's sitting there waiting with the doors open. Maybe you see the tail lights pulling out of the station and you curse under your breath and weigh waiting vs. walking. Maybe you see nothing at all and you really, truly don't know whether to leave the fare paid area and start walking only to see your connection show up a couple of blocks down the road and you've got no way of getting on without paying again or stay and wait however long it takes. I'm sure I can't be the only one here who pleaded the case of having an invalid transfer three blocks from the subway station to the driver of a bus or streetcar hoping they'd be sympathetic to the "I had to start walking because I had no idea when the next one was going to arrive". Sometimes they'd let you on, sometimes not. Add to that, service got pared back with the ALRVs specifically. The TTC really got into running larger vehicles less often when those arrived so if you were on Bathurst or Queen, you knew if you missed a car, it was going to be a wait for sure.
  13. I started the return trip home yesterday and it was a beautiful fall day averaging about 15 degrees. The highest I saw was about an hour and a half after I left my friend’s place when the dashboard temperature readout peaked at 18 degrees and the drive was beautiful: I took that after I stopped for fuel for the truck and for a snack and a coffee for myself. Then, after climbing up and over a mountain, I arrived in a different weather system, the one that pounded the golden horseshoe. The temperature crashed and then the snow started. I slowed down to drive carefully but there were still idiots and there were lots of cars in the ditch. I was glad to get home and shut the truck off. But compare home to the picture I took of the first two thirds of the drive: Look how much snow I had to force the porch door through just to get inside! It can wait. I’m going to make a nice breakfast and then deal with the cleanup outside.
  14. It ended up happening to me too. Just when I was thinking I wouldn’t get one... I only have the front roll though but I couldn’t argue with the price. Have you considered building a box out of wood to carry the two rollers? That idea has crossed my mind for the various signs I have but it’s something that’s been on the back burner forever.
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