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Wayside Observer

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  1. Unicorn farts cause too much climate change. Better stick to pixie dust only.
  2. I forgot to mention Ticketmaster. Uggghhh, retch, Ticketmaster. There was a Ticketmaster outlet in Eglinton station too for the longest time which was the most convenient place, I think might have been the only place, in the neighbourhood at the time to buy tickets to events that were being sold through Ticketmaster. I saw more than one argument between people who wanted to visit Ticketmaster without paying a fare because they weren't going to be travelling anywhere on the TTC but needed to get inside the station to visit the business.
  3. I'm glad your family's making good use of the cottage. So many people pack them up and call it quits on the Labour Day weekend and miss out on a good chunk of excellent cottaging season in the fall when the weather and the water's still warm, bug season is for the most part over, and it's quiet up north.
  4. I had a surprise shoot the breeze this afternoon just as the weather was getting crummy when I hoofed it up the street to the store and back home to get a couple things I forgot. There was a couple sitting on their front porch under an awning and we started talking, and it turns out all three of us all lived northwest of Yonge and Eglinton towards the end of the trolleybus era. We had a laugh about how we probably crossed paths on the rush hour 61 Nortown back in the day without realizing it. But mostly, we were reminiscing about the Nortown trolleybus and Eglinton station as hub in between starting or finishing trips on the trolleybus and the bulk of the journey on the subway, especially back when Gloucesters were in heavy rotation. Eglinton station was great back then, pretty much up until a couple of years before the bus bay concrete slab cracked and they built the temporary terminal. You had almsost everything you could need with two convenience stores (Garfield plus another place), a full grocery store (Kitchen Table) next to the Second Cup, the pizza place, Cinnabon, the shoe repair shop, Sketchley cleaners, a couple of small clothing shops, a shoe repair shop, and a few other businesses all inside the fare paid area which was important before timed fares where you couldn't jump out and back in unless you were in a location where the transfer rules could be bent unless you had a Metropass. Also being a crummy fall day today, we were talking about how the Duplex Ave. token/Metropass entrance was a lifesaver after bus service got slashed and more often than not we'd end up walking to the subway. Having a Metropass and being able to jump in that entrance out of the cold and wet when the weather was yucky was great and then being able to stop for something warm at the pizza place or Second Cup or Cinnabon was fantastic when time wasn't tight before continuing on the rest of the way. The same applied going the other way back home before heading down the long hallway and waiting for the light to flash when the trolleybus arrived - or seeing the light flashing way, way down and tearing down almost the whole length of the bus bay hallway at full speed hoping the flashing light wouldn't go out partway there. Or worse - getting all the way there, flying through the doors and racing up the stairs just in time to see the ends of the two poles disappearing around the corner. We had a great laugh at that, all of us having been there and done that. But a pizza slice or a cinnamon bun or hot coffee on a crappy fall evening before climbing into a warm Flyer and crashing into one of the comfortable bench seats for the final leg of the trip home purring along Eglinton and then booting it up Avenue Rd. used to hit the spot perfectly.
  5. Some. I can think of other far nastier phase/frequency servo locking systems for rotating machinery. The complexity isn't all that bad, but like anything, complexity can be increased as much as you want for reasons both good and bad. One transit related example comes to mind of seriously ratcheting up the complexity of synchronizing AC power is the New York subway. A lot of the signalling is 25 Hz which was fine until Consolidated Edison discontinued supplying 25 Hz power. Unlike traction power where the incoming AC power can be arbitrary as long as the substation can accept it and feeds out 600ish volts DC and picks up load, the signalling system has a whole bunch of analog filtering etc. that is frequency dependent so the incoming AC power actually matters in the end application. The solution was to put in a bunch of electronic frequency converters in various places throughout the system where 25 Hz signalling power was needed and at first glance this would take care of it. It turns out that meeting the 25 Hz requirement in each power feed into the signalling system wasn't enough though. All of it eneded up having to be synchronized which was never a problem with the utility feed which had consistent timing vs. multiple independent converters free running. The solution to get them locked involved using GPS as the master timing reference. Ouch. I guess having a couple of GPS receivers at each site all recovering the time signal and locking converter phase and frequency to that saves running a reference timing loop around a good chunk of the New York subway system. But it goes to show how you can make anything as complicated as you want it. This was pretty exciting stuff when it was done but these days, GPS disciplined oscillators etc. are pretty much taken for granted. One other advantage here is if you run two buss instead of one besides ditching the synch requirement is it doubles up current carrying capacity without having to move up to a larger conductor cross section on one buss. I hope the equipment's designed to prevent accidental cross connection otherwise you will end up with two generator sets attempting to run in sync. Depending on how far off they happen to be, it could be a nothingburger where one of the machines bumps the other by a couple of degrees and they settle in or it could be downright violent and destructive.
  6. Synchronizing diesel powered generators is actually pretty standard in backup power situations. Example, the place I work in has three large diesel generators. Whenever Toronto Hydro bails out, they start up and synchronize then get connected to a common buss, and a break-before-make transfer switch throws to disconnect the building from commercial power onto the generators, and it's all automatic and fast. It's also totally standard practice in places where the utility power is provided by diesel generators like many of communities up in the territories (the per-kWh cost of this, especially the unsubsudized numbers will cause anyone who thinks rates are high in Ontario to have an epic eyepopping case of sticker shock). Is it done in railway head end power? I don't know. It's something I've wondered about with how many cars Via packs into The Canadian which has multiple locomotives. That would be a lot of load on one head end power unit if it isn't being picked up across the multiple locomotives.
  7. A couple of different functions on the travelling crane in a friend's workplace stopped working a couple of weeks ago because squirrels chewed up and shredded some 24 volt control wiring. I saw pictures of what the squirrels did and it was pretty destructive.
  8. There needs to be a special spot reserved for the night routes. The TTC's favourite excuse for lopsided bunched up service for as long as anyone can remember is traffic congestion yet on weekday nights, no bad weather, no construction, no traffic to the point that I could probably lay down in the middle of Yonge St. and take a nap, the 320 night bus would be totally MIA and then a convoy of five or six would arrive. It's a head scratcher. The lack of promised improvement with VISION certainly raises questions around what other issues are preventing effective service management since the CIS/TRUMP units are all longe gone but problems remain so obviously it isn't exclusively an old technology problem. The lack of maintenance on the physical plant is truly disappointing. After the subway crash in 1995, a lot of time and effort and hard fought for money was invested in turning things around after the overall condition of the TTC slid backwards badly and it's hard watching things slide back again in many respects knowing how bad it got and how hard it was to recover from it. And yet, the TTC seems to be alright with letting a lot of things go as if the lessons learned have since been forgotten. I was spending time with friends a few weeks ago and we were talking about the sad state of the TTC and one friend had a theory that John Tory and Rick Leary were delibertely running it into the ground under pressure from Doug Ford in order to pave the way for a Metrolinx takeover. It's an interesting theory. Unfortunately, whether or not there's any merit to this theory, John Tory being re-elected is not going to help matters since cheap and nasty with mediocre at best on a good day is how he operates and he's been fine with Rick Leary and how the TTC has been run for a long time. I don't see any pressure for the TTC to get its act together coming from the mayor's office since Toronto just voted for another four years of more of the same, status quo, business as usual.
  9. I caught this on the QEW near Fourth line the other day. I guess it’s one take on what Oakville Transit could be: The part that surprises me is that someone would go to the trouble and expense of those proud OAKVILLE vanity plates and then slap them on a Ford Edge since that’s not exactly a luxury marquee appropriate to the area though.
  10. Yikes. One of my relatives who used to be a school teacher in Hamilton refers to Barton St. as "Drug Alley". Did the two new buses survive their debut or did they get burned to the waterline to put it in nautical terms?
  11. Interesting, thank you. I read through it and something else jumped out at me: I wasn’t expecting the gearbox losses with the PCC style hypoid right angle drive to be so severe either. The TR would be the first time the Toronto subway has had anything except that style of gearbox except for the old repurposed streetcars that were used as work cars in the very early days of the subway.
  12. I’m in Union Station, just west of the great hall, watching someone actually making a call on one of the pay phones by the hallway to washrooms. How often, in 2022, do you see a public transportation patron using a pay phone?
  13. And here is the bus: 7914. Orion 7. Not so great after all.
  14. Did the TTC publish a report with figures on those items?
  15. Last night I had: A simple dinner of one fried pork chops. Now for lunch I’m having a western omelette. The cast iron cookware gets used in this house. No teflon. Definitely no Uber Eats.
  16. You'd think but it looks like the bar keeps settling even lower. The Toronto Rocket's have always given me a strong pre-production prototype feel waiting for the industrial designers to give it a final cleanup before being released to manufacturing, rather than that of a finished product.
  17. It’s kind of a sad state of affairs that bangers and mash needs to be explained. It was 2015 or 2016 and the football team I was on back then had a British pub as the fifth quarter sponsor. Of course, most people were ordering wings etc. after the game but I ordered bangers and mash. This one guy was pestering asking what it was and he was astounded when it came out from the kitchen. He spend the rest of the evening looking at me saying, “You ordered sausages” in this tone of total disbelief. Last night I had: Kind of an Asian style honey garlic chicken with roasted Yukon gold and sweet potatoes with carrots and onions. I’ve never made this one before and it turned out nicely. Now I’m having: Pretty much a classic brunch.
  18. Ah ok. The confusion stemmed from people are using ' and " interchangeably here, which is why I picked the two examples I did, but they're not the same.
  19. Exactly. New trains now is cheaper than new trains later + T1 overhaul plus maintenance parts for 10 years in the meantime. On the other hand, if the TTC can't afford to buy new trains now but can afford to overhaul T1s, it's less expensive up front but more expensive over the long haul to the benefit of Alstom. If the TTC can afford neither, then things eventually start to get to an early 1990s level of ugly with shabby worn out equipment that isn't being kept up and the reliability problems that ensued. We all know how nasty that got and how that ended.
  20. No, you missed what I said: It's a goldmine for Bombardier/Alstom if the TTC does a life extension on the T1 cars because they'd have to buy equipment from Bombardier/Alstom to do it. I don't see the TTC going with a non-OEM equipment vendor and certainly not moving the system integration level of work in house for this. Then, most likely, an order to Bombardier/Alstom about five or six years out for delivery at the 10 year mark for an entire fleet of trains to replace the T1s as they run out their life extension. If the TTC places an order for replacement trains for the T1s now or soon, it's the same train order as above but minus the whole parts sales for a T1 rebuild program in between, so not as lucrative for Bombardier/Alstom. If you're a vendor that sells subway trains plus parts for them, the second scenario is still good business, but isn't as much sales volume as the first one.
  21. From an Alstom perspective, a T1 rehab would be like gold. Think about it: The TTC does a 10 year life extension on the T1s that'll include a significant buy in of Alstom parts plus maintenance parts over the next decade, plus possibly consulting. Then, towards the end of the 10 years of extended life, Alstom gets to sell the TTC a fleet of new subway trains as the preferred vendor and current owner of the factory in Thunder Bay and Bombardier/Hawker-Siddeley intellectual property. That one-two punch of T1 life extension followed by new fleet a few years after is a lot more lucrative than a straight up sale of new subway cars now that won't be replaced for another 30ish years.
  22. They could, but it would mean a regauge job on anything else they get in the future so the question they have to answer is: Are any future acquisitions most likely to be TTC or standard gauge, and is it easier to regauge CLRVs or all potential future acquisitions? Museum rumours can be pretty wild. Someone actually showed up at Seashore in person and said words to the effect that they're from HCRR and needed them to remove their streetcars ASAP? Seashore isn't exactly nearby. At least a phone call sorted it out. At least long distance isn't expensive anymore either.
  23. Everyone knows that in Ontario, bland is best. You know food’s done right if it’s indistinguishable from sawdust. To that end, it is customary that on Thanksgiving, the turkey, already a flavourless, tough, stringy bird, be cooked until what little flavour and moisture it has is completely gone. Oh wait, I didn’t do any of that stuff. My friends and I are going to enjoy our steaks then chill out on the front porch and wait for the Doug Ford Culinary Enforcement Team to roll up and haul us off.
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