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Posts posted by martin607

  1. I recently saw an online presentation from SF Muni management, which contained information that will probably be relevant to this procurement.

    The first thing is that all the remaining N.A. trolleybus operators (i.e. except Boston) have formed a group that hold monthly meetings. This must be good thing to help share new ideas, best practice etc.

    Secondly, Muni are going to procure 4 trolleybuses equipped with the new extended range batteries. Two will be existing XT60s dating from 2015, which are due to for a mid-life refit anyway. The other two will be XT40s but I'm not sure whether these will also be refits or brand new. Either way, the experience of extended range with In Motion charging can be shared with other agencies, though I suspect it will be a matter of visit(s) by CMBC engineers, operations even some drivers to San Francisco.

    If NFI will produce new XT40s for this trial at Muni, I wonder if they will build an extra one to be Translink's demonstrator/pilot bus.


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  2. On 10/28/2022 at 11:59 PM, 96 Blader Line said:

    So trolleys replacement moved to 2024 I'm wondering if we would have enough trollies for expansion and post broadway extension. Idk if the 9 is staying as diesel.

    AFAIK the 9 will return to trolleybus operation once Broadway is clear for them. Whether it will be tied to the subway opening date or could start earlier if the road restoration is completed earlier. My source was the people at trolley overhead. they have a budget for the work.

  3. On 7/25/2022 at 2:32 AM, cslusarc said:

    I personally think if Winnipeg Transit needs some Zero Emission Busses, it should look coverting the busiest 10% of its route network to trolley busses.

    Given Winnipeg's climate, that would certainly make sense, using trolleybuses with small batteries and the concept of In Motion Charging. It would mean only 50% of routes would need wiring and using mains electrification would avoid the winter range problems that pure battery buses have been facing elsewhere, e.g. in Boston where on the coldest winter days the daily range of the trial BEBs dropped to 50%.

  4. Although there has been a commitment for the last two years to renewing the trolleybus fleet, it is still good to see some concrete information with the replacement of the standard trolleybuses scheduled for 2027 and included in the report to the Mayors' Council Meeting. I'm not sure why they didn't also mention replacement of the articulated fleet, which presumably has to be by 2028 to meet the promise of an all air-conditioned fleet by that year.

    TransLink to replace 188 trolley buses with new models in 2027 | Urbanized (dailyhive.com)

    The main concern for trolleybus advocates now will be to ensure it is not just a one for one replacement but exploitation of the possibilities offered by battery-trolleybuses and conversions of some diesel routes that run substantially under the wires e.g. R4, R5 etc. as discussed before.   

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  5. On 8/13/2021 at 5:17 AM, jmward said:

    Question for the board, are there any trolley rectifier stations downtown other than the Haro one? Seems like a busy area for just one, although the old trolley wire map doesn't show any others.

    I conjecture there might be one around Howe and Davie as the supply cables (term ?) have connections that disappear into laneways near there.

    (@captaintrolley Maybe you would know)

    I've been trying, from time to time, to get a complete handle on this, so your post provoked a further effort. Unfortunately the sources that I've found don't provide a completely clear picture of the situation. We know there's the Haro St rectifier station though the address given is 1050 Smythe St. In addition I've looked into the Murrin rectifier station which is located west of Main at Union Street. There's a very interesting page in the commemorative booklet "Vancouver's Trolley Buses 1948-1998", which has a lot of information about the Murrin station in particular as it was the last one to use mercury arc rectifiers. This was closed in 1993 and replaced by state of the art solid state equipment. There's one reference which seems to imply that the new installation was at Haro Street, but I think that was just ambiguous writing and there are two downtown rectifier stations: Haro St and Murrin. The article quotes the installed power of Murrin as 4 MW, which by my calculation is enough to power about 80 trolleybuses at any one time. Add on the Haro St unit and there's probably enough to power about half the trolleybus fleet.    

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  6. On 8/13/2021 at 6:14 PM, GORDOOM said:

    This actually makes me a bit nervous vis-à-vis the future of the trolleybus network. My worry is that an emergency order like that will be very much a status quo order without taking the time to think through what would be best for us to get in the medium-to-long term. This means inter alia no consideration of changing the mix of 40' and 60' coaches and no consideration of implementing extended off-wire capability à la Kiepe's In-Motion Charging. This risks the trolleybus network becoming irrelevant sooner rather than later, even with the expense of all-new rolling stock.

    I agree that any interim order would need to be carefully specified as a pilot to test out IMC in anticipation of the main replacement order to be placed in the middle of this decade. But given that the new NFI brochure advertises batteries capable of doing 22 miles (35km) off-wire for the XT40 and 15 miles on the XT60, they would be worthwhile demonstrators right now, e.g. tests on the R4 or using battery-trolleybus on the 9 showing how the IMCsystem can deal with wiring gaps.

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  7. 13 hours ago, anyfong said:

    The R4 won't be a trolley route because it needs to overtake the regular 41 buses, and there's only one set of trolley wires per direction.

    The obvious solution to that would to be make the R4 battery-trolleybus with In Motion Charging and make the infrequent 41 a non-trolleybus route, initially diesel and then battery bus. It is more appropriate to allocate trolleybuses to the heavier duty route.

  8. On 7/26/2021 at 3:03 AM, Amaryah Johnson said:

    Please, look at the website New Flyer including TrolleyBus which both King County Metro and MUNI San Franscisco.



    This is a full brochure for the trolleybus version, at last. The most interesting thing is that they have upgraded the battery capacity from the existing buses in Seattle and in SF, which are about 26kWh to 71kWh which will give 22 miles off-wire range for the XT40 and over 15 miles for the XT60.

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  9. New Flyer have at last produced new catalogue pages for the Xcelsior trolleybus. One interesting point is they have increased the size of the battery to 71kWh, giving 22 miles off-wire range for the XT 40 and over 15 miles for the XT60 - plenty of range for, say, a trolley R4 to get from 41st to UBC and back. I get the feeling that NFI want to have the widest electric bus choice available: pure battery, fuel cell and battery-trolley. They must have done some engineering to accommodate the much larger batteries.

    Trolleybus fleet renewal in Vancouver isn't due till the second half of the decade, but a trial batch to demonstrate the concept of the battery-trolleybus with In Motion Charging would be interesting.  



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  10. On 12/16/2019 at 10:31 PM, Dane said:

    Yes, there is. 


    The specifications, not available to us, will have some defined requirements. What we do know is that there is no infrastructure piece here. A use of overhead systems would initiate a second contract requirement. You don't need to agree with me, but you're painting a transit fan dream here. The BC Financial Administration Act doesn't allow for a purchase of something like a bus that would have a significant second order repercussion of needing another capital investment unless they're either contracted at the same time, or, there is a public notification of a second contract. That sentence you've quoted does not supersede in anyway TLs legal requirements to request for bids in a very standardized way - that line simply means TL is not beholden to just ordering more of exactly what they have now. 

    I accept that trolleybuses would be highly unlikely at this point, but I don't follow your argument that there's "no infrastructure piece here". If Translink wanted to order a batch of trolleybuses, there wouldn't be any need for new infrastructure. The overhead network is massive and there is spare electrical installed power on the system. So new battery-trolleybuses could be allocated to any diesel route that runs extensively under wires. Trolley R4 anyone?

    Incidentally, New Flyer have at last produced new catalogue pages for the Xcelsior trolleybus. One interesting point is they have increased the size of the battery to 71kWh, giving 22 miles off-wire range for the XT 40 and over 15 miles for the XT60 - plenty of range for a trolley R4 to get from 41st to UBC and back. I'll post a link in the Vancouver trolleybuses thread.

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  11. On 3/19/2021 at 3:51 AM, buizelbus said:


    According to this article, the EPU can run for around 1.6km on flat terrain. Not enough to get through all of Broadway, but it's more than a block or two.

    Thanks. This is emergency battery power, not the concept of In Motion Charging where the trolleybus has batteries giving a range of 20km which can repeatedly be recharged under the wires. It would be good if Translink got at least one E40LFR retrofitted with modern lithium ion traction batteries and tested the system on the 9 while there are the gaps in the wiring. It would of course depend on the bus structure being able to bear the extra weight which could be around 350kg  - the internet quotes a wide range of weights per kWh.

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  12. 12 hours ago, Mark Walton said:

    Don't the current ones already have at least a limited form of in-motion charging? 

    There is limited battery range for a block or two AFAIK. They could pass the station works on batteries but you would need to employ pole pullers at each station site, which would be expensive.

    But In Motion Charging is where a trolleybus has modern lithium ion batteries that give up to 20km off-wire range and charge up repeatedly during the day on sections of the route that are wired. In that situation you could run on battery right through from Kingsway to Arbutus, which is roughly 4km, I think

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  13. On 3/5/2021 at 7:53 PM, Michael Marriott said:

    The majority of the wires on Broadway are still up, they were only removed at the station sites.  The wires are still up between the station sites.  West of the Mount Pleasant Station site, the overhead is tied off between Quebec and Ontario then is intact westward until between Alberta and Yukon at the start of the station site for Cambie.  Past Cambie the overhead is up from Ash to a couple blocks before Oak.  Then the overhead from Oak to Hemlock is all intact; it is possible for a trolley to come south on Hemlock, east on Broadway and south on Oak without needing to EPU.  At Granville, the EB wire still turns north onto Granville, and the WB starts at Fir, and runs until Cypress.  And the wire runs east from MacDonald to just before Arbutus.

    Now if only Vancouver had the latest battery-trolleybuses with in motion charging, they could have retained trolleybus operation on the 9, charging as they run under the wires on the outer sections of the route and running on batteries on the central section between main and Arbutus.

  14. On 3/11/2021 at 6:12 AM, Catherine Wilkins said:


    In its inaugural drive around North Edmonton this afternoon, ETS Bus 8010 a Proterra Catalyst BE40 E2 Max (see transit55.ca) was interviewed at the garage afterwards and stated, "It's nice to see daylight again this afternoon."  "WOW, I worked 8 hours and 32 minutes today, and I feel great now"  "Yes, I've been cooped up, forgotten about for six months; however, I'll get washed up tonight, become full charged again and be ready for tomorrow."  Buses 8036 and 8039 declined comment.

    Are there any statistics about the overall peformance of the Battery buses yet? e.g. availabilty ratio.? From this example, it doesn't sound too great. 

  15. 15 hours ago, Andrei said:

    Ok let me clarify something as I actually work for Muni and was part of Potrero Yard Modernization Project team during the pre RFP stage. Trollebusses are not banned, they do count as electric buses. They aren't counting for the replacement of diesel coaches though because they're electric replacing an electrified fleet. So one trolley purchased from 2018 gets us 1/10 of a electric bus credit. The real issue is manufacturer support and offerings for when we would replace the current fleet in the mid to late 2030s. The assumption is that battery tech would have progressed far enough and no manufacturers would want to produce trolleys. So the plan is replace trolleys with BEBs. That isn't set in stone, yet, but it looks very very very probable. 

    Thanks. While CARB's regulations do not ban future trolleybus purchases (in case I wasn't clear, my earlier post said that they are NOT "banned") they seem to exclude them from the bus electrification process by not including them in the definition of Zero Emission Bus. Hypothetically, if a system that wanted to electrify a diesel route  using trolleybuses, would they not fall foul of the regulations at least by 2029?  

    I'm glad to read that nothing is set in stone yet. The report sounds suitably sceptical about BEBs and I suspect that trolleybuses will be alive and kicking in 2030 and that there will be at least one manufacturer interested in an order for 300 trolleybuses. 

  16. 15 hours ago, Tcmetro said:

    Yes, I looked at the CARB rules and trolleybuses aren't counted as buses. Muni is replacing Potrero Yard and is going to make it battery-electric ready. It will actually be surprising if the yard is rebuilt for trolleys and then all the infrastructure is scrapped only a few years later. I hope Muni decides to keep the trolleybuses. 

    I did a little research today about trolleys and it seems that Boston, MA and Moscow, Russia have decided to replace theirs with electric buses. There's a bus tunnel route in Japan that did the same two years ago. 

    Regarding the Potrero rebuild, Muni confirmed in an email to me that the rebuild would accommodate trolleybuses as well as having capacity for additional battery buses. They said trolleybuses have a service life of 15 years and they would keep them for that period, so that implies a gradual run down of the fleet from about 2030 with, I guess, a transition period where increasing amounts of space would be switched to BEBs.

    Yes Moscow closed its trolleybus system, which is sad and was and remains a contentious issue locally. But world wide trolleybuses are generally doing well. For example, Mexico City is expanding its system after years of decline and is buying 500 trolleybuses. There's a steady growth of use of battery-trolleybuses in Europe. In addition to expanding existing systems, a new system is going to open in Prague and there plans for them also in Berlin. Trolleybus is admittedly a niche technology but it has its uses for very heavy duty work or in cities with challenging topography.

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  17. 11 hours ago, Tcmetro said:

    A few interesting things I have come across about Muni:

    Electric bus plans

    Muni is considering the Zero-Emissions Bus Rollout Plan at the next Board of Directors meeting.

    Included on page 18 of the plan is a conceptual bus purchasing plan from 2020 to 2040. Muni anticipates another order of 112 40-foot diesel-hybrid buses in 2025. Beginning in 2027, Muni would begin purchasing battery-electric buses and completely phase out the diesel bus fleet by 2037. Notably, Muni anticipates replacing the trolleybus fleet with battery-electric buses. The report expresses concerns about costs, electricity supply, distance range of electric buses, and ability of electric buses to navigate hills. Muni will finalize the Zero-Emission Facility and Fleet Master Plan over the next 6-9 months to finalize decisions.

    Agenda item 12 on the 3/16/21 Board of Directors meeting: https://www.sfmta.com/calendar/board-directors-meeting-march-16-2021

    Staff report: https://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/reports-and-documents/2021/03/3-16-21_item_12_approval_-_zero-emission_bus_rollout_plan_1.pdf

    ZEB Rollout Plan: https://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/reports-and-documents/2021/03/3-16-21_item_12_zero_emission_bus_roll_out_plan_-_slide_presentation.pdf




    Thanks, as you say, there is a fair amount of concern and uncertainty emerging between the lines of the text.

    As far as trolleybuses are concerned, it seems premature to commit to replace a technology that is known to work well in difficult terrain, with a technology that is not yet proven to have an adequate combination of hill climbing and daily range. 

    But whose decision is it to phase out trolleybuses? City Hall/SFMTA or the California Air Resources Board (CARB)?  A couple of years ago I wrote to CARB and they claimed that their new ICT regulations would not "ban" trolleybuses in California. Trolleybuses are not regarded as buses for these purposes legally, they are "fixed guideway". In other words sort of trackless trolleys/streetcars. So the CARB regulations don't seem to require that Muni replace life-expired trolleybuses say after 2030 with BEBs. If they so wished, Muni *could (in theory) replace trolleybuses with new trolleybuses. At least that's my understanding. And that means abandonment of trolleybuses would be a decision by the city in its 2018 resolution, rather than something imposed by CARB.

    But it's a decision that hasn't been publicly announced and debated.

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  18. 20 hours ago, Phillip said:

    The only issue with having the R4 trolleys is that the 41 would be causing delays to them unless they remove timepoints along the 41 or install layover wire, even then the 41 would still be holding them up making local stops. The timepoints along the 41 route are Fraser st, Oak st and Granville st both directions. 

    Agreed. I didn't want to go into detail but under a modified LCFS, if the R4 became battery-trolleybus, the 41 would be a battery electric bus. One day maybe there will be a way for completely automatic overtaking for trolleybuses but we're not there yet. However, here's a short clip of battery-trolleybuses in Beijing, lowering their poles while in motion. So you could imagine a 41 could lower its poles when it sees an R4 in the mirror. Believe it or not, there's a company in Germany that is researching reconnecting poles while in motion.  


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  19. On 1/18/2021 at 4:53 AM, etbetb said:

    Sorry it's an old thread, but I should point out that today's trolleybuses, with AC motors, are quite a bit less tolerant of low power and dropouts than previous generations of trolleybuses.  If you present 450VDC to a Brill, Pullman or a Marmon, the bus will run about 3/4 as good as it does (acceleration and top speed) with 600VDC.  Not so with today's AC inverter on board that wants to turn what it expects to be ~600VDC into AC power for that frequency controlled motor.

    The net effect comes with a combination of

    - Your bus, with all the batteries, is kinda porky.  On the order of 1000kg empty more than before.
    - You have extended the line to go several kilometers off wire
    - When that bus gets back to the overhead, it expects to both charge and operate, at a distance in excess of 5.5km from the substation.

    One learns, substation capacity to push around buses 1000kg heavier than previous, plus distance from where you desire to start charging and how you have the overhead sectioned off and fed become very important variables to consider, and didn't have to be paid attention to as much back in the day.


    I was hesitating whether to reply but @captaintrolley has posted the excellent article from Mass Transit Magazine.

    The management at Dayton seem to be pretty pleased with the greater flexibility that batteries give and the scope for extensions without wires. Generally, the trick is to find a "sweet spot" when specifying battery size: batteries big enough to support the likely length of future extensions; but no bigger then they need to be. The NexGen trolleybuses have a battery capacity of 67 kWh. The spec sheet doesn't quote the battery weight separately, but I suspect the weight is closer to 500kg.

    I take your point for example about the north end of the 7 which is apparently about 3 miles away from the substation. This wouldn't be great, even for a traditional trolleybus system.  I understand there is a budget to add some substations and it sounds like this location would be a top priority

    Like you, I had always believed that modern trolleybuses are less robust than the old trolleybuses with DC motors and resistor controls. That's probably still true but modern trolleybuses with IGBT control *can* cope with some voltage drop - I checked with an electric traction expert who tells me that "the voltage fluctuation in DC lines is standardized by the IEC [International Electrotechnical Commission] and whoever designs equipment for tram or trolleybus lines needs to ensure that it will operate within certain margins. For 750 V DC, the lower limit is 520 V, for 600 V DC it is 420 V." In addition, some IMC trolleybuses are able to blend power from the battery with that from the overhead line. 


  20. On 2/16/2021 at 6:45 PM, 8010 said:

    Judging from what I’ve seen in the Low Carbon Fleet Strategy, it looks like the plan is to move the VTC diesel routes to MTC when it opens in 2023/2024. I’m going to guess that they’ll move the R4 to VTC because I don’t see them ordering an additional 100+ trolleys to fill the empty spaces left from the transferred diesels, plus HTC is pretty far from 41st Ave.

    Translink could use battery-trolleybuses with In Motion Charging on the R4, running on battery power from Crown to UBC. Technically it seems feasible and compared with a 100% battery bus operation, it would save on the space demands of charging stations at UBC Loop.  Charge as you go, rather than spend a long time at the charger. 

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  21. 16 hours ago, ThatBusGuy said:

    It could also simply be an issue with charging capacity - with only one charger at each end of the route, it might be difficult to coordinate recharging every bus at both ends. Extra battery life would make it easier for a bus to skip charging if there's delays charging other buses, without worrying about it dying mid-route. Just a guess though, but I imagine there's other benefits to longer battery ranges even if fast charging is working perfectly.

    Yes, that's true. There's a plan for a third charger but I'm not sure whether it has been ordered yet. Even three chargers wouldn't be enough for a fairly frequent route like the 100 served by 19 buses. Too much risk that delayed buses would cause a queue at the charger.

    I wonder whether the order for the depot-charged LFSe+ is a change of plan or if the plan always was for just 4 fast-charging buses for the CUTRIC trial and the rest to be long range battery buses. 

  22. 14 hours ago, 2044 said:

    The LFSe+ is a slow charge bus (3.5h) but can use overhead fast charging to top up.


    Grande West launched their Vicinity Lightning EV this year.

    I wonder if the choice of the long range version indicates that the fast charging system is not yet reliable enough to entrust a complete route allocation to. Has anybody had feed back on charging problems? From what I hear about systems, the main problem can be communications between the bus and the charging station.


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