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King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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When will the majority of the D60's be retired? I know the last of them will get retired in September 2018. I guess what I'm asking is when are all of the 8100 JunkDE60's going to be in service?

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8151 was the first to go into service on August 22, 2017.

8100 and 8101 are also in service.

The reason for the bizarre numbering is that the buses are being built concurrently at two plants. 8100-8149 are being built in Minnesota and 8150-8199 are being built in Alabama.

Not sure how the coloring will work... but I would expect that we’d see another color around 8116/8132 and 8166/8182.

The last D60HF coaches are expected to be retired by early next year. There’s about 90 D60HF coaches left in the fleet... so there’s about a one to one replacement as the suburban XDE60 coaches come in.

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I heard of disparities in quality between the St. Cloud, MN plant and the Anniston, AL plant. What are issues with the New Flyer AL made coaches?

If I recall correctly, the Anniston facility is the former NABI production plant. The same plant that had that fiasco with CTA over cracking articulated joints in 60ft coaches. 

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2 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

 The same plant that had that fiasco with CTA over cracking articulated joints in 60ft coaches. 

That was a design issue that was exacerbated by CTA maintenance practices (or lack thereof). Not a build quality issue.

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I would like to study the history of coach deliveries, assignments, and retirements for Metro.

I saw a photo on Flickr of 6920 on route 26 (a Ryerson Base route) dated January 2014. But in the present-day, I have always associated the DE60LFRs with suburban routes out of North, South, and East Base. When did DE60LFRs stop running on urban routes? Perhaps it was when the XDE60s started getting delivered.

Furthermore, I remember back in 2004 when the DE60LFs were first introduced, they were assigned to suburban tunnel routes out of East and South Base. Then, eight years later in 2012 (pre-RapidRide C/D restructure), I found that they were now on high-capacity urban routes like the 15, 18, 21, and 48; much like the D60s and the current XDE60s.

 When did these changes occur? Is there information available online about when specific coaches were delivered, when they were transferred to different bases, when they were retired? And, is there information online explaining why certain coaches were assigned to certain bases? Something northwestener told me is what I'll use as an example. The SG220s (1400s) had gearing ratios suitable for freeway speeds and were not wheelchair accessible, so they were assigned to South and East Base, for routes between downtown Seattle and the suburbs (where demand from wheelchair passengers was less) via I-5 or I-90.

Here's another example. The XDE60s, unlike other artics, were completely designated for urban routes. This was because they had three doors, making boarding/alighting easier in busy urban corridors (unlike the two-door D60s). However, Central Base had plenty of artics already, since many tunnel routes operated out of there. As a result, the XDE60s were all assigned to Ryerson Base.  I would like to find out the underlying machinations of assignment for other coaches, like the Orions, the Gilligs, etc.

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On 9/1/2017 at 2:56 PM, V3112 said:

I would like to study the history of coach deliveries, assignments, and retirements for Metro.

I saw a photo on Flickr of 6920 on route 26 (a Ryerson Base route) dated January 2014. But in the present-day, I have always associated the DE60LFRs with suburban routes out of North, South, and East Base. When did DE60LFRs stop running on urban routes? Perhaps it was when the XDE60s started getting delivered.

Furthermore, I remember back in 2004 when the DE60LFs were first introduced, they were assigned to suburban tunnel routes out of East and South Base. Then, eight years later in 2012 (pre-RapidRide C/D restructure), I found that they were now on high-capacity urban routes like the 15, 18, 21, and 48; much like the D60s and the current XDE60s.

 When did these changes occur? Is there information available online about when specific coaches were delivered, when they were transferred to different bases, when they were retired? And, is there information online explaining why certain coaches were assigned to certain bases? Something northwestener told me is what I'll use as an example. The SG220s (1400s) had gearing ratios suitable for freeway speeds and were not wheelchair accessible, so they were assigned to South and East Base, for routes between downtown Seattle and the suburbs (where demand from wheelchair passengers was less) via I-5 or I-90.

Here's another example. The XDE60s, unlike other artics, were completely designated for urban routes. This was because they had three doors, making boarding/alighting easier in busy urban corridors (unlike the two-door D60s). However, Central Base had plenty of artics already, since many tunnel routes operated out of there. As a result, the XDE60s were all assigned to Ryerson Base.  I would like to find out the underlying machinations of assignment for other coaches, like the Orions, the Gilligs, etc.

Something like this is nearly impossible to get a handle on, especially as the fleet has grown. 

Vehicles are purchased, either for replacement or expansion. How they are assigned depends on the inputs to the decision. Is there a certain set of routes they are needed on? Do they want to move a higher mileage fleet to a lower usage base? How do the schedules classify the subtypes of coaches at the base? Etc.

So to simply answer your questions:

  • When the 2600s were introduced, they replaced the Bredas on a one to one basis. Thus, they were distributed to South, East, North, and Central(Atlantic) base, in that order. Even when the tunnel closed for reconstruction, they primarily stayed on "tunnel" routes, except at Central Base where the scheduler swapped the coaches that would have been assigned to the 301 to day-base work on the 15/18 family of routes.
  • As newer hybrid artics arrived over the years, they were deployed, first to south base, then to east base (which are higher mileage bases), displacing 2600s. This allowed a fleet of 2600s at Central (Atlantic) to grow, and the coaches were utilized on all of those routes. 
  • A small batch of DE60LFRs transferred to Ryerson Base in about 2013. They operated there for about two years, and another reshuffle happened, and those coaches were replaced with 2300s from North Base. Don't know why they went there in the first place, or why they were removed. Parts commonality is important, but Ryerson had both the 08-09 DE60LFs as well as some DE60LFRs, which was nonsensical to me, at the time. 
  • Please note that Central Base no longer has any tunnel routes assigned. None of that very large fleet of 2600s at the base are utilizing "hush mode" on a regular basis. The XDE60s were certainly assigned to Ryerson to simply allow the retirement of 2300s on a one to one basis. 

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On 9/1/2017 at 2:56 PM, V3112 said:

The XDE60s, unlike other artics, were completely designated for urban routes. This was because they had three doors, making boarding/alighting easier in busy urban corridors (unlike the two-door D60s). However, Central Base had plenty of artics already, since many tunnel routes operated out of there. As a result, the XDE60s were all assigned to Ryerson Base.

 

Right, and many of Seattle's busiest urban routes operate out of Ryerson: 8, 11, 24/124, 26/28/131/132, 45, 48 (just to name a few). It makes a lot of sense to have a three-door bus on those routes.

2 hours ago, dancingfatpotato said:

When did the 2600s get booted out of the tunnel?  I recall seeing them earlier this year.  

They haven't been booted... but they are seeing a lot less use. East and South Base no longer have any 2600s...so you only ever see them on the North Base tunnel routes (41 & the peak-only 74) interspersed with the North Base 6800/6900 series coaches.

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44 minutes ago, anonymous guy said:

Speaking of busy Ryerson routes, was there a reason why the 120 was reassigned to Central/Atlantic?

Atlantic had operated some runs on Central routes for a number of shakeups prior to the 120 moving. I believe the 120 came over when the 71-series went to North Base; essentially it replaced that work at Atlantic Base.

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On 9/11/2017 at 6:34 PM, busdude.com said:

Spotted 8118 in Lakewood, Wa presumably heading to the truck wash prior to delivery to KCM this evening.

I spotted another one which I believe was 8107 heading up I-5 near Federal Way on Monday morning.

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When will the 8100's start coming into East Base? Will East keep all of their late 6800-6900's (DE60LFR's) when East receives some of the 8100 XDE60's? In other words, when East receives these coaches, will the 6800's all go to North Base to replace the D60's (in other words, no more 6800's left at East by that point)? I'm assuming that East will get some XDE60's from 8110-8149 and 8160-8199, probably depending on the number of 6800's that East has right now. 

This also brings me another question: Will route 255 only be able to use DE60LFR's for the tunnel, or can it also use XDE60's for hush mode? I remember that 8012 did a hush mode tunnel test for the BAE, but I don't know what the results were.

 

 

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South Base is supposed to get 45 of the 8100s, while East Base will get 55.

Right now the 6800s are split up with 93 at East Base, 31 at North Base, and 63 at South Base.

After the 8100s go into service the 6800s will be split up with 38 at East Base, 86 at North Base, and 63 at South Base.

It’s my understanding that the XDE60 coaches can’t be used in the tunnel without a modification to the kneeling system to raise the coach to deploy the ramp (a feature of the Xcelsior is that it’s lower to the ground). It probably doesn’t make since to make that modification for just a few more months in the tunnel. The question is... are 38 coaches enough to run the 255?

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18 hours ago, rickycourtney said:

South Base is supposed to get 45 of the 8100s, while East Base will get 55.

Right now the 6800s are split up with 93 at East Base, 31 at North Base, and 63 at South Base.

After the 8100s go into service the 6800s will be split up with 38 at East Base, 86 at North Base, and 63 at South Base.

It’s my understanding that the XDE60 coaches can’t be used in the tunnel without a modification to the kneeling system to raise the coach to deploy the ramp (a feature of the Xcelsior is that it’s lower to the ground). It probably doesn’t make since to make that modification for just a few more months in the tunnel. The question is... are 38 coaches enough to run the 255?

They could always use D60's on the 255 or even RR coaches if 38 isn't enough.

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28 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

They could always use D60's on the 255 or even RR coaches if 38 isn't enough.

Nope. They need to be tunnel buses. Plus as the 8100s go into service, they’ll be displacing the D60s.

After the tunnel closes in September 2019, the 8100s can be used on the 255.

This all assumes Metro doesn’t just go ahead and make the modifications on some of the 8100s to make them tunnel ready. 

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1 minute ago, rickycourtney said:

Nope. They need to be tunnel buses. Plus as the 8100s go into service, they’ll be displacing the D60s.

After the tunnel closes in September 2019, the 8100s can be used on the 255.

This all assumes Metro doesn’t just go ahead and make the modifications on some of the 8100s to make them tunnel ready. 

D60's sure work in the bus tunnel better than the XDE60's

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17 minutes ago, OR Transit Fan said:

D60's sure work in the bus tunnel better than the XDE60's

I shouldn’t dignify that with a response... but here goes anyway...

It would be ill advised to regularly use Metro’s most polluting and thunderously loud coach in an enclosed tunnel.

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10 minutes ago, rickycourtney said:

I shouldn’t dignify that with a response... but here goes anyway...

It would be ill advised to regularly use Metro’s most polluting and thunderously loud coach in an enclosed tunnel.

Actually way back when those things happened regularly. Ever ridden a Breda on diesel mode through the tunnel? the MANs were not exactly environmentally friendly at times either, of course the Breda's on diesel mode put out a little smoke as well. Gilligs, with more or less the same engine ran very regularly in the tunnel too. Did the D60s ever make it in the tunnel, or the old Flyers or AMGs for that matter? I have a picture of the D40LFs down there when they were new.

<a data-flickr-embed="true"  href=" 2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685" title="2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8531/8451838428_07abba6702.jpg" width="332" height="500" alt="2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<a data-flickr-embed="true"  href=" 2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685" title="2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8367/8450748317_d55ce7a893.jpg" width="500" height="331" alt="2003 New Flyer D40LF #3685"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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2 hours ago, busdude.com said:

Actually way back when those things happened regularly. Ever ridden a Breda on diesel mode through the tunnel? the MANs were not exactly environmentally friendly at times either, of course the Breda's on diesel mode put out a little smoke as well. Gilligs, with more or less the same engine ran very regularly in the tunnel too. Did the D60s ever make it in the tunnel, or the old Flyers or AMGs for that matter? I have a picture of the D40LFs down there when they were new.

Right, in a pinch, Metro has used Diesel coaches in the tunnel. I’ve seen it happen before too. My point was Metro isn’t going to make it a normal, regular thing.

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I thought there were some changes to the ventilation system at one point that made it a much, much more rare occurrence for a diesel coach to run through the tunnel.  So much so that trips could be canceled or rerouted.  I've also heard that if a route is inbound on a diesel, they'll run it on the surface and arrange for a coach change before allowing the run to continue outbound.

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3 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

I thought there were some changes to the ventilation system at one point that made it a much, much more rare occurrence for a diesel coach to run through the tunnel.  So much so that trips could be canceled or rerouted.  I've also heard that if a route is inbound on a diesel, they'll run it on the surface and arrange for a coach change before allowing the run to continue outbound.

Last I heard the Tunnel used a separate radio system to facilitate LINK and Metro operations in the Tunnel, and only the tunnel coaches are equipped for that. Plus add in the flashing strobes on the mirrors so they don't take anyone's head off pretty much excludes any non tunnel equipment from the tunnel. The Tunnel was originally built to accommodate diesel buses, but the trolley overhead was later added when the bredas were bought. It still had the high capacity exhaust fans until 2005. They may still be there, I don't know why you would want to remove a system like that.

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4 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

I thought there were some changes to the ventilation system at one point that made it a much, much more rare occurrence for a diesel coach to run through the tunnel.  So much so that trips could be canceled or rerouted.  I've also heard that if a route is inbound on a diesel, they'll run it on the surface and arrange for a coach change before allowing the run to continue outbound.

A D60 has occasionally been popping up on my regular route, the 150, but it never ends up in the DSTT. Here's my understanding of how it plays out:

When it comes time to dispatch one of the base runs on the 150, South Base is often out of 6800 series coaches, so the driver leaves with a D60, deadheads to Kent Station and begins its the northbound.

In the meantime, as one of the part-time operators with a 6800 goes off-duty, that coach is directed to the Tukwila P&R.

Once the northbound 150 arrives at the Tukwila P&R, the drivers swap coaches. The 150 now with a 6800 continues on to the DSTT and the D60 returns to base.

It's a complicated dance, all designed to keep the D60 out of the DSTT.

14 minutes ago, busdude.com said:

Last I heard the Tunnel used a separate radio system to facilitate LINK and Metro operations in the Tunnel, and only the tunnel coaches are equipped for that. Plus add in the flashing strobes on the mirrors so they don't take anyone's head off pretty much excludes any non tunnel equipment from the tunnel.

Correct, only the tunnel buses have the correct second radio system that allows bus operators to be in contact with the Link operations center. But, a non-tunnel bus can be used in the tunnel if a supervisor boards with a hand-held radio. Unlike the radio, the lack of flashing strobes don't keep buses out of the tunnel. It just requires extra caution from the driver.

14 minutes ago, busdude.com said:

The Tunnel was originally built to accommodate diesel buses, but the trolley overhead was later added when the bredas were bought.

SounderBruce just did a wonderful job researching the DSTT and bringing the Wikipedia page on the subject to the highest "featured article" status. Reading that article it sounds like the DSTT was always intended to be used regularly by dual-mode buses, but that diesel buses had to be used in the early days for testing because of delays in the delivery of the Breda coaches.

14 minutes ago, busdude.com said:

It still had the high capacity exhaust fans until 2005. They may still be there, I don't know why you would want to remove a system like that.

Most tunnels have a high capacity exhaust fans for fire protection purposes (I know the U Link tunnels definitely have them) but they're not usually intended for regular use for a purpose like venting diesel emissions. Were the DSTT exhaust fans used for that purpose pre-2005?

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8 minutes ago, rickycourtney said:

only the tunnel buses have the correct second radio system that allows bus operators to be in contact with the Link operations center. But, a non-tunnel bus can be used in the tunnel if a supervisor boards with a hand-held radio. Unlike the radio, the lack of flashing strobes don't keep buses out of the tunnel. It just requires extra caution from the driver.

This is all pretty stupid.

For many dozens of years before the tunnel closed, Metro operated on a UHF (450 MHz) conventional analog system.  Since ST didn't exist, there was no need for interoperability.  The system had expansive coverage throughout King County and beyond, and even had dedicated repeaters in the tunnel.

Since its inception, Link has used an 800 MHz trunked system (PSERN).  It's the same system used by every police officer, firefighter, and loads of others in King County.

When joint operations started in the DSTT, Metro had to install a second radio in every bus that went in to the tunnel.  Apparently having train operators and bus operators able to talk to each other prevents crashes (or something like that; probably some sort of rule set out by the FRA).

In 2011, Metro replaced their old UHF system with a 700 MHz trunked system.  Despite only being 300 MHz apart, the two were nothing like each other and wouldn't be able to use any of the same equipment.

The 700 and 800 systems aren't terribly different from each other.  From a technical perspective, there is no reason why Metro couldn't have been put on PSERN.  However, voice transmissions on transit systems tend to be frequent, long, and drawn out.  PSERN didn't have the capacity for that, so Metro had to build their own.

Both systems use Motorola radios.  Motorola sells radios that will do 700 and 800 in the same radio.  I'm 99% positive KCSO Transit PD carries these so they can talk to the PD dispatchers and the Metro coordinators without having to have two radios on their belt.  The same could have been done in every tunnel bus.  But for reasons of timing (and maybe some systems integration issues) it wasn't.  So now every bus that goes in the tunnel bus has to get an extra radio installed, and at the end of joint ops there's going to be a ton of surplus 800 radios.

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Prior to the arrival of the 6800s, I recall seeing 174s and 194s running on D60s every so often. If I recall correctly, South Base was hurting to get enough usable 2600s into the tunnels and the 6800s ended up being their saving grace. That and the eventual cancellation of routes that were supplanted by the newly minted Link Light Rail.

During the snowstorms of the late 2000s, the Gillig Phantom often saw service inside the tunnels as well.

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