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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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On 9/13/2017 at 8:49 PM, rickycourtney said:

SIt’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?

I don't understand why that feature wasn't included in the specifications from the factory. This is a known issue based on Metro's experience with the ST units, and it could have / should have been baked into the procurement contract.

On 9/14/2017 at 4:43 PM, busdude.com said:

Did the D60s ever make it in the tunnel, or the old Flyers or AMGs for that matter?

Yes, the 2300s operated in the tunnel in a pinch before the tunnel was closed for reconstruction. 

I believe in addition to all the other reasons noted, the lower roadway of the post-LRV tunnel may interfere with lift operation.

On 9/14/2017 at 11:31 PM, rickycourtney said:

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

But the primary reason for this complicated dance, I believe, is the radio system issue. Secondary would be lift clearance issues on the higher curb in the tunnel. Tertiary would be anything to do with noise & pollution.

On 9/15/2017 at 12:00 AM, Atomic Taco said:

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.

This is an excellent post. 

One of the major criticisms of ST, in particular, is their need to "go their own way." 

I've often said that Joni Earl's legacy should be that she stabilized a sinking agency, found a way through the political noise, and transformed the agency into one of the premier design and build transit agencies in the country. 

My suspicion, however, is that she will be remembered better for refusing to play nice with other agencies, which has led to transit centers and LINK stations with minimal transit integration, and costly systems duplication. The radio system issue, as outlined above is just another item that you can add to the list. And those decisions, once made, can't easily be undone.

On 9/14/2017 at 4:19 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

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

Have you ever ridden a D60 in the bus tunnel?

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10 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

Have you ever ridden a D60 in the bus tunnel?

No, but the fact that they are high enough proves they are. That is one flaw of Xcelsiors that is making systems turn away from them for either Gillig, Nova, or even ElDorado

 

12 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

This is an excellent post. 

One of the major criticisms of ST, in particular, is their need to "go their own way." 

I've often said that Joni Earl's legacy should be that she stabilized a sinking agency, found a way through the political noise, and transformed the agency into one of the premier design and build transit agencies in the country. 

My suspicion, however, is that she will be remembered better for refusing to play nice with other agencies, which has led to transit centers and LINK stations with minimal transit integration, and costly systems duplication. The radio system issue, as outlined above is just another item that you can add to the list. And those decisions, once made, can't easily be undone.

I totally agree with this. They contract with CT, Metro, and PT so they need to treat them with respect.

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4 hours ago, northwesterner said:

My suspicion, however, is that she will be remembered better for refusing to play nice with other agencies, which has led to transit centers and LINK stations with minimal transit integration, and costly systems duplication. The radio system issue, as outlined above is just another item that you can add to the list.

ST didn't build anything new, they just piggybacked on a system built by a different (non-transit) agency.  It's Metro that went all out and built something new, and they didn't really have a choice.  If anything, I see ST buying capacity on Metro's system.  Neither of the existing systems reach Lynnwood, so who knows what's in store in the next 10 years. 

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I realize I'm a little late, but here's my two cents on the tunnel situation:

I just don't see Metro ever running 8100s in the tunnel. It's true that they did test the BAE equivalent of Hush Mode on 8012, but unless a Metro driver tells me otherwise, the 8100s don't have high-rise (reverse kneeling). Even with the shuffling of 6800s leaving only 38 at East, it's just not necessary - looking at yesterday (Friday), there were a grand total of 32 coaches signed onto 255 trips, and some of those came out only in one peak commute and not the other. 38 should be plenty, and as someone already said, in a tight pinch the RR 6000s could be subbed in. 

IMHO joint operations is a complete disaster and should have been over yesterday.

The way the tunnel ventilation works they absolutely could use D60s - but again, there is nothing at all that would make that necessary. The hybrids are quieter, pollute less, and have hush mode. End of story. 

And to go on a little bit of a tangent, I highly doubt any agency large enough to have a serious bus tunnel operation is stupid enough to order Xcelsiors without the necessary equipment e.g. high rise to properly operate them. That was a terrible and inexcusable oversight on Sound Transit's part. I am aware that a number of agencies are less than enchanted with Xcelsiors, but there are other, better reasons for that (proportionally more proprietary, expensive parts; Anniston quality issues; ridiculous brake system; etc.)

 


 

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15 hours ago, northwesterner said:

One of the major criticisms of ST, in particular, is their need to "go their own way." 

I've often said that Joni Earl's legacy should be that she stabilized a sinking agency, found a way through the political noise, and transformed the agency into one of the premier design and build transit agencies in the country. 

My suspicion, however, is that she will be remembered better for refusing to play nice with other agencies, which has led to transit centers and LINK stations with minimal transit integration, and costly systems duplication. The radio system issue, as outlined above is just another item that you can add to the list. And those decisions, once made, can't easily be undone.

 

The current transit silo's will be difficult to undo, but given time I'm sure they will slowly work themselves out. Pierce Transit seems to be focused on their pre-ST network as it best suits their ridership, Metro and ST have this interesting relationship where they are in the same room, but there is a line drawn down the middle of it and neither shall completely cross, and CT keeps their commuter service as that's just what they do. Sound Transit seems to be learning slowly how things should work, however the past 20 years of poor system and facility design will be with us for a long time. The only way this is going to get shaken up, is if an overhead umbrella agency comes in and starts dictating orders down to the agencies. I think a lot of $$$ could be saved by better use of existing facilities, which many would require small deviations of current service to do, along with consolidating and closing some that have constraints and no longer needed.

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23 hours ago, _jrst said:

I realize I'm a little late, but here's my two cents on the tunnel situation:

I just don't see Metro ever running 8100s in the tunnel. It's true that they did test the BAE equivalent of Hush Mode on 8012, but unless a Metro driver tells me otherwise, the 8100s don't have high-rise (reverse kneeling). Even with the shuffling of 6800s leaving only 38 at East, it's just not necessary - looking at yesterday (Friday), there were a grand total of 32 coaches signed onto 255 trips, and some of those came out only in one peak commute and not the other. 38 should be plenty, and as someone already said, in a tight pinch the RR 6000s could be subbed in. 

IMHO joint operations is a complete disaster and should have been over yesterday.

The way the tunnel ventilation works they absolutely could use D60s - but again, there is nothing at all that would make that necessary. The hybrids are quieter, pollute less, and have hush mode. End of story. 

And to go on a little bit of a tangent, I highly doubt any agency large enough to have a serious bus tunnel operation is stupid enough to order Xcelsiors without the necessary equipment e.g. high rise to properly operate them. That was a terrible and inexcusable oversight on Sound Transit's part. I am aware that a number of agencies are less than enchanted with Xcelsiors, but there are other, better reasons for that (proportionally more proprietary, expensive parts; Anniston quality issues; ridiculous brake system; etc.)

 

 

 

D60's may be loud but surely in a good way. M11 FTW.

Sucks that New Flyer discontinued all of the good models now, if only the Xcelsiors the region had were LF's or LFR's...

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19 hours ago, OR Transit Fan said:

D60's may be loud but surely in a good way. M11 FTW.

 

Most people that live along a route served by a D60 would surely disagree with you.

By the end of the next year, the D60 coaches will be gone. End of story.

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Read from the Northwest Bus Facebook fan page that Metro is refusing future Anniston, AL coaches after they receive their latest coaches from the XDE60 order. 

What QC issues have been leaking out of the Anniston plant? 

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14 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

Read from the Northwest Bus Facebook fan page that Metro is refusing future Anniston, AL coaches after they receive their latest coaches from the XDE60 order. 

What QC issues have been leaking out of the Anniston plant? 

I'd be interested in what kinds of quality issues they are having too  ...especially when compared with those coming from Minnesota.   

I wonder if this has anything to do with what remember reading not too long ago somewhere that at the old NABI plant, workers were not represented and I believe they're still not.   NFI's other plants evidently are.  As a result, morale was/is suffering amongst the workers in Anniston.  Consequently, quality issues were (are?) rampant.  Many extremely significant OSHA violations are occurring at Anniston also.  I also seem to remember that another agency is refusing to accept any more from Anniston.  

Also, I wonder if there still exists the memorandum that KCM has to use a manufacturer whose workers are represented (wasn't there such an agreement. at one time or is my memory once again faulty?) and if not, if 587 is possibly putting pressure on them not to order further units coming from Anniston because they are currently being assembled by non-union workers?  ...this, in additions to all the quality issues.  

I also seem to remember another article that said that the CWA (Communications Workers of America) that evidently represent NFI's workforce in Crookston, is attempting to organize the Anniston plant.  

Can somebody correct this information as this is, as typical, from my usual faulty memory nowadays?   I'll so some Googling to see if I can bring up those references to see how accurate my memory is. 

 

 

Edited to add:

These may have been some of the articles that I had read on which I was basing some of my guessing:

This had to do with the OSHA violations that I made reference to:

Community and Labor Groups Urge LA Metro to Refrain from Awarding New Flyer New Contracts

The attempt to organize the Anniston plant:  

The surprising story of a labor union in Anniston

Union membership being discussed at New Flyer

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2 hours ago, aznichiro115 said:

8100 is currently on the F line and is scheduled to be there until 8 if anyone was interested in getting pictures. 

Yet another reason why it was a terrible idea to buy new articulated buses with only two doors...

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22 hours ago, rickycourtney said:

Yet another reason why it was a terrible idea to buy new articulated buses with only two doors...

D60's and DE60LF/R's pop up on RR occasionally. I don't see a problem with how much doors an artic needs

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One weird thing about this new service change:

Route 114 has been a South Base route, but from what I've noticed on Onebusaway, it's a bit unusual. It appears that XDE35's, XDE40's and Phantom '40's from Bellevue Base have been used on the 114 ever since the service change. As I saw this, I first thought that South got some of Bellevue Base's buses (for example, 7217 was on the 114 yesterday), but that bus later that day was on the 244, so I assumed that the 114 uses Bellevue Base coaches. It's kind of weird how a 100 series route is Bellevue Base, when the rest in the 100's category are Seattle based. 

How come the 114 route is now Bellevue Base, when this route has been using artics for the past decade or more? Bellevue is the only base not to have any artics, so this is quite unusual for such a route going all the way between Seattle and Renton Highlands.

Also, 3723-3726 and 7253-7259 (which seem to keep going between South and Bellevue) recently went back to Bellevue Base for this service change.

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On 9/28/2017 at 9:22 PM, rickycourtney said:

Yet another reason why it was a terrible idea to buy new articulated buses with only two doors...

A two-door artic? Completely unexpected. Go look up on Google and you'll see plenty of five-door artics out there, like the ones on this page.

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1 hour ago, Metro6774 said:

One weird thing about this new service change:

Route 114 has been a South Base route, but from what I've noticed on Onebusaway, it's a bit unusual. It appears that XDE35's, XDE40's and Phantom '40's from Bellevue Base have been used on the 114 ever since the service change. As I saw this, I first thought that South got some of Bellevue Base's buses (for example, 7217 was on the 114 yesterday), but that bus later that day was on the 244, so I assumed that the 114 uses Bellevue Base coaches. It's kind of weird how a 100 series route is Bellevue Base, when the rest in the 100's category are Seattle based. 

How come the 114 route is now Bellevue Base, when this route has been using artics for the past decade or more? Bellevue is the only base not to have any artics, so this is quite unusual for such a route going all the way between Seattle and Renton Highlands.

Also, 3723-3726 and 7253-7259 (which seem to keep going between South and Bellevue) recently went back to Bellevue Base for this service change.

The 114 has in the past operated from East Base, South Base, and Ryerson Base.

While Bellevue Base is a new home for the route, its not all that strange. Apparently they added a couple trips in the AM and PM peak, and figured the loads would spread out across the new schedule, and 40ft equipment could be used.

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For your perusal pleasure:

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

Route-Base Cross Reference List September 2017.pdf

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Is there a timeline as to the evolution of downtown corridors?

The 26, 28 and 174 all used to utilize 2nd SB/4th NB. At some point, the 26/28 were moved to 3rd, while the 174 became a tunnel route (then got replaced by light rail). Similarly, the 5 used 5th Ave onto Union SB and 1st Ave NB off the viaduct, then switched to 3rd in both directions (using Columbia and Seneca to access the viaduct). When did all this happen? (insert "I am so confused right now" face)

Thank you for answering.

Appendix:  When I say "all", I'm using the the royal "all", meaning downtown corridor changes in general, not the literal "all" i.e. I'm only asking about the 5/26/28/174

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On 9/29/2017 at 5:13 PM, OR Transit Fan said:

D60's and DE60LF/R's pop up on RR occasionally. I don't see a problem with how much doors an artic needs

Its more in relation to the speed of boarding/deboarding. Initially, RR coaches provided less seats/more floor space with three doors to speed boarding and deboarding - especially during peak hours where coaches are loaded to crush capacity. The floor space and middle exit door helps in clearing congestion around the middle of the coach.

Then when they ordered the XDE60s, they unfortunately went with a standard seating arrangement, reducing floor space but keeping the amount of doors. The middle can become a bit of a choke point, but the middle door does help.

The lack of middle door next to the middle axle in a coach, coupled with the lack of standing room space can make boarding/deboarding in crush capacity situations very inefficient. While you can run a RapidRide line with two door D60s/DE60LF/Rs, its definitely not ideal.

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Just now, anonymous guy said:

Then when they ordered the XDE60s, they unfortunately went with a standard seating arrangement, reducing floor space but keeping the amount of doors.

Metro claimed that the floor structure changed from the DE60LFR -> XDE60, and because of that structural change, they were unable to retain the same "open" layout.

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37 minutes ago, Atomic Taco said:

Metro claimed that the floor structure changed from the DE60LFR -> XDE60, and because of that structural change, they were unable to retain the same "open" layout.

They should have gone with the seating arrangement used on the XT60s - I was always under the impression that they just went with the seating that was used on the standard XDE60s for the Rapid Ride coaches for order uniformity purposes.

While the XT60 arrangement isn't the same as the RR seating setup, the single forward facing seats does open up the standing room area.

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8 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

They should have gone with the seating arrangement used on the XT60s - I was always under the impression that they just went with the seating that was used on the standard XDE60s for the Rapid Ride coaches for order uniformity purposes.

While the XT60 arrangement isn't the same as the RR seating setup, the single forward facing seats does open up the standing room area.

XDE60s have fuel tanks whereas the XT 60s do not. This would also make for a somewhat different interior layout as well.

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