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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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I stumbled across some historical documents hosted on the King County Council website.

This looks to be an early-mid 90s version of The Book: http://aqua.kingcounty.gov/council/clerk/OldOrdsMotions/Ordinance%2011033%20attachment.pdf

This ordinance details the NE Seattle restructure in 1997: http://aqua.kingcounty.gov/council/clerk/OldOrdsMotions/Ordinance%2012743.pdf

These were found through Google; I tried cross-referencing them with the County's legislation search page, but could only find references to Ordinance 11033 or 12743, in other ordinances.

The 90s version of The Book has some interesting history:

  • Route 19 and Route 47 still existed
  • Showed Route 43/44 as separate routes, with Route 45X as a proposed route for the Feb. 1994 service change, so the date of this document could be pinned down to mid-late 1993
  • Service on 49th Ave SW/Genesee Hill was grouped into Route 56 instead of being Route 57X (I don't know if service to Genesee Hill was limited to peak-hour semi-express service before 9/98)
  • Showed old Routes 62 and 30 going through Magnolia (the part that became new Route 31)
  • Route 42 used to run to Renton Ave S @ 78th in Skyway (I think that part got replaced by the 107?)
  • Still shows Route 26/28 on Westlake, with Route 17 using Dexter (plus the Route 29 Broadview-DT Blue Streak)
  • 15/18 interlined with 22 (I'm guessing a lot of buses from Ballard terminated downtown), and 28 interlined with 56
  • Showed Route 6 live looping as far as S Washington St, the same routing used by Route 358 and later by the RapidRide E Line. From the "0322-A (3-80)" at the bottom of that page, I'm guessing the Route 6/21 interline was replaced with Route 16/21 in March 1980.
  • Many routes feature a photo of the corresponding type of coach on that route. So 40' trolley routes (2, 10, 13, 14, etc.) had a 10240T, 60' trolley routes (7, 43) had an SGT-310, 60' diesel routes (36) had an SG-310, etc.
  • It showed "Route 9". But, I was under the impression that the old #9-Broadway was absorbed in 1978 as the #7-University District via Broadway, and the route number 9 was not used again until 6/2005 (when 7N was spun off as 49) as a diesel semi-express from Aloha St to Rainier via Cherry Hill. Not only did Route 9 exist before that, apparently it was a 60' ETB route! When did this Route 9 II, so to speak, come into service?

I have to say, documents like this are an interesting look back at how transit planning in Seattle looked like before Metro launched its website in 1999.

Onto other news...the suburban bases have been getting all sorts of shiny new buses as of late.

  • 7200s at Bellevue Base
  • 3700s at Bellevue/South/North
  • Bellevue Base will also be getting lots of 7300s, and additional 4600s
  • South Base is getting a handful of 7300s, and all the Slow Charge Pilot buses

And I was just wondering, will garages that serve urban routes (Central and Ryerson) be getting new buses anytime soon? Particularly 40 footers. Of course Atlantic Base has lots of shiny 4300s/4500s for the trolley routes, and the 8/24/26X/27/33/45/48 get shiny 8000s, but there are still shoebox 3600s, 2600s/2800s, etc. on some urban Seattle routes, while the suburban bases get brand new 40 footers.

If I had to guess, maybe since a large chunk of the urban fleet is ETBs or RapidRide, 3600s and 7000s are seen as new enough for the lower-mileage urban routes (at least the ones not already covered by 60' coaches e.g. 31, 32, 38, 50), and Metro is focusing new bus procurement for the higher-mileage suburban routes. But that's only a guess.

I also appreciate that plenty of urban routes come out of North Base (65, 75, 345/346, etc.), and to limit the definition of "urban" bases to Central/Ryerson/Atlantic is disingenuous. But, in my defense, the lion's share of routes that operate completely or largely within city limits, are operated out of those three particular bases. I don't know if any city routes are operated out of South Base, maybe the 106/107?

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14 hours ago, V3112 said:

And I was just wondering, will garages that serve urban routes (Central and Ryerson) be getting new buses anytime soon? Particularly 40 footers. Of course Atlantic Base has lots of shiny 4300s/4500s for the trolley routes, and the 8/24/26X/27/33/45/48 get shiny 8000s, but there are still shoebox 3600s, 2600s/2800s, etc. on some urban Seattle routes, while the suburban bases get brand new 40 footers.

Ryerson just got the 8000's.

Ryerson's last D60HF coaches (2300s) and the D60LF (high 2800s) coaches are being retired by brand new 8200's.

Central just put a handful of brand new 8200's into service yesterday. Central is scheduled to get about 37 8200's that will displace the most problematic 2600's.

Once the new Gillig Low Floors (7300s) go into service, that's supposed to trigger a shuffle of 40-footers: the 7300s will go to Bellevue, Bellevue will send its XDE40 coaches (7200s) to South, South will send most of its Orion VII coaches (7000s) to Central/Ryerson, and Ryerson will retire about 11 D40LF coaches (3600s). 

So yes, the Urban garages will get more brand-new 60-footers and some *newer* 40-footers, but they will not receive any brand-new 40-footers.

The 2600s and the 3600s will still be around for some time.

-----

I think Metro's new fleet plan is simple... concentrate the fleet types at as few bases as possible. All the 7200s will be at South, all off the 7300s will be at Bellevue, the bulk of the 7000s will be at Central/Ryerson with just a handful at South, and the bulk of the 3600s will be at North, with just a handful at Ryerson. I would imagine it makes maintenance easier when you can just keep the specific replacement parts at one base.

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On 2/1/2018 at 10:27 PM, northwesterner said:

Anyways - 40 years ago, the last Twin Coach pulled in (off of route 2, I believe) around 2AM to Jefferson Garage, ended 38 years of service for that equipment.

Here in Vancouver there were CCF Brills from the 1950s running until 1984. March 24, 1984 to be exact. By then, all the E901As and E902s had been delivered. I couldn't find any information on what the number of the last coach was, or the route that it was on before returning to Oakridge for the last time.

However, newer trolley buses (so to speak) had run alongside the Brills. In 1975, BC Hydro stripped the GE propulsion systems from a few dozen of the T-44s and placed them in D800 shells provided by Western Flyer. This gave birth to the famous "Triesel" variant of the Flyer E800 (other E800 customers, like SF MUNI, used totally brand new propulsion systems also from GE) Sort of like how Metro recycled the propulsion systems from the 10240Ts and put them in Gillig trolleys (except without the new Kiepe fibreglass poles).

The recycled propulsion systems reduced the E800s' lifespan, and they were retired in 1985ish, notwithstanding a brief period in which some coaches were returned to service to handle Expo 86 demand.

Between 1987-1989, these coaches had their trolley poles removed and were refitted with DD 6V71N engines, plus drivetrains from the retired D700As, then moved to Burnaby. By late 1995 they were renumbered into their permanent series (V1109-V1110, B1111-B1157). The triesels started to be retired for good some time when the 1998 D40LFs started arriving at BTC, those that weren't stored were transferred to Surrey. The last triesel trip was on B1131, on March 19, 1999.

Oakridge kept V1110 (2645/5194/3152) and V1109 (2649/5198/3151), with the poles still retained, as vehicles for de-icing trolley wires. Both were preserved by TRAMS in 2001, but V1109 was resurrected during CMBC's trolleybus shortage in 2007. The coach was returned to TRAMS at a later date, and given its original number in 2013. V1110 was parted out in 2010.

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22 hours ago, 118 Vashon via EXPRESS said:

Some of the 3700s were on RapidRide duty this evening.  3708, 3721 and 3734 were on the E line and 3735 was on the C line.

They must've needed two or three in a row to avoid crush capacity. 

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By the way, just wanna ask, if all 7200s will end up at South after when 7300s arrives, why is there a majority of 7200s using ad wraps instead of billboard ads?? As I see, South Base uses more billboards ads more than Bellevue Base. The purpose to mention is that before all 7200s heads to South, they should STOP using ad wraps and install back the billboard ad plate back on. Before it heads there, will they put back the billboard plate?? By the way, why is there a 7255 at South base where all rest of 7200s at Bellevue?

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Sounds like the D60LFs are on their last legs with 2883 being a sole survivor. 

And if a post from the NW Bus Fans Facebook page is to be believed, MEHVA may not be retaining a 2300 for their fleet?

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2 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

And if a post from the NW Bus Fans Facebook page is to be believed, MEHVA may not be retaining a 2300 for their fleet?

Aww, too bad :(

As the sun sets for the 2300s, what is/was the "general" consensus on these buses? What did Metro operators, mechanics, customers and fans think of them?

Speaking only for myself, I'll miss them. I know they got slow and rickety toward the end. Still, I actively enjoyed D60HFs every single time one pulled up. Riding at the back was a particular treat -- something about the combination of the seating arrangement and the back window.

Those babies handled city and freeway routes adeptly -- and they were landmarks of the fleet. I saw ~three units sitting on the ready line at Ryerson late last week. I'm hoping that one will be preserved -- as I certainly don't expect to see them alongside 8200s ever again.

Thoughts? Memories?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Border City Transit said:

Aww, too bad :(

As the sun sets for the 2300s, what is/was the "general" consensus on these buses? What did Metro operators, mechanics, customers and fans think of them?

Speaking only for myself, I'll miss them. I know they got slow and rickety toward the end. Still, I actively enjoyed D60HFs every single time one pulled up. Riding at the back was a particular treat -- something about the combination of the seating arrangement and the back window.

Those babies handled city and freeway routes adeptly -- and they were landmarks of the fleet. I saw ~three units sitting on the ready line at Ryerson late last week. I'm hoping that one will be preserved -- as I certainly don't expect to see them alongside 8200s ever again.

Thoughts? Memories?

I really liked them, mostly because of the seats above the middle axle.  You sit up high and forward.  Interior was generally quiet too, as long as you weren't sitting in the way back.  Not the quickest things to accelerate though, but the ride was pretty smooth unless it was a pothole-ridden road, in which case all bets are off anyways 😉

I'll miss them.

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I was really hoping that MEHVA would have 2301 preserved (as I saw a picture with this bus that had a sign that said "Historic Coach"), but maybe that was only temporary...oh well. I sure will miss these things...they were beauties and had my favorite engine/transmission pairing and I loved the way it sounded all the time. 

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I will miss them too.  When they were new, I was quite impressed with how comfortable they were to drive.  They weren't the best handling coach but felt "cadillac'ish" as being kind of plush to drive.  There was a heavy, safe feel to them in the driver's seat.  To me, however, there is no comparison to the M.A.N. 2000 artics pertaining to handling.  I always say that the M.A.N. artics handled like a sports car ...didn't have the power to make it a true "sports car" but that was one bus I really enjoyed driving. 

 

eta:  plus, as I've mentioned quite a few times in the past, there's just something about a "normal" high-floor bus that just makes them seem "right."  I'm not a fan of riding or driving low floors. 

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As a customer, riding in a 2300 felt "premium." 

The high floor allowed the passenger to have a raised vantage point looking outside. Riding on a raised floor always felt more solid, compared to the modern low floors that seem to wear down, rattle, and loosen up much quicker. This particular fleet type was packed with lots of forward facing seats, something I feel most riders prefer. They were fitted with comfortable high-back, well supported vinyl seats, standard with King County coaches from the mid-90's onward.  

Some of the downsides of having too many forward facing seats can be with crush capacity. The aisles felt claustrophobic for any standing passenger, and getting around others (especially people with backpacks or rolling luggage) to either of the exit doors was a task. 

The lack of AC during the summer months would pose a problem as well. During the cooler  summer days, running the coach with all of the windows open would suffice - but as the temperature rose it could feel like a sauna. Add in a full coach of people packed in like sardines and everyone would be stewing. 

In terms of power, these things were slugs off acceleration, but did fine on the freeways. On the city streets, neighbors would often complain of how loud these coaches were on take off, and how these weighty coaches would shake the sidewalks. They also did a number on wearing down the roads as well. 

On the cons of a high floor, it always felt painfully slow for the D60 to deploy its wheelchair lift - especially in comparison to the swift loading of a wheelchair ramp on the newer coaches.

As a rider, I will miss them - but I could see why others would be fine seeing them go. 

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On another note, KOMO ran a news story about a property owner with an illegal dump in Renton: http://komonews.com/news/local/former-cop-faces-jail-time-for-10-acre-property-deemed-hazardou-by-king-county

Unfortunately the news story doesn't have video from the broadcast, nor was it captured on the page's image gallery - but when the story was aired, the dump had more than a few rotting MAN Americana shells from KC Metro lying around. 

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3 hours ago, dancingfatpotato said:

As the 7300s are showing up at Bellevue,  the 7200s are going to south, and the 1100s being retired soon, what will replace the 1100s at Bellevue Base? 

Wasn't it discussed previously that Metro has no current plans on ordering more 30-footers?  ...and they have evidently abandoned considering using anything smaller than 35-footers going forward?  If that's the case, the 3700s will be used on anything that currently has an 1100 assigned and all other assignments where 3700s are being used will use 40-footers.  That was the gist of what I gathered from that discussion from last year.

I personally never could understand the use of vans on some of  the "mainline" Metro routes (fixed routes that at times had somewhat regular heavy usage) when I worked there.  The expense of maintaining the Champions which were being used in inappropriate circumstances as far as I was concerned, baffled me.  The mechanics I talked with said that they were just not built to take that kind of usage.  They may be fine for use on Dart-type service but to use them on fixed routes that could have easily used a 30 or 35 foot heavy duty coach never made sense to me. 

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14 hours ago, anonymous guy said:

On another note, KOMO ran a news story about a property owner with an illegal dump in Renton: http://komonews.com/news/local/former-cop-faces-jail-time-for-10-acre-property-deemed-hazardou-by-king-county

Unfortunately the news story doesn't have video from the broadcast, nor was it captured on the page's image gallery - but when the story was aired, the dump had more than a few rotting MAN Americana shells from KC Metro lying around. 

 

The video news clip seems to be working now.   It's fascinating that he has so many.   Lots of other interesting vehicles sitting around there. 

 

eta:  I wonder what was going on with that red one?  ...and it appears that maybe 3062(?) was going to be or had been used as a motorhome? 

Former cop could face jail time for 10 acre property deemed hazardous by King County   KOMO.png

Former cop could face jail time for 10 acre property deemed hazardous by King County   KOMO2.png

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The 2300s were obnoxiously noisy. I know a lot of bus fans cherish the sound of a loud bus, but I've never understood the appeal. Loud coaches make bad neighbors. I could hear them a block away deep inside my insulated office building. The complaints to Metro were numerous, and that made the agency consider the noise of the coaches when making route planning decisions in residential neighborhoods. That's not a good limitation to plan around.

There was one thing I liked about the 2300s... those seats over the middle axle. It felt like you were riding on a throne, looking out over the city. I also liked the high-back, mostly forward facing seats on the coaches.

But those seats speak to a big picture problem for Metro: the 2300s, like many of the agency's coaches, were designed for the needs of long-haul suburban commuters, then heavily used on urban routes. The need to pack in more seats lead to very narrow aisles and only two doors on a 60-foot coach. When a coach is standing room only, it leads to long dwell times as riders shimmy towards the exit.

As we move into the summer months, having AC on a bus is helpful. Opening the windows on a standing room only 2300 isn't enough.

Like all high-floor coaches loading a wheelchair (or someone using a walker or uncomfortable with stairs) was a painfully slow process compared to a low-floor coach. Think of the countless minutes lost to the cycles of those lifts, now multiply that by the $2.40 per minute (or 4¢ per second) it takes to operate a Metro coach.

I also understand the emotion behind the retirement of these coaches, they've been a workhorse of the Metro fleet for 15 years, but if it is true, I understand MEHVA's decision not to keep a 2300 series coach. There was nothing particularly "historic" about these coaches, other than that it had a unique rear end, but lots of coaches out there have unique modifications for each transit agency.

I do however hope that MEHVA holds onto a 2600 series coach. Those coaches have significant historical value for their role in promoting hybrid buses in America and keeping buses in the DSTT.

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2 hours ago, roamer said:

eta:  I wonder what was going on with that red one?  ...and it appears that maybe 3062(?) was going to be or had been used as a motorhome? 

Former cop could face jail time for 10 acre property deemed hazardous by King County   KOMO.png

Former cop could face jail time for 10 acre property deemed hazardous by King County   KOMO2.png

Some of the coaches looked like they were halfway in the process of being converted into motorhomes, then whoever started the process gave up. Others look like they were parted out, possibly to help in that conversion process. It's also neat how the old teal color is coming through the poor paint job.

16 minutes ago, rickycourtney said:

I also understand the emotion behind the retirement of these coaches, they've been a workhorse of the Metro fleet for 15 years, but if it is true, I understand MEHVA's decision not to keep a 2300 series coach. There was nothing particularly "historic" about these coaches, other than that it had a unique rear end, but lots of coaches out there have unique modifications for each transit agency.

I do however hope that MEHVA holds onto a 2600 series coach. Those coaches have significant historical value for their role in promoting hybrid buses in America and keeping buses in the DSTT.

If MEHVA found a reason to maintain a Gillig Phantom, they should also have a reason to keep one of the D60s. I always felt like the spirit behind MEHVA was to retain at least one kind of coach type used during metropolitan Seattle's bus history. For example, they retained a MAN SG220, but declined to retain a SG310 or a SGT310 because the SG220 represented that particular fleet type. Not retaining a D60 seems like a missing gap in MEHVA's historical roster.

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Does Metro release ridership breakdowns on a per-route basis? e.g. Route 7 had an average weekday ridership of xyz in 2017, the total number of boardings on Route 7 was xyz in 2017. I'd especially like to see a further ridership breakdown across different times (average/total number of boardings during peak, off-peak and evening)

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