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Orion VIII

King County Metro - Seattle, Washington

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15 minutes ago, martin607 said:

Well you can do the math as well as me. Maximum range 140 miles over 18 hours is less than 8 mph. Not a speed that KC Metro is going to aspire to.

And 18 hour shift with no breaks is also something they are not going to aspire to

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Sounds to me like they will have to do a midday charging break anyway. 

As for driver shifts don't drivers hand over buses on the road ?

My point is simply that the overall average speed would be very low if they claim it will be out in service for 18 hours - a claim that @MAX BRT seemed to be doubting

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4 minutes ago, martin607 said:

Sounds to me like they will have to do a midday charging break anyway. 

As for driver shifts don't drivers hand over buses on the road ?

Some buses are indeed out for >16 hours a day utilizing two (or occasionally three) operators.  That doesn't necessarily mean that a mid-day recharge is required.  Sounds like the plan at this point is to run them on all-day routes numbered in the 100s, so there's a fair amount of coverage you can get when you're running a route that's ≈20 miles per trip with a 15+ minute recovery after each

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4 minutes ago, Atomic Taco said:

Sounds like the plan at this point is to run them on all-day routes numbered in the 100s, so there's a fair amount of coverage you can get when you're running a route that's ≈20 miles per trip with a 15+ minute recovery after each

What sort of length of time would a block like that last? 

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5 hours ago, martin607 said:

What sort of length of time would a block like that last? 

It really depends; here are a few examples:

Route 181, 12 trips in 14 hours 38 minutes platform hours (excluding deadhead), 11 hours 35 minutes of which are actually running.  Route 181 is roughly 14.5 miles long, so that's a total of 174 miles (again excluding deadhead) with an average scheduled trip speed of between 13.4 and 17.4 MPH.  This comes in well under the 18 hour mark but fails the mileage benchmark.  Even with a recharge partway through it would be tricky: scheduled layover times range from 7 to 37 minutes (and only one of those is longer than 25 minutes).

Route 164/183, no analysis here, but it's another bread and butter of an all day outing for a single vehicle

Route 181 , this one surprised me, but there are tons of commute-oriented trips that look exactly like this for part-timers

Route 179/159 another commute tripper, these are a bit more common than single trips

Route 101/150/180 This certainly utilizes a bus that is out for a morning tripper and maybe an early afternoon tripper.  If Metro had unlimited money and parking, these wouldn't exist because there'd be no reason to bring the bus back to the base

Not a battery route, but this 7 block takes a trolley out of the yard for more than 20 hours a day!

The pick sheets show the total duration that a particular operator will be on the road; they're also denoted with having a road relief or not.  ATU used to post them on their site; now it's password protected, but you can still get them from Metro if you ask.

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11 hours ago, Atomic Taco said:

Not a battery route, but this 7 block takes a trolley out of the yard for more than 20 hours a day!

Trolleys add an interesting dimension to maximum block time/distance.

In large urban systems, it's pretty common to keep a bus (i.e. block) out for 20-21 hours straight. Thanks to a street relief or two, a single bus can handily cover multiple runs.

I have experience scheduling 24/7 service... where we had blocks that were 26+ hours long (for example, pull out Wednesday at 3:30a... pull in "Wednesday" at 5:30x [technically Thursday morning, but part of Wednesday's late-night schedule]).

In these instances, we had to cut the block with a pull/pull at some point. We could schedule like that "on paper", but a single bus would max out at 21 hours due to fuel range. Generally one bus would stay on the road from early morning pull-out until ~8:30p... then the late-night chunk would get its own bus. There was no conflict with peak hour action, since the night car didn't start until after PM peak/turn-ins finished.

In theory, could a trolley stay out for an entire 26 hour block? There might be practical constraints (cleaning, etc) but fuel seemingly wouldn't be an issue. Wonder if Atlantic has or had any blocks like that...

 

 

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My guess would be that the battery buses will start out on the lower-utilization shorter blocks -- layover charging seems fairly unlikely since these are slow-charge buses rather than the fast-charge ones on the eastside, and installing all that infrastructure would presumably constrain them to certain routes. Anyways, South Base certainly seems to have plenty of shorter blocks already. Alternatively, Metro could change up their scheduling to not have such long blocks and change out buses in the middle of the day more often, which would add some costs but would help with reliability as well as making it easier for battery buses.

On a separate subject, does anyone know what's up with the East Base buses that are showing up on Atlantic routes? Looking at Pantograph, it appears that East is loaning a handful of 6900s and 8100s to Atlantic each day -- it's super weird seeing those show up on the downtown RapidRide routes!

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6 hours ago, Border City Transit said:

Trolleys add an interesting dimension to maximum block time/distance.

In large urban systems, it's pretty common to keep a bus (i.e. block) out for 20-21 hours straight. Thanks to a street relief or two, a single bus can handily cover multiple runs.

I have experience scheduling 24/7 service... where we had blocks that were 26+ hours long (for example, pull out Wednesday at 3:30a... pull in "Wednesday" at 5:30x [technically Thursday morning, but part of Wednesday's late-night schedule]).

In these instances, we had to cut the block with a pull/pull at some point. We could schedule like that "on paper", but a single bus would max out at 21 hours due to fuel range. Generally one bus would stay on the road from early morning pull-out until ~8:30p... then the late-night chunk would get its own bus. There was no conflict with peak hour action, since the night car didn't start until after PM peak/turn-ins finished.

In theory, could a trolley stay out for an entire 26 hour block? There might be practical constraints (cleaning, etc) but fuel seemingly wouldn't be an issue. Wonder if Atlantic has or had any blocks like that...

 

 

Yes they can and, I believe in some cities, they do. As you say, they need a daily clean and the carbon inserts in the trolley heads are checked and replaced. But whether the block is 18 hours, 22 hours or 26 hours shouldn't make much difference though I assume that the trolley goes out on a shorter block the next day.

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On 2/2/2020 at 9:32 AM, Border City Transit said:

 

In theory, could a trolley stay out for an entire 26 hour block? There might be practical constraints (cleaning, etc) but fuel seemingly wouldn't be an issue. Wonder if Atlantic has or had any blocks like that...

 

 

There was a 7 a few years ago that pulled out as a 49 around 0530, and pulled in off an owl trip around 0440 and it was assigned a trolley coach.

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Hey folks, I'm headed to Seattle in a couple of weeks and I was familiarizing myself with the transit. Everything seemed normal until I noticed the almost ten kilometre length of the LRT with no stations between Rainier and Tunkwila International Boulevard. I recognize that the area it passes through is purely suburban and industrial... but those both seem like the kind of areas that commuters would be wanting to access. Why is there no station there? Not even at Boeing field? Was there some political goof where that area of the city wouldn't pay for a station or something? What's the story? 

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2 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Hey folks, I'm headed to Seattle in a couple of weeks and I was familiarizing myself with the transit. Everything seemed normal until I noticed the almost ten kilometre length of the LRT with no stations between Rainier and Tunkwila International Boulevard. I recognize that the area it passes through is purely suburban and industrial... but those both seem like the kind of areas that commuters would be wanting to access. Why is there no station there? Not even at Boeing field? Was there some political goof where that area of the city wouldn't pay for a station or something? What's the story? 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Link_light_rail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Line_(Sound_Transit)#Future_plans

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I was hoping for a summary and personal views on this, since this a forum. Would you mind sharing specifics? I couldn't find anything about the massive gap in the line other than a failed discrimination lawsuit regarding its elevated construction. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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I can remember a lot of arguing and politics involved when planning the first leg of ST's Link.  The two that I remember the most were whether to run the rail underground through the valley and the other controversy that seemed to make frequent headlines back in the 90s was whether to route the line so to have a station at the Southcenter Mall.   I was kind of expecting the Southcenter routing to win out but that was ultimately discarded*.

As for how many stations to have through the valley and where to put them, that too I believe was controversial at times.  

I also seem to remember the ST board being concerned about Link's travel time to the airport.  They wanted to tout the line as a great way to access the airport but to their chagrin, their ST buses would take less time traveling  to the airport than taking Link.  Therefore, it seemed they ultimately wanted to limit the number of stations because of that.  

This article in the Seattle Weekly, even though it's from 2016 and specifically focuses on the Graham Street Station, will also give you a pretty good overview of some of the things that were going on back in the planning stages pertaining to the stations in the Rainier Valley and might address some of the questions you brought up:

The South Seattle Neighborhood That Sound Transit Forgot

I'm sure others that have much greater knowledge about this will chime in to add and/or correct my memory as I'm getting really bad at remembering things nowadays 😛

 

 

 

* I'm doing research on the run  ...here's an article that kind of sheds some light the Southcenter routing controversy with the city of Tukwila:

A blow to Sound Transit: Unhappy with route, Tukwila rejects light rail plan, jeopardizing millions in funding

 

 

 

 

 

(Maybe you can get a moderator to move this discussion to the Sound Transit thread for topic consistency purposes  ...??)

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I crunched some numbers and found the longest and shortest blocks.  This doesn't include deadhead time; only the time from the first in-service stop to the last in-service stop.

Shortest: A single school bus trip on route 824 lasting just 19 minutes.  The deadhead back and forth from East is easily longer than the trip itself.

Longest: 28 back-to-back trips on route 7 and 49.  First stop at 05:54, last at 28:59.  Total duration 23:05 plus deadheading.  If trolley dieselization was in effect I bet this would require a coach change or two.

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On 2/5/2020 at 8:12 PM, InfiNorth said:

Hey folks, I'm headed to Seattle in a couple of weeks and I was familiarizing myself with the transit. Everything seemed normal until I noticed the almost ten kilometre length of the LRT with no stations between Rainier and Tunkwila International Boulevard. I recognize that the area it passes through is purely suburban and industrial... but those both seem like the kind of areas that commuters would be wanting to access. Why is there no station there? Not even at Boeing field? Was there some political goof where that area of the city wouldn't pay for a station or something? What's the story? 

So when Link and Sound Transit was proposed and in it's early stage. There was a plan to have a Link AND Sounder station at Boeing Access Road. The original plan Link segment was to run from U District to the Airport with a goal of Northgate if funding was available. Cost overruns and I-695, which massively cut car tab funds for public transportation in 1999, which resulted in the initial segment be cut down to Westlake to Tukwila International Blvd, with the airport section opening later the same year. The station was deferred, and now is planned to open in 2031 as an infill station. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Link_light_rail

There are a lot of articles referenced in the wiki. 

This one being the most relevant to your question. https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19991119&slug=2996198 

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That is very interesting to go through.  Thanks Taco! 

And to address what you said previously about a block requiring more than one driver, I do know that "VT s" (V-tripper or variable tripper) are being utilized much more nowadays than they were 45-years ago when I first went to work there.  As was discussed previously, a VT is a tripper that has a road relief on one end or the other ...or both.  Therefore, a long block could have multiple operators and road reliefs involved.  Some part-time assignments are stand-alone VTs.  Also, most combos (part and/or full-time) can and likely do have a VT involved.

 

eta:  now that I think some more back to those days in the 1970s, there were a lot of VTs back then too.  There just was not as much service in those days and no part-timers plus many more full-time combos so it didn't seem like that many but as a percentage --and because of part-time work and fewer full-time combos--  the difference between then-and-now might not be that much different as it pertains to how many VTs are used. 

 

 

 

 

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On 2/8/2020 at 9:59 AM, TheTransitTraveller said:

Speaking of battery buses, does anyone know if/where coach 1755 is currently operating? It isn't appearing on Pantograph, so I am curious if any of you have tips for tracking it down.

None of the BEB test coaches show up in real-time feeds, unfortunately. Sounds like they're not outfitted with the necessary equipment, at least for now. I've set it up to flag them as anomalies if they ever do so they'll be visible. 

From what I've heard, they seem to appear on South Base routes (unsurprisingly) more or less randomly. 101, 128, 143, 150, 158, 168 all seem to come up a lot. Mostly it's just a matter of getting lucky.

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The first batch are artics, and will be based in the south end if current plans don't change.  I suspect that means they will replace some 6800/6900 coaches on tripper service, with the DE60LFs heading for retirement and the DE60LFRs headed to North to replace their DE60LFs.  They should do fine on all but the longest tripper blocks.

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1 hour ago, Atomic Taco said:

If you're interested in listening to KCM radio chatter, here's a 24/7 scanner feed:

Thanks for that. I used to have a scanner and listened to ETS all the time. Then they switched up their radio system and my scanner could no longer pick them up. This subspace chatter is music to my ears. So fun to listen to. 

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2 minutes ago, captaintrolley said:

Thanks for that. I used to have a scanner and listened to ETS all the time. Then they switched up their radio system and my scanner could no longer pick them up. This subspace chatter is music to my ears. So fun to listen to. 

Any scanner that supports X2 TDMA will suit you.  Control channel and talkgroups here.

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Back in 60s due to a scheduling error there was a trolley bus block that pulled out Sunday morning and pulled in Saturday night. No technical reason a trolley bus could not stay out forever. Just was noticed bus badly needed sweeping when it came in.

On 2/8/2020 at 12:36 PM, Atomic Taco said:

For anyone interested in the longest/shortest blocks, here's the full data

In Chicago we have had school tripper blocks as short as 90 minutes.

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23 hours ago, andrethebusman said:

Back in 60s due to a scheduling error there was a trolley bus block that pulled out Sunday morning and pulled in Saturday night. No technical reason a trolley bus could not stay out forever. Just was noticed bus badly needed sweeping when it came in.

Thank you - have heard this anecdote many times over the years, but always from Seattle people. You would have heard this info more contemporaneously, I presume.

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