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View Full Version : Trolly busses - expand or remove, and WHY?



RichardS
18-03-2006, 07:34 AM
A recurring topic in Edmonton is the future of our trolley ssytem. The busses are old and tired with little to no access for mobility impared individuals. Some want trolleys removed citing costs of replacement and depolyment options. Oters want this fleet expanded citing mainly environmental concerns such as noise and exhaust.

What are your thoughts? Vote and then let Edmonton know your rationale. Trust me, those in the know are lurking and your opinion WILL be heard.

I've tried to get all popular arguments in the poll. Vote for the closest and then expand on your thoughts in your post.

RichardS
18-03-2006, 07:44 AM
Some letters to the editor to get the discussion going...




SO KIM Krushell wants to eliminate trolleys? As a resident on a trolley route, I guess that my health and quality of life are not important. If there are concerns about providing accessible service on trolley routes, then a new fleet of low-floor trolleys could be ordered and in service by next summer. Finally, why are we trying to save money by getting rid of the only vehicles in the fleet not dependant on rising diesel fuel prices?

Michael Marriott

(Electricity doesn't just appear, either)





Trolley folly

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Re: "Coun. wants to decommission trolley buses," The Journal, March 13.

Coun. Kim Krushell wants to get rid of the quiet, emission-free trolleys and replace them with loud, smelly, toxin- spewing diesel buses.

Never mind the arguments of trolley history, our investment in the infrastructure, the spiralling price of petrochemical products, and the global increase in trolley usage.

As a resident where the No. 3, 5, and 7 bus lines converge, I cannot imagine the diminished quality of life if and when diesels take over these traditional trolley routes.

Rob Kotyshyn, Edmonton

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

Trolleys must go


The Edmonton Journal

__________________________________________________ _____
Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Re: "Trolley folly," by Rob Kotyshyn, Letters, March 14.

With all respect to Rob Kotyshyn's opinion on the trolleys, I support the move away from the older vehicles.

Not a single one has a low floor.

On Sunday, I spent two hours pushing a wheelchair through snow and slush. That trip included walking through the place where the Nos. 3, 5 and 7 routes converged. Had the No. 5 had a low floor, the trip would have been much easier.

For anyone in a wheelchair, travelling across Edmonton can be a maze of transfers for what would be a simple trip if all buses had low-floor service. DATS is often not an option as it has to be booked in advance, and spur-of-the-moment trips are impossible.

I can understand the desire to avoid the polluting diesel buses, but ETS needs to be available for those people who need it the most -- often people with mobility problems for whom low-floor buses exist.

Ian Stewart, Edmonton

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

MylesC
18-03-2006, 07:38 PM
People claiming the trolley buses are 'environment' absolutely reek of hypocracy. The power is coming from somewhere...most likely a coal plant. A diesel bus can be equipped with all sorts of filtering technology to make its emissions extremely efficient in the relative scale.

Where the 3, 5, and 7 converge? I daresay wherever those three routes all converge there are quite a few traditional lines converging as well.

So much ignorance and misunderstanding around this issue, unfortunately.

ThomasH
18-03-2006, 11:25 PM
I don't understand the option "EXPAND - I hate noise".

I know that you mean the noise from outside of the trolley buses but what about the noise from within? I can't stand that screetching, whining, and crying sounds those trolley buses make. The noise is so bad that I have to turn down my hearing aid. I feel sorry for the passengers who don't have that luxury.

Those buses are slow, creaky, and break down too often.

RichardS
19-03-2006, 09:47 AM
Sorry for the ambiguity. It meant to expand the trolley fleet because as some articles point out, the diesel busses are louder. One of the common complaints put forth by those living on now trolley routes. I edited the line. Let me know if that changes your vote and I will modify as necessary.

However, I find your comments most interesting. Turning down your aid because these busses whine - that must drive you insane Thomas.

RichardS
19-03-2006, 09:52 AM
I'll weigh in now. I am for removing these horribly inefficient and breakdown prone pieces of metal crap. Every morning on 107th ave, I am blocked by yet another trolley that has leapt from the wires and sits there helpless as it blocks traffic. The other type of trolley is that wonderful one that showers sparks onto the road as it merrily drives by - a wonderful fire hazard in our oh-too-dry era. Now before people decry that a fire could not be sparked by this - take a look at what happens along railways when sparks fly. This also happens on Jasper and each an every route I encounter. Funny enough, as I was stating to write this, I was waiting for my sister to arrive – she was about 20 minutes late as the 5 derailed TWICE between her apartment and TELUS Plaza.

It is true that an electric motor is way more efficient in converting energy into forward motion than any internal combustion engine known to humanity. That I will not argue. Hence where I start thinking that hybrids will be the way to go in the long term, but until then, buy diesels. Why?

No HUUUUUUUGE maintenance in keeping that visually disgusting maze of wires and switches intact. Trolley zealots rarely take that into consideration - those wires are not free. Plus, I can buy the fleet and maintain them for far far cheaper over the long term as the new technology comes to market. This overall is more cost effective to the taxpayer and could keep transit fares down longer. You could even take the costs avoided by expanding this wired mess and put it towards the best wired solution – the LRT – and give us a great backbone of fast service between our high density nodes and served by readily deployable busses from each center.

Hybrid vehicles and diesels in general can be readily redeployed on new routes and old routes can be modified quickly as traffic and ridership needs change.

With no dependency on any one manufacturer's technology (i.e. pick up shoes 1 or 2), you can mix and match your fleet as prices and needs dictate. No one-model-fleet required, and you can buy what you actually need and can afford. You can get the huge Flyers, the medium GMC, and the F550/350 small bus and make a transportation network that is readily altered to meet both time of day demands and keep frequency up in areas that need it. For example - downtown or Whyte.

The kicker - no one in the trolley zealot camp has been able to emphatically correlate the amount of pollution trolleys avoid - ESPECAILLY since ours are and will continue to be powered by coal-fired plants. Plus, they never account for the number of cars any bus can remove from the road in their myopic pollution “facts”. So, as best as I can gather from the evidence presented, the environmental concerns are truly self-observed. Don't place a diesel near me and the air/noise pollution problem does not exist anymore. Well, let me tell you Mr/Mrs/Miss trolley zealot, one of those coal fired plants lives 2 miles from my old farm - thanks. I appreciate it. You NIMBY'd that right to me. To quote the Reimer-era trolley paint job, "Don't pull the shade on our environment "- which really meant just move the environmental problem far out of the city so you could open your window and not really see it.:roll:

I find it funny. I work in telecommunications and the mantra is wireless or die. The freedom wireless gives us is incredible. Yet, in transit, there is a camp of "let's stay wired". Thanks for taking away a city's ability to quickly and cost-effectively restructure and redeploy its fleet as both it and the city grows.

Personally, I thought transit was about being available to the ridership and having the best available options for commuters to GET THEM OUT OF THEIR CARS!!! I'd much rather have a fluid fleet with frequent enough service that will take 20-50 cars each off the streets, and if that is diesel powered, so be it. Free my transit from the wires so it can move with the changes and with the accidents of the day!

kcantor
19-03-2006, 07:01 PM
Richard,

I must weigh in and support your comment/concern as to "that visually disgusting maze of wires and switches".

I have often compared the impact of the physical plant required to support an overhead trolley system as "visual pollution". Any one who has really paid attention to the difference between a street with overhead trolley lines, overhead power lines and overhead telephone lines with the vistas that are afforded without these elements knows this.

The other item that does not seem to be raised very much is the very reliability of the service itself. This may be hinted at in the discussions on "flexibility of service and routing" but it is more than "convenience". If you lose your trolley lines or the power to them, you no longer have any available transit service without a "backup" fleet of diesel buses and I find it hard to believe that is an acceptable answer. Why purchase a backup fleet that is not providing service other than in an "emergency"? If they have to be bought just to make trolley service reliable, the full cost of acquiring and servicing them should be included in any comparable cost analysis of providing electric trolley service.

Furthermore, if you "lose" one diesel bus, it is relatively easy to remove it from the road. It is much more problematic to clear an entire sector or route of inoperable trolleys.

JimR
19-03-2006, 08:41 PM
With the sparks, breakdowns, lack of felxibility and costs, I support dumping the trolleys as soon as possible.

I live downtown and see them disconnect from the wires routinely, causing huges costs in delays, employee productivity (due to tardiness) and plain old aggravation.

It will be much easier and cost-efficient to integrate cleaner-burning buses as they become available into the fleet than trying to keep the antiquated trolley system operational. Ridding our streets of that hideous tangle of wires also standardizes the fleet, translating to inceased maintenance efficiencies.

The sooner they're gone, the better.

RichardS
20-03-2006, 08:35 AM
Here is an article on the future possibilities of transit in Edmonton. I really like this guy's approach. Note - not a silly, unpractical trolley in sight!!! :D

This one is from the free section of the Journal Online...





What's sexier than a hybrid city bus?
Only the rapidly modernizing LRT, says Charles Stolte, Edmonton Transit's gung-ho new manager

Keith Gerein
The Edmonton Journal


Monday, March 20, 2006



"Imagine what it could look like 20 years from now," enthuses Charles Stolte on the subject of Edmonton's brave new world of transit.

EDMONTON - If sex can sell beer and body wash, how about a bus pass?

Edmonton's new transit manager certainly thinks the strategy can work, and he's out to convince the public he's right.

Of course, Charles Stolte isn't talking about sex exactly. He's got no plans for on-board strip shows or naked drivers.

He simply wants Edmontonians to think of their buses and LRT as sexy -- sleek, modern and sophisticated.

The style Edmonton Transit chooses will be developed over the next few years as the service pushes ahead with a major overhaul of its system, he says.

Among the biggest changes will be 26 new, state-of-the-art LRT cars, the construction of several bus rapid transit routes and a move away from diesel buses in favour of hybrids.

From what he's seen of the designs, Stolte believes the next generation of vehicles and stations will impress people with their aerodynamic shapes, new passenger-information systems and several high-tech security features.

"I think what you're going to see is a real modern transit system in Edmonton," Stolte says. "When you think about it, it's exciting. Imagine what it could look like 20 years from now."

Stolte thinks it should be fun to take transit; it should be what all the cool people are doing.

"We want to make it sexy for people," he says from his small, fifth-floor office that overlooks Jasper Avenue. "We want people to be proud of their transit service. We want them to be excited by it."

He knows it will be no small challenge to persuade commuters that it's hip to leave their cars at home, especially in a cold-weather city like Edmonton.

His strategy to win them over is still a work in progress. But what he currently lacks in detailed plans, he makes up for with a dynamic general philosophy.

The way to get residents tickled about transit, he says, is part esthetics and part attitude. For the esthetics, Stolte believes the entire transit network -- from the vehicles to the stations to the drivers' uniforms -- has to look good and give riders a sense of comfort.

There are many ways to accomplish this. However, while attention to style is important, it will get you only so far, Stolte says.

To keep people riding, the service has to project the right attitude.

"It starts with the frontline people, the drivers and security staff. If they are excited about transit, then they are going to pass it onto the ridership."

That attitude has to be matched with top-notch customer service, Stolte says, adding that he wants Edmonton Transit to be seen as a choice employer so that it can attract quality staff.

Ideas to improve convenience are also in the works, including the introduction of electronic "smart" cards for pass holders, and giving bus riders the ability to board through the back doors as well as the front.

"Little things mean a lot to people, even something like a driver calling ahead to make sure a rider can make his transfer."

"It doesn't matter what type of transit service you are operating, whether it has 18 buses or 800. The problems in every city are the same. People are the same. They all want to be treated with respect."

If all goes well, Stolte expects to see Edmonton Transit's business skyrocket past the 49 million rides it gave in 2005.

Ridership has been climbing steadily at about three or four per cent in recent years, but there is considerable pressure from city council to make it soar much higher.

Stolte, 51, has had some experience in transit makeovers. In Saskatoon, where he spent the last five years as transit manager, he initiated a project to revamp the city's bus service. Saskatoon Transit is currently implementing the plan, which will see the vehicles enhanced with air conditioning, bike racks, upgraded seating, carpeting on the side walls and ceiling to reduce noise, and no interior advertising.

Under Stolte's leadership, the Saskatchewan city also found some success by adding a canola oil product to its bus diesel fuel. Researchers have found that the additive improved fuel efficiency and reduced wear and tear on the engines.

All of these ideas could be implemented here in the near future, but Stolte says he first wants to research the successes of other cities before deciding what will work best in Edmonton.

"He's very progressive," says Angie Larson, who worked for Stolte at Saskatoon Transit and is now the interim manager. "He put our transit department front and centre and got us noticed. And because of that we were able to get some funding for programs we normally would not have got."

Besides his ideas, one of Stolte's best qualities is his enthusiasm, Larson says. He projects a positive attitude, which tends to rub off on everyone else.

"He's always upbeat and a real champion for transit. He's always very excited about things that are happening in transit and he gets other people excited."

Stolte admits that one of his biggest loves is talking to employees, colleagues or customers. Since moving to Edmonton, he says he rides the bus to work a few times each week, in part to hear what passengers think of the service.

Over the next month, he's got 30 meetings set up with employees at all different levels.

He seems to know a great many of them already, even though he's been on the job only two months. For those who don't know him yet, he offers a smile, a handshake and an insistence that they call him "Charlie" rather than "Mr. Stolte."

[email protected]

TRACKING THE TRANSIT MANAGER

Fast facts about Edmonton's new transit manager, Charles Stolte:

- Has been involved in transit more than 30 years.

- Started out driving buses, streetcars and subway trains in Toronto before moving up the management chain.

- Headed up transit services in Welland, Ont., Whitehorse, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Saskatoon before coming to Edmonton.

- Married to wife, Linda; has three grown sons.

- During his time in Yukon, developed a love for fishing for salmon and arctic char. Also enjoys coaching hockey.

- Insists people call him "Charlie."

© The Edmonton Journal 2006

MylesC
20-03-2006, 04:21 PM
Ooo! Sounds great!

highlander
30-03-2006, 03:02 PM
I do think that the trolley busses should be retired. I like quietness, and the esthetic issue of the overhead wires does not bother me, but they do derail too often, and they don't help th image or reliability of transit in this city at all. If they were real streetcars, that would be a different story.

The only way trolleys affect me is the force my LRT to slow to 25kph crossing 95th street.

Titanium48
31-03-2006, 05:40 PM
I agree with the above complaints about trolley busses, but I would still be a little sad to see them go. They have comfortable seats with actual padding!

ThomasH
01-04-2006, 12:30 AM
I have a hearing problem and say those trolley busses are anything but quiet.

Speedyturtle
01-04-2006, 01:03 AM
I think the overhead wires cheapen the look of our city.

DanC
01-04-2006, 01:08 AM
You lose the trolley buses, ok fine. But what do you with the millions of dollars of infastructure in place for them? Let it sit and rot or spend millions and millions decommisioning it?
Don't be fooled, getting ride of those overhead wires is a huge amount of work.

RichardS
01-04-2006, 11:05 AM
Yes, yes it is. But it is a one time cost and could be written off to scrapping. Ongoing maintenance and repair costs of the wires are factored into the cost equation for continuing to run these.

I would sincerely like to see the full cost estimate on decomissioning and scrapping vs procurement, expansion, and ongoing maintenance. I'll bet dimes to doughnuts that the simple part of the material and labor costs associated with the maintenance of the lines far exceeds the one time depreciation hit.

CSR
01-04-2006, 10:21 PM
The electric motors on Trolley Busses require very very little maintenace in comparison to a diesel engine. That probably more than makes up for line maintenance.

Energy costs? Varies on the cost of the fuel used to power the lines, but it can be cheaper than diesel.

Less street level pollution, definitely.
Quieter? Definitely.

That said though the basic concept of trolley busses has an achilles heel. They are basically street cars without tracks. As such they can only really be used in roles where one would use a street car or train. You save some money on the tracks, but that's it.

They work best on long linear routes, with a lot of stops and starts. As soon as the route becomes too short, or has too many turns, or becomes enmeshed in regular traffic, the diesel bus becomes more economical / flexible. You need a long route to pay for the cost of the extra infrastructure and a diesel can make a one block detour around a 3 car pile up... a trolley can't.

We don't have too many long streets with high density / frequent stops where a bus can just go back and forth all day. THose that we do, like Jasper, haver traffic issues.

Electric might make sense on dedicated busways... but by the time you've built the busway, and put in the overhead wires, especially if you need kilometers of them, and bought a modern up to date fleet of electric buses... you may as well put in an LRT.

Your energy saving would have to be quite high to justify it otherwise.

If we still had the full Trolley system with all teh routes we did 30+ years ago... it might well be worth the investment in keeping them. But right now we have to spend money, a lot of it, to make trolley's viable. And we also have to spend a lot of money on buses for Bus high speed transit, and to finish upgrading the fleet. Our money will go farther if we don't spread it out amongst too many things.

I like trolleys emotionally, but they just aren't rational for Edmonton now.

RichardS
01-04-2006, 11:00 PM
The electric motors on Trolley Busses require very very little maintenace in comparison to a diesel engine. That probably more than makes up for line maintenance.

Not from the preliminary numbers I've seen. These old motors are crap...


(...)

Electric might make sense on dedicated busways... but by the time you've built the busway, and put in the overhead wires, especially if you need kilometers of them, and bought a modern up to date fleet of electric buses... you may as well put in an LRT.

Your energy saving would have to be quite high to justify it otherwise.



You make some good points, but the "just put in LRT" hit home with me. I agree.

CSR
01-04-2006, 11:28 PM
The electric motors on Trolley Busses require very very little maintenace in comparison to a diesel engine. That probably more than makes up for line maintenance.

Not from the preliminary numbers I've seen. These old motors are crap...



True, but our trolley's are worn out. The point was that a Trolley will outlast a deisel and require less maintenance than a internal combustion engine of equivalent age. We don't have any diesels of equivalent age in active service that I know of :)

But the Trolley fans also have to realize that Edmonton, for better or worse doesn't have a trolley system anymore. What little we have left needs replacing or a complete overhaul. The question isn't "Are trolleys good?" but "Should Edmonton buy and install a brand new trolley system or spend the money on BRT and LRT?" And the answer to the second question, for me, is spend the money on LRT and BRT.

DanC
02-04-2006, 03:38 AM
DC Motors are generally maintenance free other than replacing brushes. DC motors also haven't changed much in design for 50 years. Problem is that these motors have reached the end of their service life, and need to be completly replaced or rewound.

Overall though, you can't get a better more maintenance free motor than a DC motor. AC motors are coming along but require complex control systems and expensive for speed regulation.

RichardS
02-04-2006, 11:27 AM
I would never argue the efficiency, the smooth torque curve, nor the overall power of an electric motor - they kick royal HP over any internal combustion engine due to the smooth and constant power applied to the motor and the fact that there are far far far far fewer moving parts.

However, it still does not help me when looking at a traditional bus trolley vs a diesel fleet (much cheaper to buy) and waiting for the hybrids. I look at the flexibility that a hybrid brings, and then LRT it when we have such a powerful straight route. Allow me to have the large hybrids running at peak hours and the smaller 20 passenger ones off peak, and I have a cost effective system that can change with rider demands. ...and I get an electric motor a la locomotives!

DanC
02-04-2006, 12:45 PM
I don't disagree at all. I just like to remind people that there is a reason large machinery tends to use large electric motors as their actual drives and combustion to generates the electricity for the drive motors.
Its the Electrician in me. Electrics rule, combustions drool!

RichardS
02-04-2006, 02:06 PM
yeah yeah Sparky.... :P

You really need to come out to the PROMOTE meetings already... :)

DanC
02-04-2006, 02:18 PM
You need to stop having them on tuesdays...I have volleyball.

Transitfanmike
03-05-2006, 11:27 AM
As someone who supports trolleys, there are many reasons why we should retain the system.
1. Cost: The cost has been severely overstated. First of all, the consultant's report only identified $20 million in savings, not $60 million as management claims. And that initial $20 million can be reduced through buying fewer trolleys, thereby conforming to industry standards (buying 46 trolleys instead of 49), and by not buying back up diesels. The practice of having a back up diesel bus fleet is unique to Edmonton pretty much worldwide, and nowhere else has any need to do so. Moscow, for instance, has a fleet of 1600 trolley buses, yet does not have even one back up diesel. Closer to home, San Francisco and Vancouver operate large fleets of over 200 trolleys, without any form of motor bus backup.
2. Flexibility: With proper management, trolley buses can get around just about any disruption. Throughout Edmonton, incidents are managed very poorly in ways that maximize the disruption to customers, and minimize the ability of trolleys to operate. If better management practices were implemented, then trolleys would be able to operate more often and more efficiently. A prime example is the SLRT construction at 76 Ave. ETS has removed the wires for the duration of construction, even though the trolleys could have been accommodated and allowed to operate through. This drives up the cost of trolley bus operation, and reduces its efficiency. As for minor accidents, those usually block diesel buses too. I've been on diesel buses that have had to wait for an accident to clear. Trolley buses can be pushed around accidents, and new trolleys will have auxiliary power that will allow them to run up to 4 km off wire, with frequent stops (such equipment is standard on all new trolleys). Also of note, in 1999-2000 Edmonton bought SIX auxiliary power units to install in trolleys to help deal with these situations, yet only ONE was installed (in unit 160).
3. Environmental Impact: Trolleys definitely come out ahead in this one. Trolleys produce zero emissions in street, and ETS could easily purchase wind power for both trolleys and LRT (lest you think that this can't be done because the wind farms are all in southern Alberta, both Mill Woods and Southgate malls get a sizeable portion of their power from wind.) If we did this, it would be a sizeable dent of emissions, and could help set a precedent for future investments in green power by government sources. So unit 158 gets it right when it says "Don't Pull the shade on our environment" with trolleys.
4. Sustainability: Perhaps the number one reason for keeping trolleys. Oil is not going down at all, and will only keep going up, bringing diesel fuel prices with it. Trolleys are not dependant on oil, as most of their power comes from coal (and could easily come from wind or solar or hydroelectric). The cost to the city for diesel has gone up over 100 % since 2000. The cost for electricity, which was cheaper to begin with, has only gone up 30%.
5. Reliability: New trolleys would be very reliable, and would not have any real problems. The main problems with the current BBC trolleybuses are largely due to the fact that they have been treated like crap for the past 25 years. Just take a look at the lower panels of any trolley bus (excluding the refurbs which have finally been started), and you'll see pretty bad corrosion. GMC diesel buses that are up to 10 years older than the trolleys do not have any corroded panels or worn out stripes. With proper driver training, the problem of poles losing contact with the wire would also be reduced. I know experienced trolley drivers who can go for months or years without ever losing one pole.
Finally, the fact is that Edmonton is almost alone in the move to eliminate trolleys. Every other trolley city in North America (Boston; Philadelphia; Vancouver; Dayton, Ohio; Seattle, San Francisco; Mexico City; Guadalajara, Mexico) have committed to keeping trolleys. Worldwide, more cities are choosing modern trolley buses as an alternative to diesels and as a practical transportation solution for the 21st century.

CSR
03-05-2006, 07:36 PM
1) So savings are not as great as managment claims, but are still $20 million.
2) What you are saying is that Trolleys are not as inflexible as people think. But they are still less flexible than regular buses.
3) The purchase of "green energy" off the network is an interesting accounting excercise, used to encourage the development of "green" energy production. It shouldn't be confused with what is actually powering the vehicles. And if but a small fractionof the diesel fleet were to switch to Biodiesel, roadside emmisions would drop remarkably and you would be using green energy. And you would be certain of it.
4) Saying we can run on coal derived electricity sort of undercuts argument #3 doesn't it? On an economic viewpoint the true cost of fuel is the cost per mile. I don't have the figures on $/Km for diesel vs Trolley, so I'll give you this one, but the vast majority of the fleet is diesel. It may become hybrid electric with biodiesel which would nearly match a trolley for emmisions and probably exceed in efficiency. Even if not, the cost of converting the city to run trolleys and replacing thos diesels is huge.
5) True. Electric motors are much more low maintenace than internal combustiuon. But, if you start using AC, you add some maintenance load, then the APU will be internal combustion, and of course tires, axels, bearings and the rest all need maintenance whatever the motor is. Add in the cost of maintaining the transformer stations, the overhead lines, switching stations and the like and while trolleys still come out ahead on maintennace, it's doubtful its by as much as people think.

You have given 5 reasons why you like trolleys.

That isn't the same as giving 5 reasons why trolleys are a superior choice for transit for Edmonton.

ThomasH
03-05-2006, 11:35 PM
I know experienced trolley drivers who can go for months or years without ever losing one pole.

Experienced trolley drivers know that you need to go slow, memorize where all the pot holes and bumps are, and know how far the bus can go from right to left while keeping contact with the wires. In winter the bumps are unpredictable so they drive slower.

Alot of people have busy lives, taking the slow lane isn't gonna make their lives easier.

RichardS
04-05-2006, 08:37 AM
(...)
3) The purchase of "green energy" off the network is an interesting accounting excercise, used to encourage the development of "green" energy production. It shouldn't be confused with what is actually powering the vehicles. And if but a small fractionof the diesel fleet were to switch to Biodiesel, roadside emmisions would drop remarkably and you would be using green energy. And you would be certain of it.
(...)

You have given 5 reasons why you like trolleys.

That isn't the same as giving 5 reasons why trolleys are a superior choice for transit for Edmonton.

Point #3 is the one that annoys me most. I agree CSR 100000%, green energy claims right now is an accounting/marketing exercise. Yeah right, the C-Train is 100% wind powered - bullocks....

I worked in generation for awhile. Trust me, the VAST majority of our power is coal-fired. The C-Train et al is powered by coal. Don't let this interesting little cost center posting exercise fool you. Power comeS from the grid. The grid is over 80% coal fired. Genesee just built another ~400MW unit - basically several hundred windmills that are running at full tilt 24X7 - and they don't exist yet! At 500kW per unit....well...hello loss of 2-3 quarter sections of land.

There are plans to build Genesee 4 or Keephills 3, however TransAlta and Epcor come to an agreement (I'd prefer G4, but then I am bias).

So, as much as the "green" marketing campaign is touted, look at the reality.

As for the trolley's themselves, I still prefer to wait for a hybrid. No maintenance on overhead wires, ease of re-routing due to accidents et al, and still advantages of an electric propulsion engine. Locomotives have done this for years, so have ships. Why not busses?????????????????

Titanium48
04-05-2006, 01:30 PM
[As for the trolley's themselves, I still prefer to wait for a hybrid. No maintenance on overhead wires, ease of re-routing due to accidents et al, and still advantages of an electric propulsion engine. Locomotives have done this for years, so have ships. Why not busses?????????????????

Indeed, city busses are the ideal application of hybrid technology due to their constant stop-start operation. Cutting fuel consumption in half is possible. As you say, locomotives have used hybrid powertrains (albeit without the batteries) since diesel replaced steam engines. If car makers can turn a $30,000 car into a hybrid for an extra $3000-$5000, surely the bus makers can turn a $300,000 bus into a hybrid for under $50,000. The 24 passenger small busses might even be able to use an on-the-shelf hybrid powertrain from a large SUV.

sean
04-05-2006, 01:34 PM
New flyer just released a hybrid abit ago and so far kelowna and seattle seem to be enjoying them.

http://www.newflyer.com/index/PR_GM_Hybrid

I'm torn on the trolleys, mostly for the nostalgia however. I always loved seeing the sparks fly off the contacts in the rain or snow, but I think i'd have to say 'cya' to them.

They're cumbersome, slow, unpredictable, and outdated.

RichardS
04-05-2006, 01:35 PM
There are new small diesel-electrics for small sailboats....

My goodness, subs are powered by this...why not a bus???????




Michael Grimaldi, President of General Motors of Canada, said, “With this agreement, BC Transit will set the standard for fuel efficient, environmentally-friendly bus fleets in Canada. We are in discussions with other transit agencies in Canada and have received genuine interest from authorities in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Hamilton and other jurisdictions.”

CSR
04-05-2006, 08:19 PM
I'm torn on the trolleys, mostly for the nostalgia however. I always loved seeing the sparks fly off the contacts in the rain or snow, but I think i'd have to say 'cya' to them.



Exactly. I like trolleys. But looking at it with cold unemotional logic they aren't the right choice for Edmonton any more. Maybe if we had kept a fairly extensive route system, but we didn't.

It doesn't make sense to expand, and it doesn't make hard dollars and cash sense to keep the few we have as basic transportation service.

If an argument is to made for keeping them in some form or another, it has to be made on intangibles, on emotional grounds, or on those very very few select areas where a trolley is clearly superior.

In otherwords recognize that for Edmonton a trolley line is a niche market, and a luxury at that. Compelling arguments can be made for luxury niche products... it remains to be seen if one can be made for Trolleys

LindseyT
04-05-2006, 08:52 PM
I don't understand the emotional attachment to trolleys. If they were turn of the 20th century trolleys on rails that ran up and down commerciel districts I could understand, but there essentially 40 year old buses with wires running overhead. What makes them so special?

CSR
04-05-2006, 10:39 PM
What's the emotional attachment to 60's muscle cars?

Or to certain types and era's of music?

What is the current emotional attachment to big "mufflers" on small import cars that make them sound like a bee with flatulence?

Emotions are largely personal, and thus the attraction will vary from person to person.

For me, Trolley's have always been behind the times, so in the late sixties as a kid I remmeber 50's style trolleys. They looked different than all the other buses, and I liked different.

I like the sizzle and snap of the poles sparking at the junctions, and the ring of the wires.

And being raised in an era where quiet was difficult to obtain, quiet was associated with power and performance and expense in advertising ( the opposite of today perhaps, where most cars are quiet, so people try to make their cars as noisy as possible. )

I love the feel of smooth constant acceleration, just as I do on the LRT, that is provided by electric power.

All of these are the personal reasons why I like trolleys. But I also like DC-3's. I don't expect airlines to fly them just because of that.

LindseyT
04-05-2006, 11:30 PM
Fair enough I guess.

RichardS
05-05-2006, 08:47 AM
What is the current emotional attachment to big "mufflers" on small import cars that make them sound like a bee with flatulence?



:lol:

or a dying calf...or sheep...or whatever. They don't sound powerful, just like a herd of animals yelling through a CFCW Bev Monroe Knee-slapper winning MJB coffee can...



All of these are the personal reasons why I like trolleys. But I also like DC-3's. I don't expect airlines to fly them just because of that.

Trolleys have some nostalgia, yes. However, the ones we have are too old. Like the DC-3, its use has passed or is very limited. (although it is still operating up north taking down the DEW line it helped install).

The reality here is that hybrids are coming. They are more nimble and flexible. If we are to invest extra money into a system, it should be something with an eye to the future, and an eye to deployment. Transit sufferes because it forces people to fit its schedule, and we don't like to be told what to do. When we now have an option that gives us flexibility in deployment vs being stuck on a set route, why wouldn't we look that way?

I also see comments about Seattle's trolleys. I know the METRO drivers I speak to HATE them. Why? ...always jumping wires, hard to turn, stuck in traffic (real traffic that is)....

CSR
05-05-2006, 08:59 PM
Trolleys have some nostalgia, yes. However, the ones we have are too old. Like the DC-3, its use has passed or is very limited. (although it is still operating up north taking down the DEW line it helped install).


Exactly. DC-3's are still used, but in very peculiar circumstances where it's unique characteristics are particularily well suited, or as a tourist draw focusing on nostalgia.

I could see a "Heritage" route running trolleys ( maybe up and down Whyte ave and tying in with the street car. ) Or a downtown loop using 104th and Jasper. But the real problem with that is that our trolley's aren't old enough. Sort of like a K-car, old enough to be old, but not yet old enough to be "vintage" They wouldn't provide the visual signature that would make the effort and cost worth while.

Still, we should maybe save about 20 of our buses and some for spares and mothball them somewhere. In 20 years they could be quite the attraction, like steam trains and street cars :)

RichardS
06-05-2006, 01:24 AM
K-cars bring out nostalgia??? ;)

hee hee

CSR
06-05-2006, 07:09 PM
K-cars bring out nostalgia??? ;)

hee hee

Hey, my buddy's first new car was a K-car. He always says if he wins the lottery he is going to get an old K car, have it gutted and a super performance inside put in under the exterior :lol:

DanC
06-05-2006, 10:14 PM
K-car hemi, where you drive from the back seat!

LindseyT
07-05-2006, 11:27 AM
The Spirt R/T wasn't your average K-car. Although perhaps calling out the 5-series, SHO, and Q45 as it's competition wasn't the best idea. :lol:

http://www.xmission.com/~dempsey/shelby/91rtad.jpg

lux
08-07-2006, 01:56 PM
Where do I vote:
REMOVE: Sell the scrap copper and buy fuel cell powered busses with the savings.

(unique and eco-friendly)

JayBee
22-08-2006, 03:12 PM
Uh, with all due respect to K-Cars...

I think the trolleys are the best non-rail mass transit technology available. Diesels are noisier (sorry ThomasH, It's nothing personal.), and cause cancer. So great, we get hybrid diesels and catylitic converters. Hybrid diesels cost more to buy and maintain, and are still less energy efficient than trolleys. Catylitic converters further decrease efficiency, and only reduce, but don't eliminate carcinogens.

Okay, what about a fuel cell bus? Even more expensive to buy, and definitionally heavier, and therefore less efficient. (Trolleys, Hybrids, and fuel cells all use similar motors, and chasis, only the source of power is really different. Which is heavier: batteries, a diesel engine and a tank of fuel in a hybrid; an explosion resistant system of high pressure hydrogen tanks with a fuel cell; or a couple of sticks on the roof that don't actually derail much and would derail even less if we got younger than 1980s technology up there?)

I know the arguement about the overhead wires being an eyesore, because I used to support it too (when I was in junior high school) but we've got a lot more than trolley wire up there that we could take down first. (and I don't even mean Hall D., I mean regular electric wires to homes.) And if we paint the poles black or something other than the ubiquitous discount grey that the city currently does, they could even look stylish.

What's more, we have to think about building a permanently sustainable city. When do we really believe oil prices are coming down? Here in Tokyo the second newest permanent mass transit line (called the Yurikamome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yurikamome) is a rubber tired, electric line powered train of six cars. It's considered the height of modernity in a country known for modernity, and yet it's really just a long, driverless trolley!

Really, it's obviously less of a challenge to build a low floor trolley than a low floor diesel or hybrid or fuel cell, and the exterior could look any way we want it to. We only have to buy them.

ThomasH
22-08-2006, 06:02 PM
Hi JayBee, I'm not offended by your opinion on noise but I do question your statement that Diesel engines cause cancer. Do you have any proof to show that this is the case? A year ago there was a protest from residents in the south side complaining that a new school was going to be built too close to power lines. The residents were worried that the power lines would cause cancer.

Brentk
22-08-2006, 06:22 PM
I don't understand the emotional attachment to trolleys. If they were turn of the 20th century trolleys on rails that ran up and down commerciel districts I could understand, but there essentially 40 year old buses with wires running overhead. What makes them so special?

Precisely, I think if these were on tracks then we expand, however they are an eye sore and unreliable. I am all for the environment, but I think we need to be leaders in environmental development, not followers. The current system places us in the latter catagory.

JayBee
23-08-2006, 01:04 AM
Hi JayBee, I'm not offended by your opinion on noise but I do question your statement that Diesel engines cause cancer. Do you have any proof to show that this is the case? A year ago there was a protest from residents in the south side complaining that a new school was going to be built too close to power lines. The residents were worried that the power lines would cause cancer.

Hi Thomas.

I just did a search for "diesel cancer" on Google and the results were pretty overwhelming. Here's one quote originally from the American E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency?):

"Diesel's predominance leads to some surprising results. For example, San Francisco, California shows a risk level of 2,600 additional cancer cases per million, with 90 percent of the risk coming from diesel emissions. The goal set in the Clean Air Act for air toxics is a maximum of one additional case per million."

That was found here:
http://www.rag.org.au/buc/cancerrisk.htm

(The other 10% were from all other forms of man-made air pollution.)

I'm not specifically vouching for either the American E.P.A. or that organisation with the web page, but it seems the vast majority of researchers are in agreeance. To be fair, the risk is downplayed by some people, but only by people either selling diesel or engines for some reason.

I do actually respect your nuance about the noise level on the inside vs. the outside, but if we buy an upgraded fleet (which I really hope we do), we can ask the maker to put some soundproofing in the roof. I'm all for getting trolleys we can all be proud of, not the "essentially 40 year old busses" that LindseyT mentions. Let's get nice looking, more reliable, and more comfortable ones, and then watch the diesels suffer the comparisons for a change. I don't think we should compare old technology to new technology. Good new trolleys do exist, we just have to get them.

max
23-08-2006, 03:12 PM
Why do some posters compare Edmonton's 30 year old beater trolleys to new diesels? Of course they will lose that contest.

I have been a few places where there are new-ish trolleys. Geneva, San Francisco, Vancouver (hmm, not cities to which Edmonton is habitually compared...). Those new trolleys are very slick - especially Geneva. If Swiss urban planners like to use them, they can't be all bad. And they do, there are trolleys in Basel and Zurich as well.

On pollution: there's street level pollution versus pollution out of town at the smoke stack. Air quality matters most where there's most people, so not at wherever the power plant is. Also, when there is low demand for power, the plant has to churn out a minimum amount anyway, so wired electric transport runs at zero environmental cost.

Noise: internal combustion engine clatter is a real annoyance in any busy city. The less, the better.

Hills: Edmonton has steep climbs out of the valley. Electric motors have completey flat torque curves, which is what you want.

Urban Character: see list of cities above. Edmonton could even buy up a few old Geneva buses, just for fun, the way San Francisco runs old Boston streetcars. Trolleys have a nice 1930s aesthetic. Removing them makes the city blander, by just a sliver. Not sure that's a good choice for Edmonton.

ThomasH
23-08-2006, 09:02 PM
JayBee, I did a search on Cancer and Electricity and it drew up lots of websites too. None of them claim to have concrete proof though so it may be a little premature to include cancer into a debate on public transportation. http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html Keep in mind that the power plants would be producing the pollution from trolley busses so we are just moving the problem from one place to another.

As for new trolley busses, I havn't ridden in any except for what Edmonton already has. My number one concern is how trolley busses handle winter conditions the ones we have now don't do a great job, we need something that is quick and reliable in any weather conditions.

JayBee
24-08-2006, 12:19 PM
JayBee, I did a search on Cancer and Electricity and it drew up lots of websites too. None of them claim to have concrete proof though so it may be a little premature to include cancer into a debate on public transportation. http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/powerlines-cancer-FAQ/toc.html Keep in mind that the power plants would be producing the pollution from trolley busses so we are just moving the problem from one place to another.


You make valid points, but I'll address the second one first. You're right that we're moving the pollution from one place to another, but with all due, much deserved respect to our inspirational Emperors of the Wilderness in Genesee, there are somewhat fewer people (what the heck, including all large mamals even) out there than there are inside the city. (smaller mamals probably die of something else before cancer could manifest itself. I'm guessing here.) I'm not arguing about CO2 causing global warming, I'm talking about local human health. And I don't think the trolleys are even causing a dent in the total electrical production out West of the city. What's more, Genesee in particular is actually very good at reducing pollutants directly harmful to mamalian life. I presume it's better than any known internal combustion engine, but I'd rather someone else research that exactly. In any case, it's better away from the city than right amidst it.

Now your first point about proof is a decidedly higher hurdle. To try to keep it short though, first off, can you prove that you physically exist in the manner you believe yourself to? Can you prove that you're not in some kind of Matrix-like suspended animation right now? Or that you're not just a computer simulation without a body at all? I'll wait for your answer on those, but my point is simply, there is such a thing as "proof", and then there's such a thing as "reasonable to believe", and I'll just shoot for the latter. It's possible that outside deductive logic and mathematics, there is no proof of anything.

In the real world, even good empirical evidence has lots of exceptions, like "Harry Tailpipesucker lived to the ripe old age of 82" and so what can you do. You still won't find it impossible to see "researchers" who will look at you straight in the eye and say that "Tobacco smoke cannot be linked to any human health problem". But is that reasonable to believe? Anyone can answer that for themselves, but privately I'll tell you I don't believe it for a second. Now looking at the mechanism of diesel smoke if you take diesel smoke and condense it, and then analyse its constituents, there are over 20 chemicals found in it that are known to cause cancer. Then check out these little gems:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002381,00.html
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=27585

and for me at least, a simple forest is starting to appear where there were previously a bunch of random trees: Low temperature combustion seems to create carcinogens. That, to me, is reasonable to believe. Combine that with the EPA thing I quoted before which seems to suggest that diesel is one of the worst forms of low temperature combustion, and I'm ready to condem diesel vehicles. (Coincidentally, Tokyo has just made it civic policy to use none of them, which is stopping well short of banning them, but one thing that Japan does well is preventative health care, hence the long life expectancies. I think it does add credence to the arguement.)

Now about electric wires causing cancer, the studies are drastically less conclusive (I won't say inconclusive, but the term "weak" shouldn't be controversial.) But yeah, there are some points of evidence like "Jeanette Powerpolesitter disolves into a soup of tumours and dies at 38." But when the mechanism is studied, the amount of current induced in a human body at 20 metres from a very high voltage line (much higher voltage than trolley wires), while measurable, is less than the current that your own brain sends and recieves with naturally through the nervous system. So if electrical wires can give me cancer, so could my own brain. I think I'd rather live with the risk and keep the brain around.

Again, I'm not bothering with "proof." It's just I think have enough information to say publicly that I believe trolleys are vastly better in an urban environment than diesels when considering public health.



As for new trolley busses, I havn't ridden in any except for what Edmonton already has. My number one concern is how trolley busses handle winter conditions the ones we have now don't do a great job, we need something that is quick and reliable in any weather conditions.

I couldn't agree with you more there. (luckily. is there a maximum length on posts around here?) But as Max just pointed out, at least three Swiss cities are using nice new ones, and I don't think Switzerland is exactly tropical either.

max
24-08-2006, 12:39 PM
If there are issues with overhead power lines & cancer, I imagine - don't know for sure - that they relate to very high tension overhead power lines. Not a few hundred volts like buses & LRTs use.

DanC
24-08-2006, 12:43 PM
^That is correct.

Willamena
24-08-2006, 04:38 PM
I think totally replacing diesel with trolly busses in a limited area like downtown to 124th street would really add some 'old town' appeal to the city centre, and perhaps bring shoppers back that way.

ThomasH
24-08-2006, 09:30 PM
"What's more, Genesee in particular is actually very good at reducing pollutants directly harmful to mamalian life. I presume it's better than any known internal combustion engine, but I'd rather someone else research that exactly."

That is a good question, I would also like to know how efficient Genesee is compared to the internal combustion engine on a per capta basis. From what I've heard the Genesee uses Alberta coal which is supposed to burn cleaner than average for coal. I also believe that the emissions are filtered before being released into the air.

As for carcinogens, I believe we are completely surrounded by them. The human body has to deal with thousands of substances it never had to deal with before, the catch 22 is that if we try to keep our bodies clean we end up with increased levels of alergies. The best thing to do is to keep ourselves fit and healthy and not get too paranoid about it. When Chernobol (sp) devistated Ukraine, alot of wildlife died from radiation sickness but the animals are returning to the area, and they appear to be healthy. I find that encouraging; our bodies are having a hard time dealing with cancer now but perhaps future generations won't have as may problems as we had.

JayBee
27-08-2006, 02:33 AM
"What's more, Genesee in particular is actually very good at reducing pollutants directly harmful to mamalian life. I presume it's better than any known internal combustion engine, but I'd rather someone else research that exactly."

That is a good question, I would also like to know how efficient Genesee is compared to the internal combustion engine on a per capta basis. From what I've heard the Genesee uses Alberta coal which is supposed to burn cleaner than average for coal. I also believe that the emissions are filtered before being released into the air.

As far as I know, that is correct. Which is very good, I think. In any case, it's better away from the city.

In trying to find info directly comparing diesel bus emissions to Genesee emissions by the way, I found this PDF (on Epcor's site):

http://www.epcor.ca/docs/CoalGenPaper030604.pdf

If you look on page 23, you can see Genesee's harmful pollution emissions profile compared with oil. On page 24, you can see the GHG emissions. In both cases though, the oil is not specified as diesel, and in any case it is for fixed powerplant installations of oil, not moving vehicles, which are probably worse still. But still, as my point is about cancer, Genesee is clearly superior for emissions both as a technology, and especially as a location.

For GHG, there is more ambiguity, but trolleys need not be tied to Genesee for a source of electrons.


As for carcinogens, I believe we are completely surrounded by them. The human body has to deal with thousands of substances it never had to deal with before, the catch 22 is that if we try to keep our bodies clean we end up with increased levels of alergies. The best thing to do is to keep ourselves fit and healthy and not get too paranoid about it. When Chernobol (sp) devistated Ukraine, alot of wildlife died from radiation sickness but the animals are returning to the area, and they appear to be healthy. I find that encouraging; our bodies are having a hard time dealing with cancer now but perhaps future generations won't have as may problems as we had.

I know some people cringe at comparisons of Edmonton to places like Geneva or Vienna, but Chernobyl? I hope that's not the standard for Edmonton!

But as for your point about humanity evolving to deal with carcinogens, lets wait for the evolution first, and go all gung-ho for surrounding ourselves with diesel smoke second. I hardly think that re-investing in trolleys is paranoia.

IKAN104
01-09-2006, 07:06 PM
Wow. :shock:

This thread has gotten really really technical. Allow me to simplify it all.

I say get rid of the trolleys simply because the overhead trolley lines and the wires that support the trolley lines and the extra poles along the side of the road that suspend the wires that support the trolley lines are UGLY!

I couldn't care less if the busses do or do not cause cancer. I'm more concerned with the visual pollution we have brought upon ourselves. It's embarassing how ugly we have made our city by being "environmentally friendly".

Get rid of them. They are ugly!

DanC
01-09-2006, 09:28 PM
^That is a pretty short sighted attitude. Making Edmonton look better would be done easier by holding developers to a higher standard and instituting more clean up of the roads and garbage, than tearing out a huge piece of infrastructure.

ChrisD
01-09-2006, 11:32 PM
^That is a pretty short sighted attitude. Making Edmonton look better would be done easier by holding developers to a higher standard and instituting more clean up of the roads and garbage, than tearing out a huge piece of infrastructure.
True, San Francisco and Vancouver still use trolley buses...but do those overhead lines deter from their man-made beauty? Nope!!

TKN
02-09-2006, 08:07 AM
By the same logic, we should completely remove roads if they have potholes and replace them with the most toxic gravel available.

The simplicity of that argument is surpassed only by the beauty of diesel plumes.



^That is a pretty short sighted attitude. Making Edmonton look better would be done easier by holding developers to a higher standard and instituting more clean up of the roads and garbage, than tearing out a huge piece of infrastructure.
True, San Francisco and Vancouver still use trolley buses...but do those overhead lines deter from their man-made beauty? Nope!!

You can add Salzburg, Austria; Lyon, France; Boston and Seattle, USA; and every major city in both Switzerland and Italy to the list of ugly cities, apparently.

http://www.proaktiva.ch/trolleybus/photo/hegibach_199.jpg
The ugliness of Zurich! Cover your eyes!

Edmcowboy11
02-09-2006, 10:29 AM
Edmonton Transit System
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trolley Bus
Edmonton Transit operates 53 zero emission electric trolley buses manufactured in 1981-2 by Brown Boveri and GMC on routes 3, 5, 7, 120, 133, 135 and tripper service on route 9. Routes 3, 5 and 7 are heavily traveled mainline routes:


I've tried to read through all the forum, all the technical data, emotional attachments, etc... and I thought I would add my 2 cents to this debate.

The current Trolley system is ok but all the buses are too old and out of date. As mentioned they do not have wheelchair access and overall they need overhauling.

As for the emotional attachement, I understand it but that is no reason to keep trolley busses cause they would be missed.

Now before continuing I'll state that my preference is focusing on the LRT system. I would prefer seeing LRT expanded to a point that they would replace buses weather it is trolley buses or diesel buses.

With that said, this is what they should do with the trolley system. Either replace the entire trolley bus system with brand new trolley buses (similar purhaps to the bus pictured in TKN's posting) or if they don't intend to replace the buses, then scrap the whole trolley system. It's a very black and white answer I admit but I think that is what this situation is requires.

JayBee
02-09-2006, 11:53 AM
Edmcowboy11:

First off, I agree wholeheartedly that the LRT has to be the long term focus, that'll just be a matter of the provincial government returning more of our tax dollars to us. But I think the whole question in this thread is wrong, and should be more like:

"Diesel Vehicles (including busses): How Can We Best Mitigate the Dangers and Annoyances?"

(with one of the choices being to expand the trolley system)

Really, the only strong criticism of the trolleys so-far has been, uhh, maybe that they haven't been updated in decades? So why are we continuing to discuss removal at all? As you suggest, rather than tolerate the status quo, we should definitely focus more on getting nice new trolleys (and I would add expansion of the system)(which to be fair is mentioned in the thread title, but still the focus should be on diesels, not trolleys.)

So as for diesels, we just finished banning cigarette smoking in public buildings for pretty much the same reasons we could ban diesels. Recently, tobacco advocates have in fact used the argument that diesel smoke is even worse than tobacco smoke to try to make hypocrisy of anti-smoking policy.

I'll make it clear here though that I don't think banning diesel vehicles is possible, or at least wholely desirable in the near term, but why, for goodness sake, are we contemplating making diesels even more pervasive?

TKN:
Whoah! That is one BIG UGLY bus! :wink:

Let's get a couple dozen of them for the "BRT" routes that ETS seems so intent on - that way we'll at least have leftover electrical infrastructure to switch to LRT!

(Looking at that picture again, dare I suggest it's almost as big as an LRT anyway? How big is that thing?)

IKAN104:
For my part, I don't disagree with you entirely. As I said before, the least the city could do is paint the poles nicely. What do you think we should do about the other poles and electrical wires up there?

IKAN104
03-09-2006, 04:15 PM
True, San Francisco and Vancouver still use trolley buses...but do those overhead lines deter from their man-made beauty? Nope!!

Yes they do. I'm not saying those are ugly cities, I'm just saying they would be much better looking without the trolley wires.


You can add Salzburg, Austria; Lyon, France; Boston and Seattle, USA; and every major city in both Switzerland and Italy to the list of ugly cities, apparently.

Don't be so simplistic. Nobody said that every city with trolleys is automatically ugly. I'm saying the wires are ugly. And this city and every other city with trolleys would look better without them.

Nobody can convince me that trolley wires improve the look of a street. Ask yourself this question: Would any street (you choose) look better with or without trolley wires overhead. I think even you trolley pushers can agree that the wires do not improve the esthetics one bit.

If you're in favour of trolleys for other reasons, then that's fine, but don't try to tell me trolley wires look good, cause that's B.S. and you know it.

Also those busses your pictured do ofcourse look much better than what we have in Edmonton, but my main issue with our trolley system is not the busses at all. It's the wires. And if we upgraded to the most modern fleet of trolley busses in the world we would still have those ugly wires overhead. New busses will not solve that issue.


By the same logic, we should completely remove roads if they have potholes and replace them with the most toxic gravel available.

That doesn't even make sense.

IKAN104
03-09-2006, 04:18 PM
^That is a pretty short sighted attitude. Making Edmonton look better would be done easier by holding developers to a higher standard and instituting more clean up of the roads and garbage, than tearing out a huge piece of infrastructure.
Did you happen to notice that when the city beautified Gateway Boulevard several years ago they buried the power lines? Now why would they do that? ..... hmmmm .... thinking, thinking .... Oh, I know. It's because wires in the sky look ugly.

DanC
03-09-2006, 09:52 PM
^Yea, did you notice when you bury electrical lines, you are improving infrastructure and not tearing it out?? If you could bury live 600 Vdc 3rd rail in the pavement, I'd support that method, unfortunatly people tend to die when those kind of things are exposed.
What you are saying is tear out what amounts to probably well over a billion dollars worth of infrastructure and then spend hundreds of millions more to buy diesel buses...yea that makes sense. Why not just buy better electric trolley's, I can almost gurantee they require less maintenance too.
You know what else is ugly? Diesel fumes and noise.
You want to ***** about overhead wires in Downtown, jump at shaw and telus for still having overhead services in the core.

TKN
04-09-2006, 12:01 AM
Wow. :shock:

This thread has gotten really really technical. Allow me to simplify it all.

Sure, go ahead.


Don't be so simplistic.
This is getting rather complicated.


How big is that thing?

It's just under 25m. long, (around 80ft.)
It's 100% low floor.
It seats about 80 people, and carries 200 including standees. It also has at least 4 wheelchair spaces.

More precise details here:
http://www.vossloh-kiepe.com/index.php?wai=59&env=0087250130225&cid=8&id=52

(click on the Geneva PDF. That bus in the picture was a demonstrator on loan to Zurich. Hopefully the Zurich PDF will be posted soon. (Apparently it was good looking enough for the city to order 33 of them. I hope they know they're toying with their #1 ranking for livability in the world.(But luckily Geneva and Vancouver are #2 and #3 and they're also risking themselves with trolleys, but they'd better watch out, beautiful trolleyless Baghdad has nowhere to go but up these days.)))

http://www.mercerhr.com/referencecontent.jhtml?idContent=1173105

More hideous streetscape:
http://www.troll-et-bus.ch/vbz199.jpg

JayBee
04-09-2006, 10:44 AM
Nobody said that every city with trolleys is automatically ugly. I'm saying the wires are ugly. And this city and every other city with trolleys would look better without them.

Nobody can convince me that trolley wires improve the look of a street. Ask yourself this question: Would any street (you choose) look better with or without trolley wires overhead. I think even you trolley pushers can agree that the wires do not improve the esthetics one bit.

I'm going to try to focus on the issue only here. I hope you will as well.

Your question is unanswerable because it is posed in a vacuum. You haven't stated what you think should take the place of the trolleys, if anything. It's like asking whether Hawrylak Park looks better or worse with parking lots.

So what is your proposed replacement?

RichardS
04-09-2006, 12:38 PM
I like NGV....

JayBee
04-09-2006, 02:11 PM
I like NGV....
Excellent choice. (I was almost praying for that, thanks for not bothering with hybrids or fuel cells.)

I really believe NGVs are as good as fuel carrying vehicles get, but even for aesthetics, they're still noisier than trollies and not without street level pollution either. And do you really think it's worth abandoning the unlimited fuel flexibility that electricity has? Or the inherently lighter weights and thus both less road wear and higher energy efficiency of line powered vehicles? Or the lower maintenance and flat torque curves of electric motors?

Worst of all, what about the future price of natural gas? It's already more expensive to move a bus with NG than electricity (granted a medium-high level of trolley system utilisation.) Is NG really going to get cheaper?

NG is great, don't get me wrong, but there's still no way we should take out the trollies for NGVs.

I say trollies for routes around the high density neighbourhoods and express routes between Downtown and WEM, Northgate, and Millwoods Town Centre, (until we can get LRT on those routes) and NGV for everything else.


More hideous streetscape:

Hideous enough for my streets anyday, but you know, I think Geneva still beats Zurich. Is this what we should be shooting for, or what?
http://ufies.org/~aleith/transit/geneva/hess764.jpg
(Could you imagine how easily a noisy bus would wreck a street like that?)

RichardS
04-09-2006, 09:18 PM
Hybrids are still too far off - hance why they are not pciked.

I don't think anyone would argue the throttle response of an electric motor vs an internal combustion, so that is readily in favor of a trolley.

However, power plants are still overwhelmingly coal or NG, so I take that out of the "pollution equation". Until they can get a reliable 450 MW wind or solar generator, it will be fossil fuels.

My main beef with trolleys is that they are hard to redepoly as the city grows, and even harder to re-route in cases of accidents and congestion. Flexability is key.

JayBee
06-09-2006, 02:37 AM
However, power plants are still overwhelmingly coal or NG, so I take that out of the "pollution equation". Until they can get a reliable 450 MW wind or solar generator, it will be fossil fuels.
What do you mean "until?" We have had the Brazeau hydro dam rated at 355 MW of perfect reliability since 1965. In 1972, the Bighorn Dam added another 120 MW for a total of 475 Megawatts of zero emission, Edmonton area, non-fossil fuel electric capacity.

http://transalta.com/transalta/webcms.nsf/AllDoc/A5FAA9C26A2E1153872571A80002E8BC?OpenDocument

And unless we used 100% of the trollies we had, 24 hours a day, at 65 kmph in loops around the Muni GP track, they would not use anywhere close to 450MW anyway. (Although imagine the great picture IanO could get... http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6594#6594) The only stats I can find show that we have not used more than 13 MW since 2001, and that is including the LRT.

http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_0_280_218_0_43/http%3B/CMSServer/COEWeb/getting+around/about+ets/ETS_Statistics_for_2001_2002_2003_and_2004.htm

What's most important, the pollution equation in the city is night and day. Where do more people happen to live: in the countryside, or in the city? Trollies produce no pollution in the streets at all, and while that may not be perfect, you cannot deny that it is a huge advantage for trollies.


My main beef with trolleys is that they are hard to redepoly as the city grows, and even harder to re-route in cases of accidents and congestion. Flexability is key.
That is a valid concern with the current fleet, but again, modern trolleys can move off line without any major problems. In the pictures of the Swiss trolleys, you can see the battery (and other equipment) compartment very clearly on the roof. If you want to go around a traffic accident, it is not a problem. Press a button and turn the corner. If you want to go around some road construction, in the event that all lanes of a given road are closed simultaneously, it is just as easy.

It is not a question of the abilities of the current fleet of beaters we have. They just are not cutting edge anymore. I admit that. Everyone can see that. We have to simply modernise the fleet again, just like we continue pay for more and more diesels. The only difference is that diesels aren't under a microscope.

Titanium48
06-09-2006, 09:10 AM
However, power plants are still overwhelmingly coal or NG, so I take that out of the "pollution equation". Until they can get a reliable 450 MW wind or solar generator, it will be fossil fuels.
What do you mean "until?" We have had the Brazeau hydro dam rated at 355 MW of perfect reliability since 1965. In 1972, the Bighorn Dam added another 120 MW for a total of 475 Megawatts of zero emission, Edmonton area, non-fossil fuel electric capacity.
Nonpolluting, renewable energy sources like these account for a small portion of Alberta's generation capacity (~10%) are are always operating at maximum capacity. When we use less electricity it's the fossil fueled plants that get throttled back or shut down and when we use more electricity more fossil plants are brought online.

JayBee
06-09-2006, 09:20 AM
Just as I was nodding off I realised that my above post has an error, I compared the transit service electrical consumption and Brazeau + Bighorn output on the completely wrong basis.

The correct, apples to apples comparison is:

* Trolley + LRT consumption <13,000 MWh/Year (2002, '03, '04)

* Brazeau + Bighorn output >800,000 MWh/Year

I don't think it really changes the overall picture for the worse, but it was my own screw-up. Sorry, sorry. [muttering, goes back to bed]

JayBee
06-09-2006, 09:28 AM
[gets back out of bed for a minute]


Nonpolluting, renewable energy sources like these account for a small portion of Alberta's generation capacity (~10%) are are always operating at maximum capacity. When we use less electricity it's the fossil fueled plants that get throttled back or shut down and when we use more electricity more fossil plants are brought online.

While you're right that renewables aren't very significant around Edmonton, actually you've got the second part backwards. The hydro is let loose during peak hours only because they can get it going and shut it down in minutes with almost no loss of efficiency, and then build-up a nice resevoir overnight. They've written as much on their hydro plant pages which I referenced earlier. I don't know how long it takes to fire up Genesee (and I'm not going to find out until I wake up tomorrow either) but coal is used for base loads in Alberta. Natural gas plants (Cloverbar and Rossdale) are also used for peak loads, but I believe the hydro is still the last one to come on stream.

You'd be right about wind power of course. It comes and goes as it pleases, hence RichardS correctly calling it unreliable. Solar too, is unreliable, but it only comes on in the daytime (around peak hours), if at all. Just not hydro though.

[stumbles back to bed]

Titanium48
06-09-2006, 10:10 AM
[gets back out of bed for a minute]


Nonpolluting, renewable energy sources like these account for a small portion of Alberta's generation capacity (~10%) are are always operating at maximum capacity. When we use less electricity it's the fossil fueled plants that get throttled back or shut down and when we use more electricity more fossil plants are brought online.

While you're right that renewables aren't very significant around Edmonton, actually you've got the second part backwards. The hydro is let loose during peak hours only because they can get it going and shut it down in minutes with almost no loss of efficiency, and then build-up a nice resevoir overnight. They've written as much on their hydro plant pages which I referenced earlier. I don't know how long it takes to fire up Genesee (and I'm not going to find out until I wake up tomorrow either) but coal is used for base loads in Alberta. Natural gas plants (Cloverbar and Rossdale) are also used for peak loads, but I believe the hydro is still the last one to come on stream.

[stumbles back to bed]

OK, you're right about the coal plants being used for baseload and the ability of hydro dams to modulate the amount of water they release to match shifting loads. However, a hydro facility cannot generate more electricity than the amount of water that is available and water is not wasted over the spillway except during a flood or if the generators are down. If consumption is reduced and less water is let though the dam, the reservoir level rises. If it keeps rising day after day the total amount of water let through the dam each day will be increased and a peak load fossil plant will be operated for a shorter period of time. Likewise, if the level keeps falling the amount of water let through each day has to be reduced and peak load fossil plants will need to take up the slack by operating longer.

JayBee
06-09-2006, 11:16 AM
OK, you're right about the coal plants being used for baseload and the ability of hydro dams to modulate the amount of water they release to match shifting loads. However, a hydro facility cannot generate more electricity than the amount of water that is available and water is not wasted over the spillway except during a flood or if the generators are down. If consumption is reduced and less water is let though the dam, the reservoir level rises. If it keeps rising day after day the total amount of water let through the dam each day will be increased and a peak load fossil plant will be operated for a shorter period of time. Likewise, if the level keeps falling the amount of water let through each day has to be reduced and peak load fossil plants will need to take up the slack by operating longer.

[You're killing me with that time zone difference...]

Okay, I see your point that Transalta is limited to capturing whatever energy comes downstream whenever it does (and tries to maximise that amount), and I think you see mine that it is actually pretty reliable, on-demand energy. (Especially contrasted with the solar and wind in the original context.) The point was, in response to an implication about 450 MW of reliable renewables not being available, that in fact it is available.

I think the only 4 important basic concepts with regards to fossil fuel vs. renewables in this debate are:

Both are availble around Edmonton. (hence my original point in bringing up Brazeau and Bighorn)
Trollies can use either and diesels cannot. (okay, except maybe biofuels, which are very nice yet prohibitively expensive for the near term.)
A fleet of trollies would cost less than a fleet of diesels to fuel with either fossil fuels or renewables. (And a highly utilised, modern fleet would probably beat diesels significantly on maintenance as well, but that isn't a matter of fuels.)
Fossil fuels burned in the city are far worse than fossil fuels burned away from it when considering public health.


[turning into a zombie.]

TKN
06-09-2006, 11:55 AM
[You're killing me with that time zone difference...]
...
[turning into a zombie.]

Good grief man, get some sleep! You're the only one of us that does any research at all, we need you!

KC
08-09-2006, 12:16 AM
Interesting comments.

...but what about - Diversify, diversify, diversify!!! ...just as we'd all love a better diversified economy, shouldn't we suffer some inconveniences to have a diversified fuel based transportation system? If oil prices quadruple or more (war in the Middle East etc.) - our coal generated electricity prices still won't change much.

Note: there's companies like that Cummings connected one in Vancouver that are introducing natural gas diesel stroke engines for buses - so there's further fuel diversification opportunity.


Since diesel is a "byproduct" of gasoline production - something like a 5 to 1 ratio - just like silver is a byproduct of copper mining... it's tough to justify mining another ton of copper to get a few more ounces of silver. In other words, diesel prices can be very volatile when demand exceeds a certain level. When gas is in high demand diesel is dirt cheap but as diesel needs expand - watch the prices skyrocket. I think that was the case around 1980 or so - and people couldn't believe how diesel could costs so much. If everyone starts buying diesel again - watch the price spike again.

RichardS
08-09-2006, 12:47 AM
Actually, isn't diesel more expensive than gas now?

RichardS
08-09-2006, 12:57 AM
@ JayBee

I used to work at TAU - (Keephills, Scumdance, and Wab), and I saw the demand spikes. Brazeau, Ghost, Seebee and the like are stop gaps at best. With the price of coal, that style of generation is still cheaper than Hydro, so expect it to be around for a long long long long long long long long time (especially with the amount of coal and the newer, more efficient burner technology).

G3 (Genesee 3) just came online. K3 (Keephills 3) is proposed. I also hear grumblings of EPCOR doing G4 (Genesee is scaled for 6 450+MW units over 60 years - like Keephills), so our demand for coal-fired electricity is not waning.

My point is simply that Hydro, wind, solar, and others so far cannot beat fossil or nuclear fueled steam generators to provide continuous, on demand, reliable any time day or night drought/dead calm or not near-instantaneous 450+ MW per unit power to the grid. If they could, they would be in use. Even though coal is cheap, there is a lot of cost in maintianing the coal handling, distribution, crushing, and waste removal, not to mention precips and other opacity-limiting pieces of equipment on the other end. If they could just stick up a windmill or a solar panel - trust me - they would.

What does all this mean - well, trolleys will still pollute, just not directly outside your door....initially....for now....until the yellow cloud from out west decends....

If we could only get an efficient LRT completed soon and take cars off the road, augmented with good bus service (like Seattle METRO's diesel/trolley combos) - we'd be in good shape.

JayBee
12-09-2006, 12:33 PM
RichardS

Sorry I was away from my computer for a long weekend. (And don't worry, TKN, I got lots of rest.)

I think we agree on quite a bit, my only point was simply that 450MW capacity of renewable is already available, and unlike solar or wind, it's fairly reliable. (And there is also 284 MW of wind power so far, which I'm preemptively admitting is not what could be called on-demand, yet also exceeds the amount of energy actually consumed by the trollies by probably well over an order of magnitude.)

http://www.canwea.ca/en/CanadianWindFarms.html

I know that coal has the balls in our province, earlier I even posted a link to a PDF at Epcor that gives the exact reasons why. (One of it's touted advantages was clearly that it's better than oil for human health issues, even if a trolley sized coal burner were located on the Rossdale site, and that wasn't even compared to diesel.)

But we both know, as KC pointed out, it's not like trollies need to be powered exclusively by coal. And besides, even if they were, what percentage of the coal serviced electricity could the trollies actually use? If someone suggests that we try to reduce the pollution at Genesee et.al, we would not even make a dent by removing the trollies. I presume that the largest group of electricity consumers would be the area oil and petrochemical plants. Should we try ditching those too? (not expecting an answer, just playing devils advocate...)

Among other points I agree with: the best way to reduce pollution is to focus on helping people out of their cars; we should definately have a larger LRT component in the transit mix; yeah, like Seattle, we should keep the trollies. :) They're the best thing for high density routes, as long as they're not the old beaters we have now. I also agree with your earlier post that NGVs are worthy of consideration (for the feeder routes in the burbs, maybe.) I am not a fan of diesel at all.

Titanium48
12-09-2006, 01:46 PM
Enough creative energy accounting already. Unless and until all or nearly all of Alberta's electricity consumption can be supplied by nonpolluting sources any extra demand will be supplied by fossil plants and any reductions in demand will result in reduced operation of fossil plants. There is no fuel cost associated with hydro and wind generation so it has the lowest cost per kW-h (not counting fixed capital costs) and will allways be fully utilised regardless of demand. Power utilities are not going to let windmills spin freely or water dump over a spillway when they could shut down a fossil plant instead. If there is excess supply fossil plants get shut down (or not built). If there is a shortage more fossil plants get brought on line (or more get built).

Back to the issue of trolley busses, just because you can't argue that they will run on renewable energy doesn't mean that they aren't good to have. The electric powertrain can take advantage of regenerative braking to reduce energy consumption (and thus pollution) relative to diesels at a lower price point than hybrids. They also relocate the pollution they cause outside of the city and they are quieter than diesels. New trolleys with enough battery reserve to go several blocks offline would also solve the biggest problem with the trolleys - they could make it to the next stop in the event that they detach from the wires and they could detour around construction. With this ability, no backup diesel busses would be required and the pusher trucks could be retired to the garage.

The only issue I have with them is whether the city can get them at a reasonable price relative to diesel busses.

JayBee
13-09-2006, 12:03 PM
Enough creative energy accounting already. Unless and until all or nearly all of Alberta's electricity consumption can be supplied by nonpolluting sources any extra demand will be supplied by fossil plants and any reductions in demand will result in reduced operation of fossil plants. There is no fuel cost associated with hydro and wind generation so it has the lowest cost per kW-h (not counting fixed capital costs) and will allways be fully utilised regardless of demand. Power utilities are not going to let windmills spin freely or water dump over a spillway when they could shut down a fossil plant instead. If there is excess supply fossil plants get shut down (or not built). If there is a shortage more fossil plants get brought on line (or more get built).

Nobody is disagreeing with that at all, but (among other things)that doesn't acknowledge that replacing a trolley with a diesel bus obviously does not eliminate fossil fuel consumption (and associated issues). Likewise replacing the entire transit system with increased private vehicle use would also not eliminate fossil fuel consumption. Quite the opposite. Practically every internal combustion engine is basically a fossil fuel power plant too.

All I was getting at was the potential for trollies to reduce FF consumption through renewables. For using renewables to move large amounts of people around the city, there is no practical way that anything not on rails could beat a trolley.

(besides maybe sailboats, bicycles, and floating downstream)


Back to the issue of trolley busses, just because you can't argue that they will run on renewable energy

Would you clarify that? It looks like you're saying that trolleys can't use electrons that originate at renewable power installations, which is obviously absurd.


doesn't mean that they aren't good to have. The electric powertrain can take advantage of regenerative braking to reduce energy consumption (and thus pollution) relative to diesels at a lower price point than hybrids. They also relocate the pollution they cause outside of the city and they are quieter than diesels. New trolleys with enough battery reserve to go several blocks offline would also solve the biggest problem with the trolleys - they could make it to the next stop in the event that they detach from the wires and they could detour around construction. With this ability, no backup diesel busses would be required and the pusher trucks could be retired to the garage.


I couldn't have said that better myself.


The only issue I have with them is whether the city can get them at a reasonable price relative to diesel busses.

I've read somewhere they can be very cost competitive on TCO if a large fleet is heavily utilised. But still for me, I think public health is more important than money.

(edited once to correct my own grammar, again to remove redundancy, and the third time to add "not on rails".)

highlander
13-09-2006, 12:24 PM
Whatever the long term sloution is, we will likely see more old trolleys in use this year (see "packed busses and trains")

What is the cost for a new bus/artic bus vs. trolley/artic trolley?

Titanium48
13-09-2006, 12:43 PM
Would you clarify that? It looks like you're saying that trolleys can't use electrons that originate at renewable power installations, which is obviously absurd.

But then those electrons are not available for other electricity consumers, which will require the grid be fed more electrons by fossil generation. If and when renewables make up enough of Alberta's power supply that there are times when no fossil fueled powerplants are needed you can argue that shifting from internal combustion to electric motors will, by itself, reduce fossil fuel consumption. Unfortunately that day is a long way off.

There are good arguments for buying new trolleys, including reduced fossil fuel consumption through increased efficiency (regenerative braking). I just don't buy the idea that trolleys will be "running on renewable energy" anytime soon.

RichardS
13-09-2006, 10:14 PM
There are good arguments for buying new trolleys, including reduced fossil fuel consumption through increased efficiency (regenerative braking). I just don't buy the idea that trolleys will be "running on renewable energy" anytime soon.

I agree, and I don't think anyone would argue the efficiencies and power of an electric motor (AC or DC, I'll take DC).


I for one am glad this has become a popular thread on this board.

KC
17-09-2006, 03:28 PM
It's a fascinating issue - trolleys on rails (LRT) are generally seen as desirable while trolleys on rubber wheels apparently aren't.

-Yet the latter seems to me to offer far greater route flexibility without the huge infrastructure costs.

- I understand though that most of the bus drivers hate the trolleys.

RichardS
17-09-2006, 09:27 PM
Yeah the drivers HATE the CURRENT trolleys. I am not so sure about the newer styles or if they've been able to try those out in other cities.


LRT (trolley on rail) carries far far more people far far faster than a trolley on wheels (with less stops) - hence the difference. Trains get a guaranteed ROW.

JayBee
19-09-2006, 11:23 AM
I think it's better to compare busses to busses and trains to trains. I don't want diesel trains coming through the LRT tunnels either. (For almost exactly the same reasons.) But I wouldn't exchange the LRT for trollies in a million years. For frequent stop routes, busses make more sense. For longer distance high density routes, trains make more sense. For coexistance with living creatures such as humans, electric powered vehicles make more sense.

About the driver opinions of trollies: I feel for them if that's the case. I know they've got a hard enough job to begin with just dealing with certain clientele, and I always appreciate the way they handle it. I certainly hope that a modern fleet would be as much to their benefit as the riding (and breathing :wink:) public that they so patiently serve. Hats off to all the people that make our busses go. They do important work.

By the way, in reading more about Geneva's Megatrollies (in the PDF TKN provided a link to) it points out yet another advantage over diesel busses: by having power to two axels instead of one (i.e., 4 wheel drive), they can get superior traction and less stress on the articulated joints than possible with a diesel - hence the double articulated joint (and resultant higher passenger loads) became feasible.

I'm really not an expert in automotives, so would this be because powering two axels (on seperate articulated sections) with diesel would require either two seperate engines and tanks or a potentially complicated and very long drivetrain? Or what?

JayBee
20-09-2006, 09:20 PM
Would you clarify that? It looks like you're saying that trolleys can't use electrons that originate at renewable power installations, which is obviously absurd.

But then those electrons are not available for other electricity consumers, which will require the grid be fed more electrons by fossil generation. If and when renewables make up enough of Alberta's power supply that there are times when no fossil fueled powerplants are needed you can argue that shifting from internal combustion to electric motors will, by itself, reduce fossil fuel consumption. Unfortunately that day is a long way off.
The basic fact of trollies is that they use electricity, and the vehicles themselves do not give a damn whether the electrons came from a fossil fuel power plant, a mouse on a wheel, or a dam for that matter. (Okay, weak pun. Sorry, sorry. But it took me a week to respond. (this is just getting worse.))

Simply drawing a line around Alberta and saying it is 90% fossil fuel based generation is no less arbitrary than a line around the 4 Western provinces which together are over 50% renewables. The grids are connected. Likewise arbitrary is a line around Edmonton itself and saying that the trollies are powered only by natural gas at Rossdale and Cloverbar, and the solar panels on Epcor's roof.

The best anti-trolley argument is obviously to draw the line around Alberta and say it's 51% coal and 37% gas (http://www.energy.gov.ab.ca/docs/electricity/pdfs/FactSheet_ElectricitySupplyBackgrounder.pdf), but already the argument defeats itself because that's not 100%, while diesel in Alberta is 100% fossil fuel. The argument then collapses completely when you consider all fossil fuels are anything but equal: compared to diesel, both coal and natural gas are better for human health, and natural gas is better for GHG while coal is better for cost. The fact that the 10% or so of renewables happen to be better at practically everything is just the gravy on top.

And this already hoplessly weak anti-trolley argument completely ignores that the scale of generation in Alberta is matched to the scale of consumption of the oil sands and other petroleum based sectors, while the scale of trolley consumption is truly insignificant by comparison to either. You can't blame the trollies for coincidentally existing near massive subterranean blobs of oil.

Titanium48
21-09-2006, 01:45 AM
I was not trying to make an anti-trolley argument. I was only suggesting that there is no surplus supply of nonpolluting, renewable energy waiting to be tapped into at the current time, nor is there likely to be in the near future. Unless and until the fraction of the electricity supply coming from renewable sources reaches 100% any added loads (like trolleys) will be supplied by fossil generation. The lack of availablilty of renewable energy is not an argument against trolleys, it's just not an argument for them.

There are good reasons (including energy conservation) for Edmonton to buy new trolleys and I would like to see the city do just that. I'd also like to see them used on more routes (like route 9 and maybe even route 8 ). I do have a problem with the possibility that trolleys might cost more than diesel busses (why should replacing a diesel engine with electric motor(s) increase the price?), but a modest premium might be worth it.

As for coal pollution vs. diesel, there have been significant advances recently in minimising emissions of particulates and polycyclic aromatics from diesel engines. A major part of that improvement is a particulate trap / oxidation catalyst that can finally (2007 model year) be applied in North America due the the recent reduction in the amount of sulfur allowed in diesel fuel. In-situ gassification will ultimately put coal close to the lead in the race to be the least-dirty fossil fuel, but large scale use of that technology is a decade off at best. Until then, coal plants will continue to be major emitters of sulfur, mercury and even (as proponents of nuclear power like to point out) naturally ocurring radioisotopes.

JayBee
21-09-2006, 08:03 AM
I was not trying to make an anti-trolley argument.
Actually I have noticed that nothing you've said in this thread is anti-trolley. I just wanted to sortof differentiate your argument from a fairly common and heavily flawed anti-trolley one that it might have been confused with.


I was only suggesting that there is no surplus supply of nonpolluting, renewable energy waiting to be tapped into at the current time, nor is there likely to be in the near future.
You may see the link I provided in my previous post for a list of renewable energy projects coming on stream in the next few years. Even I was surprised by how many there are. I will add up all the figures tomorrow or sometime, but superficially it looks like renewables could be holding their own even amongst the flury of fossil fuel plant construction.


Unless and until the fraction of the electricity supply coming from renewable sources reaches 100% any added loads (like trolleys) will be supplied by fossil generation.
This is where I think we disagree. I don't think that it's a fair assumption that transit comprises "added loads". I think most people would agree it's a fairly basic service, that actually saves energy rather than wasting it. If transit is "added load", what on earth is the "normal/basic/regular load?" The obvious abnormal load in this province is the oil industry. Moving people is something we will always need, and there's no more efficient way to do so than public transit. (Other than bikes.)

And as I noted before, replacing trollies with diesels or increased private vehicle use obviously does not reduce emissions of any type.


The lack of availablilty of renewable energy is not an argument against trolleys, it's just not an argument for them.

There are good reasons (including energy conservation) for Edmonton to buy new trolleys and I would like to see the city do just that. I'd also like to see them used on more routes (like route 9 and maybe even route 8 ).
We obviously agree here. With emphasis on buying the new trollies. I'd also add route 100, and some kind of loop around Jasper and Whyte Ave.


I do have a problem with the possibility that trolleys might cost more than diesel busses (why should replacing a diesel engine with electric motor(s) increase the price?), but a modest premium might be worth it.
In a situation like this, a simple diesel bus and a simple trolley bus are apple and orange. It's neccesary to examine the entire fleet systems from a total cost of ownership perspective over a 20 year span at least. A trolley bus might be more expensive for initial purchase, per seat, (and I don't really know why either) but the cost of both fuel and bus maintenance is lower. Trollies do have overhead wires to be maintained, but if you use lots of trolley busses, the marginal cost of maintenance does not increase, and thus it reduces unit costs. Then we must consider costs associated with health and well-being that count squarely against diesels.

You could also look into long term rider preference and I think modern trollies would beat modern diesels here too.

What's more, if we had wanted to save money, we needn't have built the Winspear Centre or the Citadel Theatre. I'd rather Edmonton become a greater city to visit/live-in than one that looks, sounds, and smells like it was designed by a short sighted accountant who lives in Phoenix anyway. For me that means that we take care of our citizens' health first and formost, and beyond that, while I know not everyone likes the trolley wires, I would take them in an instant over diesel roar permeating every corner of downtown. (I know that diesel busses aren't the only noise perpetrators around, but do we really want our transit system to be comparable to biker gangs? I think the city needs to lead by example.)


As for coal pollution vs. diesel, there have been significant advances recently in minimising emissions of particulates and polycyclic aromatics from diesel engines. A major part of that improvement is a particulate trap / oxidation catalyst that can finally (2007 model year) be applied in North America due the the recent reduction in the amount of sulfur allowed in diesel fuel. In-situ gassification will ultimately put coal close to the lead in the race to be the least-dirty fossil fuel, but large scale use of that technology is a decade off at best. Until then, coal plants will continue to be major emitters of sulfur, mercury and even (as proponents of nuclear power like to point out) naturally ocurring radioisotopes.
To begin with, show me where it says that "clean diesel is less dirty than coal" and I'll take another look. For now I think it's safe to assume that it's still much worse. Coal plants have had scrubbers and ash traps for decades.

Secondly, unless we get hybrids which are more expensive on all fronts than trollies, catalytic converters alone will do exactly nothing at all about noise.

Third, are you aware that the catalytic converters reduce the efficiency of diesel busses they are applied to? And that sulfur-reduced diesel often requires more energy to produce? And that the sulfur must be replaced with another additive that may be worse?

And the kicker, coal emits approximately zero of anything within Edmonton city limits. Some does enter on the wind, but the trollies' portion of it is a fraction of a fraction of whatever the plants emit in the first place. Even if "clean diesel" pulls off the improbable upset in the "least dirty fossil fuel stakes", trollies would still prevail.

RichardS
21-09-2006, 12:38 PM
Jaybee,

Your reponse on load cannot be directed to the oil industry alone as they are fairly static and predictable with their load, and many employ co gen to offset the loads they put on the grid.

We the people are responsible for the spikes in load. Predicatable ones are mornings and dinnertime, but our later and later lifestyle can put spikes on any system. Just like the automobile, look to the individual for the main issue.

TKN
21-09-2006, 05:32 PM
Your reponse on load cannot be directed to the oil industry alone as they are fairly static and predictable with their load, and many employ co gen to offset the loads they put on the grid.

So we can just knock cogen's 28% right out of the provincial totals? That's easy. And then if we replace the 0.0001% from the unpredictable trolleys with zero emission diesels, we should just about be able to meet the Kyoto agreements! Next if we can just get everyone to use stop signs properly we can eliminate the 0.0000000001% generated for unpredictable traffic signals. Onward anti-trolley! Our logic is our power!

:shock: <surprised because an unpredictable trolley started up nearby.>

RichardS
22-09-2006, 07:42 AM
Huh? Where in the sweet name of whatever you think is holy did you get anti-trolley from an explanation of other causes of spikes in electrical demand??????? All I said was that co gen helps industry with their electric needs, and they even sell off the excess. It simply said that directing coal generated demand for electricity solely at the oil industry and also blaming it for spikes in demand is not taking in the whole equation. It doesn't remove any industry from dealing with its effects, but it also does try to explain that it alone is not the entire issue. It had nothing to do with diesels, and even less with silly stop signs/lights.

Wow, that rant came from left field. Sorry for being blunt, but that made no sense whatsoever. ...and you question my logic? :roll:

JayBee
22-09-2006, 10:25 AM
RichardS: just ignore the sarcasm.

TKN: Behave.

RichardS:
(I just lost my first attempt at a reply due to a time-out, and it's getting late so I appologise if I'm not quite watertight here)

In relative depth:
I'm not trying to blame the oil industry for anything. I'm just saying that if one compares Alberta to Ohio, we both have trollies, toasters, and convenience stores, yet Alberta consumes significantly more electricity per capita due to a truly huge oil industry. Could you tell me if it doesn't consume over 35% of the electricity produced here? (I will check another time, if I can.) If 35% were true, hypothetically eliminating the oil industry and the electricity supply attributed to it would make renewables jump from 10% to 15%. That's my point.
I'm also not trying to pretend that I know what time of day oil is refined, but I am saying that the time of day is irrelevant to whether or not trollies consume renewable energy. I know you're right that individuals, among other things, lead to daytime demand spikes, particularly at breakfast and supper time. But hydro, like coal and NG plants, mimics the demand spikes with generation spikes.
Ti48's first point that on certain nights in spring or during or after a rainstorm Bighorn and Brazeau go flat out is also not being debated. It's true. And likewise in winter or during droughts, the daytime peak production at hydro plants is nowhere near capacity. Fine. But the annual average 7AM to 7PM production is still more than 50% higher than the other 12 hours, which is probably an even higher proportion than the demand spikes.
Ti48s second point that switching off the trollies (or the refineries or refrigerators) would immediately lead to lower amounts of fossil fuels burned in electric generating stations is also true. But simply shifting a basic need of modern society (moving people) from the electric power grid to diesel does not simply reduce fossil fuel consumption at all.
Alberta diesel contains exactly 0% renewable energy, while the grid is at least 10% renewables (higher actually, as we should include the 950MW we import from Saskatchewan and B.C. too), and for reasons stated in 2, 3, and 4 above, trollies are entitled to as much of that as any other appliance in the province.

In short: It is not the trollies fault that they coexist with the oil industry. Trollies do use renewables and are therefore better than diesels (for that among a myriad of other reasons.) And if the oil industry didn't take such a huge share of electricity in the province, trollies would use an even higher proportion of renewables.

RichardS
22-09-2006, 02:12 PM
Normally I do, but I am not in the mood today to deal with sarcasm unfortunately. Too many screw-ups between the hospital and the pharmacy - and I get to sit here and feel like absolute crap for hours...whoopie! Plus, that response reeked of many I get from the granola-toking, cow farts = global warming crowd I know - all happy to slap industry and brag about solar this and wind that yet can't listen to logic and reason of where we are now, but are first there at my door asking for a ride in my car when the bus service sucks, it's too coldy woldy for their fingy wingies, or they get evicted from yet another place.... ;)


No diesls do not contain renewable energy (I'm so not going to enter the bio-diesel debate here), so we agree there.

Currently, any claim (I'm looking at you C-Train) that they are 100% wind/solar/whatever powered is a marketing ploy. There just is not enough energy available from renewable sources to compensate the grid, no matter how many "credits" you buy. In 20 years, hopefully this is a different discussion but with Keephills 3 pretty much all but approved and Genesee 3 online as of July 2005 (with rumours of Genesee 4 blowing in the proverbial wind - making my next door neighbour is 2 units away from the proposed 6 450's back in 1979), I have a feeling that Alberta is not putting all or much of its energy eggs into the renewable basket - for a reason (some economic, some simple reality of power availability). From all I hear and read, this is mainly due to the reliability and scalability of these plants vs hoping it is windy enough somewhere and can we put 2000 acres of 500kW units combined with 1000 acres of solar panels.. I hope that a +10 MW unit is developed soon (I hear Siemens has one on the board), and we get better and better at this. After all, even Genesee has the odd opacity that I see.

Trollies have their place - I haven't argued that. My argument has more been along the line of logistics (avoiding accidents, being able to get the heck out of the way once they inevitably fall off the wires or die, having the whole system come to a grinding halt when a wire or two fails), but the dual-fuel trolleys in Seattle and other places do compensate for this - I'd rather they are electric/NGV but I think Metro's are diesel/electric. ...but when I hear the "trollies don't pollute" crap - I have to laugh. My ranch is 2 miles from your trolley's exhaust, it just happens to be in Genesee (with Keephils, Scumdance and Wabblybum in sight). The myopic crowd that does not have this next to their door often does not realize this.

Trollies do not address the ability for a neighborhood to grow quickly and provide point to hub service for when (or should I say if, given the speed of LRT expansion) we can take people via bus to the LRT more frequently and throughout the city. The route changes are a concern of mine, as is the size of the bus needed on these routes (re the successful F350 busses I see on the smaller routes or when demand warrants). They are good at decent volume and predictable routes, where the ETS does have them deployed for the most part (#8 notwithstanding).

I still think that blaming the oil industry is too simple and too easy - especially when they try to generate their own electricity. Sure, they have their issues and the fact that they whine about the royalty program in one hand yet report uber profits on the other does show their greedy hand, but they do have some merit - even if it is mainly to isolate themselves from the grid.

All I say is:

If you are going to use a trolley, get the right one (combo fuel).

Let's be realistic about where our excessive energy consumption can be generated from given where we are and will be with technology in the next 20 years. I have a neighbour with a blue and red monster building and a couple of smoke stacks that says coal. I remember in the early '80's when people called Genesee a dinosaur before it was born, and wind was "just around the corner". Well, dino had a baby in 2005.

Don’t just blame industry – we as individuals consume a heck of a lot of energy too. So, until you stop leaving your lights on when no one is home, your computers burning 24X7, doing one shirt in the laundry, having 6 TV’s on because you can’t agree on a show, fluffing your shirt in the dryer instead of ironing, taking 30-40 minute showers twice a day, and all sorts of other energy drawing “convenient” activities, I suggest that one does not throw stones in their glass house.

BUILD THE FREAKING LRT ALREADY, and have that high volume, dedicated ROW set of spines working so that we can look at feeder options and frequency enhancements.

The goal here is to implement the right solutions for our transit needs, including flexability for growth.

lux
22-09-2006, 09:31 PM
On that theme, we need new capacity now. The "lets hurry up and build a transit spine" seems like a good idea until you actually take a bus. The service is appalling. Today, a totally packed number 4 stopped at Health Sciences after I grabbed the LRT from downtown.

I would have had to jump on the bicycle rack to board the bus. Exasperated, I asked if they had done anything like adding a bus to accommodate the demand. "Oh yes, says the bus driver, one is right behind me"

So I wait.

And after 15 minutes this bus shows up (which was the regularly scheduled bus, so he lied to my face) and it was just as full.

So I walked home, to Rio Terrace.

At this rate, they should just shut down ETS and sell it off. Honestly I am so fed up, because the demand is not 9 years from now, or 3 years from now, or "coming soon a new station" The demand is there right now, it is overwhelming, and they are doing absolutely nothing to even attempt to meet the demand.

So my plan is, they have to pick one bus route in each direction - west, north and Mill Woods, and run those damn busses every five minutes at peak times, and matching the LRT during the rest of the day. There is no other reasonable way, and they have to do it sometime starting in...oh....lets, say the next 3 weeks!

RichardS
23-09-2006, 11:15 AM
On that theme, we need new capacity now. The "lets hurry up and build a transit spine" seems like a good idea until you actually take a bus. The service is appalling. Today, a totally packed number 4 stopped at Health Sciences after I grabbed the LRT from downtown.



It is amazing. Sometimes it makes me wonder if the decision makers actually drive/ride the routes they propose.

MylesC
23-09-2006, 05:05 PM
It is amazing. Sometimes it makes me wonder if the decision makers actually drive/ride the routes they propose.

Given that there are places where a route has stops occuring every quarter block I'd completely agree with that.

The 8 is packed, the 1 is packed, the 100 is packed, the 4 is packed, the 106 is packed, the....getting a picture? ;)

Titanium48
24-09-2006, 01:19 AM
Yes, ETS needs to do something about overcrowding, but business could help here too. If more people worked 7:00am to 3:00pm, 10:00am to 6:00pm or 11:00am to 7:00pm there wouldn't be such a huge crush at peak hours and we might get better service in the "off peak" hours when most routes drop to a 30 minute frequency or worse.

The excess stops need to go too. They shouldn't be closer than 200m apart except in very unusual circumstances.

canucklehead
05-11-2006, 09:53 AM
I WAS pro-trolley. Let me stress that WAS part. After a minor accident I had on a trolley bus in early September, where I was thrown a few feet and cracked my head on a metal railing pretty hard after the driver suddenly breaked because the trolley lost contact with the overhead powerline, which left me with a big lump on my head for 3 weeks, I hate them now.

While they may be somewhat more clean in terms of air quality, they are a nusance and a safety hazard. I say remove them, replace them with Diesel busses when needed, and expand the LRT so that the need for busses at all is reduced significantly. Also with ultra-capacators being an option in a few years, we can then perhaps go back to electric emission free busses, but until then, take them out!

Funk E-Town
07-11-2006, 10:35 AM
There are other ways to look at this issue:

1 - Alberta is known worldwide for producing fossil fuels - not supporting the local economy is foolish.

2 - Of the 1800 ETS bus drivers, more than 95% of them are in favour of scrapping the entire Trolley system.

3 - The average Trolley looses its poles 3 times a day (more during winter conditions - the majority of the time in the middle of intersections) where the operator needs to leave the safety of his/her cabin, go in the middle of the road, turn their back to oncoming traffic and play that silly "re-hook the poles on the moving wire" game - what's it gonna take? An accident for us to clue in that these things are dangerous?

4 - There is one producer of Trolley busses in all of North America - it isn't smart business practice to rely upon the supply of a sole provider.

This is really similar to the old Beta tapes argument - they may have been better, but in the end you don't want to be stuck with an obsolete system.

RichardS
07-11-2006, 10:51 AM
2 - Of the 1800 ETS bus drivers, more than 95% of them are in favour of scrapping the entire Trolley system.

3 - The average Trolley looses its poles 3 times a day (more during winter conditions - the majority of the time in the middle of intersections) where the operator needs to leave the safety of his/her cabin, go in the middle of the road, turn their back to oncoming traffic and play that silly "re-hook the poles on the moving wire" game - what's it gonna take? An accident for us to clue in that these things are dangerous?



These 2 really stand out. I know a few drivers and ALL of them hate the current trolleys. Maybe the new ones don't skip off the wires too much.

...and the sole source supplier arguement is twofold. A) being tied to one supplier for anything is bad. Even the hint of competition helps in any long term contract, and B) if trolleys were in such demand and people were converting to them like mad as said in several posts here, wouldn' t there be more manufacturers?

If the logistics were better, then why aren't there more manufacturers in North America? Are we really that short sighted or is there truly just not the market?

DanC
07-11-2006, 11:55 AM
Trolley buses are not overly common in North America, but it doesn't mean they aren't a good idea.
You can scrap the system, but before that happens why not visit other countries and see if there is a viable and reliable replacement?
No matter what I can't see the demolition of what could be up into the hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure for the overhead power systems.

RichardS
07-11-2006, 12:11 PM
Good idea notwithstanding, we need to look at the market indicators as well.

Yes, the tear down of millions of dollars of infrastructure is an issue, a big one. I guess what I need to ask is the overall long term costs of this teardown and replacement with diesels and other fuels vs the upkeep and possible expansion of the trolley wires including the new busses.

...because nothing beats the power and efficiency of an electric motor. That's why they are on trains and ships...

Funk E-Town
07-11-2006, 01:44 PM
Trolley buses are not overly common in North America, but it doesn't mean they aren't a good idea.
You can scrap the system, but before that happens why not visit other countries and see if there is a viable and reliable replacement?
No matter what I can't see the demolition of what could be up into the hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure for the overhead power systems.

Trolleys used to be all over North America:

City/Date Closed
Akron OH - 06-Jun-59
Atlanta GA - 27-Sep-63
Baltimore MD - 21-Jun-59
Birmingham AL - 22-Nov-58
Boston MA - present
Brooklyn NY - 26-Jul-60
Calgary, Alberta - 08-Mar-75
Camden NJ - 01-Jun-47
Chicago IL - 25-Mar-73
Cincinnati OH - 18-Jun-65
Cleveland OH - 14-Jun-63
Columbus OH - 03-May-65
Cornwall, Ontario - 31-May-70
Covington KY - 17-Mar-58
Dallas TX - 28-Jul-66
Dayton - present
Denver CO - 10-Jun-55
Des Moines IA - 24-Jan-64
Duluth MN - 15-May-57
Edmonton, Alberta - present
Fitchburg MA - 30-Jun-46
Flint MI - 26-Mar-56
Fort Wayne IN - 12-Jun-60
Greensboro NC - 05-Jun-56
Greenville SC - 20-Feb-56
Halifax, Nova Scotia - 31-Dec-69
Hamilton, Ontario - 30-Dec-92
Honolulu - 22-Jun-57
Indianapolis IN - 10-May-57
Johnstown PA - 11-Nov-67
Kansas City MO - 04-Jan-59
Kenosha WI - Mar-52
Kitchener, Ontario - 26-Mar-73
Knoxville TN - 01-Jul-45
Little Rock AR - 01-Mar-56
Louisville KY - 07-May-51
Los Angeles CA - 31-Mar-63
Memphis TN - 22-Apr-60
Mexico City - present
Milwaukee WI - 08-Nov-36
Minneapolis MN - 05-May-22
Montréal, Québec - 29-Mar-37
New Orleans LA - 02-Dec-29
Newark NJ - 15-Sep-35
Ottawa, Ontario - 15-Dec-51
Peoria IL - 13-Nov-31
Petersburg VA - 19-Jun-23
Philadelphia PA - 14-Oct-23
Portland OR - May-35
Providence RI - 26-Dec-31
Regina, Saskatchewan - 04-Sep-47
Rochester NY - 01-Nov-23
Rockford IL - 10-Dec-30
Saint Joseph MO - 01-Aug-32
San Francisco CA - 07-Sep-41
Saskatoon - 22-Nov-48
Seattle WA - 28-Apr-40
Shreveport LA - 15-Dec-31
Staten Island NY - 08-Oct-21
Thunder Bay, Ontario - 01-Jan-70
Toledo OH - 01-Feb-35
Topeka KS - 27-Mar-32
Toronto, Ontario - 19-Jun-47
Vancouver, BC - 16-Aug-48
Wilkes-Barre PA - 15-Dec-39
Wilmington DE - 24-Sep-39
Winnipeg, Manitoba - 21-Nov-38
Youngstown OH - 11-Nov-36

This data comes from the ETS paid for "Booz/Allen/Hamilton Trolley Operations Review" of 2004 that strongly recommends getting rid of the Trolleys (I can send it to anyone here that requests it). I think it cost about 100 grand and took months for experts to issue.

and I do have an idea about removal costs... sell it on eBay! There's got to be someone in Vancouver crazy enough to buy this stuff... :lol:

m0nkyman
07-11-2006, 02:42 PM
Toronto, Ontario - 19-Jun-47
Vancouver, BC - 16-Aug-48

I'm not that old. I remember seeing electric busses in both those cities.

Hmm, The TTC seems to think they lasted until 1992 (http://transit.toronto.on.ca/trolleybus/9003.shtml)

And Vancouver still has them (http://vancouver.trolleybus.net/), unless I've been huffing glue and seeing things every time I've gone there.

DanC
07-11-2006, 02:52 PM
There is lots of trolley's in the Kits Beach area, for sure.

RichardS
07-11-2006, 08:30 PM
Yep, I hear those whiny POS's every time I am walking downtown Van.

highlander
08-11-2006, 08:09 AM
Does anyone have (or know where to find) a map of existing wire and current trolley routes?

RichardS
08-11-2006, 09:15 AM
ETS used to have it. Maybe ask at one of the transit garages...

JayBee
09-11-2006, 09:33 AM
There are other ways to look at this issue:

1 - Alberta is known worldwide for producing fossil fuels - not supporting the local economy is foolish.
I agree. Now which is more local: Exxon or Epcor?


2 - Of the 1800 ETS bus drivers, more than 95% of them are in favour of scrapping the entire Trolley system.
I have nothing but respect for the drivers, but even if you could cite a reliable source for that, I would have to respectfully disagree. We should be moving away from diesel because it is a non-stop health hazard for everyone, and possibly no one moreso than the drivers themselves.


3 - The average Trolley looses its poles 3 times a day (more during winter conditions - the majority of the time in the middle of intersections) where the operator needs to leave the safety of his/her cabin, go in the middle of the road, turn their back to oncoming traffic and play that silly "re-hook the poles on the moving wire" game - what's it gonna take? An accident for us to clue in that these things are dangerous?

Diesel exhaust causes cancer, cancer kills. Busses, including trolleys, might have accidents. This is not even comparable.


4 - There is one producer of Trolley busses in all of North America - it isn't smart business practice to rely upon the supply of a sole provider.

There's one producer that has a contract to produce, anyway. But how do you explain the two companies bidding for Vancouver's fleet renewal? And in the meantime there are only two producers selling diesel busses in any quantity anyway.


This is really similar to the old Beta tapes argument - they may have been better, but in the end you don't want to be stuck with an obsolete system.

Then we ditch the diesels completely? I'm not going that far this decade, but phasing diesel out should definitely be up for debate. I reiterate: the trolley system isn't the problem. The problem is the long overdue fleet renewal.


This data comes from the ETS paid for "Booz/Allen/Hamilton Trolley Operations Review" of 2004 that strongly recommends getting rid of the Trolleys (I can send it to anyone here that requests it). I think it cost about 100 grand and took months for experts to issue.
Actually, if you read that study carefully you may note that it also says there are zero producers of trolley busses in North America.

tdh5301-001
10-11-2006, 12:28 AM
[quote=DanC]
...
Topeka KS - 27-Mar-32
Toronto, Ontario - 19-Jun-47
Vancouver, BC - 16-Aug-48
Wilkes-Barre PA - 15-Dec-39
Wilmington DE - 24-Sep-39
Winnipeg, Manitoba - 21-Nov-38
Youngstown OH - 11-Nov-36

This data comes from the ETS paid for "Booz/Allen/Hamilton Trolley Operations Review" of 2004 that strongly recommends getting rid of the Trolleys (I can send it to anyone here that requests it). I think it cost about 100 grand and took months for experts to issue.

Read the sources for that report, that infomation came from what could be considered a "hobby" website. Booze Allen Hamilton (hence forth refered to me by the intials of BAH) didn't even do that research themselves. And, it's largely irrelvevant. After all... MANY more cities had streetcars, but most scrapped their systems. Yet, why are cities building LRT now?
Anyways, the BAH report didn't make a single recommendation. Read it, and show me where it recommends anything.
Granted, like many consulatants reports, it seems to have been written with a goal in mind. That was of course to provide a reason to get rid of the trolleys. However, many people, including professional engineers have picked apart the report, pointing out the many flaws that it contained.
For what it is worth, a student from a University out in Ontario did a report for her thesis on operating the route 9 as a trolley route vs. it's operation as a diesel route.
The trolleybus operation came out cheaper over it's life cycle than an equivalent diesel bus operation, despite the higher inital cost of the trolleybuses themselves, extending the overhead wire to Northgate, and the maintenance of that overhead wire.
Of course, why would we build LRT if it wouldn't be worth it?

tdh5301-001
10-11-2006, 12:40 AM
2 - Of the 1800 ETS bus drivers, more than 95% of them are in favour of scrapping the entire Trolley system.

3 - The average Trolley looses its poles 3 times a day (more during winter conditions - the majority of the time in the middle of intersections) where the operator needs to leave the safety of his/her cabin, go in the middle of the road, turn their back to oncoming traffic and play that silly "re-hook the poles on the moving wire" game - what's it gonna take? An accident for us to clue in that these things are dangerous?



These 2 really stand out. I know a few drivers and ALL of them hate the current trolleys. Maybe the new ones don't skip off the wires too much.


I assume someone can provide some sort of infomation that could backup these figures?
Riding trolley pretty often, I can safely say that I have never noticed any sort of increase in dewirements during winter conditions.
Anyways, 99.9% of drivers (OK, maybe 100%) hate the 200's, yet, ETS isn't working to get rid of them. Hell, they're still rebuilding the things.
I know a lot of drivers and ALL of them love the trolleys! Doesn't matter that they're old either. Although, they would very much like to try out the new one when it gets here.

RichardS
10-11-2006, 12:59 AM
These drivers fight for the power steering vs non power steering busses...they are finicky. Hell, I remember George bellyaching about the new Flyers when they came into being...so I take the complaints with a grain of salt.

As for trolleys, the ones on 107th ave are ALWAYS off the wires every freaking morning it is under -10. Same for along Jasper. Same for Belamy Hill. If not, then I am getting Welder's Flash from the arcs coming off the shoes in the early am, but the shower of sparks is cool - I am sure that this display is great for electric efficiency...

DanC
10-11-2006, 01:03 AM
^Its no biggie really efficiency wise. Its a much bigger deal with distracting drivers.

RichardS
10-11-2006, 01:05 AM
I agree. Now which is more local: Exxon or Epcor?

ba dum pum...:D





Diesel exhaust causes cancer, cancer kills. Busses, including trolleys, might have accidents. This is not even comparable.

Hockey pucks cause cancer in my case...;) No, I'm serious....

So does the coal burned to make electricity....

...and the natural gas...

...and EMF (see hockey puck for further correlation to my cancer)


Let's leave the cause cancer thing out of this, as I am living proof (fortunately) about electricity's ability to take a hockey puck injury from doing lines at a Bantam AAA game to EMF causing said bruise to tumor. Yes, the correlation is there. I have the scars both physically and emotionally to prove it.

tdh5301-001
10-11-2006, 07:22 AM
These drivers fight for the power steering vs non power steering busses...they are finicky. Hell, I remember George bellyaching about the new Flyers when they came into being...so I take the complaints with a grain of salt.

As for trolleys, the ones on 107th ave are ALWAYS off the wires every freaking morning it is under -10. Same for along Jasper. Same for Belamy Hill. If not, then I am getting Welder's Flash from the arcs coming off the shoes in the early am, but the shower of sparks is cool - I am sure that this display is great for electric efficiency...

Why didn't ETS install power steering in the trolleybuses? They did install it in every other GM diesel bus that is still in service.
In fact, they used the money from leasing the trolleybuses to Toronto to pay to install power steering in a number of diesels, but not the trolleys. Naturally, this a moot point as a new fleet of buses would have them. At least the trolleybuses are a lighter bus, and have can accelerate faster. Moving faster makes it easier to steer. The sparks you speak off are caused by frost on the lines. This is dealt with by installing a steel shoe on the poles as opposed to the regular carbons. If this is not done, it's just plain negligence on ETS's behalf. The time needed to do this is no more than the time needed to fuel a diesel bus.
Again, riding trolleybuses. I certainly disagree. I rode the route 5 twice yesterday, the route 133 from 124 St to 101 St and the route 120. Nothing dewired. Now, if it's a 107 Ave and 156 St that might be a bit easier to understand. I won't go into the details of it, but that wire intersection could potentially cause some problems since it's a different design than most places on the system.

RichardS
10-11-2006, 10:09 AM
It is 156/107. ;)

You hit it on the head with the power steering bit - they expected the new fleet to replace the aging ones.

Changing the shoes is easy, true. However, sometimes I think it is some line manager trying to save a couple bucks in labor.

I also see dewired trolleys on SP Road too often...near Jasper Place.

Regardless, no one is debating the power of an electric engine. It really comes down to route flexability for me, as well as the ability to mix equipment sizes depending on demand, and the ability to get out of the way when they dewire or an accident blocks the way ahead (mixed fuel trolleys can solve this). Trolleys are a one size fits all solution from what I've seen, unless I am wrong here...

JayBee
10-11-2006, 06:49 PM
Diesel exhaust causes cancer, cancer kills. Busses, including trolleys, might have accidents. This is not even comparable.

Hockey pucks cause cancer in my case...;) No, I'm serious....

So does the coal burned to make electricity....

...and the natural gas...

...and EMF (see hockey puck for further correlation to my cancer)


Let's leave the cause cancer thing out of this, as I am living proof (fortunately) about electricity's ability to take a hockey puck injury from doing lines at a Bantam AAA game to EMF causing said bruise to tumor. Yes, the correlation is there. I have the scars both physically and emotionally to prove it.

I believe you and I genuinely sympathise, but still I think the best response is to try to minimise future tumours per km traveled. That puts trolleys behind only bicycles. I'm not saying diesel is the only cause of cancer, just that it's dramatically worse than coal per km traveled. In another thread we can discuss phasing out coal or whatever, but even as things stand, trolleys are already better for public health than clean diesel. Europe has had clean diesel for decades, yet still they prefer trolleys for health and aesthetic reasons (noise, visible pollution, scent.)

(And I haven't even mentioned asthma, allergies, migraines or nausea, which are also caused by diesel exhaust.)


Regardless, no one is debating the power of an electric engine. It really comes down to route flexability for me
What do you think about the route flexibility of the LRT? :wink:


, as well as the ability to mix equipment sizes depending on demand, and the ability to get out of the way when they dewire or an accident blocks the way ahead (mixed fuel trolleys can solve this). Trolleys are a one size fits all solution from what I've seen, unless I am wrong here...
With a fleet renewal, we could fix all those (very real) problems. We could get non-articulated 40ft., and articulated 60ft. like Vancouver, and then we could get double-articulated 80ft. mega-trolleys like the Swiss cities have. A mega-trolley has the capacity of a single LRT car, but doesn't need the rails.

A mega-diesel on the other hand (found in tropical Brazil), in addition to the same health concerns as a normal sized diesel bus, would be mega-noisey, need mega-maintenance, and have mega-problems getting out of the river-valley (I would hope the people of Rossdale would mega-like to keep them.)

We don't need to put trolleys on every single route, just the trunk lines that we can't afford LRT for yet. (i.e., Millwoods, WEM, NAIT to Northgate, and a Jasper-Whyte loop or something.) They could increase capacity and rider appeal to something short of LRT, but still place some compatible infrastructure for future LRTification.

RichardS
10-11-2006, 07:57 PM
LRT is different. MASS capacity and mass frequency...solely meant for a trunk line. They are not even IN this discussion.. :P:D

EMF gives me migraines too....just like riding a trolley. Add that high pitched whine and I need my Immutrex. Migraines make me barf....and that is why I AVOID trolleys.


...but yes, diesel does give more health questions in its immediate proximity.