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  • #31
    Originally posted by JayBee
    IKAN104:
    ...

    I also note that you support the LRT but don't support wires. Ummm.

    I was wondering if somebody would call me on that.

    Yes, it's true LRT needs overhead wires too. But what I really don't like about the wires is the intersections where many wires criss cross along with all the wires required to suspend these power lines from the poles on all corners. For example 156 Street and 107th Ave. That is a nightmare.

    A single line is not so bad but the more trolley lines we have running through the city, the more of these intersections we're going to create.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by IKAN104
      Originally posted by JayBee
      IKAN104:
      ...

      I also note that you support the LRT but don't support wires. Ummm.

      I was wondering if somebody would call me on that.

      Yes, it's true LRT needs overhead wires too. But what I really don't like about the wires is the intersections where many wires criss cross along with all the wires required to suspend these power lines from the poles on all corners. For example 156 Street and 107th Ave. That is a nightmare.

      A single line is not so bad but the more trolley lines we have running through the city, the more of these intersections we're going to create.
      JayBee,

      The overhead wires for trolleys and the overhead wires for LRT are "apples and oranges". The overhead wires for LRT - except for where they cross a street - are restricted to being in the LRT right of ways. These are not "ative" public spaces in quite the same sense as our streets and sidewalks are active public spaces.

      It is the continuous length running along the streets and the myriad lines and supporting cables at intersections (particularly, as IKAN104 noted, those where the trolley routes are left and/or right turning as well as through) that has been rightfully called visual pollution (along with all of our "temporary" mobile signs but that is a different thread ).

      Over the past several decades, we have gone to great length to bury telephone and power and cable lines etc. in recognition of this (and to minimize the real or perceived risk of exposure to them and to eliminate their being "downed" as a result of severe weather).

      I also don't believe that trying to reconnect a trolley to a trolley line in -30 weather in the middle of one of those intersections is the safest task we could ask the operators to undertake.
      "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by dwells
        Why has no one mentioned yet that the major reason given for eliminating trolleys was that ETS is required to have an EPCOR crew standing by whenever trolleys are in operation?

        Would more and longer lines reduce the cost per passenger mile or would it require more EPCOR crews to be hired?

        Is there a third option that combines the diesel electric with the trolley into a true hybrid that can run on either electricity from trolleys or electricity generated on-board?
        You're right about EPCOR's standby crew, but new trolleys have a battery pack on board, which means standby crew can take more time to get to the trouble spot without interfering the trolley system. In fact, it may not even cause any inconvenience. With today's trolleys, it can still discourage riders no matter how much standby crews are on the road. I bet that even the network is expanded, we would still see less standby crew on the road. Drivers can rewire at a bus stop after a section breaker is reached.

        There's no arguing that the new trolleys are hands-down more convenient than what we have today: power steering, wheelchair accessible, on-dashboard rewiring, on-board backup battery, regenerative braking and perhaps less chance of dewiring. Nothing I've mentioned is present in today's trolleys.

        As for the hybrid you've mentioned. I think it's another good idea. Rely on overhead for clean and quiet operation where there's opportunity and on diesel where no overhead is present. However, that should be used in routes where half of it runs under the overhead and it could also mean more complex special work in some intersections. Nonetheless, that would be useful for all routes that runs through downtown. I think this should be considered after all the extensions are in place. We can have an overhead system with utilization on overdrive

        Originally posted by JayBee
        All good ideas. Can I ask if you've listed those routes in order of priority? I certainly agree up to number 4, but I'll have to get back to you about 5 and 6.
        Yes, they are in order of priority.

        I am still trying to figure out regarding your loop idea.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by IKAN104
          Yes, it's true LRT needs overhead wires too. But what I really don't like about the wires is the intersections where many wires criss cross along with all the wires required to suspend these power lines from the poles on all corners. For example 156 Street and 107th Ave. That is a nightmare.
          I find I seldom notice the overhead wires at all. They're simply part of the urban landscape and I feel that if I spent my time glaring at the trolley lines I would be neglecting my driving.

          I wonder if you could be right though. Maybe if these wire assemblies really are distracting drivers, it would account for the number of collisions at these locations.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by dwells
            Originally posted by IKAN104
            Yes, it's true LRT needs overhead wires too. But what I really don't like about the wires is the intersections where many wires criss cross along with all the wires required to suspend these power lines from the poles on all corners. For example 156 Street and 107th Ave. That is a nightmare.
            I find I seldom notice the overhead wires at all. They're simply part of the urban landscape and I feel that if I spent my time glaring at the trolley lines I would be neglecting my driving.

            I wonder if you could be right though. Maybe if these wire assemblies really are distracting drivers, it would account for the number of collisions at these locations.
            I thought 124 Street and 107 Avenue is the most complex trolley intersection.

            The one on 107 and 156 is unique. It's designed to dewire less frequently. Trolleybuses can run though that work at higher speeds.

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by dwells
              I find I seldom notice the overhead wires at all. They're simply part of the urban landscape and I feel that if I spent my time glaring at the trolley lines I would be neglecting my driving.
              You may not notice them much because you're used to them but I bet you'd notice a huge difference if I could show you before and after pictures of an intersection where trolley lines have just been removed.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by IKAN104
                Originally posted by dwells
                I find I seldom notice the overhead wires at all. They're simply part of the urban landscape and I feel that if I spent my time glaring at the trolley lines I would be neglecting my driving.
                You may not notice them much because you're used to them but I bet you'd notice a huge difference if I could show you before and after pictures of an intersection where trolley lines have just been removed.
                My favorite example would be 102ave by the RAM from 124th to 142nd. It's a nice street, but it has a canopy of trolley lines. I wish that ETS would get rid of them so the only canopy it would have would be from the trees.

                Trolley-lines can blend in to the urban landscape in areas that are actually urban, but they shouldn't be running through Glenora (even if 102 is a major thoroughfare).

                Comment


                • #38
                  I'd be all for some new trolleys if they are shown to be cost-effective, simple as that.

                  The current ones we have are a joke and should be retired. I've spent far too much time on them during derailments (4 times in 30minutes once) or behind them in a car during winter having a hail of sparks fall down.

                  I also don't really like the trolley lines. I remember some streets around here that used to seem like there was a cage over your head. It was really nice when the clutter got removed.
                  LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by IKAN104
                    You may not notice them much because you're used to them but I bet you'd notice a huge difference if I could show you before and after pictures of an intersection where trolley lines have just been removed.
                    That really isn't necessary, there are enough roads that don't have overhead wires to use as comparison. EG Compare driving on 104 Ave with driving on Jasper.

                    My point was more basic. You are offended by the overhead lines because you have convinced yourself that they are unsightly and unnecessary; and I fail to notice them because their presence is necessary for the transit system and otherwise unimportant to me. Likewise, if they were removed overnight, I would probably fail to immediately notice their absence.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by MylesC
                      I'd be all for some new trolleys if they are shown to be cost-effective, simple as that.
                      I don't know the latest price of new trolleys, the last price I believe I remember was about $700,000. I doubt if we could justify throwing away our present stock just to replace them with newer models that perform exactly the same job with no/few improvements.

                      Originally posted by MylesC
                      I've spent far too much time on them during derailments (4 times in 30minutes once) .
                      If you want to trade anecdotes, I was on a trolley that derailed 4 times in crossing a single intersection. But you have to admit that we always remember exceptional cases and tend to forget the many uneventful trips we take for granted.

                      Originally posted by MylesC
                      I also don't really like the trolley lines. I remember some streets around here that used to seem like there was a cage over your head. It was really nice when the clutter got removed.
                      Yes, the "new" support arms are much nicer than the old web of cables that supported the trolley wires. It's only at corners where the weight of switches and rails still need the extra cable support that we get the impression of a spider's web.

                      But since you mentioned cost-effectiveness, what is the cost of running a trolley for 1,000 kilometres and running a diesel 1,000 kilometres - including all maintenance.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by dwells
                        If you want to trade anecdotes, I was on a trolley that derailed 4 times in crossing a single intersection. But you have to admit that we always remember exceptional cases and tend to forget the many uneventful trips we take for granted.
                        I took a trolley route to and from work for a summer once. The rate of faliure, why not always 4 time in a route, was rather high for something that should be passed off to the public as reliable public transit
                        LA today, Athens tomorrow. I miss E-town.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by dwells
                          But since you mentioned cost-effectiveness, what is the cost of running a trolley for 1,000 kilometres and running a diesel 1,000 kilometres - including all maintenance.
                          It's hard to do a simple comparison, since the costs don't accumulate the same way. Running one trolley is going to be a lot more expensive than running one diesel, but running a hundred trolleys is going to be cheaper than running a hundred diesels. The basic costs are:

                          For fuel/power, power for a trolley costs less than fuel for a diesel bus.

                          Vehicle maintenance costs are about even--but that's a misleading figure since all of the trolleys in the city are old while most of the diesels are newer. Trolleys have usually cost less to maintain than diesel buses of the same age.

                          But paying for the overhead wires depends on the number of buses using them. Since the city contracts out maintenance to Epcor, the cost is the same whether we run ten or twenty or fifty trolleys. Therefore by running fewer and fewer trolleys over the years the city has inflated this cost considerably.

                          So there comes a point when trolleys become cheaper to operate, and it's related to how many trolleys you operate over a given network. This is why City Council has repeatedly directed ETS to make maximum use of the trolleys. The problem is that ETS has instead cut back service.

                          Originally posted by MylesC
                          I've spent far too much time on them during derailments (4 times in 30minutes once)
                          4 times in 30 minutes means there was a problem with the bus (maintenance) or driver (training), or both. I ride trolleys just about daily, and I can't actually remember the last time I was on a bus that dewired.

                          That said, new trolleys have more flexible poles that are supposed to jump off the lines less easily. And, from talking to bus drivers, there are a few problem spots on the wires that need to be repaired but aren't--meaning the city needs to do a better job of holding Epcor to account.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by kcantor
                            The overhead wires for trolleys and the overhead wires for LRT are "apples and oranges". The overhead wires for LRT - except for where they cross a street - are restricted to being in the LRT right of ways. These are not "ative" public spaces in quite the same sense as our streets and sidewalks are active public spaces.

                            It is the continuous length running along the streets and the myriad lines and supporting cables at intersections (particularly, as IKAN104 noted, those where the trolley routes are left and/or right turning as well as through) that has been rightfully called visual pollution (along with all of our "temporary" mobile signs but that is a different thread ).
                            There's some truth to this now, but the SLRT extension is going to mean poles and wires all the way down 114 & 111 Streets. There are going to be crossovers and guy wires and other stuff that will look just as bad as many trolley intersections.

                            Not to mention all the calls for a streetcar system...

                            The point is that overhead wires aren't going to disappear from Edmonton streets. So instead of tearing down the trolley lines, we should work at making them a part of the streetscape. Paint the poles, simplify the supports, install the power lines with some sensitivity to the street. Jaybee mentioned 'discount grey' poles--in fact support poles (along with regular streetlights and traffic light structures) aren't even painted anymore--just galvanised steel, stuck in the ground like some 2001-esque monolith.

                            P.S. Agree 100% on the mobile signs

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Wow, leave things alone for a couple days...

                              Modulator42:
                              Thanks for your posts. We obviously agree on a lot here.

                              kcantor, IKAN104:
                              Regarding the differences between LRT and trolley cable: So far we've been spoiled by our LRT infrastructure. Having it underground and on the historical CN right of way has almost given the impression that we don't have wires. Starting right now however, that's changing. It will for the first time be almost mixed with regular street traffic right down to Century Park, and then right up to NAIT, and then most of the distance to WEM (hopefully.) And anything we could do to minimise it's impact we could also theoretically do with the trolley system too.

                              Trolley systems' abilities to mix better with traffic (right down to using the same roads) should be seen as an advantage, not a disadvantage. I do advocate simplifying the route network though, precisely for concerns like yours.


                              newfangled:
                              You mentioned that you don't want trolley wires on 102 ave. I understand and I honestly agree, until I'm faced with the alternatives. I haven't talked much about cancer in this thread (yet) but that, along with diesel engine noise, I consider much worse personally. Furthermore if we limit busses of all varieties, that could lead to an increase in automobile traffic on that road.

                              I for one can't wait to relax on the museum grounds in or near the Gangwon Jang pavillion in the summer, and look at future "Big Things" exhibits, and I know that hearing a diesel bus roar past is going to make me wince. That setting should be as close to idyllic as possible. I don't want big trucks going down that route either. Do you?

                              Perhaps we should consider closing the road entirely, and diverting everything to 104 st and Stony Plain Road.

                              Or divert just the trolleys to 104 St. and S.P.R. Except then riders would be inconvenienced going to the RAM.

                              Honestly though, I think if we invest in wire beautification and get a really useful and nice looking fleet, a lot of the resentment would die down and more people would begin to actually appreciate the system for the beauty of its logic. It can reduce traffic itself as well as noise and air pollution. It has a lot of positive potential.


                              MylesC, dwells:
                              I think the best way to look at costs is over a 30 year period on a route by route basis. Over that much time, on a high density route, diesel fuel and maintenance overwhelms the additional costs of trolley vehicles and wires both (including EPCOR crews.) It's the same logic that so many environmentalists press for battery electric cars. The much lower fuel and maintenance costs more than make up for the initial purchase cost difference. The same cost pattern even extends to trolleys versus hybrids. More upfront (when you include wires), less in the long run.

                              Additionally, trolleys (as well as diesel electric, presumably) can get bigger than diesels without so much concern over traction because making a 4 wheel drive system basically just involves putting a wire through the articulated joint and putting another electric motor on another axel somewhere. Doing that with diesel power either involves a highly complex (and heavy) transmission or indeed two seperate engines and transmissions which would be both heavier and highly inefficient.

                              Being bigger without worry on icy roads or climbing out of the river valley means it's able to achieve higher economies of scale. You think our beater trolleys irritate when they dewire? I imagine people would be much more concerned with a double articulated diesel spinning its tires in front of them on Bellamy hill. Modern trolleys would have distinctly less trouble.

                              Next, take a look at where petroleum prices are going versus coal, over the next 30 years.

                              Finally, remember that cancer treatment isn't cheap either.


                              Lots of people:
                              In regards to trolley dewirement, yeah, it happens too much with the current beaters. 4 times in one intersection? Sounds ridiculous. I too have been both in and behind ETS trolleys that went off the wires, and I didn't like it either. It's a problem, no arguement there.

                              But how do we fix it? That's where there is an arguement. Do we get rid of the system entirely? Or do we get busses that a) dewire less often and b) can easily continue with traffic even if dewired? Just look at the Swiss cities: they have very similar weather conditions, they're even richer than Edmonton, they're known for nothing if not precision time keeping, and they love their trolley systems. The difference? Their trolleys have battery backups. Our trolley vehicles are due (or overdue) for renewal anyway. We just have to get some good ones. (And rationalise the network.)


                              dwells:
                              About diesel-electrics that can use trolley lines: yeah, I'd be all for them, by all means. They could serve areas that don't justify wires, and then take full advantage of wires where available. That would even allow us to employ a grid system of busses, yet keep the core completely free of diesel bus exhaust and noise. Of course they'd have a higher up-front cost than either straight trolley vehicles or straight diesel vehicles, but the arguement is basically the same as for trolleys: do we seriously want a better city? Are we willing to wait for our returns? I'm completely with you, but first we have to have wires for both.


                              RicoLance21
                              The idea is to have a high frequency loop that goes down Whyte Ave, up 99th street, across Jasper Avenue, down 109th street and back across Whyte Ave. I think it could somehow unify the downtown area and the Old Strathcona area (along with certain river valley attractions and gateways) so that it all becomes one destination for tourists and residents.
                              Let's make Edmonton better.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                I'm thinking about updating the concept, and I'd just like to call for any other input. (Positive and negative both.)

                                So far the changes would include:
                                - Include the line to Abbotsfield
                                - Consider extensions to Forrest Heights and Lessard
                                - Put a vastly heavier emphasis on beautification (maybe even hold an industrial design competition for the wire support infrastructure.)
                                - Put a heavier emphasis on the effect of battery packs (i.e., there is no need to rewire in the middle of an intersection.)
                                - Consider the potential addition of "tribrids" (diesel electric with pantographs or trolleys that can go wayyyyy off the wires, depending how one looks at it).
                                - Consider the potential lure of a diesel bus free core (the above vehicles would make it possible.)
                                - Educate more about the dangers of diesel (It simply isn't the same as gasoline.)
                                - Put a higher emphasis on the fact that we already have enough wire and power converters etc. to complete the routes to Northgate and WEM, and maybe the Whyte-Jasper loop as well. All we need to do is move it around.
                                - Also emphasise that it's a practical transit solution in the face of boom prices, which can still lead to LRT.

                                Deletions? Additions? General opinions?
                                Let's make Edmonton better.

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