Goodbye Metrolinx, Hello Metrolinx

Earlier today I learned that Bill 163, the act to amalgamate GO Transit with Metrolinx and dump the politicians from the new Board, is expected to pass third reading imminently with proclamation shortly thereafter.

This means that the planned Board meeting on May 15 will be the new, wet behind the ears, but ever so non-political board.  Whether they will choose to meet in public much less discuss anything of consequence remains to be seen.  The date is still on the Metrolinx events calendar, but a week is a long time in politics.

AC or DC?

Robert Wightman has been looking into the question of AC versus DC traction motors, and posted the following long comment.  I have moved it to its own thread.

At the end of the note, Robert asks that people send him additional info if they have it.  I have removed his email address to avoid harvesting by web crawlers, but if someone needs this, just let me know in a comment and I will pass on the address in a private response.

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Hot Docs 2009: Part II

Saturday was a quieter day for screenings, although that was in part due to a concert by the Vancouver Symphony who were in town for the evening.  That pre-empted my documentary viewing for a few hours.

Reviewed here:

  • Orgasm Inc.
  • Presidio Modelo
  • Audition

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Hot Docs 2009: Part I

The annual Hot Docs film festival started Thursday evening (two days ago), although I was off absorbing culture of another flavour (the Tokyo Quartet playing Beethoven) and didn’t attend the Opening Night Gala.  My festival started on Friday, and I made a full day of it.  The number of titles looks daunting, but most were not feature-length.

Reviewed here:

  • Paul Tomkowicz, Street Railway Switchman
  • Corral
  • Nails
  • The Back-Breaking Leaf
  • Nobody Waved Goodbye
  • Paris, 1919
  • Clubland
  • Jackpot

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A Few Details About New Streetcars

Based on some of the comments here as well as a few of my own interests, I recently posed three questions to the TTC about the new Bombardier cars.

1. What are the “specified options” mentioned in the report, and when will we know which of these, if any, will actually be included in the order?

Specified options include security camera system, wheel flange lubrication, pantograph current collector, cab training simulator etc. 

Timing for ordering optional equipment depends on:

  • better definition of scope of work and system offered (e.g. camera system);
  • technical and noise necessity (e.g. flange lubricator);
  • system compatibility (e.g. pantograph); and,
  • completion of negotiation of the design and scope of work (e.g. cab simulator).

 2. When will a plan showing the interior layout be available which accurately reflects the dimensions of the Toronto car? Will there be an opportunity to fine tune this, or will that be done as part of the prototype operation when there’s a real car for people to walk around in? I have to assume this must already be available for discussions with ACAT.

While the exterior dimensions are fairly well set, the interior layout can be an evolving process. As noted at the April 27, 2009 Commission Meeting, there are four cost-neutral layouts that would afford flexibility in the final configuration. The current schedule calls for completion of the Conceptual Design Phase four (4) months after Notice of Award (NOA); Preliminary Design Phase twelve (12) months after NOA.

There will be opportunities to review the design through computer modeling and presentations during the design phases. A full-scale, half-car mock-up is scheduled for delivery in 18 months NOA. This would offer a “real car” feel for stake holders including ACAT to critique. The actual Prototype Car No. 1 is scheduled for delivery 26 months [after] NOA.

3. For the transit city network, will this be built to TTC gauge or to standard gauge? In other words, will the two systems and fleets be physically able to interoperate (assuming the TC cars stay away from “tricky” parts of the legacy network) or will the two systems remain disjoint?

This has a specific application to the St. Clair line because there has been talk of connecting it to Jane and operating it out of a TC carhouse. This would require that the 512’s trackage be made compatible with the TC fleet. This has obvious and immediate implications if the specs for the TC fleet have to be nailed down within the next year.

The Transit City network will be built to TTC gauge. Note that once the carbody structure, bogies, articulations etc. of the legacy system vehicles are proven through design, Finite Element Analyses, testing and validation, there will be savings in “proven” equipment and configuration for the TC vehicles, as well as savings through common tooling, manufacturing and quality control processes, if negotiation with the base vehicle carbuilder is successful.

TTC’s wider gauge also offers a wider aisle width and roomier interior, with little incremental construction cost, compared with a “standard gauge” vehicle.

Interoperability obviously involves more than track gauge. If Jane cars are required to operate on St. Clair, a whole host of challenges will have to be addressed, including tight radius curves and steep grades at St. Clair West station and short turn loops en route.

 Thanks to Brad Ross, Director, Corporate Communications at the TTC for this information.

After receiving Brad’s reply, it occurs to me that if St. Clair cars are to be based at a TC carhouse via Jane Street, this would be done by keeping some “city” cars at the new Eglinton West carhouse and running them over the TC network down to St. Clair.  This assumes, of course, that the Jane line is on the surface and makes a physical connection with an extended 512.  All of that is many years in the future, and St. Clair cars will be based at downtown carhouses for many years to come.