Thursday, August 6, 2009

Type 4 MAX Trains, A different perspective from the cab

There was no shortage of riders on my Red Line MAX train today.......which had a Type 4 train running on it, brand new. I had on rider say "I thought it was out of service until the doors opened and people got on and off." I rode up front behind the cab for most of my trip, after I got what I wanted to film, I sat in the "Parlor" area. Things that have changed, The english speaking Male voice is gone from all announcements, including Rose Quarter, Galleria and Gateway, they are all the female voice now. All functions are a bit delayed, 1 second after the operator pushes "Close", the announcement goes off, some announcements have a noticeable space in them. The interior "Next Stop" sign is smaller, but in Orange LED and is easier to read. The A/C was freezing today. TriMet went back to the low back seats for this train, but I don't know if that was a TriMet thing as the San Diego Trolley has the exact same seats in their "Type 4" trainsets. The handicap ramp deploys and stores in half the time, its FAST! You can see into the other car from the "Parlor" area. The trains do seem narrower, but its because they are a tad longer. They are bright inside, and very nice.

You can also see through the front cab area, which I did. This gave a whole new perspective to what MAX operators put up with. Downtown seemed to be the most problem prone, people running out in front after she rang the bell, jay walkers not paying attention, and Cars who want to make the light, then block the train from going. Lets not forget those who hold the door open, we lost our signal twice due to this. The new cars tho let everyone know whos doing it as the door beeps until it can close. My operator was very nice, and excited about having a new train, but it seems by time we got to the Airport, and headed back, it was all down hill for her, and I felt bad, on the way out there she turned around and smiled, a big "This is cool" smile to me. At 82nd she was trying to do something, and somehow locked herself out of the cab, oh no!! Luckily another MAX was in the station and she could borrow keys to get back in. Then at the 3rd station she opened BOTH sides of doors, people actually got off on the right side, We walked passed her when we got off, the smile was gone, I really hope something cheered her day up after she moved on, she seemed like one of the few cool operators out there. I thought she did well overall given all the stuff that happens, from stupid people to stupid cars, its a lot to handle.

Overall it was a fun ride, They are a good addition to the family, now we need to get more buses! =)

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