Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rail Sights and Sounds - A Transit Geek Moment

Things I like about riding transit, the sounds it all makes, from the announcements, to door chimes to track noise. Its all very cools sounds, I don't know why, but heres a tour of a few different rides from Rail systems near by. Many of the videos are long, but if you do watch them all, its a pretty good tour. You will feel like you visited many places without going anywhere.

First I will start with our own, TriMets Green Line. I am strangely attracted to this line because it has the most sounds I like, mainly when crossing bridges, but because Concrete Ties are far from sound absorbent like wood ties. This is the closest I get to the sounds of BART from San Francisco, but thats coming up. The type 4s have the best sounds, they are the most fun to ride to get the most from rail sounds. This video is from a Green Line Preview Ride, but it holds many of the cool sounds.

I do not have a photo, but the end of the video has a good exterior shot of the New San Diego Trolley. These are the same model of car as our Type 4s at TriMet. Ironically they use them on their green line as well. One of the main things they do different is, the operators operate the doors on release all the time, so only the doors opened by the passengers needing to board or alight are opened, and they Buzz instead of Ding. At the Mission Valley Center Station, Jump about a minute ahead, we sat there longer than usual.

Next on my list is San Francisco Muni, This is from the tunnel under Market Street. They consider these Streetcars since once out of the tunnel, they run in regular lanes of traffic in many areas. In the tunnel the trains are in Auto Mode, they drive themselves. Speeds in the tunnel reach about 45 mph. Once the train exits the tunnel, the driver switches to Manual mode, and now the operator is in control. In the Tunnel they tell the train to depart, the train does the rest.

As we blend to heavy rail, we visit BART. The Bay Areas Rapid Transit System which runs solely on its own right of way on the entire system. BART is mostly ATC, the operator sounds the horn upon arrival to a station, makes announcements, and closes the doors when all is clear, telling the train to depart. Due to BARTS age, it produces the most variety of sounds. Grooves in the rail help this. Also BARTS rail is 1 foot wider than standard gauge. BART Travels at average speeds of 50-70 mph, enters stations at 35mph and can hit a top speed of 80mph.
Video 1 is from Rockridge thru MacArthur, there are at least a half of dozen switches after departing MacArthur, Video 2 is from Balboa Park to Colma, some radio chatter made it onto the PA, but this section is a little bit of above and under ground, and the 3rd video is in the Market Street Subway.
Some of the station stops were a little long, just hop thru those, these were before my video editing days, i posted what was recorded.

Next up is Commuter rail, first is Seattle's Sounder. I sat 3 seats back from the loco in this video, and my favorite is the horn, I want it for my car.

Finally we have CalTrain, service from San Francisco to San Jose with limited service to Gilroy (Garlic?).
The First Video is on the older Gallery Equipment, it had more squeaks and knocks than anything I have ridden. These are the same cars used on Metra in Chicago.
The next 2 videos were on the newer equipment, Sounder, Metrolink (LA), ACE, FrontRunner (Salt Lake City), RailRunner (New Mexico) and GO (Toronto) use the same equipment. It sounds cooler on CalTrains tracks. Video one is making the Burlingame and Millbrae stops (Stops are very short) and the second is blowing thru 2 stations without stopping and slowly (10mph) working our way into the SF Depot.

Now we can return to our normally scheduled programming..........whatever that is.

1 comment:

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