Tuesday, March 29, 2011

King County Metro says Trolley Buses should stay!

King County Metro here in Seattle has released its initial findings into the Electric Trolley Bus system, and the direction its headed. The conclusion of this report is positive for supporters. KC Exec Constantine said "the trolley buses are clean, quiet and modern trolleys can be very cost effective to operate over their lifetime".

Right now Metro runs 159 ETBs, 100 40' Gilligs and 59 refurbished Bredas. Those need to be replaced soon, and KCM was toying with ETBs, or Hybrids as their replacement. We have nearly 70 miles of wire around the city which carries 1/5 of the total ridership. ETBs traverse the steep hills better, and provide the city with a quieter transit system running by their homes.

I personally am happy to see this. Now Metro will look at new low floor equipment, which will help loading times with easier boardings. Also helping the decision seemed to be the fact that the new equipment will be able to run off wire for a couple of blocks if a blockage occurs (something no streetcar can do) with back up battery power.

There is a public hearing on April 27, which I hope will be positive. This will keep our ETB system, and upgrade the equipment for better mobility, and reliability. If you can, head to the meeting and show your support, and keep Electric Trolley Buses in this great city!

I have also created a poll in the right side bar, cast your vote!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life is.....at any moment

My thoughts and prayers are with those and families of the 3 people killed in Kelso by a train on Wednesday. One was an engineer with the BNSF who was 58, almost to retirement. Another was a Conductor Trainee, a 28 yo learning the job. Also, the Shuttle Driver, a 60 yo did not make it, but was not a railroad employee. The conductor, a BNSF employee is in critical condition at OHSU in Portland, he is 52.

I used to be a Crew Hauler for UP a few years ago, the easiest job on the railroad. You had to be alert tho, you don't look once, or twice, you check about a half a dozen times before crossing tracks. Train equipment is very unforgiving equipment, and the last thing you wanted was to be in its path. There are thousands of employees who run this equipment, and work with it in the yard, you are always on the lookout. Once when I was picking up a crew at the North end of Brooklyn Yard in Portland, an Amtrak train went by, at 50mph. Theres no crossings, therefore no horns, no bells, just it whisking by pretty quietly. Its a good job, but one mistake is usually your only mistake.

Unfortunately, the railroads continue to try and cut costs to boost profits, and have hired the cheapest they can contract with. That doesn't go without saying these drivers are not trying to be safe, but when your paying these guys minimum wage, you get a lower quality of work. I hope this incident sparks some changes.

As a transportation blogger, and once a railroad worker, this is a loss to our world. Its just a reminder of how short life is....and you never know. Be Safe in everything you do!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bus AD Fail

Whoever put up this ad didn't seem to notice,
How's My Driving?

Photo credit EBOperator

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crystal Method - Comin' Back

This is a bit of an older song from them, I really like it, plus I forgot how cool the video was.