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Shane

O-Train - Daily Observations and Spottings

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Today's observations. I rode from Parliament to St-Laurent and shortly after the return trip from 1:10pm to 1:50pm.

The trains seem to be operating slightly faster than yesterday during the light snowfall. It would seem like they are going slower in the eastbound direction than in the westbound. For example, when heading east from Rideau, they complete the big curve, and then slow down a bit further on the long straight before exiting the portal, and continue more or less at the same speed until uOttawa. Same for Tremblay to St-Laurent, again fairly slow compared to dry normal conditions.

In the westbound direction, uOttawa to Rideau went quite faster, if not close to normal speed.

Any speculation on the reason for the speed difference between both tracks? A few days ago it was related to the "weld" that had an issue around Hurdman but that was reportedly repaired. Might be a slower speed in snow/wet track conditions?

What are your thoughts?

I also saw people reporting on Skyscraper Forum that the Lyon station announcement in French was changed to pronounce Lyon like it is said in France for the city of the same name, however I have yet to hear it like that.

And finally, the switches along the track all appear to be heating correctly. The switch itself and some track ahead and behind are clear of all snow. Does anyone know how this system works? Is it radiant heat or heated wire loops underneath the track ballast? Whatever is being done seems to be very effective at covering a large surface area.

On a sidenote, the issues with doors and track switches seems to have dropped considerably in the last week. Granted the reason for stuck trains isn't always made clear but as far as those two issues are concerned, there seems to be a noticeable improvement.

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On 2019-11-15 at 2:12 PM, Shane said:

For example, when heading east from Rideau, they complete the big curve, and then slow down a bit further on the long straight before exiting the portal, and continue more or less at the same speed until uOttawa. Same for Tremblay to St-Laurent, again fairly slow compared to dry normal conditions.

I noticed that as well yesterday, the train slowed down from Rideau to uOttawa. Not sure what's the cause. Didn't see if it happened from Tremblay to St-Laurent, since I got off at Tremblay. Also, another thing I noticed is after leaving Hurdman station towards Tremblay, the train seems to be grinding on the tracks - not sure if that makes sense but it seems less smooth than the rest of the trip. I noticed this on opening day as well and a few other times since. Did anyone else notice this? Any ideas on why? 

To finish, a funny LRT-related story that happened yesterday: I was with a friend at Michaels looking at different christmas decorations, when I see a sign with Santa's reindeers. Their names were all written with green letters, except for the "O" in Rudolph, which was red... surprisingly similar to the O-train symbol! To which my train-nerd mind immediately thinks "Hey, look, is that supposed to be an LRT reference??" And my friend, with an Are You Kidding Me look, replies, "No, that's his red nose..." 😂

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1 hour ago, Dr. Human said:

I noticed that as well yesterday, the train slowed down from Rideau to uOttawa. Not sure what's the cause. Didn't see if it happened from Tremblay to St-Laurent, since I got off at Tremblay. Also, another thing I noticed is after leaving Hurdman station towards Tremblay, the train seems to be grinding on the tracks - not sure if that makes sense but it seems less smooth than the rest of the trip. I noticed this on opening day as well and a few other times since. Did anyone else notice this? Any ideas on why? 

To finish, a funny LRT-related story that happened yesterday: I was with a friend at Michaels looking at different christmas decorations, when I see a sign with Santa's reindeers. Their names were all written with green letters, except for the "O" in Rudolph, which was red... surprisingly similar to the O-train symbol! To which my train-nerd mind immediately thinks "Hey, look, is that supposed to be an LRT reference??" And my friend, with an Are You Kidding Me look, replies, "No, that's his red nose..." 😂

The grinding is perfectly normal on very tight curves. It's a common thing with rail networks using steel weels (not like Montreal for instance). If you ever take the Metro in Paris you'll hear a lot of grinding between the weels and the tracks because it's one of the most sinuous Subway systems in the world with othen very tight curves. Same goes for New York or Chicago.

Train has always slowed down on the way to uOttawa nothing new here. I'm a student at uOttawa so I'm pretty sure of what I'm saying. Same thing goes for the West Portal instance where the train slows down, before accelerating on the straight line to Lyon station (after clearing entirely the curve). 

 

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One issue with our system is that we have too few doors per train compared to other systems. On top of that, they are spread out unevenly. The low-floor nature of our trains is the reason for this, of course. Since the system runs as a metro in frequency, speed and capacity, we should have opted for high-floor models instead. 

Looking at the Vancouver example, the Innovia Metro Mark III has a length of 68 meters with a capacity of 532, not far off from our 600. In this short 68 meters, they have 12 doors while we have 14 punched seemingly randomly (based on the location of the bogies sticking out of the floor) along our 96 meter trains. This makes it farther to walk from your seat to the nearest door. With the narrow aisles, it can be hard to get to those doors through the crowds, even if you do get up and walk towards them a few stations beforehand.The 4 driver's cabins also waste quite a bit of space and make the distances between doors that much further.

These issues (fewer doors than other metro systems, uneven door placement, 4 driver cabins, 2 of which will never be used) also makes it much harder to utilize the platforms to their full potential.   

I assume the City figured 14 doors is a whole lot better than the 2 we have on the 41 meter long LINTs (which are problematic compared to the old Talents with 3 doors). We would have needed a much deeper analysis than that. 

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8 hours ago, J.OT13 said:

One issue with our system is that we have too few doors per train compared to other systems. On top of that, they are spread out unevenly. The low-floor nature of our trains is the reason for this, of course. Since the system runs as a metro in frequency, speed and capacity, we should have opted for high-floor models instead. 

Looking at the Vancouver example, the Innovia Metro Mark III has a length of 68 meters with a capacity of 532, not far off from our 600. In this short 68 meters, they have 12 doors while we have 14 punched seemingly randomly (based on the location of the bogies sticking out of the floor) along our 96 meter trains. This makes it farther to walk from your seat to the nearest door. With the narrow aisles, it can be hard to get to those doors through the crowds, even if you do get up and walk towards them a few stations beforehand.The 4 driver's cabins also waste quite a bit of space and make the distances between doors that much further.

These issues (fewer doors than other metro systems, uneven door placement, 4 driver cabins, 2 of which will never be used) also makes it much harder to utilize the platforms to their full potential.   

I assume the City figured 14 doors is a whole lot better than the 2 we have on the 41 meter long LINTs (which are problematic compared to the old Talents with 3 doors). We would have needed a much deeper analysis than that. 

It's clear by now that the city made a big mistake opting for what is essentially low-floor modified trams. I don't know what went through their heads but I suspect that:

A) They wanted to save money buying lighter trains and making platforms lighter (less concrete).

B) Or they were expecting the line to be essentially at grade (like a tram) in some portions of the line (suburbs maybe?). 

Including the door layout issue you mentioned, It also forced the city to buy the Citadis Spirit and to operate it exactly like a heavy rail line (witch is not what it's built for). Citadis Spirit are the only trains in the LRT market to offer such capacity where ever it's operational capacity (CBTC), Physical capacity (lenght, width) & Voltage Capacity (1500V), in short term they had no choice to opt for the Spirits. Flexity Freedom and Siemens don't offer anything like this. That creates an other issue, reliability... The Spirits are new trains, unproven anywhere else, with a technology mixing Lightrail design and Metro operating systems. Problems where just bound to happen at some point. 

The LRT market is still relatively new hence why the city had so few options for trains.

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Arrived at Hurdman this morning (Sunday) at 750 and the gates were closed. Every one milling around with no clue what to do. Finally a maintenance guy arrives and says “computer glitch I”m going in to manually open the gate.” When we got up to the platform none of the electronic signs were working telling you when next train was. Got on the train and the electronic voice was not on to tell you next station was not working. We arrived at Lees station and the train paused...than all the signage started working including the warnings about doors open and doors closed. Sounds like the computers were rebooted at that point. 

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Today at FEDCO, it was announced that 2 additional double-trains may be added to service in January, provided service reliability and issues continue on their trend downwards.

Currently Line 1 : Confederation Line operates with 13 double-trains. With each double-train carrying around 600 passengers.

Doing some crude math, we can say that the line will increase in capacity by approximately +15.4%

13 double trains = 7,800

15 double trains = 9,000

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First time riding in morning rush hour today. Got the Trillium Line from Mooney’s Bay to Bayview at around 830am. Pretty crowded until Carleton but everything running smoothly. Transferred at Bayview to Confederation Line and within a minute of arriving at platform an eastbound train pulled in. Packed train had to stand but the new hand grips were installed so no problem. Got off at Lyon.

Return trip around 1030  I embarked at Lyon and transferred to the 90 bus at Hurdman. Very smooth and fast. 

People seem to be getting it to stand to the right on the escalators and people walk up on the left. Still people standing in doorways on trains with big backpacks.  

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The winter / cold weather plan calls for doors to be manually activated at outdoor stations and only open in automatic mode in the underground stations. So far this has only happened a few times.

Has there been any improvement on consistency on this over the past week or so?

I believe I have only ridden the train once where I had to manually activate the door.

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