Jul 22, 2008
Yup. Slid my phone between a gap in the fence so only it was trespassing to get the shot.
They've pretty much chased out all the bugs in the trains.
When they first started running, there were huge problems - they had to keep several buses ready to take over in case the system went down. The point of the LRT line was to eliminate some bus lines and replace them with the trains.
Stuck doors (open) caused the train to stop or not start back up again at a station (a lot of the stuck open doors were caused by people with nothing better to do). On at least one occasion the pantograph tore down the catenary when they came to a station stop. Derailments. If one train broke down, all of them stopped. Riders were just about fed up.
And the whole project was well over budget...
I just hope the Montreal REM trains will fare better than Ottawa's...
The ones in Ottawa seemed to be running just fine last week.
Like I wrote, they seem to have ironed out the kinks in the system. In the original contract, it was stipulated that the city wouldn't accept them unless they had 12 consective days of tests without issues. The consortium kinda bent the rules and submitted test results of 12 days without issues, but not consecutive. And they never tested them in winter.
The whole thing reminds me of the CN Turbo Train debacle. They were supposed to be up and running in time for Expo 67, but it took until 1973 before they managed to cobble together some reliable trainsets for regular service. Those ran until about 1980-ish. That's what happens when an aircraft manufacturer is put in charge of building a train. CN was savvy enough to have a clause put into the contract that all maintenance and repair is the aircraft manufacturer's responsibility.
Winter in the north adds a whole new degree of difficulty to operations. Ice causes all sorts of issues, and snow can find its way into the tiniest gaps and cause all kinds of havoc. Sounds like the debacle Amtrak is dealing with regarding the new Siemens Chargers.
Yessir. Even the GG-1's failed en masse (in the early '60s I'm trying to recall) when an unusual mix of very fine snow and ice particles found their way through their air filters and into electrical gear. Never in decades of service had the problem surfaced. The solution was a reengineered intake and it's why some Gs had these ugly boxy frames seen here.
Nice shot. But another item not shown in the picture is that each of those air intakes on every GG1 had a flat 1" frame to configure to all the different openings that then had Irish linen made into basically bags that the frames were slid into then sewed shut and soaked in water which then shrunk the linen tight and then applied by clips to hold in place. This was a major summer job that was done in the Wilmington Shops. This process was also used when the original Budd Metroliners had the same issue with snow so every Metroliner had 8 screens added to protect them.
Interesting details! Was the filtration linen replaced often?
Which brings back the CN (later VIA) Turbo Trains. The main contractor, United Aircraft, figured that if they could build aircraft systems that could withstand 40,000+ feet altitude and -50C cold, it would be a piece of cake to build a train. Oh, they were so wrong! The dry conditions at altitude were of no comparison to ground-level snow, sleet, humidity, muck and other stuff, even at only -10C.
Sliding doors froze in winter. Their brake systems froze up from the cold. A host of other mechanical problems usually never seen in planes caused the original spring 1967 inauguration of service to be pushed back to 1968. Then the 1968 attempts failed, pushing the beginning of service yet again. Intermittent service ensued until late 1973, over six years after the intended date, when the least troublesome equipment was cobbled together to take the original five seven-car sets and making three nine-car sets, along with a major rebuild job that started in 1971.
Though the trains were capable of 140 MPH, they were restricted to 95 MPH because of the many, many grade crossings between Montreal and Toronto. Many were unsignaled, like farmer's private roads.
Even after their transfer to VIA Rail in 1978, they gave their owners trouble. In 1979, one of the remaining three sets caught fire just west of Morrisburg Ontario because of an oil leak, destroying one power car and two coaches.
They were finally retired in 1982, replaced by the diesel-powered LRC trainsets (which had their own teething problems).
Like Scotty said in one of the Star Trek movies, the more you complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain...
If not ripped they were all completely taken off when "winter" was over. Then stripped off the material and the frames stored for the next year and repeat the whole process.
I think that someone at the REM construction team must be reading our posts...
There was a press conference earlier today where they said they would delay the start of regular service until next spring instead of December this year... why?...
You can't make this stuff up...