Another Vancouver Sun “PUFF” Story

In one of the greatest non stories from the pages of the Vancouver Sun, the announcement that the Evergreen ART cars will be operated on the ALRT/ART system as they arrive.

Why wouldn’t they?

Let us not forget the Evergreen Line is the unfinished portion of the NDP’s boondoggle, the Millennium Line.

The entire story is nothing more than the continuing ‘puff’ stories by the Vancouver Sun, written by a reporter that is more of a PR flack than a reporter.

Just another Vancouver Sun embarrassment, trying to invent the news, instead or reporting it.

Evergreen Line cars slated to run on Expo, Millennium Lines this summer

Published on: May 4, 2016
The new Evergreen Line cars will be pressed into service on the Expo and Millennium lines as soon as they have been tested, to alleviate pressure on the transit system. Here Peter Fassbender, minister responsible for TransLink, takes a look at some of the new cars purchased for the Evergreen Line, though a construction fence at the Moody Centre Station on the Evergreen Line, as construction nears completion. May 4, 2016. Kelly Sinoski/Vancouver Sun [PNG Merlin Archive]

The new Evergreen Line cars will be pressed into service on the Expo and Millennium lines as soon as they have been tested, to alleviate pressure on the transit system. Here Peter Fassbender, minister responsible for TransLink, takes a look at some of the new cars purchased for the Evergreen Line, though a construction fence at the Moody Centre Station on the Evergreen Line, as construction nears completion. Kelly Sinoski / PNG

 

A fleet of SkyTrain cars ordered for the new Evergreen Line will be pressed into service even before the $1.4-billion line opens next year, as TransLink looks to ease rush-hour crowding on the Expo and Millennium lines.

The change will increase the average capacity of each train on the system by 100 passengers.

Vivienne King, president of TransLink Subsidiary B.C. Rapid Transit Co., said seven of the new Mark III trains (Bombardier Innovia metro cars – Zwei)will be added to SkyTrain as soon as they have been tested. That will likely be this summer.

Most of the increase is because adding the new trains will free up some of the Mark II cars to be added to the old four-car Mark I trains to make up more six-car trains (Mk.1 & Mk. 2 cars do not operate coupled together, as the different wheel diameters cause problems with the automatic train control – Zwei). That will boost the capacity of the older trains to 500 passengers from about 320 passengers.

“As soon as they’re available and released for service we will look at doing that,” King told The Vancouver Sun editorial board Wednesday. “You need to put your resources where they’re going to get the best bang for the buck.”

The additional capacity is expected to help address crowding on the Expo line, particularly between the Commercial-Broadway and Waterfront stations in downtown Vancouver during the morning rush hour, TransLink said, at least until the Evergreen Line starts operating in early 2017. The 11-kilometre rapid transit line will connect Coquitlam and Port Moody with the Millennium Line in Burnaby.

The new Evergreen Line trains have fewer seats — with 30 in each car — but are more open to allow a few additional standing passengers, TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan said (In North America, lack of seats deter customers – Zwei). This is consistent with changes during previous SkyTrain upgrades: The first batch of Mark II cars had 41 seats and a capacity of 130 people, while the latest generation of Mark II SkyTrain cars seat 33 people with a total capacity of 145 people. By comparison, the first Mark I cars, which went into service in 1985, had 36 seats a car and could carry a total of 80 passengers a car.

(General note, capacity is measured at approximately fiver persons per metre length of car. TransLink uses the figure of all seats occupied and 6 persons per metre/2, which gives theoretical capacity only – Zwei.)

TransLink’s 10-year funding plans calls for additional SkyTrain cars for the transit system, along with more buses and rapid transit line expansions for Surrey and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said he is in discussions with InTransitBC, which runs the Canada Line, about boosting capacity on that line between Vancouver and Richmond. He said extending the platforms on the Canada Line would be expensive but there may also be ways to expand capacity with additional rail cars.

(Canada line has a maximum capacity of only 7,500 persons per hour per direction – Zwei)

ksinoski@postmedia.com

Comments

4 Responses to “Another Vancouver Sun “PUFF” Story”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Sorry Zwei, I’m nit picking today:

    I was schooled recently by the standards guy at Alstom Canada. He shares my absolute revulsion at using the people per unit length of vehicle for standing room capacity measurement. It does not take into account many of the popular seating arrangements used by most rail car manufacturers and their ability to eliminate many standing room areas and creating dead space, where no one can stand. It also has to be adjusted for the many different types and sizes of rail vehicles. Wheelchair berths that can be folded upwards also provides a conundrum because if the space is occupied by someone in a standard wheel chair it eliminates quite a bit of standing space compared to when the fold up seat is being used by a sitting customer. The amount of standing space is further eliminated if a larger motorized wheelchair is used.

    However, if you insist on using this incredibly inefficient method I can’t stop you, however, if you are calculating standing room capacity here are the latest ranges used by most manufacturers, on a mainline railway car you need to use 5 – 6 people per unit length. Metro/Subway 4-5 people per unit length. Most LRV’s (usually the 2.86 M width) use between 3.5-4. If your LRV is the 2.4 M width variety 3-3.5 people per unit length. Alstom used 3.75 people per metre length for standing room capacity on Ottawa’s new Citadis Spirit LRV where Bombardier uses 4 for most of the Flexity models, sometimes 4.25 for special hybrid vehicles. Siemens seems to run the whole range when it comes to this measure because they generally use the passenger per sq. metre measure because they have accurate standing room floor area numbers for each type of seating arrangement and vehicle type. Most rail car manufacturers also have at the least 3 different seat widths that modify the final result. They always round up!

    If you are using the people per square metre of standing space method, remember realistic number ranges are in the 4-5 range for North America. If you see 6 or 8 people per square metre those are for weight capacity loading points not for capacity. As per my new math formula for predicting passengers lost in standing room situations.

    Zwei replies: Our neighbours to the south would greatly disagree and in fact I have had (loud?) correspondence from professionals South of the 49th on this matter.

    There needs to be a standard calculation for car capacity as most capacity calculations give impossible numbers for revenue service and seem to be nothing more than a salesman’s gimmick.

    Some years ago a chap from Siemens told me in an email that 4pm/2 was a practical calculation; 6pm/2 was for extreme crush loading and 8pm/2 was used for theoretical purposes only for braking test etc.

    TransLink tends to overstate car capacity because before the compass card, their ridership calculations included the given capacity of a car and the greater the car capacity, the higher the ridership.

    By they way, you are not nitpicking at all as it was a bit of a set up to get your response on car capacity.

    According to TransLink, a 16.5 metre long MK.2 SkyTrain car (not a married pair) has almost the same capacity of a 24 metre long Calgary or Edmonton Siemens U-2 LRV.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Sorry Zwei, I’m nit picking today:

    I was schooled recently by the standards guy at Alstom Canada. He shares my absolute revulsion at using the people per unit length of vehicle for standing room capacity measurement. It does not take into account many of the popular seating arrangements used by most rail car manufacturers and their ability to eliminate many standing room areas and creating dead space, where no one can stand. It also has to be adjusted for the many different types and widths of rail transit vehicles. Wheelchair seats that can be folded upwards also provides a conundrum because if the space is occupied by someone in a standard wheel chair it eliminates quite a bit of standing space compared to when the fold up seats are being used by sitting customers. The amount of standing space is further eliminated if a larger motorized wheelchair is used.

    However, if you insist on using this incredibly inefficient method I can’t stop you, however, if you are calculating standing room capacity here are the latest ranges used by most manufacturers. Many rail vehicles even in the same class/type can vary in width by large amounts. A Toronto Subway Train is significantly wider than a Montreal Metro Train thus, even though the Montreal trains are longer, they actually hold the same or less than a comparable Toronto Subway train. On a mainline railway car you need to use 5 – 6 people per unit length. Metro/Subway 4-5 people per unit length. Most LRV’s (usually the 2.86 M width) use between 3.5-4. If your LRV is the 2.4 M width variety 3-3.5 people per unit length. Alstom used 3.75 people per metre length for standing room capacity on Ottawa’s new Citadis Spirit LRV where Bombardier uses 4 for most of the Flexity models, sometimes 4.25 for special hybrid LRV’s. Siemens seems to run the whole range when it comes to this measure because they generally use the passenger per sq. metre measure. They use the older method because they have accurate standing room floor area numbers for each type of seating arrangement and vehicle type. Most rail car manufacturers also have at the least 3 different seat widths that modify the final result. They always round up!

    If you are using the people per square metre of standing space method, remember realistic number ranges are in the 4-5.2 range for North America. If you see 6 or 8 people per square metre those are for calculating loading weight limit capacity, not for passenger carrying capacity.

    As part of my/our new math formula for predicting passengers lost in crowded standing room situations. I have found that there is a very simple and fairly accurate baseline calculation that you can use for establishing a practical capacity limit not a theoretical one. Unless your city is an extremely heavily transit dependent city like Montreal Toronto, New York, Mexico City, or Chicago, once you calculate your theoretical capacity multiply it by 0.895 for a North American city region with a population greater than 4 million. 0.865 for a North American city region of 1.5-4 Million people (remember use the regional population not just the city population). 0.795 for city regions with a population of 700,000-1.499999 and 0.745 for cities regions with a population under 700,000. This will provide a good practical capacity level and what level of crowding most observed passengers in North American cities put up with. What this means is that, for most cities in North America once capacity goes beyond this amount of passengers per hour, an ever increasing numbers of people find other means of getting to where they are going ,delay their trip by transit or will take it only because they must. .

  3. Haveacow says:

    The standards don’t exist in the same way any more because rail vehicle manufacturers are so desperate to sell units to cities. As tax payers we like the fact that, there are 7-8 main worldwide railcar companies selling a LRV’s specifically designed for the North America market and all will modify the vehicles and line conditions the design to some extent to fit local conditions. But that has created a condition that, the need to outsell ones competition is now paramount, so consistent industry data no longer works in many situations. For example, City A gets a new LRT line and its very successful, so successful in fact that, other cities copy not only the LRV’s used but modify their designs so that the line conditions in City A can be replicated in their city exactly.

    For example, Baltimore’s LRV’s for its LRT line had to contend with a very hilly section that locals call the “roller coaster”. The extreme change in grades went beyond the standard 5% grade limit that industry still pretty much considers sacrosanct here in North America. This resulted in a LRV with more powerful non standard electric motors (non standard means, more expensive). People were so impressed with the motors that over time, the KWH rating of these motors became the new industry standard. Now the 5% grade limits are also still the standard here in North America even though, most LRV’s can in most cases, easily handle 7-8% grades with these higher rated motors yet, the 5% grade limit remains the standard grade allowance for LRT. So is it 5%, 7% or 8% grade as a limit. Well, the industry compromises and now it is a range of 5-8% depending on local conditions. Sure many still like the 5% as a limit but its just not true in most instances. Planners like me have to deal in ranges, its the politicians who hate it because they want a simple number to tell the public. Since I’m working for a client that is a city, guess what, my direct boss or my boss’s boss is a politician, so 5% it is, whether I like it or not.

    Zwei replies: Quote:”beyond the standard 5% grade limit that industry still pretty much considers sacrosanct here in North America.”

    This is because there is undo influence from the engineering firms and subway contractors from admitting that 8% grades are the industry standard for modern trams (all axles motored 10% to 12%) and the reason is very simple simple, steeper grades tend to reduce overall construction costs. Building LRT cheap in North America is a no go because engineering firms depend on the floe through of cash on expensive transit projects.

    I had a regional politican tell me that:” Your interurban project will never fly as it is to cheap to catch the voters interest!” Surrey’s basically on-street LRT project is costing now in excess of $80 million/km!

  4. !? says:

    Why the Media Fixation on “Transit is Failing” Stories?
    – by Jarrett Walker, Human Transit blog

    Zwei replies, No fixation at all but bringing honesty into the mix. it is no good saying all is well with transit when it isn’t.

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