Forward Thrust Plan. Photo by Oran
Forward Thrust Plan. Photo by Oran

Seattle’s last Streetcar was torn up in 1941.  Tipper Pete tells us it was along 8th Ave NW in Ballard, and replaced with diesel and trolley buses.  Somewhat later, the rails were pulled up and the steel used to support the war effort.

It’s been 41 years since the failure of the first Forward Thrust transit measure.

In 2020, the opening of Northgate station is likely to eliminate or truncate Route 41.

In more current news, a Thursday trip on Route 941 swayed so much that some passengers were thrown from their seats.

16 Replies to “41 Days”

    1. It’s in the SPL Central Library’s Seattle Room Maps section. It’s a great place to spend the entire day looking through historical documents.

      1. Haven’t we all. Seattle is so fortunate to have truly good libraries, and soon, transit too!

  1. on Route 941 swayed so much that some passengers were thrown from their seats.

    That’s scary as hell. If you’ve ever been towing and experienced sway you’d realize this is not just an issue of ride comfort. Sway is a feedback condition and can become a jackknife condition if you hit the brakes. Good job by the drive. It can be started by road conditions but it only happens if there’s a design fault in the bus or something is broken. Maybe a combination (marginal shock design) but if the overhangs, wheelbase and tire loading are right it shouldn’t ever happen in the first place.

    1. I’m assuming that was a high floor, 60 foot coach (2300-2500 series). Some of these coaches will sway with a full load of passengers at speeds above 50mph or so. The swaying sneaks up on you when you’re driving. Everything seems fine, then all of a sudden the coach starts rocking back and forth pretty wildly. The sway I’m talking about is side to side of the entire coach, not a tail-wagging whipping of the trailer section. This is the first I’ve heard about people being thrown from their seats, although I can imagine it happening.

      It’s a bit unnerving the first time it happens to you as a driver, but once you decelerate to around 50mph or so the swaying goes away. I haven’t driven one of these coaches in a while but last I heard, they are very difficult to diagnose. I’m not even sure if Vehicle Maintenance knows what is causing the problem.

      If you ever get one of these coaches, hopefully the driver has read the base bulletins on them which essentially tells them to slow down and write up the coach so VM can take a look at it.

      1. A long time ago, I took Sounder to Tacoma with a friend, and had to take an older PT articulated coach back to Seattle. This was long before the MCI coaches (hell, I think there were only 3 Sounder trips), and we thought it was going to fall apart. We nicknamed it “terror transit”.

      2. I’ve only experienced this once on a 73 while going over the ship canal bridge. It seemed like the bus was going to roll over any second. It really freaked the passengers out. Through the threat of mutiny the driver was convinced to keep the coach below the speed where the oscillations started.

      3. Actually I think it might have been a 306 or 312, it was definitely one of the high-floor 60 ft. New Flyer coaches.

      4. The Bredas did this all the time, especially on the Express lanes.

        The diesel MAN artics won’t/wouldn’t thanks to their mid-engine design.

  2. I’ve been on a 101 that did the giant tail whip ride and it was throwing people around pretty good. However I always thought it was the driver doing too many high speed passes on I-5. But after reading this article I realize it was probably bad shocks and that the harmonic oscillation got going and it was not just driver error.

    Glad no one was hurt.

  3. Ahh, the famous Seattle RT plan. The idea was to take the technology being used by BART and build the improved revision in Seattle.

    Like I’ve said previously, if that plan had passed, you would see very little in transit service outside the core UGB. Issaquah wouldn’t have service, neither would Auburn or Woodinville.

    On the flip side, those areas in the early 70’s were like Enumclaw today. And undoubtedly such a rapid transit system (upon eventually being built) would have likely maintained population density, and contained sprawl.

    It’s been so long since, who is to say what Seattle would look like today if it had been built.

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