It looks as though the Beacon Hill tunnel borer has been recently listed on a web site I never knew existed: TBM Exchange International is apparently your one stop shop for old tunnel borers and all the equipment that goes with them. $300,000 and it’s yours! (h/t to Erik Griswold)

I also had a friend from Portland in town yesterday to try the light rail, and as a cyclist who rides MAX, she had some comments about our bike racks. She likes them better! On the MAX, bikes are hung parallel with the direction the vehicle goes (to our perpendicular). When the MAX goes around a corner, the bikes often swing into the doors, and people standing near the doors – but our bikes are separated from standing passengers, and because the front wheel is up against a metal bar, they seem to swing a lot less than bikes on MAX.

This is an open thread.

26 Replies to “For Sale: Slightly Used Tunnel Boring Machine”

    1. Sound Transit probably doesn’t own it. It would make sense to keep it locally, but the bidders on the tunnelling contracts for University Link may not be the same as for BHS. Of course, one of them could offer to buy it.

      1. It seems a bit silly to do things this way. While compared to the overall project costs the TBMs aren’t a huge portion of it, it is rather wasteful to build a new TBM for each tunnel boring contract. Also by using previously built TBMs it would seem there is a opportunity to maybe speed up other projects as you wouldn’t have to wait for the TBMs to be built.

      2. I don’t think that building a new TBM would delay U link because the plan is to make dig out the Capital hill station before they start tunneling right? Which won’t be completed to 2011. Which brings up the question to me long does it take to build a TBM and how much does it cost?

        I agree with building a new TBM may be a wasteful but I’m sure that the Beacon hill TBM will be put to good use if they can find a buyer.

      3. There will be 3 TBMs working on U Link. Two will be tunneling simultaneously from Husky Stadium to Capitol Hill. The other will tunnel from Capitol Hill to Pine Street, then be returned to Capitol Hill to dig the second tube. ST is using 2 different contractors for U Link, one for the University to Capitol Hill segment and another for the Capitol Hill to downtown segment, to minimize the risk of delay.

      4. If building a new TBM is more costly than reusing the existing one, you can bet the contractor is arranging to buy the Obayashi equipment.

    2. Obayashi owns it, like aw says. It’s up to the contractor to provide the TBMs for U-Link, and they may not want to use the same model!

  1. I’m not sure if it’s still there, but I think the TBM was being stored on the hill behind the Mount Baker station.

  2. :random: Are there many female contributors or readers of the Seattle Transit Blog? Are the females hiding with non-descript aliases? I am female and recently finished a transportation class at the U.W. I got the impression that transportation is a male-dominated field. True? Not true? Where are the ladies?

    1. [raises hand]

      My pseudonym is not intentionally non-female, but it has been pretty handy over the years that it’s not overtly female either. I don’t keep my identity a secret in any way, though. I’ve been “Little Nemo” or “litlnemo” online for 19 years now. (The litlnemo version is all the UW’s fault. I had to shorten it to fit their account rules at the time.)

      It’s true that geeking out over transportation stuff tends to be a male thing. I don’t know why I like it, but I am probably not all that normal. ;)

      1. [another hand]

        I’m an avid ST Blog follower, w/o comments, mainly because I’m not a Seattle resident, so know much less about your transit issues, along w/having far fewer opportunities to use your rides.I’ve always been a committed transit user, while working & since retirement, so it’s a delight to both learn more about your alternatives and try them out on day trips from Bellingham (via Amtrak, of course).

      2. [raises hand too]

        And that’s absolute crap that it’s male dominated. There’s a bunch of us ladies who I work with who were snapping up ORCAs when it first launched, for example.

        I’m STB’s “resident accessibility tester” you could say (since I’m permanently in a wheelchair). I have both a manual (which I call “Old Trusty” since I’m going to be 28 on the 17th, and I’ve had since my Senior Year in high school when I first had a bad accident – I fell off a roof helping my dad attach Christmas Lights around my brother’s bedroom window, and they couldn’t properly fix my leg).

        You can find me on the 230 usually going between my house off of NE 8th to Microsoft, but I’m starting to learn the 556 so I can cart my brother to/from UW (he just got accepted) to get his paperwork filled out and so he can learn the campus. One more month to go!

        I posted back when Link first opened to review its accessibility and I comment on here regularly when something’s on my mind.

      3. (my brain is shutting down – it’s been a long day)

        Forgot to add that I also have a new power wheelchair and love it, especially trying to navigate the hills of Downtown Seattle

      4. Oh, I believe that women are transit users; I was wondering whether transportation jobs are typically male-dominated.

      5. Being in the industry, transportation engineering/planning (and civil engineering in general) is still mostly a male-dominated field.

        Go to More Hall on the UW campus and take a look at the roster of CEE students (with photos). Also walk through the hallway and look at the the graduating class photos from the late 19th century up to 2008. Beginning in the 60s/70s you see more women and more minorities.

    2. I’m not female but I can tell you that there are a huge number of women who work at Sound Transit including the CEO, Joni Earl.

  3. The Kitsap Transit board has successfully evaded decisions on further service cuts until after it receives public comment and completes negotiations with the driver’s union.

    Kitsap Transit recently sent an auditor out to ride every route and manually count passengers using ORCA cards. Why? To see if the infallible device counts match the fallible human counts. Hmmm. Perhaps something really interesting is happening with the ORCA readers and accounting software (my usual sources could shed no light on the situation), or maybe Kitsap Transit Executive Director Richard Hayes – no fan of the interlocal ORCA revenue distribution agreement he helped structure and agreed to – is trying to find something wrong with the system he can use to his advantage. When I came across the auditor on Friday, he was sitting near the middle of the coach with a clipboard (nowhere near the driver console or card processor), so I presume he was relying on his super-keen hearing to know when a card was successfully tapped.

    Speaking of ORCA, I think a theme song is long overdue, and that STB should embed it in all ORCA posts. And as it happens, Ennio Morricone has already composed one!

  4. Today I saw a bicyclist standing with their bicycle because the people sitting in the seat across from the bicycle rack (which itself juts out into the aisle) piled their bags in the bicycle rack space. I had a really hard time finding the hook the first time I looked. I think it’d be swell if there was a big bicycle stencil on the floor under the hook to make it clear.

  5. Kind of late to comment on this, but what sort of permitting would be involved in actually using this thing? I’m thinking of building a Ballard-West Seattle Link line in my spare time in the evenings.

  6. Interesting article in the TNT from last July The Tunnel: Seattle’s deep dig. Early on the State was going to get on the list to assure it’s position in the cue that can be up to a year long when you order a new TBM. Fortunately they decided it would be better to let the firm which wins the contract to take responsibility for buying the machine (ya think!). My question is this. Since both the 1st Ave and 6th Ave alignments basicly do the same thing and this is a “design and build” contract; why not let firms bid on the alignment of their choosing and then way the costs vs. benefits of each one? I can understand frustration over “the Seattle Process” but cloak and dagger decisions on a $4B project without even getting any actual price estimates seems even worse.

    Then again, maybe Mayor Nickels planned to leave office so he and the Governor can buy this machine and just start digging themselves ;-)

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