41 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Tube Dinner Party”

  1. The clean way to get hydrogen for transit, industry, …

    HyperSolar Envisions Solar Powered Hydrogen “Farms”

    Hypersolar’s system goes even farther down the size spectrum, using tiny particles consisting of a nanoscale solar device and a protective plastic coating.

    The particles float in water, and the coating enables them to function in hostile environments including sea water, wastewater or stormwater runoff. That gives the system a leg up on conventional hydrogen systems, which require purified water.


    1. Hydrogen spam, Hydrogen spam
      Won’t solve any traffic jams
      Sparsity, to the stars,
      Roads still mired in coal tar
      Look out!
      Here comes the Hydrogen spam.

      Is it great?
      Listen now,
      It will run all the ploughs
      smelt the metal for the farms
      or whatever else–there’s no harm
      Hey, there
      How about the Hydrogen spam?

      In the waste of sprawl
      Big box chains, block by block
      Toxic roads do appall
      Junk from China, let’s go gawk

      Hydrogen spam, Hydrogen spam
      Frequently blathered Hydrogen spam
      Whether it flies
      Is ignored
      Thermodynamics we abhor

      Is American life a great big screw up?
      Need something to keep your hopes up?
      You’ll find the Hydrogen spam.

      1. Can we link this comment under the “Best Arguments” section on the right-hand side of the blog??? ;D

    2. U.S. Army begins combat tests for hydrogen fuel cells

      The U.S. Army Operational Test Command has launched a new experiment through which hydrogen fuel cells will be implemented into new vehicles and military equipment. The experiment is part of the Army’s ongoing support of hydrogen fuel and its interest in finding an alternative to fossil-fuels. Backed by the Department of Defense, the new experiment will examine how fuel cells can be utilized in vehicles and equipment effectively. The experiment will cover various forms of fuel cells, including those that use methanol to generate electricity.


    3. Hyundai trial in Aberdeen, Scotland, considered major success

      Success of the trial may have dispelled misconceptions concerning fuel cells

      After the trial had ended, it was declared a resounding success by members of the Commonwheels club and the Aberdeen City Council, along with ITM Power. Members of the City Council noted that hydrogen fuel cells were much more efficient than had been expected and may have been able to dispel some of the misconceptions that had been holding support for the alternative energy back. Because of the support Scotland has been showing for clean energy vehicles, Hyundai expects that the nation will be an ideal location for the release of vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells.


    4. Korea to build world’s largest hydrogen-powered town

      According to the ministry, the new hydrogen town will use hydrogen emitted as exhaust during the manufacture of petrochemical products and power plant operations. Such a feature distinguishes itself from hydrogen town projects of other countries that use hydrogen obtained from modified liquefied natural gas.

      The recommended price for this hydrogen energy is as low as 100 won per cubic meters, which is only 12 percent of LNG prices, the ministry said.


  2. As a vegetarian, I am grateful that scenes such as this don’t happen on Link. Call me a killjoy.

    That said, I bet this scene could be played out (if sufficient space is sectioned off) on September 29 in the time it will take Link to get from Stadium Station to Westgate Station, and vice versa.

    Similations run just after 7 pm are just not the same as running a real-time study during a true peakload (e.g. right after the Sounders whoop up on Sporting KC). That won’t show the delay effect on the whole tunnel, but it will show a pretty good sample of how much longer buses take to get through one station. Go ahead and implement some of the proposed algorithmic efficiencies now (e.g. having one bus bay, and having deboarding buses pull all the way forward and dropping off only once per station). Then test the delay times after each major sporting event. (I’m not talking about Mariners games.)

    If the delays are still significant, keep adding efficiences. Make it work before September 29. Don’t wait until September 29 to do a real-life test, and pray it won’t totally melt down.

    Mark Dublin hit the nail on the head in his testimony to the empty ST board meeting room last week. (Well, okay, Everett Council Member Paul Roberts was there, as hearing examiner I guess.)

    Mark’s point was that cash boxes cannot be allowed to be used in the tunnel. The baneful effects of cash fumbling are too overwhelming to the system.

    The tunnel is set up perfectly to work just fine without allowing cash boardings. Everyone: If you don’t already have an ORCA card, get one at the TVM on your way to the platform. Don’t want to pay the $5 for the card? I’m with you on that. They ought to be made free long before then, if ST or Metro aren’t already overconfident that enough has already been done.

    1. The end of the RFA would be a perfect time for an “ORCA-fee holiday” lasting 60 or 90 days.

      1. Metro/ST could follow SF’s example of making Clipper free until further notice (and that notice might never come).

        However, if the fee is eliminated permanently, it counts as Title IX mitigation for ending the free rides and any other incentives that push ORCA use (e.g. differential fares).

        If the plan is to bring the fee back at a designated time, then the expense of creating printable bus tickets may still come into play.

      2. ORCA was free for months when it was introduced, those who didn’t make the transition missed out, and it is their fault

      3. Maryland Transit Administration now offers the CharmCard for free “while supplies last” at the MTA store, with a minimum purchase of $5 fare product. That makes seven of fourteen US bus agencies that make their contactless smart card free to the general public. “While supplies last” seems to have been going on for awhile there. Indeed, this may be why free ORCA are being offered at Saar’s, and why we shouldn’t be surprised if that offer becomes indefinite.

        Meanwhile, you can get LA’s Transit Access Pass for just a $1 with the purchase of a $1.50 subway fare. It’s $2 without the fare purchase. They had to do that in preparation to start requiring the use of TAP to board certain subway lines. But even the $1 may be found to be in violation of Title IX, since it is a de facto surcharge for gaining access to the subway lines, and therefore discriminates against poor and minority riders. I’ll put even money down that TAP goes free before “the gates get locked” as they describe the transition away from their fare honor system. (This also bodes poorly for the future of POP.)

        So, here’s how the bell curve of contactless bus smart cards stands: $5/$5/$2/$2/$2/$1/$1/free/free/free/free/free/free/free. Outside forces are going to eventually force Metro/ST to drop the price of ORCA. Violating Title IX can come with a penalty of having to return lots o’ federal money. It just isn’t worth the risk over $5 (or even $2 or $1).

      4. “ORCA was free for months when it was introduced, those who didn’t make the transition missed out, and it is their fault”

        That’s cutting off your nose to spite your face. We want them to have ORCA cards because everybody in the county benefits when buses load quickly. (It’s better for riders, and the buses can run more frequently without increasing operating costs.) It does not help us if they forego ORCA or taking transit because of the fee; it only helps people who like to say, “Haha, you missed the deadline, sorry Charlie.”

        Why did people not get ORCA during the transition period? #1 They didn’t know about it. (Metro found that some 50% of people didn’t know about ORCA even after the advertising blitz.) #2 They weren’t taking transit at the time. #3 They didn’t live in the area then. #4 There are no TVMs within five miles of where they live and work.

      5. Here is what one DC-area rider had to say on the idea of paying $5 for a card WMATA wants everyone to use. (WMATA is the only other US bus agency where you have to spend more than $2 just to get a transit smart card, before loading fare product.)

    2. Seattle’s Transit funding was an infinite funnel,
      They spent all of their money on tunnels,
      While Portland’s was built,
      With much less guilt,
      At that price Seattle should now have a Chunnel!!

      1. Fantastics.

        Skewer these tax rape artists!

        Is there a LIKE button.

        No…make it a LOVE button!

        I would press it ONE HUNDRED TIMES!!!

  3. This week’s update on parking in Seattle:

    Current Global Averages:
    Average Cost per Hour: $0.43 (-$0.05)
    Total Cost for Parking: $34.92 (+/-$0)
    Average Distance from Destination: 1.17 block(s) (-0.09 Blocks)
    Average Time spent Searching for Parking: 0.94 minute(s) (-4.2 Seconds)
    Total number of hours parked: 81.65 hours (+8.2 hours parked)
    Total number of recorded parkings: 54 (+7 Parkings)

    Last Week’s Global Averages:
    Average Cost per Hour: $0.48
    Total Cost for Parking: $34.92
    Average Distance from Destination: 1.26 block(s)
    Average Time spent Searching for Parking: 1.01 minute(s)
    Total number of hours parked: 73.45 hours
    Total number of recorded parkings: 47

    1. I’ve been investigating the Parking situation with regard to Tri-Met in Portland. Seems like they have no problem providing hundreds of free parking spaces next to light rail. Example:

      SE Powell Blvd Park & Ride

      3618 SE 92nd Ave., Portland, 97266
      View map

      Parking – 391 total spaces
      Bike lockers available
      Open all days
      24-hour limit


      MAX Green Line


  4. Ive been on one of the now obsolete Circle Parties on the tube’s Circle Line. There’d be a vague announcement like “carriage 6 departing King’s Cross at 20:30, clock-wise” then you’d have to figure out the connections if you were joining elsewhere. That one car would be the party car with music, lights and drink, and run for hours or until the authorities would clear the car.
    Unfortunately with the Circle Line no longer running in a continuous circle (since they added the Hammersmith spur it’s more of a spiral) those continuous parties aren’t possible anymore.

    1. That seems to only address car-commuters though.

      I used to looooove my (~45 min) train commute because it gave me a nice little period to daydream and/or read, guaranteed every day…. [and some of the intermediate stops were good places to shop or dine, so sometimes I’d take advantage and get off in the middle.]

      [I now live a short walk away from work, which is of course very convenient, but I miss my train commute…]

      1. I usually enjoy my 25 minute ride on #5 on Greenwood. The past two years, though, Greenwood Avenue north of 125th has been a bone-rattling trip. So bouncy that I can’t even read or shut my eyes to rest. Thankfully, SDOT is finally working on the 73rd-80th portion that was pretty bad, but I sure wish they would work on the northern part too.

      2. I oddly enough Miss my 1.5 hour commute via Bike, Sounder, TLink, and bus from Kent to Tacoma and back every day. I always enjoyed my commute over the rolling hills of Tacoma, which were always a challenge to bike, and the ride on the streetcar and the sounder were amazing (free wifi on the sounder!) It was a lot more pleasant than my 45 minute commute via bus and train to school here in chicago (Sounder is way more reliable, less frustrating) though, my 10-15 minute walk to work now, trumps all of them.

  5. In the ‘forties and ‘fifties, Chicago an North Shore Interurban’s two Electroliner trainsets featured diner service with white tablecloths in one of each train’s four articulated segments, on the trip between Chicago and Milwaukee.

    Electroliner was interesting. Looked like the Burlington Zephyr except green and red. Ran streetcar track in Milwaukee, then intercity speeds pushing a hundred miles an hour through the Skokie Valley, and then CTA elevated from city line at Howard Street and around the “Loop.”

    So: since typical LINK consist has two main car segments (center section aisles too narrow for food service), one main segment per two-car train could be fitted with above tablecloths.

    I think one of the German LRT systems, Karlsruhe, did this for awhile. Their light-rail equipment is equipped to do both street rail and high-speed intercity. This time around, espresso machines are a given for us.

    Mark Dublin

    1. On a semi-related note, while the North Shore interurban is long gone, the South Shore interurban is alive and well – and the last interurban system operating in the U.S.

      …of course, when I was going to school in Indiana, I didn’t realize it existed, so the one day trip I took to Chicago involved me driving to Washington Park in Chicago and parking (for $2!) at Garfield Station on the CTA Green Line. The two things I learned that day were that driving in Chicago is horrible, and that Chicago’s south side is kinda scary.

      1. Read an interesting, and I think very telling thing about the South Shore. When the line was laid out, the railroad made sure it bought property inside of necessary curves, so line could either cut corners or take curves at a wide radius.

        So South Shore trains seldom had to slow to crawling speed to go around curves, as streetcars often did.

        Really too bad the North Shore is gone- though CTA still has a line out to Skokie going northwest north of Howard Street, with catenary over the track and pantographs on the cars.

        Another memory of mine is the Electroliner conductors reaching out the passenger door window to grab the rope and pull the trolleypole off the line at Howard Street, where inbound trains picked up the CTA 3rd rail.

        One of the great things about electric rail in those days was the degree to which operating people really had to run it hands-on. Not quite as much muscle as cable-cars, but timing and understanding of machinery were critical.

        Mark Dublin

    2. There was a project called KRM – Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee – that would have more or less extended the Kenosha Metra line to Milwaukee right next to the former North Shore Interurban alignment, which is now a bike path and other things. It died with the current political problems in Wisconsin.

  6. At Link stations which only have a single entrance exit at one end of the platform – Stadium and Sodo come to mind, perhaps Rainier Beach is the same way – why do Link trains stop at the center of the platform, instead of at the end near the only entrance/exit?

    And why such lengthy walkways to get to the platform? The south end of Stadium is at S. Atlantic St. Sure seems unnecessarily far. But a simple change could be to stop the trains close to the entrance/exit. Subway systems worldwide to this when they operate trains that are shorter than platform length.

    1. The platforms are made for four car length trains. The trains are stopping at positions 2 and 3 (2 for single car trains) because that provides consistency for operators and passengers. Come 2016 it won’t matter because they will all be four cars long during peak and at least two at other times.

  7. Wow, it’s sure too bad Celia Kupersmith is retiring from ST. Now we have to go through a nationwide search process for a replacement.

  8. Why doesn’t Sound Transit invest more in the Sounder? I’m talking about establishing heavy rail-only corridors, similar to those run by the MBTA in Boston, as well as in other major U.S. cities. There are plenty of ex-lumber lines radiating out from the city heading towards the mountains. Many of these have been turned into rail trails (the one in Issaquah comes to mind), but, with a bit of cash, these corridors could be reclaimed (just tell the green people that their noble sacrifice of a bike path will help save the environment — then we’ll see who actually gives a damn).

    The time I’ve spent in Seattle has primarily involved being stuck in traffic jams on the highways. I didn’t think driving around downtown (on weekdays, in the rain) was all that bad, but the highways were just a mess, even during the non-rush hour periods. That tells me that most of Seattle’s traffic issues are being generated by medium-to-long haul traffic — something a subway system isn’t going to address in the slightest. If you want people off the highways, you need corridor rail solutions, and that means more routes for the Sounder.

    1. Sounder is dependent on the good graces of the railroads for additional capacity, and the RRs won’t let that capacity get away without significant compensation.

      Apart from that, diesel commuter rail doesn’t really give you much bang for your buck. It’s not bad for long distance service where the ROW exists and you don’t plan to run more than a few trains a day. You can set it up relatively cheaply, but you get what you pay for.

    2. Traffic bottlenecks represent choke points, not downtown-exurban trips. The traffic is a mixture of local (suburb-suburb), exurb-downtown, and long-distance.

      There are proposals for more commuter-rail lines but they’re all on hold due to the lack of concerted campaigns for them. You can google for material on the Maple Valley – Covington – Black Diamond – Auburn line, the Blaine – Everett line, the Sounder extension to Olympia, and the Eastside corridor (Renton-Bothell). Most of these require funding from counties outside ST’s district. South King County can’t even afford its ST2 Link extension, so it’s difficult to see how they could afford a Covington line.

      Issaquah I haven’t heard of before. Does the track go to Renton and Tukwila station? Issaquah is quite interested in Link but I’ve never seen a concrete proposal for a Link extension.

      A more interesting possibility is east-west Cascades trains. A northern route follows the Empire Builder to Everrett, Wenatchee, and Spokane; and a southern route goes to Yakima, Pasco, and Spokane. That would connect almost all of Washington’s significant cities. But the state has not looked into it much yet.

  9. MTA introduces hydrogen fuel cell bus to riders

    FLINT, MI — The soft hum of the bus’s engine was silenced as it came to a stop.

    The driver opened the door and greeted Charles Elsy Jr. of Flint, who stepped inside the 11.5-foot-tall vehicle and smiled.

    “This is that new bus isn’t it,” Elsy said.

    The Mass Transportation Authority held the inaugural ride of its first hydrogen fuel cell bus on Tuesday morning.


  10. The June 2012 service change appears to be reflected in the trip planner for king county metro. Enter a date June 9 or later and you can see how or if your commute will change. A lot of attention has been directed towards the September service change which is major, but this one is significant too. Everybody should check to see how their commute will change.

  11. Diesel-electric hybrid trolley trucks to be tested in L.A.

    It’s no secret that Los Angeles has some of the worst air pollution of any city in the U.S., especially around its ports, where long lines of trucks wait idling to fill up with cargo from docking ships.

    By erecting overhead power lines along freeways similar to those used in cities across the U.S. by trolley buses and trams, the system would enable specially-built diesel-electric hybrid trucks to operate in all-electric mode when connected via overhead pantographs.

    Maybe get this partially paid for as part of the new arena deal traffic mitigation?

  12. Switzerland to receive second generation hydrogen buses from Mercedes-Benz

    The second generation f Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid hydrogen-powered buses are on their way to Switzerland. The country will serve as host to these vehicles, which will be used in public transportation. PostAuto, one of Switzerland’s largest public transportation companies, will be operating the buses in and around the municipality of Brugg. The second generation hydrogen buses are considered to be more effective than their predecessors, equipped with more powerful and efficient hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid technologies.


Comments are closed.