Archive for the ‘Metro’ Category

More News about Trams vs. Buses

Writing my previous post caused wordpress to amusingly automatically create a link to a pro-tram blog in Edinburgh (a very nice city that I have visited – I went to the Haymarket train depot of First Scotrail).

This link caused me to discover that similar discussions have been held in Edinburgh and West London precisely about this topic. They write about it far more elegantly than I ever could! The result – Trams are what are needed.
To be fair here is the other side of the discussion: Pro-Trolley bus

I have to say that the picture in the pro-trolley bus is more like a rubber-tired tram. These have been tried in a few French towns Clermont-Ferrand (home of Michlenin), Nancy (disaster of a project), and Caen with not very much success.  In fact these trams-on-wheels are no cheaper than a real tram.

Nobody is saying that trams should be everywhere in the city. They are desperately needed on the routes such as Cote-des-neiges, Parc, Pie IX, Notre Dame, Cote-Vertu/Henri Bourassa where buses cannot provide a quality service even though there is (at peak times) a bus every five minutes.
The problem in many cities is the “metro or bust” phenomenon.  Metro’s are only needed on routes where really high capacity is needed.  Anything else is served by buses.  Pushing metro extensions and nothing else generally ensures that the project doesn’t happen because the projected ridership is simply not there to make the project viable.  In the mean time, car use and urban sprawl continue to rise.

What is needed is a medium capacity service (at medium cost). That is where the tram comes in!

Media Day for the New Metro Cars

STM had a media day about the new tender for the metro cars to replace the MR63.

Reported here: The Gazette and Le Devoir

Since I do work for Alstom, I can only offer my personal opinion about the features of the cars.

Full gangway between the cars:

  • This adds a lot of flexibility and spreads out the passengers
  • Better chance of getting a seat.
  • STM will have to operate the 9-car sets all the time though.
  • I’ve been on the NS-93 in Chile (practically the same design as the MP-89 in Paris) that have them and I was impressed

Air Conditioning:

  • Bad idea.  Montreal’s climate doesn’t justify the expense for only a few months of the year.
  • What people forget is that air conditioning only moves heat around.
  • The tunnels and the stations will be hotter – then people will demand air conditioning in the stations as well (big $)
  • A better way to reduce the heat in the tunnels would be to have regenerative braking but this requires changes to the track power supply.  It would save quite a bit of electricity though!

3 doors/car:

  • From a maintenance point of view it is better because there will 25% less chance of a door on the train malfunctioning
  • The doors will be wider than they are right now so that will compensate for their reduced number
  • The doors all need to be equally spaced (including from one car to the next) this will allow the future addition of platform screen doors in the stations.
  • As they say in the story, recycling of each door independantly if they are not closed will greatly improve the dwell time at the stations.

Interior Noise

  • I’m sure that the current trains are nowhere near the current standard for allowable noise levels.  The newer trains need to be a lot quieter.

Surveilance Cameras

  • This is a standard feature on metros today.
  • It should increase the sense of security of the passengers

Door close warning

  • I don’t think it adds that much – you just get an earlier warning (1 or 2 seconds) that the doors will close.

I can’t wait to start working on this tender when it finally is issued!