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ION - Waterloo Region's Light Rail Transit
(08-24-2015, 05:53 PM)Markster Wrote:
(08-24-2015, 12:29 PM)tomh009 Wrote: And it's still wider than almost all European streets, even modern ones!
Just this morning, I was idly looking at a road I was on, thinking how in any number of foreign countries, they would paint a dotted line down the middle of each direction's lane and call it a 4-lane road. And the right lane would be full of parking.

That's called King Street in Uptown Waterloo, right?
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And just this morning, I was looking skyward, wishing instead of ground-borne disruptive LRT we'd gotten beautiful elevated concrete guideways for Siemens VAL/CityVAL, Bombardier ART/ICTS, INNOVIA 300 Monorail or APM, or...

We can all dream, I guess.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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(08-24-2015, 06:49 PM)Canard Wrote: And just this morning, I was looking skyward, wishing instead of ground-borne disruptive LRT we'd gotten beautiful elevated concrete guideways for Siemens VAL/CityVAL, Bombardier ART/ICTS, INNOVIA 300 Monorail or APM, or...

We can all dream, I guess.

I’m a bit confused what these offer over LRT (other than cool civil engineering works).

CityVAL: http://www.mobility.siemens.com/mobility...irval.aspx

Looks like an LRT but supported by rubber tires and guided by a centre rail. Are the platform edge doors mandatory? If so, very expensive. In any event, looks expensive. Can the cars be replaced later by cars from another manufacturer?

ICTS: Must be grade-separated, no exceptions. That makes it enormously expensive. Also, have they fixed the problems with ice in winter? Note: operation in Vancouver doesn’t prove anything on this front.

I think Wikipedia’s list of Monorail systems is instructive:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monorail_systems

Sort by system length, and note that if ION Phase 1 were a monorail, it would be the 6th longest in the world. If Phase 2 were built also, it would be the 2nd longest. Every stop would have to be elevated, with stairs and elevators, no exceptions: monorail cannot travel at grade, even where doing so is convenient. So you’re essentially proposing that we should have among the world’s largest monorail systems.

LRT, by contrast, can be at grade, below grade, elevated, run in mixed traffic, run in reserved lanes, run fully isolated, with or without freight sharing the tracks. Essentially, LRT can handle any design situation, and these different situations can occur within the context of a single line — a car can start its journey in mixed traffic, run fully isolated for a while, travel elevated through a congested area, and return to reserved lanes. Furthermore, there are several manufacturers that build compatible vehicles, track components, and power supply. I agree that monorails are cool (especially the switch units), but I think it’s pretty clear why way more LRT gets built. I don’t think ICTS has any application other than extending an existing ICTS installation.

Wikipedia’s list of LRT systems is also instructive:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tr...it_systems

Even in pitiful North America, there are already over a dozen systems longer than our system after Phase 2 is built. And it’s just comical how many European systems are larger.

Finally, I wouldn’t worry about disruption. Roads meet other roads, and have to stop at stoplights. I’d rather stop briefly while a tram with dozens of people goes by than wait for those same people to go by in cars or even buses. And if in the future the disruption is found to be too great, strategically chosen segments of the route can always be elevated.
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Monorails are elevated, which tends to create an awful shadow below, implies having to climb stairs to reach them and are for the most part unproven technology (Siemens gave up on theirs and sold the technology to China IRC), but they are "the way of the future" ™, because some ignorant science fiction writer decided that in the future we would all wear skin tight uniforms and travel in monorails.
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(08-24-2015, 11:57 PM)BuildingScout Wrote: Monorails are elevated, which tends to create an awful shadow below, implies having to climb stairs to reach them and are for the most part unproven technology (Siemens gave up on theirs and sold the technology to China IRC), but they are "the way of the future" ™, because some ignorant science fiction writer decided that in the future we would all wear skin tight uniforms and travel in monorails.

I have to admit I’m not that worried about the shadow from a monorail — the beam isn’t typically that large. Depending on the location, the shadow from a station may be more of a concern. Overall, however, I think the whole “shading the street” issue for elevated rail of any kind is oversold: consider Chicago’s downtown. Sure, some parts of some streets are somewhat closed in, but what for? High quality transit! And even in Chicago, which has a lot of elevated track in a relatively small area, only a few roads are affected at all. I think the requirement for every station, without exception, to be a full-scale subway-style installation is the bigger problem.

I also wouldn’t characterize them as unproven: they are proven to work, and many of them run extremely reliably. What is not proven is that they are cost-effective.

Having said that, I’ve been disappointed to find out how much of a toy some installations are. The Seattle monorail, for example, is something everybody thinks of when they think of Seattle, similar to the CN Tower or the Sydney Opera House. But it turns out that it has just two stations about a mile apart. It has two tracks, two vehicles, and no switches. So topologically it is the same as the Pearson Airport LINK train, minus the middle stop. Except for one small detail: the two tracks form a gauntlet at one end of the line because of the station design. Now you might assume that this is no problem, because obviously if one vehicle is at or near one station, the other will be at or near the other. Wrong! They had a collision once. Clearly they never heard of signal interlocking and train stop devices. But in a sense more strangely, they never heard of bus bunching either, when they’re running the simplest imaginable service. So, all in all an amateur, two-bit operation.

On a related note, Disney has a substantial monorail system. They once had a fatal crash. Reading the details about the NTSB report made me angry because the underlying cause proved that it was an absolutely avoidable crash in several possible ways. One possibility is monorail-related: the train had to back on to the service track. Why? I can’t help but feel that it’s because monorail switches are fantastically expensive, so they skimped on the track layout. At the ION MSF, I believe trains will be able to enter and leave service without backing up.

Getting back to ION, I was at the Seagram Drive crossing yesterday morning. Looks like the first track crossing is done and hooked up to the existing tracks. The space for the second track is excavated across the road and looks packed down, so I’d say they are fairly close to being able to start laying the ballast and ties.
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Glad to see all the hate toward anything except LRT is so alive and well. I'll quietly go back to just taking pictures and my attitude of generally just being happy we're getting something.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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You should start a thread about monorail to have discussions there. I've heard some pretty neat arguments in favour of monorail and other less-common technologies, and I spent some time in Wuppertal and found their truly unique system fantastic. But this thread is Ion, which is an LRT system, for better or worse.

I'm sure there would be more than a few people interested in talking about monorail (or any other technology) in its own thread.
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No, it’s futile – UrbanToronto had a Monorail thread, and it’s the reason I stopped posting there. I got blasted off the face of the planet for suggesting that there actually are alternative transportation technologies beyond what already exists in the Centre of the Universe.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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Track realignment.
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(08-25-2015, 12:34 PM)Canard Wrote: Glad to see all the hate toward anything except LRT is so alive and well. I'll quietly go back to just taking pictures and my attitude of generally just being happy we're getting something.

No hate here — I think monorails are interesting, and hope I get a chance to visit some one day. But I think I understand why LRT is constructed more often, and I don’t think it has anything to do with prejudice. Also, since I want to see public transit expand, I prefer to see LRT being built, because it is easier to extend in a variety of scenarios, as I mentioned before. I’d rather see a small LRT built that then offers the hope of extension than a monorail system that is less likely to be extended. I’m not just happy that we’re getting something — I’m extremely pleased we’re getting what I consider to be the ideal system for our situation, and I look forward to funding and more proposals for extension in the coming years.

I actually would be interested in what you think ICTS, for example, has over LRT. It doesn’t have to be a universal — maybe it’s better in some situations rather than all. For ICTS I don’t see it at all. For monorail I will actually go so far as to say that I see a scenario: the entire proposed system needs to be elevated (for whatever reason), or at least grade-separated, and the same applies to any reasonable extensions. Note however that in my view this pretty well rules out any public transit application, because there will always be potential extensions in the city that don’t need to be elevated.

I should add that I very much appreciate your photos, and those of the other forum members who post photos. I can’t get out to the various work sites nearly as much as I would like so I like seeing the various updates.
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