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rookzie last won the day on May 19 2016

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About rookzie

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  • Birthday 09/11/1951

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  1. I just wanted to share the content of an e-mail message from a close friend whom I have known since around 1977, and with whom I have engaged in regional rail-fanning activities since then. (Yup, I've been a train freak for nearly all the 66 years of "born days", as if most readers hadn't known [yah think!]) Very recently he and I discussed a bittersweet topic on historic "displacement", as it were, as opposed to historic preservation or re-purposing, the subject of which has been brought foremost to mind by a series of somewhat unrelated events quite a while in the planning stages. With my having lived in a dozen places spanning the Midwest to the Atlantic, and with his being a transplant from Chicago during, I believe, the early 1970s), I still have at least a half decade on him. Ralcon Wagner, a long-time amateur photographer, has been a published professional in several special-interest publications, both journals and books. Following his recent retirement some two+ years ago from his state position, he has adopted his avocation as his new focus, transformed into reality in part by his very supportive wife. _____________________________ _____________________________ Ralcon Wagner with Ricky Smith (Frederick D. Smith), at the former Amqui Interlocking switch tower, Madison TN, 1978
  2. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    I hadn't read the posts until lately, and then I had to assimilate thoughts before replying on this mostly academic subject. To date, with the number of U.S. deployed trolley-bus systems having steadily diminished spanning from the 1930s and into the early ‘70s – Chicago’s having been the latest victim of phase-out, only five trolley-bus systems remain, excluding those in Canada. Historically, no new trolley-bus system has been built within the U.S. except to replace or to extend then-current streetcar routes, in districts such as Boston, Atlanta, and Memphis (service of which ended in 1960), so trending tends to favor support of maintaining existing trolley-bus infrastructures, rather than to develop ground-up installations. Battery technology has made huge strides in recent years and costs have dropped, making it financially feasible to build Battery-Electric Buses (BEB's), and Nashville and Louisville are two of about nine systems which have purchased Proterra’s zero-emissions BEB, which fast-charges at stations located along bus routes and needs to be recharged every 30 to 50 miles. Proterra buses cost $600,000 to $800,000, not including the $350,000 fast-charge station, and they are mostly used on downtown circulator routes, such as the MTA Route Nº61 “Gulch-Bicentennial” and the Nº60 “Riverfront-Bicentennial”, recently extended to TSU main campus (at John Merritt Blvd.) and thereby replacing the Jefferson Street portion of MTA Nº29. Interestingly, the use of trolley-buses also makes available federal money that a transit system wouldn’t otherwise get, in part, since they are considered “fixed guideway” systems, and funding and targeting of transit systems with rail or trolley lines, can be used for all transit operations, not just the trolleys, as long as these trolley system remain integral within a network. Newer-technology, high-capacity trolleys are more than twice as expensive as counterpart conventional low-emission diesel buses and about 40 percent more costly than hybrid diesel/electric buses, but Federal funds often would cover up to 80 percent of the purchase price, a value-added perk generally not typically awarded for non-trolley-bus, non-streetcar, or non-light-rail purposes. Thing is, an agency is far more apt to opt for a locally preferred alternative in the form of a streetcar as a circulator or for light-rail as mixed urban-suburban use, as far as external overhead-electric power is concerned. Trolley-buses are deployed primarily as mid-range or core circulators, and their primary advantages are unlimited external power to accommodate propulsion and climate-control demands, compared to BEB’s; their ability to be easily be rerouted either permanently or temporarily, compared to streetcars; their ability to pull into and out of traffic and to move around some types of obstacles; and their life-span of often 18 years between replacement, compared to other rubber-tired vehicles, with conventionally powered buses often having a usable life-span of12 years. As I perhaps had indicated or implied in an earlier post, it is unlikely that Nashville would opt for a trolley-bus segment within its network, although in some isolated cases limited use of the trolley-bus could be rationalized and at least subjectively justified and tenable, although it likely would be highly improbable. With respect to that matter, I couldn’t anticipate any North American city to plan a start-up trolley-bus system or segment in any case. But in fantasy dreaming, if a city considers building a fully or even primarily dedicated busway for Bus Rapid Transit in its optimal form, then the permanence of that dedicated busway would go hand-in-hand with the permanence and performance from the use of overhead wires and trolley buses, which currently remain much more proven workhorses for longer commute distances than are BEB’s, which as yet are not deployable to meet the heavy-duty use that longer urban-core-to-edge-of-town routes often demand. Also, state-of-the-art trolley buses now are dual-mode and use batteries or small diesel gen-sets (engine-driven generator units) to allow the coaches to move short distances from wire to wire to circumvent interruptions, as in the case of a disabled vehicle ahead, or ongoing building construction.
  3. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    I could be "attracted" to buses, if 1) they were overhead powered electric trolley-buses, and 2) more of the trunk lines were operated within dedicated lanes even shared with light-rail guideways. I am not aware of any such set-up within North America's remaining trolleybus sub-systems, with five within the U.S. itself. Contemporary New Flyer Xcelsior Trolley-buses ("trolley-coach", or "trackless trolley") are in extensive use on Vancouver BC-CAN Translink and on Seattle King County Metro. Similar in general appearance, New Flyer Hybrid diesels (with left and right exit doors) were delivered to Nashville's MTA during the Dean administration for the stillborn East-West Connector, and now simply are deployed for general use. It would have been more interesting had Cleveland elected to use trolley-buses on its Health Line BRT, which has dedicated lanes on Euclid Ave. Trolley-buses perform much better than other power-mode buses on steep grades, such as on the hills of San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver. They also can curb and re-enter traffic without "de-wiring", as trolley poles allow considerable latitude for deviating from a precisely fixed path, unlike with rail-guided systems. Route diverging and merging (switching) also is of no issue for such set-ups, and wires can be added removed for permanent or temporary rerouting as needed (a common practice in those districts which operate them). Translink (Vancouver) King County Metro (Seattle) An SFMuni (SFMTA - San Francisco) shown re-entering traffic after having departed from curbside. This scene is not exactly pretty at Broadway and Pine Streets, Seattle ─ streetcar and trolley-bus overhead wires with route switches and crossings.
  4. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    In the US, only the Portland [OR] Aerial Tram and the Roosevelt Island [NYC] Tramway are somewhat but not officially integrated into an urban transit system, although by design they are rather fixed and limited in application and construction, both "politically" and mechanically. They do seem to serve a specific niche of the commuters within their respective districts. Portland's Aerial Tram (a.k.a. "OHSU" Tram - Oregon Health & Science University) descending into the South Waterfront District
  5. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    In conjunction with the LRT / Rapid Bus / Commuter Rail/ Augmented surface transit plan which has become foremost in focus, I don't foresee that during ongoing long-range planning and civic "tank-thinking" that one or more streetcar circulator projects would not be reconsidered as ancillary if not constituent to the core plan. Newer streetcar segments typically run a short distance — a few miles at most — in mixed traffic, and they aren’t well-integrated into existing transit networks. The primary benefits of streetcar projects usually always are intended to be related to development. About three-quarters of cost-benefit analyses that submitted to the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) commonly tend to reveal that benefits are derived from economic development, not transportation-related improvements. As an example of local application, Jefferson Street ─ in particular, upper Jefferson ─ comes to mind as a sketch incorporating Rosa Parks Blvd (Eight Ave. N.) - Metro Center and Ed Temple Blvd as a possible two-way loop, in the manner as Portland-OR's A/B Loop lines, which circumscribe a large core area basically along the same path but in opposite directions. Streetcars should be recognized for what they are ─ economic development projects, not solutions to transit and transportation problems.
  6. Overlooks from Sylvan Heights "North" (my former smoking hangout of the mid 1970s), today (Sunday 2017-11-12). While the view's are interesting, I'd hate to have to deal with the grades on those steep slopes, even in "decent" weather, particularly at the 37th Ave northernmost dead-end overlooking and sloping steeply toward the drop-off on the south side of the I-40 RoW. Some readers much more familiar with development plans of this area might know whether or not of any proposal to extend (already long-fragmented) Delaware Ave. to connect the north ends of 38th, 37th, and 36th Avenues to provide residents and municipal utility vehicles with much less challenging access and egress. As it stands now, I can foresee drivers getting trapped at the lower ends of those cut-off roads, including the existing connecting alignment of Delaware Ave. between 35th and 36th Avenues. Even now one can observe highly entertaining "burnouts" as drivers attempt to back out of their drives and head uphill from the dead-ends toward the steep downhill portions to Charlotte Ave. Viewing south toward Charlotte ─ 33rd Ave. and Trevor St. Viewing east ─ 33rd Ave. and Trevor St. Viewing west, overlooking the circular 38th Street Reservoir ─ 37th Ave. [shot taken from a hedge apple, a.k.a. "horse apple", "osage orange", ...] Viewing northwest toward Nations - industrial district ─ end of 37th Ave. [same horse apple]
  7. How old it is depends on whether or not you buy me coffee and @UTgrad09 shows up (with a box treat, cough-cough) at the upcoming meeting ─ that is, if I ever decide to muster......(ツ) It likely was erected between 1898 and 1900. I actually would see that wall myself, when the old Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis freight statio n was still intact before the L&N (with which the NC&St.L merged in 1957) sold the air rights to the publishing company and razed most (but not all) of the freight depot. That corner was wide open-air then.
  8. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Hopefully, a focus on options for grade separation remains strong for the core. Meanwhile former Nashville MTA CEO Paul Ballard appears to have donned hat feathers befitting a chieftain. Just goes to show what timing, municipal priorities, and political will, can result in across state boundaries. From Mass Transit Magazine... Stadler and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority Unveil the First U.S. FLIRT Train Source: Stadler US Inc. Oct 10, 2017 "We are excited to bring these sleek rail cars to Fort Worth and Dallas," said Paul Ballard, president/CEO of FWTA. "We have been viewing the many stages of manufacturing and completion and we could not be more pleased." Photo credit: Leah Harnack/Mass Transit Stadler and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA) introduced the first FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train) for the TEXRail commuter rail line at the American Public Transportation Association's EXPO. The contract for delivery of eight FLIRT trains was signed in June 2015. The multiple unit trains, powered by diesel-electric propulsion, will soon be used for travel on the TEXRail line between Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's Terminal B. This is the first time Stadler has sold one of its FLIRT trains in the United States. The first U.S. FLIRT train with its centrally located power module, meets the alternative vehicle technology requirements of the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as Buy America requirements. "We are excited to bring these sleek rail cars to Fort Worth and Dallas," said Paul Ballard, president/CEO of FWTA. "We have been viewing the many stages of manufacturing and completion and we could not be more pleased." Stadler Group CEO and Owner Peter Spuhler said, "We are proud to be able to present our best seller for the first time in the USA today in association with the FWTA ..." The wide front doors and spacious lower floor area make it easy for passengers to board and disembark. Each train comes equipped with 224 seats and side tables and USB ports, as well as an ADA toilet. The train's ergonomic driver's cabin features an intuitive design, providing onboard personnel with a modern, comfortable workplace. The new FLIRT trains are scheduled to become part of TEXRail's commercial fleet in December 2018. ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Credit: Stadler. Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler is to unveil its first FLIRT for the USA. In collaboration with Texas-based Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA), Stadler will introduce the train at APTA Expo 2017. More than 1,400 units of the train are in service worldwide but this is the first FLIRT sold in the USA. Eight FLIRT trains were ordered by FWTA in June 2015 to operate on the TEXRail commuter rail line between Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B. A large amount of work on the trains was completed at the leased Stadler plant in Salt Lake City, Utah. Each 266ft train has 224 seats, with side tables and USB ports and can travel at speeds of up to 130km/h. The diesel-electric trains are equipped with two Deutz TCD 16.0 V8 520 kW diesel motors. The new FLIRT trains are scheduled to become a part of TEXRail’s commercial fleet in December 2018. Stadler Group CEO Peter Spuhler said: “We are proud to be able to present our best seller for the first time in the USA today in association with the FWTA, and are convinced that the FLIRT trains, which are built in the USA, will cut a fine figure in Big Sky Texas, and offer passengers in and around Fort Worth a new level of travel comfort.”
  9. Greer Stadium site redevelopment

    I think I'll just put on size 11-1/2s and settle for this.... ...(ツ)
  10. West End Summit

    ...Likely because there remains a sense of even "distant" hope, even if the "ray" is no more than a faint glint. There seems to be common perception, based on rationale, that the atrocity of disgust incurred from that stillborn project, imminently will become attenuated and the property ultimately will be redeveloped, even though 13 years has elapsed, since the heart-breaking leveling of the Corinthian Lodge Nº414 at 1616 West End Ave. This removable of an historic landmark structure (having been unprotected from demolition) perhaps compounded the perceived abomination by what effectively and arguably has become longest period of such a large abandoned deeply excavated site. Whether or not many (or any) of us live to witness any redevelopment of that property ─ and quite frankly a number of us probably no longer will be around ─ the fact that A.P by far is no "spring chicken" somewhat "sweetens" the prospect that something will give in to a chain of favorable events sooner or later. Again, it has been hope and desire that has held this thread open, at least until the Smeags determines that a powder-keg of protesters and counter-protesters warrants its closure.
  11. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    This translation says it all. Even I have taken the stance of a skeptic. (SMDH)
  12. Water towers have always fascinated me ─ even the "squatty" roof-mounted units ─ and just as masonry smokestacks and elevator silos, they provide a charming focal point for most redevelopments (perhaps). That really must be an old rendering, since there is no aerial water tower on that site, and I don't think moving one or erecting one there will be happening.
  13. I take it that you really mean Garfield St. and Rosa Parks, rather than Delta. Probably before you arrived down into Nashville long ago, Delta got cut off from intersecting 8th Ave (Rosa Parks), where the current Kroger property is now, some 3 blocks south of Garfield. Delta used to intersect at a dangerous tapered intersection, just as with Houston at 4th, Tennessee- Kentucky- Michigan at Morrow, and Lindsley at Hermitage. Good riddance.
  14. Project Thread/New Construction/Photo du jour/Const. CAMs

    Yes, "Ignnant" and "IdJit" might be more appropriate. I've even heard a few of 'em refer to them as "condimoniums", from merely not even knowing the correct form of pronunciation and spelling, just as bad as some who refer to the monolithic catalyst used in automotive combustion emission control as a "Cadillac Converter".... I have had to bite my cheek and say to myself, "What did I just hear?"
  15. I always thought that obscure structure to be a "cute" Li'l ol' building. Even as recently as the '90s, it had been one of the once many Life of Georgia Insurance Co. branch offices.