dubone

Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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A quick rant: I was walking a lot yesterday in the heat and eventually became very thirsty. When I made it to the East/West Blvd station I went to sip a drink at one of the public water fountains on the stations (which would have been a great addition) however to find no water to came out of any of the ones at the station leaving me in disrepair and angered. Does anyone know if these water fountains are off due to drought conditions.

FWIW I used the fountain at EW today. It (and I assume all of the others) had an anti-freeze valve setup so it takes a while (5 or 10 seconds) for the water to arrive after pushing the button.

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Can anyone explain their system to deal with lightning/power outages? On my way back from Avenue Q (which is AWESOME btw), the train was running delayed past East/West Blvd. It would go at slow speed for a ways, then come to a near stop, then go again, rinse and repeat. It came to a near stop at least 3 times between E/W and New Bern, and there was no lightning to speak of in the immediate area. Do they have some kind of special electrical switching system in place that only powers the sections of tracks that trains are on?

* Its worth mentioning that, at E/W blvd, the conductor warned of us the impending delay. He said the train would be running 3-4 minutes late all the way to Arrowood.

If there was a lack of power getting to the overhead lines in this section of track, that would have caused it. It could have happened b/c of a transformer or something along the lines getting hit by lighting or having power disabled somewhere nearby. The trains are equipped with systems that act as generators. That means that there doesn't necessarily have to be power touching the arms connected to the train at all times but instead when the arm touches the power line, it is charging the system inside the train. If there was no power on the lines in this stretch, likely the train was running on power reserves or CATs was trying to run the train slowly (to use less power) in order to get it from this stretch to a stretch that did have adequate power to recharge the system. This is all speculation, of course.

If you'd like to see information on how the power system works there's information on the Experience LYNX website.

FWIW I used the fountain at EW today. It (and I assume all of the others) had an anti-freeze valve setup so it takes a while (5 or 10 seconds) for the water to arrive after pushing the button.

Oh... Thanks for the info. I just pressed it and no water came out. Since I'd like to think that I'm a little more educated on these issues than the general public, I'd hope that they would make this situation a little more acceptable for the average person. I think it's unacceptable that someone would have to hold down a water fountain button for 5-10 seconds to overcome a antifreeze valve in the middle of SUMMER in CHARLOTTE, where we don't see much freeze as it is. I'll put in a comment to CATs about this...

Edited by Andyc545

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... The trains are equipped with systems that act as generators. That means that there doesn't necessarily have to be power touching the arms connected to the train at all times but instead when the arm touches the power line, it is charging the system inside the train. If there was no power on the lines in this stretch, likely the train was running on power reserves or CATs was trying to run the train slowly (to use less power) in order to get it from this stretch to a stretch that did have adequate power to recharge the system. This is all speculation, of course......
You should read that again. Those are braking generators, they do not generate power to motivate the train. They only try to recover energy from the stopping process. In fact if the DC lines are down, then this energy is instead converted to heat. If the DC power is cut, then the train will stop.

It should be noted the system was designed for 750V DC even though the trains run on AC because they needed to support the Trolley. This added a lot of expensive equipment.

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I think it's unacceptable that someone would have to hold down a water fountain button for 5-10 seconds to overcome a antifreeze valve in the middle of SUMMER in CHARLOTTE, where we don't see much freeze as it is. I'll put in a comment to CATs about this...

its a drag but I think it is quite common in outdoor waterfountains that remain working during the winter (some outdoor fountains in Charlotte (e.g. latta park) that lack this valve are disabled during the winter).

But back to the rail.....

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Because the federal highway trust fund is losing tax revenue because people are driving less, President George Bush's secretary of transportation Mary Peters is recommending the shortfall be made up by taking the money from the mass transit fund. This is the same money that would fund further work on the NE extension of the Blue line. So instead of building trains, we build more roads that people can't afford to drive on.

There is a certain insanity to this approach.

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Look Monsoon, when they fix the roads , the roads will not wear out as quickly, because very few people will be driving on the roads.

looks like it will be a hard road for CATS the next year or two for federal funding.

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If we asked real nice, maybe we could use just a little of the money we're wasting on the war. That'd be nice.

The money the Feds gave Charlotte to build the South LRT represents just 10.6 hours if direct Iraq spending. (significantly less if you count indirect costs) We are now on our 6th year of the occupation. I won't even get into the issue that hundreds of billions were wasted due to incompetence and corruption on no bid contracts. One of the reasons IMO, that transit funding has almost disappeared as it is, is because of that war.

Charlotte could have built out the entire 2030 plan on just 2 weeks spending in Iraq and that is without any local or state funding being required.

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The major flaw of the gas tax is coming to fruition. Taxing consumption isn't going to work in the long run when it comes to cars.

I don't see why they can't just borrow more money. Bush just signed a $300 billion bill to bail out people who bought houses they couldn't afford. Where is that money coming from? And what about the $482 billion projected deficit next year? At this point, I don't see any reason not to invent some money for roads AND transit.

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The money the Feds gave Charlotte to build the South LRT represents just 10.6 hours if direct Iraq spending.

If we could just get both sides of the war to take a break for 10.6 hours... I'm suggesting an Everyone Loves Raymond marathon.

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If we could just get both sides of the war to take a break for 10.6 hours... I'm suggesting an Everyone Loves Raymond marathon.

Wait, do you want everyone to become violent? At least, that's how I feel when that show is on.

/sliding further and further off topic...

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I don't see why they can't just borrow more money. Bush just signed a $300 billion bill to bail out people who bought houses they couldn't afford. Where is that money coming from? ...
It is being borrowed. They had to raise the national debt limit (if it wasn't high enough) to accommodate this bill. Elections have consequences and Americans are indeed paying for that now. Lets keep in mind the Bush administration changed the rules for transit funding so even the South LRT would not be cost justified now. Unfortunately this does not bode well for the NE extension.

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It is being borrowed. They had to raise the national debt limit (if it wasn't high enough) to accommodate this bill. Elections have consequences and Americans are indeed paying for that now. Lets keep in mind the Bush administration changed the rules for transit funding so even the South LRT would not be cost justified now. Unfortunately this does not bode well for the NE extension.

Indeed. It's only a few more months, however, that this admin is put in the past and two candidates (one more than the other) is recognizing the changed times and the need to put more money where it belongs. There's many issues right now (just see the charts of American's top concerns, which places gas prices and the economy at top) in the US but a new administration will be good at recognizing and reorganizing where money goes. I know you posted that figure about the funding/hour in the war, and it truly raises eyebrows. I don't want to get too political in this, but hopefully much of that money can start flowing through all of the veins of the US Economy and not being so strongly located in something that has been dropped down in the list of American Issues by the majority population.

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Double Indeed!!

But why should we worry about what Mary Peters wants to do when the Democratically controlled congress is the one with the power for figuring out how the Highway Trust Fund gets its money....and they are the ones leading the effort to make sure that money doesnt come from the Mass Tranist Fund.

To me this is a dead topic unless a Republican majority congress gets voted in this November.

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I came across this Kevin Siers cartoon that I thought was funny becasue it has a bit of truth to it.

872-siers06_19.highlight_large.prod_affiliate.138.jpg

Goes to show you that no matter what you do people will always find things to complain about.

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Yesterday, the trains where PACKED when I was coming back from Southend. I forgot there was a Panthers preseason game last night. Then, when I was in Reids, I noticed the train going up towards 9th street. When I came out, I started walking up that way out of curiosity. The driver had parked it at the 9th st. station, gotten out and was walking back towards 7th st. I talked with him briefly and he said that were "stacking" them for the Panthers game, and that at least 1 or two more would be parked around 8th st. to be ready for all the riders when the Panthers game was over. Does anybody know if they did this last season? I would like to see how the ridership yesterday compares to average weekday ridership.

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Yeah. I forgot about the game, too. I forgot about it less when our train pulled up to Stonewall and the guy sitting next to me said "Aw sh*t." Anyway, they have been stacking them for a while to deal with events. I don't recall when they started doing it, but it seems to do a decent job of dealing with burst crowds.

And speaking of events - the latest convention resulted in some interesting train rides. Large groups of Christian Youth apparently have a tendency to break out into song (and not always good song).

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Yesterday, the trains where PACKED when I was coming back from Southend. I forgot there was a Panthers preseason game last night. Then, when I was in Reids, I noticed the train going up towards 9th street. When I came out, I started walking up that way out of curiosity. The driver had parked it at the 9th st. station, gotten out and was walking back towards 7th st. I talked with him briefly and he said that were "stacking" them for the Panthers game, and that at least 1 or two more would be parked around 8th st. to be ready for all the riders when the Panthers game was over. Does anybody know if they did this last season? I would like to see how the ridership yesterday compares to average weekday ridership.

They did this "stacking" thing during Speed week, but to me it didn't alleviated the overcrowdedness problems on the trains. It probably helped a little during Speed week.

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I talked with him briefly and he said that were "stacking" them for the Panthers game, and that at least 1 or two more would be parked around 8th st. to be ready for all the riders when the Panthers game was over. Does anybody know if they did this last season? I would like to see how the ridership yesterday compares to average weekday ridership.

I see they took my advice :rolleyes: . I had recommended stacking or staging from the other major events that have taken place. Although this may not help increase ridership (as it shouldn't since you are logically still running the same amount of trains maxed at 16), it does help to reduce chaos and crowds where people try squeezing into trains running them over capacity to where people have to get out from being claustrophobic. The second part of my recommendation, if the staging isn't enough to helping to distribute the crowds so people aren't "stuffed" to where it is unbearable would be to form "organized" lines at stations that limit the riders per train enforced by transit police or CMPD officers during large events where crowds seem to hit the stations all within a short period of time. This also helps to give everyone a fair chance at riding instead of releasing the apes and setting off an experiment of "survival of the fittest" that was seen during Speed Street.

Edited by Andyc545

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I talked with him briefly and he said that were "stacking" them for the Panthers game, and that at least 1 or two more would be parked around 8th st. to be ready for all the riders when the Panthers game was over. Does anybody know if they did this last season? I would like to see how the ridership yesterday compares to average weekday ridership.

This is a standard procedure for them to do this after large events at TWC Arena, Panthers games, and any other special events going on uptown that end at a certain time. I can remember going to a forum a couple years ago where they were talking about how they would handle these special events and stacking was the best they could come up with. When the blue line gets (hopefully) extended out to UNCC not sure how they will do this...maybe add a third rail? or have the trains operate on one track during the event so they can stack.

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Probably one of the better ways to handle it on the Blue Line is to maybe have a little stacking, except that the first two trains go straight down the line from uptown to I-485, they don't stop anywhere else. From what I've been reading over the past few months especially during Speed Street that majority of the traffic was from the I-485 station. Just get two full doubles to take the initial rush of these people straight down the line. And then after those two you start the flow of the station to station traffic. It would be interesting to see how much people would pay attention to such change for everyone now has the mentality that if the train is there jump on it immediately.

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This is a standard procedure for them to do this after large events at TWC Arena, Panthers games, and any other special events going on uptown that end at a certain time. I can remember going to a forum a couple years ago where they were talking about how they would handle these special events and stacking was the best they could come up with. When the blue line gets (hopefully) extended out to UNCC not sure how they will do this...maybe add a third rail? or have the trains operate on one track during the event so they can stack.

CATS will be building a third track in Uptown or near Uptown on the North End to accomodate this "stacking" procedure. The rail will be long enough to support 3 - 4 double car sets and also be used if a car breaks down on the northern part of the line and needs to be towed to an interim location before being towed all the way to the VMF. Look for the track somewhere between 10th & 12th.

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Thats essentially underneath 277. Either way, does that mean that they're going to go ahead and build 9th St Station for LRT service?

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Thats essentially underneath 277. Either way, does that mean that they're going to go ahead and build 9th St Station for LRT service?
Eventually, as part of the NE extension. But for now it is serviced by the trolley, and there really isn't much foot traffic there now (but will be after the UNCC/Levine projects). Edited by InitialD

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