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General railway discussions

Northern Light

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Not going to dive into specifics because I don’t track my trip times as best as I could when I’m in school, but I regularly ride the ion for stretches far longer than from the Universities to Conestoga; the thing is slow. It takes an hour to ride from end-to-end, at least. It’s hardly competitive with a car in this stretch, and it’s one of the few sections actually in a mostly separated ROW. The thing grinds to a halt in downtown Kitchener and uptown Waterloo, erasing the time benefits it actually does see on the more separated sections. On most days the express buses, in my case the 201, can get you to your destination just as fast.

I have yet to ride the IoN and won't dispute your perceptions on that basis. But as you got me curious, I went to the Wikipedia page for this service and it would seem to differ some from your take:

1658320614533.png
 

innsertnamehere

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ION's travel times are quick on the more separated parts, but quite slow through the two downtowns. That's been my experience from the handful of times I've used it at least. The part between downtowns isn't fast, isn't slow. North of Waterloo to the University, the thing books it.
 

Allandale25

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reaperexpress

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I have yet to ride the IoN and won't dispute your perceptions on that basis. But as you got me curious, I went to the Wikipedia page for this service and it would seem to differ some from your take:

View attachment 414783
The on-street operation is indeed painfully slow, as confirmed by the speed limit signs visible on streetview. (The signs are in km/h, despite looking identical to mainline rail mph signs).

For example:

When the trains turn left from Duke St onto Francis St, trains are restricted to 15 km/h despite the rather large radius of curvature. Even the paranoid TTC would probably permit 20 km/h here.
https://goo.gl/maps/E7UBkZb2U6sPEYda7
Ion1.JPG


But the main problem is that the speed restriction doesn't end after the turn. The 15km/h restriction is maintained for the entire block.
https://goo.gl/maps/ZJECN5k35SdscttW7
Ion2.JPG


The limit doesn't change until King Street, where it drops to 10 km/h.
https://goo.gl/maps/17znCJA2qgRuoRUf8
Ion3.JPG


Finally, 85m west of the intersection (2.5 LRV lengths), the speed increases to 30 km/h.
Ion4.JPG


The 15 km/h and 10 km/h zones are 125m long each.

125m@10km/h = 45 sec
125m@10km/h = 30 sec
= 75 sec to cover just 250 m, assuming infinite acceleration. In reality it would actually take longer.
 

crs1026

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Interesting but IMHO not nearly ready for prime time.

How greened trains could suck CO2 out of the air


I'd like to see the hard numbers about how much CO2 this removes per car-mile, relative to how much fuel and carbon and track wear they consume.

It makes most sense in the context of an electrified zero-carbon motive power driven railway, but even there - running a captive train of such units makes more practical sense than burdening each train with one or two cars, given the effort to switch them in and out of trains.

And maybe collecting wind energy is more effective again than attaching these to moving vehicles.

But maybe this thinking will lead to some further designing.

- Paul
 

crs1026

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The on-street operation is indeed painfully slow, as confirmed by the speed limit signs visible on streetview. (The signs are in km/h, despite looking identical to mainline rail mph signs).

(feeling like I'm in the wrong thread, but just to continue the thought.....)

This all goes back to the system's basic design premise, ie an on-street route through the heart of Kitchener's downtown. The built form of downtown Kitchener does not make that easy.

There are some places where underground construction makes sense, and perhaps the downtown Kitchener stretch needed that.

However, in the political and public opinion context in which the project was created - that might have killed the deal. And likely a straight surface shot up King had the same resistance as we saw in Brampton (without Mr Davis' input, albeit).

Overall, the impact of the LRT on KW has been hugely positive. So, I'm not sorry that this had to happen, but I certainly hope we learn from it in Kitchener and elsewhere, Brampton seems to have finally figured that out, perhaps this cautionary tale helped.

I'm a lot less fussed with the way iOn jogs east on Northfield and back south to Connestogo. That doesn't take anyone anywhere in a direct manner. Pretty hard to serve both UW and the north end with one route, of course.

Malls don't actually generate that much ridership. I wonder how well iOn is assisting the employment areas up that way.

- Paul
 

Bureaucromancer

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(feeling like I'm in the wrong thread, but just to continue the thought.....)

This all goes back to the system's basic design premise, ie an on-street route through the heart of Kitchener's downtown. The built form of downtown Kitchener does not make that easy.

There are some places where underground construction makes sense, and perhaps the downtown Kitchener stretch needed that.

However, in the political and public opinion context in which the project was created - that might have killed the deal. And likely a straight surface shot up King had the same resistance as we saw in Brampton (without Mr Davis' input, albeit).

Overall, the impact of the LRT on KW has been hugely positive. So, I'm not sorry that this had to happen, but I certainly hope we learn from it in Kitchener and elsewhere, Brampton seems to have finally figured that out, perhaps this cautionary tale helped.

I'm a lot less fussed with the way iOn jogs east on Northfield and back south to Connestogo. That doesn't take anyone anywhere in a direct manner. Pretty hard to serve both UW and the north end with one route, of course.

Malls don't actually generate that much ridership. I wonder how well iOn is assisting the employment areas up that way.

- Paul
I agree in general, but the points about the speeds being excessively cautious even given what the infrastructure is are valid.

As for Northfield, the chosen solution is, again, alright, but using the ROW the line crosses at Weber would have been more direct and lined the system up for extension north.
 

kalis0490

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Both Conestoga and fairview park malls are large bus terminals. There is a lot of projects in the works beside them. @crs1026

I think its important to consider that the ion had higher prepandemic ridership than the bathurst streetcar (25K vs 20K). Sure the Bathurst streetcar is shorter but it goes through areas much denser than anything in kitchener and connects to the stadium - exhibition Keep in mind that the calgary lrt had ridership of 10K when it was the same age. (Calgary is of the busiest lrts today)
 
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Bordercollie

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Both Conestoga and fairview park malls are large bus terminals. There is a lot of projects in the works beside them. @crs1026

I think its important to consider that the ion had higher prepandemic ridership than the bathurst streetcar (25K vs 20K). Sure the Bathurst streetcar is shorter but it goes through areas much denser than anything in kitchener and connects to the stadium - exhibition Keep in mind that the calgary lrt had ridership of 10K when it was the same age. (Calgary is of the busiest lrts today)
Wait until the cross town opens in Toronto
 

nfitz

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I think its important to consider that the ion had higher prepandemic ridership than the bathurst streetcar (25K vs 20K). Sure the Bathurst streetcar is shorter but it goes through areas much denser than anything in kitchener and connects to the stadium - exhibition.
I thought 25K was the current capacity (i.e. how many people they can assure that the system will move daily with the current equipment), not the actual ridership. Is there a source for that from Region of Waterloo?

I'd be very surprised if it was carrying more people than the Bathurst streetcar, when I rode Ion a few times pre-pandemic in Fall 2019. There were people on it, but it was never as busy as the Bathurst streetcar would be at similar times - especially off-peak. And Ion is much less frequent than the Bathurst streetcar.

At peak and mid-day (in October 2019) the Bathurst streetcar ran about 10 cars an hour dropping to about 8 in the evening until about 1:30 AM. And then ran it's most frequent service (over 11 cars an hour on Saturday afternoons).

I never saw Ion run any better than 6 cars an hour at peak, and most of the time was 4 cars an hour, and to my surprise the last car was about midnight!

I don't even remember seeing many people standing on Ion, compared to the Bathurst streetcar, where I've seen it so full that it's left people behind (though I'd guess that might happen at UW at peak). Perhaps it's much busier on the weekend?

Now Ion is much longer (15 stops and 19 km) compared to 18 stops and only 5 km for the 511 Bathurst, so if the average trip is quite short, there's an opportunity for a lot of turn-over.
 

Bureaucromancer

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I thought 25K was the current capacity (i.e. how many people they can assure that the system will move daily with the current equipment), not the actual ridership. Is there a source for that from Region of Waterloo?

I'd be very surprised if it was carrying more people than the Bathurst streetcar, when I rode Ion a few times pre-pandemic in Fall 2019. There were people on it, but it was never as busy as the Bathurst streetcar would be at similar times - especially off-peak. And Ion is much less frequent than the Bathurst streetcar.

At peak and mid-day (in October 2019) the Bathurst streetcar ran about 10 cars an hour dropping to about 8 in the evening until about 1:30 AM. And then ran it's most frequent service (over 11 cars an hour on Saturday afternoons).

I never saw Ion run any better than 6 cars an hour at peak, and most of the time was 4 cars an hour, and to my surprise the last car was about midnight!

I don't even remember seeing many people standing on Ion, compared to the Bathurst streetcar, where I've seen it so full that it's left people behind (though I'd guess that might happen at UW at peak). Perhaps it's much busier on the weekend?

Now Ion is much longer (15 stops and 19 km) compared to 18 stops and only 5 km for the 511 Bathurst, so if the average trip is quite short, there's an opportunity for a lot of turn-over.
If we're going purely on this kind of anecdote, I don't think I've ever GOTTEN a seat on ION.
 

kEiThZ

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I think its important to consider that the ion had higher prepandemic ridership than the bathurst streetcar (25K vs 20K).

A billion dollar LRT with its own segregated ROW should have higher ridership than a streetcar running in traffic.
 

kEiThZ

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Maybe. But take the population into consideration.
Population is kinda irrelevant here. Not all of Toronto rides the Bathurst streetcar. And Bathurst also has a catchment that is limited by other parallel services (such as Spadina).

I have no doubt that Ion is a success. But that should be expected after spending that much. If it had lower ridership than a streetcar in Toronto, it would be a failure.
 

roger1818

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The on-street operation is indeed painfully slow, as confirmed by the speed limit signs visible on streetview. (The signs are in km/h, despite looking identical to mainline rail mph signs).

For example:

When the trains turn left from Duke St onto Francis St, trains are restricted to 15 km/h despite the rather large radius of curvature. Even the paranoid TTC would probably permit 20 km/h here.
https://goo.gl/maps/E7UBkZb2U6sPEYda7
View attachment 415424

But the main problem is that the speed restriction doesn't end after the turn. The 15km/h restriction is maintained for the entire block.
https://goo.gl/maps/ZJECN5k35SdscttW7
View attachment 415425

The limit doesn't change until King Street, where it drops to 10 km/h.
https://goo.gl/maps/17znCJA2qgRuoRUf8
View attachment 415426

Finally, 85m west of the intersection (2.5 LRV lengths), the speed increases to 30 km/h.
View attachment 415423

The 15 km/h and 10 km/h zones are 125m long each.

125m@10km/h = 45 sec
125m@10km/h = 30 sec
= 75 sec to cover just 250 m, assuming infinite acceleration. In reality it would actually take longer.

Are those speed limits in km/h or mph? Most rail in North America use mph.
 

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