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Ion Light Rail (Kitchener-Waterloo) & King/Victoria Transit Terminal

nfitz

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Are you sure about this? I could have sworn I saw posted speed signs above 20. Also there was some confusion about whether the signs were in km/h or mph -- did anyone figure that out?
I don't see how it could be. Looking at the timings ... Borden stop to Waterloo Square stop (7 stops) is always 18 minutes - and that's 5.0 km. An average speed of 16.7 km/hr. It must be travelling faster than 20 km/hr at times, as that would be 15 km of travel time, and only 3 minutes for all the stops and red lights combined!

As an average speed, it compares favourably to Toronto streetcars in ROW. Compare to 512 (St. Clair) where the speed limit is 50 km/hr, from Bathurst to Keele (4.1 km). Mid-day that's scheduled at 16 minutes (15.4 km/hr), slowing to 19 minutes (12.9 km/hr) but then speeding up as fast as 13 minutes (18.9 km/hr) at 5 AM.

Perhaps the problem in Waterloo, is they are running the same timings 24/7, which might make it feel slow when traffic is moving.

On the other hand, that 5-km in Waterloo is only 7 stops, compared to 16 stops in the 4.1 km from Bathurst to Keele!
 

drum118

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Here a few videos of on street running with speed signs in them. I shot a video of travel between stations as single video and all were place up on site last night. Still have to upload a few return trip videos yet. I do agreed on street running is too slow as well the rail corridor.
 

Coolstar

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What about the right of way? Speed is posted at 70km/h close to the speed limits of the flexity freedom but it feels a whole lot slower.
 

drum118

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What about the right of way? Speed is posted at 70km/h close to the speed limits of the flexity freedom but it feels a whole lot slower.
Could be they weren't doing 70 in the first place?? Drivers were opening and closing doors on Friday, not the riders.
 

robmausser

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What about the right of way? Speed is posted at 70km/h close to the speed limits of the flexity freedom but it feels a whole lot slower.
Its 70km...for like 100 feet on the fairway mall to street right of way... and then its like , 50kmh, 40kmh for most of it, down to 20kmh for one section.

They seem to slow the trains down immensely through car crossings and way way too soon for stations and turns on the rights of way.

Like, 45kmh because there is a railroad crossing? Do you have any idea what a VIA train does through a crossing?
 

KevinT

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The ION has a 20kmh limit on all on-road sections. Slower than the vehicular speed limit.
Where in the heck did you get that statistic from??? I can assure you from a year+ of seeing the posted track limit signs and a few days of riding ION that that is definitely NOT the case...
 

KevinT

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On my northbound trip to work this morning our ION accelerated to 50 going uphill on King between Moore and Wellington, and didn't stop until it got to Grand River Hospital station a few blocks later. I was standing in the rear module looking out through the inactive cab so got to see both the speedometer and all the car traffic falling away due to signal priority. It felt awesome!
 

drum118

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Where in the heck did you get that statistic from??? I can assure you from a year+ of seeing the posted track limit signs and a few days of riding ION that that is definitely NOT the case...
Look at my videos that I shot to see the speed. I shot a video for each station starting with Fairway to Block Line. Speed slower than posted in many places.

If you look over the driver left shoulder, you will see a gauge saying what the time is to the next 3 station, distance to them and the next station and count down to it in distance, as it travels as well speed. First time seeing this gauge and its a good thing to have. It also depends on the driver. Our return trip driver seem to be rough driving and not on the ball compare to our first driver.
 

Streety McCarface

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Sorry I'm late, here are some videos from opening weekend: The trains are far too crowded to get a timelapse, might have to get it next week.


My thoughts on the system:
Loving it, but there are a lot of issues, especially along the Waterloo Spur:
1. Speeds on the Waterloo Spur and Huron Park spur are way too low, especially in the straight sections. Trains should be able to top out at 80 km/h and they should not be slowing to speeds lower than 50 km/h except for the occasional sharp turn. 40 km/h between R&T Park and Laurier is a little absurd for a grade separated line.
2. Bus integration is horrible at so many stations. Conestoga, uptown Waterloo, Ottawa, and Fairview are the exceptions, but each of the following interchange points needs to have something done ASAP:
a) Northfield Station — I do not understand why they couldn't fit a bus loop here, or why the 19 and busPLUS couldn't serve this stop
b) UW Station — Why hasn't the transit terminal been built yet? It was scheduled to be completed in 2017 initially.
c) Laurier Station — If UW is so keen on not running buses down Ring Road, why didn't they build a bus terminal at Laurier to serve the 202, 12, 29, 19 (maybe) serve this stop instead? It's not a long detour, maybe 3 minutes via Albert and Seagram.
d) Central Station — What a cluster****, it's so difficult trying to transfer in downtown. They need to get the new terminal constructed as soon as possible.
e) Block line — How is there no bus loop here yet?
3. Some of the traffic signals aren't giving true priority. According to an employee, it's due to pedestrian cycle times, which makes me wonder if they installed some sensors in the best locations. I'm not sure if they will be able to fix this in the future, however.
4. Idiot Drivers (need I say more...)
5. Scheduled Connections, I feel like GRT could have done a bit of a better job scheduling bus connections with the light rail. Also, the 6 connections with GO absolutely suck. Service on Westmount Also needs significant improvement.

Overall, I am happy with the service, and it has made my direct bus commute faster (even with the transfer!). I just hope these issues are fixed in the near future, as we haven't even hit peak transit ridership season.
 

crs1026

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^Watching over the operator’s shoulder, it appeared that much of the slowing down happened ecause the system didn’t detect the approaching tram early enough, and/or didn’t begin the opposing yellow soon enough....so the tram was mostly stopped before a “proceed” indication was available. However, since there are so many 10 zones through intersections especially where the track turns, perhaps the slowing would happen even with the signal clearing sooner.
I did notice at KW Hospital, where there is a north to west signal governing autos turning into the hospital, that the yellow signal began the moment that a northward tram began to move from the platform. I was impressed how sensitive the circuit was to a tram beginning to creep... or maybe the operator controlled it somehow. That said to me that the transit priority equipment is pretty clever, if it’s set correctly.
- Paul
 

Streety McCarface

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^Watching over the operator’s shoulder, it appeared that much of the slowing down happened ecause the system didn’t detect the approaching tram early enough, and/or didn’t begin the opposing yellow soon enough....so the tram was mostly stopped before a “proceed” indication was available. However, since there are so many 10 zones through intersections especially where the track turns, perhaps the slowing would happen even with the signal clearing sooner.
I did notice at KW Hospital, where there is a north to west signal governing autos turning into the hospital, that the yellow signal began the moment that a northward tram began to move from the platform. I was impressed how sensitive the circuit was to a tram beginning to creep... or maybe the operator controlled it somehow. That said to me that the transit priority equipment is pretty clever, if it’s set correctly.
- Paul
A lot of it has to do with sensor placement, and probably the fact that the system is running nowhere near it's full potential. I was just on a train for the full journey, not once did we exceed 50 km/h. A lot of the crossing gates and traffic lights are definitely timed improperly, but I'm curious as to whether the sensors are actually placed far enough away from the intersections.
 

AndreWW

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2. Bus integration is horrible at so many stations. Conestoga, uptown Waterloo, Ottawa, and Fairview are the exceptions, but each of the following interchange points needs to have something done ASAP:
a) Northfield Station — I do not understand why they couldn't fit a bus loop here, or why the 19 and busPLUS couldn't serve this stop
b) UW Station — Why hasn't the transit terminal been built yet? It was scheduled to be completed in 2017 initially.
c) Laurier Station — If UW is so keen on not running buses down Ring Road, why didn't they build a bus terminal at Laurier to serve the 202, 12, 29, 19 (maybe) serve this stop instead? It's not a long detour, maybe 3 minutes via Albert and Seagram.
I believe busPLUS route 73 serves the former southbound iXpress stop at Northfield, as does the 19B (although I don't recall seeing it on the stop marker). 19A's schedule makes the bold claim that its stop 200 m down the road also counts as an ION transfer point.

The university is currently constructing yet another engineering building in the vicinity of the future station. Hopefully work can begin soon after said building is complete.

I agree that the total lack of bus connections to Laurier-Waterloo Park is absurd (my commute could certainly benefit from some), but any detour from University onto Seagram would bypass the extremely busy University / Philip intersection.
 

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