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TTC: Flexity Streetcars Testing & Delivery (Bombardier)

W. K. Lis

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TTC's streetcar deal not to be signed until April

From Globe and Mail article of Monday, December 29, 2008:

TTC's streetcar deal not to be signed until April

JEFF GRAY

December 29, 2008

The winner of a $1.25-billion contract to build Toronto's next generation of modern, low-floor streetcars won't be decided until April, the city's transit agency says, as negotiations with manufacturers continue after last summer's botched bidding process.

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone said this leaves the TTC only three months behind schedule and will still likely see the new streetcars - provided government funding is secured in coming federal and provincial budgets - roll into regular service by 2012.

He said he was confident the money would flow, as senior governments are scrambling to stimulate the economy and create manufacturing jobs, and the deal comes with a 25-per-cent Canadian content provision meant to force foreign firms to create jobs here.

"Wouldn't it be great for a new manufacturing plant to open in Ontario at a time when there's economic contraction, when people are losing their jobs?" he said.

For more than five months, the Toronto Transit Commission has been in talks with three leading firms - Montreal-based Bombardier, German-based Siemens and French-based Alstom - to see who will build the larger new streetcar fleet, which will be accessible to the disabled.

The TTC's plans to buy 204 new streetcars to replace its deteriorating fleet hit a snag in July when Siemens pulled out of the running and the TTC declared that the car design submitted by Bombardier would derail on the city's tracks.

Bombardier, which said it was stunned by the decision, accused the TTC of botching the process. It insisted that its vehicle would run with minor track repairs, but the TTC said would cost $1-billion.

Mike Hardt, Bombardier Transportation vice-president of services, launched into a vehement presentation at a summer commission meeting, protesting against the TTC's move to open new talks with his firm and his competitors.

Bombardier is building the TTC's new subway cars at its Thunder Bay plant, under a contract it won without competition that the mayor defended as necessary to preserve jobs in Ontario.

Mr. Hardt declined comment for this article. Siemens Canada Ltd. spokesman DL Leslie confirmed recently that his firm was still interested in the deal.

Representatives of Alstom Transportation Inc. did not return calls for comment, but TTC officials said the firm had not withdrawn.

The federal government has promised to invest in infrastructure to stimulate the economy in its Jan. 27 budget. The provincial government has already promised to fund the TTC's Transit City light-rail expansion plan, which calls for up to 350 extra streetcars and would bring the cost of the vehicle contract to $3-billion. Mr. Giambrone said TTC officials expect the money for the first batch of 204 replacement streetcars to flow in the province's spring budget.

By Jan. 5, negotiations on technical details and commercial arrangements between the TTC and potential bidders should be complete, leaving the firms seven weeks to submit their final prices. TTC staff would then recommend a winner to the commission of nine city councillors that oversees the TTC.
 

CDL.TO

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the TTC declared that the car design submitted by Bombardier would derail on the city's tracks.

Bombardier, which said it was stunned by the decision, accused the TTC of botching the process. It insisted that its vehicle would run with minor track repairs, but the TTC said would cost $1-billion.

Have they released what the exact issue was? Was it the single-point switches?
 

299 bloor call control.

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I believe it was the turning radius at many intersections and essentially all loops. Bombardier claimed that it could be solved by rebuilding some of the intersections, but the cost would be prohibitive and in some cases, impossible, since the new curve would run through buildings. If they didn't meet a basic requirement like that, their bid deserved to be turned down.

The presentation on that from the August commission meeting: http://www.ttc.ca/postings/gso-comr...F_LRV_Project_Presentation_-_Aug.27,_2008.pdf
 
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CDL.TO

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I believe it was the turning radius at many intersections and essentially all loops. Bombardier claimed that it could be solved by rebuilding some of the intersections, but the cost would be prohibitive and in some cases, impossible, since the new curve would run through buildings. If they didn't meet a basic requirement like that, their bid deserved to be turned down.

The presentation on that from the August commission meeting: http://www.ttc.ca/postings/gso-comr...F_LRV_Project_Presentation_-_Aug.27,_2008.pdf

Interesting. Thanks for that. I hope the TTC opens their minds up a bit and asks the manufacturers what they can do based upon the limitations of the network, rather than creating a wishlist of requirements and being surprised when the manufacturers can't meet them.

I'm reminded of the introduction of the ALRVs. The electric switches in the network used to be controlled by sensors on the trolley pole and the wire. However, the ALRVs were long enough that the car was already in the intersection by the point that the trolley pole reached the sensor on the wire. So, the TTC went out and changed all the electric switches to a sensor in the pavement instead. I get the felling that today the TTC would simply demand that any new streetcars work with their existing trolley pole-wire sensor system,

At least I hope to see the TTC drop the 100% low-floor requirement.
 

Chuck

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It insisted that its vehicle would run with minor track repairs, but the TTC said would cost $1-billion.

So an entire streetcar line such as College can be rebuilt for less than $100 million, and yet isolated track modifications would cost $1 billion?

While it's very reasonable for the TTC to insist that the winning streetcar be able to ply the existing network, the TTC should still be open to making slight track adjustments. If simply modifying 1 intersection and 2 loops, or whatever it may be, would open up the list to 10 new bidders, that's worth considering. This may cost the TTC $50 million dollars upfront, but could lower the winning bid by a quarter million.
 

299 bloor call control.

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I agree that some of the requirements are really limiting what manufacturers can do, like the 100% low floor requirement is rather over the top... a 75% low floor with ramps can easily be as accessible and would provide more flexibility.

Chuck - it's not isolated. There are over 90 intersections and loops that would have to be reconstructed. And it's not as simple as replacing existing track, considering there would be property requirements at many locations, and in some cases, the tracks would run overtop sidewalks.
 

jeicow

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I find some of the requirements they have in the Technical Evaluation to be a bit off from an engineering perspective. The coefficient of friction being set at 0.5 seems bizarre since it should be higher at 0.6-0.7 in normal operating conditions. Of course, a wet weather evaluation would require different requirements but considering it's a $billion+ contract, a model like that should be pretty standard. Using 0.5 seems like poor engineering evaluation to me.

And to be honest, I still can't get over the fact that the TTC doesn't seem to have an in-house engineers. The fact they had to use External Consulting Engineers on the task force to evaluate the submissions makes me cringe.
 

rbt

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The coefficient of friction being set at 0.5 seems bizarre since it should be higher at 0.6-0.7 in normal operating conditions. Of course, a wet weather evaluation would require different requirements but considering it's a $billion+ contract, a model like that should be pretty standard. Using 0.5 seems like poor engineering evaluation to me.

Lubricated steel on steel is 0.16. Wet steel on steel in winter may well approach or go below 0.6. Engineering in a buffer to prevent mass derailments is just being sane.

Boston has great examples of what happens when you buy LRT based on standard operating conditions and forget to consider bad days.
 
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khris

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TTC to run extra buses on some streetcar routes

The Toronto Transit Commission says its streetcars are so packed that in the new year it will start running buses to help alleviate overcrowding.

The TTC is already behind schedule in awarding a contract for 204 new streetcars. The contract was expected to be awarded last summer, but it was put on hold when the TTC said none of the bids it received was satisfactory.

But the delay also means the TTC is having to make do with 30-year-old streetcars that are prone to mechanical problems. That means fewer vehicles during rush hour and greater expense to keep the others running.

For commuters like Lynn Hinds it means long waits for a streetcar, and when they do arrive they're sometimes full.

"Four will pass by in 10 minutes," she said. "Then one won't come for 15 minutes."

Faye Brown, who takes a different streetcar line, says during rush hour people are packed into the vehicles cheek by jowl.

"It's not safe. Too many people, and some people are very irritable … they fight they fuss … they don't want anyone to squish you, you know."

TTC chair Adam Giambrone said each streetcar is checked to make sure it complies with provincial safety guidelines before it rolls out. But with older vehicles problems are more frequent.

"If they're not safe they don't go out," said TTC chair Adam Giambrone. "What that means is if they're not safe and they're not going out you then begin running short of streetcars."

For example, Giambrone said, the heaters in some of the streetcars can be a problem. "On a snowy day sometimes the dashboard heater isn't working, so you have to pull it out of service because the operator can't see out the windshield."

Giambrone hopes to have new vehicles on order by April, but that is also dependent on federal and provincial funding.

But even if the $1.25-billion order is put in by April — nearly 12 months later than first proposed — the new streetcars won't arrive until 2012.

So starting in January, according to Giambrone, the TTC will start running extra bus service along busy streetcar lines to help reduce the overcrowding.

Source
 

299 bloor call control.

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Why don't they just get rid of streetcar lines altogether, and start switching to LRT?

Streetcars ARE Light Rail Transit, just running in mixed traffic.
And if you mean separating streetcars from traffic, good luck getting that done on any of the cramped streets downtown. They've tried, and failed, on King Street.
 

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All the streetcar lines can easily be given ROWs if Queen, King, College, Dundas are converted into one-way streets for regular traffic and track moved to the sides of the streets. Each street would have two lanes for regular traffic in one direction and two lanes for the streetcars going in both direction. Making these lines faster and more reliable by itself would increase their capacity a lot.
 

W. K. Lis

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Bombardier's Primove catenary-free induction tram formally launched

From Railway Gazette International article:

BT-4086-PRIMOVE_Energy_flow.jpg


GERMANY: A tram powered by Bombardier's prototype Primove induction system was formally launched at the company's Bautzen plant on January 22. A potential rival to Alstom's APS ground-level power supply, Primove removes the need for catenary.

Power is transferred to the vehicle by induction, as used in transformers. The principle is used in industrial applications and household appliances including electric toothbrushes, but Bombardier says Primove is the first tram application.

A primary circuit is formed from power cables buried between the rails and connected to a substation. This produces a magnetic field, which is converted back to electrical current by a pick-up coil mounted under the vehicle.

Cables can be laid under any surface, including concrete, tarmac or grass, and can be fitted to an existing trackbed. The components are not visible and are not affected by the weather, and the supply is only energised when the cable is covered by the vehicle, ensuring safe operation. As there is no direct contact the components are not subject to wear.

The 250 kW continuous output of the prototype is designed to power a typical 30 m light rail vehicle operating at 40 km/h on a 6% gradient. Commercial applications of 100 kW to 1 000 kW are planned.

Development is being carried out using a Bombardier Flexity tram from Halle. This has also been fitted with a roof-mounted Mitrac Energy Saver which uses double-layer 'ultracapacitors' to store energy regenerated during braking for re-use during acceleration. The system has been on test in Mannheim since 2003, where energy savings of up to 30% have been claimed.

'Catenary-free operation offers an entirely new prospect, particularly for trams operating in historic city centres where impressive cityscapes can now exist unencumbered by visual pollution from overhead lines', said Dr-Ing Carsten Struve, Director of Advanced Technology Development at Bombardier Transportation.

The technology could be commercially available by 2010.

A 4 m 18 s video can be viewed on Bombardier's website: http://www.bombardier.com/en/transportation/sustainability/technology/primove-catenary-free-operation

datasheet


video


BT-4088-PRIMOVE_Pickup_Coils.jpg




From transportpolitic:

MSNBC reported today that Bombardier had introduced its newest technological feat: a catenary-free, contact-less tram. The system provides a clue for the next generation of rail vehicles, and suggests a future in which trams operating in city streets all over the world will no longer have to rely on overhead catenary wires and the poles that hold them up, which can be a blot on a city’s landscape.

Bombardier’s system, called PRIMOVE, relies on electromagnetic fields released from buried circuits placed between and beneath the tracks. When passing overhead, streetcars convert the field to electricity used to power the train; in other words, the trains receive their power without contact through inductive power. This is major achievement. The charge is only activated when the circuit is completed covered by the vehicle, which ensures that pedestrians can never come into contact with electricity.

The PRIMOVE system has the added benefit of working in conjunction with another Bombardier technology, MITRAC. This system acts much like a hybrid motor in a car and recuperates power when the train brakes.

PRIMOVE will compete with technologies from rival Alstom, whose Citadis product line has been one of the industry’s top sellers in recent years. In Bordeaux in southwestern France, Alstom equipped part of the city’s light rail line with a ground-level power supply system (called APS) through 12 km of the historic core. Along the rest of the line, the trains use less expensive catenaries for power. This system allows the train to collect power from a third rail placed between the two tracks; power is only supplied when the train is travelling directly above. Unlike Bombardier’s design, though, APS is exposed to the elements - it is a visible third rail. In Bordeaux, there have been some problems with water logging, and as a result, it would be difficult to implement such a system in an area with heavy precipitation rates.

As a result, Bombardier’s technology has a major advantage over Alstom’s, in that it can work in all weather conditions. The fact that the power supply is buried underground ensures a higher degree of reliability and little need for future maintenance. This is a promising technology for future trams and will eliminate a common argument made against LRT or streetcar systems: that their associated catenaries desecrate the landscape.

Alstom has also developed a battery-powered tram for the southern French city of Nice. The trains travel through the central’s city square, and in order to avoid disrupting the architectural unity of the space, the system’s designers wanted to get rid of the overhead catenaries in this area. Alstom, then, equiped the trains with batteries that power them for 100 or so meters across the square. This is an interesting alternative for small distances, especially since it is probably cheaper to install, though Bombardier has yet to have its system ordered and put into active use, so we’ll see.
 

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