The Silent Bus Stop

Since the city of Winnipeg introduced the rapid transit corridor in the central/south part of the city bus routes have been streamlined.  More routes now use the main streets and the secondary streets have lost most service.  The Donald St. at Hargrave Place bus stop has been transformed into a silent bus stop.  Before rapid transit 4 bus routes picked up passengers at the stop.  Now only one, the 99 route, a secondary bus route, utilizes the stop.

The 99 only runs every half hour and stops running at 7:05 pm.  A once vibrant bus stop has now become a ghost bus stop.  No more people hanging around the stop occasionally scanning north to see if the lumbering bus is approaching.  No more buses pulling up to the stop and lowering the entrance door elevator to let old folks and Mom’s with baby strollers on board. 

Now people who previously grabbed the bus at the now silent bus stop have to walk 3 blocks to the east to get the bus.  But the 7 minutes it takes to walk to that stop is made up by the speed of that bus as it hauls down the rapid transit bus track.  As Alexander Graham Bell said: “When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Photos of the Silent Bus Stop when it was busy

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 The Bus Stop grows silent

 

The Bus Stop is silent

 I preferred the old Bus Stop

The Zipper Traffic Merge

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In traffic engineering, the late merge or zipper method is a convention for merging traffic into a reduced number of lanes. Drivers in merging lanes are expected to use both lanes to advance to the lane reduction point and merge at that location, alternating turns.
The late merge method contrasts with the early merge method. A related scheme is the dynamic late merge.
The late merge method has not been found to increase throughput (throughput is the number of vehicles that pass through a point in a given period of time). However, it considerably reduces queue (“backup”) length (because drivers use the ending lane until its end) and reduces speed differences between the two lanes, increasing safety.
Governments hold campaigns to promote the late merge method because irritation, aggression and feelings of insecurity easily occur while “zipping”. Often drivers who change lanes too early do not like to see other drivers continue until the end of the drop-away lane, even though this late merging is encouraged by the authorities.

I watched this today and it didn’t work the way it should. Most drivers in the through lane would not late the vehicles in the ending lane in. No alternating turns here. People are just too impatient.

Construction season in Winnipeg

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Midtown Bridge getting a face-lift

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 The Zipper point

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The guy in the light colored pickup had a hard time getting someone to let him in.

Why does driving turn some people into complete wingnuts?

Chinese Elevated Bus Will Travel Over Vehicles

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Engineers in China have designed a novel new transportation method in the form of an enormous elevated bus which may make traffic jams a thing of the past.

The innovative vehicle, dubbed the ‘Transit Elevated Bus,’ would cruise along Chinese highways passing over cars and trucks that are driving below it.

Propelled via rails embedded in the road, the giant bus is designed to seat an incredible 1,200 passengers in its three massive carriages.

The engineer tasked with implementing the project contends that construction of the bus should cost a fraction of what it would take to build a new subway and accrue considerably less maintenance costs as well.

And, despite its futuristic appearance, the jaw dropping vehicle looks to be comparatively easy to construct as Chinese officials expect to begin testing the first ‘mega bus’ later this year.

Provided the trial period goes well, the Transit Elevated Bus could be in widespread use throughout Chinese cities sometime in the next year or two.

Whether the unique vehicle makes it way over to America in the future remains to be seen, but we’re hopeful that it does, because it looks like an incredibly fun way to travel and an awesome way to beat the traffic.

Fascinating Suspension Railway in Germany

Its full name is “Electric Elevated Railway (Suspension Railway) Installation, Eugen Langen System”, it is the oldest electric elevated railway with hanging cars in the world and is a unique system.

Designed by Eugen Langen to sell to the city of Berlin, the installation with elevated stations was built in Barmen, Elberfeld and Vohwinkel between 1897 and 1903; the first track opened in 1901. The Schwebebahn is still in use today as a normal means of local public transport, moving 25 million passengers annually (2008).

The suspension railway runs along a route of 13.3 kilometres (8.3 mi), at a height of about 12 metres (39 ft) above the river Wupper between Oberbarmen and Sonnborner Straße (10 kilometres or 6.2 miles) and about 8 metres (26 ft) above the valley road between Sonnborner Straße and Vohwinkel (3.3 kilometres or 2.1 miles). At one point the railway crosses the A46 motorway. The entire trip takes about 30 minutes.

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Construction on the actual Wuppertal Suspension Railway began in 1898, overseen by the government’s master builder, Wilhelm Feldmann. On 24 October 1900, Emperor Wilhelm II participated in a monorail trial run.

In 1901 the railway came into operation. It opened in sections: the line from Kluse to Zoo/Stadion opened on 1 March, the line to the western terminus at Vohwinkel opened on 24 May, while the line to the eastern terminus at Oberbarmen did not open until 27 June 1903. Around 19,200 tonnes (18,900 long tons; 21,200 short tons) of steel were used to produce the supporting frame and the railway stations. The construction cost 16 million gold marks. The railway was closed owing to severe damage during World War II, but reopened as early as 1946.

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The Wuppertal Suspension Railway nowadays carries approximately 80,000 passengers per weekday through the city. Since 1997, the supporting frame has been largely modernised, and many stations have been reconstructed and brought technically up to date. Kluse station, at the theatre in Elberfeld, had been destroyed during the Second World War. This too was reconstructed during the modernisation. Work was planned to be completed in 2001; however a serious accident took place in 1999 which left five people dead and 47 injured. This, along with delivery problems, delayed completion. In recent years (2004), the cost of the reconstruction work has increased from €380 million to €480 million.

On 15 December 2009 the Schwebebahn suspended its operations for safety concerns; several of the older support structures needed to be renewed, a process that was completed on 19 April 2010.

On 10 November 2011 Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (Wuppertal City Works) signed a contract with Vossloh Kiepe to supply 31 new articulated cars to replace those built in the 1970s. The new cars were built in Valencia, Spain. When they were introduced the line’s power supply voltage was raised from 600 to 750 V.

In 2012, the Wuppertal Suspension Railway was closed for significant periods to upgrade the line. The closing times were 7 to 21 July, 6 August to 22 October and weekends in September (15/16) and November (10/11).

The modernisation was completed and the line fully reopened on 19 August 2013.

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The cars are suspended from a single rail built underneath a supporting steel frame. The cars hang on wheels which are driven by an electric motor operating at 600 volts DC, fed from an extra rail.

The supporting frame and tracks are made out of 486 pillars and bridgework sections. For the realization Anton Rieppel Head of MAN-Werk Gustavsburg invented 1895-96 a patented structural system. The termini at each end of the line also serve as train depots and reversers.

The current fleet consists of twenty-seven two-car trains built in the 1970s. The cars are 24 metres long and have 4 doors. One carriage can seat 48 with approximately 130 standing passengers. The top speed is 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph) and the average speed is 27 km/h (17 mph).

The Kaiserwagen (Emperor’s car), the original train used by Emperor Wilhelm II during a test ride on 24 October 1900, is still operated on scheduled excursion services, special occasions and for charter events.

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On July 21, 1950 the Althoff Circus organised a publicity stunt by putting a baby elephant on a train at Alter Markt station. As the elephant started to bump around during the ride, she was pushed out of the car and fell into the river Wupper. The elephant, two journalists, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. After this jump, the elephant got the name Tuffi, meaning ‘waterdive’ in Italian. Both operator and circus director were fined after the incident.

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Driving one of these things would be a great job.

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Ice Road Trucker Finally Breaks Through

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Ice Road Truckers is a reality TV series where truckers run the winter and ice roads of northern Manitoba. They cross frozen rivers and lakes on perilous journeys that could lead to disaster. They could break through the ice and loose the truck, or worse, the drivers could drown.

During the show there are many close calls, ice cracking and water bubbling to the surface as the ice gives way. They have never actually broken through. But recently an ice road trucker broke through the surface.

However, the truck didn’t penetrate through the ice on a northern river or lake, they fell into one of Winnipeg’s giant potholes!

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The ice road truckers are accompanied by a myriad of support vehicles. If one would break through the ice they would promptly get rescued.

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When the Big Locomotives go Head to Head with Snowdrifts

A severe winter blizzard hit northern Manitoba a couple weeks back cutting off Churchill, the “polar bear capital of the world,” for over a week. The town on the coast of Hudson Bay was buried deep. One of the worst blizzards to ever hit the place.

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The Hudson Bay Railway, the rail company that serves Churchill, had to wait for the big snow clearing equipment to re-supply the town. The big blades on the front of the powerful locomotives.

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The blades eventually arrived and supply trains saved the town from potential starvation. Of course I’m exaggerating, the town has back-up supplies that can last for a couple months. The airport also flies in tons of supplies.

The blades that saved Churchill

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These monster blades make mincemeat out of the hard packed snowdrifts.

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