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  #5681  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2021, 4:29 PM
DJM19 DJM19 is offline
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Cheaper replacement for the existing service. It was CNG powered busses and switching to battery means they did not have to put up overhead wiring along the whole route.
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  #5682  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2021, 4:54 PM
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Ah, makes sense.
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  #5683  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2021, 9:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Out of curiosity, why did they decide to use battery-powered buses, rather than trolley-buses, given that the corridor is fixed?
There are a couple "big picture" reasons for this. The first big picture reason is that overhead electrical contact systems or OCS in transport nomenclature are wildly expensive. There are a multitude of examples, especially in the US, where electrification would be ideal for a number of reasons, whether environmental, aesthetic or just plain "keeping up with the Jones's, but isn't implemented because of the enormous upfront costs. Expenses associated with long term maintenance is also a factor but much less so since electrification usually will represent long term savings in fuel and equipment costs. Also, it's not just stringing wires, expensive and complicated electrical substations are also a requirement even with trolleybuses, but a more minor element with shorter tram lines and trolleybus routes when compared to longer distance light rail, metro or commuter lines. These "plant" costs are so high that in the instance here, if you were going to install OCS, from the operators perspective, you may as well go ahead and just build the light rail now. OCS for trolleybus is different than OCS for a pantograph on a train so expensive future modifications would also be part of the equation.

But...

The other "big picture", and I hate to say this for myself and any other transit buff, is that new trolleybuses no longer have much appeal and future ground-up trolleybus lines are highly unlikely, and that is true globally. A couple reasons for this include that aforementioned high cost of overhead power and the reasoning that if rail is an alternative, the light rail will win out nearly every time for a number of obvious reasons I won't get into here. But the biggest reason is the advances in technology. Battery technology for buses has advanced to a point were a charge is stored onboard and constant contact with the overhead line is no longer needed. This is especially true of electric buses, but the premise is also true of tram/light rail - time will tell whether that mode is as affected as much. So we are no longer talking about a time where in order to have an electric bus, you needed an electric line. Instead you may have the ability for a bus to complete its entire route on a single charge OR at the very least only required one or two quick boosts with a quick charge station located at a designated stop. This reality represents a huge cost savings for transit agencies, and regardless of whether is puts a tear in the eye of foamers to not see falling sparks at night from a trolleybus wire, it no doubt puts a smile on the face of a transit operator for not having to spend as much money on installation and maintenance of an overhead electric system. All transit buses are going to be electric in the near future, so it's really nothing to fret and if anything you can view it as basically all bus lines being trolleybuses without the wires. This would have been unimaginable before battery technology got to this point.

I do want to stress one point though that will soften the blow for those that think batteries will replace older trolleybus systems. I actually don't think thats the case. Due to the face that legacy systems infrastructure is already in place, and constant overhead power will remain the most reliable, I foresee the trolleybus routes we have now in cities like Philadelphia and even more so in cities like Seattle and San Francisco, where high torque requirements due to the topography, to remain as the overhead is ideal. In my opinion this is likely true of most trolleybus systems worldwide. Especially in cities in Eastern Europe and Asia where that investment in trolleybus infrastructure was made decades ago, they will also remain not just out of inertia but because "if it ain't broke don't..." - you know the rest. In many cases here and oversees these power systems were actually originally for trolleys but were substituted for additional flexibility on congested streets, and especially true in the US, "progress". The wisdom of that is obviously another story entirely. You may see some sections of overhead taken down in areas where the historic nature of the area makes the removal politically popular, and future trolleybus may have a small battery that will get them through the skip. This is actually already true of some trolleybus as well as trams. To come full circle, while I do not believe a new ground up trolleybus line will be built here for all the reasons mentioned, and I think it highly unlikely a ground up route will be built anywhere else, I do see new trolleybus overhead installed in instances of route extensions or where re-routing of existing trolleybus routes is desired. I think this occurance is much more likely to be seen in Russia and Asia than the notion that a Philly trolleybus is ever going to be extended. They can't even bring back former trolley routes with rails in the street and overhead power still hanging - still hanging with diesel buses running under them by the way. They can't even bother converting for trolleybus op's, but let's not start talking about Philadelphia.

So, don't be sad. The trolleybus is probably a thing from the past, but will continue to exist due to the fact the infrastructure is already in place, but is unlikely to be built upon due to the advancement of battery technology which is close to delivering the conversion of all polluting diesel buses to clean electric operation. That can only be a good thing. I hope this helped answer your question. Apologies for the long-winded-ness.
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  #5684  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 1:00 AM
bzcat bzcat is offline
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
Out of curiosity, why did they decide to use battery-powered buses, rather than trolley-buses, given that the corridor is fixed?
Trolley bus needs overhead wires to travel end to end, not just on the fixed route. Meaning the bus has to be able to get from the yard to the route. Doesn't make sense for LA when no such infrastructure exists. Easier to go BEV than trolley bus.
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  #5685  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 1:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
Trolley bus needs overhead wires to travel end to end, not just on the fixed route. Meaning the bus has to be able to get from the yard to the route. Doesn't make sense for LA when no such infrastructure exists. Easier to go BEV than trolley bus.
Interestingly enough, Los Angeles has already successfully deployed and has been operating the technology of overhead wire-less rail technology here for over 20 years made by a Chatsworth/LA based manufacturer of battery electric and hybrid streetcars and trams. I believe it’s the same manufacturer that will build the rail cars for the Broadway Streetcar. This technology could be applied to many streets with the right combination of community and political will while supporting Valley based jobs

https://www.tig-m.com

Last edited by hughfb3; Oct 27, 2021 at 1:36 AM.
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  #5686  
Old Posted Oct 27, 2021, 3:41 AM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
So, don't be sad. The trolleybus is probably a thing from the past, but will continue to exist due to the fact the infrastructure is already in place, but is unlikely to be built upon due to the advancement of battery technology which is close to delivering the conversion of all polluting diesel buses to clean electric operation.
Dayton, OH has about 10 trolleybus lines. There is some talk of buying new buses that will charge their batteries while using the existing overhead wire, then run on battery power beyond the ends of each line.

A traditional trolleybus has the advantage of less weight, but I've never been able to find how much the bus batteries weigh.

Last edited by jmecklenborg; Oct 27, 2021 at 5:32 PM.
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  #5687  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Dayton, OH has about 10 trolleybus lines. There is some talk of buying new buses that will charge their batteries while using the existing overhead wire, then run on battery power beyond the ends of each line.

A traditional trolleybus has the advantage of less weight, but I've never been able to find how much the bus batteries weigh.
The batteries are pretty heavy. I think the trolleybus though have more upfront capital costs the maintenance and operations cost are far cheaper than the batteries because the batteries weight and size will limit per unit bus capacity.

A 40' CNG bus that has to have a max capacity of 80 will be reduced to 60 for a battery electric bus because the batteries weight goes against the Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight and limits the range of the vehicle. So agencies will need to run more buses for the same capacity which costs more because they need more buses and operators on the road.
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  #5688  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 4:50 AM
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If batteries weigh that much, is the transition to batteries worth it?

What are their maintenance costs like? Is disposal simple?
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  #5689  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 6:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
If batteries weigh that much, is the transition to batteries worth it? What are their maintenance costs like? Is disposal simple?
Batteries are recycled, disposal costs should be minimum.
The kind of battery determines weight. This link compares lead acid to lithium ion batteries well.
https://www.ultralifecorporation.com...acid-WEB_1.pdf
Size of a 1 kWh battery
Lead Acid 14 Liters 873 cubic inches
Lithium Ion 2.5 Liters 153 cubic inches
Weight of a 1 kWh battery
Lead Acid 25kg, 55 lbs
Lithium Ion 6.7kg, 14.8 lbs
Costs for battery kWhr
Lead Acid $80-$100 / kWhr
Li-Ion $300-$400 / kWhr
Sys Cost (with circuitry)
Lead Acid $125 / kWhr
Li-Ion $500 / kWhr
Cycles
– At 10% discharge 1750 Lead Acid 4000+ Li-Ion
– At 50% discharge 500 Lead Acid 1000 Li-Ion
– At 95% discharge 250 Lead Acid 500 Li-Ion

From a bankers point of view, Li-Ion batteries are like 4 times more expensive than lead acid batteries, but they have have twice the operating cycles so they need to be replaced half as often.
From a will it fit on the train engineering point of view, lead acid batteries are four times heavier and four to five times bulkier. Therefore for the same amount of weight and space, you can have four times the electric capacity with Li-Ion batteries.
From an engineering point of view on how long it takes to charge, the Li-Ion battery recharges 10 times faster than a lead acid battery rated at the same kWhr.

Which is cheaper overall depends upon your operating environment, and the costs to install catenaries or third rail and their power supply equipment along the entire railroad corridor vs using a battery powered train and charger stations to recharge the batteries. Diesel electric locomotives costs vary year to year by the costs of diesel fuel, but they do not have to costs of huge batteries or electrification of the corridor. Everything depends.......
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  #5690  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 3:33 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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the costs to install catenaries or third rail and their power supply equipment along the entire railroad corridor
I live very close to one of the modern streetcar lines that was funded with the Obama-era TIGER grants. It uses overhead catenary (it has no battery section like Detroit). They had some problems with the ice during the first winter but I haven't heard of any problems (no limbs falling on it, etc.) in 5+ years.

The one weak point is aesthetic - the transformers are placed roughly a mile apart and are pretty big and ugly. They could be buried or placed in the first floor of parking garages but the anti-streetcar mayor made sure they were as conspicuous as possible.

I also imagine that the streetcars/trolleybuses powered by overhead wire are able to climb hills with a lot more power than their battery-operated counterparts. I don't have an electrical engineering degree but I imagine that the motors are fundamentally different since the current has such different characteristics, aside from the weight differential.
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  #5691  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 4:04 PM
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the anti-streetcar mayor made sure they were as conspicuous as possible.
If that's true, then that's actually kind of hilarious.
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  #5692  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 7:25 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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If that's true, then that's actually kind of hilarious.
This one was originally supposed to be hidden out of sight in a never-used wye of the never-used subway under Central Parkway, a block north of this site:
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1063...7i16384!8i8192

When the apartment tower was built behind it around 2018, a chance appeared to place it in the base of that new building, but it didn't happen.

Here is the northernmost unit:
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1164...7i16384!8i8192

Instead of being incorporated into the streetcar maintenance facility a block north, they plonked it down right here, in the parking lot used by the market on the weekends.

All of this came about during the Tea Party era, when many Democrats in municipal government leaned hard to the right to appease the Tea Partiers and avoid primary challenges.

Last edited by jmecklenborg; Nov 23, 2021 at 8:05 PM.
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  #5693  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 7:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SFBruin View Post
If batteries weigh that much, is the transition to batteries worth it?

What are their maintenance costs like? Is disposal simple?
Disposal is up in the air because of the concerns of how you recycle the batteries.

Trolleybuses also use a battery but it being used as a means to connect the trolley to the bus yard without the wire connection. With regenerative braking and connection to the trolley wire that battery will be in a constant charging set up.

Personally I think the battery electric buses are not ready for primetime.
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  #5694  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 7:53 PM
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To be honest I've found the OCS for Cincinnati streetcar to be pretty garish from the beginning. Instead of using less visually intrusive tensioned wire supports for the live contact wire, they used more of a LRV/mainline OCS mast with that thick horizontal bracket that noticeably detracts from the street. I don't think a simple tram overhead should look like this.
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  #5695  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2021, 8:23 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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To be honest I've found the OCS for Cincinnati streetcar to be pretty garish from the beginning. Instead of using less visually intrusive tensioned wire supports for the live contact wire, they used more of a LRV/mainline OCS mast with that thick horizontal bracket that noticeably detracts from the street. I don't think a simple tram overhead should look like this.
The project was fully-funded and u/c when the new mayor took office and ordered a halt to construction. Council overrode him but the cost of the "pause" motivated a bunch of aesthetic and operational cutbacks.

I'm not sure about the overhead catenary but I do know that the track was built to LRV specs because of the FTA's USA requirement. Back in 2014~ they couldn't get any lighter USA-made track so they went with heavier LRV track.

The wildly corrupt mayor was just term-limited out. The FBI arrested three councilmen under his tenure and he avoided the same fate only by strategically dropping his iphone in a hot tub. In other news, he and his brother sold a beachfront house in Naples, FL to associates of Rahm Emanuel for $5 million more than its value. He also had the city pay the local tea party group $600,000 to settle their lawsuit over security guards not letting them move one of their b.s. protests into the city hall lobby when it rained.
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  #5696  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2021, 7:16 PM
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Everyone please take a minute to comment on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor scoping for the EIR. We need to tell them to ignore the idiotic monorail idea and just focus on the heavy rail options (alternatives 4-6). I don't think I need to go into detail with this crowd, but if you want to see why the monorail option is potentially the dumbest transit proposal in the US, watch Nick Andert's video which I've linked to below (thank you Nick for your incredible dedication and work!).

Personally, I'm much more in favor of alternative 6 than 4-5, as I think the Bundy/Centinela Phase 2 route is far superior to a Sepulveda route. The Expo/Bundy station is also far more population and jobs dense than the Sepulveda station, which is severely limited by its proximity to the 405.

https://bit.ly/SepulvedaCommentForm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJdb...ture=emb_title
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  #5697  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2021, 8:44 PM
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Yeah, I don't understand why we keep wasting time pretending the monorails is a viable alternative.
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  #5698  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2021, 9:32 PM
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Yeah, I don't understand why we keep wasting time pretending the monorails is a viable alternative.
We don't. And neither do the people involved with this project, and neither does the city government. But practicality can always be overruled with a little money thrown here or there by certain companies (Cough BYD Cough) to certain individuals.
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  #5699  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2021, 3:31 AM
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Yeah, I don't understand why we keep wasting time pretending the monorails is a viable alternative.
The route goes through, around, or over the Hollywood Hills. There will be steep grades and/or expensive tunnels running transit lines through hills.
If you choose the steel wheel on steel rail, tunnels wlll be needed. If you choose rubber tires on steel or concrete rails, no tunnels will be needed.
The only reason monorail is still a viable option is because rubber tires allow them to operate on much steeper grades than steel wheels can.

Light rail trains in general can climb 6% grades with standard rail designs. Monorails could easily climb 12% to 20% grades. What they choose to use will affect how they design the transit line, no question about that. When all is planned and debated politically, those in power will usually choose to build the cheapest option for the least amount of money using the cheapest qualifying equipment meeting the minimum operation requirements possible.
Good luck.
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  #5700  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2021, 5:02 AM
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Yeah, I don't understand why we keep wasting time pretending the monorails is a viable alternative.
You know, I admittedly prefer the traditional heavy rail proposals, especially the ones that have a stop directly on the UCLA campus and over to Wilshire, etc. But as I went through the proposals on Urbanize LA (easy to read format), I was surprised to discover that the proposed automated monorail proposals include consists that would carry just as many passengers as the traditional heavy rail consists proposed, and also ran slightly more frequently at peak (every two minutes v. every two-and-a-half). That said, my experience of riding BART for decades leads me to prefer off-the-shelf transit technology for economy and availability of parts, as with Metro's other heavy rail lines.

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The route goes through, around, or over the Hollywood Hills.
A technicality perhaps, but the route will go through/over/under the Santa Monica Mountains. The Hollywood Hills are a specific part of the same range, but farther east.

Quote:
There will be steep grades and/or expensive tunnels running transit lines through hills.
If you choose the steel wheel on steel rail, tunnels wlll be needed. If you choose rubber tires on steel or concrete rails, no tunnels will be needed.
The only reason monorail is still a viable option is because rubber tires allow them to operate on much steeper grades than steel wheels can.

Light rail trains in general can climb 6% grades with standard rail designs. Monorails could easily climb 12% to 20% grades. What they choose to use will affect how they design the transit line, no question about that. When all is planned and debated politically, those in power will usually choose to build the cheapest option for the least amount of money using the cheapest qualifying equipment meeting the minimum operation requirements possible.
Good luck.
The one good thing about the monorail proposals over the Sepulveda Pass are that riders would be able to see sunlight. A million years ago, I had to take a freeway-running bus over Sepulveda pass to get to and from college, and while that obviously sucked overall, the sunshine was a silver lining.
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