Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Snow Train Downtown Winnipeg   Leave a comment


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The snow removal task forces were out last night cleaning up the piles of snow downtown. It was like a military operation.

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Semi truck got stuck. The driver grabbed a spade, went to the back for 5 minutes, and he wasn’t stuck anymore.

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The sidewalks and areas between sidewalks and street were cleaned to the bone.

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True North Square construction site. Lots of rebar.

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Elderly Oriental Gent busking in the skywalk.

Posted January 2, 2017 by markosun in Transportation

The ‘Can-Opener’ bridge in Durham, North Carolina   Leave a comment


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At 11 foot 8 inches, the Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass, located in Durham, North Carolina, United States, is a bit too short. The federal government recommends that bridges on public roads should have a clearance of at least 14 feet. But when this railroad trestle was built in the 1940s, there were no standards for minimum clearance. As a result, trucks would frequently hit the bridge and get its roof scrapped off.

Durham resident Jürgen Henn has been witnessing these crashes for years from across the street where he worked. Wishing to share these hilarious mishaps with the rest of the world, Henn set up a video camera in April 2008 and began recording them for his ever popular website 11foot8.com. By the end of 2015, more than one hundred trucks had their tops violently ripped off. These scalping videos, which are also available on his Youtube channel, have racked up millions of views bringing this particular bridge —nicknamed ‘the can opener’— a fair amount of international fame.

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 As Jürgen Henn explains in his website, the bridge cannot be raised because doing so would require the tracks to be raised for several miles to adjust the incline. North Carolina Railroad doesn’t want to pay for the enormous expense it would entail. The bridge cannot be lowered either because there is a major sewer line running only four feet under the street.

Instead, the city authorities installed an alert system that detects when an over-height truck tries to pass under and flashes yellow warning lights several feet ahead of the bridge. But many drivers either do not pay attention or fail to heed the warning, and crash into the bridge. The railroad department, who owns the bridge, installed a heavy steel crash beam in front of the bridge that takes most of the impact, protecting the actual structure of the train trestle. This crash beam is hit so often that it had to be replaced at least once.

As far as both parties are concerned —the city of Durham and North Carolina Railroad— adequate steps have been taken to solve the problem. The railroad authorities’ concern is with the bridge and the rails above, not the trucks. Hence, the beam. The city, on the other hand, has posted prominent “low clearance” signs from 3 blocks away leading up to the trestle, over and above the automatic warning system that is triggered by vehicles that are too tall.

Apparently, these measures are not enough to prevent accidents. On average there is one crash every month.

When Henn interviewed a few drivers as they deflated their tires to lower their vehicles enough to free them, some told him that they didn’t know their trucks’ heights, while others insisted they didn’t see the signs.

Durham officials are now trying out a new tactic. A few months ago, they installed a traffic signal at the intersection before the bridge, and hooked up the height sensor to it. When an over-height truck approaches the intersection, the light turns red, and stays red for a long time. The light eventually turns green, but the city hopes that the long delay will give the drivers enough time to realize their truck will not fit under the bridge. Unfortunately for the drivers, and to the delight of the rest, the bridge continues to shave the tops of over-height vehicles.

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Posted December 20, 2016 by markosun in Transportation, Vehicles

Open Season on Pedestrians in Toronto   Leave a comment


Toronto Star

10 pedestrians struck Thursday morning in Toronto. By evening, 8 more were hit

18 pedestrian accidents in a day is almost three times the daily average, police say.

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An average of seven pedestrians are struck on Toronto’s streets every day. 

Collisions involving pedestrians spike between mid-September and mid-December, Stibbe said. The incidence dies down when the holidays start and people go on vacation.

“November will be the worst month,” says Stibbe.

 Kim McKinnon, a spokesperson for the city’s paramedics, said they tend to see an increase in pedestrians being struck in the fall, when days start to get shorter.

“Obviously, there is something about (the day), the weather and the status of the roads and people rushing that is causing these accidents,” she said.

In September, Toronto police said that 542 pedestrians and 541 cyclists had been hit by cars since June 1. The total of 1,083 collisions means about 9.5 crashes occur every day, or one every 2.5 hours. This has increased since last year, when 999 pedestrians and cyclists were hit during the same period.

Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 34 per cent since 2005, according to the City of Toronto. One pedestrian is killed or seriously injured in Toronto every two days. Pedestrian fatalities account for about 50 per cent of total yearly traffic fatalities in the city, and 35 pedestrians have been killed in 2016 so far, Toronto Police said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Road deaths in Toronto are increasing in general, peaking at 65 in 2015, which is an 11-year high. Stibbe says that if two more people are killed in traffic accidents this year, the number will be the most traffic-related fatalities since 2004.

In an effort to bring the incidents down, City Hall is starting up a Road Safety Plan, which will begin in January and will run until 2021.

The plan will involve creating pedestrian safety corridors in places where serious collisions frequently occur. It also proposes lowering speed limits in 54 locations, many of them on downtown arteries such as Yonge St., Bay St., Bathurst St., Queen St., Dundas St. and Bloor St.

In 28 locations, the speeds will be reduced from 50 km/h to 40 km/h, and in 24 others the limit will go from 60 km/h to 50 km/h. In two locations outside of the downtown core, limits will fall from 70 km/h to 60 km/h in an effort to increase the likelihood of pedestrians surviving a collision, the rate of survival decreasing as speed limits increase.

The Road Safety Plan aims to lower pedestrian deaths by 20 per cent over 10 years, but many are arguing that this goal is not good enough.

According to Dylan Reid, the co-founder of Walk Toronto, a 20-per-cent decrease in pedestrian deaths from 2015 would leave the number at 31, which is still higher than the 18 pedestrian deaths in 2011.

Other countries have had success with road safety crackdowns; Sweden created a road safety plan in 1997 and reduced traffic fatalities by 66 per cent between 1990 and 2011. The plan, called Vision Zero, has become national law there.


Posted November 29, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

Countries with the largest railway networks   Leave a comment


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Rank Country Railway length
(km)
Date of
information
Notes Electrified length
(km)
Historic peak length
(km)
Area (km2) per km track Population per km track Nationalized or Private
1  United States 250,000 2014   <1,600 409,000 43.71 1,373 Private
2  China 121,000 2015   65,000 Present length 79.31 11,218 Nationalized
3  India 115000 2016   27,999 48.34 17,796 Nationalized
4  Russia 86,000 2013  “Commercial operational length” (50,000)
not verified
198.82 1,669 Nationalized
5  Canada 46,552 2008   129 214.48 716 Private
6  Germany 43,468 2010   19,973 58,297 8.22 1,881 Nationalized
7  Australia 38,445 2008   2,715 199.94 572 Both
8  Argentina 36,966 2008   136 47,000 77.45 1117 Nationalized
9  South Africa 31,000 2014 not verified 24,800 39.39 1,742 Nationalized
10  France 29,640 2008   15,140 21.53 2201 Nationalized
11  Brazil 29,303 (2012) 1,520 285.57 6397 Private
12  Japan 27,182 2009   16,702 16.10 5451 Both
13  Italy 24,179 (2007) 16,683 12.46 2507 Both
14  Ukraine 22,300 (2010) 9,752 27.07 2048 Nationalized
15  Romania 22,298 (2008) 3,971 10.69 854 Both
16  Poland 19,627 (2008) 17,358 about 24000 before 1989 15.93 1946 Nationalized
17  United Kingdom 17,732 (2008) 5,328 34,000 (before Beeching axe) 15.00 3825 Both (Franchised)
18  Mexico 17,166 2008   22 114.43 6,697 Private
19  Spain 15,947 (2012)   9,623 33.55 3062 Nationalized
20  Kazakhstan 15,372 (2010)   4,000 180.71 1,171 Nationalized

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Posted November 20, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

A little bit of gridlock in the downtown Peg   Leave a comment


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Posted October 13, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

Australian Road Trains make hauling Cattle very efficient   Leave a comment


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A road train or land train is a trucking vehicle of a type used in remote areas of Argentina, Australia, Mexico, the United States, and Canada to move freight efficiently. The term road train is most often used in Australia. In the United States, the terms triples, turnpike doubles, and Rocky Mountain doubles are commonly used for longer combination vehicles (LCVs). A road train has a relatively normal tractor unit, but instead of towing one trailer or semi-trailer, it pulls two or more of them.

Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 tonnes (197 long tons; 220 short tons). The majority are between 80 and 120 t (79 and 118 long tons; 88 and 132 short tons).

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Double (two-trailer) road train combinations are allowed in most areas of Australia, and within the environs (albeit limited) of Adelaide, South Australia and Perth, Western Australia. A double road train should not be confused with a B-double, which is allowed access to most of the country and in all major cities.

Here is one rolling through a flooded road

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Triple (three-trailer) road trains operate in western New South Wales, western Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the last three states also allowing AB-quads (B double with two additional trailers coupled behind). Darwin is the only capital city in the world where triples and quads are allowed to within 1 km (0.62 mi) of the central business district (CBD). Tasmania and Victoria do not allow the operation of road trains on any of their roads. Victoria had previously allowed double road trains to operate around Mildura for the vintage grape harvest.

Strict regulations regarding licensing, registration, weights, and experience apply to all operators of road trains throughout Australia.

Road trains are used for transporting all manner of materials: common examples are livestock, fuel, mineral ores, and general freight. Their cost-effective transport has played a significant part in the economic development of remote areas; some communities are totally reliant on regular service.

The multiple dog-trailers are unhooked, the dollys removed and then connected individually to multiple trucks at “assembly” yards when the road train gets close to populated areas.

When the flat-top trailers of a road train need to be transported empty, it is common practice to stack them. This is commonly referred to as “doubled-up” or “doubling-up”. See illustration. Sometimes, if many trailers are required to be moved at one time, they will be triple-stacked, or “tripled-up”.

Higher Mass Limits (HML) Schemes are now piloting in all jurisdictions in Australia, allowing trucks to carry additional weight.

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Road trains arrives at Helen Springs Cattle Station, north of Tennant Creek NT.

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The cattle are loaded onto the road train for their journey to Longreach QLD.
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The Road Train then leaves on its long trip.

Interesting statistics.    
*There are 17 trucks with 3 trailers and 2 decks per trailer; that’s 102 decks of cattle.

*Approximately 28 cattle per deck; A total of 2,856 head of cattle. 
*The cattle will weigh approximately 500kg each (1102.3 lbs.) 
*The sale price for cattle at Longreach is approx. 165c/kg (75c/lb.) 
*Each animal will therefore be sold at $825. 
*Total revenue from this analysis is $2.356.200 
*TYRES; Each truck has 2 front and 8 rear tyres, first trailer has 12 tyres and is dollied to the truck.

*2nd & 3rd trailers have 8 tyres at the front and 12 at the rear, that’s 20 tyres each. 
*Each truck has 62 tyres, that’s a total of 1.054 on the road. A lot of tyres!!!

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Australian cattle at stockyards in Rockhampton, Queensland.

 

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Posted October 2, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

The Widest Freeway in the World   Leave a comment


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Where else? Houston, Texas of course.

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When constructed during the 1960s, the I-10 Katy from Houston, known as the Katy Freeway, was built with six to eight lanes wide barring side lanes, being modest by Houston standards because existing traffic demand to the farming area of West Houston was relatively low. As the population and economic activity increased in the area vehicular traffic increased, reaching an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 238,000 vehicles just west of the West Loop in 2001.

In 2000 increased traffic levels and congestion led to plans being approved for widening of the freeway to 16 lanes with a capacity for 200,000 cars per day. An old railway running along the north side of the freeway was demolished in 2002 in preparation for construction which began in 2004. The interior two lanes in each direction between SH 6 and west I-610, the Katy Freeway Managed Lanes or Katy Tollway, were built as high-occupancy toll lanes and are managed by the Harris County Toll Road Authority. The section just west of SH 6 to the Fort Bend–Harris county line opened in late June 2006. Two intersections were rebuilt (Beltway 8 and I-610), toll booths were added, together with landscaping as part of Houston’s Highway Beautification Project. Most of the section between Beltway 8 and SH 6 had been laid by September 2006 and work was completed in October 2008.

Tolls on the managed lanes vary by vehicle occupancy, axle count and time of day. High occupancy vehicles may travel for free at certain times.

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Interstate 10 (I-10) is the major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. In the U.S. state of Texas, it runs east from Anthony, at the border with New Mexico, through El Paso, San Antonio and Houston to the border with Louisiana in Orange, Texas. At just under 880 miles (1,420 km), the Texas segment of I-10, maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation, is the longest continuous untolled freeway in North America that is operated by a single authority, a title formerly held by Ontario Highway 401. 

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Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

The very rare 1980 4-door Chevrolet Corvette   Leave a comment


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Back in 1980, California Custom Coachworks did a limited run of just five Chevrolet Corvette sedans for customers (a total of six were produced, one of them being a prototype). They took the stock body Corvettes, lengthened them by 30 inches, adding a significant 500-lb weight gain to the body. The result however was a very rare four-door Corvette that featured four seats and a very peculiar design.

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There is something just not right about this.

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Posted August 26, 2016 by markosun in Bizarre, Transportation

Subway Pushers of Japan   Leave a comment


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The Japanese rail network is known throughout the world for its superiority and punctuality. In the capital city Tokyo, nearly 40 million passengers ride the rail every day, heavily outweighing other modes of transport like buses and private cars. Of these, 22% or 8.7 million take the subway.

The Tokyo subway network is a transportation marvel. On most lines, trains come every 5 minutes apart, on average, and during peak times, they tend to run every 2-3 minutes. That’s about 24 trains per hour going in one direction. Despite so many trains, the subway is extremely overcrowded, especially during rush hour. This page from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has data (from 2007) detailing the level of congestion at different stations of Tokyo’s subway. As you can see, nearly all of them run at over capacity with a few running at 200% over rated capacity.

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“Oshiya” or “pushers” at Tokyo’s Shinjuku station trying to pack as many passengers as possible into the carriages during rush hour in 1967. Photo credit: CNN

In order to fit twice the number of passengers into a subway carriage, the stations employ uniformed staff known as oshiya or “pusher”, whose goal is to cram as many people as possible into the subway tram. These white glove-wearing personal actually pushes people into the train, so the doors can be shut. This is so surreal, it has to be seen to be believed.

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When pushers were first brought in at Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, they were called “passenger arrangement staff” and were largely made up of students working part-time. Nowadays, there are no dedicated “pushers”. The station staff and part-time workers fill these roles during rush hours.

Although a Japanese phenomenon now, subway pushers were an American invention and originated in New York City, nearly a century ago. They were not very well-liked because they were known to push and shove passengers with hostility. The vigor with which the guards often did their job earned them the reputation as “sardine packers”. Their brutality sometimes made national headlines. “The Anxious Subway Guard Who Guillotines His Passengers” —screamed a headline, and “Long Suffering New York Subway Riders Cheer Man Who Hit Guards” —reported another.

Pushers became out of fashion with the introduction of automatic door controls and automatic turnstiles. As the sadistic sardine packers began to lose their job in the 1920s, their demise were mourned briefly. Several movies about subway workers came out during this period including Subway Sadie (1926), Wolf’s Clothing (1927), The Big Noise (1928), Love Over Night (1928) and so on. Subway pushers were also depicted in a 1941 biographical movie called Pusher — the story takes place during World War 1.

More recently, in 2012, Hong Kong- based photographer Michael Wolf created a photo series named Tokyo Compression, where he captured the traumatized and pained expression of commuters as their faces were crushed against the windows. These pictures show how horrible and shameful the situation inside the subway is. Bodies are squished so tightly against one another that most people can’t physically move. Short persons suffer the risk of getting smothered against the coat of their fellow passenger. Getting off at the right station require strength and determination, and fire hazards and emergency evacuation are serious issues. The subways are also fertile grounds for pickpockets and gropers.

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Japanese commuters wait in line for the next train, while people pushers push passengers onto the Yamanote line subway train during the morning rush hour at Shinjuku station in Tokyo, Japan. The daily ritual is performed to maximize the number of commuters on trains.

Japanese commuters wait in line for the next train, while people pushers push passengers onto the Yamanote line subway train during the morning rush hour at Shinjuku station in Tokyo, Japan. The daily ritual is performed to maximize the number of commuters on trains.

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“Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle.” Plato.

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Posted August 26, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

Belgium City Building a Beer Pipeline   Leave a comment


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The Belgian City That Built an Underground Beer Pipeline

In Bruges, your frat house dreams come true.

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For many, the idea of receiving a free bottle of beer every day for the rest of their lives sounds like a dream and for a handful of ale drinkers in Belgium that fantasy has become a reality.

Brewer Xavier Vanneste could no longer stand the idea that hundreds of his trucks were damaging the medieval streets of his beloved Bruge and decided to hatch an audacious plan.

Mr Vanneste proposed to build a beer pipeline from his city brewery to a bottling plant outside of town two miles away.

The idea may have seemed mad, but after all, his beer is called the Madman of Bruges – or Brugse Zot in Dutch.

What at first seemed like an outrageous dream, began to seem possible when the brewer started talking to local beer enthusiasts.

‘Jokes were coming in fast, with people saying ‘we are willing to invest as long as we can have a tapping point on the pipeline,’ Vanneste said.

‘That gave us the idea to crowdfund the project.’

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However, while some poked fun, others were happy to put their hands in their pockets.

‘You have to be a bit crazy – like the beer – to do such a project.

‘I just had the money for that, and I liked it. So I went crazy and gave the money to the brewery,’ said restaurant owner Philippe Le Loup, who poured $11,000 into the pipeline.

Thanks to Le Loup and others, Mr Vanneste is now staring at one end of the pipeline, which by autumn will start pumping some 1,060 gallons of beer an hour toward the bottling plant.

‘That is a lot of beer, more than you can drink in a lifetime,’ said the owner of De Halve Maan brewery, which in addition to Brugse Zot is also famous for its Straffe Hendrik brand.

Sending the pipeline along streets where customers could siphon off their favorite suds was too big a promise even for Vanneste, but he came up with the next best thing: IOUs with a lifelong drinking guarantee.

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Pipeline route.  Starts at Waggelwater!

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Posted June 5, 2016 by markosun in Transportation