Archive for February, 2008

Oslo Page Coming Soon

Friday, February 29th, 2008

A new page featuring Oslo, Norway will be added to this site shortly. Unfortunately, due to a short stay and limited time in the evening before the sun sets at this time of year, the photographs are limited in number. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated (email here). Fortunately, I did get to travel over most of the system, even after it was too dark to take photos, in order to make notes. It also looks like I may be returning in May, so more additions will occur at that time.

One interesting thing in Oslo is that there is one station that saw shared service on the same tracks by both the trams and the T-bane (metro/subway) system (Cleveland is another example of this, as there are three stations used by the metro Red Line as well as the LRT Blue and Green Lines) . The ROW of the west end of tram route 13 merged with the ROW of T-bane line 6 just east of Jar station. Originally, the T-bane system on the west side of Oslo used overhead power instead of third rail.  Jar and the next four stations to Bekkestua had both high level platforms for T-bane operation and low level platforms for tram operations. In this photo taken at Jar, the ramp up to the high level platform can be seen in the lower right corner:

Photo at Jar

Just beyone Jar, there is a turning loop that straddles the main tracks. Instead of the whole loop on one side of the tracks, the loop branches off the north track to the north side about half the width of a turning loop, the curves back and crosses both tracks at a near 90-degree angle to finish its loop on the south side of the main tracks before merging with the south track.

During the mixed operation at Jar, the T-bane service on the line beyond that point did not operate late evenings and service was provided by trams as far as Bekkestua. Hence the need for low level platforms at these stations. Only the double-ended fleet of SL95 vehicles could provide this service as only a crossover beyond Bekkestua exists to turn anything back.

In 2006, this part of the T-bane line was closed down beyond several stops east of Jar. The T-bane system has adopted a “metro standard” that will see third-rail electrification and six-car stations on totally isolated ROWs. This line was not to this standard as the platforms were only three cars long and the line used overhead electrification. There is a possibility that this line will be upgraded to the standards over the next few years, but for now the connection of the T-bane tracks have been removed from where they merge with the tram line.

In the meantime, Trikken started operations as far as Bekkestua on its route 13 beginning on December 2, 2007. This service is only every 20 minutes, with more frequent service being provided to Jar with the use of SL79 vehicles that need the loop to turn around.

Need Federal Funding? Just Take It Indirectly!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

I must be very busy in my day-to-day activities to have not realized this sooner, but having seen nothing in the local media either, I can only conclude that I am not alone…

On January 1, YRT adjusted fares. Well, they raised fares, but not all fares, and not all by the same amount.

Cash fares went up to $3.00, a 9.1% increase from $2.75; Adult tickets went up to $24.00/10, a 4.3% increase from $23.00; and Adult monthly passes went up to $95, an 11.8% increase from $85; all other tickets and passes were unchanged!

Why are monthly pass users being “punished”? Anyone actually paying cash for each fare actually see about the same $10 increase per month, assuming 20 round-trip commutes per month, but the ticket-buying customer only sees a $4 increase. Of course, the pass user gets the tax credit (as long as they have a taxable income by the end of the year).

Oh yes, the federal tax credit. On an $85 pass last year, this results in a credit of $12.75 to the rider.

What YRT has said essentially is, “If the federal government won’t give us any additional money, then we will grab it $10 per month per pass user out of the tax credit.” Of course, with a $95 pass, the credit will now be $14.25, so they’ve only grabbed $8.50 from the pockets of their loyal pass users.

Way to go, YRT!