More pantograph arcing

How people are finding me

I don’t know how many people who read my blog are also WordPress users who would already know this, but WordPress has this very basic feature that shows you what words people are searching for that bring them to your blog. I can’t tell who looks for what or which search engine they use or anything like that, but I’ve been getting a lot of hits lately from searches for some variant of pantograph, pantograph arcing, arcing wire, electrical arc, etc…

So this is for you, searching-for-arcing-pantographs-person (people?)  Each picture, like almost all the pictures I post can be clicked for a larger version.  Enjoy:

Starts small

Travels slightly..

Impressive, part 1

Impressive part 2, moving down the catenary

And then mostly fades

And then all together (may not load well on some computers.  Sorry):

So I’ll take this opportunity to repeat myself


You do not need that much electricity running through your body.

And for the curious, the search phrase that brings the most people here is “types of train cars“, followed by “Sandi Day“, “ATU757“, “Robertson Tunnel“, and “how fast do trains go“. I’m also starting to get people searching for my blog by name, which is pretty cool.


4 responses to “More pantograph arcing

  1. Some oldtimers once told me a story about living up on Mt. Tabor, looking out over SE Portland on a snowy day and watching the progress of the streetcars to and from downtown by the flashes of the arcing (maybe more brilliant than modern equipment, plus the moisture and ice, etc).

  2. First off I am very impressed by your site. I live here in Portland and thought you may be able to help me out in some manner. I am in desperate need of a career change and I very much want to work as a MAX operator. I have reached out to Tri Met and got the standard check our site routine. Do you know anyone that works as a MAX operator? Do you know anything about how to get an inside track to a job there? Thank you so much for your time.


    • Hi Ben. I can go into more detail on how to become a MAX operator in a later post, but the short answer is that you have to start by working as a part-time bus operator at TriMet (aka a “minirunner”). TriMet hasn’t hired minirunners in a few years, and I have no idea when they’re going to start doing that again. I’ve heard some rumors but nothing officially confirmed. On one hand there’s a supposed “hiring freeze” but they’ve hired a lot of white collar positions, and there is a shortage of operators, so…

  3. I live over by the West Hills of Portland, and almost everyday I head over to the Robertson Tunnel. I notice that sometimes as the MAX train picks up speed to leave the station, the pantograph on the rear car sparks heavily. In fact it’s so bad I’m afraid to go near the front of the train before it leaves. These sparks are massive! Also, at the very same station, as the last wheel set leaves the station, it sparks across the track due to a slight gap between the segments of rail.

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