The folks over at Portland Transport recently had their annual Q&A session with TriMet GM Neil McFarlane. A question that came up, as it has before, was about improving MAX speed and efficiency by closing some stops. This led to a follow-up post at Portland Transport (and is making me revisit the series I’d done on the same topic but never finished) and while working on a post for that, I dug out this map of the area around SW 10/11th and Yamhill/Morrison where the Portland Streetcar crosses the eastbound & westbound Red and Blue MAX alignment.
I’m posting it here because it’s a good illustration that shows how there’s a lot more involved in closing/moving a stop than just laying down tactile strip and moving the fare machines. It’s the work involved in changing the track circuits, moving the train-to-wayside-communication (TWC) call loops, reconfiguring signals, etc that would be a barrier as far as expense (and complexity!) is concerned.
Quick explanation since this map introduces something I haven’t mentioned before:
Many readers here will already be familiar with how the operator of a MAX train will press the “Call” button on the console when the transponder under their cab is over a call loop to call their signals and throw power switches in order to proceed. However, by design, that transponder will call some signals without action on the part of the operator. So for example as shown in the map below, signal W6, which is an ABS/pre-empt combination signal for eastbound trains, is not called by the operator doing anything, but is instead called by the train just before SW 13th when the transponder under the lead cab passes over that TWC loop.
This map is outdated – trains do not regularly go through 11th Ave anymore, and each of those tracks have their own signal now instead of all using signal W4, but I still wanted to post it here because it nicely shows the complexity of what otherwise appears to be a fairly simple layout.
Can’t remember if it had been a test question or a Rail Rodeo question that went something like “There is a Yellow Line train in 11th Ave, an eastbound Blue Line at 14th, and a southbound streetcar at Washington. If the Blue Line crosses 13th before the Yellow Line gets their call on, when will the streetcar get their signal?” which reminded me too much of those math problems from high school, where if Mary is on the 9pm train heading due north at 55mph, what time will she pass John’s train which is heading south at 60mph?