seb146
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Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 12:35 am

Tri-Met in Portland just got some new hybrid buses. They use a charging system that comes down and docks with a pad on top of the bus. The way the bus docks with the charging station makes me wonder about trolley buses and overhead wires. Portland took down their overhead wires for trolley buses long ago, but they are still in use in other cities like Seattle, Vancouver BC and San Francisco among others. Those agencies use trolley buses with two overhead wires and two poles on the bus. I am wondering if buses could do with just one connection point like trains and trams? Besides the obvious cost of all new buses, what would be the advantages or disadvantages if it could be done?
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Dieuwer
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 12:48 am

Sevilla in Spain uses street cars equipped with special fast-charging batteries. When passengers embark and disembark at stops, the batteries are charged. Then the street car drives to the next stop and the process repeats. No need for overhead wires anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetroCentro_(Seville)
Last edited by Dieuwer on Thu May 02, 2019 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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WildcatYXU
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 12:48 am

No, they couldn't run with only one connection point. Trains and trams are using the rails as the second wire. It is not really possible with a vehicle with rubber tyres running on asphalt.
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apodino
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 4:00 am

seb146 wrote:
Tri-Met in Portland just got some new hybrid buses. They use a charging system that comes down and docks with a pad on top of the bus. The way the bus docks with the charging station makes me wonder about trolley buses and overhead wires. Portland took down their overhead wires for trolley buses long ago, but they are still in use in other cities like Seattle, Vancouver BC and San Francisco among others. Those agencies use trolley buses with two overhead wires and two poles on the bus. I am wondering if buses could do with just one connection point like trains and trams? Besides the obvious cost of all new buses, what would be the advantages or disadvantages if it could be done?


No...you need two wires because with rubber tires there is no return path for the current fed by the other wire. On electrified rails, the tracks themselves serve this purpose.

I grew up in Boston, and we referred to these types of buses as Trackless Trolleys. The network in Boston used to be a lot larger than what is there today. A small network of Trackless Trolley routes that serve Harvard Square and a couple of neighboring towns survived because of an underground bus tunnel in Harvard Square that requires limits on the number of diesel buses using it. Additionally, when the big dig was finished, another route was added out of South Station. This is a hybrid route because the buses used are dual mode, where they can run on CNG when not using overhead wires.

I like trolleybuses myself because they are no emission, and can be used in underground areas and in areas with steep gradients such as San Francisco. However, the nature of overhead lines is a natural drawback to such a system. I have heard about the battery buses coming on line, and I would like to see us go to this more and more in the future, as the environmental benefits are overwhelming IMO and we need to continue to reduce our oil consumption.
 
Flanker7
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 12:22 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
Sevilla in Spain uses street cars equipped with special fast-charging batteries. When passengers embark and disembark at stops, the batteries are charged. Then the street car drives to the next stop and the process repeats. No need for overhead wires anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetroCentro_(Seville)


A lot of the regional busses here are electric with powerful batteries. They charge at there and stations through charging point on the roof. Nice and quiet and comfortable. In the Netherlands that's is.
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Kiwirob
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 3:30 pm

WildcatYXU wrote:
No, they couldn't run with only one connection point. Trains and trams are using the rails as the second wire. It is not really possible with a vehicle with rubber tyres running on asphalt.


There’s more than a few tram networks running on rubber tyres, the T5 line is Paris is an example.
 
Scorpio
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 4:14 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
WildcatYXU wrote:
No, they couldn't run with only one connection point. Trains and trams are using the rails as the second wire. It is not really possible with a vehicle with rubber tyres running on asphalt.


There’s more than a few tram networks running on rubber tyres, the T5 line is Paris is an example.

Those rubber tyred trams still have a single guide rail they use as the second wire.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Thu May 02, 2019 5:22 pm

A friend was a mechanic in Seattle, he said that electric trolley buses were nigh well eternal. The newest ET buses also have roof top batteries and can travel a couple miles without the overhead wires. This comes in very handy for bypassing street construction, accidents, and other stoppages. Seattle still uses a few all-diesel buses especially during the weekend, as they don't have to have an emergency trolley rescue team on call. (Talk about feeling and sounding like you are in a Model T!!)
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anrec80
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Fri May 03, 2019 4:58 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
A friend was a mechanic in Seattle, he said that electric trolley buses were nigh well eternal. The newest ET buses also have roof top batteries and can travel a couple miles without the overhead wires. This comes in very handy for bypassing street construction, accidents, and other stoppages. Seattle still uses a few all-diesel buses especially during the weekend, as they don't have to have an emergency trolley rescue team on call. (Talk about feeling and sounding like you are in a Model T!!)


Yeah, a ride in an electric trolley is indeed better and smoother than that in a diesel bus. I lived in Seattle and know this system. Here, they are generally present in cities with a lot of hills, where diesel buses would be too loud and not work their best anyway. It costs more to operate such network though - primarily due to expensive maintenance of overhead wires. Electric trolleys also cannot pass one another - and this is an issue when running a public transit system. The only time it was more economical to operate this electric trolley system than a diesel one was during extreme oil prices circa 2018.
 
mham001
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Fri May 03, 2019 5:09 am

I used to ride the electric trolleys in Seattle in the 60's. An excellent primer for electric propulsion, they could snap your neck good but that was a problem, they had horrible throttle control, herky-jerky. The wires are always coming off, I imagine the drivers loved getting out in the middle of an intersection to get the wires back in place.
 
WIederling
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Fri May 03, 2019 1:45 pm

Flanker7 wrote:
A lot of the regional buses here are electric with powerful batteries. They charge at there and stations through charging point on the roof. Nice and quiet and comfortable. In the Netherlands that's is.


Where is your "regional" ?

The Swiss had Oerlikon made buses with flywheel storage in the 50ties running.
rev up on every stop.
see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrobus
Murphy is an optimist
 
Draken21fx
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Fri May 03, 2019 1:51 pm

Widespread use in Athens for lots of years. I believe there are some other Eastern European countries still using the system.

Image
Image

I believe all of those have a small diesel backup engine.
 
Flanker7
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Fri May 03, 2019 2:39 pm

WIederling wrote:
Flanker7 wrote:
A lot of the regional buses here are electric with powerful batteries. They charge at there and stations through charging point on the roof. Nice and quiet and comfortable. In the Netherlands that's is.


Where is your "regional" ?

The Swiss had Oerlikon made buses with flywheel storage in the 50ties running.
rev up on every stop.
see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrobus


The area in and around Amsterdam
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ThePointblank
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 2:22 am

Should be noted that Vancouver's trolley network has been shrinking over the years; for example, when they tore apart one of the roads to dig and build the Canada Line rapid transit line, they also took down the trolley wires along that route, and never replaced them. Also, a number of trolley routes have been converted over to regular diesel bus service as well.

The current fleet in Vancouver are all New Flyer E40LFR's and E60LFR's, all delivered between 2005 and 2013. They are OK buses, but they've had a number of teething problems when introduced. However, they may be the last trolley bus purchase ever, based upon where the local transit agency is going with their purchases.

Vancouver is primarily buying new hybrid electric buses using the BAE HybriDrive series hybrid transmissions; basically, the diesel engine charges a battery, which drives a electric motor. There are some diesel and CNG vehicles being purchased, but the bulk of the new fleet being bought is using the BAE hybrid transmission, which is noted to make it easier to convert the buses to fully electric propulsion if Vancouver chooses to do so down the line.
 
WIederling
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 8:24 am

Flanker7 wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Where is your "regional" ?

The area in and around Amsterdam


Thanks for the info.

Didn't Amsterdam participate in some of the EU wide "alternative energy traction for public transport" ?
( Hamburg's HHA collected some of the Hybrid buses from those trials.)
Murphy is an optimist
 
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Channex757
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 1:12 pm

There has been a 21st century redo of this idea for long distance freight haulage, Whether it gets any uptake is a different matter as it would be expensive but could work in a high-cost fuel scenario.

Instead of twin trolley poles, the lorries would have twin pantographs. Not full width ones, but twin computer monitored ones on the lorry roof. As it enters an electrified stretch of highway the pantographs rise and the lorry switches to electric drive. A single (nearside) or segregated lane of the highway would be used exclusively for this. Add some batteries for the neutral sections and it could be a very economical system for haulage, and maybe even long distance buses.
 
Flanker7
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 4:25 pm

WIederling wrote:
Flanker7 wrote:
WIederling wrote:
Where is your "regional" ?

The area in and around Amsterdam


Thanks for the info.

Didn't Amsterdam participate in some of the EU wide "alternative energy traction for public transport" ?
( Hamburg's HHA collected some of the Hybrid buses from those trials.)

Not that I'm aware of , but it's a good step in the right direction and diesel busses are big polluters
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seb146
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 6:04 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
Should be noted that Vancouver's trolley network has been shrinking over the years; for example, when they tore apart one of the roads to dig and build the Canada Line rapid transit line, they also took down the trolley wires along that route, and never replaced them. Also, a number of trolley routes have been converted over to regular diesel bus service as well.

The current fleet in Vancouver are all New Flyer E40LFR's and E60LFR's, all delivered between 2005 and 2013. They are OK buses, but they've had a number of teething problems when introduced. However, they may be the last trolley bus purchase ever, based upon where the local transit agency is going with their purchases.

Vancouver is primarily buying new hybrid electric buses using the BAE HybriDrive series hybrid transmissions; basically, the diesel engine charges a battery, which drives a electric motor. There are some diesel and CNG vehicles being purchased, but the bulk of the new fleet being bought is using the BAE hybrid transmission, which is noted to make it easier to convert the buses to fully electric propulsion if Vancouver chooses to do so down the line.


I think it was 20 years ago, I spent a week in Vancouver. I rode a trolley bus from PNE through Chinatown. It was very very old and smelled like a garage. I also remember in the late 1990s when RVTD in Medford, Oregon tried using CNG buses and they were constantly breaking down. They had 1970s GM diesel buses on hand and those saw more service than the CNG buses. I am guessing improvements have been made to CNG technology.
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Channex757
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sat May 04, 2019 11:53 pm

seb146 wrote:
I think it was 20 years ago, I spent a week in Vancouver. I rode a trolley bus from PNE through Chinatown. It was very very old and smelled like a garage. I also remember in the late 1990s when RVTD in Medford, Oregon tried using CNG buses and they were constantly breaking down. They had 1970s GM diesel buses on hand and those saw more service than the CNG buses. I am guessing improvements have been made to CNG technology.


The problem with CNG is it is a drop-in fuel replacement for gasoline engines. That's why a Range Rover converter here offers a CNG option with a big Chevy gasoline engine. So all the added complexity of a gas engine has to be added to the bus, and that's not going to help with reliability. That would definitely take some work to refine out and make CNG viable.

Diesel hybrids are the bulk of buses round here now, as well as BYD battery ones starting to appear.

BTW I just bought a Prius+. Feel free to abuse me.
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Electric Trolley Buses

Sun May 05, 2019 2:55 am

seb146 wrote:
I think it was 20 years ago, I spent a week in Vancouver. I rode a trolley bus from PNE through Chinatown. It was very very old and smelled like a garage. I also remember in the late 1990s when RVTD in Medford, Oregon tried using CNG buses and they were constantly breaking down. They had 1970s GM diesel buses on hand and those saw more service than the CNG buses. I am guessing improvements have been made to CNG technology.

Yeah, at the time, those trolley buses were the old Flyer Industries E902 trolley's, which were produced from 1981 to 1983. Even by the late 1990's, they were getting very old and ratty, beyond the issues with accessibility with them (high floors and no wheelchair lift), so when the new New Flyer E40LFR's, and the articulated E60LFR's started arriving, they could not come fast enough.

The newer CNG buses primarily are using the Cummins Westport ISL G's and L9N's, and they appear to be good buses; Vancouver's CNG fleet are primarily the New Flyer C40LFR's and the XN40's, and they are used primarily in the suburbs, except for routes that are particularly hilly and challenging; for those type of routes, the regular diesels seem to preferred. The hybrid buses are all being concentrated within Vancouver proper, and Vancouver seems to like the Nova Bus LFS series for the hybrid fleet; all of the new deliveries are using the BAE HybriDrive system, while the older ones used the Allison Hybrid EP System.

Most of the regular diesel buses in Vancouver already been moved out to the suburbs, or retired; by the end of this year, there won't be any regular diesel powered bus based in or assigned to run in Vancouver. The local transit agency is also buying a bunch of double decker's as well for the suburban commuter routes; we're slated to get 32 of the Alexander Dennis Enviro500's, along side a equal number of the Nova Bus LFS Suburban's; both of them are displacing the fleet of OBI Orion V's high floor buses, of which we were the last Canadian customer for them.

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