• A few questions from a newb

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by jamesinclair
 
I recently moved to DC and have a few questions. Theyve probably been asked and answered before, but I looked around and couldnt find them, so please bare with me.


1) Do the on/off peak fares count when entering the system or tapping out? That is, if I board Dupont at 6:45pm and get off at Silver Spring at 7:15pm, do I get charged peak or off peak?

2) If I enter a station, realize I forgot something, and immediately leave, what do I get charged?

3) Whats the rational behind the carpet floors, font they get terrible in the winter?

4) Why do the (newer) trains have automated door announcements but not automated stop announcements? I've never seen a system quite like that.

5) Why 6 car trains? Is it a budget issue? Clearly the demand is there for full size trains.

6) Why do some drivers blow their horns? I was on a Takoma-Metro Center train and the driver spent half the time blowing it.

7) Why do doors take so long to open? Most other systems Ive been on have doors opening as the train comes to a stop (like in elevators), but on Metro, we wait 3-6 seconds after stopping?

8) Speaking of stopping... many times a train enters a station, comes to a full stop...and then moved 6 inches forward, knocking people around....why?

9) Have there ever been trials to speed up the escalators at Roslyn and Wheaton? The escalators in europe seem to go much faster.


Thanks!
  by Sand Box John
 
"jamesinclair"
I recently moved to DC and have a few questions. Theyve probably been asked and answered before, but I looked around and couldnt find them, so please bare with me.

1) Do the on/off peak fares count when entering the system or tapping out? That is, if I board Dupont at 6:45pm and get off at Silver Spring at 7:15pm, do I get charged peak or off peak?


Fare are determined at the time of entry.

2) If I enter a station, realize I forgot something, and immediately leave, what do I get charged?

Minimum base fare.

3) Whats the rational behind the carpet floors, font they get terrible in the winter?

Passenger comfort, sound deadening.

4) Why do the (newer) trains have automated door announcements but not automated stop announcements? I've never seen a system quite like that.

The Rhor cars had an automated station announcement system on them when they were delivered from the manufacture back in 1976. The system used a 4 track tape cartridge player. It was unreliable and was never used in revenue service. WMATA came to the conclusion that operators doing station announcements would reassure passengers that the automated train they were riding aboard had a live person up front. None of the cars in the fleet have hardware for automated station announcements.

5) Why 6 car trains? Is it a budget issue? Clearly the demand is there for full size trains.

WMATA has had a rolling stock shortage sense Huntington station opened 12 17 1983. WMATA has always been from day one in the build the 103 mile now 106 mile railroad mode but not into increasing the size of the fleet to keep up with the increasing miles added to the railroad. WMATA presently has plans to replace the 300 1k series cars, add 128 cars for the N route Silver line and increase the overall fleet size by 220. In my opinion after all is said and done WMATA will still be short of a sufficient number of cars to deploy all 8 car trains running the headways they run today. One can pretty much forget about having enough cars to deploy all 8 car trains at headways closer then what they run today.

6) Why do some drivers blow their horns? I was on a Takoma-Metro Center train and the driver spent half the time blowing it.

Warning passengers on the crowded platforms to move back. some operators are more anal then others. Operators are required to sound their horn when there are people on the ground. They are also required to sound their horn when entering tunnel portals.

7) Why do doors take so long to open? Most other systems Ive been on have doors opening as the train comes to a stop (like in elevators), but on Metro, we wait 3-6 seconds after stopping?

Operator control station in the cab is on the side right. Controls to open the doors on the left side of the car are on the left side of the cab. Most of the station in the system are island platform stations, island platforms are on the left side of train.

8) Speaking of stopping... many times a train enters a station, comes to a full stop...and then moved 6 inches forward, knocking people around....why?

Trains must be berthed in the platform track circuit before the door can be opened. Automated station stops are not always that precise.

9) Have there ever been trials to speed up the escalators at Roslyn and Wheaton? The escalators in europe seem to go much faster.

Class A and B escalators were originally designed to work at 90' and 120' per minute (27.43 and 36.57 meters per minute) Class A vertical rise up to 20' (6.09m) Class B 20' (6.09m) to 60' (18.28m). Class C escalators (vertical rise over 60' 18.28m) were originally designed work at 112 1/2' to 150' feet per minute (34.29 to 45.72 meters per minute). WMATA reconfigured escalators to run at the standard speed commonly used throughout the United States for simplicity and for liability reasons.
  by jamesinclair
 
Thanks for the great response!

Will the next round of metro cars have automated announcements?

Was there ever a discussion on escalator speed, or did it just end up that way? I feel that the middle escalator could work best if branded as "high speed".

And last but not least... when will the red line be back to normal speed? (Just kidding, I only wish you could answer this)
  by WMATAGMOAGH
 
The 7000s will have automated announcements.

Another issue with the doors opening delay is that usually, the doors open automatically as soon as the train stops, but that feature has been disabled indefinitely due to issues with that system not working properly. Doors were occasionally opening on the wrong side or both sides, so now we get 8 car trains stopping at the wrong place on the platform.
  by Sand Box John
 
"jamesinclair"
Was there ever a discussion on escalator speed, or did it just end up that way?


As far as I know, no. From my recollections of the early years, WMATA never ran the escalator at speeds greater then they what they are run today.

I feel that the middle escalator could work best if branded as "high speed".

Where third escalator exist they are there to accommodate peak direction flow and for redundancy.

And last but not least... when will the red line be back to normal speed? (Just kidding, I only wish you could answer this)

Can't give you a date. It will likely happen when WMATA and the NTSB have discovered what caused the track circuit to malfunction.
  by Tritransit Area
 
Sand Box John wrote:"jamesinclair"
8) Speaking of stopping... many times a train enters a station, comes to a full stop...and then moved 6 inches forward, knocking people around....why?

Trains must be berthed in the platform track circuit before the door can be opened. Automated station stops are not always that precise.


Wow, are you saying that when this happens, the operator (conductor?) has to manually move the train forward? Very interesting if so - I thought the train automatically did that itself!
  by Sand Box John
 
Tritransit Area"
Wow, are you saying that when this happens, the operator (conductor?) has to manually move the train forward? Very interesting if so - I thought the train automatically did that itself!


I was being somewhat simplistic in my explanation. There a lot of variables going on. There is the issue of the incompatibilities in the propulsion systems in the different car series that causes less the optimum performance. That issue make it difficult to operate trains smoothly in both automatic and manual mode. There also is the issues with the calibration of the ground and train board equipment that executes programmed station stops in automatic mode.

It is nearly impossible to operate a train in manual mode as smoothly as it is done automatically. The controller on the cars is configured in such a way that a train operator can hold the train at fixed speed. There are 5 power positions, 5 brake positions and a coast position on the controller. The higher the power position, the greater the rate of acceleration, same applies to braking, the higher the brake position, the greater the rate of deceleration. When an operators applies to much brakes the train will stop short, not enough brakes and the train will stops long.

All 8 car trains are presently being operated in manual mode. The reason is connected to door issue mentioned in the post WMATAGMOAGH made above.
  by farecard
 
1) Do the on/off peak fares count when entering the system or tapping out? That is, if I board Dupont at 6:45pm and get off at Silver Spring at 7:15pm, do I get charged peak or off peak?

Fare are determined at the time of entry.
My recollection is if any part of the trip is during rush hour, you pay the higher fare....
2) If I enter a station, realize I forgot something, and immediately leave, what do I get charged?

Minimum base fare.
Unless you talk the station manager into letting you exit & reenter; usually not hard...
5) Why 6 car trains? Is it a budget issue? Clearly the demand is there for full size trains.

WMATA has had a rolling stock shortage sense Huntington station opened 12 17 1983. WMATA has always been from day one in the build the 103 mile now 106 mile railroad mode but not into increasing the size of the fleet to keep up with the increasing miles added to the railroad.
Also note WMATA has power station limitations to work around. As it is, some are at the high temp limit by the end of rush hour. The more 8-car trains, the more power needed. WMATA is slowing adding power station capacity.
7) Why do doors take so long to open? Most other systems Ive been on have doors opening as the train comes to a stop (like in elevators), but on Metro, we wait 3-6 seconds after stopping?

Operator control station in the cab is on the side right. Controls to open the doors on the left side of the car are on the left side of the cab. Most of the station in the system are island platform stations, island platforms are on the left side of train.

8) Speaking of stopping... many times a train enters a station, comes to a full stop...and then moved 6 inches forward, knocking people around....why?

Trains must be berthed in the platform track circuit before the door can be opened. Automated station stops are not always that precise.
To be more explicit; the train must be totally within the block, or the doors won't open. [I don't recall the override scheme, but it must exist.] In the case of 8 car trains, that's not enough fudge factor to sneeze over. And since the automagic system for braking can't seem to be reliable enough to do the job; 8 car trains are braked manually. That's where the stop, and creep until inside the block maneuver comes from...
  by Sand Box John
 
farecard"[quote]
Also note WMATA has power station limitations to work around. As it is, some are at the high temp limit by the end of rush hour. The more 8-car trains, the more power needed. WMATA is slowing adding power station capacity.


WMATA has upgrade roughly half of the 88 traction power substations in the system sense 2004. Plans call for upgrading the remaining substations by 2013.

To be more explicit; the train must be totally within the block, or the doors won't open.

Platform track circuit, platform block are in this instance one in the same.
  by HokieNav
 
farecard wrote:
1) Do the on/off peak fares count when entering the system or tapping out? That is, if I board Dupont at 6:45pm and get off at Silver Spring at 7:15pm, do I get charged peak or off peak?

Fare are determined at the time of entry.
My recollection is if any part of the trip is during rush hour, you pay the higher fare....
Sorry, your recollection is incorrect - I have occasion to leave work around 2:55pm and am charged the lower fare when I exit after 3:00.
  by SchuminWeb
 
Indeed, same reason I occasionally have to time my commute when I stay late at work so that I don't enter before Metro ticks over to 7:00. Otherwise I get charged the rush-hour fare for a trip mostly made during off-peak.
  by jamesinclair
 
New questions!

-How many cars have no carpet?
-How many cars have the blue LED interior lighting?
-Will all the new cars (7,000)s be in 8 car trains?
  by HokieNav
 
1. I'm pretty sure that it's just the two test cars (maybe 4).
2. 1 or two - I don't think that even both cars in the married pair have the lights.
3. Not sure - think that it's been addressed in the 7k thread somewhere.
  by Sand Box John
 
"jamesinclair"
New questions!

-How many cars have no carpet?
-How many cars have the blue LED interior lighting?


Answered by jamesinclair above

-Will all the new cars (7,000)s be in 8 car trains?

The 7k cars will not be compatible with any of the existing cars in the fleet. That being the case, they will not be run in mixed consists. 7k cars will be run in 4, 6 and 8 car consists. The length of the trains will based on what length is need at that given time of the day.
  by jamesinclair
 
Thanks for all the answers!


1. I'm pretty sure that it's just the two test cars (maybe 4).
I thought it looked pretty bad.


2. 1 or two - I don't think that even both cars in the married pair have the lights.
No, the car I saw with LEDs was in the middle of a train and had no LED partner. The difference in lighting was enormous.