Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by kaitoku
Surprised nobody has posted this news yet.
San Diego County's North County Transit District (NCTD) suspended SPRINTER diesel light railway transit (DLRT) service Saturday "in order to perform necessary maintenance repairs"—repairs that some observers say could take months.

Bus replacement service will be instituted along the length of its SPRINTER route, which normally operates between Oceanside and Escondido, Calif.

Worn brake rotors are the direct cause of the service disruption. Local media reported that NCTD Executive Director Matthew Tuckersaid the rotors "don't meet the standards of compliance," even though the light rail vehicles "are still safe to operate."
http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/pas ... -last.html
North County Transit District officials say a former employee knew early on about the brake problems that have idled the $477 million Sprinter light-rail line and did not communicate them up the chain of command.

That chain of command was in nearly constant flux, according to transit district records obtained by U-T Watchdog.

The operations division that former transit employee Richard Berk worked for underwent at least four reorganizations in three years. During that time, Berk had three supervisors, only one of whom remains with the district.

The structural changes have been caused in part by the economy and also stemmed from the agency’s decision to outsource all of its operations and maintenance functions to private contractors in 2009. Maintenance for the Sprinter was outsourced from its inception in 2008.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/mar ... n-in-flux/
  by kaitoku
More not-very-good news:
SPRINTER Funds Used For Buses — And Studies

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

By Brad Racino

SAN DIEGO — Money that was budgeted to fix the brakes and pay for other maintenance on North County Transit District’s SPRINTER was instead used to pay for buses and transit studies, the KPBS and inewsource Investigations Desk has learned.

The SPRINTER, a passenger train system that runs between Oceanside and Escondido, has been shut down since March because of worn brake rotors.

The North County Transit District (NCTD), a public agency funded mostly by taxpayer dollars, budgeted for problems with the SPRINTER’s brakes as far back as 2010, but this year it removed the maintenance money and replaced it with line items for buses and studies, according to budget documents.

One $500,000 study was commissioned to better understand “what public transportation means for North San Diego County.”
complete article:
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/apr/03/sp ... d-studies/
  by kaitoku
More details about the unique brakes that are the source of the problem:
Before service began in March 2008, SPRINTER-manufacturer Siemens added additional brakes on the vehicles to make them compliant with the California Public Utilities Commission’s standards for light rail vehicle brake rates. These specially-made brakes are unique to California and are not found on any of the approximately 600 other similar models running in Europe. Once mechanics and engineers saw the “unusual wear pattern” on the discs about a year after the SPRINTER began service, they started planning for their eventual replacement — “when the time came,” according to Berk’s email on March 10, 2013.
https://systemicfailure.wordpress.com/2 ... -meddling/
  by kaitoku
The Sprinter is back in service, but ridership has yet to recover:
Average weekday ridership on the Sprinter light rail line between Escondido and Oceanside in May was down 23 percent from the same month last year. The Sprinter returned to service May 18 after the North County Transit District shut it down for more than two months because of premature wear on the brakes.

Average ridership on Saturdays and Sundays in May was down 15 percent and 7 percent respectively.

During the time the Sprinter was shut down, only about one-third of the people who normally rode the train chose to ride the buses provided to replace it.
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/18/sp ... ship-down/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

*farebox recovery ratio of under 20%- yikes!
  by electricron
kaitoku wrote:"During the time the Sprinter was shut down, only about one-third of the people who normally rode the train chose to ride the buses provided to replace it."
Which once again proves that trains will attract 3X more riders than buses.

If you're goal is to increase ridership, or move more commuters from cars to transit, trains are 3X better than buses.

Now, if we could only build train lines at 3X the price of buses or less there would be no arguments over higher taxes and costs.