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 trigonalmayhem
According to their website, the light rail in SD is wheelchair accessible, but I'm curious as to how exaclty it's achieved.

I've seen pictures, and the curbs alongside the rails at stations are hardly high enough to reach the bottom of the vehicle doors, but the gap isn't terribly severe, so I'm curious as to if they use wheelchair lifts or some kind of sliding ramp or what.
I'm assuming the curbs are so low because they also still run freight along the tracks, but do the clearances for freight require platforms to be so low as to not allow for level boarding, or was it just a cost-cutting measure?

Any help anyone could provide would be great, thanks.
  by Head-end View
I rode that system some years ago. IIRC there is a wheelchair lift up front by the operator's cab. I remember seeing the op's come out of the cab to activate it and assist a wheelchair passenger in boarding.

Also I believe the Trolley operates on their own exclusive right-of-way. I don't think it's shared with any freight railroading.

BTW, if you haven't been out to San Diego, it's a really neat system to ride. I hope to go there again in a couple of years when the extension across Mission Valley is completed. :-)

  by bellstbarn
Okay, so it is six or seven years since I visited San Diego, and my memory plays tricks about details. I recall an earlier visit when only the line to San Ysidro was running. The steps on the Duewag cars seemed daunting to this ordinary guy. Real steep. Now, I do recall something about see wheelchair lifts at the forward end of some platforms, but that may be a misleading memory. The later visit brought me on that fabulous line to Santee, where speedy runs on private right-of-way made up for the slow travel on streets. Yes, now I recall a severely disabled person boarding at Santee for the inbound trip, because the provision of such mobility was rewarded by seeing someone use it.
  by Head-end View
Bell St, when exactly were you there last? I rode to there in 1999, and the station was like in the middle of nowhere, a block from the main road. But they were supposed to build a town center by the station. If you were there more recently, was it being built yet?

  by bellstbarn
Time flies. I was there the last century. Yes, Santee seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but I like the idea of rail transit preceding development, as Queens Blvd in 1922 (the viaduct thru Sunnyside, with empty lots all around).
  by San Diego Transit
San Diego Trolley now has 11 new S70 low-floor cars operating on the Green Line Between Santee and Old Town Station via Mission Valley. The MTS did platform mods at a half dozen or so platforms along the now limited service of the Blue Line between Mission San Diego and Old Town to accomodate ramp angles to the new low floor cars. More about this here.
  by Head-end View
So you're saying that the Mission Valley Extension has opened on schedule and is in operation, correct? :-D
  by San Diego Transit
The Mission Valley East Extension is operational. The new S70 cars are few and far between though even on the weekends. Older equipment is seen more often. The new line is great to ride and if you can get on the S70's they are terrific to railfan on.

Operationally, significant issues are constant with the Green Line terminating at Old Town with a forced transfer to Blue Line service downtown. During special events, service interruptions have been numerous and complaints through the roof. Imagine a three car train of 300 baseball fans being made to transfer to get to the ball game when in the past they were given a one seat ride to the park.
  by Head-end View
Hmmm; must be quite a scene at Old Towne! Any idea why they set it up as 2 separate lines instead of just running the Blue Line all the way east past the stadium?

BTW, can passengers see out the front of the new S70 cars, same as the old model?

  by San Diego Transit
Yes, you can see directly out the front of the new cars while sitting down. The view of the operator is also very good.

The reason for the operational plan, as heard from the street, is that MTS did not want to have to modify so many platforms to reduce the angle for wheelchair passengers boarding the new low-floor cars. Also, they probably did not want to tackle the operational issue of having three separate lines terminating in the downtown area. They may have thought to bring the Blue Line from the South Bay to Old Town as is now the case and then operate some type of loop system downtown with the green and orange lines operating in opposite directions, possibly based on time of day. But what ever the case, I've never heard of a situation like this where the track leads to downtown but the service doesn't.
  by Head-end View
STD: Thanks for the info about the view. I might be taking a trip there next year. RE: having to change trains on the way to Downtown, it's uncommon but NOT unheard of. On New York's Long Island Railroad, depending on which of the many branches you're traveling from or to, you may (or may not) have to change at the Jamaica "hub". Usually it's right across the platform to your connecting train; it's a way of life here. But we have all high platforms so you don't have to climb up/down any steps. :-D

  by kaiserworks
The new green line does run to downtown during special events such as ball games or conventions. One of the reasons that Old Town station's transfer point seems like poor planning is because that point in the line is not complete and will in the next 2-3 years be extended due north along I-5 eventually terminating at UCSD and UTC. How the lines will be ultimately configured will be anyones guess until preliminary engineering surveys of the route are completed. This northbound leg of the SD Trolley will probably be the last extension in the system for the forseeable future.


  by San Diego Transit
What may potentially happen in '06 is that the green line will run from Santee through mission valley and old town to Santa Fe Depot continuing to 12th/ Imperial Station via Convention Center. Orange and Blue will travel From El Cajon and the Border respectively through 12th/imperial, City College and Terminate at America Plaza Station - Stub ending service there as was done back in the day before service to Old Town was constructed.

Don't know how this will play out in conjunction with a circulator service using old Muni PCC's recently trucked down from Northern California earlier this month (December). http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metr ... olley.html

One of the reasons why the greenline wasn't initally operated to downtown was MTS Trolley didn't want to pay to have platform heights increased to meet ADA requirements on the new low-floor cars. As part of the San Diego MTS COA project, Consultants are pushing the issue of Bringing Greenline service to Downtown as indicated in the first paragraph here.

Regarding the previous post about the mid-caost extension to University City and UCSD, it amazes me that they want to create a "button-hook" from UCSD to University Towne Centre (or vice-versa) instead of bringing the line straight through the general area continuing the line north to a large commercial area know as Sorrento Valley/Sorrento Mesa. A button hook would essentially Choke all hopes of extensions further north or east from University City.