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IAlam

How long can trolley buses go w/o power

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So I saw this video of trolley buses in SF and the buses had to take a detour due to construction and the buses need to be detached from the overhead wires. How long can the buses go before they need to be hooked on the wires again. 
 
https://youtu.be/grlD-zdDolo?t=16m45s
 

Edited by IAlam

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They also have small backup engines (or battery drive systems, depends on who spec'd them). They can run off the wire for quite a while, but not as a primary mode of moving.

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They also have small backup engines (or battery drive systems, depends on who spec'd them). They can run off the wire for quite a while, but not as a primary mode of moving.

Ah makes sense, maybe there not as unreliable as I originally thought 

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Well, actually they're a back-up, they're not meant to be used too much.  In the long-term it's actually an inefficient setup as the immediate benefits of driving around detours are eventually negated by the need to maintain a more complex setup than if the motors were wired directly to the single (traditional) power source.  There's places in Europe I saw where the older, conventional trolleybuses were replaced with new ones that had a diesel-generator backup; kinda defeats the whole purpose of having an electric bus in the first place...

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Well, actually they're a back-up, they're not meant to be used too much.  In the long-term it's actually an inefficient setup as the immediate benefits of driving around detours are eventually negated by the need to maintain a more complex setup than if the motors were wired directly to the single (traditional) power source.  There's places in Europe I saw where the older, conventional trolleybuses were replaced with new ones that had a diesel-generator backup; kinda defeats the whole purpose of having an electric bus in the first place...

 

Inefficient is in the eyes of the beholder. If your bus doesn't have batteries, then you're SOL if road construction or something is going on; in Seattle for detours they replace their trolleybuses with diesel buses because they don't have batteries. It costs more to have enough spare diesels on hand for these scenarios than to just have one bus that does the job.

 

As battery technology improves trolleybuses will probably be phased out. We already have long routes of caternary free trams as it is.

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Inefficient is in the eyes of the beholder. If your bus doesn't have batteries, then you're SOL if road construction or something is going on; in Seattle for detours they replace their trolleybuses with diesel buses because they don't have batteries. It costs more to have enough spare diesels on hand for these scenarios than to just have one bus that does the job.

 

As battery technology improves trolleybuses will probably be phased out. We already have long routes of caternary free trams as it is.

Bingo

 

Let's take SEPTA for example:

 

Their old AM General trackless trolley buses were only powered by the wire. If there was an immediate detour or whatnot, the buses were left stranded with no other way around it.

 

Fast forward to their current E40LFRs:

 

In addition to the wires as a means of moving, they also come with a small Cummins QSB engine that powers the generator, so if there was an impromptu detour, they can just lower the wires, hit the EPU (Emergency Power Unit) button, and the engine kicks in. The engine also kicks in automatically whenever the buses come unexpectedly off the wire.

Edited by Turtle
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Inefficient is in the eyes of the beholder. If your bus doesn't have batteries, then you're SOL if road construction or something is going on; in Seattle for detours they replace their trolleybuses with diesel buses because they don't have batteries. It costs more to have enough spare diesels on hand for these scenarios than to just have one bus that does the job.

 

As battery technology improves trolleybuses will probably be phased out. We already have long routes of caternary free trams as it is.

Not anymore.

 

They got these, with the entire fleet almost here(I shot these last summer).

 

 

During the weekends, all trolleybuses are replaced by diesel/hybrid buses. I'm not sure if they still do that now since these basically retired the Breda and Gillig trolleybuses, so it gives them more flexibility. These new Xcelsiors can go offwire for quite a few blocks, they have enough power to navigate through a lengthy detour, but not a major one. This detour I shot in this video was because of the President of China visiting the Boeing facilities around Washington State, so it went up this street for like 4-5 blocks before returning to its regular route and being reconnected to the wires.

 

Below is the 40ft Xcelsior trolley spec sheet. Unfortunately, it does not list the distance it can go off-wire.

 

15550462457_9a77fca9cb_o_d.jpg

Edited by Cait Sith

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Not anymore.

 

They got these, with the entire fleet almost here(I shot these last summer).

 

 

During the weekends, all trolleybuses are replaced by diesel/hybrid buses. I'm not sure if they still do that now since these basically retired the Breda and Gillig trolleybuses, so it gives them more flexibility. These new Xcelsiors can go offwire for quite a few blocks, they have enough power to navigate through a lengthy detour, but not a major one. This detour I shot in this video was because of the President of China visiting the Boeing facilities around Washington State, so it went up this street for like 4-5 blocks before returning to its regular route and being reconnected to the wires.

 

Below is the 40ft Xcelsior trolley spec sheet. Unfortunately, it does not list the distance it can go off-wire.

 

 

 

From the three months I was there over the summer, the Bredas and Gilligs are far from gone (in fact, I would say I saw and rode them more than I saw the Xcelsiors, which sucks because the older buses don't have GPS or air conditioning). In general the diesel buses get pulled out on weekends, but that's because the weekends are when all the road construction happens, which can be quite irritating; when they closed the University Bridge, all the buses using it made detours of a couple miles in length.

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From the three months I was there over the summer, the Bredas and Gilligs are far from gone (in fact, I would say I saw and rode them more than I saw the Xcelsiors, which sucks because the older buses don't have GPS or air conditioning). In general the diesel buses get pulled out on weekends, but that's because the weekends are when all the road construction happens, which can be quite irritating; when they closed the University Bridge, all the buses using it made detours of a couple miles in length.

 

It surprised the hell outta me when I found out from my friends at King County Metro that only 2 Bredas remain. I think the Gilligs almost gone entirely.

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Not anymore.

 

They got these, with the entire fleet almost here(I shot these last summer).

 

During the weekends, all trolleybuses are replaced by diesel/hybrid buses. I'm not sure if they still do that now since these basically retired the Breda and Gillig trolleybuses, so it gives them more flexibility. These new Xcelsiors can go offwire for quite a few blocks, they have enough power to navigate through a lengthy detour, but not a major one. This detour I shot in this video was because of the President of China visiting the Boeing facilities around Washington State, so it went up this street for like 4-5 blocks before returning to its regular route and being reconnected to the wires.

 

Below is the 40ft Xcelsior trolley spec sheet. Unfortunately, it does not list the distance it can go off-wire.

Anyway wouldn't most detours take place during Weekends, where they would have more diesel available anyway.  

 

Weekday detours seem to much more rare as compared to Weekend detours. 

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Anyway wouldn't most detours take place during Weekends, where they would have more diesel available anyway.

 

Weekday detours seem to much more rare as compared to Weekend detours.

Out there, it depends. They often have construction detours that go into effect during the weekdays as well as weekends.

 

Sent from my HTC 10 using Tapatalk

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The New Flyers can go 5+ miles on battery (Paragon-made lithium iron-phosphate). Some drivers just push the button to auto pull-down the poles when de-wiring and go on battery to next stop (or to last stop) before manually putting poles back up. The new trolleys are excellent. They still don't use them on the weekend because there's lots of construction (hi-rises and such) that requires the overhead to be shut down. All the XT60s are delivered and Bredas should be retiring by month's end. Still some XT40s left to deliver, so Gilligs probably got a month or two left.

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It surprised the hell outta me when I found out from my friends at King County Metro that only 2 Bredas remain. I think the Gilligs almost gone entirely.

 

I must've been just SOL then (don't get me wrong, they're decent buses, but no AC in the summer is killer.)

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