PESO - Queen at Shaw
pentaxian at mac.com
Mon Oct 12 18:16:44 EDT 2009
On Oct 12, 2009, at 13:55 , Eactivist at aol.com wrote:
> knarftheriault at gmail.com writes:
> Scroll down and click on the photo to enlarge.
> Seems to be enjoying his streetcar (what we in Toronto call trolleys
> or trams) with dad:
> Hope you enjoy. Comments always welcome.
I was going to chide you about the Toronto use of the words trolley or
tram for a streetcar. But I tried looking up the definitions for
streetcar, trolley, light rail, subway, tram, etc, and found that
diff. areas of the world use diff. terminologies.
As I drove "Trolleys" here in Seattle for 6 years, as well as busses.
and I never took the tests to drive our "Streetcars" or "Light Rail",
I thought I knew my business.
To us professionals, ahem, a Streetcar is a fairly slow electric
single unit railed car that is powered by a single overhead pole/wire,
being grounded by the wheels/tracks, and usually mixes with auto
A Trolley is a rubber tired electrified bus that has two overhead
poles/wires to provide motive power.
Light Rail is a higher speed single wire/pantograph wheel/track
electric powered multi-car unit that runs on dedicated track that only
mixes with traffic (in Seattle) once it gets downtown. In many places
it runs all around the downtown area (But not in Seattle, where they
go into a tunnel shared with hybrid articulated buses that only use
battery power in the tunnel). If it connects two named towns, or a
suburb to a city, it is an Interurban, and usually is a bit faster
with fewer stops.
What I grew up with was the Boston "MTA" as it was called by we
Bostonians and the Kingston Trio, but somehow New York City took that
name and forced us to call our MTA the "MBTA". Quite the bother. I bet
if we had taken the Yankees more often in the series, that never would
have happened. I have no idea what the MTA was called other than that,
because it was inter-urban, ground level, elevated, and subway, all in
one, just like the New York system, which they call a subway, even
though it is also all three. So is Metro in Washington, and BART in
San Francisco. I guess they can be called "transportation systems".
Heavy rail is usually intercity, dedicated tracks, high speed, no
traffic interference, fewer stops, self powered, like the Long Island
Railroad. Commuter Rail. (Just like the MTA and the MBTA, Metro and
A Tram is a usually a large gondola car hanging from and moved by
wires to which it is fastened either permanently or by grippers to
transport users over any ground level obstacles. It can also be a
railcar that is fashioned to climb a very steep mountain or hill, some
powered by their own motive power and a counterweight, some by cable
drive powered at the top or bottom of the run.
A Cable car is a single unit streetcar powered by an under-street
cable that it grips onto like the San Francisco treat, and runs on
tracks in traffic.
A Gondola as I knew it from my youth was a two to four person enclosed
hanging car on a cable that went over towers that scared the heck out
of you that you and your skis were packed into that took you to the
top of the mountain so you could ski down. And a ride at Disney World
and Vancouver B.C..
But what I found out is that the names of these conveyances depended
whether the predominant population of the cities these things were
built in were German (US northwest) or British or French. And most
importantly, whatever the builders or owners or the general public
desired to call them.
So I'll let your names stand. :-)
pentaxian at mac.com
“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug a camera.”
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