New Buses and WES

Ok, so TriMet gets these new buses.  TriMet also gets the WES trains.  During the last 3 months I’ve seen and TriMet has received the following.  They’re shorted train vehicles and the buses are breaking down left and right.  I’ve seen no less than 2 busses on a tractor trailer being hauled off for maintenance.  I’ve also seem no less than 5 of the new buses stopped and being worked on.  I’ve only seen 2 of the old buses broken down lately.  In addition to the busted buses the WES Trains have had weeks of downtime and had to call in bridge buses.  WEEKS!  Not days, but weeks of total downtime so far.

I just wanted to blog this observation real quick and then I’ll be back to something interesting again.  Seriously though, has anyone else noticed this?

The light rail trains, the new ones, do however seem to be holding their own.  I haven’t seen them being towed about yet.  Time will tell, but I sure hope TriMet gets their vehicles fixed up and running well.  At this rate it seems we’ll be out a commuter train and down a few dozen new buses.


  1. Well, I’m not going to repeat the arguments against WES as they have already been stated time and time again.

    I do have a problem with TriMet’s bus purchasing practices. The New Flyers are OK buses and they are popular with other agencies. Frankly I haven’t seen a 2900 break down yet but I’ve been on a few 2800s that have had problems. The bulk of the problems I’ve seen with the New Flyers are in these groups:

    1. Overheating. Yes, Fred’s prized "NASCAR-inspired cooling system" SUCKS when it hits 75 degrees in Portland. How often do you see a New Flyer having to run with its engine compartment door open, and the bus has to sit and cool down for five minutes at every transit center? Now, how often do you see a Gillig or Flxible do the same thing (both types of buses lack the innovative "NASCAR-inspired" cooling system!)???

    To be fair, the new buses have air conditioning – but so do the Gilligs in the 2100 series. And the same exact model of bus (D40LF) are used in virtually EVERY major transit system fleet from Los Angeles (well, they use C40LFs since California has all but banned diesel in transit fleets) to Miami.

    2. Rear Door Interlock. I don’t think this type of problem…when the door closes, the interlock doesn’t disengage…the Operator has to keep opening/closing the door (or sometimes the door opens/closes by itself!) I’ve found (thanks to a young middle school TriMet rider) that if you grab both doors with both hands…and then SLAM it shut (and this requires a lot of force if the door is trying to open itself!) that it’ll usually kick off the interlock – FOR A WHILE. Lately, the Operators are giving up on this because you can only fix it temporarily on the road but the problem will usually happen again…sooner or later.

    Now…regarding the observation of the Type IVs… They’re still in testing. I think there are a couple of cars in revenue service now but they have to put a LOT of miles on them before they can be accepted. Admittedly, LRVs are pretty simple (so are trolleybuses) and can run much longer before servicing. On the other hand, they require a lot more maintenance in terms of the track structure and signal system…the vehicle itself is pretty reliable.


  2. The mechanics aren’t completely trained on the 2900’s hence many of those that break down end up getting hauled back in by tractor trailer.

    Why would they put buses out with out having the proper mechanics to fix them?

    Got me?


  3. Umm, yeah, got me too. I guess they’ll get experience sooner than later at this rate. 🙂

    I wonder what is all that different about them then the old buses? Curiosity from my part, not trying to say/act like they’re the same, I know things seriously change from one model to the next sometimes. At least that is the case with cars. When Nissan released the 350Z initially the in shop mechanics messed up more things than they fixed when the cars came in for oil changes, tire replacements, etc. But go figure, Nissan had not had a sports car in over 5-6 years, so none of the mechanics had experience with the ideals of sports car setups.

    It could be that it has been so long since any new buses have arrived, they’ve gotten used to those "Nascar" system n all. Doh! 😮


  4. "I think there are a couple of cars in revenue service now"

    I know this is an older post but I wanted to comment on this part – no type 4s are in revenue service yet. I also think it’ll be pretty rare to see one towed – it can be done as the cab-ends of those trains were fitted with coupler heads to be able to couple to the existing fleet, but I think that’s there as an "in case we need it" scenario rather than something they’re planning on using a lot.


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