Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Winds make tram riders a bit queasy

...another interesting application where a tilt sensor is utilized...

By RANDY NEVES, Special to
06:13 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The ride up to Marquam Hill has it's built-in adventures. But throw in a gust of wind and riders can get a little queasy. "When you come down your stomach kind of drops," said first-time rider Rachel Butler.

On a day like this it's no problem.

City of Portland

Employees can run the tram cars at full-speed and monitor the on-board tilt meter without concern.

But a couple of weeks ago it was a different story. Cabin attendants say high winds got the best of some riders. "We just usually slow it down and just chug through it if it gets too heavy will put the breaks on."

OHSU tram manager Bill say these tram cars are used in blizzards in the alps. In fact, Portland's tram has sustained head on winds up to 70 miles per hour without flinching.

But if get a side wind from the south, OHSU pays close attention. "We're watching the passengers a little bit more to see how they're taking the ride."

Tram stoppages are rare so far. Out of 17,700 trips so far, the tram has been closed three times. When it does happen, the university fires up the old ground shuttles to take people back and forth.

How often can we expect this? "It's hard to answer. It's like, 'can I predict the weather?' No I can't," said Mike Commissaris.

Tram builders say it's a wait-and-see situation as passengers build up their own wind resistance.

...even still, nice to know they are monitoring the situation! Skip

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