×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.
3

KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

(OP)
From KIRO Seattle, MyNorthWest staff writers
https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/new-seattle-stree...

Quote (Jenny Durkin)

Mayor Jenny Durkan first hinted that the new streetcar sizes were a problem earlier in July, telling KUOW: “…one of the things we know is that the new streetcars, as designed, are longer than the current ones we have, and heavier,” Durkan said. “They won’t fit in the maintenance barns, for example, we are not sure if they will fit on the gauge of rail that’s there.”

The city has asked the independent auditor to go back for additional assessments. It aims to determine if the old streetcar system can work with the new one that Seattle has partially bought into, and almost constructed. For example: Can a larger, heavier streetcar line up with existing stations designed for smaller vehicles? Or, can the older, lighter cars work on the new tracks?

The mayor is also asking if the city can retrofit the old tracks for the new streetcars.
Seattle streetcars

The city warns that there may be additional capital shortfalls to complete the streetcar connector. Mayor Durkan’s office notes that the first analysis from KPMG was more in depth than expected and raised more questions than answers. For example, it has also been discovered that the streetcar lines are more expensive to operate than previously expected. Seattle’s 2017 streetcar budget was $500,000 short, primarily due to the South Lake Union line.

The auditor is now developing an updated assessment on the Seattle streetcar system. That report will address:

Capital costs of building the streetcar connector.
Cost of delaying construction until sometime in the future.
Can the larger streetcars fit into Seattle’s existing maintenance barns?
Current and forecasted operations and maintenance costs for South Lake Union, First Hill, and the city connector streetcar lines.
Current streetcar ridership numbers, and projected ridership estimates for existing and proposed lines.
Answer the question: Will there be more budget shortfalls given updated O&M costs, and ridership updates?

In tandem with the streetcar construction project, the city intended to complete utility work along the route. It still plans to complete some of that work despite the issues with the streetcar. A water main will be replaced along the southern portion of First Avenue.

© 2018 Cox Media Group.

One. It appears that the KPMG "marketing group" is selling the old adage: "More studies are needed" as the first line of the first report.

Two. If these questions (compatibility of the new light rail cars on the old rail lines, length of the maintenance building, compatibility of running old cars on the new connecting rails between the two original lines, cost and rate of return of the new project against the number of riders and price per ride) then the entire political justification of the entire project MUST be criticized strongly. And probably condemned from the first proposal at the first political meeting.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Maybe I missed it, but why would streetcar company specify anything other than standard gage track and cars?

Then again maybe they are talking about over all width of the cars and spacing to objects and station equipment.

Next question: Who got paid off?

Another question: Why can't the existing cars be used until this can be worked out?

I would not do another study, I would hire more lawyers.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

That 'more studies are needed' makes me think of House of Lies; the whole point is to generate ongoing business.

Surely the question of whether the gauge is correct (I really wonder if they mean 'gauge', or if they're referring to how heavy the rails are, ie, capacity), and the physical size / length / width vs stations and buildings could be answered by about 99% of the people on this forum after about three days of driving around with a measuring tape.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Quote (cranky108)

Next question: Who got paid off?

C'mon, cranky. You know the answer to that.

My city has been talking streetcars for years. Of course, they were all removed in the early 1900s to make room for cars and buses (which nobody rides). I'm sure there will be some similar debacle here should the project ever move forward.

Brad

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

A little perspective is needed. Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Mayor Jenny has ensured that future projects will be far more costly.

But, it’s never about the money. Projects like the SR-99 tunnel and the new international facility at Sea-Tac Airport are not held to the same level of scrutiny as public transit projects. The projected cost overruns on the SR-99 tunnel project are nearly as much as the Center City Connector’s entire construction budget.

The South Lake Union Streetcar is just a 1.3-mile-long (2.1 km), seven-stop line serving the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.

Number of vehicles:
3 Inekon 12-Trio vehicles
1 Inekon Trio Type 121

The First Hill Streetcar is just a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km), 10-stop line that connects Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill via Chinatown, Little Saigon, Yesler Terrace, and First Hill.

Number of vehicles:
6 Inekon Trio Type 121

The Center City Connector project would connect the existing South Lake Union Streetcar at Westlake to the First Hill Streetcar with new tracks along 1st Avenue and Stewart Street in Downtown Seattle. The project is expected to greatly increase ridership on the Seattle Streetcar Network to 20,000–24,000 riders per day (compared to about 5,000 today).

The city hired auditor KPMG to assess the construction project and the final report from KPMG is expected in August. In March 2018, Mayor Jenny ordered an investigation of the project and a construction halt for the duration of the review in the wake of rising capital costs that were estimated to leave a $23 million shortfall in an overall $200 million budget for building the line.

Construction cost estimates for the Center City Connector project have increased 13% in this long-planned project. Tens of millions of dollars in the project are for utility improvements that would have had to happen anyway, but when attributed to the streetcar make the streetcar look more expensive.

With the limited scope of the existing light rail system, there may be a problem, but it can't be insurmountable.

Apparently, Mayor Jenny doesn't want the project for ideological reasons and is making a kerfuffle over it.

For people with great interest in streetcars, visit the online cam:

Mazací tramvaj jede

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

And yet the companies keep getting away with handing over dogs with fleas, and the politicians' feet aren't held to the fire for the eventual boondoggle. Life as usual...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Quote (racookpe1978)


...

One. It appears that the KPMG "marketing group" is selling the old adage: "More studies are needed" as the first line of the first report.

KPMG is an accounting firm. Track gauges and capacity are outside their area of expertise. I would think that the further studies would be by someone else.

--
JHG

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Someone else subcontracted to KPMG, in all likelihood.

It has House of Lies all over it. Where's Kristen Bell when you need her?

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

This story seems to be more about the new Mayor ((elected Nov 2017) learning on the job than anything else.

This project was approved in 2017 by the City Council, with construction starting in 2018. Now, in mid-2018, the Mayor orders a comprehensive review of the entire project.

This makes no sense because to get a project like this to approved for construction, the project financing would have been already arranged, the DOT and other agencies would have to have signed off on the project, etc., etc. Any project delays will only add to the project cost. Meanwhile, some infrastructure work (watermain work) on the project continues which also makes no sense because if the project scope changes or is cancelled, who is going to pay for the infrastructure work? On government funded capital projects, the government agency responsible for a project is not allowed to move funding from one project to another. Funds are allocated for specific projects.

"Following this preliminary review, Mayor Durkan directed an independent financial analysis (KPMG) to ensure the City and taxpayers know the full costs of both building and operating this large capital project and the overall streetcar system."

Mayor Jenny Durkan's Update





RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

When they talk about modifying the gauge of the tracks, I would hope they're talking about changing the size or capacity of the rails themselves and aren't actually stupid enough to consider modifying the spacing of the tracks to accommodate the new cars, rather than modifying the cars to fit the spacing of the existing rails. With politicians running the show, anything's possible, though.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

I don't really believe this whole situation should qualify as an engineering failure, but rather just another example of a publicly financed white elephant boondoggle project.

Brad

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

It is an engineering failure, since survivability and trafficability analyses are all part of a normal engineering development process.
Survivability -- will the product survive and be safe to the users/occupants in the intended environment
Trafficability -- can the vehicle travel correctly and safely in the intended environment

The difficulty arises in the definition of "intended environment," since many things work exceedingly well in limited environments and do horribly outside of those environments. The definition is often up to the customer, who may have political/external constraints on the definition.

We once had to declare a light source as a "consumable," since it was impossible to meet the program requirements for reliability with the standard source.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

3
The spec clearly shows 1435mm (4ft8.5in) as the track gauge for the new streetcars.

Rereading what the mayor said, I believe she was referring to whether or not the existing rails were strong enough for the heavier cars, and chose the words poorly. Or, it could refer to the height and width of the cars, which is referred to as the loading gauge.

Put some politicians and some accountants together, discussing an engineering issue, and you're guaranteed to end up confused.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Quote (TenPenny (Mechanical) )

Put some politicians and some accountants together, discussing an engineering issue, and you're guaranteed to end up confused.

Exactly, the Mayor was previously employed as the prosecutor and knows very little as to how government projects are conducted.

Until the Mayor's independent report comes back, keep an eye on the streetcar.

Mazací tramvaj jede

The new Seattle Streetcars were procured in Czech Republic where this track oiler operates.



Quote (TenPenny (Mechanical) )

The spec clearly shows 1435mm (4ft8.5in) as the track gauge for the new streetcars.

The track gauge for all three (3) streetcar routes is identical and most likely will not be an issue, but the bigger problem is that the larger rail cars have a larger dynamic envelope. Dynamic Envelope — the clearance required for light rail transit traffic or a train and its cargo overhang due to any combination of loading, lateral motion, or suspension failure.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Pretty sure the issues are as bimr noted - cornering/clearance for the planned new route, and fit of the newer longer cars in the old streetcar maintenance barns. It's also political as all get out, there is are all kinds of transportation "factions" in Seattle. Light rail, heavy rail, streetcars, monorail, buses, trolleys (buses with overhead electric power feed), cars, and bikes. Oh and ferry boats. The whole thing is a bit of a cluster.

The big issue right now for the streetcar is that it runs at a hefty loss (rider fares don't cover costs), and requires taxpayer funding to keep it running...but they asked for and got (under previous administration) funding to expand. Streetcars take up space that would probably be better served by buses/trolleys, and have been involved in numerous pedestrian and automobile accidents. Talk about betting on a losing horse. But then, I'm not in the streetcar faction...

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

It really dos not take much to irritate the public with mass transportation projects that require much land use.

But like here, where the city is removing turn lanes for bike lanes, it is irritating to have to wait behind someone needing to turn. It's also irritating that the traffic laws don't seem to apply to the bike riders.

Where the mass transportation dos not take up much space, like buses, or trolleys in the street, there is much less public irritation.

What we see here is in increasing number of bike/car accidents which I attribute to the lack of traffic laws being enforced on bike riders.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

It seems really foolish to specify a new streetcar that wasn't the same as existing. If there were variations, any changes should be closely examined.

It's an engineering problem, not a KPMG problem.

Dik

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Is it possible that the old streetcars were so old that they were the ones which were no longer of 'standard' length, but the new ones are? If they had tried to replace the existing streetcars with ones of the same size, it might have meant having them custom built, which could have increased the cost significantly.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Quote:

Is it possible that the old streetcars were so old that they were the ones which were no longer of 'standard' length, but the new ones are? If they had tried to replace the existing streetcars with ones of the same size, it might have meant having them custom built, which could have increased the cost significantly.

The ten (10) "old steetcars" were recently procured and are basically new. The existing streetcar system is also new.

Quote:

It's an engineering problem, not a KPMG problem.

"Following this preliminary review, Mayor Durkan directed an independent financial analysis (KPMG) to ensure the City and taxpayers know the full costs of both building and operating this large capital project and the overall streetcar system."

Link to Mayor Jenny Durkan's Update

Doesn't anybody bother to read the links?

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

Thanks bimr... did a couple of times... it's still an engineering problem, and not a KPMG one... you have to determine what you need first, and, then determine the costs.

Dik

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

I still believe there is a distinction here; whether this situation is the result of
1)- An engineering oversight.
2)- A lack of engineering oversight.
I think #2 is more applicable.

Brad

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

RE: KPMG Audit: New Seattle Street Cars and Connecting Rails May Not Fit Existing LightRail Lines.

thebard3: I think you're correct... else, they need a bunch of new engineers.

Dik

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close