Template talk:USLightRail

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Any particular reason that the San Diego Sprinter isn't on this template? I realize that it's an edge case, but the NJ River Line is the same sort of edge case and it's here. --Jfruh (talk) 19:51, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

None in particular. Feel free to add it. --Strannik (talk) 13:00, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
To the contrary, there is a reason. From the publications that I read on rail transit, the Sprinter is not widely considered to be light rail, and therefore many people would argue that it does not belong in this template. Like the Camden line (NJ Transit River Line), the Sprinter is sort of a hybrid halfway between light rail and commuter rail, so it does not clearly fit either mode's definition. The international Light Rail Transit Association (which publishes Tramways & Urban Transit magazine) maintains a worldwide list of light rail systems on its website, and I note the that list currently includes the Camden line (as "diesel light rail") but does not include the San Diego Sprinter. I don't know enough about the differences between the two systems to be able to tell you why, but I figured it was worth pointing out here. In any case, it is inaccurate to say there is "no particular reason" for excluding the Sprinter from this template. Some people don't consider it to be light rail. SJ Morg (talk) 14:26, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
Like I said, I realize it's an edge case. However, it's so similar to the River Line that it seems wrong to include one and not the other. For what it's worth, the American Public Transit Association, a US transit trade group that we use as a reliable source for lots of transit-related stuff (it's where the numbers come from for the List of United States light rail systems by ridership and the like) classifies both the Sprinter as light rail; since its their numbers we use to determine which systems go on which list, it seems reasonable to use their scheme for these templates as well. (As a side note, APTA also classifies the Capitol Metro Rail in Austin, which is a very similar system in terms of trains and track, as commuter rail. I'm assuming the difference is that Sprinter and River Line have relatively frequent (half-hour) headways whereas as the Capitol Metro Rail has headways of an hour or more during off-peak times.) --Jfruh (talk) 22:19, 26 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm also not sure on the inclusion of the Sprinter in light rail. From the article it seems to be classified as light rail in a more traditional and legal sense, like many smaller railway lines were called "tramways" in Australia (and probably in other countries), but no one would think of them as trams/streetcars.
The line ticks all the boxes of a traditional railway line, and none of a light rail system, the vehicles are railway, no where else are they used on a light rail, or system called a light rail, it's all heavy rail, and the rails them selves are heavy rail freight tracks. Similar systems around the world are called metros or rapid transit, see Line 1 (Budapest Metro). But the simplest test I think is, would you expect it do run down the median strip (I think in America it may be called neutral ground) of a busy city street, or through a pedestrian mall, and have people get on and off without platforms at street level. This is to me the essence of a light rail system, aspects of both streetcars and metro, and the Sprinter just seems to be far to much a metro system than a light rail. The closest would be Tram-train, but without street running it just seems a little to far for that as well. It would best be thought of as a interurban, like the South Shore Line (NICTD), but I'm a little unsure how to classify both of these, maybe Medium-capacity rail transport system is the best description. Liamdavies (talk) 04:36, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Tourist line inclusion[edit]

I guess my real question is why are they included? Non-full-time tourist operations seem outside the purpose of this navbox, which is meant to link similar systems from around the country, for comparative purposes. Heritage streetcars aren't in that same category of comparison. It's similar to the omission of tourist trains from the Template:USCommRail. Indeed, these heritage streetcars have far more in common with such tourist trains than full-forged modern (or modernized) systems.oknazevad (talk) 01:31, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

There are people (mainly railfans) who are interested in all streetcar operations – real streetcars, as opposed to the fake streetcars that can now be found in virtually every medium-sized or larger city in the U.S. – whether tourist-oriented or not, so there is some value in having these in one navbox. Those listed here are all located in cities, not in rural areas as most museum operations are, another attribute they share with the full-time, transit-type streetcar (and light rail) operations. Some of them do provide a transit-type service (actually carrying people between destinations), not just excursion-type rides, on the days they operate (the Astoria Riverfront Trolley is an example where I've observed this for myself; the line has numerous marked stops, like a bus line), so it can be difficult to draw a hard line distinguishing them. The italicized note is an attempt at such a delineation, but not everyone will agree on which systems to include in which group. Distinguishing light rail systems from streetcar systems is even more difficult – especially when the U.S. now has new streetcar systems using modern, low-floor vehicles (just two systems so far, as of 2012, but four more are under construction), so making a separate navbox just for streetcar systems would be impractical; some people would argue endlessly about whether Toronto and San Francisco should be listed, for example. Anyway, I do see value in including all the urban heritage streetcar lines, as there really are relatively very few of these, whereas trolley-replica buses are everywhere, probably operating in 200 or more U.S. cities (sigh). SJ Morg (talk) 11:56, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Adding city names[edit]

Hi all, Would anyone have a problem if I went through and added city names to this template (also grouping systems that run in one city together Portland comes to mind with this one)? Liamdavies (talk) 13:53, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure. Depending on how it was handled, it could be an improvement, but I'm concerned that it might make an already-large navbox too large. Also, why did you mention Portland as an example? The three Portland systems/operations are already grouped together, and "Portland" is part of the names of two of them, so should not be removed via link-piping. SJ Morg (talk) 08:06, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I was thinking that it could be the city followed by the system in brackets, like how MUNI is set up. I picked on Portland because it has two networks, MAX Light Rail and Portland Streetcar, I was mulling over how it would work like this:
Portland (MAX Light Rail . Portland Streetcar)
I was also thinking that "MUNI" could be expanded to "San Francisco MUNI" and "Metro Rail" to "Los Angeles Metro Rail" etc so that you can see what city it runs in without having to know before hand. Just a thought to help the interpretation of the template. I agree that it's already quite large, and ideally not to much more should go in, but this is the problem with having a country of 300million people spread over 50 states. If done well however it may not expand the amount of screen space taken up by the template that much. Liamdavies (talk) 11:08, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I suggest you wait a few days before spending your time, to give others who might not have this page watchlisted (or don't check their watchlists daily) time to learn of this idea and comment, to reduce the risk that someone might strongly disagree and decide to undo your work. However, you are not obliged to wait, and as for me, I say go ahead and give it a try, as I do believe it could be an improvement. However, I feel that the city names should not be linked, and also "MUNI" should be changed to "Muni", because it's not an acronym and also per WP:ALLCAPS and WP:MOSTM. SJ Morg (talk) 12:12, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, I try to wait a few days before making a change, unless I get some supportive comments quickly. I'd be bolder if I knew more about the subject, or edited in the area a lot (in this context North American systems). I'm a downunder tram enthusiast and feel it better to talk with my American kindred before stepping on toes. I wasn't planning on wikilinking the city name, that would be confusing and overlinking in my mind. I might change one or two and see if there are any objections. Thanks for the constructive input, if I get some local terms wrong please correct them (I'm still struggling with calling trams streetcars! Among a few American nomenclatures). Liamdavies (talk) 14:37, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I think it's a pretty good idea, and like the proposed look. I wonder about New Jersey's River Line, because of its similarities to an old interurban. Concievably the endpoints of Trenton and Camden would make sense, but that might be a bit long. Also in NJ, I think "Hudson County" should be listed for the HBLR, not any one o the particular cities it passes through. But overall, I like the idea. oknazevad (talk) 15:13, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I've made a few changes to show what I'm thinking (I hope the ones I made are right). But as you say some are much less straight forward than others. The ones I have questions about are:
  • SEPTA, would it be fair to say that this was Philadelphia (I'm not sure of the extent of the network)?
  • The "River Line (New Jersey Transit)" as oknazevad points out, this is difficult to put a city on, I may leave this in the too hard basket for people more familiar to figure out.
  • TRAX (light rail)/UTA TRAX, is this Salt Lake City? And if so should it be called "Salt Lake City TRAX" or "Salt Lake City light rail"?
I'm also wondering if Portland can be simplified to "Portland (Light Rail * Streetcar * Vintage Trolley)" or would that loose to much meaning? I'm also curious as to whether River Rail Streetcar and TECO Line Streetcar System are best categorised in italics, are they tourist/heritage routes or commuter routes? Thanks for bearing with me. Liamdavies (talk) 15:35, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Some answers: Yes, SEPTA is Philly and its suburbs. So it's a safe label. Likewise with TRAX being Salt Lake City. I wouldn't remove the names of the agencies/systems outright, though, as they are well known and used in the areas; I'd add the city names, but not remove the system names. So I wouldn't go with "Salt Lake City light rail"; it's too generic and the system has a proper name in "TRAX". Likewise SEPTA and MBTA shouldn't be removed. Not should "MAX" from portland's main system; people actually call it by that name. As for the Tampa and Savannah questions, depends on their operational frequency, I guess. oknazevad (talk)
Thanks for the answers and changes, the template now looks clearer in my eyes. Liamdavies (talk) 04:14, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I think it looks pretty good with the changes. I added labels for Denver, Minneapolis and Charlotte, as all three of those have more than one system/line listed (so, this change also grouped them). However, a remaining issue that I see is that there is still no city identified for the heritage streetcar lines in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tampa, Florida, and in these cases I dislike the idea of just adding the city within the wikilink of their name. It would make it look as though they had five-word names, but for that very reason (people find five-word names inconvenient) I think hardly ever does anyone refer to, say, the "Little Rock River Rail Streetcar", all in one like that. I'd like to add city names unlinked, but that would cause the name of the system to be placed in parentheses, which seems unnecessary when there is just one system in that city. Is there a way around that? If not, we should probably still add those two city names for consistency, but does anyone else have a preference for which of the two ways I just mentioned to use in handling these? In addition to those two, we still have no geographical reference (below state level) for the Waterfront Red Car and River Line. The first is in Los Angeles, but is not part of LA Metro Rail. The second is listed by the Light Rail Transit Association and Jane's Urban Transport Systems (in their worldwide lists of LRT and tram/streetcar systems) as Camden–Trenton, and maybe we should use that. SJ Morg (talk) 09:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I've had a play around. LA now has everything in one set of brackets. Little Rock, Tampa and Savannah show three different ways of dealing with the same issue. We could probably make "River Line" either "River Line (Camden–Trenton)" or "Camden–Trenton River Line". Liamdavies (talk) 10:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I've altered Savannah to match Tampa. This leaves Little Rock in a style slightly inconsistent, but personally I still prefer it the way you last left it (city name in parentheses after system name), so I'm leaving that way for now. Actually, I think I like that style best for the New Jersey "River Line" also, so I've now used it there, and Little Rock's treatment here is no longer unique. I doubt many other people interested in this template care about these small "consistency" issues the way I do, so I think I'm going to stop here and move on. If someone else wants to change some, they still can, of course. SJ Morg (talk) 11:20, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, looks good and much easier to scan, it is good working with both of you! I have to say it's a pleasure collaborating with North American railfans (it can be a little lonely editing in the Melbourne trams sphere). Would someone mind having a look at what I said about the "Sprinter" service, further up this page? Liamdavies (talk) 15:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Detroit People Mover[edit]

I know it's not often seen this way, but the Detroit People Mover is, indeed, a light rail line that just so happens to be elevated. Just because it's a specialized version of a light rail doesn't make it something else. So, it should probably be added to the template. --Criticalthinker (talk) 03:54, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

For what it's worth, WIkipedia usually breaks down US rail transit systems based on the scheme used by the American Public Transportation Association -- latest version is here -- which doesn't put the DPM under heavy or light rail -- I believe they have a separate People Mover classification for it, which is why we put it on the people mover template.
But the idea that there are hard-and-fast divisions between light and heavy rail is untrue, else we wouldn't be arguing about them. But I think it's worth pointing out that the People Mover is the same tech as two of the lines of the Vancouver Skytrain, which is listed on the Canadian template as a metro, not light rail. The People mover is completely grade separated and uses third-rail-esque technology, so I'm not sure how you're defining it as light rail. --Jfruh (talk) 12:08, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, I'm not deadset either way on this; I just thought I'd add another opinion. Still, I'm surprised it was put on the North American airport people movers template, as the Detroit People Mover has nothing to do with the airport. Detroit's airport has its own people mover, the ExpressTram, which is a totally different technology (rides on air). The Detroit People Mover rides on wheels on a dual-rail track. The third rail electrifcation is used for obvious reasons, but I'm not sure how that makes it less of a light rail. Anyway, just thought I'd add another option on this. No big deal. --Criticalthinker (talk) 06:19, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
As Jfruh wrote, there's no clear division between light rail and heavy rail (or between streetcars/tramways and light rail, for that matter), and there will always be some arguing about that (even among well-informed, "reasonable" people!), but as far as I've seen, light rail and people movers are always identified separately, and I haven't seen anyone referring to people movers as being a form of light rail. They have separate articles on Wikipedia, and neither of the articles treats one as a subtype of the other. "Light rail" has a fairly broad definition, but it's not that broad. SJ Morg (talk) 11:01, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, "People Movers" doesn't just apply to airport systems. You'll note that the Miaim Metromover, Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit, Las Vegas Monorail, JTA Skyway, Las Colinas APT System, and Seattle Center Monorail are all on the list. --Jfruh (talk) 14:29, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that people movers don't belong in this template, that's why we have Template:USpplmver, which includes the Detroit people mover. Speaking of the broadness of the term light rail, I don't think that the San Diego Sprinter belongs in this template either (but that's hardly a fight I could be bothered engaging in). Liamdavies (talk) 15:09, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Columns and whitespace[edit]

@Oknazevad and Lost on Belmont: we seem to be seeing different things with this template due to varying display widths. I'm on a 1368-pixel display and have about half a line's worth of whitespace on the right hand side; Oknazevad, I believed you're seeing a lot more. What's the best way so fix this so it displays well for everyone? Pi.1415926535 (talk) 00:38, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Not sure, honestly. I'm looking at it on an iPhone, and it creates a large enough whitespace that the bottom of the group for Washington state is even with the middle of Minnesota. Whereas, if the group for St Louis Metrolink is moved to the right column, all I see is a thin sliver of white on the bottom of the left column, easily overlooked. How to resolve that, I don't know. Obviously it's a difference in rendering based on screen resolution. Hm, anyone else have any ideas? oknazevad (talk) 00:44, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
I believe I have a similar screen size as Pi.1415926535 and I'm seeing the same thing. I also checked on my phone. On my iPhone 5S the "old" and "new" versions look virtually identical (about one whole line of white space) except that the white space is on one side or the other depending on version. Lost on  Belmont 3200N1000W  (talk) 01:17, 12 May 2016 (UTC)