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Railyards West Corridor Elmonica Rail Yard

Trimet Rail Yard benefits from High Mast lighting

Twenty-five When Trimet constructed the new 18-acre maintenance center as part of the West Side Corridor Extension Project, officials were concerned about the facility’s general appearance.

“Trimet officials wanted the public to perceive the area as very neat and well lighted,” explained Rod Roche, electrical project manager, who was with Elcon Associates, Inc. “Security was an issue because of the level of foot traffic at the facility. Officials were also concerned because the perimeter fence extends around only part of the site.”

The Elmonica facility includes a 50,000-square-foot maintenance building that also houses the line’s administrative offices. The rail yard, which is used for storage, is dissected by oval-shaped train tracks that wrap around the building and connect to the main line.

One of the challenges was placing the light poles where they would not interfere with trains entering and leaving the yard. Because of the cars’ dynamic envelope, those moving on the straight tracks and travelling around the curves had to be considered.

The catenary poles, which are the structural steel poles that support the overhead contact wire to provide power distribution to the cars, were another consideration. At some facilities, lighting fixtures are attached to the catenary poles, which limits the locations where the poles can be placed. Because the Elmonica facility did not use joint-use poles for lighting and overhead contact wire support, the lighting poles and the catenary poles could be placed wherever they were needed.

Holophane HMST high mast units with 1,000-watt metal halide lamps are used to illuminate the rail yard. Eight poles were installed, using four fixtures per pole. The poles are 80 feet high, which required a variance from Washington County where the Elmonica facility is located. The county’s lighting code stipulates that poles can be no taller than 40 feet—except for sporting facilities.

“Although Trimet was responsible for applying for the variance, Elcon Associates helped them demonstrate that the higher poles would not result in adverse lighting conditions, including spill light,” explained Roche. “Because of the Holophane fixtures’ photometrics, we were able to prove that we could create a more pleasing environment with fewer poles. Holophane also developed a custom shroud that surrounds the fixtures.

Pole spacing varies since the poles are located where they will not interfere with the movement of the cars. Illumination levels are 1 to 2 footcandles, with the slightly higher levels needed in areas where the cars are cleaned. The Elmonica facility is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The high mast lighting fixtures are triggered at dawn and dusk by a photocell.

“The high mast system gives the impression that the entire facility is well illuminated,” said Roche. “Because of its efficiency, the system enables Trimet to meet the county’s energy code, which allows a maximum number of watts per square foot.”

The high mast units are maintained by lowering the fixture ring to the ground. The luminaires will lower to within three feet of the pole base for inspection and servicing.

Besides the rail yard, Holophane Prismalume® luminaires are installed within the 25,000-square-foot high bay area inside the maintenance building. The fixtures are mounted at 35 to 40 feet on the open joist steel ceiling, which is painted white. The units are remote ballasted due to the live 750-volt DC wire that extends the length of each bay along the ceiling.

The Prismalume units provide 15 percent uplight to illuminate the ceiling. They also supply excellent horizontal illumination to light the sides of the cars.

Illumination levels in the high bay area are 20 to 30 footcandles, with supplemental lighting used on the platforms and in the maintenance pits. All of the fixtures comply with the county’s energy codes.

“We have received many positive comments about the quality of the lighting,” said Roche. “After visiting similar operations, we have concluded that the Elmonica Maintenance and Operations Facility is much better illuminated.”


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