The OHSU Portland Aerial Tramway

Don’t miss our September meeting and discussion on “The OHSU Portland Aerial Tramway – how it works including; tram cabin support and movement, drives, communications, brakes, auxiliary power, safety systems and controls”. Please send your response and whether or not you can make it to the dinner, presentation, or both. We look forward to seeing you. We’ll be touring the facility next month on Wednesday, October 17th so don’t miss your opportunity to learn about the tramway before we go on the tour. Please note that we are meeting at the Old Spaghetti Factory (near the bottom of the tramway off Macadam) for this September meeting.

2007-2008 IAS Officers
Chairman                       Joe Blaumer, Georgia-Pacific
Vice-Chairman              John Briggs, Georgia-Pacific
Treasurer                        OPEN
Program Chairman        Bill Stoick, Eaton Electrical
Membership                   Richard Palmer, Jacobs Engineering

September 2007 IAS Meeting
“The Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Portland Aerial Tramway – how it works including; support
and travel, drives, communications, brakes, auxiliary power, safety systems and controls”.
Presenter:      Mike Commissaris
                        Portland Area Tram General Manager
                        Doppelmayr CTEC
                        Portland, OR
Time:              Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
                        6:00pm social 1/2 hour, 6:30pm dinner, meeting starts at 7:30pm and
                        speaker presentation starts thereafter
Cost:                   $22.00 for dinner. No charge for presentation only.
Place:                  The Old Spaghetti Factory
                        715 SW Bancroft St. (Bancroft St. (east of Macadam) is under construction –
                        allow extra time to drive around and follow the detour)
                        Portland, OR  97239
Reservations:           For dinner reservations please confirm your attendance  so we can get an accurate count for dinner, please reply by Monday, September, 17th. 

The OHSU Portland Aerial Tramway carries commuters between the city’s South Waterfront district and OHSU and the Marquam Hill neighborhood. It is the second commuter aerial tramway in the United States (after New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tramway). The tram travels a horizontal distance of 3,300 feet and rises 500 feet in a ride that lasts three and one-half minutes. Its upper terminal is 140 feet above grade, and connected to the ninth floor of a new patient care facility on the university’s campus. Its lower terminal in the rapidly growing South Waterfront connects to the Portland Streetcar for direct service downtown. A single intermediate tower supports the tram’s cables between the two terminals, allowing the tram to rise nearly 200 feet over Interstate 5. Almost all of the journey is near its upper elevation, making the tram easily visible for some distance, and providing good views of the eastern metropolitan area and the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. The number of commuters to date is almost 1 million after opening to the general public in January 2007.

The tram uses track ropes, a single haul rope, a counterweight, a drive system and other equipment to support and move the tram cabins from the riverfront to OHSU and back. The drive system consists of 3 different types of drives; the main drive which is a variable frequency drive powering a 450kW motor, a standby drive which is a diesel hydrostatic and an evacuation drive which is similar to the standby drive. The control systems are PLC driven and include rope and drive monitors, safety systems, environmental monitors, communications between the tram cabins and the control room and other systems to safely move the commuters.     

Mike Commissaris is the Portland Area Tram General Manager and has extensive experience in electronics, communications and tramway operations. He spent 10 years designing high frequency radio and telephone equipment with Stoner Communications. Mike designed failsafe railroad automation systems for Harmon Electronics for 10 years and spent 15 years as the Assistant General Manager of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.


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