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That Amtrak crash in Columbia SC

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, February 09, 2018 11:22 AM

VOLKER LANDWEHR
I thought the PTC mandate required to stop a train before it can operate over an improperly lined main track switch?

PTC enforces required speed and stops.  If a stop is not required, then PTC enforces speed.  Lets say that was an unbonded siding, and a train was heading in, it would have to head in at restricted speed.  As long as the crew was complying with restricted speed (as PTC understands it) then it might not have to stop, the engineer could acknowledge whatever warning there might be and head into the siding at restricted speed without necessarily stopping because a stop might not be required.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by wojosa31 on Monday, February 19, 2018 8:04 PM

Recent release on 2/13/2018, concerning this incident.

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RSR1801.pdf

Note the NTSB comments concerning accidents involving trains operating in territory where signal systems are out of service for maintenance or upgrade.  

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 8:21 AM

 Ironic that the signals were out of service due to the installation work for PTC. Also of note is that current rules do not require restricted speed in this situation - which is what the NTSB wants as a result of this and the other invesitgation.

                                  --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:49 AM

Larry

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:28 AM

rrinker
Ironic that the signals were out of service due to the installation work for PTC

You wouldn't know that if you just depended on news reports.

 
 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 10:10 PM

rrinker
Also of note is that current rules do not require restricted speed in this situation - which is what the NTSB wants as a result of this and the other investigation. 

Still more of note is that NTSB recommended the first-train-to-the-switch-at-restricted speed rule in 2012 ... and FRA rejected it as too much interference with transportation!

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 10:34 PM

Overmod

 

 
rrinker
Also of note is that current rules do not require restricted speed in this situation - which is what the NTSB wants as a result of this and the other investigation. 

 

 

Still more of note is that NTSB recommended the first-train-to-the-switch-at-restricted speed rule in 2012 ... and FRA rejected it as too much interference with transportation!

 

And I have no problem with the FRA's rejection!

Jeff

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 7:11 AM

And why is that? Seems prudent to be absolutely sure the track is clear, be that work crews or a misaligned switch, before sending anything over it at track speed. Would almost certainly prevented death and injury in this case.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:18 AM

rrinker
And why is that? Seems prudent to be absolutely sure the track is clear, be that work crews or a misaligned switch, before sending anything over it at track speed. Would almost certainly prevented death and injury in this case.

You also have to understand the subtle difference between the two recommendations, they are different.  

In the 2013 recommendation, ANY time a switch is opened on the main track in dark, non-PTC trackage, the next time a train operates it has to proceed at restricted speed.    The current recommendation is ONLY for areas where there is a signal suspension.  Big difference.

In the earlier recommendation any time a train heads in or out of a siding or industry track, the restriction would have to apply.  What does that mean in practice?  The train crew would have to get on the radio to report every switch they open, its location and when they opened it.  The dispatcher would have to have some way of recording every switch that was opened, its location and when it was closed.  Then the dispatcher would have to contact the first train in either direction that is approaching the switches to move at restricted speed.  The crew would have to operate over the switch then report back to the dispatcher who would update his records.

Plus the rule has NO exemption for yard limits, so it would apply to every main track, even in yard limits or places where restricted speed is currently required. 

Hugely time consuming, and a tremendous amount of radio traffic.  The more radio traffic there is the more chance of error or stepping on other safety related communication.

Lets say there is a branchline that operates a train twice a week.  A train goes up the branch and then back down again in the same day.  The train operates 25 switches on the trip.  The train would have to call the dispatcher 25 times and report every switch they used.  Then on the way back the dispatcher would have to call the train 25 times and give them the location of every switch they just opened and have them go restricted speed, then the crew would have to report the switch postion 25 times.  In addition, if they switch anything going back they would have to report that they opened switches (some of them could be the same switches they previously opened).  The dispatcher would have to record them and then 3 or 4 days later, when the next train operates on the branch (and it could be teh exact same crew as the previous day) give them  those switch postions.  In this hypothetical scenario, one little branch with one turn, has generated 75-100 radio communications that weren't there before.

Also consider that in non-signaled territory the dispatcher doesn't necessarily know exactly where the train is, he just knows its between two points that define its limts.

Back to the point about yard limts.  I worked on a 36 mile long branch that had 125 main track switches, and operated 12 industry switch engines and 2 locals per day over that branch.  Since it was yard limits, there was NO contact at all with the dispatcher.  Can you imagine the radio traffic required to manage the locations and switch usage of that many trains in that short of an area to comply with the original rule?  How many MORE opportunities for failure would be created because of the chance for somebody to misspeak or misstype a location?

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 1:01 PM

dehusman
In the earlier recommendation any time a train heads in or out of a siding or industry track, the restriction would have to apply. What does that mean in practice? The train crew would have to get on the radio to report every switch they open, its location and when they opened it. The dispatcher would have to have some way of recording every switch that was opened, its location and when it was closed. Then the dispatcher would have to contact the first train in either direction that is approaching the switches to move at restricted speed. The crew would have to operate over the switch then report back to the dispatcher who would update his records.

Talk about a stupid recommendation..What about urban industrial leads or a short line that had no signals or dispatcher?

Conductor: LIW344 to Toledo Line dispatcher.

Toledo Line dispatcher: LIW344

Conductor: LIW 344 to Toledo Line Pattons switch at MP---- MP 341 446 axles no defects----PITO MP 341 no defects out.

FRA did the right thing. Its bad enough now.

 

Larry

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 5:11 PM

 Well, clarified like that, that makes no sense at all. But doing it for the first train through where there is a signal failure or signal out of service would make a lot of sense. It should only be to the next operating signal.

                                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 6:00 PM

Interestingly, NTSB recommended the first-train-restricted-speed-to-the-switch rule in 2012, and FRA declined to issue an EO or rule saying it would 'interfere with transportation'  

Bet that doesn't happen this time!

The discussion of this is in the latest NTSB report covering the Cayce accident.

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