PTC for (us) Dummies

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Saturday, April 07, 2018 3:40 PM

zardoz
 Murphy Siding

tree68

That does raise an interesting sidelight, though - my personal GPS apps usually display the speed limit.  How far are we from getting a ticket because an onboard GPS in our personal vehicles sends information to an enforcement authority advising that we've exceeded the speed limit?

It would be very easy to make a condition of getting a driver's license or licensing a vehicle that your speed could be monitored as such... 

Or a component of your insurance coverage.

 

If authorities were really interested in speed control, the travel time between each toll could be used to deduce the vehicle speed; it would be an easy way to enforce traffic laws in a similar way as states that use roadside cameras to nab speeders. They could just mail a speeding ticket the the vehicle owner.

@Murphysiding: My brother has a device in his car now that reports his driving habits to the insurance company in order for him to get cheaper insurance.

@Zardoz: i remember being on a toll road across northern Indiana in the 1950's and there were people parked alongside the road just before a toll booth... Dad said they had been speeding and were letting the clock catch up to them so they would not get a speeding ticket at the next toll booth!

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, April 08, 2018 12:49 AM

Murphy Siding

 

 
Murphy Siding
 
jeffhergert

 Scroll down for a video of what PTC is on this page.  

http://www.bnsf.com/in-the-community/safety-and-security/positive-train-control.html 

We have been running PTC since late last summer, when the lead engine is equipped.  Everyone seems to like it.  It lets you see six miles ahead.  There are a few things that could be better, but has PTC evolves those changes may happen.

Jeff

PS.  I once ran across a link to the BNSF's pocket reference guide, which is almost the same as ours.  (Which is what one would expect since we're all running the same system.)  You think I could find it again?  Nope.

 

 

 

Thanks for the link. I understand the big picture a little better now. Please give me run through of how it works from the cab.

      So, I hop in, flip the magic PTC button, put 'er in gear and I'm off to see the Wizard? Then everything is cool until a disembodied voice asks me if I'm still there and shuts down the train if I don't answer back?Stick out tongue

 

 

 

 

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

     What does the engineer or dispatcher do differently with PTC?

 

 

Nothing really.  You have to log into the system.  Once it's up a running you just run the train.  At first, it seemed like everyone was looking at the PTC screen constantly.  Now, as we've become used to it, just a glance every so often to see what's coming up.  

When a controlled signal is at Stop and can't be cleared to allow a train to pass, along with giving verbal permission to pass it the dispatcher has to update the system to allow PTC to let us pass the signal.  At bulletined work zones (Form B for us) and crossing protection orders, the engineer has to acknowledge receiving permission to procede and confirm the permission.  Under certain circumstances, the position of hand thrown switches need to be confirmed.

Other than that, PTC is just another tool to help run the train.  It would be better if you could see your entire train on the map display, but you can't have everything.  On the map display, only the first 7000 feet or so is displayed.  One has to watch the maximum speed allowed display to know when the train has cleared a restriction on trains longer than that.  All the other EMS displays showed the entire train, so you could see when you cleared.  With PTC you have to take into account that you can't always use the map display to know when you're clear.

Jeff

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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, April 08, 2018 8:33 AM

(I can just see the rules classes cautioning against becoming i-Zombies like their rubber tired bretheren. Sad)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:18 AM

jeffhergert
Other than that, PTC is just another tool to help run the train.  It would be better if you could see your entire train on the map display, but you can't have everything.  On the map display, only the first 7000 feet or so is displayed.  One has to watch the maximum speed allowed display to know when the train has cleared a restriction on trains longer than that.  All the other EMS displays showed the entire train, so you could see when you cleared.  With PTC you have to take into account that you can't always use the map display to know when you're clear.

Jeff

On my former territory there were several 'head end only' speed restrictions account local municipal ordanence.  Wondering how PTC logic handles these situations.

         

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, April 08, 2018 6:11 PM

jeffhergert

 

 
Murphy Siding

 

 
Murphy Siding
 
jeffhergert

 Scroll down for a video of what PTC is on this page.  

http://www.bnsf.com/in-the-community/safety-and-security/positive-train-control.html 

We have been running PTC since late last summer, when the lead engine is equipped.  Everyone seems to like it.  It lets you see six miles ahead.  There are a few things that could be better, but has PTC evolves those changes may happen.

Jeff

PS.  I once ran across a link to the BNSF's pocket reference guide, which is almost the same as ours.  (Which is what one would expect since we're all running the same system.)  You think I could find it again?  Nope.

 

 

 

Thanks for the link. I understand the big picture a little better now. Please give me run through of how it works from the cab.

      So, I hop in, flip the magic PTC button, put 'er in gear and I'm off to see the Wizard? Then everything is cool until a disembodied voice asks me if I'm still there and shuts down the train if I don't answer back?Stick out tongue

 

 

 

 

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

     What does the engineer or dispatcher do differently with PTC?

 

 

 

 

Nothing really.  You have to log into the system.  Once it's up a running you just run the train.  At first, it seemed like everyone was looking at the PTC screen constantly.  Now, as we've become used to it, just a glance every so often to see what's coming up.  

When a controlled signal is at Stop and can't be cleared to allow a train to pass, along with giving verbal permission to pass it the dispatcher has to update the system to allow PTC to let us pass the signal.  At bulletined work zones (Form B for us) and crossing protection orders, the engineer has to acknowledge receiving permission to procede and confirm the permission.  Under certain circumstances, the position of hand thrown switches need to be confirmed.

Other than that, PTC is just another tool to help run the train.  It would be better if you could see your entire train on the map display, but you can't have everything.  On the map display, only the first 7000 feet or so is displayed.  One has to watch the maximum speed allowed display to know when the train has cleared a restriction on trains longer than that.  All the other EMS displays showed the entire train, so you could see when you cleared.  With PTC you have to take into account that you can't always use the map display to know when you're clear.

Jeff

 

Thanks for the info. With all hype, I guess I was expecting something more elaborate or maybe semi-evil (ha ha), although I don't know what. What happens when something isn't right? Do you get a warning first (Danger! Will Robinson!), or does the system just take over? 

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, April 08, 2018 6:15 PM

BaltACD

 

 
 

 

On my former territory there were several 'head end only' speed restrictions account local municipal ordanence.  Wondering how PTC logic handles these situations.

 

What's the logic behind that? Once the head end passes out of the speed restricted zone the train can speed back up?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, April 08, 2018 6:27 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
BaltACD

 

 
 

 

On my former territory there were several 'head end only' speed restrictions account local municipal ordanence.  Wondering how PTC logic handles these situations.

 

 

 

What's the logic behind that? Once the head end passes out of the speed restricted zone the train can speed back up?

 

 

Yes.  Those kind of restrictions are there for operating considerations rather than track conditions.

My end of the railroad doesn't currently have any head end only restrictions.  The other end does.  I'll have to ask someone who works that way about it.  I would guess as soon as the leading edge left the restricted area, the maximum speed  display would change from the head end restriction to the next higher allowed speed.  Similar to the way it removes the restricted speed hash box when the leading edge reaches the point restricted speed is no longer required.  

Unless the programmers never thought about the possibility of head end only restrictions, other than restricted speed.

Jeff 

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, April 08, 2018 7:16 PM

Murphy Siding
What's the logic behind that? Once the head end passes out of the speed restricted zone the train can speed back up?

If the town mothers and fathers are worried about trains "flying" through town, it's the head end they're worried about.  The EOT could be doing 80 by the time it gets there - that's not what's going to hit Granny.

We have a "head end only" at the platform where we pick up canoes.  Besides the close clearance, there is the possibility that there will be someone around the platform (although we generally know that), so it gives us a little more cushion.

With our short trains (especially the locals), even if you knock off the brakes as you pass the platform, the speed won't be that high when the EOT goes by.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by PJS1 on Monday, April 09, 2018 6:18 PM

jeffhergert

 Scroll down for a video of what PTC is on this page.  

http://www.bnsf.com/in-the-community/safety-and-security/positive-train-control.html 

We have been running PTC since late last summer, when the lead engine is equipped.  Everyone seems to like it.  It lets you see six miles ahead.  There are a few things that could be better, but has PTC evolves those changes may happen.

Jeff

PS.  I once ran across a link to the BNSF's pocket reference guide, which is almost the same as ours.  (Which is what one would expect since we're all running the same system.)  You think I could find it again?  Nope. 

Great reference!  Thanks!  

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, April 09, 2018 7:27 PM

tree68

 

 
Murphy Siding
What's the logic behind that? Once the head end passes out of the speed restricted zone the train can speed back up?

 

If the town mothers and fathers are worried about trains "flying" through town, it's the head end they're worried about.  The EOT could be doing 80 by the time it gets there - that's not what's going to hit Granny.

 

I think if those town mothers and fathers are worried about Granny, they are SOL.  (Unless the railroad wants to be a good neighbor and abides by a city imposed speed limit.)  I believe municipal placed speed limits on trains aren't enforcable.  Pre-empted by Federal jurisdiction.  

Jeff

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 8:05 AM

jeffhergert

 Scroll down for a video of what PTC is on this page.  

http://www.bnsf.com/in-the-community/safety-and-security/positive-train-control.html 

 

 

The link above looks to be a nice PR piece that suggests that BNSF has PTC working everywhere they are required to. Curiously, there are about 3 segments of track shown with PTC that are isolated from other tracks with PTC equipment. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

      Are the other railroads as *complete* on the PTC equipment as BNSF says they are on their road? Does PTC equipment from one railroad work on the others?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 8:59 AM

Murphy Siding
The link above looks to be a nice PR piece that suggests that BNSF has PTC working everywhere they are required to. Curiously, there are about 3 segments of track shown with PTC that are isolated from other tracks with PTC equipment. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

      Are the other railroads as *complete* on the PTC equipment as BNSF says they are on their road? Does PTC equipment from one railroad work on the others?

I suspect that the railroad between the unlinked segments is trackage rights that BNSF has over other carriers who are responsible for their own installation of PTC.

PTC as being installed on the Class 1 carriers is designed for interopratability between carriers.  What Amtrak has installed on the NEC does not conform to the PTC that the Class 1 carriers have designed and built.

         

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Posted by guetem1 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 12:11 AM
there is an autostrada in Italy where they do that
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, April 14, 2018 4:47 PM

On multi track sections and single tracks with sidings does PC show other trains on other tracks ?  Being able to see 6 miles ahead good engineers can control their trains to sometimes prevent coming to a stop for a meet ?  

If PTC can show multi tracks can PTC show a train on another track has gone into emergency ?  The extra seconds of warning might prevent a train from colliding with a derailed train fouling its track ?

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:19 PM

blue streak 1
On multi track sections and single tracks with sidings does PC show other trains on other tracks ?  Being able to see 6 miles ahead good engineers can control their trains to sometimes prevent coming to a stop for a meet ? 

There alread is too much dispatching from the control stand of locomotives.  If the REAL Dispatcher wants a train to hold back for a meet - They will notify the train.

blue streak 1
If PTC can show multi tracks can PTC show a train on another track has gone into emergency ?  The extra seconds of warning might prevent a train from colliding with a derailed train fouling its track ?

My understanding is that PTC displays only preview the track the train is actually operating on.  Should a derailment of a train on another track happen, if as is most likely end up affecting the PTC train's track - track circuits on the PTC train's will probably show 'occupied' as the track gets torn up and thereby drop signal on that track.

         

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:26 PM

PTC shows other tracks.  It does not show other trains on any track.  The track authorized to use will show green or yellow.  Green is track with no restrictions.  Yellow is speed restricted track due to either signals less than clear or temporary speed restrictions.  Equipped PTC track not authorized on shows as red.  Non-equipped entrance tracks show as gray.  In these gray zones, PTC can be initialized and become active before occupying the PTC track.  

One nice thing for us is seeing if we're being held.  Information from dispatchers is sometimes non-existant.  Some are better than others at letting you know what's going on.  Sometimes they are too busy, and sometimes they aren't.  Knowing you are going to be held helps plan where to stop when your train only fits one or two places.  PTC also allows to see when stopped where no signal exists, when you have been cleared up and can start moving again.

Jeff

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Posted by oltmannd on Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:51 AM

blue streak 1
Being able to see 6 miles ahead good engineers can control their trains to sometimes prevent coming to a stop for a meet ?  

On NS, there were plans to integrate LEADER with UTCS to do this.  Not sure where those plans stand.  LEADER and PTC share the same on-board platform.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:53 PM

oltmannd

 

 
blue streak 1
Being able to see 6 miles ahead good engineers can control their trains to sometimes prevent coming to a stop for a meet ?  

 

On NS, there were plans to integrate LEADER with UTCS to do this.  Not sure where those plans stand.  LEADER and PTC share the same on-board platform.

 

Trip optimizer has been integrated into some PTC equipped engines on the UP.  The only time I've had an engine so equipped was before it was active and after the order came out to not use EMS until further notice.  I believe they may be trying to intigrate LEADER into PTC also, but I've not seen any UP engines equipped.  The PTC display seems to be closer to Trip Optimizer than LEADER in some respects.  That's a pity since the LEADER display had better detail than T-O.  That's the only good thing I can say about LEADER.

Jeff

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