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OK, why?

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OK, why?
Posted by greyhounds on Thursday, April 8, 2021 2:07 AM

I'm now a retired geezer.  But when I was a railroader I was in marketing.  I now live about a mile from the old Soo Line main (Now CN) 55 miles or so north of Chicago.

So, we've had a few days of really nice and warm spring weather.  And I was out driving south on Illinois Rt #83 with a CN southbound on my left.  He was going slow.  I decided to get ahead of the train moving on south.  I had nothing else pressing to do.

I parked in the Metra station lot in Lake Villa, IL.  Empty these days.  But I once caught commuter trains there for a contract job in the Chicago Loop.  

The train: 1) had a BC Rail blue unit as the 2nd lead engine, cool!,  2) was on the east, or left hand, track.  I looked at the signals.  The western most track was red over red.  But the track the train was on had singnals displaying yellow over red.  The train stopped just before the first road crossing in Lake Villa.  The crossing gate had come down as the train approached.  But the crossing gate went back up when it timed out after the train stopped short of the crossing. 

 

My question:  why would a yellow over red cause the train to come to a complete stop? 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, April 8, 2021 4:54 AM

There are many potential reasons.  Here are a couple common ones.

This train could be too long to stop at the next signal (which will be red) without blocking a crossing.  So the crew has stopped at a spot where they are not blocking crossings and can still see a signal.

Perhaps there is a foreman working on the track ahead, and the crew has stopped before entering the limits.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 8, 2021 6:26 AM

.

Removed as immaterial to subsequent discussion.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 8, 2021 7:21 AM

It is not desirable to stop trains where they block road crossings.  Where Control Points exist to display Absolute STOP indications there may be one or more road crossings that will be blocked when a train stops.

On my former territory trains (and the Train Dispatcher) were to contact the Yardmaster in Richmond to see if there was a yarding location for the train.  If the train would not have a yarding location it would have to be held.  If the train was shor it could be brought down to the absolute signal.  If the train was over 4000 feet it would have to be held out at a speific road crossing (with no signal at the location).  If the train was over 7000 feet it would have to be held a a road crossing even further out - a location where even if the yard entry Control Point was at STOP, the train would be seeing a Clear signal indication.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, April 8, 2021 8:29 AM

Overmod
 The presumption is that the train, stopped in front of a particular signal aspect, has stopped because of that aspect.

I mean, we have places desginated in our timetable that require a stop if a signal is shown as approach or restricting.  Normally you get an advance approach ahead of it.  So yeah, you would stop there because of that aspect. 

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 8, 2021 9:14 AM

Logorrhea removal #1

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Posted by CShaveRR on Thursday, April 8, 2021 11:21 AM

I'm not that familiar with that line, but there's a possibility that this is where CN stages trains for somewhere.  The signal is yellow because the next one is going to be red, and my guess is that it's a control-point signal that the dispatcher knows is going to be red for a while.  So (s)he stops the train short to keep it from fouling grade crossings between there and the next signal.

We have a similar spot by me here in Lombard.  The dispatcher will stop a train short of Finley Road (which happens to be near the approach signal to the Grace control point), because that is a nearly two-mile stretch of track without grade crossings (and two grade crossings between that point and the home signal).  There can be any number of reasons to hold out a train here, including the ability of Proviso, IHB, or even NS to accept the train, or because there is a train on the track ahead that is using the crossovers at Grace to get out of the way.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:29 PM

An IHB ETT from the late 60's had a Special Instruction stating that if a westbound train was greater than a certain length and the home signal at Dolton was indicating Stop, that train would stop short of Cottage Grove to avoid blockages.

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:58 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Special Instruction

I would opine that is the case for the OP's question.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, April 8, 2021 11:30 PM

There's a lot of places where even "normal" sized trains can't go all the way to the red signal.  PTC is nice that you can see about 5 miles ahead.  (PTC can "see" 6 miles, but we can only see about 5 miles on the screen.)

That's one thing the EMS auto control doesn't take into account.  The computer thinks you'll go all the way to the red, showing manual control needed about where the yellow signal is.  Most of the time you need to stop before then.  You sure need to start slowing before manual control even if you're going all the way, unless you want to set a lot of air to stop.

Because of the behemoths that some of these trains can be and advance notice, I've stopped at green signals because that's the last place it fit.

Jeff

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Posted by greyhounds on Friday, April 9, 2021 12:06 AM

Thank you all for your answers.

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by zugmann on Friday, April 9, 2021 9:03 AM

Not just grade crossings.  Sometimes you layback to avoid stopping on a detector, a steep grade, or next to a housing development that likes to whine. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 9, 2021 11:09 AM

Overmod

 

 
zugmann
I mean, we have places designated in our timetable that require a stop if a signal is shown as approach or restricting.

 

He had implied that he'd checked to see if there were such a meaning, and did not recognize one.  Obviously he wouldn't have posted at all if he had known (but he gets his answer immediately reading your reply, another reason why practical railroaders have so much value in railfan forums).

 

 

How did anything Greyhounds said imply that?  It seems SD70 Dude, Carl,  Zugmann and others all understood clearly why the train halted short of the crossing.

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Posted by cv_acr on Friday, April 9, 2021 11:17 AM

Yep, there's a place near me where westbound trains will be held out of town if it's too congested. They'll stop in a specific spot where there's a long distance between crossings so they won't be blocking anything.

Similar to the OP's situation, they'll end up stopping short of the approach signal to the next control point, so they'll be seeing a yellow over red. They stop at this signal and not the next one due to the road crossings.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 9, 2021 12:08 PM

Logorrhea removal #2

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 9, 2021 1:01 PM

He said: "The track the train was on had singnals displaying yellow over red.  The train stopped just before the first road crossing in Lake Villa.  The crossing gate had come down as the train approached.  But the crossing gate went back up when it timed out after the train stopped short of the crossing. 

My question:  why would a yellow over red cause the train to come to a complete stop?"

Your summary is not what he said. Instead you introduced an irrelevant logical fallacy point into the discussion. 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 9, 2021 2:46 PM

Logorrhea removal #3

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 9, 2021 8:19 PM

Jeez,  you always have to have the ultimate wordiness in your usual way.  There's no personal attack in what I said.  I simply thought your introduction of a logic critique only served the cause of logorrhea. 

I think most of us familiar with railroads had a pretty good hunch as to why the train stopped when and where it did.  I think Greyhounds might have also but was checking it out as a lesson in rail operational practices.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, April 9, 2021 8:23 PM

Children!

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Friday, April 9, 2021 11:30 PM
 

jeffhergert

 

Because of the behemoths that some of these trains can be and advance notice, I've stopped at green signals because that's the last place it fit.

Jeff

 

Seen that a few times up this way on CN trains stopping on clear indication due to length.

Perhaps SD70Dude can answer this. Over here on the Eastside of the CN system. CN's Strathroy Sub which extends into Port Huron, MI. I've seen yellow over yellow, and green over green aspects. Never saw that before. 

 
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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, April 9, 2021 11:42 PM

Green over green is a Clear indication on a two aspect dwarf signal.  This indication does not exist on high mast signals in Canada.

Yellow over yellow is Clear to Slow.  This requires you to approach the next signal at no more than 15 mph. 

Here are the Canadian signal indications.  Slow speed is 15 mph, Diverging speed is 25 mph, Medium speed is 30 mph, and Limited speed is 45 mph.

https://tc.canada.ca/en/rail-transportation/rules/canadian-rail-operating-rules/general-description-location-fixed-signals

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 10, 2021 6:00 PM

charlie hebdo
I simply thought your introduction of a logic critique only served the cause of logorrhea. 

You're certainly right there!  I'm removing the posts involved as any point there might have been has been established by now and isn't relevant to either the initial or expanded discussion.  I encourage (but don't require) that replies to them also be removed as now irrelevant too.

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