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Amtrak derailment in NYC

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, April 10, 2017 9:50 PM

Mac:

I appreciate your respectful response to what "underfunded" means in the context of the NEC.  Others comment with remarks, the tone in which they are offered insisting we are just to accept the authority of the person making them without extending the courtesy as to why we should accept a particular point of view.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by PNWRMNM on Monday, April 10, 2017 9:51 PM

Paul Milenkovic

Speaking of jumping to conclusions, wasn't your initial reaction here that it had to be a train driver who ran a signal?  Do you suppose it is reasonable at this very early stage in the accident inquiry to not rush-to-judgment regarding deferred maintenance as the cause?

Paul,

I offered that speculation early in the thread based on what was either inaccurate or unclear reporting in the media. See my post of March 24 which was the first comment on the story. Notice all of the qualifiers in that post.

As long as I have been in the biz, which was not as long as Balt but well over 30 years, I know better than to believe anything the media says about rail accidents, and to be very skeptical of the rest of what they say about everything else.

Mac 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:44 AM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, April 14, 2017 5:36 PM

Maybe this latest NJT breakdown in NYPS will take the heat off Amtrak.  Of course maybe it was caused by Amtrak ?

 

Amtrak

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Service Alert!

Service Delayed Between New York and New Jersey

April 14, 2017
5:00 p.m. EDT

Amtrak engineering forces are assisting a NJ Transit train that became disabled on the west side of New York Penn Station. Customers should expect delays between New York and Newark, NJ until the train is moved.

This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 3:11 PM

We now find that NJT lost the contact material on a PAN  The material  underneath the contact material is steel and it welded to the CAT.

Now Amtrak is evidently doing some ( much needed ?) work on the ladder track sections.

 

 

 

\\Amtrak

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NEC Delays between New York and New Jersey

Ongoing maintenance may delay trains entering/departing New York Penn Station

April 25, 2017

9:00 a.m. ET

Customers may experience delays between New York and New Jersey due to ongoing track inspections and maintenance at New York Penn Station. We apologize to customers for any delays as a result of this work.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:10 AM

Mischief In view of how frequently there've been issues at Penn Station recently, perhaps this thread should become a "sticky" . . . Whistling 

- PDN. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:56 AM

Was thinking about what the delay was in starting repairs.  Could it be that Amtrak had to round up materials ?

1.  Cross ties -  Are any concrete ties being used ?  If wood  is Amtrak using preminium hardwoods which might have had to be borrrowed or shipped from a distance ?

2.  Rail  --  How difficult to obtain the custom designed rails especially the puzzle switches ?.  MC may have an idea.

3.  switch machines --  Are the NYPS unique or are they generic ?  Any rewiring of control circuits ?

4.  Any need to change signal system(s) ?

5.  Ballast  --

6.  3rd rail upgrades at same time ?

Is this work actually the implementation of the west area rehab upgrade that  has been planned for some time ?

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:51 AM

blue streak 1
Was thinking about what the delay was in starting repairs.  Could it be that Amtrak had to round up materials ?

1.  Cross ties -  Are any concrete ties being used ?  If wood  is Amtrak using preminium hardwoods which might have had to be borrrowed or shipped from a distance ?

2.  Rail  --  How difficult to obtain the custom designed rails especially the puzzle switches ?.  MC may have an idea.

3.  switch machines --  Are the NYPS unique or are they generic ?  Any rewiring of control circuits ?

4.  Any need to change signal system(s) ?

5.  Ballast  --

6.  3rd rail upgrades at same time ?

Is this work actually the implementation of the west area rehab upgrade that  has been planned for some time ?

I suspect 1. 2. and 3. were the hold ups.  Ties for custom trackwork are custom sized.  Custom trackwork by it's very name is specialized for it's particular installation.  Switch machines, while normally standard, are not a item that are on hand in bulk numbers. 

I suspect the 1st derailment used the available spares in restoring service.  With no spares on hand for the 2nd derailment, they had to be ordered and manufactured.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by wanswheel on Thursday, April 27, 2017 3:54 PM
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, April 28, 2017 5:02 PM

There are at least 3 factors why this work is now required.

1.  the obvious.  Hurricane Sandy.     

2.  The major RRs always make one measure when major work is needed on a route is   the  number of tons over any section.  So how many tons had gone over the NYPS by CR & PC before the 1970s rebuild ?  Then calculate the number of tons till now ?  

3.  Of course this may be an example of Boardman's revenge.  Capital expenditures the last few FY years  has been under budget.  If operating expenses were somehow lowered as some capital work was postponed then that made NEC closer to or over break even ?

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Friday, April 28, 2017 10:20 PM

As to #3. Virtually any experienced railroader would like to do what I call normalized maintenance, that is steady flow of projects to keep the trackwork in condition to withstand the demands made on it, with a reserve for safety.

Most also know that normalized maintenance can be cut back for a while without significant adverse impact, but if you keep doing it your railroad will be plagued with slow orders at best and track caused derialments at worst.

For the first time in decades ATK has a President who knows this in his bones, and seems committed to fix track problems at NYP. Good for him. Privately I wonder how much of his resolve is due to the fact that he is a short timer so can do what is right rather than what is expedient.

Mac

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Posted by JPS1 on Saturday, April 29, 2017 8:55 AM

blue streak 1

3.  ...... If operating expenses were somehow lowered as some capital work was postponed then that made NEC closer to or over break even ? 

If property, plant, and equipment is "fixed", and the fix extends the life of the asset, among other criteria, the "fix" expenditures are capitalized.  

Capitalized repairs don't have an immediate impact on operating expenses. But they will have an impact in subsequent years as they flow through the income statement as depreciation expense. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amtrak plans to take three or four Penn Station tracks out of service for the summer.  It will be a big time disruption.

The article indicated Amtrak was aware of the Penn State maintenance issues.  Its plan was to perform the maintenance at night and on the weekends.  The recent incidents, however, highlighted the need to get after them as quickly as practicable.  There is nothing like a black eye in the media to get management off of high center.   

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

RME
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Posted by RME on Saturday, April 29, 2017 2:21 PM

JPS1
The article indicated Amtrak was aware of the Penn State maintenance issues.

You have an iPhone, don't you?  Big Smile

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, May 01, 2017 2:06 PM

This work at NYPS may leave some unintended consequences.

1.  Is Amtrak having to rob parts especially switch machines from other projects ?

2.  All the MOW personell and maybe parts moved to the NYPS work is going to leave other projects on hold including  ---

     a.  PTC  ?

     b.  Michigan 110 MPH upgrades ?

     c.  New Haven - Springfield double track ?

     d.  WASH US initial upgrades ?

     e.  Harrisburg area upgrades ?

     f.  Albany station tracks ?

     g.  Double tracking north of Albany ?,B

     h.  CHI ?

     i.  Possible others ?

 

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, May 01, 2017 8:24 PM
With all this work being done on the NYPS ladder tracks is Amtrak providing for the necessary leads to the tunnel box ?  that way once the new Gateway tunnel bores are complete there would not be any need to close down the present track(s) to interconnect them to the new bores.  Also might get Amtrak some space to store equipment.
 
Realize there may be reasons for those tunnel boxes not be ready for track or needed for future construction of the bores.  Anyone know ?
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, May 02, 2017 8:24 PM

blue streak 1

This work at NYPS may leave some unintended consequences.

1.  Is Amtrak having to rob parts especially switch machines from other projects ?

Would find it highly unlikely to be related but Chicago Union station had more switch problems this afternoon. Metra departures very confused/  Could Amtrak have moved spare switxh parts from CHI to NYPS ?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 7:04 AM

Not sure that anything happened at CUS.  My departure was from the south concourse and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  There is ongoing renovation work on the north concourse and departures on that side are being moved around to accomodate that work.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, May 03, 2017 11:26 PM

Complete explanation of the 3 incidents at NYPS by Amtrak official.

 

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/978/51/Amtrak-EVP-COO-Naparstek-New%20Jersey%20Legislature-Apr-28-2017.pdf

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, May 04, 2017 6:18 AM

blue streak 1

The salient point from a 'big picture' perspective!

 

Scott Naparstek

My name is Scot Naparstek, and I am the Chief Operating Officer of Amtrak.I am responsible to Wick Moorman and to the Amtrak Board of Directors for the operation of the 21,000 mile Amtrak system and the maintenance of our equipment and infrastructure.  

I am therefore responsible for the operation and maintenance of New York Penn Station.  Dating from 1910, the station now hosts more than 1300 trains on every weekday–which, as you heard, is twice as many as it carried in 1976.
 
The number of station tracks were never expanded to support this volume of traffic, and more trains have been added onto an aging and constrained system that was already operating beyond capacity, stressing the 149 switches and more than a thousand track components that keep trains moving every day.  Additionally, the station has signaling and electrification systems dating from the 1930s and any electrical and mechanical components, including HVAC systems, fire and life safety systems, and the structure itself, which must all be maintained and renewed aggressively to support the tremendous demands placed on them at the nation’s busiest transportation facility. As Wick said, the xtraordinary use of the station today illustrates a larger theme.  This facility is simply over-capacity and has not received all of the systematic renewal and maintenance it badly needs.  We have a 108 year old station that is completely full, doing things it was never designed to do; with no margin for error.  As we have just witnessed, under these conditions,relatively small or isolated incidents that might have minimal impacts elsewhere on our system can swell suddenly into major service disruptions here.  

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Thursday, May 04, 2017 4:01 PM

WOW. What a great detailed description of what happened. As I previously posted, they are shoving 50 LB of people into a 20 LB bag. And doing it every day. And do they get any thanks. NO. It amazes me that it has worked as well as it has. I think a lot of credit goes to the loyal employees that keep it going. And no thanks to any politicians who don't earn their pay and want to defund every thing needed by the public. 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, May 05, 2017 11:08 PM

From Amtrak------------

NEC Delays at New York Penn Station

Ongoing maintenance may delay trains entering/departing New York Penn Station

May 5, 2017
7:30 p.m. EDT

Due to previously scheduled track work and ongoing speed restrictions, customers may experience some minor delays entering and departing New York Penn Station. This work is to rehabilitate the track and switch structures leading toward the two tubes of the Hudson River Tunnel.

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