Delayed on Albany hill

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Delayed on Albany hill
Posted by NKP guy on Saturday, August 03, 2019 7:57 PM

   A sincere if ignorant question:  I see #49 tonight (a Saturday) was 3 minutes late leaving Albany-Rensselaer and yet 27 minutes late at Schenectady.  

   How does this happen on a new, double-tracked main line with new signals and no freight trains whatsoever?  Can the Hill be that busy?  Didn't the dispatchers know #49 was expected about the scheduled time?

   I would expect #49 to be delayed west of Rotterdam Junction, but why lose time into Schenectady?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, August 03, 2019 9:10 PM

NKP guy
 How does this happen on a new, double-tracked main line with new signals and no freight trains whatsoever?

Does CSX still have trackage rights on the line ?

Maybe the drawbridge over the Hudson was open.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 03, 2019 9:17 PM

I thought all that old New York Central trackage was  CSX trackage now.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, August 03, 2019 9:34 PM

It's actually kinda more complicated.

As far as I know: Amtrak owns from Schenectady west to Hoffmans.  You decide if this is part of West Albany Hill -- I don't think so.  MetroNorth only leases as far north as Poughkeepsie; Amtrak only owns the part of the Empire Corridor south of the curve and bridge at Spuyten Duyvil.  CSX has dibs on the rest, via its piece of the Conrail acquisition, for the rest of the Poughkeepsie-Buffalo/Niagara Falls 'corridor'.

I believe from my years studying the R crane (and its video documentation) that considerable improvement up to 110mph has occurred on the part of this route that CSX nominally owns, and this is neither something CSX would likely do with its own money or tolerate unle$$ there were $ome $ort of incentive in it for them.  So it certainly stands to reason that there is at least some preferential operating rights for 110mph trains (which means, essentially, Amtrak) over the parts of the route that have been so 'improved'.  

If someone can find a citation of formal conveyance to Amtrak, or purchase by or for their benefit, please provide it in this thread*.  Considering how little actual freight traffic CSX is likely to route down the Hudson line (as opposed to Selkirk and the West Shore) this might have been a 'Hunter deal' reminiscent more than a little of New Haven's selling and then re-leasing their stations in the McGinnis years.  It would get them out of a number of liabilities for owning the plant, while maintaining operating rights at whatever speed makes them the most.

*See subsequent post.  Does anyone have access to the actual text of the lease document?

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, August 05, 2019 1:46 AM

Drawbridge open still seems the best explanaition.

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Posted by bratkinson on Monday, August 05, 2019 9:42 AM

Actually, it's more likely that Albany 'cooked the books' a bit and reported a more favorable departure time than actually happened.

As a former CSX Intermodal clerk, there were times I obligingly reported an on-time or near on-time train 'release' that wasn't completely accurate. In almost every case, Q019 had not yet arrived to pick up our cars so it mattered little. However, my manager ripped me a new one the first time I recorded a 45 minutes late release due to late arriving UPS trailers from 70 miles away account a blizzard in progress. I only needed that one experience to conclude that 'on time' was more important that 100% truthfulness. I never reported a release time more than 5 minutes late thereafter.

And the rare times that Q019 actually departed late (90 minutes after release time), I have little doubt the yardmaster also adjusted the numbers so he'd look good to his boss. There were a couple of times Q019 would 'depart', move 10 feet or so and stop for 10-15 minutes before actually leaving town. For what it's worth, Amtrak did the same on the Silver Meteor at NYP while I was onboard back in January - move 10 feet and stop to finish loading baggage or whatever.

One would think that with todays' technology, actual departure would be recorded as when the train passed the first signals all of a mile outside the yard.  No human intervention required.  But then, if they depending on the signal drop time, the yardmaster, trainmaster, superintendant, and so on would be called on the carpet for a late train.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, August 05, 2019 10:55 AM

bratkinson
One would think that with todays' technology, actual departure would be recorded as when the train passed the first signals all of a mile outside the yard.  No human intervention required.  But then, if they depending on the signal drop time, the yardmaster, trainmaster, superintendant, and so on would be called on the carpet for a late train.

Official CSX train arrivals and departures were derived from CADS signal times at the appropriate locations.  Things may have changed since EHH and PSR.  30 years of being a Chief Dispatcher on CSX gives me some insight as to how things were actually done.  The migration to CADS initiatied timings was a direct result of much yardmaster, trainmaster, superintendant lying.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 05, 2019 11:29 AM

I'm pretty sure Amtrak owns all the way from Poughkeepsie to CP-169 (Hoffmans). CSX system map shows trackage rights. I'm voting with the "drawbridge" folk...  

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

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, August 05, 2019 5:12 PM

A more careful reading of my source material indicates that the New York State DOT mediated an Amtrak lease of the track in question, so Amtrak now has 'full responsibility for dispatching and maintenance' from Poughkeepsie through to Hoffmans, and has since some time in 2012.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, August 05, 2019 7:11 PM
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Posted by NKP guy on Monday, August 05, 2019 7:14 PM

MidlandMike

 

It'll be a cold day in Albany before that happens again!

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, August 05, 2019 9:48 PM

NKP guy
 
MidlandMike

It'll be a cold day in Albany before that happens again!

You would be amazed with the frequency vessels of virtually every kind break loose from their mooring in navigable waterways and strike bridges and other structures on the navigable waterway.

My carrier has bridges over a number of navigable waterways - would generally get notification from local authorities once or twice a year to have these bridges inspected because of 'float away' watercraft (and I am not talking pleasure craft.)

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 12:28 AM

The Sunset east bridge was hit by an errant barge and tow.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 6:55 AM

I'm aware of at least three bridges on the Calumet River that were struck by salt-water freighters.  The Calumet Western swing bridge was knocked off of its center pin in 1962 by a freighter squeezing through.  The bridge was out of service for good and was eventually removed about 1965.  The CWI bascule bridge (next to Torrence Avenue) was struck in the raised position around 1970 and was out of service for several months until major repairs were completed.  It was later replaced by a vertical lift bridge with better clearances.  The B&O bascule bridge next to the Skyway was struck in about 2000 and was eventually removed.

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 8:04 AM

Back in 1978, the Floridians were delayed when a tow hit the Southern's bridge at Decatur, Alabama. The southbound train was turned at Nashville, the northbound train was turned at Birmingham, and buses transported the passengers between the two cities. Northbound, the buses stopped at a hamburger joint just north of Birmingham, and Amtrak paid for lunch for everybody. (I was on my way back here, having visited family in several places.)

Johnny

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 9:32 AM

Deggesty
Back in 1978, the Floridians were delayed when a tow hit the Southern's bridge at Decatur, Alabama. The southbound train was turned at Nashville, the northbound train was turned at Birmingham, and buses transported the passengers between the two cities. Northbound, the buses stopped at a hamburger joint just north of Birmingham, and Amtrak paid for lunch for everybody. (I was on my way back here, having visited family in several places.)

Being railroad fans and living in the US we have very little understanding of the maritime world and the various operating conditions and accidents that water borne freight get involved in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPFLDXaE5Zc - how to become a mariner.

The individual has a series of videos showing his working life on the US Flagged Maersk Montana.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJBX512QeHU - another vlog series from the perspective of a Phillipeno Chief Engineer

Svitzer, Smit and Mammoet are leading company names in marine salvage all over the world.  The actions and expenses of salvaging a marine accident truly boggle the mind. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VyXQxM0-Nc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0z7rBWEX5Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK72_QAqPKE&t=2s

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 9:37 AM

The way the track arrangement works at Schenectady, a late-running Adirondack can plug the station so that the Lake Shore has to wait outside.  It's also possible that a discussion with the CSX dispatcher led to a decision to hang around Schenectady rather than sit at Hoffmans.

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 10:07 AM

rcdrye

The way the track arrangement works at Schenectady, a late-running Adirondack can plug the station so that the Lake Shore has to wait outside.  It's also possible that a discussion with the CSX dispatcher led to a decision to hang around Schenectady rather than sit at Hoffmans.

 

 

   Twenty-seven minutes late into Schenectady doesn't involve Hoffmans at all, as far as I can tell.

    I was prepared to go with the open drawbridge theory until I thought about Cleveland, where another former NYC drawbridge crosses the mouth of the Cuyahoga River a few feet from Lake Erie's shore.  I imagine both bridges are owned and operated by a railroad.

   Ships, oreboats, and pleasure craft wishing to pass the bridge either have to communicate with the bridge tender requesting a lift, or in the case of pleasure craft, wait for the bridge to lift, which can be a long time.

   I'd think that the Albany bridge tender knows what time #49 is due across his bridge (heck, he can probably see it).  It wouldn't be extraordinary, would it, for him to tell a ship on the Hudson to hang back a bit or stop until this short passenger train gets over it?  I know this happens in Cleveland; sometimes traffic on the river has to wait for several trains.

   Maybe #49 was late in leaving ALB because of a mechanical problem.

   For a posting I actually tried to delete, only to discover it was posted anyway, this  has produced some interesting answers.

 

P.S.  At Cleveland this summer, CSX has announced that the bridge will stay up until it's required to be lowered for a train, a reversal of policy that much pleases pleasure craft operators.

 

 

 

 

 

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 11:01 AM

FYI.

 

What goes up may come down?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTm1iJuBIbc

 Thank You. 

 

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 5:04 PM

WOW.

Learned something new.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 6:46 PM

NKP guy
It wouldn't be extraordinary, would it, for him to tell a ship on the Hudson to hang back a bit or stop until this short passenger train gets over it?

What I seem to remember is that in most cases, water traffic has the right of way at a bridge.  Someone like mudchicken will know far more about applicable law and precedent.  Boats were traversing those waterways long before even the predecessor bridges went in.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 7:42 PM

As some smart Aleck might say,  " The river was there first!! "

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, August 06, 2019 7:49 PM

Electroliner 1935
WOW.

Learned something new.

When a employee that is not scheduled to work - says he is not in proper condition to work!  Believe them!

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, August 07, 2019 6:34 AM

Overmod
 
NKP guy
It wouldn't be extraordinary, would it, for him to tell a ship on the Hudson to hang back a bit or stop until this short passenger train gets over it?

 

What I seem to remember is that in most cases, water traffic has the right of way at a bridge.  Someone like mudchicken will know far more about applicable law and precedent.  Boats were traversing those waterways long before even the predecessor bridges went in.

 
Said right-of-way is not absolute.  Most, if not all, of the vehicular bridges over the Chicago River are not manned full time.  Masted vessels need to make advance arrangement for the bridges to be raised.
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Posted by Amtrak207 on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 12:44 PM

To everyone who is speculating on this without understanding how the train actually performed, please discover the asm.transitdocs.com webpage.  

Specifically, asm.transitdocs.com/train/2019/8/3/49 shows that the train did not stop outside of Rensselaer, and was in fact over the Livingston Avenue Bridge (LAB) and halfway up the hill in four minutes.  Considering the permanent 15 over the bridge and tight curvature on the Rensselaer side, that’s not bad.  The train arrived SDY at 7:29P, zero days, zero hours and 02 minutes late.    

It then sat at SDY for 31 minutes.  Were they waiting for connections, Or was it interference from other passenger trains?   Nope.  Earlier trains 283, 68, 295 and 64 were not in the area.  296 departed six minutes before 49 arrived.  

[CSX].... does not operate west of Schenectady station on the single track, although there is still quite a lot of freight traffic between Selkirk and West Albany Yard, at the top of the hill.  That traffic moves at night or very early in the morning.  

Amtrak does not run through Rotterdam Junction, which is on the other side of the river.   

So, who knows?  It could have been something mechanical, or another PTC reboot, or perhaps they had to wait for the removal of a drunken passenger who had “felt their way into some trouble.”  

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Posted by NKP guy on Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:02 PM

Amtrak207:

   I (original OP)  used the same website as you but drew different conclusions.  I thought #49 was delayed out of ALB; it seems to have been late out of SDY instead.  Thanks for your information.  

   I'm also a little embarrassed to have mistaken the point at which Amtrak's NYC main line becomes CSX's main line.  I mistook Rotterdam Jct. for Hoffmans because I didn't double-check my recent Trains magazine map of that area.

   And as far as the delay being due to a PTC issue, I know that's entirely possible because it happened to me when I boarded #48 in Cleveland a few weeks previously, as the already-40 minute late train's engineer spent another 40 minutes trying to reboot the system.

   For a guy who's only posted here four times in six years, Amtrak 207, I have to say you hit a triple on my orginal post.  Well played.

   

 

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