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STB hearing re New Orleans - Mobile Amtrak

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STB hearing re New Orleans - Mobile Amtrak
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 12:56 PM

I've looked in on the hearing/trial sporadically. It appears to me that SCX is overwhelming AMTK with data, and that CSX's legal team is superior to AMTK's. I want this passenger service to happen, but I'm not sure I'd put any money on Amtrak succeeding.

Since I've only watched now and then, my impressions are subject to random luck re when I watch. But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this."

I hope to catch more of AMTK's case; maybe their witnesses will be stonger than I'm expecting. But so far it seems like AMTK is outgunned.

However, if the STB rules that the service can start soon, they will be encoding the AMTK view of what the laws say on the broader issue of access and priority. A pro-AMTK decision would set an important precedent.

It can at times be amusing watching the board members, and AMTK's lawyers, simply trying to understand railroad operations. The level of detail in CSX's case is impressive. Not sure it's always accurate or significant, but I think some members don't ask many questions because they just don't comprehend what they're hearing.

Still in training.


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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 2:34 PM

The CSX CADS is one hell of a real time data generator about the operations of any track segment on CSX's property.

One of my contentions when I was working was that CADS and the data it was generating was in reality a Black Hole where all the data entered - never to be seen again.  I suspect CSX is using this data in their case - data that Amtrak has no counter for.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 2:49 PM

CSX and the other Class-1s have implemented the PSR metric that is causing all this fight.  CSX does not want to be the first to change their operating plans.  

I Have no idea if STB can order this but----.  Order CSX to dispatch no train that cannot fit into every siding for any moving 20 - 25 mile section.  That is for the whole route during Amtrak times that Amtrak proposed schedule or any other time slot in the future.

That would allow for any freight interferrence to be minimal.  Also more important the freight trains would then be quicker providing quicker shipper service.  No more CSX having to fleet trains in one direction at a time. Would be nice if that was nation wide but that should be for another day and thread.

Have Amtrak dispatch both Mobile and Crescent departures from NOL at the same time nose to tail. That would mean NS would only have 2 trains in one slot departing.  Getting Crescent back to earlier times would help the whole Crescent route for better times. 

One item is order CN not to block their crossing over CSX near Mobile.

Now for the present NS train blockages in NOL:  Order all RRs dthat use that segment to implement trackage rights for crews to clear beyond this nightmare location.  That will mean qualifying crews for whatever tracks needed to implement this plan.

Will this mean more T&E crews?  Yes but this whole PSR mess is starting to take a toll.  Now we have UP trying to limit number of cars for each shipper. customer that is sending cars on UP.  Wonder what RR is next?

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 5:33 PM

blue streak 1

CWill this mean more T&E crews?  Yes 

 

 

Which the railroads, and many other industries, are struggling to get.  So with fewer crews available, smaller trains will leave traffic behind, delaying more products.

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:40 AM

blue streak 1

CSX and the other Class-1s have implemented the PSR metric that is causing all this fight.  

Streak,

The cause of this fight is that ATK wants CSX to provide capacity for its trains FOR FREE. That is theft, pure and simple. 

Before ATK came up with this idea, they did routinely pay for capital investments required to enable the carriers to handle passenger trains, which must suffer no delays remember, without degrading the quality of the underlying freight service.

ATK has chosen to ignore the part of the law that says they must pay the marginal cost of their service.

This is a crucial fight that the freight carriers MUST win if they are to avoid spending massive amounts of their money to support the Fed's 12 inch to the foot model railroad. 

Mac

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:48 AM

blue streak 1
No more CSX having to fleet trains in one direction at a time. Would be nice if that was nation wide but that should be for another day and thread.

When I was a kid, Milwaukee Road did directional running on their Twin Cities mainline and the CTC signals mostly faced East on their Westbound main and mostly West on the Eastbound main.    They had ample crossovers for reverse  CTC and I never understood why they never upgraded the signalling.

When Soo took over reverse CTC was a priority item on their list as was removing main #2 as mostly unnecessary to support 24-30 trains a day.    But then Soo never closed some of the short mainline gaps in CTC, which I never understood either......especially closing the no brainer gap through Milwaukees Intermodal station.    Was it worth saving $5 million or whatever they charged Amtrak to close that short gap to run with the gap for  15-20 years?

Directional running makes no operational sense to me.   Double track or fix the signalling to be reverse CTC, with adequate passing siding length is my vote as well.   Stop the nationwide nonsense!!!   

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 8:40 AM

CSX's NO&M subdivision is single track CTC operation with 11 drawbridges between New Orleans and Mobile.  Several of the drawbridges require the bridge operator to get a MofW Authority to move on track from a road crossing on land to the bridge operators location and return.  One of the sidings can ONLY be accessed by rail.  The entire subdivision - track & signals - was rebuilt out of face subsequent to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 - this was done at the expense of CSX and its insurers.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 10:48 AM

BaltACD
Several of the drawbridges require the bridge operator to get a MofW Authority to move on track from a road crossing on land to the bridge operators location and return. 

I don't understand this either.    You can pick anyone from a number of YouTube videos of automated lift bridges with no human interaction (Chicago, Duluth, etc).    Some of those bridges are very light traffic.    Why is CSX doing this manually with a bridge tender?    Also, never understood why bridges do not have bridge strike detection if they are on a river with barge traffic.    We are not talking huge expense or high technology there either.     That whole Amtrak incident / fatal derailment could have been prevented with just a little money spent on safety.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 12:49 PM

PNWRMNM

 

 
blue streak 1

CSX and the other Class-1s have implemented the PSR metric that is causing all this fight.  

 

 

Streak,

The cause of this fight is that ATK wants CSX to provide capacity for its trains FOR FREE. That is theft, pure and simple. 

Before ATK came up with this idea, they did routinely pay for capital investments required to enable the carriers to handle passenger trains, which must suffer no delays remember, without degrading the quality of the underlying freight service.

ATK has chosen to ignore the part of the law that says they must pay the marginal cost of their service.

This is a crucial fight that the freight carriers MUST win if they are to avoid spending massive amounts of their money to support the Fed's 12 inch to the foot model railroad. 

Mac

 

My impression is that Amtrak is prepared to pay something. They just don't agree that the amount of new infrastructure needed (estimated at $440mil) is as great as CSX says it is. They seem to think that CSX is trying to get the taxpayers to pay for some infrastructure that CSX will need in the future anyway, regardless of any Amtrak trains.

I personally don't know if CSX is exaggerating what's needed or not. Part of what the STB is doing is drilling down on this point. At times the chairman does seem skeptical of CSX's claims. But perhaps when I have not been watching he has been equally skeptical of some Amtrak claims.

Still in training.


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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 2:39 PM

Any amount charged to Amtrak should have the improvements made for the Sunset be a reduction of the amount for service now.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 4:20 PM

blue streak 1

Any amount charged to Amtrak should have the improvements made for the Sunset be a reduction of the amount for service now.

I think the WisDOT, MnDOT, IlDOT, model is the one to follow here and would resolve this issue outside of the STB.    In my view Amtrak attempted to obtain the ability to decide if an additional train would cost any money or not.   CSX is partly to blame for whipping up opposition as well as attempting to block via exorbitant charges.    This suit is a waste of money in my view.

CSX should set a reasonable price or be like CP, reasonable price with a few freebies thrown in and Amtrak and the states should meet it.     This is after all CSX private property and they are basically negotiating a lease of track time.

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Posted by York1 on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 4:30 PM

CMStPnP
CSX should set a reasonable price or be like CP, reasonable price with a few freebies thrown in and Amtrak and the states should meet it. 

Will the states meet it?  I think Louisiana and Mississippi will, but will Alabama?  I haven't looked at this lately, so has Alabama offered any money recently?

York1 John       

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:03 PM

York1
Will the states meet it?  I think Louisiana and Mississippi will, but will Alabama?  I haven't looked at this lately, so has Alabama offered any money recently?

Alabama does not believe in rail transit anything or I should drop the rail and just say transit anything and include bus transit.   So don't hold your breath on waiting for Alabama to step up.    Montgomery has one of the crappiest bus transit systems in the United States I was told by an Aunt that used to live there.    Any attempts to fix it fall on deaf ears.    NPR did a segment on it a while ago...

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5038225

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 7:35 PM

Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data,

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing.

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this."

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 8:48 PM

MidlandMike
 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this.

Proprietary Information.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, April 14, 2022 2:39 PM

BaltACD

 

 
MidlandMike
 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this.

 

Proprietary Information.

 

In other words, "We are only providing this because we were ordered to do so. Before we hid behind the smokescreen we labeled 'proprietary data' to withhold. So guess what?  Now we're flooding you with that plus a bunch of irrelevant junk. Why? Because we are a-holes.  "Public be damned!"

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Posted by n012944 on Thursday, April 14, 2022 3:36 PM

charlie hebdo

 

 Now we're flooding you with that plus a bunch of irrelevant junk.

 
Please provide a source of what is "irrelevant junk" and what isn't.

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 14, 2022 4:13 PM

charlie hebdo
 
BaltACD 
MidlandMike 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this. 

Proprietary Information. 

In other words, "We are only providing this because we were ordered to do so. Before we hid behind the smokescreen we labeled 'proprietary data' to withhold. So guess what?  Now we're flooding you with that plus a bunch of irrelevant junk. Why? Because we are a-holes.  "Public be damned!"

You are sounding like the Engineer on a slop freight that thinks he is the best Train Dispatcher on the railroad - without any idea of what the Train Dispatcher's job is all about and how his train ranks in the scheme of priorities because priorities are just irrelevant junk.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, April 14, 2022 4:20 PM

BaltACD
ou are sounding like the Engineer on a slop freight that thinks he is the best Train Dispatcher on the railroad - without any idea of what the Train Dispatcher's job is all about and how his train ranks in the scheme of priorities because priorities are just irrelevant junk.

Wow man, you just described the METRA EXPRESS....ha-ha-ha.   I get stuck behind it sometimes on Amtrak's higher speed Hiawatha service.    :)

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 14, 2022 7:31 PM

This reminds me of obfuscated source in the software industry.

There are many reasons why a software company does not want others to have a clear and concise source to reverse-engineer.  So they take advantage of a particular compiler, and write all kinds of fascinating but 'plausible' nonsense, including code that does nothing but confirm in the compiled binaries that it was copied from proprietary software...

Here, CSX wants to hide nuggets of its key proprietary knowledge' in a great deal of eagerly proffered material.   I think with the hope that the STB eyes will glaze over before they extract the 'meat'.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 14, 2022 8:43 PM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, April 14, 2022 9:02 PM

BaltACD

 

 
charlie hebdo
 
BaltACD 
MidlandMike 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this. 

Proprietary Information. 

In other words, "We are only providing this because we were ordered to do so. Before we hid behind the smokescreen we labeled 'proprietary data' to withhold. So guess what?  Now we're flooding you with that plus a bunch of irrelevant junk. Why? Because we are a-holes.  "Public be damned!"

 

You are sounding like the Engineer on a slop freight that thinks he is the best Train Dispatcher on the railroad - without any idea of what the Train Dispatcher's job is all about and how his train ranks in the scheme of priorities because priorities are just irrelevant junk.

 

Happy B-Day

 

 

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, April 14, 2022 9:10 PM

BaltACD
You are sounding like the Engineer on a slop freight that thinks he is the best Train Dispatcher on the railroad - without any idea of what the Train Dispatcher's job is all about and how his train ranks in the scheme of priorities because priorities are just irrelevant junk.

That's ok - plenty of dispatchers think they are the best train crew on the planet - without an idea of, etc etc etc. 

Ying, yang, balance in the universe and all that. 

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 14, 2022 9:20 PM

zugmann
 
BaltACD
You are sounding like the Engineer on a slop freight that thinks he is the best Train Dispatcher on the railroad - without any idea of what the Train Dispatcher's job is all about and how his train ranks in the scheme of priorities because priorities are just irrelevant junk. 

That's ok - plenty of dispatchers think they are the best train crew on the planet - without an idea of, etc etc etc. 

Ying, yang, balance in the universe and all that. 

I never told train crews how to do the job - just what it needed to look like when completed.  Between Conductor and Engineer they can figure out the minimum number of steps, couplings and time to get the job accomplished.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, April 14, 2022 9:24 PM

BaltACD
I never told train crews how to do the job - just what it needed to look like when completed.  Between Conductor and Engineer they can figure out the minimum number of steps, couplings and time to get the job accomplished.

I've had it happen already. 

  

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, April 14, 2022 10:35 PM

BaltACD

 

 
MidlandMike
 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this.

 

Proprietary Information.

 

So it's proprietary info when they are trying to hide the basis of their modeling, then proprietary when they try to further delay the resumption of passenger service, but as soon as they are forced into the hearing, they gush forth this supposedly proprietary info to overwhelm the other side in data?

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 14, 2022 11:21 PM

zugmann
 
BaltACD
I never told train crews how to do the job - just what it needed to look like when completed.  Between Conductor and Engineer they can figure out the minimum number of steps, couplings and time to get the job accomplished. 

I've had it happen already. 

I have no doubt that some Train Dispatchers think they are better switchmen than those who put in the foot steps.  One thing I learned early - given the opportunity train and engine crews will always 'go for the quit' - getting the job done in the fewest moves and the shortest time possible - take away that opportunity and they will make sure they go in the law making the moves.

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, April 15, 2022 9:51 AM

A funny thing with "quits" and PSR...

 

 

  

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Friday, April 15, 2022 10:47 AM

MidlandMike

 

 
BaltACD

 

 
MidlandMike
 
Lithonia Operator
It appears to me that (CSX) is overwhelming AMTK with data, 

CSX and NS refused to provide Amtrak with the data before the hearing. 

Lithonia Operator
But my general impression is that CSX is focused on data, and AMTK is focused on "we simply have the right to do this." 

Amtrak has been waiting for years for the data.  If CSX's data was so compeling, why didn't they provide it a long time ago.  CSX had their chance, so now Amtrak might as well say they have the right to do this.

 

Proprietary Information.

 

 

 

So it's proprietary info when they are trying to hide the basis of their modeling, then proprietary when they try to further delay the resumption of passenger service, but as soon as they are forced into the hearing, they gush forth this supposedly proprietary info to overwhelm the other side in data?

 

I think we all know his rationale.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, April 21, 2022 2:11 PM

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