On 12/3/13 1:41 PM, email@example.com wrote:
The diesel is not switched to "electric mode" until entering
the Park Avenue tunnel at 97th Street.
Even then, after changeover the diesel is typically still
"left running" (although not supplying traction power) until
closing in on the platforms.
There are good reasons for this. A third rail shoe might get
knocked off, or if the train stops with the engine "gapped"
(not touching the third rail) over switches, there's no way
to move the train except by switching back over to the diesel.
[[ Diesel operation isn't (or at least wasn't) allowed in
the tunnels, so they switched at C-H. ]]
Haha. I worked on the territory involved much of my career.
The secret most folks don't know is that for years, the
trains (pulled by the FL-9 "dual mode" diesels) ran into and
out of GCT "on diesel", because the "electric" propulsion
system didn't work. For a while, the Amtrak engines didn't
even have third rail shoes.
Back in the early days of Metro-North, when the FL-9's were
aging and they had no power with which to run the trains, MN
leased some Conrail B23-7 freight diesels. These had no
third-rail capabilities AT ALL. And they ran them into
G.C.T. on passenger trains when they had to. The trains had
to move, so they used what they had.
The "no diesels in the tunnel" was - and IS - wool pulled
over the public's eye...
Thanks for input, that's what I thought I read in the brief initial reports.
The more I played with train cars tonight the more I believe that pushing is
probably going to turn out to be statistically higher in deaths per mile
than pulling. Pushed cars tend to sway out in response to force from
behind. Pulled cars have a much higher resistance to jack-knifing.
It's pretty remarkably easy to demonstrate with toy train cars. If the lead
car of a pushed train derails, the cars behind will jack-knife. A heavy
locomotive might easily dislodge an obstruction on the track like a car
whereas an aluminum commuter train car acting as the lead might not.
Whatever the cause, it's going to be an interesting investigation. In this
day and age of instant computerized control, excessive speed should be
caught pretty early and possibly automatically. I remember that after years
of driving little sports cars I switched to a minivan and realized, in
white-knuckled, feeling the van lift up slightly panic, that I couldn't take
curves at anywhere NEAR the speed that I used to in a little Honda. (-:
OTOH, my occasional race car driving wife says "if your rear wheels don't
"drift" through a turn, you're not going fast enough." With all these
automatic control and braking systems it's hard to believe, given the
less-than-stellar record of at least a few train drivers, that some
automatic system would NOT put on the brakes before entering a curve at a
speed guaranteed to cause a derailment.
On 12/3/13 1:45 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The track on the MN Hudson line is built to high standards.
Examine closely pics of the wreck, and you'll see that the
track the train jumped doesn't show much damage at all.
Welded heavyweight rail and concrete ties.
NO train is going to attempt to negotiate a 30mph curve at
80+ and stay on the tracks.
On 12/2/2013 11:40 AM, email@example.com wrote:
Although depending on grade and loading, they often add "helpers" in the
middle and/or at the rear as well.
"Helper", UT is aptly named--it's the location the D&RGW stationed
additional engines to add to trains climbing Soldier Summit heading to
Salt Lake. It's in Carbon County NW of Price. The county name gives a
real hint as to the loading of most of the trains heading out...
On 12/2/13 12:40 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, that's not the case. You're thinking of
electrically-powered multiple-unit cars.
The train involved had unpowered coaches with a locomotive
on the rear end and a "cab control car" at the opposite end
(which in this instance was the front of the train). The cab
car has a throttle and brake setup and the control circuits
are carried through the coaches in the middle and back to a
jumper connection on the engine.
Back when I was running trains, I never liked the cab
control setup, but that was just me. First, being an
engineman, I wanted to BE "on the engine" to better know
what it was doing (you don't get enough feedback on the
other end when the engine is pushing). Secondly, the ride is
just rougher in push mode. Easier to control how the train
handles when the engine is pulling.
I used to run trains, too. Lionel. (-; Seriously, I am jealous. A real
train driver. I spent many hours riding in the front cars of the NYC subway
trains back when a 15 cent token allowed you to ride anywhere without
restriction. That was as close as I got. I am sure that at least some
other AHR'ers did it, too. It's a great experience. Not sure modern subway
cars allow it. Haven't ridden the NYC subway since 1980.
Feedback is incredibly important. A bad cable connection can knock out
important controls and indicators and as you say, you can't feel unusual
vibrations and noises that could indicate engine trouble.
That makes senses because it's a lot harder to stay on center when pushing
than when pulling. The cars being pushed tend to want to go right or left
and I'll bet there's quite a difference in the contact patch of rail and
wheel, at least force-wise.
Would they ever run a four car train with the engine between cars 2 and 3?
That would make it a hybrid push/pull train and could improve the handling
characteristics because fewer cars are being pushed.
With modern GPS units able to tell a driver when he's exceeding the speed
limit, how hard can it be to go one step further and have the train
automatically slow in the situation that the Hudson MTA train driver was in.
This is very interesting stuff:
<<Starting in 1990 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) counted
PTC among its "Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety
Improvements." At the time, the vast majority of rail lines relied on
the human crew for complying with all safety rules, and a significant
fraction of accidents were attributable to human error.
In September 2008, Congress considered a new rail safety law that sets a
deadline of December 15, 2015, for implementation of positive train control
(PTC) technology across most of the U.S. rail network. The bill, ushered
through the legislative process by the Senate Commerce Committee and the
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was developed in response
to the collision of a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight
train September 12, 2008, in California, which resulted in the deaths of 25
and injuries to more than 135 passengers.>>
I've been playing around with 027 trains but the same thing is true of them.
If they derail or hit an obstruction, the cars behind will accordian
outwards, or worse, telescope into each other.
Operator error. Ask any commercial pilot how blame is apportioned, if only
for legal reasons.
I believe they have a control cab upfront that is connected to the pushing
engine. From what little reading I've done so far, the configurations are
many. The key factor seems to be that turning a train around requires a lot
of real estate or a special roundhouse and these push/pull and other
configurations eliminate the need to reverse the train.
I wonder if they have footage of the train derailing? More and more CCTV
camera are being installed everywhere - they had an amazing amount of meteor
footage from Russia that came from parking lot cameras, dashcams and even
cell phones. There was a fascinating TV show about how they collected all
those videos and were able to determine the meteorite's trajectory. It
showed that it came directly out of the solar glare and was invisible to the
asteroid detection cameras/satelites now in use because they are "blinded"
by the sun.
auto speed control and auto brakes need to be standard everywhere.
on trains and mass transit its just common sense. but its coming on cars too...
the GPS knows what rad your on and limits max speed for everyones safety.
this day is fast approaching
A smart phone has more intelligence than the railroads.
What the RR needs.
Like street traffic cameras, there should be some way to signal the
engineer of the current speed zone or lower speed zones or impediments
If a train exceeds the current speed limit or before entering a lower
speed zone, there should be a warning signal in the locomotive to slow down.
There should be cameras and warning systems at RR crossings to alert the
engineer if there is an impediment at the crossing. If warned, the
engineer can prepare to stop way before reaching the crossing.
A train can take up a mile or more to stop so the warning should be
given at least a mile further than the crossing.
Of course, the train has to be further away than a mile when warned or
there might not be time to stop.
The RRS have always been slow to make repairs to their equipment. Look
how long it takes them to make repairs to RR crossings, if at all.
Another thing, replace all crossing gate lights with LEDs so less of the
light bulbs die. It'll save the RR money and that should be an incentive.
The most times that I have used a railroad was when I lived in the Bronx
back in the late 1940s, and that was the NYC Subway.
The 3 times I rode in an outdoor railroad was when I rode from the Bronx
to Bainbridge MD in July of 1955, Norfolk VA to Boston MA in 1956, and
from southern France to southern Spain in the late 1950s. All were when
I was in the Navy.
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