What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

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Station Aficionado
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by Station Aficionado » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:11 am

Patrick Boylan wrote:Station Aficionado, David Benton, you're repeating 2 of the 3 examples electricron already mentioned
electricron wrote: Lake Shore > Chicago to Albany 820 miles, Albany to New York City is 150 miles, Albany to Boston is 170 miles.
Empire Builder > Chicago to Spokane is 1780 miles, Spokane to Seattle is 280 miles, Spokane to Portland is 350 miles.
Sunset > Los Angeles to San Antonio is 1350 miles, San Antonio to Chicago is 1240 miles, San Antonio to New Orleans is 540 miles.
in addition to repeating what he already said, your extra posts are also at the same time redundant :)
Did we mention the Empire Builder and the Lake .... :-D. Oops, guess we need to read more carefully.

To followup on Ron's point, switching loco-hauled consists can be more involved than splitting/joining DMU/EMU consists, given the train power and trackage requirements. That said, as recently as the early '90's, Amtrak did a lot more enroute switching. In addition to EB, LSL and TE/Sunset, there were the following (and I may be missing some): both Silver trains had Miami and Tampa sections that were combined and split somewhere in Florida; the Carolinian and Palmetto combined/split at Rocky Mt.; the Crescent had cars that were dropped and added at Atlanta, as well as having a Mobile section (Gulf Breeze) that separated/joined at Birmingham; the TE had both San Antonio and Houston sections, that combined at Dallas; both the Desert Wind and Pioneer were joined to/separated from the CZ at Salt Lake City. But the prime switching location was New Haven. Before the Boston electricfication, Springfield/Inland Route sections split from/joined many (most?) NYP-BOS NEC trains.

So what's changed? I'm can't address any changes in operating practices, but (in addition to trainoffs) I do know that Amtrak wanted to reduce the expenses of maintaining switchers and switch crews at lots of locations (or paying for contract switching, which I know they did in Atlanta). And, as Ron noted, timekeeping on the LDs is an issue. Interestingly, the various PIPs for the LDs recommended a return, at least to a small degree, of enroute switching: Atlanta set-out cars for the Crescent, a Glewood Springs set-out for the CZ, and a single-level New York section of the CL, splitting off at Pittsburgh.

ExCon90
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by ExCon90 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:33 pm

Now that I think of it, there was a period of a few years -- possibly not more than that -- when the SP Coast Daylight carried through coaches for Oakland and one coach for San Francisco making local stops on the peninsula. Westbound, the Daylight arrived in San Jose with SF coaches, Oakland coaches, and the Peninsula coach ahead of the articulated coffee shop-kitchen-diner, then some parlors and the parlor-obs. Apparently upon arrival a station switcher pulled back everything behind the coaches, then another switcher pulled back the Oakland and Peninsula coaches, and then the diner and parlors were reattached to the coaches. As I recall, 12 minutes were allowed for that maneuver; after 99 departed, the Oakland coaches were attached to an Oakland train, and the Peninsula coach to the next SF local (providing a one-seat ride from LA and Glendale to Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Burlingame, and you name it). I trust there was some useful work for those two switchers to perform the rest of the day -- I don't see how one switcher could have done it in the time. Of course the Lark did the same thing, minus a local Pullman to SF. All in all, very labor intensive, and not often sustainable today. Out of curiosity, how exactly is the operation on the EB performed at Spokane?

kaitoku
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by kaitoku » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:10 pm

The previous posts pretty much covered it, I just don't see this kind of operation being viable in most N. A. systems outside of the northeast. You basically need EMU/DMU to do it cost effectively, and some semblance of timetable discipline. SBB has in their Zurich S-bahn services trains that have peak hour consists with two or three(?) loco+carriages lashed together, but I think that's merely to meet passenger capacity demands, rather than any train splitting. However, that kind of arrangement does solve the problem of expensive switching and stationing of locomotives at the junction when you have some hypothetical loco-hauled services w/train splitting.

Patrick Boylan
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by Patrick Boylan » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:52 am

And those loco+carriages lashed together mean that you have parts of the train that don't have passageways to each other, something that North American railroads have frowned upon, but that European operations, even the mighty TGV from what I've heard often couples 2 trains, don't seem to mind.

electricron
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by electricron » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:31 am

Patrick Boylan wrote:And those loco+carriages lashed together mean that you have parts of the train that don't have passageways to each other, something that North American railroads have frowned upon, but that European operations, even the mighty TGV from what I've heard often couples 2 trains, don't seem to mind.
True. But I don't think there is a valid reason for anyone to walk the entire length of any of these European trains. Whatever one walkable section of train has, so does the other. When trains aren't traversing very long distances, there's little reason to provide dining cars or food service cars. What you'll see are relatively small snack & drink counters, and having two of them on a two walkable section train isn't going to lose much money. The only reason why Amtrak needs one walkable section per train on LD trains is because they only place one diner car and/or one snack & drink counter per train. Passengers from every car might wish to visit them and Amtrak would like it to have access to the entire train.

Nasadowsk
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by Nasadowsk » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:00 pm

kaitoku wrote:SBB has in their Zurich S-bahn services trains that have peak hour consists with two or three(?) loco+carriages lashed together, but I think that's merely to meet passenger capacity demands, rather than any train splitting. However, that kind of arrangement does solve the problem of expensive switching and stationing of locomotives at the junction when you have some hypothetical loco-hauled services w/train splitting.
IIRC, SBB combines during peaks then splits up outside of the peaks, so off peak you'll have a loco and 4 cars, peak you'll have 3 units combined. BTW each RE450 is 3200kW, so a three unit set is 9600 kW (!)

They're retiring locomotive hauled consists in favor of EMUs. The Siemens ones (RABDe 514) I was on in 2010 make anything this side of the Atlantic look like a sad joke - much nicer interiors, much better ride, and the performance was fairly close to a Silverliner.

I was also on a RBe 540. That was kinda fun for about 5 minutes, then it sucked. Zurich Hbf is mostly open air. Go figure.

GWoodle
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by GWoodle » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:30 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:And those loco+carriages lashed together mean that you have parts of the train that don't have passageways to each other, something that North American railroads have frowned upon, but that European operations, even the mighty TGV from what I've heard often couples 2 trains, don't seem to mind.
There is a good reason Amtrak has no train like the Rock Island's Rock Mountain Rocket that would combine 2 consists into 1, complete with an AB6 to be put with the power set, coaches with the other coaches, sleepers with the sleepers, etc. Took too much time & expense. May have been fine in an old era if the comparable Denver Zephyr as sold out.
Glenn Woodle

Pensey GG1
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by Pensey GG1 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:14 pm

electricron wrote:
Patrick Boylan wrote:And those loco+carriages lashed together mean that you have parts of the train that don't have passageways to each other, something that North American railroads have frowned upon, but that European operations, even the mighty TGV from what I've heard often couples 2 trains, don't seem to mind.
True. But I don't think there is a valid reason for anyone to walk the entire length of any of these European trains. Whatever one walkable section of train has, so does the other. When trains aren't traversing very long distances, there's little reason to provide dining cars or food service cars. What you'll see are relatively small snack & drink counters, and having two of them on a two walkable section train isn't going to lose much money. The only reason why Amtrak needs one walkable section per train on LD trains is because they only place one diner car and/or one snack & drink counter per train. Passengers from every car might wish to visit them and Amtrak would like it to have access to the entire train.
If they were facing the right direction, you could couple two PP sets together "back" to "back" and still be able to walk through. How does a loco change or section split/combine compare to the regulations that tourist railroads have to abide by when shuffling a train at the other end of the route, like Strasburg does?

jb9152
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Re: What's involved in joining/separating trains mid-route?

Post by jb9152 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:09 pm

electricron wrote: Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District South Shore - 68 single level and 14 bi-level Nippon-Sharyos on one electric corridor.
Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority - 231 Silverliner IV and 120 Silverliner V on at least thirteen electric corridors.
I'm not aware of any of these EMU operators splitting trains or combining trains as part of their normal operations - although there appears plenty of opportunities to do so.
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) does cuts and adds routinely 7 days a week at Carroll Avenue Station (Michigan City Shops).

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