Equipment cycles

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: gprimr1, mtuandrew

Post Reply
User avatar
jt42cwr
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:37 pm

Equipment cycles

Post by jt42cwr » Mon May 12, 2014 4:12 pm

Hi,

I'm planning a trip to the US in September and want to cram in as much as possible into the time I have.

I would like to take in the Sounder, TRE, NMRRE & UTA trains with the aim of travelling on trains with as many different locomotives as possible. To aid in making this as easy as possible, can anyone advise what the current train cycles are for any or all of these self-contained operations?

TIA

electricron
Posts: 4613
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by electricron » Mon May 12, 2014 5:32 pm

I'm not sure what you are asking, equipment cycles, but headways between trains vary during the day for each commuter rail operator, so it's almost impossible to reply to your question with just a single answer. It might be better to surf to every train you plan to ride web site and check out their schedules.
Are you planning to ride as many trains as possible, or ride on as many lines or routes as possible? Some commuter rail operators have just one line, others have many. Some commuter rail operators have more than one class of locomotives, but it's nearly impossible to tell in advance which train will have which locomotive.
Good luck finding your answers, and have a great ride on your trains in America.
Limiting my reply to the TRE specifically, it runs two class of locomotives with its push-pull operations, seven F51PH and two F51PHI locomotives. Any loco can be assigned to any train. They rarely run the RDCs anymore. You can find their train schedules at http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/ea ... ekday.html

JayBee
Posts: 373
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:28 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by JayBee » Tue May 13, 2014 12:13 am

I understand what he is looking for as I study European railways. It sounds as though he wants to try and experience haulage behind(or in front of) as many members of each agency's locomotive fleet as possible. European spotters produce lists of the equipment turns as a way to maximize "Haulage". For example they track the equipment by its cycle so set #1 goes out on Train #100 the first train on Monday morning, it then returns to its starting point as train #117 later in the morning, then outbound on train #130 at the beginning of the Evening rush, and so on. Then that same set of equipment starts out on Train #102 the second departure on Tuesday morning, etcetera. But I am unaware of US fan's generating the same information on US passenger trains. A big reason is the low utilization of equipment by US Transit agencies with many sets of equipment getting as little as one round trip per day. Some Agencies do operate off peak services, but typically one set makes the off peak runs.

User avatar
jt42cwr
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:37 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by jt42cwr » Tue May 13, 2014 3:13 am

JayBee wrote:I understand what he is looking for as I study European railways. It sounds as though he wants to try and experience haulage behind(or in front of) as many members of each agency's locomotive fleet as possible. European spotters produce lists of the equipment turns as a way to maximize "Haulage". For example they track the equipment by its cycle so set #1 goes out on Train #100 the first train on Monday morning, it then returns to its starting point as train #117 later in the morning, then outbound on train #130 at the beginning of the Evening rush, and so on. Then that same set of equipment starts out on Train #102 the second departure on Tuesday morning, etcetera. But I am unaware of US fan's generating the same information on US passenger trains. A big reason is the low utilization of equipment by US Transit agencies with many sets of equipment getting as little as one round trip per day. Some Agencies do operate off peak services, but typically one set makes the off peak runs.
Yes, that's exactly it.

I have on various trips had "haulage" behind nearly 800 locos across all the various passenger operators. I have in the past been sent information by some agencies, such as MARC. VRE publish theirs on their website, http://www.vre.org/service/consist.htm. An example of Metra's cycles can be found here http://www.chicagorailfan.com/cycles.html.

I guess I'm hoping there are some sympathetic employees lurking on here?

electricron
Posts: 4613
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by electricron » Tue May 13, 2014 5:43 am

TRE and many other agencies run trains in push-pull, with cab cars in front in one direction and locomotives in the other. For example, TRE runs locomotives in front towards Fort Worth and cab cars in front towards Dallas. Do you consider cab cars as locomotive because that's where the engineer sits, or are you only interested in the locomotives where the horsepower is generated? The VRE has a much simpler schedule because most of the train sets make just one round trip a day. TRE trains make several round trips - their maintenance yard is located in Irving mid way between Dallas and Fort Worth vs at the terminus stations for the WRE. TRE also runs special trains on nights the Dallas Mavericks and Stars hold games that's impossible to account for on any equipment rotation schedule on a daily basis. Additionally, per the regular TRE schedule, you'll notices trains starting and ending service at Centerpoint, rest assured that's a new train set starting service and an old train set leaving service during the day,

jb9152
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by jb9152 » Tue May 13, 2014 8:14 am

JayBee wrote:I understand what he is looking for as I study European railways. It sounds as though he wants to try and experience haulage behind(or in front of) as many members of each agency's locomotive fleet as possible. European spotters produce lists of the equipment turns as a way to maximize "Haulage". For example they track the equipment by its cycle so set #1 goes out on Train #100 the first train on Monday morning, it then returns to its starting point as train #117 later in the morning, then outbound on train #130 at the beginning of the Evening rush, and so on. Then that same set of equipment starts out on Train #102 the second departure on Tuesday morning, etcetera. But I am unaware of US fan's generating the same information on US passenger trains. A big reason is the low utilization of equipment by US Transit agencies with many sets of equipment getting as little as one round trip per day. Some Agencies do operate off peak services, but typically one set makes the off peak runs.
Equipment cycles are a by-product of any service planning exercise; every agency has them, and they use them to plan periodic maintenance, fueling, deadheading, etc. Most of them do not publish that information publicly, unfortunately. Sometimes, with a simple enough operation (and all of the operations listed by the OP are simple), one can easily figure out the cycles - which trains/equipment sets are "starts" (generally, those in the AM), which trains/equipment sets turn for which trains, which trains/equipment sets are "end of cycle" (a little tougher sometimes, if trains are going out of service at the end of the PM peak at a relatively close headway - the question is which ones are headed to the yard/storage and which are staying in service to provide post-PM peak service). There's also the matter of mid-day storage (determining which train sets go out of service after the AM peak, and which stay in service to provide mid-day off peak service. It's sometimes an interesting exercise to do this stuff yourself, if you have time; you'll need a car, though, to do it. If one doesn't, you can always inquire of the agencies. Some will be willing to share, others will not.

That's a very simplified explanation, so I hope it's clear.

User avatar
jt42cwr
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:37 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by jt42cwr » Tue May 13, 2014 3:38 pm

jb9152 wrote:Sometimes, with a simple enough operation (and all of the operations listed by the OP are simple), one can easily figure out the cycles - which trains/equipment sets are "starts" (generally, those in the AM), which trains/equipment sets turn for which trains, which trains/equipment sets are "end of cycle" (a little tougher sometimes, if trains are going out of service at the end of the PM peak at a relatively close headway - the question is which ones are headed to the yard/storage and which are staying in service to provide post-PM peak service). There's also the matter of mid-day storage (determining which train sets go out of service after the AM peak, and which stay in service to provide mid-day off peak service. It's sometimes an interesting exercise to do this stuff yourself, if you have time; you'll need a car, though, to do it. If one doesn't, you can always inquire of the agencies. Some will be willing to share, others will not.

That's a very simplified explanation, so I hope it's clear.
You started off by saying one can easily figure out the cycles and then proceeded to list all the reasons why you can't, hence why I asked for them in the first place :wink: . Unfortunately, whilst I'd love to be able to take the time to site there and watch what unfolds I won't have time to do so at any of the operations I'm visiting. I will be travelling on the trains trying to catch as many different locos as possible, without missing any, and this is where knowing which turns only work on limited trains is vital.

jb9152
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by jb9152 » Wed May 14, 2014 8:29 am

jt42cwr wrote:You started off by saying one can easily figure out the cycles and then proceeded to list all the reasons why you can't, hence why I asked for them in the first place :wink: .
Understood. I never said it didn't involve work, just that it was easy in general. If you put in the work, and have a basic knowledge of railroad operations, you can do it. It just takes a long time, and you have to be organized.
jt42cwr wrote:Unfortunately, whilst I'd love to be able to take the time to site there and watch what unfolds I won't have time to do so at any of the operations I'm visiting. I will be travelling on the trains trying to catch as many different locos as possible, without missing any, and this is where knowing which turns only work on limited trains is vital.
Well, good luck, then. Unless a buff on this board has done the work and can provide you with his or her idea of the equipment manipulation, I doubt you'll be able to get every single one of the agencies to send you their plans. Worth a shot, though.

User avatar
jt42cwr
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 12:37 pm

Re: Equipment cycles

Post by jt42cwr » Wed May 14, 2014 5:30 pm

jb9152 wrote:Understood. I never said it didn't involve work, just that it was easy in general. If you put in the work, and have a basic knowledge of railroad operations, you can do it. It just takes a long time, and you have to be organized.
I'm sure I could put something together today, but it would only be a guess, as I could do it again tomorrow and come up with something completely different.
jb9152 wrote:Well, good luck, then. Unless a buff on this board has done the work and can provide you with his or her idea of the equipment manipulation, I doubt you'll be able to get every single one of the agencies to send you their plans. Worth a shot, though.
It is worth a shot, yes.

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion - Passenger Rail”