Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

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

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BlendedBreak
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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by BlendedBreak » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:08 am

RTD is not safe.
They do not employ conductors.
They choose to be cheap, and therefore will run into problems they could never imagine.
Without a Conductor who understands how air brakes work, how do you complete a brake test?

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by deathtopumpkins » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:51 am

Hopefully the engineer understands the air brakes, since he'll be the one using them!

Are you saying that RTD is employing one-man crews on the A line? Because I thought federal regulations required two-man crews, so I'm curious how they're skirting that requirement, considering that the A line is definitely connected to the national rail system, and shares tracks with Amtrak at Union Station.
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BlendedBreak
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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by BlendedBreak » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:44 am

So if the engineer is supposed to apply the brakes-you want him to get off the equipment,walk around it to make sure the brakes appear to be applied, and check for pressure irregularity at the same time?
When the equipment starts its inevitable roll and the doors close (Inertia sensors), who is going to stop the runaway train?
Whenever the brakes are released someone needs to be in the seat.

RTD is skirting regulations.

It is a one man crew for sure.

RTD plans to run this operation like a light rail system. My guess is in the very near future once the government becomes wise to the situation-RTD will have to shut down for a number of days as jobs are created to comply with regulation. Its going to be messy.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by deathtopumpkins » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:16 am

I'm sure RTD is not skirting regulations. That would be too risky. I can't imagine a major transit agency blatantly ignoring something like that. And I'm sure if that were the case, the FRA would be aware already and would not have allowed them to commence operations.
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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) system

Post by BlendedBreak » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:29 am

Of course you are.

Every railroad that has had preventable accidents in the past few years was skirting regulation.

RTD and DTP/DTO is no different.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by bdawe » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:59 am

Surely you can forgive us for being skeptical of claims that RTD is flagrantly violating Federal rules on their first days of operation

But, if they have, in fact, figured out how to join the 20th Century with respect to regional rail, I applaud them.
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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by electricron » Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:08 pm

I don't understand why the person outside walking around the train checking the brakes has to be assigned to the train? Couldn't that qualified person be assigned to the two terminus stations instead, helping the engineer in the new active cab check the brakes for every train? Since the engineer has to walk the train anyways switching cabs, couldn't they rotate engineers, with the new engineer climbing into the new cab while the old engineer walks the train, or vice versa, then takes a break and then becomes the new engineer on the next train?
For example, for ten trains in service, there's twelve qualified personnel for performing brake checks (10 on the trains and 2 at the end stations) vs twenty (2 on 10 trains), therefore eight less personnel required to perform these tests.

I'll admit I am not aware exactly the operating procedure, but even a lay person like me can see ways to have qualified personnel make the necessary break checks without having two people assigned to ride the train all the way over the route.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:34 pm

So far, there's no FRA rule prohibiting one-man passenger rail operation that I can find on their website. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that it doesn't exist.

AAR seems to like "no ruling" as the status quo (which, it's an industry mouthpiece, so that makes sense) as long as there's PTC in place.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by BlendedBreak » Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:55 pm

electricron wrote:I don't understand why the person outside walking around the train checking the brakes has to be assigned to the train? Couldn't that qualified person be assigned to the two terminus stations instead, helping the engineer in the new active cab check the brakes for every train? Since the engineer has to walk the train anyways switching cabs, couldn't they rotate engineers, with the new engineer climbing into the new cab while the old engineer walks the train, or vice versa, then takes a break and then becomes the new engineer on the next train?
For example, for ten trains in service, there's twelve qualified personnel for performing brake checks (10 on the trains and 2 at the end stations) vs twenty (2 on 10 trains), therefore eight less personnel required to perform these tests.

I'll admit I am not aware exactly the operating procedure, but even a lay person like me can see ways to have qualified personnel make the necessary break checks without having two people assigned to ride the train all the way over the route.
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SI ... 2&rgn=div5
mtuandrew wrote:So far, there's no FRA rule prohibiting one-man passenger rail operation that I can find on their website. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that it doesn't exist.

AAR seems to like "no ruling" as the status quo (which, it's an industry mouthpiece, so that makes sense) as long as there's PTC in place.
For railroads that connect to the General Railroad System there are certain criteria that must be met.
bdawe wrote:Surely you can forgive us for being skeptical of claims that RTD is flagrantly violating Federal rules on their first days of operation

But, if they have, in fact, figured out how to join the 20th Century with respect to regional rail, I applaud them.
No harm - no foul if they claim ignorance.

For all.Conductor Certification Requirements.
http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c= ... 9.4.242_13

When this company has their first at-grade collision/fatality.
The Engineer will have to:
Report the event to a dispatcher.
If unable to reach the dispatcher provide flag protection for his train in both directions.
(when getting off the train he must provide safety protection to himself and cut HEP=Passengers in the dark-literally.)
(Also general liability for leaving operating cab after incident.)
Take a count of passengers onboard.
Take note of any passengers requiring assistance.
Go out and check the vehicle for fatality or injury.
Survey damage to railroad infrastructure.
Liaise with emergency services.

It is going to be a nightmare. But hey, i might be wrong.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by bdawe » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:07 pm

BlendedBreak wrote:
electricron wrote: When this company has their first at-grade collision/fatality.
The Engineer will have to:
Report the event to a dispatcher.
If unable to reach the dispatcher provide flag protection for his train in both directions.
(when getting off the train he must provide safety protection to himself and cut HEP=Passengers in the dark-literally.)
(Also general liability for leaving operating cab after incident.)
Take a count of passengers onboard.
Take note of any passengers requiring assistance.
Go out and check the vehicle for fatality or injury.
Survey damage to railroad infrastructure.
Liaise with emergency services.

It is going to be a nightmare. But hey, i might be wrong.
I can sort-of understand the technicalities of railroad brakes and brake check rules, but what about the above scenario is so different from what light rail and subway motormen nearly everywhere and regional rail drivers all across the world beyond the US and Canada manage to make work?
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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:36 pm

Moderator's Note: I just opened a new topic, One-Man Crew. Let's move the general non-RTD discussion there.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by BlendedBreak » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:39 am

bdawe wrote:
BlendedBreak wrote:
electricron wrote: When this company has their first at-grade collision/fatality.
The Engineer will have to:
Report the event to a dispatcher.
If unable to reach the dispatcher provide flag protection for his train in both directions.
(when getting off the train he must provide safety protection to himself and cut HEP=Passengers in the dark-literally.)
(Also general liability for leaving operating cab after incident.)
Take a count of passengers onboard.
Take note of any passengers requiring assistance.
Go out and check the vehicle for fatality or injury.
Survey damage to railroad infrastructure.
Liaise with emergency services.

It is going to be a nightmare. But hey, i might be wrong.
I can sort-of understand the technicalities of railroad brakes and brake check rules, but what about the above scenario is so different from what light rail and subway motormen nearly everywhere and regional rail drivers all across the world beyond the US and Canada manage to make work?
The difference is scale.
RTD has operated busses and streetcars. The amount of power these hyundai MU's have, their significant weight, and the power that can be generated by those traction motors makes for a totally different operation.

Streetcars are easy to handle, it is possible to have fender benders with streetcars. At grade, one of these hyandai MU's will decimate a tractor trailer or a school bus. Braking on larger heavy equipment has a time delay, it is possible to exhaust available air with multiple applications.

RTD plans on running these heavy machines like streetcars. No conductors on board to collect fares or advise the engineer of upcoming restrictions. If an engineer becomes incapacitated who can report to the dispatcher where the train is and what is going on? RTD needs to rethink their approach.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by leviramsey » Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:09 pm

BlendedBreak wrote: RTD plans on running these heavy machines like streetcars. No conductors on board to collect fares or advise the engineer of upcoming restrictions. If an engineer becomes incapacitated who can report to the dispatcher where the train is and what is going on? RTD needs to rethink their approach.
It's at the very least interesting that you mentioned conductors collecting fares. Having conductors collecting fares seems to me to patently unsafe. Every second the conductor is collecting fares is a second the conductor is not advising the engineer of speed restrictions.

Countries that don't expect conductors to collect fares (indeed, many of which normally don't have conductors at all) tend to operate much safer trains than the US, in terms of fatalities per million passenger-miles.

RTD is operating PoP (as do several other FRA-regulated commuter railroads), so we know they're not having the conductor or assistants collecting fares. But beyond that is there actual confirmation that there will only be one engineer on board (all I can see is a reference to every engineer also being a certified conductor, but isn't that normally the case anyway?)?

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by BlendedBreak » Sun Apr 24, 2016 8:53 pm

When an engineer is at the controls his primary focus is controlling the move. Making station stops, observing the rails, inspecting the catenary/other trains, and keeping schedule time. Any input from a conductor regarding special situations helps, 1 station stop prior or 5 miles prior, it helps.

This is a commuter line so the conductor will most likely have to collect fares on board, but since RTD has none...
... This will not apply.

I am positive there is only 1 rtd employee on the train. Maybe a contracted guard / peace officer to monitor fare evasion.
Lets hope that the engineer doesn't faint at the controls.

Also only road foreman/certain supervisory employees carry both a conductor and engineer card.

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Re: Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Post by bdawe » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:46 pm

So what if the Engineer faints? That problem was solved a very long time ago by deadman switches, and even if the engineer in the train behind him faints too (perhaps some weird gas floating out of the old' Rocky Mountain Arsenal site?), the PTC is going to prevent the trains from colliding.
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