LIRR Dispatching

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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MNCRR9000
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LIRR Dispatching

Post by MNCRR9000 » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:36 pm

I was wondering how is the LIRR dispatched. I saw that there is a Operations Control Center at Penn Station. Does the Penn Station OCC control just the Penn Station area or does it extend out. Also what section does the Jamaica OCC operate? How many positions are there in each control center?

Dump The Air
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by Dump The Air » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:52 pm

For the most part the LIRR does it the old fashioned way, a central dispatcher in 204 in Jamaica and towers throughout the system controlling territories. I think they may have the most active towers of any railroad in the east.

Noel Weaver
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by Noel Weaver » Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:15 am

Dump The Air wrote:For the most part the LIRR does it the old fashioned way, a central dispatcher in 204 in Jamaica and towers throughout the system controlling territories. I think they may have the most active towers of any railroad in the east.
At this stage in railroad operations, the LIRR might have more operating towers than any other single railroad in the country. If they do not, they must be close.
Noel Weaver

Liquidcamphor
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by Liquidcamphor » Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:25 am

The LIRR divides up the Railroad into "Sections" with each section having a Section Dispatcher in charge of it. That Dispatcher then relays Train Orders, authorities and messages to trains through the Towers in their respective section. The Section Dispatchers are subordinate to the Chief Train Dispatcher. At any one time, there are four Section Dispatchers (because there are four sections) and one Chief. Their jobs are some of the most stressful on the Railroad and very important to the operation. Without them, the Railroad wouldn't run.

There are two kinds of towermen in charge of a tower. One is a Block Operator, which has to ask his Section Dispatcher for permission for most anything he does, and there are Train Directors, whom do not have to go to the Dispatcher for permission to enact their decisions. Directors are found in most of the busiest towers since having to ask a Dispatcher for permission to make every move would drive the Dispatcher insane due to the volume of movements.

The Block Operators make the least per hour, then come the Directors, Section Dispatchers and the top salary is the Chief. As their responsibility increases, so does there salary. All Dispatchers are considered "Conductor Qualified" meaning they have the same qualifications as a Conductor but, they have to receive a minimum 90% on all their testing as opposed to 75% for Conductors and Engineers.

This whole group are some of the most important employees on the LIRR and absolutely essential to it's operation. I was a Locomotive Engineer and we always prided ourselves on our importance to the Company, but the aforementioned employees are where it all begins and without them, we would not be able to move anything.

BMC
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by BMC » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:06 am

My first job was as the clerk up in the Movement Bureau. And I can add my endorsement to the previous post. Very tough job and very stressful .Some of the sharpest guys & girls that work on the LIRR. At one time, you had to be 'qualified' in every tower out there before going into 204.

In addition to all the train movement actions as described so perfectly by camphor, the Movement Bureau is also like a fire/police/medical dispatch center handling all requests from those trains for those things when needed anywhere from Manhattan to Montauk. Again, you'd be amazed at the volume of calls for all those items. Not unusual to be handling a medical call on a train in Forest Hill, a brush fire along the tracks in Stony Brook and a jumper in Patchoogue all at the same time.

Then there are the very infrequent (LOL) calls of breakdowns and mechanical troubleshooting. Theough MofE Central Control is in the same large room and has a direct line to 204's bridge, most of the Chief's and dispatchers are very well versed on the rolling stock.

Also part of that same large room (and also with direct lines) are the Equipment Coord. and the Power Director (third rail).

MNCRR9000
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by MNCRR9000 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:38 am

Thanks for all the responses. I didnt know that the LIRR still used towers. How many towers does the LIRR have?

MNRR_RTC
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by MNRR_RTC » Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:06 pm

Liquidcamphor wrote:The LIRR divides up the Railroad into "Sections" with each section having a Section Dispatcher in charge of it. That Dispatcher then relays Train Orders, authorities and messages to trains through the Towers in their respective section. The Section Dispatchers are subordinate to the Chief Train Dispatcher. At any one time, there are four Section Dispatchers (because there are four sections) and one Chief. Their jobs are some of the most stressful on the Railroad and very important to the operation. Without them, the Railroad wouldn't run.

There are two kinds of towermen in charge of a tower. One is a Block Operator, which has to ask his Section Dispatcher for permission for most anything he does, and there are Train Directors, whom do not have to go to the Dispatcher for permission to enact their decisions. Directors are found in most of the busiest towers since having to ask a Dispatcher for permission to make every move would drive the Dispatcher insane due to the volume of movements.

The Block Operators make the least per hour, then come the Directors, Section Dispatchers and the top salary is the Chief. As their responsibility increases, so does there salary. All Dispatchers are considered "Conductor Qualified" meaning they have the same qualifications as a Conductor but, they have to receive a minimum 90% on all their testing as opposed to 75% for Conductors and Engineers.

This whole group are some of the most important employees on the LIRR and absolutely essential to it's operation. I was a Locomotive Engineer and we always prided ourselves on our importance to the Company, but the aforementioned employees are where it all begins and without them, we would not be able to move anything.
Now, how about the LIRR console operators that work in PSCC along side the Amtrak train dispatchers. Are they considered train dispatchers by the LIRR or no?
"The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be a shepherd."-Jules, "Pulp Fiction"

jayrmli
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by jayrmli » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:04 pm

This is a very interesting thread - and I'm sure Liquidcamphor, Tool, and anyone else with experience operating over the LIRR can agree that the smoothness of operation of trains over the railroad is directly proportionate to which dispatcher is sitting in the chair at the time, particularly if there are extra train movements or something out of the norm.

If you have someone in the dispatcher's office (or a combination of employees) who are "green" to the job, it can be a real struggle. Conversely, when it's someone that knows their job well (and most of them do, BTW), it is a pleasure.

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by Otto Vondrak » Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:43 pm

BMC wrote:My first job was as the clerk up in the Movement Bureau.
Anyone know where this term came from? Never heard of any other railroad with a Movement Bureau.
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RetiredLIRRConductor

Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by RetiredLIRRConductor » Mon Nov 10, 2008 4:28 am

The Pennsylvania RR called their Chief Dispatchers office the Movement Bureau also

diffusedmind
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by diffusedmind » Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:57 pm

MNCRR9000 wrote:Thanks for all the responses. I didnt know that the LIRR still used towers. How many towers does the LIRR have?
There are (from what I remember, and that isn't much):
Harold
Jay
Hall
Wood
Valley
Divide
Nassau
Queens
Dunton
Brook
Babylon

LongIslandTool
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by LongIslandTool » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:06 pm

Lead
------------------------
The Long Island Tool
"... overzealously discharges his duties;
...a "tool" of the administration"

cpontani
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by cpontani » Mon Nov 10, 2008 1:56 pm

Now is the natural evolution to consolidate this into a central command/dispatch center? Or is it a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?"

LIengineerBob
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by LIengineerBob » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:16 pm

diffusedmind wrote:
MNCRR9000 wrote:Thanks for all the responses. I didnt know that the LIRR still used towers. How many towers does the LIRR have?
There are (from what I remember, and that isn't much):
Harold
Jay
Hall
Wood
Valley
Divide
Nassau
Queens
Dunton
Brook
Babylon

"Wood" is an interlocking only controlled by the section A dispatcher in Jamaica (204). There is no tower at "Wood".

Harold is still a tower, but is controlled by PSCC, and I believe it still can be used in an emergency as an operational tower. Last I heard though, that was a last, last resort and control would be taken in the large signal hut (CIL-Central Instrument Location) in the middle of the intrerlocking in an emergency before the tower is used.

diffusedmind
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Re: LIRR Dispatching

Post by diffusedmind » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:22 am

Darn, I was hoping to see a fresh new "WOOD" sign. :P

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