• Amtrak’s Growing Pains with Siemens Locomotives

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by ApproachMedium
 
8th Notch wrote: Wed Jul 06, 2022 2:41 pm I remember when touching the battery switch use to be a big NO NO around here, until they realized they the soft reset hardly worked.
Softreset is like softcore porn it does NOTHING to solve the problem!!!!
  by ApproachMedium
 
THE SHINEY RED BUTTON. THE BIG CANDY LIKE BUTTON. WILL HE PRESS IT? WHAT WILL HAPPEN????
  by photobug56
 
Reminds me of the image I had in my head when, about 20 years ago, a rent a cop in a large data center for a major IT company (these days known for payroll processing) heard an alarm going off and felt he needed to silence it. He found such a button - and punched it. The button wasn't to silence the alarm, but an emergency shut down for a backup generator, which was running because of a blackout the guard wasn't aware of. The firm had never gotten around to building a backup data center (thus violating contracts). That shut down financial market data feeds to tens of thousands of brokers, and did major damage to the systems at the firm; it took weeks to get back up again.
  by STrRedWolf
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Wed Jul 06, 2022 1:12 pm The Siemens locos all run on Linux software. The original run away throttle problem they had (around the same time 188 crashed) was a problem in the programming that when reached said bug the OS would crash, revert the date to Linus Torvalds birthday and the throttle would get stuck in power until it reset itself a minute or two later. Similar issue would happen with the dynamic. The dynamic was a better situation because stopping is more favorable than going out of control.

Ill take knife switching old diesels any day over playing system IT admin on these ACS. When certain problems happen i turn the battery contactor off and that upsets some people. But guess what? It gets it going again, and i dont want to live here i want to go home.
Having mucked with the Linux kernel a bit, I can see how Siemens built a custom "spin" of a Linux OS that behaves like a RTOS. The kernel can be compiled for it.

But for EVERYTHING?

I can see offloading certain items to separate systems like lighting, radio, etc. Stuff that doesn't need a RTOS or having it's own RTOS would be better than having a unified system.

The other thing is that... we've had similar systems that date decades back. I've seen where they had to call a technician with a laptop on a GP40WH2 to reboot it. Ditto on the AEM-7's and HHP-8's. Ditto on most modern cars (even gas powered ones), but they're rebooted constantly because of how we drivers on the road use them (Tesla cars excluded unfortunately).

I now wonder if train engine design is more of an art than a science...
  by scratchyX1
 
Didn't we have another thread discussing the OS and other internals of locomotives, and few years ago?
Something I'm wondering, semi related.
The shinkensen has been automated, for years.
The driver is there for emergencies.
What are it's internals?
Wheel slippage, and fuel consumption, and emissions control seems to be where computer controls are needed, followed by PTC.
But, unless they are making an automated locomotive, why have an integrated system, as opposed to components?
It would make troubleshooting, alot easier.
  by MattW
 
Quick correction, but I don't believe the Shinkansen uses automatic train operation. Its automatic train control system is more akin to advanced PTC despite the name.
  by rcthompson04
 
How many Sprinter / Charger “problems” are tied to interfacing with other equipment? One minor issue I have seen with SEPTA’s push pull sets involves releasing the brakes several times to deal with a door issue. Not a Sprinter problem, but how does the Sprinter handle it compared to the old AEM-7s?
  by ApproachMedium
 
Huge part of it. The biggest problem they have right now is they use the standard 27 pin MU plugs which are normally all analog and use relays. On the siemens engines, its done with a digital IO station that measures voltages. Ive mentioned before, if you get water in the MU plug the computer shows trailing unit faults, if theres no trailing unit. You can lick your hand and touch the pins and set a fault too..

This does very well with snow when the covers break off
  by RandallW
 
I understand the Airbus 320 and newer aircraft are completely computerized, and we've not really seen reports of problems due to those computers. Its more likely that the degree of safety oversight for the ACS-64 and other locomotives isn't nearly what it is for aircraft that allowed this situation to occur (that and/or the lack of customer choice in off-the-shelf locomotives).
  by photobug56
 
While I've long been a fan of Boeing, their poor quality control and cheapness on the 737 Max computer systems cost dearly. They use badly out of date and under powered computers, which doesn't help. They cheaped out on sensors (like angle of attack) and on warnings of mismatch between such sensors, and had 2 crashes as a result. Sure, at least one if not both aircrews were, IMHO, grossly incompetent, but the problems should never have happened. And consequences for such screwups in commercial airliners can and have been very bad.

Now on locos, sure, they could cause accidents. But they are more likely just to cause breakdowns.
  by ApproachMedium
 
photobug56 wrote: Thu Jul 07, 2022 8:06 pm While I've long been a fan of Boeing, their poor quality control and cheapness on the 737 Max computer systems cost dearly. They use badly out of date and under powered computers, which doesn't help. They cheaped out on sensors (like angle of attack) and on warnings of mismatch between such sensors, and had 2 crashes as a result. Sure, at least one if not both aircrews were, IMHO, grossly incompetent, but the problems should never have happened. And consequences for such screwups in commercial airliners can and have been very bad.

Now on locos, sure, they could cause accidents. But they are more likely just to cause breakdowns.
All of this. The siemens stuff is outdated, cheap crap. You would think the Germans would be making better stuff. They arent. You want a good, advanced computer tech (way ahead of its time, at the time) locomotive the ALP46 and A class were both running the same "age" tech but the Bombardier offering had the brains of Mercedies behind its original build. The same people whos motto is, its Mercedies, or nothing! Those locomotives have had their mechanical issues, but they were caused by poor local maintaince. But their doors still close perfect, none of the window gaskets are blown out, none of the door latches stick, all the seats work perfect and are still comfortable. The computers do not have glitchy problems and surprise, their 27 pin MU plugs MU with literally diesel locomotives made 50 years ago. All of which i just described are problems we are having with ACS64s. The most annoying is the lack of functional doors/door gaskets.

Wow.
  by photobug56
 
Reminds me of something; some years ago I bought a set of 2 line cordless phones - from Siemens. I figured they'd be far better than vtech, etc. I grew to hate those phones, they were pure garbage, IMHO. I grew up with mixed feelings about things German. Being Jewish, that's understandable. But their tech tended to be superb, though in time I realized that this wasn't always the case. One of my favs; one German car, I believe Mercedes, used screws that needed a tri blade shape on the tip, and only Mercedes mechanics had them. But I was working at Sears then, (before Eddie Lampert destroyed it) - in hardware, and some of our bit sets actually had that tip shape in a few sizes, and I happily sold them because it annoyed me. In a previous job, though, I had several trips to Germany for business; much to admire these days, like airliners that keep exactly to schedule. But I'll never buy from Siemens again. Still, with all the great hype on their locos, I was very disappointed to learn that it was just that - hype. I care about passenger rail, commuter rail, and subways, and these days it's clear that it is very hard in the US to get decent equipment.
  by west point
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Jul 07, 2022 4:48 pm Huge part of it. The biggest problem they have right now is they use the standard 27 pin MU plugs which are normally all analog and use relays. On the siemens engines, its done with a digital IO station that measures voltages. Ive mentioned before, if you get water in the MU plug the computer shows trailing unit faults, if theres no trailing unit. You can lick your hand and touch the pins and set a fault too..
Dumb question. Does this Siemens MU set up meam that a Siemens loco or motor cannot control a trailing regular 27 pin analog and relay loco / motor?? Does that have to do anything with the inaguration trip troubles of the ALCs leading the PP-42s on the Builder? Could it have been that there was an engineer standing by in a P-42 to provide traction power?
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