• Derailment= East Palestine Ohio

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by R Paul Carey
 
It's my understanding the NTSB is expected to issue its Preliminary Report tomorrow, February 23.
  by farecard
 
RandallW wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 5:36 am If ECP braking were installed, wouldn't it have caused all cars to brake at as close to the same time as possible given the speed of light instead of leading cars braking before trailing cars?
taracer wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 8:20 am Yes, the "signal" to apply, or release the brakes, would be practically instantaneous with ECP brakes. On the giant PSR trains run today, I can count with my hands how long the signal takes to travel, the air being that signal. It's even slower in cold weather, like now
....
That instant setup on all cars would certainly reduce the forces evolved, but that would add complexity and more inspections to make sure the system is working on the cars themselves since they take a lot of abuse.

It would require more people and more downtime and once again, PSR can't have any of that.
Would it? How long does it now take to walk and correctly inspect a 1.5 mile long consist? Would that still be necessary with a competent ECP+ system with diagnostics on each piece of rolling stock? Automobiles have had brake-wear sensors for years; why not rolling stock? [What exactly does FRA require be inspected during that walk?] Such a system could test-cycle the brakes at initial startup.

Yes, it would more complex to design, but to run? (How much do you need to know about the BIOS diagnosis on your laptop? It runs, your box boots, or fails with an error message.) I can easily see the FRA allowing one car with marginal/failed brakes iffin it was in a 50+ car consist of a given weight, etc.

And once you have a per-car microcontroller, hot box sensors are almost trivial. So would be car weight sensing, and antilock braking; that would reduce wheel wear $$$. Further, on non-emergency brake applications, the system could start blended braking at the rear and move forward car by car, keeping the train taunt, if that's desired.

I see the railroad industry as in a place rather like the Bell System was decades ago; Ma stubbornly stuck to "We've always done it that way; why change now?" until it collapsed under its own weight. Yes, there are significant differences but also parallels.
  by QB 52.32
 
As a strategic railroad planner looking at the biggest picture, when considering possibilities why stop at the very-high-cost v. benefit of fully-implementing ECP braking (or fully-automatic couplers) and instead, with railroads privately-owning their (low-grade) rights-of-way, consider replacing rail-based technology with ascending truck-based autonomous technology to some greater or lesser degree?

That could better kill a bunch of birds that go to the industry's challenges and opportunities with one stone, providing a (much) better cost v. benefit outcome, and might even better fit your Bell Systems case study, no?
  by farecard
 
QB 52.32 wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 12:38 pm consider replacing rail-based technology with ascending truck-based autonomous technology to some greater or lesser degree?
Such would eliminate the actual advantages rail DOES have; foremost being fuel efficiency. Second: even assuming you can get acceptance of autonomous trucks; when one breaks down, it can't just coast over to the shoulder, & the line stops until it can be removed.
  by STrRedWolf
 
farecard wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 10:41 am Would it? How long does it now take to walk and correctly inspect a 1.5 mile long consist? Would that still be necessary with a competent ECP+ system with diagnostics on each piece of rolling stock? Automobiles have had brake-wear sensors for years; why not rolling stock? [What exactly does FRA require be inspected during that walk?] Such a system could test-cycle the brakes at initial startup.

Yes, it would more complex to design, but to run? (How much do you need to know about the BIOS diagnosis on your laptop? It runs, your box boots, or fails with an error message.) I can easily see the FRA allowing one car with marginal/failed brakes iffin it was in a 50+ car consist of a given weight, etc.

And once you have a per-car microcontroller, hot box sensors are almost trivial. So would be car weight sensing, and antilock braking; that would reduce wheel wear $$$. Further, on non-emergency brake applications, the system could start blended braking at the rear and move forward car by car, keeping the train taunt, if that's desired.

I see the railroad industry as in a place rather like the Bell System was decades ago; Ma stubbornly stuck to "We've always done it that way; why change now?" until it collapsed under its own weight. Yes, there are significant differences but also parallels.
Lets see... RP2040 microcontroller at 73.5 cents (bulk rate reel of 3400), temperature sensor $3.16 (100+ bulk rate), rotation sensor, relays... I mean, you could wire up each axle for $20 per axle, and as the controlling system in the engine pings the controller bus to make sure everything's OK. If it's not, you get a "car 78, truck 1, axle 2, temps hot" (example). I'm mean, it'll not be a "lp1 on fire" error but at least you know where specifically to look. Besides, if the sensors fail, yank the car out, it's a defect.

That said, NPR's 1A show aired a segment on the crash and how the politics are flying high:

https://the1a.org/segments/officials-ar ... erailment/
What do you do when a train carrying toxic chemicals crashes in your town?

East Palestine, Ohio, is finding out the hard way.

The train derailed earlier this month, but the mess still hasn’t been cleaned up. Now officials are playing the blame game, with East Palestine residents stuck in the middle.

What’s next for East Palestine residents? Trains roll through America’s small towns every day. So who’s responsible when things go so wrong?
  by MACTRAXX
 
R Paul Carey wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 10:31 am It's my understanding the NTSB is expected to issue its Preliminary Report tomorrow, February 23.
For those that choose not to review our previous pages of the EP derailment discussion:
https://ntsb.gov/investigation/pages/RRD23MR005.aspx
The NTSB site page for the February 3, 2023 East Palestine, Ohio NS freight train derailment.

I posted the NTSB link back on topic Page 3 for all taking part in this discussion to be available as the
investigation continues - as we have seen media coverage of the EP aftermath has been quite extensive...

A possible factor in this incident that may have been overlooked was the arctic cold temperatures well
below freezing on and around February 3 affecting Ohio and other northern states...It will be interesting
to see if the NTSB investigation mentions anything about extreme weather...MACTRAXX
  by QB 52.32
 
farecard wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 1:34 pm
consider replacing rail-based technology with ascending truck-based autonomous technology to some greater or lesser degree?
Such would eliminate the actual advantages rail DOES have; foremost being fuel efficiency. Second: even assuming you can get acceptance of autonomous trucks; when one breaks down, it can't just coast over to the shoulder, & the line stops until it can be removed.
If a magic wand can be waved about fully implementing ECP brake technology, why then make negative assumptions about an ascendant well-resourced truck-based technology with the biggest disadvantage application to public shared rights-of-way?

From a systems-approach to the private for-profit railroad business where the alternative technology could be targeted to greater or lesser degrees, and across challenges and opportunities including in the marketplace that not only go to the actual advantages rail DOES have but to the actual disadvantages rail ALSO DOES have, the total competing cost vs. benefit instead of full implementation of ECP braking gives pause. Especially in the land of unintended consequences. Just like your Bell Systems case, no?
  by RandallW
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 3:53 pm Lets see... RP2040 microcontroller at 73.5 cents (bulk rate reel of 3400), temperature sensor $3.16 (100+ bulk rate), rotation sensor, relays... I mean, you could wire up each axle for $20 per axle, and as the controlling system in the engine pings the controller bus to make sure everything's OK. If it's not, you get a "car 78, truck 1, axle 2, temps hot" (example). I'm mean, it'll not be a "lp1 on fire" error but at least you know where specifically to look. Besides, if the sensors fail, yank the car out, it's a defect.
I think that $20 per axle suggestion wouldn't last a month, tops.

Electronics certified to operate on railroad equipment is, depending on the equipment, an order of magnitude more expensive than that for factory floors (both are significantly more robust than consumer electronics). Any electronics on a car are going to be more like $1K per car at the low end.
  by Ken Rice
 
Yup. And the connectors to establish the communication bus down the length of the 100+ car train have to work reliably, not flake out when a little dirt gets in, etc. Sometimes hooking up the MU cables is problematic, think about something like that for every car on the train. Or perhaps a wireless network connecting all the cars - it can be done for distributed power, but I suspect making it work for every car, including cars like flatcars where there is no convenient high location to stick an antenna, would be pretty hard.

And then there’s power to run those electronics. Every car will need a battery. The battery will have to provide enough power with a reasonable margin in temperatures ranging from Montana winters to Texas summers. Batteries need charging (or swapping out). Axle generators for every car? That’s not cheap. Charging connections on every car? How long will the batteries last between charges? What happens when batteries start to go flat while a train is moving?

It’s not a simple or cheap problem. I completely understand why railroads would rather stick with the current simple but very reliable mechanical solution.
  by farecard
 
Ken Rice wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 7:04 pm Yup. And the connectors to establish the communication bus down the length of the 100+ car train have to work reliably, not flake out when a little dirt gets in, etc.
Yes, you'll need reliable connectors, but that's hardly rocket science. What do the in-use systems in AU, etc use? Start with existing ones, such as between semi trucks and trailers.
And then there’s power to run those electronics. Every car will need a battery.
Nope, no batteries required; perhaps we float a battery in each to help bridge spikes. But we have POE now. A train-net wire system could easily carry power and signal, say over spread spectrum. It does not need to be that fast.
It’s not a simple or cheap problem. I completely understand why railroads would rather stick with the current simple but very reliable mechanical solution.
What worked well for 50 car consists has far more limitations when you double the length. Ask the crew of UP MGRCY04 how reliable air brakes are.

Roller bearings are SO hard; why not just stick to the tried and true journal bearings we used for decades?
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone - I like the way this discussion has been going with the subject of freight car brake technology...
Learning about a railroading aspect such as brakes is a ample benefit of being a RR.Net member...

I remember that some Herzog rail equipment such as hopper cars have solar panels placed on one end -
Does anyone know what power is provided for and used on cars equipped?

There is nothing wrong with tried and true safe railroad technology no matter how long ago that it was
invented when it works consistently such as air brakes - instead of new braking methods that may be
found to be not worth the hassle to use and maintain in the long-haul run...MACTRAXX
  by NYCRRson
 
To all the pseudo electrical engineers posting here about "Let's just add power over Ethernet and microprocessors on every rail car... " "It will only be $20 per axle...."

You have no idea of the complexity of converting the current USA rail car fleet from pneumatic braking to electro-pneumatic braking....

There are about 1.5 million freight cars in the US toady, you would have to convert about 75% of them over before you could start running trains with all the cars under electronic braking control....

And do not discount the need for reliable connectors...

Back about 1979 Amtrak had a terrible winter and could not dispatch trains from Chicago with reliable steam heat, most of the problem was the flexible joints in the steam heating system between cars,,,

Then Amtrak spend gobs of money to convert everything over to Head End Power... In the late 1980's they again had a complete breakdown of the Head End Power connection through the train and could not keep the cars heated in the winter... Ice and Snow got into the connectors when the cars where disconnected and putting the trains back together in the winter just ended up shorting out the electrical "train line"...

And FYI the electro-pneumatic braking scheme is not "new", the NYCRR ordered some new Sleeper Cars for their 1948 Twentieth Century Limited that came from the factory with ECP braking installed. However getting all the locomotives and other train cars (RPO, Lounge, Dinner) all compatible killed the whole ECP brake idea at that time.

I will never be convinced that applying all the brakes instantaneously (ECP) after a bearing/axle burns off near the front of the train will reduce the damages from a derailment very much,,, Cars are going to derail and pile up, the braking force on the cars is not enough to stop every rail car instantaneously in place when the brakes are applied.

The only way to immediately stop all rail cars in a train when a problem is detected is to have about 20 axles with multiple brake discs (about 8 per axle) on all axles under every car in the train.,, And all that stopping force would transfer into the rails and ties and simply result is the whole length of the train being on top of shattered roadbed with turned over rails and fractured ties. That would simply spread the destruction along the whole length of the train.
  by taracer
 
NYCRRson wrote: Wed Feb 22, 2023 9:11 pm
I will never be convinced that applying all the brakes instantaneously (ECP) after a bearing/axle burns off near the front of the train will reduce the damages from a derailment very much,,, Cars are going to derail and pile up, the braking force on the cars is not enough to stop every rail car instantaneously in place when the brakes are applied.

The only way to immediately stop all rail cars in a train when a problem is detected is to have about 20 axles with multiple brake discs (about 8 per axle) on all axles under every car in the train.,, And all that stopping force would transfer into the rails and ties and simply result is the whole length of the train being on top of shattered roadbed with turned over rails and fractured ties. That would simply spread the destruction along the whole length of the train.
Reducing the energy is the goal, like crumple zones in automobiles. We all know the cars won't stop instantly, but if the forces are reduced when they hit due to slower speeds, the less chance of a breech.

Combine that with better inspection of the cars which includes visual. Carmen are down to only like a minute and a half per car for the visual now under PSR.
  by eolesen
 
The last cost estimate I saw for installing ECP was $5600 per car. Somewhere it was estimated to be around $3 billion just for crude oil transport.

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