• NHSL stop request signals

  • Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.
Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

Moderator: AlexC

  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Effective December 7, 2020 stop request lights on the Norristown High Speed Line are now out of service, with cars to slow down (max 15 mph) and stop if necessary.

I didn't know the NHSL was using flag stop signals this late. The South Shore (NICTD) does have such at flag stops.
  by ExCon90
 
I hadn't heard about that; those signals have been there since (I think) the 1930's -- certainly the 40's. I wonder what the reason was; maintenance costs? They may be fairly maintenance-intensive, there being a wayside distant signal for each station in addition to the one at the station, but it sure shortens the trip time when they blow by at track speed If there's nobody waiting.
  by JeffK
 
That’s not good news for scheduling. Stops are fairly close together; the single goal of having so many flag stops was so cars didn’t have to slow down unless necessary. Back in the Good Ol’ Days, those signals were a big factor in the P&W’s ability to offer 23-24 minute service end to end.

IIRC the signal system dates back at least as far the Bullets, which would put it in the early 1930s if not before. Its implementation’s both simple and ingenious: Each flag stop has a fourth rail that makes contact with the cars’ power shoes. If a passenger had switched on the lunar-white request signal, a timer (probably mechanical) activates when a car first completes the circuit.

If a car sits for a specific time period, something like 30 seconds if my memory’s still functioning, the timer turns off the request signal. But if the circuit breaks before that interval, the timer resets and leaves the signal illuminated. Result, an express can blow past without affecting passengers waiting for a following local.

I’m not a professional engineer but I know enough circuit theory to think that behavior should be straightforward to reproduce electronically. My guess is that given current circumstances SEPTA doesn’t have enough riders or dollars to justify replacing the mechanical system in the near future.
  by west point
 
imho Amtrak needs some kind of the same system and more flag stops. If a train does not have to stop that can save 2 - 3 minutes.
  by 93r8g7
 
west point wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:10 pm imho Amtrak needs some kind of the same system and more flag stops. If a train does not have to stop that can save 2 - 3 minutes.
LOL Amtrash.


The NHSL is only employing this btw on a temporary basis. The bigger question and one we always come back to - no public hearings? No notice? Go figure. SEPTA is like a slumlord that snatches your hard earned money, raises your rent and yet the building conditions get worse, as does the communication.

Yet another reason SEPTA shouldn't be rewarded for this management style of 'give us more money and we will let the taxpayers know if and when we feel like it'. Meaning, let them scream, & threaten cuts. In return demand firings and a structural re-arrangement by an outside agency, as well as less dependence on the feds.

In addition, create an Office of Inspector General for SEPTA in Harrisburg, who reports to the public. SEPTA has the money, they are simply scared * of sunlight exposing them for the rotten pay-for-play organization they are. If you want a real show, submit requests for their emails as I have, and do it often. Truly disgusting that your hard earned dollars support people with the mindset of tyrants that believe the people that use the system and pay their salaries are not to be answered to, don't deserve transparency, and are to be ignored, cold-shouldered, pooh-poohed at every turn, often by specifically creating policy after policy purposely designed to give lip service to local lawmakers, while shafting their constituents.
  by west point
 
Transparency absolute needed. All government agencies fight it as well as most business. OIGs are essential but legislation for sunshine laws as well are needed. But put a person at the head that installs all cronies and then nothing is apparent. Look a the Covid-19 information non glut.
  by 93r8g7
 
Admin note

Content redacted in its entirety.
  by Disney Guy
 
Was the stop request system ever a manual system, easier to maintain? For example the stop request switch was at the edge of the platform and the operator would cancel the stop request (turn the signal light back on) after picking up passengers?

Or could the primary intent be to slow down cars approaching stations, perhaps because there were too many complaints of stop requests dishonored for whatever reason?
  by mcgrath618
 
I've heard that the decision to do this came from 1234 concerned with riders not "getting it" and getting mad when a full train blasts by even though they pressed the button.
  by JeffK
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:58 am I've heard that the decision to do this came from 1234 concerned with riders not "getting it" and getting mad when a full train blasts by even though they pressed the button.
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. Back when I was a regular commuter there were always some people who either had no clue about express versus local service or felt every vehicle was supposed to stop everywhere. Maybe both. 😜

It wasn’t limited to the NHSL by any means; I saw it on the RRD too, albeit not as much. The worst was when I used the 123 bus down West Chester Pike. Because it’s a very long route it was originally non-stop from 476 to Upper Darby, even operating in the left lane to try to avoid confusion. No matter that 4 or 5 other routes serve that stretch, people b*ched that it didn’t stop for local riders. After a couple of years it got converted to a local. And what was already a 40+ minute trip for most passengers bloated to 50-60.