• Passenger Trains Making a Backup Move on Mainline

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by Tommy Meehan
 
This subject has come up now and again. Most recently when the runaway lumber flat split a switch and entered the NEC in Massachusetts. An MBTA commuter train was stopped by a signal at the crossover switch and the engineer realized he was about to get hit headon. He called the NEC Dispatcher and asked permission to make a reverse move. Some railroaders that have worked that portion of the NEC say that 1) the engineer didn't need verbal permission to reverse within the block he already occupied and 2) given the Civil Enforcement signal system, he wouldn't have gotten very far anyway, before the signal system gave him an automatic penalty stop whether he had dispatcher permission or not.

A Northside lines trainman in Boston says on their routes they have the "walk don't talk, talk don't walk" rule. Meaning, if you receive permission from the dispatcher to reverse, a trainman does not need to physically protect the move. Without permission a trainman must physically protect the move by "walking it" back.

There seems to be quite a few current or retired rails in this part of the forum. I wonder if you gents would be good enough to elaborate on backing up on a main track in general. For an outsider it's both hard to understand and very fascinating.

How does "designated direction" or lack thereof complicate things?
  by Noel Weaver
 
My passenger days go back to 1987 but at that time you NEVER EVER made a back up move with a passenger train without
a qualified person on the rear end. I don't think that rule has changed and it is not likely ever to change.
Noel Weaver
  by Engineer Spike
 
It depends on which rulebook is used. For a reverse move, the hind end must be protected. Some some rules like NORAC require a flagman to proceed the movement, unless one has permission from the dispatcher. In a bi-directional signaled line, one can only reverse the length of the block, without permission.
GCOR rules have a "shove back to pick up a man" rule. As long as permission is granted, no authorities are behind, and no crossings. In this case a train can shove blind. I did this the other night. We had a meet, and a dead train was ahead, in the siding. After the meet, we waited for the signal, then shoved back one train length, to clear the signal. The conductor then got on and we left.
  by DutchRailnut
 
The FRA requires a test of emergency application of brakes preceeding a reverse move.
So No a engineer can not just back up.
  by Jtgshu
 
The following are a few of the NORAC rules that apply in regard to reverse moves.
116. Operating Train from Other Than Leading End
When the Engineer operates a train from other than the leading end of the movement, a crew member must be stationed on the leading end of the movement to observe conditions ahead and take action to properly control the movement of the train. This crew member must be qualified on the physical characteristics of the territory involved. Hand signal, communicating signal or radio communication must be maintained with the Engineer. If signals from the crew member cannot be received by the Engineer, the movement must be stopped immediately. The crew member stationed on the leading end must be prepared to operate the engine whistle or horn, if available, as well as the emergency brake valve, should conditions require. The train must not exceed 30 MPH.
This rule does not apply when switching, making up trains in yards, or when the movement is preceded by a crew member.
Reversing in DCS (Form D) territory (I don't think it applied to this accident, but here it is anyway)
402. Operating In a Specified Direction
a. Reverse Movement In Non-signaled DCS Territory
To make a reverse movement in non-signaled DCS territory, a train authorized by Form D line 2 to operate in a specified direction must follow one of the procedures listed below:
1. The train must receive another Form D, line 2.
OR
2. The train must receive verbal permission from the Dispatcher and must proceed at Restricted Speed. The Dispatcher must specify the location to which the train is authorized to reverse. The Dispatcher must not authorize the train to reverse beyond the last point by which it was reported
6 6
(Rule 402 Continued)
clear. A crew member must be stationed on the leading end of the movement to observe conditions ahead and take action to properly control the movement of the train.
OR
3. The movement must be preceded by a crew member and must proceed at Restricted Speed. Reverse movement must not go beyond the last whole mile post or station.
OR
4. If a train is operating against the current of traffic, the Dispatcher may verbally authorize it to operate with the current of traffic according to ABS rules. Before granting permission, the Dispatcher must ensure that the track to be used is clear of opposing movements, and must cancel the Form D line 2.
b. Reverse Movement in Signaled DCS Territory
To make a reverse movement within the limits of the same block in signaled DCS territory, a train authorized by Form D line 2 to operate in a specified direction will be governed by ABS Rule 501, “Reverse Move within the Limits of the Same Block.”
To make a reverse movement beyond the limits of the same block in signaled DCS territory, a train authorized by Form D line 2 to operate in a specified direction must receive a new Form D, line 2.
But these are the "meat and potatoes" rules
501. Reverse Movement within the Limits of the Same Block
A train may make a reverse movement, at Restricted Speed, within the limits of the same block when preceded by a crew member, who must be prepared to stop an opposing movement operating at Restricted Speed. ("walk don't talk" - my addition of info, not written in rule)
The Dispatcher (or Operator when authorized by the Dispatcher) may permit a train to make a reverse movement, at Restricted Speed, within the limits of the same block, without a crew member preceding the movement. A crew member must be stationed on the leading end of the movement to observe conditions ahead and take action to properly control the movement of the train. ("talk, don't walk" - again, my addition of info, not written in rule)
Before permission is granted, the Dispatcher must determine that the track to be used is clear of opposing movements and that blocking devices are applied to protect against opposing movements.
6 9
502. Reverse Movement Beyond the Limits of the Block
a. On Tracks Where Rule 251 is in Effect
Where Rule 251 is in effect, a train must not make a reverse movement beyond the limits of the block without Form D line 2 authority, as prescribed by non-signaled DCS rules.
b. On Tracks Where Rule 261 is in Effect
Where Rule 261 is in effect, a train must not make a reverse movement beyond the limits of the block without verbal permission of the Dispatcher (or Operator when authorized by the Dispatcher). Before permission is granted, the Dispatcher must determine that:
1. The track to be used is clear of opposing movements,
AND
2. Signals governing opposing movements are in Stop position,
AND
3. Blocking devices are applied to protect against opposing movements.
Verbal permission to re-enter must be given in the following manner:
“No. 5306 engine 4129 reverse direction on No. 2 track at MP 5 and proceed west to MP 6.”
Movement must operate at Restricted Speed until governed by a more favorable signal.
Rules 501 and 502 are most likey to apply in this situation, and are most commonly used, with rule 116 in addition as well.

Dutch, im not sure what you are referring to with an emergency application being required before changing direction?
  by RearOfSignal
 
Jtgshu wrote:Dutch, im not sure what you are referring to with an emergency application being required before changing direction?
Emergency brake, dump valve, conductor's valve, etc., its has to be tested to assure that the movement can be stopped from the leading end.
  by DutchRailnut
 
The Dump valve on rear may not work after certain incidents, so the FRA wants it tested preceding any reverse moves.
The Brake test only requires a dump from rear if you make a reverse move at that terminal/yard were you are doing your class 2.
I have had occasion where we hit a deer and rear two cars no longer had brakes, due to carcass hitting the Brake pipe valve.
In such a scenario the Dump valve will no longer stop you on a backup move either.
  by Sirsonic
 
The FRA does not require the dump valve on the hind end to be tested prior to a reverse movement. Some railroads do require so in their own special instructions. NJ Transit rules, for example, do not require any test of the dump valve on the hind end before any reverse move.
  by Ocala Mike
 
I don't know if this is pertinent to the discussion but, when I rode the City of New Orleans into CUS (reverse move) a while back, the conductor announced that we would be making a stop before the stop to discharge passengers. This was necessary, he said, to test the brakes. Maybe this was a CUS requirement only?
  by Tommy Meehan
 
This has been a mostly interesting thread and I thank the reponders.

[Moved comments about station overrun on Septa to separate thread called "Leaf Season."]
  by Tommy Meehan
 
This one is about a backup move. :-)

This happened one rainy windy night on my MU train home. We overran a station during the height of the Fall leaf season. Way past it. It felt like the train was on skates. LOL But this location is notorious for being a problem.

Over the intercom the conductor told the engineer to let her know when he was ready to start backing up. The engineer said he wanted to call the RTC first. I was seated in the first car and with the engineer's door open I could hear the RTC tell our train okay to reverse but to let him know a) when we were on the platform and b) when we started moving forward again. Then I heard the RTC tell the train following us -- nothing scheduled so it may have been a shop train -- that we were making a reverse move (giving mile post locations) and not to pass such-and-such milepost without permission.

They don't normally do all that on most commuter lines for a station overrun, do they? I don't really know whether they do or don't because normally I don't hear what they're saying. I was glad they did it that way though. It was a nasty night.
  by RearOfSignal
 
Are you talking about MNR?

If so, when a passenger train in CTC overruns the platform they can backup without permission of the RTC if 1) the part of the train is already adjacent to the platform 2) the leading end of the movement will not be beyond the limits of the platform.

If the train is not adjacent to the platform: they must contact the RTC who in turn notifies the following train to come to a stop and notify of its location; once stopped the first train may reverse as permitted by the RTC.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Yes we missed Glenwood station on the Hudson Line.

I seem to remember the train behind being given a limit beyond which they could not proceed. I might've misunderstood, maybe the following train was already at that point, the RTC was telling him to stop and stay there.

In any event, it sounds like a good procedure.