• Removing The Secret Minute at the Terminal Station

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

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

  by photobug56
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 6:31 pm Trains that are cancelled are not carried as late. Cancellations are reported separately in daily reporting to the media.

Back in 1980, a timing system was proposed that would tabulate "passenger minutes late". It would factor the number of passengers on trains and thus weigh a late train with 2000 riders more heavily than it would a train with a handful. It would also consider missed connections. Obviously kicking out an empty connecting train on time and stranding hundreds of riders who wished to board it from a late arrival should be considered...

The system was never adopted because it went against the standard OTP of the rail industry, and as such was knocked down by the AAR and other national groups.

In reality, a dispatcher will always hold a lightly traveled train (make it late) if necessary to expedite a heavy train. It's just good practice that a seasoned dispatcher (or Train Director) follows in his work. They also consider future delays that will be caused or prevented by their actions.

Schedules are sometimes tight and where they are, the experience of crews, operators and dispatchers work to minimize the number of passengers delayed.

It may not always seem to be the case to riders or employees who don't have access to the whole picture as seen by the dispatcher. In truth, the LIRR has some of the best dispatchers around and most have well earned respect of all those with knowledge of the craft.
I don't know if this is still LIRR practice, but used to be that if a train was delayed for any reasons, even if jammed full, lots of other trains would be allowed to go around it to prevent them from being late. I'd experienced 30 to 60 minute delays from this. Though one time it was different - my inbound was held up for something, but once 'cleared', our train was allowed to proceed at track speed, and made up most of the delay, essentially doing the trip to Penn in about 45 minutes rather than the usual 65. Mind you, total distance of the trip (ignoring the 5 miles from my station to where we were delayed) is only 40 miles. Other than slowing down for Jamaica (but no extra delay), it was much faster than normal. And this was in a DM based 8 C3 car train.
  by Kelly&Kelly
All trains operate at the maximum track speed (MAS) unless the signals don't permit that.

There aren't many places that trains may be "run around" a delayed train without affecting connections or causing other problems. It's rare that a broken down train doesn't affect those behind it. The system just doesn't have universal flexibility. Where it can be done, it is. Dispatchers have a knowledge of train loading too, and use the information is selecting the proper contingency.

Mitigating further delay is second nature for dispatchers - it's their job and what they do every day. But sometimes further or unforeseen events make disasters of even the best plan.

There's always internal "Monday morning quarterbacking" both officially within the command chain and even (less forgivingly) unofficially by peers. A crappy dispatcher wins little respect anywhere, and holds a short tenure. Daily meetings analyze previous day's actions, and major events are investigated on a wide scale in an effort to identify improved remedies.
  by photobug56
Ok. Example. Delayed train is moved to local track where that's an option. Easy enough to do, and since the express train on the local track isn't making local stops, it has little effect on trains behind it. And I get there are few other ways to 'side track' an already delayed train, but I've experienced it enough times, and had plenty of conductors confirm the practice to me. As to 'track speed', even without congestion there have been plenty of runs where it feels like on the Toonerville Trolley, out on a Sunday pleasure trip rather than on a weekday commute. But it's not just speed, it's the constant unexplained delays and holds, which didn't happen that one morning.

It shouldn't take 60 to 90 minutes on a good day to go 40 miles. We're not talking wood burning low pressure steam hauled trains here. The train in question only has 2 stops before Penn; one stop takes 2 minutes, and then there is the hellhole known as Jamaica - which that day was 2 minutes plus the slow approach and departure (which 40 miles should be a lot less then 60 minutes.
  by Kelly&Kelly
We can't really understand your question.

The LIRR doesn't have "express" and "local" tracks, and your reference to "Toonerville" or "Sunday pleasure trips" isn't of any specific nature. There are no "unexplained" delays or holds. They are all perfectly understood and have reasons. Those reasons are known well to all concerned in the operation who receive very detailed explanations in real time and in the daily logs and press releases.

We can probably answer a specific inquiry if it regards operations. We've plenty of experience around the place and love sharing the 187 years of transportation excellence with our admirers.
  by scopelliti
So, your example of 60 to 90 minutes for a 40 mile run has quite a big range. Let's look at an old physics problem which kind of illustrates the issue. Please try to answer.

Given a hill which is two miles long (one mile up,one mile down), if a car goes up the hill at 30 miles an hour, how fast must it go down the other side to average 60 mph?
  by photobug56
This isn't about physics. It's about super old poorly working schedules. Again, it shouldn't take 60 plus minutes to go 40 miles with only 2 stops. Or 90 minutes, with a transfer that you pray happens (at Hicksville), for the same route. A train shouldn't DAILY (when I used HP) pull out of HP, sit for 15 to 20 minutes before then hauling ass to Jamaica.

As to unexplained delays, they take place all the time. You may know, the crew may know, dispatchers may know what they are. But passengers don't in many cases. All they know is that on a good day it takes a lot longer to get in to work, and get home from work than it should, and with frequent 'equipment problems, there are a lot of days that are not good. There are reasons why LIRR gets nicknames like Fail Road, Snail Road, Hell Road, etc. Locos constantly breaking down. Doors breaking. Signal systems, even brand new ones, breaking. Switches breaking. If they weren't, I wouldn't get the stream of emails I get some mornings or evenings about delays.

Add to that, if you also need the subway, to it's constant breakdowns and 'congestion ahead' announcements. The L, which has a modern signal system, has frequent breakdowns. As I recall, the 7 does as well, with frequent breakdowns.
  by photobug56
You seem to have all the answers, though I haven't seen any viable ones yet. Though I admit, fixing one of the worst commuter railroads in the Western world will be difficult.
  by scopelliti
Okay, so the physics question above was a trick question meant to illustrate the problem with attempting to average speeds. The common response is 90 mph, but in actuality the car would have to go an infinite speed to average out to 60 mph. It takes two minutes to go one mile at 30 mph,and to average 60 mph over two miles would require two minutes. Can't do it.

So, while an LIRR train can travel at 60 mph on the main line, it is restricted to perhaps 15 mph for perhaps a mile on either side of Jamaica. Add in the waiting time at the stations, and the time lost braking and accelerating for the couple of station stops, and 60 minutes for a 40 mile trip actually is pretty good.
  by photobug56
Jamaica is slow. Yet not slow enough by itself to cause a train to take so long. On that one crazy day, the train inbound was held at it's first stop after my station. So once released, the train did 37 or so miles in about 40 minutes including the stop in Jamaica. Add in the 5 minutes from my station to that first stop, 45 minutes except for whatever caused us to be held.

Question - what is the official top speed on the mainline?
  by Kelly&Kelly
Question - what is the official top speed on the mainline?
It changes many, many times on the Main Line, and varies with different equipment. Someone else may elaborate specifics here. I obviously wouldn't be permitted to do so.
  by Head-end View
Some parts of the Main Line have an 80mph (technically 79mph) speed limit and I believe that includes the area from Floral Park thru Westbury. Other areas, the limit may be anywhere from 40 to 70 mph. High-speed crossover switches are 60mph, but most other switches like the Divide Interlocking complex in Hicksville are 30mph. Some like at Mineola where the Main Line diverges to the Oyster Bay Branch may be a slow as 15mph.

All of my info is just railfan knowledge from a variety of sources and as always, if I'm mistaken or anyone knows different, please correct me.
Last edited by Head-end View on Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by photobug56
I'm hoping the 3rd track project will add some more higher speed track, and that LIRR takes advantage of it. We'll see. I think, though, that the entire schedule needs to be reviewed, bottlenecks found and improved where possible (yes, some have). But things have to be reliable, too!
  by R36 Combine Coach
Kelly&Kelly wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:18 pm
Question - what is the official top speed on the mainline?
M-series (M-1 to M-9) have always been 80 mph, through M-1s were designed for at least 100 (1968 Budd
product literature).
  by photobug56
How about the DE's and DM's plus the C3's? And if anyone remembers, the Bitanic? C1's, I believe, and the FL9AC's.