Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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  by Head-end View
 
I agree that this is a government overkill, knee-jerk reaction. As has been pointed out elsewhere in these threads this week, a second crew-member can be just as much a liability as an asset.

But, I agree that the signal system should be modified in some way, such as timed signals, to enforce required speed reductions at locations like this. Like I said elsewhere re: the implementation of PTC, if the railroad industry as a whole would have addressed this issue intelligently in years past, instead of refusing to invest in safety, Metro-North wouldn't be in this mess now.

And yes, as a person who spent most of 30 years working rotating shifts, I agree that the crew-fatigue issue also needed to be realistically addressed, whether it was a factor in this accident or not.
  by lirr42
 
This map I made quickly to show the places where the speed limit changes by 20mph or more (just on the Hudson Line for now, I will try and add the others later). The locations are not exact, but I tried my best. In all, there are 14 locations on the Hudson Line where this would be in effect, 7 northbound and 7 southbound.
  by truck6018
 
I don't know if it's a reasonable solution but in the location of this incident couldn't the RTC hold off routing southbound trains through CP12 and northbound through CP11 so a signal downgrade will be created?
  by truck6018
 
Clean Cab wrote:
The restriction is for trains that encounter a 20 MPH change in speed. A northbound Hudson Line train would not encounter that.
Yeah they would. BN curve from MP9.2 to 9.9 is 50 and MP9.9 to 11.5 is 30. Then there's Yonkers Curve and so on.
  by RearOfSignal
 
MNR can just lower the speeds where needed by Bullein Order until the cab signal system is brought into compliance with this EO. Problem solved?
  by Nasadowsk
 
Tadman wrote: Reminds me of the PTC mandate. Crash caused by texting? Mandate a billion dollar technology that doesn't exist! God forbid we address the root cause and ban texting/cell usage and enforce the rules like we enforce rules about operating under the influence.
The root cause is you have an unreliable single point of failure, and no redundant backup. PTC is going to be that redundant backup. The railroads had decades to implement their own redundant backup. They didn't. Then a crash happened in the wrong congressional district. Now this has happened. The industry can't police itself and feels it's cheaper to pay out lawsuits. That answer is no longer acceptable to congress, or the general public. They don't care that this'll shave a few cents off the dividend for the next few years. They don't care that it'll cost the local transit agency a hundred million or two (hell - MN just blew 370 million on the Port Jervis line, whose ridership is close to being a rounding error for the system as a whole).

For that matter - in water cooler conversation all this week, the one thing that kept coming up is "why isn't there a system in place to prevent this???" Try explaining that in a way that doesn't outrage the average commuter.

Metro-North has a new nickname among a few folks I know, now. It's not pretty, either.
  by ExCon90
 
Clean Cab wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:The order states "Metro-North is ordered to operate trains ..." Does this mean Amtrak and SLE are exempt? Metro-North hosts those trains but doesn't operate them.
I thin it means any train operating on MN territory.
That may be what it was intended to mean, but it's not what it says -- which is what prompted my question. Did the FRA really mean to exempt Amtrak and SLE? If they meant all trains operating over MN, they could have said so more clearly; e.g., "all trains operating over Metro-North are required to have two qualified persons in the cab ...". Maybe they really intend to confine the new regs to MN crews?
  by RearOfSignal
 
ExCon90 wrote:
Clean Cab wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:The order states "Metro-North is ordered to operate trains ..." Does this mean Amtrak and SLE are exempt? Metro-North hosts those trains but doesn't operate them.
I thin it means any train operating on MN territory.
That may be what it was intended to mean, but it's not what it says -- which is what prompted my question. Did the FRA really mean to exempt Amtrak and SLE? If they meant all trains operating over MN, they could have said so more clearly; e.g., "all trains operating over Metro-North are required to have two qualified persons in the cab ...". Maybe they really intend to confine the new regs to MN crews?
I think it means all trains over MNR territory. Amtrak and CSX have had some major oops just in the few days since the derailment on MNR territory. FRA is is fuming!!!
  by ThirdRail7
 
ExCon90 wrote:
Clean Cab wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:The order states "Metro-North is ordered to operate trains ..." Does this mean Amtrak and SLE are exempt? Metro-North hosts those trains but doesn't operate them.
I thin it means any train operating on MN territory.
That may be what it was intended to mean, but it's not what it says -- which is what prompted my question. Did the FRA really mean to exempt Amtrak and SLE? If they meant all trains operating over MN, they could have said so more clearly; e.g., "all trains operating over Metro-North are required to have two qualified persons in the cab ...". Maybe they really intend to confine the new regs to MN crews?
The actual emergency order is worded differently than what is posted here. It specifies Metro North's trains. The actual order is 14 pages and addresses many questions raised in this thread. It contains relevant definitions pertaining to qualifications, cab cars and compartments. If I understand page 12, tt also leaves room for Metro-North to excercise self help. I think Jersey Mike's idea is allowed under page 12. They can incrementally drop the speeds as they approach certain areas.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer.
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  by ExCon90
 
Yes, "all passenger train movements at the identified locations" is clear enough -- the press release wasn't quite that specific. Thanks for posting the actual order.
  by RearOfSignal
 
Yes, the problem being addressed is MNR's system, not MNR's individual trains. I think this would apply to all passenger trains over MNR territory.
  by Clean Cab
 
RearOfSignal wrote:MNR can just lower the speeds where needed by Bullein Order until the cab signal system is brought into compliance with this EO. Problem solved?
Correct!!
  by Clean Cab
 
ThirdRail7 wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:
Clean Cab wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:The order states "Metro-North is ordered to operate trains ..." Does this mean Amtrak and SLE are exempt? Metro-North hosts those trains but doesn't operate them.
I thin it means any train operating on MN territory.
That may be what it was intended to mean, but it's not what it says -- which is what prompted my question. Did the FRA really mean to exempt Amtrak and SLE? If they meant all trains operating over MN, they could have said so more clearly; e.g., "all trains operating over Metro-North are required to have two qualified persons in the cab ...". Maybe they really intend to confine the new regs to MN crews?
The actual emergency order is worded differently than what is posted here. It specifies Metro North's trains. The actual order is 14 pages and addresses many questions raised in this thread. It contains relevant definitions pertaining to qualifications, cab cars and compartments. If I understand page 12, tt also leaves room for Metro-North to excercise self help. I think Jersey Mike's idea is allowed under page 12. They can incrementally drop the speeds as they approach certain areas.

Of course, I'm not a lawyer.

It means any train due to MN not having a PTC system.
  by Clean Cab
 
truck6018 wrote:
Clean Cab wrote:
The restriction is for trains that encounter a 20 MPH change in speed. A northbound Hudson Line train would not encounter that.
Yeah they would. BN curve from MP9.2 to 9.9 is 50 and MP9.9 to 11.5 is 30. Then there's Yonkers Curve and so on.
The order says "more than 20 MPH". But I think MN will lower a few speeds to cut down the number of locations.
  by ThirdRail7
 
ryanov wrote:
Tadman wrote:I don't like this, it's government grandstanding. Meanwhile, we're going to have another tragic accident in a few years because we didn't address the root cause. Reminds me of the PTC mandate. Crash caused by texting? Mandate a billion dollar technology that doesn't exist! God forbid we address the root cause and ban texting/cell usage and enforce the rules like we enforce rules about operating under the influence.
The root cause for MetroLink was "trains are not prevented from crashing into one another." Cell phones are not the root cause, they are just one means of distraction. As proven by this incident, there are many different ways to be distracted, and PTC would have prevented all of them if it works as demanded. In fact, they even address the root cause here by saying "fix your signaling system to prevent this, and use a second set of eyes in the meantime at these locations." So government grandstanding? You haven't provided any evidence of that whatsoever. Maybe it's overkill for the amount of risk, but there's no question that it will save lives if properly implemented.
Nasadowsk wrote:
Tadman wrote: Reminds me of the PTC mandate. Crash caused by texting? Mandate a billion dollar technology that doesn't exist! God forbid we address the root cause and ban texting/cell usage and enforce the rules like we enforce rules about operating under the influence.
The root cause is you have an unreliable single point of failure, and no redundant backup. PTC is going to be that redundant backup. The railroads had decades to implement their own redundant backup. They didn't. Then a crash happened in the wrong congressional district. Now this has happened. The industry can't police itself and feels it's cheaper to pay out lawsuits. That answer is no longer acceptable to congress, or the general public. They don't care that this'll shave a few cents off the dividend for the next few years. They don't care that it'll cost the local transit agency a hundred million or two (hell - MN just blew 370 million on the Port Jervis line, whose ridership is close to being a rounding error for the system as a whole).

For that matter - in water cooler conversation all this week, the one thing that kept coming up is "why isn't there a system in place to prevent this???" Try explaining that in a way that doesn't outrage the average commuter.

Metro-North has a new nickname among a few folks I know, now. It's not pretty, either.
This is a knee jerk reaction for the reasons Mr Patrick Boylan mentioned in another thread: It only applies to Metro North. Sure, you can argue that Metro North had the incident and other railroads didn't. However, if you're REALLY concerned about this incident repeating itself, why haven't you restricted other railroads? I also find it hypocritical that they are advocating a second set of eyes on the head when the same agency ALLOWED the railroad operators to ELIMINATE the second set of eyes. There is an FRA inspector that made it his personal mission to mandate another person on the NEC. He feels the alertor isn't enough since a train can travel almost 2 miles by the time a penalty occurs. He has been unsuccessful. Now, there's outrage. Menawhile, the FRA complained about too many people on the head end when the Amtrak train hitched a ride on the back of the freight train out west. It is not good policy to pick your poison based upon which way the wind is blowing.

Additionally, the speed limit is random. Where did they pluck 20 MPH from? There is no explaination as to how they picked that number. Why not 10? Why not 30? Why not 25? Truth be told, 20mph won't really make or break your train. If it does, there is something dramatically wrong . As for PTC, those in the industry KNOW for a FACT that it can not only fail, it can actually create more damage and even injure people. Will it kill someone? That's possible too (and I can think of the scenario where it can occur.)

I mentioned this in another thread (somewhere.) Railroading is the ultimate in cause and effect. Everything boils down to timing. What will everyone say when (notice I didn't say "if") PTC improperly initiates a penalty on a freight train causing the lading to shifts and spills into a path of another train? That scenario is far from unrealistic.

Don't worry ladies and gentleman. The FRA is on the case, boldly stepping into the fracas and playing Monday morning quarterback even though they added to the chaos by failing to address the situation on Saturday.

Silence implies consent.
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