• SEPTA seeks $$ for major West Trenton Line Help

  • 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

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  by Tritransit Area
 
Ah ha, that makes much more sense, Mike! I didn't realize that the CSX trains had such a negative effect on SEPTA operations and vice versa.
  by Limited-Clear
 
The other way to separate the two is to have a diamond this prevents shared trackage, this would enable both to have their own PTC systems in place, although the down side is they would still be physically connected just not shared
  by Matthew Mitchell
 
Crossing through the interlockings at Wood (freight coming off NS) and Trent (SEPTA crossing to the yard) is not subject to the PTC regulations, so no diamonds or flyovers are necessary.

Reading extension would probably use a dedicated fleet, so you can equip it with both systems.

One more good reason to separate from CSX tracks is their fairly inflexible policy on heat orders. They've overcautious because of the Capitol wreck, so they slow trains on hot days much sooner than Amtrak or NS would.
  by Jersey_Mike
 
Matthew Mitchell wrote:Crossing through the interlockings at Wood (freight coming off NS) and Trent (SEPTA crossing to the yard) is not subject to the PTC regulations, so no diamonds or flyovers are necessary.
Installing new diamonds to pound and maintain is not a solution in anybody's book. There is 100% nothing to prevent dual PTC systems within a single interlocking or an extended stretch of track and diamonds would not sufficiently increase the savings as both the freight and passenger lines would still need their magic boxes in the relay hut.

It will be interesting to see what NS plans to do with the Morrisville Line. It's cab signaled and has to run with SEPTA in Norristown. I suspect that NS will opt to just equip that line and some number of its engines with ACSES.

Also be aware that this isn't like VHS tapes and Betamax. Most of the work is done in software so the only problem is vendor lock-in, not anything actually technical.
  by Matthew Mitchell
 
Jersey_Mike wrote:Installing new diamonds to pound and maintain is not a solution in anybody's book. There is 100% nothing to prevent dual PTC systems within a single interlocking or an extended stretch of track
...aside from the expense, which includes whatever communications links are necessary from one system to tell the other where its trains are and when it needs to stop its trains. That's not trivial, especially to engineer it to enough security/reliability to satisfy the regulators. I haven't ballparked what a dual PTC system would cost, but it would have to be a good deal less than $28 million to make it worthwhile for SEPTA.
and diamonds would not sufficiently increase the savings as both the freight and passenger lines would still need their magic boxes in the relay hut.
Installing (and maintaining!) both systems is not required by the regulations if the incompatible trains are just moving across the interlocking. That's my point: it's not necessary for them to do anything more than equip one main track (preferably two) with ASCES and one with I-ETMS, even when we know freights will make crossing moves at Wood and passenger trains will make crossing moves at Trent.
Also be aware that this isn't like VHS tapes and Betamax. Most of the work is done in software so the only problem is vendor lock-in, not anything actually technical.
Huh? ASCES and I-ETMS definitely have different hardware.

Finally, CSX owns the property. It doesn't matter what SEPTA wants: if CSX doesn't accept it, it ain't gonna happen.
  by 25Hz
 
wagz wrote:
They cross through SEPTA's Wood interlocking (which does not require ASCES on the freight train). There'll be a lot less freight going from NS (the Trenton Cut-off) to CSX once CSX finishes its clearance project on the rest of the Trenton sub.
And in fact right now that is only one train per day (each way), Q190/Q191. I'm not sure what 25hz even means because that move doesn't even go anywhere near Woodbourne Rd. I believe CSX only schedules one road train each way to work Woodbourne yard. In fact this 3rd track addition will have absolutely zero bearing on the amount of trains blocking Woodbourne Rd, as the connector he refers to I assume is the Fairless Branch. Its only used by a local or two out of Woodbourne Yard to Interchange at Morrisville.
I was referring to the relevance of moves i've seen on those 2 connectors, one of which crosses woodbourne rd. You assume i know anything about freight moves, train names or anything of the like aside from basic things like car types and locomotive types. I have no idea how frequent or important any of those moves are. ;)
  by 25Hz
 
So what about between yardley and west trenton? You can't add a 3rd track there, it's a 2 track span?
  by Clearfield
 
25Hz wrote:So what about between yardley and west trenton? You can't add a 3rd track there, it's a 2 track span?
The cost to build a one-track span there would not be cost prohibitive.
  by Tritransit Area
 
But if they are crossing over each other with an interlocking with incompatible "PTC" systems, isn't the whole thing moot anyway (besides what Jersey Mike mentioned about SEPTA and CSX wanting to separate operations anyway)? Again there's the irony when this whole thing started when a stupid engineer ran his red signal, switching into the path of a freight train...

*throws hands up* I'm getting a headache just from trying to figure this thing out. As long as the two entities know what they are doing without exploiting my tax dollars and/or cutting SEPTA service, I'll be ok.
  by Matthew Mitchell
 
Clearfield wrote:
25Hz wrote:So what about between yardley and west trenton? You can't add a 3rd track there, it's a 2 track span?
The cost to build a one-track span there would not be cost prohibitive.
And it's not necessary at the present time. A single track at the very end of the line doesn't complicate scheduling and service levels the way single track all the way up from Wood would.

If ridership grows to the point where we have to add that new bridge span, then there'll be a lot of other work that has to get done elsewhere in the system first.
  by Jersey_Mike
 
Matthew Mitchell wrote: ...aside from the expense, which includes whatever communications links are necessary from one system to tell the other where its trains are and when it needs to stop its trains. That's not trivial, especially to engineer it to enough security/reliability to satisfy the regulators. I haven't ballparked what a dual PTC system would cost, but it would have to be a good deal less than $28 million to make it worthwhile for SEPTA.
SEPTA doesn't care about cost as they have always wanted to avoid dealing with CSX traffic on that line. Like I said this is just a way to get the money and degrade service. However even with diamonds there would still be a conflicts with West Trenton yard moves.
Matthew Mitchell wrote:Installing (and maintaining!) both systems is not required by the regulations if the incompatible trains are just moving across the interlocking. That's my point: it's not necessary for them to do anything more than equip one main track (preferably two) with ASCES and one with I-ETMS, even when we know freights will make crossing moves at Wood and passenger trains will make crossing moves at Trent.
Both PTC systems would still have to be plugged into the interlocking logic at both WOOD and TRENT. It would be no more complex to just use standard turnouts. Only if the CSX line was not PTC equipped would there be an incentive to do that. Of course that is a possibility if freight lines can banish TIH cargo to the highways as the FRA had to roll back their wider ranging regulations regarding adoption.
Matthew Mitchell wrote:Huh? ASCES and I-ETMS definitely have different hardware.
The real magic comes in the software, most of the hardware comes in the form of antennas and I-ETMS is an antenna only system. This is not like left and right tripping trip stops, you just need an extra BNC connector into the box. Remember that even radios now are software defined.
Matthew Mitchell wrote:Finally, CSX owns the property. It doesn't matter what SEPTA wants: if CSX doesn't accept it, it ain't gonna happen.
You are right and this could be a stick that CSX can use to finally be free of passenger trains interference on that section of the line. Of course if they are making that move why not stand pat and demand SEPTA dual equip its MU's so that it can get sole use of the double track line from WOOD to TRENT.
  by Matthew Mitchell
 
Jersey_Mike wrote:Anyway its a good thing that PTC is threatening the shutdown of passenger services. Congress and voters need to learn that a blind pursuit of "safety" comes with costs. I would have advocated that all the affected passenger lines simply announced that they would shutdown on Jan 1 2016 rather than obey an unfunded mandate or ignore the requirement and dare the FRA to shut them down. If too big to jail works for banks it certainly works for our commuter rail system.
I want to make sure this doesn't go unnoticed. You're asking to hold hundreds of thousands of commuters hostage to try and get this mandate funded or overturned?
  by Jersey_Mike
 
Matthew Mitchell wrote:
Jersey_Mike wrote:Anyway its a good thing that PTC is threatening the shutdown of passenger services. Congress and voters need to learn that a blind pursuit of "safety" comes with costs. I would have advocated that all the affected passenger lines simply announced that they would shutdown on Jan 1 2016 rather than obey an unfunded mandate or ignore the requirement and dare the FRA to shut them down. If too big to jail works for banks it certainly works for our commuter rail system.
I want to make sure this doesn't go unnoticed. You're asking to hold hundreds of thousands of commuters hostage to try and get this mandate funded or overturned?
It's the exact same tactic as the sequester and if the kerfluffle with airport delays is any indication congress would fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
  by wagz
 
Matthew Mitchell wrote:I want to make sure this doesn't go unnoticed. You're asking to hold hundreds of thousands of commuters hostage to try and get this mandate funded or overturned?
Jersey_Mike wrote:It's the exact same tactic as the sequester and if the kerfluffle with airport delays is any indication congress would fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
Matt, Mike has a good point here. I'm likely the only air traffic controller on these boards so I can speak to the boondoggle that was our week or so of furloughs. There was no reason the workaround that restored us to work couldn't have been hammered out months in advance. The way the media portrayed the negative impacts to the travelers of America varied, but I'm here to tell you that the delays were real from my vantage point at PHL. On day one we already oddball ground delay programs in effect to airports that didn't usually have them, and the entire week we had mile in trail restrictions for many departure fixes (departures are routed over a handful of "fixes" and can be handed off to the high altitude Centers normally 5 miles in trail - during the furlough week we had many 30 mile in trail restrictions over those fixes). Some people blamed the weather, but there wasn't any really out of the ordinary conditions that week. Had this been going on now in Thunderstorm season it would have been orders of magnitude worse.

The whole PTC mandate isn't an entirely dissimilar situation from my point of view. It's trumpeted to be the end all solution to keep trains from colliding. And sure it probably has saved many lives. But forcing it down everyone's throat by a certain date and not caring that all the users wind up paying for it seems like a similar situation as to the one I mentioned above. That doesn't even address the myriad technical or operational issues that it brings up for the railroads involved as well.

I get the general feeling that SEPTA is playing the same hardball tactic right now with the NHSL bridge over the Schuylkill. "Give us funding to fix it or we're shutting off the trains". Sure the bridge likely is in bad condition, but if it was in such bad condition as to be unfit for train service over it then it would have been shut down months ago when the problem was discovered, not "we're going to close it in July".
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