• All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by JoeG
 
During the outage, NJT ran North Jersey Coast Line trains. These separate from the NEC at Rahway. So, is someone saying that one pole being knocked down would disable the railroad from Rahway to Harrisburg? More likely Amtrak management just didn't want to deal with the problems in a workmanlike manner and basically gave up. (Even if there are signal problems, there are procedures for this issue. Trains would be delayed but they could get through.)
  by twropr
 
Have any extra coaches been seen on the PENNSYLVANIAN over the July 4 holiday?
Andy
  by STrRedWolf
 
JoeG wrote: Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:33 pm Maybe someone can enlighten me. How is it that one pole getting knocked down can disable 90-odd miles of multi-track traction power, and also knock out the signal system? I can't imagine that the Pennsy designed such a fragile system. Has Amtrak screwed it up?
I would suspect that the problem was "user error," so to speak, where Amtrak managers preemptively canceled service instead of trying to run as many trains as possible, kind of like when they preemptively canceled Keystone service days in advance of what turned out to be a minor storm.
It’s the day after, I got some sleep and now coffee, so I can be a bit clearer on something with an actual damn keyboard (read: iPad with keyboard cover).

I boarded at 12:14pm (stroke a luck, got the option to do the elevator down to the platform, then get on board while they were switching engines). Around 12:50pm they move the train up a bit and announced that they were being held for an indefinite amount of time.

Talking to the staff, I hear (from Amtrak conductors) that the storm on Monday knocked down a pole and dragged down 70 miles of catenary. And this is an area where the “poles” are actually an i-beam H structure that the catenary hangs down from. So my guess is that one structure between Lancaster and Paoli fell down onto the catenary and track, which then yanked all the catenary down in that 70 mile section (because physics).

In terms of signaling, the only reason why I can think the signals and switches would be affected is if they were tied to the same power as the catenary, and the transformer connected to everything was damaged as well — something very possible given the forces that were involved.

This does mean that ether the bolts on the poles were weak and snapped (rust does that) or someone didn’t tighten the bolts down all the way. Maybe Amtrak should invest in pallets of Fluid Film (lanolin based rust preventative).
  by JimBoylan
 
Usually, the same set of poles that holds up the cross beam or cross wires for the catenary also has the power supply for the signals partway up that same pole, and the high voltage transmission lines to the catenary's sub stations are at the top of the pole. So, if a pole actually falls down, it breaks 3 things, and maybe damages the rails a bit, also.
If the high voltage transmission line between the generating plant and the substation, or the signal power supply lines are broken, yes, many miles of railroad could be without power.
  by west point
 
Talking to the staff, I hear (from Amtrak conductors) that the storm on Monday knocked down a pole and dragged down 70 miles of catenary. And this is an area where the “poles” are actually an i-beam H structure that the catenary hangs down from. So my guess is that one structure between Lancaster and Paoli fell down onto the catenary and track, which then yanked all the catenary down in that 70 mile section (because physics).
Yank down 70 miles ? If this is the case Amtrak needs to modify the PRR type CAT ASAP. Constant tension CAT is just approximately 1/4 mile increments of CAT that overlap. If the present PRR contact and messinger CAT is all connected together without any frangible connectors that would seem to be foolish ?
  by mtuandrew
 
Glad someone else caught that too - I could see “down” as in took out power for 70 miles because of substation failure, not “down” as in yanked it all to the ground. There have to be wire junctions every few miles designed to reduce the impact of weather or snagged pans, no?
  by rcthompson04
 
There is no way 70 miles of wire were pulled down. SEPTA would not be running out to Thorndale because the wire system is the same from Harrisburg to Paoli. Malvern is usually where service stops if there are power problems.

Specifically I doubt they could repair 70 miles in a day. Sounds like a substation issue on top of some intense catenary damage, which would make sense seeing the problems we have been seeing west of Malvern recently.
  by STrRedWolf
 
From Railride, a fellow furry train enthusiast: Jul 4th, 2019 02:41
I saw your reports on the Pennsylvanian's troubles yesterday on railroad.net. I just rolled through the affected area, wrong-railing on the eastbound local track. I would've posted something on the forum, but I've misplaced my RR.Net password. (and it's a little challenging typing at 97mph at the moment)
  by JoeG
 
The railroad is not like a single-track railroad through, say, South Dakota. It has multiple tracks, substations, phase breaks, turnouts, yards, interlockings,electrical protections of one kind or another. If a railroad was built so that one failure such as a pole falling, a squirrel in a transformer, a lightning strike would knock out the whole railroad for over 120 miles, the designers would have their professional engineer's license revoked and would be sued for zillions. We are seeing managerial problems, not technical ones.
  by Acela150
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:09 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:36 pm Glad someone else caught that too - I could see “down” as in took out power for 70 miles because of substation failure, not “down” as in yanked it all to the ground. There have to be wire junctions every few miles designed to reduce the impact of weather or snagged pans, no?
There is no way 70 miles of wire were pulled down.
This is my thought as well. The Main Line is 104 miles.

The only logical rebuttal I can think of is that the total amount of overhead they replaced equaled 70 miles.
  by Backshophoss
 
The working question is; has Amtrak started a wire replacement program,a upgrade to constant tension wire on the H-burg line?
  by rcthompson04
 
Backshophoss wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:53 am The working question is; has Amtrak started a wire replacement program,a upgrade to constant tension wire on the H-burg line?
No. Could you even reach speeds out there justifying constant tension?
  by rcthompson04
 
Acela150 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:37 pm
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:09 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:36 pm Glad someone else caught that too - I could see “down” as in took out power for 70 miles because of substation failure, not “down” as in yanked it all to the ground. There have to be wire junctions every few miles designed to reduce the impact of weather or snagged pans, no?
There is no way 70 miles of wire were pulled down.
This is my thought as well. The Main Line is 104 miles.

The only logical rebuttal I can think of is that the total amount of overhead they replaced equaled 70 miles.
Does anyone think it is possible for Amtrak to replace 70 miles of overhead wire in 24 hours with no notice?

There have been near weekly problems west of Malvern over the last couple months where trains are stopped at Malvern (Frazer yard specifically) due to "power issues'. Two weeks ago there was a situation where trains were being held at Malvern and being single tracked west of Malvern for several hours. The right of way west of Malvern is less prone to tree damage due to storms as well since the right of way is generally wider and there is less tree cover compared to the Main Line section. Something else is up.
  by gp80mac
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:41 am Does anyone think it is possible for Amtrak to replace 70 miles of overhead wire in 24 hours with no notice?
perhaps we're taking 70 miles of wire down too literally? Maybe it was multiple spots of wire damage in a 70-mile distance?
  by mtuandrew
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:29 am
Backshophoss wrote: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:53 am The working question is; has Amtrak started a wire replacement program,a upgrade to constant tension wire on the H-burg line?
No. Could you even reach speeds out there justifying constant tension?
Sure, why not? 125 mph is possible on the western Main Line with tilt equipment. Besides, constant tension cat is that much more reliable and future-proof. Whether there’s enough traffic to justify the hundreds of millions without electrification and 90/110 mph to PGH and multiple new daily turns (including at least two NYP-HAR-PGH-CHI), that’s another question.
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