Jump to content




Photo

Grand Central Questions


37 replies to this topic

#21 AlanB

AlanB

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,862 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:57 PM

While I'm far from an expert in this area, that is to say speeds over track switches, I'd bet that at most you could raise speeds to maybe 10 MPH, if indeed it it is true that speeds are only 5 MPH into GCT. These are not mainline switches like Amtrak uses to move Acela's from one track to another at 80 MPH. Those are almost "graceful" switches with long gentle curves to move from one track. Metro North cannot install such switches at GCT, at least not without starting the ladder tracks up at say 90th Street. These are short, hard turning switches, many of them are even slip switches that have multi-positions instead of the normal and reverse positions of high speed switches.

Even if you could put in higher speed switches, you then encounter the issue of having so many trains moving so close together at higher speeds. This makes dispatching both harder and far more critical that they get it all right.

Finally there is the issue of; do we want trains barreling into the platforms at 30 or 40 MPH? Personally I kind of like the fact that Metro North trains aren't crashing into the bumper blocks at GCT in normal operating mode. While I've never paid that close of attention to things, I'm betting that Acela is down to at least 20 MPH when it is effectively 10 blocks or so away from stopping at say BWI, a station that requires no changing of tracks and is right on the mainline.

Now all that said, I will grant that if they could get speeds to say 10 MPH (and again assuming that they are currently 5 MPH), then that would probably increase capacity a bit. But it certainly wouldn't double it. One major reason for that is simple; higher speeds mean you need longer blocks. Longer blocks mean that the backups/slow downs starts further up the Park Avenue tunnels as trains need more stopping distance at higher speeds. The question is how much increase in capacity and at what cost? That's one I can't answer.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#22 Anderson

Anderson

    Engineer

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,479 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 24 November 2011 - 01:05 AM

Pulling the map up again, the branching seems to start around 56th Street. So even if you went with slowing down to 20 MPH ten blocks north of there, that's still 66th-85th Street you could "reclaim", or about a mile of sped-up running. Going from 5 MPH to 10 MPH, or 10 MPH to 20 MPH up there might not double capacity, but it would still result in some improvement, one suspects.

That said, I do see what you're saying about the layout of the terminal and the switches. GCT was never meant to host hundreds of thousands of commuters trying to jam through in a tight timeframe like it is now, I suspect...the designers expected that business would be more spread out through the day.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#23 Dutchrailnut

Dutchrailnut

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 730 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brookfield, Connecticut, USA
  • Interests:Ships, Planes, Trains

Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:21 AM

the speed in GCT from 59th street (last emergency platform of park ave tunnel yes folks almost a mile) to bumper block is 10 mph
its 5 mph on loop tracks ( and even that is to fast)
They will never increase speed in GCT for several reasons:
A] the switches are low speed no 6 switches and same angle puzzle switches.
B] any derailment could take out a structural needed support
C] a bumping block is still not rated at any speed to stop a train
the speed in tunnel was already raised in 1989 from 35 to 60 mph but with signal system the first downgrade starts at 72th street

Edited by Dutchrailnut, 25 November 2011 - 06:25 AM.


#24 AlanB

AlanB

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,862 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:24 PM

Thanks Dutch! :) I was hoping you'd chime in with the actual speed limits since you run trains into GCT.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#25 WinNix

WinNix

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 02:37 PM

Anderson, based on all the comments in this thread there is no chance at improving service in/out of Grand Central. Unfortunately.

Alan and Dutch both have excellent reasons & logic for the current speed limit within the tunnel. I understand and agreee with them on why the limits are what they are right now with current equpiment. But I disagree because I think the equipment should be improved on - and in turn the speed limit raised. I think 15 mph would not be impossible. As a rider, I'll always love taking the train. As a customer I'll never be entirely happy with MNRR for not "trying" sometimes. Before I say this next bit, none of my grumblings are directed at conductors. In fact I think the coductors put up with more crapola than they need to. There is no excuse why some of the signals are bent halfway over. Conductors should never have to put up with that. GCT is not in the middle of nowhere, the tunnel handles trains _constantly_. The signals and trackage SHOULD be absolutely as efficient as reasonably possible. There is also no excuse why there is broken plywood on some tracks, 3 foot high piles of garbage off to the sides, old track ties clearly no longer useful, piles of unused ballast not-so-strategically placed through the tunnel. It is probably worse for the conduuctors because they have to look at it all the time whereas I can ignore it.

I am sure that when the existing switches were built & installed hey used the best technology & logic possible. But, I just do not believe that technology and hardware have not advanced at ALL since then. Advances, inventions, patents, happen all the time. New equipment gets purchased. Discoveries are made. The trains are much lighter than they used to be, too. I would be shocked if someone told me an M7 puts more stress on any given switch than an M1 or M3 (based on weight and suspension). So why would the speed limit on those switches built for M1 and M3s still the same for the M7 (and M8)? I am not sayng the switches need to be cut out and redone every few years, but a little modernizing would be nice. That said, I completely understand the risk of taking out a tunnel support. In fact if tunnel-support-pillar-risk alone is the cause for the 10 mph speed limit, I would completely accept it. But it is not - improvable infrastructure is a large part. I am not bullheaded enough to think there is no way I could be wrong. I know I might be entirely wrong - in fact I'm wrong a lot. I am certainly not arguing against anyone or putting anyone down in any way. I just want to see the trains run like they should, that's all. I'd have to see proof the speed limit cannot be improved. I also realize cost may be a counter point. I'll cover that base with: MNRR handles well over 80 million rides a year. 83,300,000 rides per year justifies and pays for a whole lot of things - including top of the line infrastructure, signals, and other equipment. Does it not?

Edited by WinNix, 28 November 2011 - 02:38 PM.


#26 Trogdor

Trogdor

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Here

Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:10 PM

I'll comment on this one bit.

I also realize cost may be a counter point. I'll cover that base with: MNRR handles well over 80 million rides a year. 83,300,000 rides per year justifies and pays for a whole lot of things - including top of the line infrastructure, signals, and other equipment. Does it not?


As soon as you can put "rides" into a bank account, call me (well, don't call me, but call Metro-North).

The fact is, 83 million "rides" doesn't even pay for the cost of running the trains, let alone improving the infrastructure.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have better transportation infrastructure (of course we should, in every large city), but the fact is that no passenger transportation really pays for its own infrastructure, and many modes barely (if at all) cover their direct operating costs. That's where subsidy comes in (either direct or indirect), and that's where politics comes in, and that's where doing what's right, makes sense, and benefits most falls apart.
Posted Image

#27 WinNix

WinNix

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:33 AM

I'll comment on this one bit.
As soon as you can put "rides" into a bank account, call me (well, don't call me, but call Metro-North).

The fact is, 83 million "rides" doesn't even pay for the cost of running the trains, let alone improving the infrastructure.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have better transportation infrastructure (of course we should, in every large city), but the fact is that no passenger transportation really pays for its own infrastructure, and many modes barely (if at all) cover their direct operating costs. That's where subsidy comes in (either direct or indirect), and that's where politics comes in, and that's where doing what's right, makes sense, and benefits most falls apart.


I used poor phrasing, I meant a ride is a ticket.... exremely few people are allowed to ride the train for free so they are basically one in the same. When you and I pay for our tickets, our money goes directly into their bank account (what they do with our money from there isn't our issue). I agree with you on the infrastructure point. If I came across as entirely blaming the MTA for the woes, I did not explain myself fully. I think towns/cities/states/feds should give equal attention to rails as they do roads. That said, the MTA is not blameless. As for the cost of running the trains... For the fair sake of misc overhead, lets lowball the average ticket price to the $4-$5 range (* 83,300,000). Roughly $400m cannot cover just the running cost of the trains alone? Perhaps I am wrong, but I just do not believe it.

#28 jis

jis

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,828 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Space Coast, Florida
  • Interests:Trains, Planes and Travel

Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:57 AM

The trains are much lighter than they used to be, too. I would be shocked if someone told me an M7 puts more stress on any given switch than an M1 or M3 (based on weight and suspension). So why would the speed limit on those switches built for M1 and M3s still the same for the M7 (and M8)?

Be very prepared to be completely shocked. As a starter ask yourself why an M7 requires 265hp motors per axle whereas and M1/M3 can make do with 148/160hp motors per axle and yet perform as well as or better than M7s. You will suddenly come to realize that all these assumptions about new cars being lighter are not very well founded on reality. Actually M7s and M8s are no more kind on tracks than their predecessors, and possibly they are worse. There are very good reasons for speed limits to not change. If anything they might go down some if that were practically possible. :)

I also realize cost may be a counter point. I'll cover that base with: MNRR handles well over 80 million rides a year. 83,300,000 rides per year justifies and pays for a whole lot of things - including top of the line infrastructure, signals, and other equipment. Does it not?

With 36% farebox recovery where exactly is that extra money going to come from, specially what with the paymasters themselves being more or less broke and in virtual receivership? Afterall, they already have to cover the balance 64% just to keep the wheels rolling and maintaining status quo.

The other relevant question to ask is, if each trip time was reduced by say 5 mins, how many extra fares would that generate, and would that actually increase farebox recovery noticeably? Seems like a relevant question since you appear to believe that MNRR's farebox recovery is already greater than 100%

For the fair sake of misc overhead, lets lowball the average ticket price to the $4-$5 range (* 83,300,000). Roughly $400m cannot cover just the running cost of the trains alone? Perhaps I am wrong, but I just do not believe it.

Their farebox recovery ratio is in the vicinity of 36%, i.e. tickets cover only 36% of the cost of operation. No one can make you believe things if you refuse to be swayed by facts already evident in audited financial statements of the agency.

Edited by jis, 29 November 2011 - 12:22 PM.


#29 AlanB

AlanB

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,862 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:08 PM

Actually Metro North's farebox recovery is 56% for everything, which includes buses & ferry operations. If we look specifically at the train operations only, backing out some agency overhead along with the aforementioned buses & ferry, the train's farebox recovery is 59.26%.

All data from the National Transit Database. Note: The above numbers don't reflect the CT portion of things, which contracts Metro North to operate into CT and covers the losses based upon their fare policies.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#30 jis

jis

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,828 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Space Coast, Florida
  • Interests:Trains, Planes and Travel

Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:14 PM

Actually Metro North's farebox recovery is 56% for everything, which includes buses & ferry operations. If we look specifically at the train operations only, backing out some agency overhead along with the aforementioned buses & ferry, the train's farebox recovery is 59.26%.

All data from the National Transit Database. Note: The above numbers don't reflect the CT portion of things, which contracts Metro North to operate into CT and covers the losses based upon their fare policies.

Ah cool, tanks for the clarification. I was looking at some old data. But te fact still remains that farebox recovery is less than 100% so there is no money to be had from the farebox to do anything. It has to come from elsewere.

#31 Anderson

Anderson

    Engineer

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,479 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia

Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:37 PM

Alan,
What is "Other operating expenses"? Also, why don't the "Operating funds expended" and "Total operating expenses" lines add up? A joke about them spending money they didn't spend comes to mind here.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#32 AlanB

AlanB

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,862 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:27 PM

Anderson,

I would think that "other operating expenses" would include overhead things like management. As for why things don't add up, the difference is that amount called "Reconciling Cash Expenditures". The NTD's definition of that amount is:

Any items where accounting practices vary for handling these expenses as a result of local ordinances and conditions. Reconciling items include:

• Depreciation and amortization
• Interest payments
• Leases and rentals.
They are called reconciling items because they are needed to provide an overall total that is consistent with local published reports. Can be found in: F-40


Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#33 George Harris

George Harris

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,069 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:now in California
  • Interests:Track, construction, schedules

Posted 29 November 2011 - 09:47 PM

The speed in GCT from 59th street (last emergency platform of park ave tunnel yes folks almost a mile) to bumper block is 10 mph
It is 5 mph on loop tracks ( and even that is to fast)
They will never increase speed in GCT for several reasons:
A] The switches are low speed no 6 switches and same angle puzzle switches.
B] Any derailment could take out a structural needed support
C] A bumping block is still not rated at any speed to stop a train
The speed in tunnel was already raised in 1989 from 35 to 60 mph but with signal system the first downgrade starts at 72th street

Just to add a few things:

No. 6 turnouts ! ! ! Getting a modern 85 ft long passenger car through one of these things at all is an accomplishment. Did not know there were any turnouts that small anywhere used by passenger equipment. I have heard that the turnouts in approach to Los Angeles are No. 7, and know that the Dallas Union Station ladders had No. 7 turnouts, but have no idea whether any are left now. In general, most of the eastern roads had used No. 8 as the minimum size turnout.

To try to spell out what this means, here are a few features of these turnouts found in the AREMA Portfolio Plan 920. Chances are this is NOT the exact geometry of the turnouts in approach to Grand Central. New York Central probably had their own standard for these turnouts, and almost everything else. (They used rail sections of their own design right up to the end of their corporate existence.)

I am assuming the curved switch point design, as the straight switch point that goes with these things has an angle of 2 degrees 42 minutes. The curved point has an entry angle of 1 deg 41 min 31 sec, which is very close to the entry angle of the 16'-6" straight point commonly used with a No. 8 turnout.

Internal radius given for these No. 6 turnouts is 283.88 feet. This in itself will result in very large end of car offsets when going through these things. I would hope than no one tries to stand mid vestibule when going through a series of these things. It would be a horizontally moving guillotine. If we were to take a curve of that radius, and consider a limit to unbalanced superelevation to be 3 inches, and in this situation you should certainly not even consider using more, and using less would be better, The maximum speed you could run thorough these would be 14.5 mph, and that would be unwise for other reasons. When you get to very small radii, consideration of "angle of attack" comes into play. That is, the angle between wheel and rail at point of contact. There is also the issue of the difference in radius between the inside and outside rails. Remember the wheels are fixed on the axles. With these considerations into the mix, any speed limit above 10 mph through these things would be pushing the envelope too hard, and even 10 mph would be on the line.

Edited by George Harris, 29 November 2011 - 09:49 PM.


#34 WinNix

WinNix

    Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts

Posted 02 December 2011 - 01:19 PM

Be very prepared to be completely shocked. As a starter ask yourself why an M7 requires 265hp motors per axle whereas and M1/M3 can make do with 148/160hp motors per axle and yet perform as well as or better than M7s. You will suddenly come to realize that all these assumptions about new cars being lighter are not very well founded on reality. Actually M7s and M8s are no more kind on tracks than their predecessors, and possibly they are worse. There are very good reasons for speed limits to not change. If anything they might go down some if that were practically possible. :)


Very well. I based my assumption of weight loss on the number of years that passed using the given that technology improvements march onwards. I admitedly have absolutely zero facts to draw upon. I know you are definitely much more well versed in the facts (I am glad for that) and I know you are level headed, thus I will totally accept that I was incorrect on the weights and I yield to your greater knowledge. That said, I am more disappointed in the planning that went into building these cars. I would like to think people would try and use their brains to improve the way the trains worked. Obviously regulations and laws change over time, but come on, so does technology. I know a _LOT_ of other factors came into play, but the bottom line is more relevant. I am disappointed to learn the trains weigh more and are harder on the track. The new trains should have improved things for the track/infrastructure, not the other way around.

With 36% farebox recovery where exactly is that extra money going to come from, specially what with the paymasters themselves being more or less broke and in virtual receivership? Afterall, they already have to cover the balance 64% just to keep the wheels rolling and maintaining status quo.

The other relevant question to ask is, if each trip time was reduced by say 5 mins, how many extra fares would that generate, and would that actually increase farebox recovery noticeably? Seems like a relevant question since you appear to believe that MNRR's farebox recovery is already greater than 100%
Their farebox recovery ratio is in the vicinity of 36%, i.e. tickets cover only 36% of the cost of operation. No one can make you believe things if you refuse to be swayed by facts already evident in audited financial statements of the agency.


I will reiterate my intial thought - 83 million rides *justify* a lot of things including top of the line equipment, etc for Grand Central. That is where I am going with this, and it is in reference to the topic. My response was specifically aimed at running the trains -alone- and not all the other aspects of the system which are covered in the financial report. I know very well the farebox receipts are no where near 100%, that is not where I was going with my thought, and that is not what I said. I am done commenting on this unless someone decides to come after me.

edit: Grammar

Edited by WinNix, 02 December 2011 - 01:23 PM.


#35 George Harris

George Harris

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,069 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:now in California
  • Interests:Track, construction, schedules

Posted 02 December 2011 - 02:42 PM

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread"

Just read a report that included the pronouncement that the speed on the GCT loops could be increased to 15 mph, or to be more exact:

MTA’s claim that the maximum speed that can be sustained on this track is four miles per hour was challenged by the experts present at the meeting.
. . .
the maximum speed on the Grand Central loop track can be much higher.

Maximum speed on curves is based on comfort and safety. Very high speed would cause a train to derail and overturn. But a much lower top speed is needed to assure passenger comfort. Assuming there is no superelevation of the track, the maximum speed for the 333 foot radius loop curve at Grand Central would be 15.8 mph. This is determined using the accepted nationwide railway practice of three inches of cant deficiency.
. . .
In locations with tight lateral clearances, speed would be set lower to avoid having trains strike nearby structural elements. In Appendix B of the E, MTA cites this as the reason for selecting the four mile per hour maximum. The art of clearance analysis is quite well developed.

blah, blah, blah

For those interested, it is at www.irum.org/ir060605.pdf

I know all about the "art of clearance analysis." It is not nearly as well developed as might be imagined. after doing all calculations, before any tight clearance areas is put in service, some form of clearance checking rig, or better car with feelers attached is run through the area and the reality actually measured.

I would not want to stake my professional reputation on promoting the ideas in this paper. The same things I said about the No. 6 turnouts , end car angle, end car offsets, angle of attack of wheels, etc., apply here. You are pushing the envelope that an modern passenger car, whether EMU or unpowered can traverse at all. In general, if building a yard or othere facility you would not even consider a turnout smaller than No. 8 or curve higher that 12 degrees (less than 478.33 ft radius)

#36 jis

jis

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,828 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Space Coast, Florida
  • Interests:Trains, Planes and Travel

Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:28 PM

You are talking about IRUM ere. They do not wish to even talk any further with anyone who has the temerity to point out that reality is at odds wit their fancy ideas. I have tried to engage them in meaningful conversations many times and finally just given up. They also run this thing called the RRWG (Regional Rail Working Group) in New York/New Jersey area, and try to include everyone's name in their publications whether those ones included want to be included or not and irrespective of whether they support any of the positions espoused or not. I must admit some rail advocates can be a pretty strange bunch.

#37 George Harris

George Harris

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,069 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:now in California
  • Interests:Track, construction, schedules

Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:36 PM

You are talking about IRUM here. They do not wish to even talk any further with anyone who has the temerity to point out that reality is at odds wit their fancy ideas.

Just paid a visit to their web site. I see what you mean. Must be nice to be certain that you have all the answers. Unfortunate that reality interferes with whout you are certain ought to be done at times.

#38 Trogdor

Trogdor

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,028 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Here

Posted 04 December 2011 - 11:59 AM


You are talking about IRUM here. They do not wish to even talk any further with anyone who has the temerity to point out that reality is at odds wit their fancy ideas.

Just paid a visit to their web site. I see what you mean. Must be nice to be certain that you have all the answers. Unfortunate that reality interferes with whout you are certain ought to be done at times.


Based on that description, they sound a lot like URPA.
Posted Image



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users