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Predicted effect of Thursday winter weather on NE Corridor


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#21 the_traveler

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:09 PM

Part of the problem with driving during storms is - those who have 4-wheel drive vehicles! I'm not saying all of them, but at least some of them say "I've got 4-wheel drive, so I can drive down the highway in any weather at 80 MPH!" But what vehicles do you see in the ditch or overturned in bad weather many times?:huh:

And many times it's not Amtrak who cancels trains just because they want to. If CSX or BNSF pulls their dispatchers from a section of the track (because of weather or some reason), Amtrak can not operate even if it wants to. They have no choice but to cancel.

You notice the initial list of cancellations in this thread was only on CSX lines. It originally did not include NS rails. That tells me it was probably CSX and not Amtrak that caused the cancellations.
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#22 PRR 60

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:10 PM

Part of the problem with driving during storms is - those who have 4-wheel drive vehicles! I'm not saying all of them, but at least some of them say "I've got 4-wheel drive, so I can drive down the highway in any weather at 80 MPH!" But what vehicles do you see in the ditch or overturned in bad weather many times? :huh:

And many times it's not Amtrak who cancels trains just because they want to. If CSX or BNSF pulls their dispatchers from a section of the track (because of weather or some reason), Amtrak can not operate even if it wants to. They have no choice but to cancel.

You notice the initial list of cancellations in this thread was only on CSX lines. It originally did not include NS rails. That tells me it was probably CSX and not Amtrak that caused the cancellations.

 

The Crescent and the Piedmonts are cancelled, and they operate on Norfolk Southern.



#23 RyanS

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:15 PM

First off, you hit it right on the head, you have four-wheel-DRIVE. You do not have four-wheel-STOP. Plus if there is ice on the roads, your four-wheel-drive will do you no good. Going blindly out into a storm is not only dangerous, it is down right ridiculous.


That's where the "judicious use of speed, acceleration and jerk mean driving is safe" part comes in. Driving on snow isn't rocket surgery, you just have to use common sense. That said, I don't go out unless necessary (in my little front wheel drive Cruze) because of all of the other idiots that don't know what they're doing.

The main problem with the train is not so much the snow, but the frozen switches which are needed to pass the trains safely from place to place.


Solved problem (the ones on the NEC are electric and nowhere near as cool looking)
switch_heaters.jpg
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#24 June the Coach Rider

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:20 PM

 

First off, you hit it right on the head, you have four-wheel-DRIVE. You do not have four-wheel-STOP. Plus if there is ice on the roads, your four-wheel-drive will do you no good. Going blindly out into a storm is not only dangerous, it is down right ridiculous.


That's where the "judicious use of speed, acceleration and jerk mean driving is safe" part comes in. Driving on snow isn't rocket surgery, you just have to use common sense. That said, I don't go out unless necessary (in my little front wheel drive Cruze) because of all of the other idiots that don't know what they're doing.

The main problem with the train is not so much the snow, but the frozen switches which are needed to pass the trains safely from place to place.


Solved problem (the ones on the NEC are electric and nowhere near as cool looking)
switch_heaters.jpg

 

Ryan, I know you are doing your usual to make sure that what I say is wrong, but it does not work anymore. The post that I quoted said that he would plow thru snow piles, that to me sounds like he is not using common sense. This is why I commented. I know there are those that use their brains while driving, but there are also many more that don't.

 

You explained that the switches are heated, ok, that is all good, but where does the power come for heating them? If trees take down power lines, then the NEC trains cannot run without power, oh did you forget that they run on electric power. So yes, you show the switches heated, but can you tell me how the trains will run without power?


Edited by June the Coach Rider, 12 February 2014 - 03:22 PM.


#25 the_traveler

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:24 PM

You notice the initial list of cancellations in this thread was only on CSX lines. It originally did not include NS rails. That tells me it was probably CSX and not Amtrak that caused the cancellations.

The Crescent and the Piedmonts are cancelled, and they operate on Norfolk Southern.
That is the reason I specified "... the initial list ..."!
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#26 jis

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:25 PM

OK I think I will now sell some peanuts and popcorn and otherwise stay out of the way :P



#27 jis

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:28 PM

 

 

You notice the initial list of cancellations in this thread was only on CSX lines. It originally did not include NS rails. That tells me it was probably CSX and not Amtrak that caused the cancellations.

The Crescent and the Piedmonts are cancelled, and they operate on Norfolk Southern.
That is the reason I specified "... the initial list ..."!

 

Yup, and then NS also threw in the towel considering discretion the better part of valor somehow. I am sure NS told Amtrak they will not be accepting any trains today, that is what caused the cancellation. Mind you it might have forced Amtrak to avoid the embarrassment of having the Crescent stuck between Greenville and Atlanta for 15 hours and getting it transmitted all over the print and electronic media. but that is another matter.



#28 RyanS

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:32 PM

No drama here, June can creatively misinterpret GML's words all she wants and call him on the carpet for being reckless. Won't change my driving habits a bit.

All her raving about trains without power overlooks the fact that I never said that they shouldn't be cancelled.

In related news, this just happened:

2014_02_12_15z_SREF_KBWI_SNO.png

The model consensus was for 7" or so in the last run - the computers are getting a little bot more bullish on the snow totals. I suspect that they're still out to lunch, as they also hold the temps into the 32-36 degree range. I don't see that much snow if the temps get that high here.
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#29 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:34 PM

First off, you hit it right on the head, you have four-wheel-DRIVE. You do not have four-wheel-STOP. Plus if there is ice on the roads, your four-wheel-drive will do you no good. Going blindly out into a storm is not only dangerous, it is down right ridiculous. I would think your life was worth more to you than just, the Can-do attitude as you say.
 
The main problem with the train is not so much the snow, but the frozen switches which are needed to pass the trains safely from place to place. Plus if there is heavy winds, there are trees that would be on the tracks and without having a chrystal ball, there is no way of knowing when a tree will block the tracks. It is better to not have a train full of passengers stranded out in an ice or snow storm and safely at home than to just do as you say and go ahead with a blind eye.


Yeah, I'm aware of all that. I like having four wheel drive, and for two reasons. One is that in the (as yet unrealized) possibility of losing control it would be easier to get out of whatever I got stuck in. And the second is that it has allowed me to eliminate the annoying and aggravating step of shoveling my driveway, and in rare circumstances, clearing the road to the main drag, so I can get out. I just get in, select low range, and take my foot off the brake. Don't even have to use the throttle, plow right through up to 10-12 inches of accumulation, and over 2 feet of drifts on the engines torque alone.

Before I got my current car (a 2005 ML350 that isn't even really considered a great off roader or anything) I was driving a '95 E300 diesel, and before that various 70s and 80s Mercedes diesel sedans and wagons, all the supposedly worst snow configuration of rear-wheel-drive. And so long as I had either less than two inches of accumulation or the snow was hard packed, I never had any trouble driving them. No traction control, no ABS, no four wheel drive. No problem. The secret to my success is simple. One day, when I was 17 I took my '76 240D into a hard-packed parking lot, and proceeded to drive it, steer it, boot it, and so on, until I knew how my car felt below, at, and over the limit of its control capabilities. It took me 15 minutes. I drove out of that parking lot driving an old, decrepit car, with over 700k miles on it, with not a single assistance feature (not even power steering) that was 25 years old at the time and full of rust. And from then until I bought that four wheel drive truck, I have not lost control of a car in rain, snow, or sleet.

The secret is knowing what your cars limits are and using them effectively irrespective of the weather. In the snow, those limits are low, but, and I emphasize this strongly, safe. If you drive properly, being alert, not inputting too much of any given control (steering, throttle, transmission or brake) and anticipating, you co can drive through snow without hitting anything. If you take a job where people depend on you to be there, you need to go out to a parking lot, just as I did, and learn how to drive a car, instead of just brainlessly steering it.
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#30 jis

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:41 PM

Ryan, I think this is becoming the classic Nor'easter uncertainty about what exact track the storm will follow (specially during the day tomorrow) which has a huge impact on where the rain/snow line will fall. I suspect that the models will be all over the place until late tonight when the final alignment will start becoming clearer.



#31 henryj

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:42 PM

My God I noticed the people were getting paranoid about winter weather but this is getting ridiculous. Years ago in terrible terrible winter weather not only would most crack trains run but they would run not very late. Now you have people preemptively canceling trains for minor nonsense. And safety of the crew? If I had such an important job I'm driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Oh wait I do and I do. The capabilities of four-wheel-drive vehicles are such that I can back through 10" of snow without trouble' and easily clear the plow pile, without even stepping on the throttle. And as for driving, judicious use of speed, acceleration and jerk mean driving is safe- and that's without four wheel drive, by the way.

This is not about safety. This is about the pussification of America combined with looking for every excuse not to go to work, especially if you are still paid. Safety has become nothing more than a club to get anything done or stopped, so long as you can tentatively link it with safety. That way, it looks like you are heartless asshat when you go against it.

Fine, I look like a heartless asshat. So sue me. This isn't a hellacious storm. This is hype. Trains are supposed to be the mode most resilient to the weather, and believe me, they still are. The spineless, cowardly, phlegmbags in management who are scared of their own shadow are less so. But what's worse? You people, who don't even call them on it. What happened to American Can-Do spirit? The rugged, never say die attitude that freed us from the most fearsome military on earth in four short years, stood up for moral rights and fought to the death to free slaves from imprisonment within our own borders, who stepped in and smacked Europe into order not once but twice?

We used to not be so scared of every attempt by anything to subdue us. But it's gone.

When I was a lad, I longed to save the world, but as I matured, I realized they have me outnumbered.

Finally someone speaks about this fiasco that is Amtrak today.  The foamers on here just support whatever Amtrak does like it's always right and perfect in every way.  I think it's a tragedy.  They would be better off if they just discontinued service until spring.  This is our government at work, or lack of it.  Sick, sick, sick.  Fire them all Starting at the top with Boardman.


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#32 RyanS

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:42 PM

I agree (and it's darn fun to watch unfold).

More entertaining than arguing on the internet with strangers about how hard it is to drive in the snow, that's for sure. :D

Edit: Yeah, I was agreeing with Jis. You can take pretty much the opposite of what Henry said and I'd agree with that. I'm not sure what "the government" has to do with any of this.

Edited by RyanS, 12 February 2014 - 03:43 PM.

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#33 June the Coach Rider

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:43 PM

No drama here, June can creatively misinterpret GML's words all she wants and call him on the carpet for being reckless. Won't change my driving habits a bit.

All her raving about trains without power overlooks the fact that I never said that they shouldn't be cancelled.

In related news, this just happened:

2014_02_12_15z_SREF_KBWI_SNO.png

The model consensus was for 7" or so in the last run - the computers are getting a little bot more bullish on the snow totals. I suspect that they're still out to lunch, as they also hold the temps into the 32-36 degree range. I don't see that much snow if the temps get that high here.

I did not say that you said they should not be cancelled. You showed me electric heaters that need power to heat the switches and the NEC needs power to run. I was just pointing that out. Simple as that.

 

As far as misunderstanding what GML said, well then I guess that is your opinion. 



#34 RyanS

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:45 PM

Technically I showed you gas fired heaters in Chicago because they look cooler.

On Henry's point, it's patently obvious that CSX called the shots. At least get the blame right, man.
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#35 andersone

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:54 PM

A long time ago I used to work on a wrecker on weekends to supplement my $11k teacher's salary in a small town in Western Illinois. We had the only wrecker (three in fact ) between Peoria and Galesburg on I74 and were busy every time it snowed. This was back before 4 wheel was readily available (remember them lock out hubs?) We knew most of the locals, and if one of the 4 wheel crowd got stuck we would always bring extra cable because the normal guy was fifteen feet off the road, the four wheel guy was 100 foot off the road. I have a 4w Tahoe and a 4w Suburban and other than getting down my ski slope of a driveway (I rarely try it anymore if it has more than a half inch on it) in 4w low and letting my foot off the gas to creep down,. AT 20 miles an hour I can pretty much always get home from town,  at least make it to the bottom of the hill, even if I have to wait for my son in law by marriage shovels it off. 


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#36 RyanS

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:22 PM

I do miss my Tahoe and Suburban. :(

4279070452_f14ccafe0a.jpg
Cold enough? by Ryan Stavely, on Flickr
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#37 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:38 PM

OK I think I will now sell some peanuts and popcorn and otherwise stay out of the way :P

:P


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)

2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)


#38 jimhudson

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:49 PM

Think I'll go out into the Sunshine and enjoy the 70 Degree Weather here in the Peoples Republic of Austin! :P

 

Disclaimer: I don't miss the Winters (and Summers) that I suffered through during my 25 years in the NE!!! Hope Everyone stays Safe and Warm no matter how you get around during the Storm in the NE!!  Time for Spring  Everywhere!!!! ;)


Edited by jimhudson, 12 February 2014 - 04:51 PM.

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#39 AlanB

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:56 PM

Amtrak just announced a reduced schedule on the NEC for tomorrow because of the impending snow. They don't list the trains being pulled, but do mention that they are contacting those affected. The press release can be found here.

And for all those talking about the weather conditions not being bad down south, it's not so much about the ice. Its about the lack of power for the signals & the crossing equipment. Without power, while the trains could still probably run, they're running at greatly reduced speeds, stopping to flag crossings, etc. Running the trains would result in horrible delays.

With regard to the NEC, there simply won't be that many people even bothering to travel tomorrow, so need to run all trains.
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#40 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 04:58 PM

Hmm, so how were things in 2009-2010?  Isn't that when we had 3 major snowfalls in the mid-atlantic?


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