Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Washington Metro Question


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 MARC Rider

MARC Rider

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 800 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 November 2016 - 06:58 AM

This has sort of been bugging me for a while.  When I ride the Metro (Red Line) eastbound from Metro Center towards Union Station, the acceleration is very irregular.  After the doors (finally!) close, the train start to move a bit, then jerks to a stop, then starts moving again, and jerks to a stop again.  It does this about 3 times before it starts moving for real.  Eastbound out of Metro Center on the Red line is the only place where this happens.  Does anybody know what's going on.

 

By the way, it's Day 2 of the Red Line SafeTrack safety surge, and the service is actually better than it usually is, although I'll have to wait this afternoon to see what the 5 PM rush hour will be like with the 5 minute headways.  (Yesterday I rode out at 6PM, and it was tolerable.)



#2 mfastx

mfastx

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Boston, MA

Posted 02 November 2016 - 11:17 AM

This has sort of been bugging me for a while.  When I ride the Metro (Red Line) eastbound from Metro Center towards Union Station, the acceleration is very irregular.  After the doors (finally!) close, the train start to move a bit, then jerks to a stop, then starts moving again, and jerks to a stop again.  It does this about 3 times before it starts moving for real.  Eastbound out of Metro Center on the Red line is the only place where this happens.  Does anybody know what's going on.

 

By the way, it's Day 2 of the Red Line SafeTrack safety surge, and the service is actually better than it usually is, although I'll have to wait this afternoon to see what the 5 PM rush hour will be like with the 5 minute headways.  (Yesterday I rode out at 6PM, and it was tolerable.)

 

I've experienced this a bunch in other areas of the system.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong as I'm no expert on this, but I think this is due to the fact that the trains are being manually operated while still being under two components of Automatic Train Control (the train protection and supervision systems).  This means that only the train operation system is not active, which is crucial for a smooth ride while the other systems are engaged. 

 

What is probably happening is the protection system is sensing that the operator is accelerating too quickly and forcing the train to stop.  This also happens if the train goes over a switch too fast, the train will suddenly grind to a halt or slow down drastically.  

 

The fact that many of the trains are so uncomfortable to ride is a testament to how poorly trained the operators are to operate the train in a skillful manner, and how incompetent management is for not being able to restore automatic train operation (crucial for on time performance and an acceptably smooth ride) for a full 7 years and counting after the 2009 crash (which was a malfunction in the protection system, not the operation system anyway. 



#3 Seaboard92

Seaboard92

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,385 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Carolina
  • Interests:-Amtrak
    -New York Central
    -Seaboard Airline
    -Scriptwriting

Posted 05 November 2016 - 04:29 PM

I won't fault them running a train is actually a very hard task to do perfect more like a talent. I've ridden behind good engineers and bad ensign sees. Surprisingly the CEO of Amtrak Wick Moorman is a very good engineer. Now on subway cars correct me if I'm wrong but they have a traction motor under each car. So in theory all cars should start and stop at the same time with no slack action.

View my pictures at http://trainboy1.rrpicturearchives.net

Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

Steam Engines I've worked behind

Norfolk & Western No. 611

Nickel Plate Road No. 765

Southern Pacific No. 4449

 


#4 daybeers

daybeers

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 140 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:HFD & WAS
  • Interests:Trains, obviously, both real and model, Music, Singing, Computers, Stained Glass, Photography, Traveling, Running

Posted 09 November 2016 - 09:47 PM

I just moved to DC to start college at American University, where (starting this semester) all students get unlimited Metro Rail and Bus for $130 per semester (that sounds like a lot, but some commuters can use that up in a couple of weeks; I've certainly used more than that in the last 2.5 months). Therefore, I've had my fair share of exploring the state of the DC Metro system as it is now.

 

Unfortunately, SafeTrack is needed to solve the 40 years of deferred maintenance the system has, which was covered up by the now-fired "safety" managers. Metro is being very cautious about safety now with the FTA watching their every move. This includes continuing to run the trains under manual operation.

 

Honestly, the jerking happens system-wide. I believe mfastx is correct that this is caused by the other components of the ATC system operating while the trains are under manual operation. About a month ago, I was sitting in the first car of a train and was able to watch a train operator through the tinted glass because I was traveling on elevated track on the Green Line in daylight. I noticed how the train slowed down without him doing anything, and then he would have to pull the throttle back and then forward again to get the train moving faster again.

 

One of the major aspects of the work happening under SafeTrack is for ATC, such as the replacement and/or repair of Intrusion Detection Warning boxes, which, from the name, seems to be what is preventing them from reintroducing full ATC operation.

 

If you're a nerd like me and interested in projects happening around you, feel free to take a look at http://www.wmata.com.../safetrack.cfm? where you can look at reports of what work Metro has done with each SafeTrack Surge. Here's the latest one going on now: http://www.wmata.com...ss Report_1.pdf

 

One good thing is that the new 7000-series cars are a much smoother and quieter ride than the older ones, which helps with the jerky movements.

 

Time will tell if this work will mean the use of ATC again. And let's all pray they seriously don't reduce the operating hours even more. It's already ridiculous closing the system at midnight seven days a week. Can anyone tell me why they can't do maintenance while keeping the system operational like other subway systems around the country? How other cities do both at the same time is over my head, but I feel like the capital of the United States should be able to figure it out...oh wait...Congress is in DC, and they don't do much about transportation anyway...  :P


Amtrak travel so far:

Springfield Shuttle: HFD-WND, HFD-NHV

Lake Shore Limited: SPG-CHI, CHI-SPG Roomette

Northeast Regional round-trip lots of times: NHV-NYP, NHV-WIL, NHV-WAS, HFD-WAS (some in Business)

Acela: PHL-NHV, Business Class

Pennsylvanian: NYP-PGH, PGH-NYP, Business Class

Capitol Limited: WAS-CHI Bedroom

 

Foreign travel:

Eurostar: London-Paris

EuroNight: Paris-Milano Centrale, 6 person couchette (by far the worst train I have ever been on.)

Frecciarossa: Milano Centrale-Roma Termini

 


#5 sitzplatz17

sitzplatz17

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 246 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington D.C.
  • Interests:Did a human build it? Does it move? Then I like it!!
    Trains, Planes, Automobiles, Ships, Bicycles, etc.

Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:25 AM

This has sort of been bugging me for a while.  When I ride the Metro (Red Line) eastbound from Metro Center towards Union Station, the acceleration is very irregular.  After the doors (finally!) close, the train start to move a bit, then jerks to a stop, then starts moving again, and jerks to a stop again.  It does this about 3 times before it starts moving for real.  Eastbound out of Metro Center on the Red line is the only place where this happens.  Does anybody know what's going on.

 

By the way, it's Day 2 of the Red Line SafeTrack safety surge, and the service is actually better than it usually is, although I'll have to wait this afternoon to see what the 5 PM rush hour will be like with the 5 minute headways.  (Yesterday I rode out at 6PM, and it was tolerable.)

I have noticed this as well! While it does indeed happen on other parts of the system, the only place that it happens 9/10 times with such regularity is that section between Metro Center and Chinatown. It occasionally has that issue going West/Northbound right before Farragut North but not nearly as much or as harshly as the eastbound section between Metro Center and Chinatown.

 

I ride the Red Line 4 days a week and have been for years and this has been bugging me for months.


Amtrak Routes I've ridden: Acela Service (4x), Adirondack, Auto Train (9x), California Zephyr (3x), Capitol Limited (4x), Cardinal, Cascades Service (2x), Coast Starlight, Crescent (2x), Downeaster, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service, Lake Shore Limited, Lincoln Service (2x), Missouri River Runner, Northeast Regional (20x+), Pacific Surfliner (10x), Palmetto, Silver Meteor (2x), Silver Star, Southwest Chief (2x), Sunset Limited (ORL - NOL in '01), and the Texas Eagle.

Travelin' Amtrak since '93


#6 Hotblack Desiato

Hotblack Desiato

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 124 posts

Posted 18 November 2016 - 10:57 AM

Can anyone tell me why they can't do maintenance while keeping the system operational like other subway systems around the country? How other cities do both at the same time is over my head,

 

The answer is, they don't.  At least, not when significant maintenance is required.

 

If you have regular ongoing maintenance, you can get away with minimal disruption.  But WMATA obviously didn't do that (or, didn't do it properly).

 

When CTA had to do repairs on the Blue Line following a derailment 10 years ago, they had to shut portions of the line down for a weekend, nearly every weekend for 1-2 years.  A couple of years ago, CTA shut down the entire south side of the Red Line for 6 months to rebuild it.  In the 1990s, they shut down the entire Green Line for two years.

 

New York routinely shuts down portions of their system on weekends.  Many folks just don't notice it because there are so many alternate routings available for trains (unless your station is one affected by the maintenance, then you definitely do notice it).

 

WMATA doesn't have the routing redundancy that New York has (well, pretty much nobody else in the US does), and without proper routine maintenance, there's no way around getting the work done other than taking parts of the system out of service.


Edited by Hotblack Desiato, 18 November 2016 - 10:58 AM.


#7 Metra Electric Rider

Metra Electric Rider

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 511 posts

Posted 23 November 2016 - 01:14 PM

Isn't New York planning on shutting several lines down (or just one line and it's under-river tunnels at least) to repair Sandy damage in a year or so?

 

I remember reading that London's excuse for not having 24 hour service (in addition to old moral reasons) was that they had to literally walk every inch of track for safety every night. One would think that would keep the system in good repair.


SJ - Norra Stambanan, Nordvästra stambanan, Södra stambanan, Dalabanan

NSB- Bergensbanen, Kongsvingerbanen, Rørosbanen, Dovrebanen, Flåmsbana, Roa–Hønefossbanen

Amtrak - Floridian, San Francisco Zephyr, Southwest Limited, Illini, State House


#8 DCAKen

DCAKen

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts

Posted 23 November 2016 - 01:46 PM

I remember reading that London's excuse for not having 24 hour service (in addition to old moral reasons) was that they had to literally walk every inch of track for safety every night. One would think that would keep the system in good repair.

 

And now London is offering 24 hour service on selected lines: Night Tube


Edited by DCAKen, 23 November 2016 - 01:47 PM.


#9 sitzplatz17

sitzplatz17

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 246 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington D.C.
  • Interests:Did a human build it? Does it move? Then I like it!!
    Trains, Planes, Automobiles, Ships, Bicycles, etc.

Posted 16 August 2017 - 04:34 PM

Just an update on this "stop-start" issue.
It's been still happening with the same regularity as I previously mentioned but two additional observations I have are:
1. A few months back one of the operators (on a 3000 series) explained over the intercom that the issue was "bad speed commands".
2. This week I ended up squeezed against the glass behind the operator on a particularly full 3000 series train and was actually able to observe the cab of the train. Indeed on the speed readout you could see the authorized speed bounce between "00" and "15". Every time it went to "00" the brakes applied and we slowed down until it jumped back to "15" (or higher).

I find it odd that this problem has persisted for so long without any resolution. I wonder what makes this particular stretch between Metro Center and GP not as interesting or as much of a priority to fix.

Amtrak Routes I've ridden: Acela Service (4x), Adirondack, Auto Train (9x), California Zephyr (3x), Capitol Limited (4x), Cardinal, Cascades Service (2x), Coast Starlight, Crescent (2x), Downeaster, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service, Lake Shore Limited, Lincoln Service (2x), Missouri River Runner, Northeast Regional (20x+), Pacific Surfliner (10x), Palmetto, Silver Meteor (2x), Silver Star, Southwest Chief (2x), Sunset Limited (ORL - NOL in '01), and the Texas Eagle.

Travelin' Amtrak since '93


#10 mfastx

mfastx

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 166 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Boston, MA

Posted 29 August 2017 - 10:59 AM

I have noticed this as well! While it does indeed happen on other parts of the system, the only place that it happens 9/10 times with such regularity is that section between Metro Center and Chinatown. It occasionally has that issue going West/Northbound right before Farragut North but not nearly as much or as harshly as the eastbound section between Metro Center and Chinatown.

 

I ride the Red Line 4 days a week and have been for years and this has been bugging me for months.

 

Nine months after this post and this is still a problem.  What boggles my mind is that there is a way to prevent the train automatically screeching to a halt several times, and that's just to go very slowly as you exit Metro Center.  But somehow, after at least a year, almost none of the operators have caught on to this.  Every now and then, you'll get one that is semi-competent and knows how to navigate this stretch of track.  But the vast majority continue to plow ahead, which screeches the train to a halt several times.  I don't get how they can't catch on. 



#11 Metra Electric Rider

Metra Electric Rider

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 511 posts

Posted 29 August 2017 - 11:31 AM

I read an article about a month ago that was about the electrical issues in the Metro system in a trade publication we got in our office (I believe a cabling or electrical contracting magazine) which was talking about the renewal and repair of the electrical systems throughout the Washington Metro - which they called a "commuter rail system" - which I suppose it is technically. I gather that there is a LOT of work do to, partially due to deferred maint. over the years and involved a renewed emphasis on preventative maint. which used to be very assiduously followed on the system before emergencies took priority - at least according to the article. 


SJ - Norra Stambanan, Nordvästra stambanan, Södra stambanan, Dalabanan

NSB- Bergensbanen, Kongsvingerbanen, Rørosbanen, Dovrebanen, Flåmsbana, Roa–Hønefossbanen

Amtrak - Floridian, San Francisco Zephyr, Southwest Limited, Illini, State House





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users