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Southwest Chief News & Future Operations


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#41 jis

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:23 AM

The problem with accepting ATS as PTC is that it does nothing about civil speed enforcement, which is one of the three main requirements of PTC. People can have opinions all that they want., but without changing the definition of PTC it would be ridiculous to accepts ATS as PTC. Those that opine such only display a gross lack of understanding of the purpose of PTC. Preventing derailments caused by overspeeding is a stated primary goal of PTC. Even with all the ATS in the world, one cannot guarantee that the train will stop short of the foul point unless the speed approaching the home signal is within the specified speed limit.
 
I would categorize the Trains statement as an opinion that the writer has, that is unlikely to have been validated through FRA.
 
 

 

"I've heard that Anderson is not getting a salary from Amtrak."
 
Huh?  Is that for sure a fact or a rumor?  Remember, the other day we were discussing rumors.  *IF* that's really true the question begs to be asked, why is he working there?  Certainly not because he's a foaming-at-the-mouth passenger train fan.

 
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple his official salary was 1 dollar a year, but of course in reality he made much more than that through stock options and things. Of course stock options are not guarnteed income but the better the business does. the more is in it for you. Jobs definitely made the Apple stock price go up up up and must have made himself quite a bit in the process.
 
Of course Amtrak doesn't have stocks. But maybe they gave him a contract in which only bonuses are payed based on achieving goals rather than there being a guaranteed base salary.
 
Amtrak actually does have stock, but it is not worth much.

Anderson indeed has a $500,000 per year bonus based on meeting certain goals set for him by the Board, and has essentially no salary - i.e. he has some nominal salary like $1 a year or such. In some sense he is working for fun, just to see if he can make a whole pile of money by meeting the goals, and Board knowingly set it up that way, with a specific set of goals attached.
 
Based on his actions one can guess what goals have been set for him. Money talks BS walks.
 
My guess is, if he is let go based on the current events, even if they are consistent with his goals. he will gladly walk and take Amtrak to the cleaners for breach of contract, or anticipating that the Board will have to give him a handsome golden handshake. That is unlikely to happen.

Edited by jis, 05 June 2018 - 06:18 AM.

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#42 cpotisch

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:37 AM

Jobs definitely made the Apple stock price go up up up and must have made himself quite a bit in the process.

About $8 billion, in fact. In a succeeding company, stock options are vastly better than any possible salary.


Edited by cpotisch, 04 June 2018 - 08:38 AM.

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#43 fredmcain

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:42 AM

JIS,

 

I did not take the TRAINS article mentioned in my post as an editorial but rather a report.  The "opinions" of rail journalists that I mentioned was a reference to other articles I've seen - I think Don Phillips might've had one but I don't have it in front of me at the time.

 

 

As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them.  However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.


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​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#44 jis

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 08:55 AM

Here is a reasonably good description of what Intermittent Induction Coil ATS, such as is deployed on the ex Santa Fe BNF route, is capable of and more importantly, not capable of:

 

https://en.wikipedia...atic_train_stop

 

Here is the legal requirements to be met by a compliant PTC system:

 

https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0358

 

Now, as an exercise, tell me which ones of those requirements are met by the ATS system.



#45 cirdan

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:00 AM

 

 

 

As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them.  However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.

 

Would that still be possible with PTC?

 

I thought all modern signalling systems interlock the switches if they are in an actively set path..



#46 jis

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:20 AM

 

 

 

 

As for overspeeding, I might be wrong, but I was under the distinct impression that ATS COULD stop or restrict overspeeding. The old AT&SF had installed ATS transponders in advance of bad curves. I know that 'cause I've seen them.  However, the one thing that ATS could not do - nor will PTC be able to do completely - is to override human stupidity. Such was the case with the devastating Robinson wreck in the 1950s where a trainman lost his head and threw a switch at the last minute in front of a speeding passenger train.

 

Would that still be possible with PTC?

 

I thought all modern signalling systems interlock the switches if they are in an actively set path..

 

Right. once a signal is set a switch cannot be thrown without first withdrawing the signal and unlocking the switch. that is what electrically locked switches are all about. A PTC system is non-compliant if all switches in the path governed by it are not electrically interlocked with the signaling system.

 

Though when it comes to ingenuity in human stupidity, I am sure there are corner cases where stupidity can befuddle other humans and automation electronics equally well. That is why there are rules to follow, to minimize the chances of such. If humans refuse to follow rules, even minimally, then all bets are off, specially if they try hard to break safety rules at every turn.


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#47 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:38 AM

Let's not forget... PTC was in full working order on the Michigan Amtrak train that had a green indication, and yet the switch was lined off of the main into a yard. It was the engineers decision not to blindly trust the in-cab signals that kept that wreck from being much much worse.

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#48 jis

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:45 AM

Let's not forget... PTC was in full working order on the Michigan Amtrak train that had a green indication, and yet the switch was lined off of the main into a yard. It was the engineers decision not to blindly trust the in-cab signals that kept that wreck from being much much worse.

Yup. Human stupidity/carelessness/breaking of rules by the Communication and Signal Department folks was involved in a big way. As I said, human ingenuity is usually involved in creating bad messes, and causing lots of harm, even with all the automation in the world to try to reduce the chances of such. Likewise human ingenuity can help prevent disasters if applied correctly. In operations the bias is supposed to be on the side of preventing disasters, but alarmingly often people involved behave in the opposite way.
 
Cab signals and all the automation is just a safety fallback thing. Engineers are still in control and are supposed to do the right thing within the bounds set by the safety envelope. PTC is not ATO (Automatic Train Operation). Indeed with the level of callousness displayed by the Signal Maintainers in that case, such people should not be allowed to come anywhere near any safety critical system.


Edited by jis, 04 June 2018 - 10:53 AM.

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#49 Lonestar648

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:13 AM

The electronics and computers are only as good as the people operating them. It takes everyone doing their jobs correctly.
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#50 railiner

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:01 PM

How about the ancient 'speed signals' on the New York subways?   They force the train to slow down, or else, if the train goes thru the red signal, the tripper will cause an emergency stop...


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#51 jis

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 12:10 PM

How about the ancient 'speed signals' on the New York subways?   They force the train to slow down, or else, if the train goes thru the red signal, the tripper will cause an emergency stop...

Yup. And actually one could come up with a scheme to even use the Induction coils to enforce certain speed limits, but that has typically not been done. The reason is it would have reduced average speed and hence throughput of trains dramatically. Incidentally, some of the PTC freight operators are already discovering the effect of PTC on throughput (negative), though nothing as dramatic as it would have been if only Induction Coils were used. mainly this effect happens because the automatic system is more conservative and does not push the safety envelope as far as a human operator tends to.

 

Incidentally, the rear end collisions on Manhattan bridge happened in spite of the New York Subway ancient stop enforcement system. The problem was that the train was overspeeding when it passed the auto stop level triggering its brakes, and it ran into the train ahead before it could stop completely.

 

The ATSF ATS also has exactly this problem. It is not guaranteed to stop the errant train before it fouls the interlocking that it is protecting, and in addition it cannot enforce civil speed limits, both TSR and PSR as required by PTC. hence anyone who proposes to have ATS substitute for PTC is just ignorant enough not to know know what either or both are and what the PTC regulation is.


Edited by jis, 06 June 2018 - 02:26 PM.


#52 daybeers

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 12:59 AM

...Preventing derailments caused by overspending is a stated primary goal of PTC...

:giggle:


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#53 jis

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 12:32 PM

Here is an article from Railway Age, explicitly stating what I tried to explain in an earlier post regarding what the law says about granting extensions. It appears that FRA has even less leeway than I was willing to agree it might.

 

https://www.railwaya...e-final-hurdle/



#54 fredmcain

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 12:43 PM

Here is an article from Railway Age, explicitly stating what I tried to explain in an earlier post regarding what the law says about granting extensions. It appears that FRA has even less leeway than I was willing to agree it might.

 

https://www.railwaya...e-final-hurdle/

JIS,

 

I dunno.  Just scanning through that it sounds to me like a fairly upbeat article.  Most if not all big freight carriers are on schedule.  There is some concern, however, over commuter railroads.  Fines were mentioned.  But if the FRA fines them wouldn't they be essentially just fining the taxpayers 'cause most of those systems are taxpayer supported anyhow.?

 

Question:  How much of the Southwest Chief line (old Santa Fe "North Line") is currently owned by BNSF?  I thought I read that some of it was sold to the State of New Mexico.  Did New Mexico buy all of it in their state?  What about in Colorado?

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain


​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#55 Ryan

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 12:51 PM

I think that this is the important bit.

“We will grant an extension to any railroad that meets the statutory requirements, but FRA has no authority to grant waivers or relief from the deadline.”



 

<snip>
The greatest danger that the Southwest Chief faces at present IMHO is the possible failure of Rail Runner to meet the PTC deadline. Of all the potential PTC outages that were discussed at the Spring RPA Meeting, the Rail Runner one appeared to be the most problematic. Working through Senator Nelson's office we have determined that the two Florida ones will get resolved by December. Nothing similar has been found about the Rail Runner yet.

 
Well, I thought I heard that lines which are protected by the older Automatic Train Stop ( which I thought this line is ) would be granted a waiver for an unclear period of time.  Is that incorrect or perhaps misunderstood?
 
I would like to revisit this post that I made a while back.  It was stated that in order for this to happen, "Congress would have to change the law"? Really? 

According to the FRA, “Yes, really.”
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#56 jis

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 01:12 PM

 

Here is an article from Railway Age, explicitly stating what I tried to explain in an earlier post regarding what the law says about granting extensions. It appears that FRA has even less leeway than I was willing to agree it might.
 
https://www.railwaya...e-final-hurdle/

JIS,
 
I dunno.  Just scanning through that it sounds to me like a fairly upbeat article.  Most if not all big freight carriers are on schedule.  There is some concern, however, over commuter railroads.  Fines were mentioned.  But if the FRA fines them wouldn't they be essentially just fining the taxpayers 'cause most of those systems are taxpayer supported anyhow.?

 

Fines are for not meeting statutory requirements. If the organization that fails to meet requirements is taxpayer funded then yes the fines will have to be paid out of taxpayer funds. In case of RailRunner it would be the New Mexico Taxpayers who will foot most of the bill,
 
But at the end of the day, the fine is merely a means to get compliance. What is more important is to actually get compliance rather than merely collect fines, as is mentioned in the article.

 

One of the biggest concern about a commuter railroad is Rail Runner, which has made no progress on anything towards meeting the statutory requirements that must be met to get an extension from the FRA. That was my original point, and it still stands, no matter how upbeat the article may sound to you.

Question:  How much of the Southwest Chief line (old Santa Fe "North Line") is currently owned by BNSF?  I thought I read that some of it was sold to the State of New Mexico.  Did New Mexico buy all of it in their state?  What about in Colorado?
 
Regards,
Fred M. Cain

All of it except:

  1. Trackage around Albuquerque owned by Rail Runner (i.e. State of New Mexico). This is only the part on which the RailRunner runs plus a little bit extra. In particular the trackage from Raton Pass to the point where RailRunner branches off is owned by BNSF as is everything in Colorado

Edited by jis, 06 June 2018 - 01:16 PM.


#57 DSS&A

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 06:08 AM

Denver to Albuquerque is a potential passenger train corridor. I would think there is demand for a few round-trip trains a day between these cities. The two cities are 450 miles apart. A few corridor trains between these cities would increase passenger revenues to cover the fixed costs of the passenger train speed infrasteucure.

#58 zephyr17

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 01:39 PM

Denver to Albuquerque is a potential passenger train corridor. I would think there is demand for a few round-trip trains a day between these cities. The two cities are 450 miles apart. A few corridor trains between these cities would increase passenger revenues to cover the fixed costs of the passenger train speed infrasteucure.

New Mexico actually had entered a contract to purchase the entire line up to the Colorado state line with this in mind.  Also, BNSF had made it a condition of buying what New Mexico actually wanted, Belen-Lamy.  The deal was phased, with transfer of ownership Belen-Lamy first.  However, after an administration changed in New Mexico, New Mexico reneged on the deal.  They ultimately settled with BNSF and the rest of the deal died.

 

While Albuquerque is a corridor candidate, in order to get to Denver, a train would have to use the very heavily trafficked Joint Line north of Pueblo, CO.  BNSF is pretty resistant to adding a passenger train to the mix without some major capacity improvement funded by NM/CO .  BNSF would almost require New Mexico and Colorado purchase the Raton line as far as Trinidad.


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#59 frequentflyer

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 01:50 PM

 

Denver to Albuquerque is a potential passenger train corridor. I would think there is demand for a few round-trip trains a day between these cities. The two cities are 450 miles apart. A few corridor trains between these cities would increase passenger revenues to cover the fixed costs of the passenger train speed infrasteucure.

New Mexico actually had entered a contract to purchase the entire line up to the Colorado state line with this in mind.  Also, BNSF had made it a condition of buying what New Mexico actually wanted, Belen-Lamy.  The deal was phased, with transfer of ownership Belen-Lamy first.  However, after an administration changed in New Mexico, New Mexico reneged on the deal.  They ultimately settled with BNSF and the rest of the deal died.

 

While Albuquerque is a corridor candidate, in order to get to Denver, a train would have to use the very heavily trafficked Joint Line north of Pueblo, CO.  BNSF is pretty resistant to adding a passenger train to the mix without some major capacity improvement funded by NM/CO .  BNSF would almost require New Mexico and Colorado purchase the Raton line as far as Trinidad.

 

What trip time would one be realistically looking at for a DEN-ABQ trip?



#60 railiner

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 04:46 PM

 

 

Denver to Albuquerque is a potential passenger train corridor. I would think there is demand for a few round-trip trains a day between these cities. The two cities are 450 miles apart. A few corridor trains between these cities would increase passenger revenues to cover the fixed costs of the passenger train speed infrasteucure.

New Mexico actually had entered a contract to purchase the entire line up to the Colorado state line with this in mind.  Also, BNSF had made it a condition of buying what New Mexico actually wanted, Belen-Lamy.  The deal was phased, with transfer of ownership Belen-Lamy first.  However, after an administration changed in New Mexico, New Mexico reneged on the deal.  They ultimately settled with BNSF and the rest of the deal died.

 

While Albuquerque is a corridor candidate, in order to get to Denver, a train would have to use the very heavily trafficked Joint Line north of Pueblo, CO.  BNSF is pretty resistant to adding a passenger train to the mix without some major capacity improvement funded by NM/CO .  BNSF would almost require New Mexico and Colorado purchase the Raton line as far as Trinidad.

 

What trip time would one be realistically looking at for a DEN-ABQ trip?

 

Looking back, the Texas Zephyr ran Denver to Trinidad in as little as 4:33, added to the Amtrak Trinidad to Albuquerque fastest time of 5:39 = total of 10 hours and 12 minutes...

I seriously doubt if that Denver to Trinidad time could be duplicated today, however...

 

 http://www.streamlin...phyr196009.html

 

https://www.amtrak.c...dule-031118.pdf


Edited by railiner, 07 June 2018 - 04:52 PM.

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