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fredmcain

Southwest Chief News & Future Operations

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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

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

:giggle:

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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.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/rssi-ptc-forum-interoperability-the-final-hurdle/

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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.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/rssi-ptc-forum-interoperability-the-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

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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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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.railwayage.com/cs/ptc/rssi-ptc-forum-interoperability-the-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

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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.

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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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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?

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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.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track9/texzephyr196009.html

 

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/timetables/Southwest-Chief-Schedule-031118.pdf

Edited by railiner

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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.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track9/texzephyr196009.html

 

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/timetables/Southwest-Chief-Schedule-031118.pdf

That terribly uncompetitive, even at the old running times (compared to 6.5 hours driving). Under current conditions, my guess is running time would be 12ish hours. That would be a rough corridor train.

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While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. These folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

 

EDIT: Noun-verb agreement!

Edited by RPC

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While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. This folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

I definitely agree with having a train Pueblo to Denver, possibly even to Ft Collins. That would be wildly popular. It's the extra 6-8 hours to ABQ that is the loser.

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While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. This folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

I definitely agree with having a train Pueblo to Denver, possibly even to Ft Collins. That would be wildly popular. It's the extra 6-8 hours to ABQ that is the loser.

 

 

I agree. The population density between Trinidad and Santa Fe drops to nil while the grades get big. A really really bad place to try to implement corridor service. Now a front range high speed train, on the other hand, would be packed.

 

Ainamkartma

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And instead of going to Albuquerque, perhaps the new route would be better if it went to Amarillo and Fort Worth instead...?

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And instead of going to Albuquerque, perhaps the new route would be better if it went to Amarillo and Fort Worth instead...?

I thought of that, too. But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad. Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City. So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines. I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.

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I thought of that, too. But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad. Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City. So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines. I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.

Unless you count the traffic from Lubbock - Texas Tech students have shown much interest in any route that serviced Lubbock-Amarillo-Midland-FTW or DEN_Amarillo - in any combination. Clovis also offers more. FTW-DEN is a wonderful possibility. A close relative who works with BNSF tells me they LOVE all these possibilities. Of course they are not BNSF management but they are union...

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I thought of that, too. But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad. Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City. So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines. I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.

Unless you count the traffic from Lubbock - Texas Tech students have shown much interest in any route that serviced Lubbock-Amarillo-Midland-FTW or DEN_Amarillo - in any combination. Clovis also offers more. FTW-DEN is a wonderful possibility. A close relative who works with BNSF tells me they LOVE all these possibilities. Of course they are not BNSF management but they are union...

 

The real problem with serving lubbock is there's then no easy way to get to Fort Worth from there. You could use the UP line from Sweetwater to FTW, but I bet the UP would demand a king's ransom for that. So the easier option that will probably have less ridership is going from Amarillo to FTW completely on BNSF. At 800 miles, it is within the scope of Amtrak to create such a route, but it would be poor for a corridor service, and most likely require sleepers.

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http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/06/11-senators-amendment-pressures-amtrak-to-honor-southwest-chief-pledge



A Friday news release from the office of Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said the amendment to the 2019 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill, offered by Udall and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would “strongly encourage Amtrak to consult with stakeholders before adding conditions to any grant funds.” Amtrak has recently added such conditions to its $3 million pledge to matching funds for a $16 million grant for repair and upgrading of the Chief route

Edited by jis

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Glad to see the Senators getting active in supporting the continuation of the SWC. I don't see Anderson rerouting this train, just eliminate it to increase the Superliner reserve inventory.

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I don't see Anderson rerouting or eliminating this train. They will figure out a way to keep it running. The big catch right now is New Mexico and Rail Runner's PTC progress. As for between Lamy and La Junta, Amtrak will do its SMS analysis and come to the conclusion that a single train a day each way can be handled safely and that will be the end of that. BY FRA rules that segment is Exempt anyway. If track quality issues develop they will just clobber the schedule in strange ways to accommodate. In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.

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In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.

I would love to see that happen. Once some kind of service is established at Pueblo, I believe that would cause strong public pressure for passenger service between there and Denver over the Joint Line.

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I don't see Anderson rerouting or eliminating this train. They will figure out a way to keep it running. The big catch right now is New Mexico and Rail Runner's PTC progress. As for between Lamy and La Junta, Amtrak will do its SMS analysis and come to the conclusion that a single train a day each way can be handled safely and that will be the end of that. BY FRA rules that segment is Exempt anyway. If track quality issues develop they will just clobber the schedule in strange ways to accommodate. In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.

Last summer (2017) we were on the La Junta - Trinidad segment. I noticed that BNSF was replacing the wayside signals along there with the newer so-called "Darth Vader" type and they were also retiring the open-wire signal code line. This suggested in my mind's eye that BNSF was prepping this segment for PTC but I don't know that. We did not go west of Trinidad so I cannot comment on that stretch but I did notice that west of the Trinidad stop I could still see the older AT&SF "searchlight" type signals in use.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

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Good point. It is actually Trinidad (actually CP Jensen a bit south of Trinidad) to Lamy that has a single pair of trains per day. So yeah, La Junta to Trinidad is likely getting PTC.

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Maybe BNSF wants to replace the code line ( major expense maintain it ) . Is it possible that BNSF can reuse recycled old signal system hardware that will work for track code signaling but not PTC ? Around here PTC requires another bungalow at one end of CPs and 1 or 2 Verizon satellite dishes at every signal ( CSX ) .

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