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RR503

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RR503 last won the day on October 14

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About RR503

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  1. RR503

    SUBWAY - Random Thoughts Topic

    To be fair, changing from "ladies and gentlemen" to "attention passengers" is a really small effort the agency can make to make the system feel more inclusive while actually reducing announcement word count. I'm sorry for sounding like a holier-than-thou moral splainer, but I think making people whose identities are rejected/denigrated (just read this conversation) feel more at home is a positive thing.
  2. RR503

    QBL CBTC: I need an explanation...

    That’s a complex question. In theory, CBTC is incontrovertibly a more capable system than fixed blocks. People are absolutely right in saying that it should be installed — not only would it theoretically increase capacity, but it, if installed without all the bells and whistles, could dramatically cut maintenance costs. But that, of course, glosses over a whole bunch of things. Really, the issue is twofold. First, the thing restricting NYC subway capacity/reliability today isn’t the signal system, per se, but instead the way said system is operated. We used to operate 36tph on the with fixed blocks, 34tph on CPW express, 31tph on Broadway express. The dramatic reductions in capacity seen on those corridors aren’t a result of some inherent flaws in yesterday’s signals, but instead ones in today’s poor service planning, a rash of inefficiency-causing signal mods, an illogical, fear-based operational culture, and the realities of the infrastructure itself. Those issues all carry over into CBTC — albeit with more cushioning given the aforementioned inherent capability of the new system. This is to say that if you wanted to extract more capacity/reliability from the system, you’re much better off starting by reviewing/adjusting operations under the current system — it’s cheaper and faster, and it creates a more capable operating environment in which a subsequent CBTC installation can reach its full potential. Second, there is the issue of cost. Byford projects $40 billion over the next 10 years to pay for this. There’s absolutely something to be said for “better to spend now than later; we’ll fix ops as we go along” but that neglects the zillion ways in which NYC CBTC installs synthesize modern tech and the Stone Age. On the most basic level, we only have two companies qualified to provide CBTC equipment, meaning that bids are sure to be inflated. Then, there’s the issue of overconsulting. This is a general issue with MTA capital projects, but the amount spent on “independent analyses” needs to come down — not only for the sake of our wallets, but also for the sake of the contractors, as having 12,000 different entities telling you what to do can’t be easy. Wonkiness in outage planning has been addressed with the concept of consistent night/weekend closures, but there remains the need to coordinate within the agency’s various departments to make sure the necessary equipment is in place at the right time (this can be a big struggle) and to assure that departments involved in the project itself are all on the same page. And then we hit the system itself. I’ve long been an advocate for minimizing the use of auxiliary wayside signals (keeping basic function at interlockings isn’t a bad idea, but elsewhere...) but the agency’s policy seems to have been moving in the opposite direction. What we do today is take out all the old block signals, put in a spanking new block system capable of sustaining full service, add CBTC...and then (as I recently learned) we remove block signals until we have signal spacing capable of just 12tph. Talk about wasteful. I’m not a technical expert, so please take the following (and honestly any part of this post you find suspect) with some salt, but beyond the areas around interlockings where the whole relay system has to be replaced before CBTC for compatibility, we’re really just spending a crapton of money for nothing — especially given that 5 min headway capability won’t do jack shit for service during a disruption; you’ll just get congestion (unless you’re on the or in the Rockaways). I emphasize these auxiliary signals so much, by the way, because their installation actually accounts for a disproportionate amount of CBTC related service changes. If you weren’t adding them, you’d be overlaying some transponders and relay cabinets on existing track — that’s a good bit of work, yes, but nothing compared to the task of cutting in new block signals with different control lines, track circuits, wiring, logic, etc. Point being, there are a ton of changes that could be made to make CBTC cheaper before we go all out on it. Methinks we make those before we go in — just as we measure twice before we cut.
  3. The good news: they made a map. The bad news: it's riddled with mistakes. I'll start off your feeling of horror with the fact that District 20 seems to have *3* headquarters...
  4. RR503

    Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    Preach. Hopefully one day folks will realize that service = ridership. Washington seems to be getting there, though also via the path of managerial denial... https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/metro-says-it-doesnt-know-what-to-do-about-its-falling-ridership-an-internal-report-lays-out-exactly-what-to-do/2018/10/03/d8771d2e-c721-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html?utm_term=.f9aa5db7505d But of course: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/metro-board-members-back-away-from-recommendations-to-increase-service/2018/10/11/b339bb66-cd75-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html?utm_term=.2782ff341b00
  5. RR503

    The Jay Street Connecting Railroad

    Nice shots!! I assume you've seen this site? http://www.trainweb.org/bedt/IndustrialLocos.html
  6. RR503

    Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    I guess the question is why not? 6th/Brighton could certainly use more service -- the latter is the sort of market that Uber is killing the MTA in, for good reason. If the agency ever wants to be more than a rush hour shuttle, it has to aggressively pursue off peak riders. In fact, one could actually say that off peak service needs to be better than peak service, as that's when competition is strongest. Enough of this "riders are leaving, let's cut service" bullsh*t. If urbanism is to live to see the next generation, the MTA's goal has to be to win every car trip over onto the rails/buses. Getting off peak riders onto trains/buses also has a very strong financial incentive for the MTA. Peak hour service needs are generally determinate of rolling stock/crew costs, meaning that on a marginal basis, off peak service is extremely cheap. If ridership can cover those costs (which it generally should) then we're actually increasing farebox recovery without raising fares -- or making the agency more efficient. It should be a warning to the MTA, I think, that one of the driving factors behind the failure of privately held public transportation was that people fled for cars during the off peak (when traffic was minimal) while flocking to the trains/buses during the peak (when traffic was everywhere). What this created was a regulatorally enforced vicious cycle wherein more and more equipment was needed for less and less block time, until we had entire fleets being used only 20 hours a week. Et voila, inefficient asset use, and economic failure.
  7. RR503

    QBL CBTC: I need an explanation...

    To say CBTC added capacity is disingenuous -- it was a restoration at best. Into the '60s, NYCT ran 26tph during rush hours with the then-standard lighter cars. Since then, trains got heavier, and we forgot how to run them.
  8. Indeed. That’s how all curves should be — the fact that we have timers that enforce comfort speed is an atrocity.
  9. Ah! Lucky! Most ops slow for that curve, but then some don’t...boy is that a ride.
  10. RR503

    Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    Absolutely. The operational/cultural changes that led to and resulted from that crash are the crisis.
  11. RR503

    Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    Around the time of the Williamsburg Bridge accident, there was a study done of all signals in the system. The study evaluated whether or not a train (given the reduced braking rates that were then normal) would be able to stop within block, and made recommendations as per the results. Thousands of locations where stopping distance wasn't sufficient for safe operation were identified. The mitigation usually took the form of a control line extension -- lengthening the area of track which, if occupied, would cause a given signal to be red -- or timing -- to reduce the speed, and thus the stopping distance, of a train in the area. The idiocy of reducing speeds/increasing spacing instead of fixing brakes is at fault here, yes, but also is the NTSB mandated increase in signal safety margins after W'burg. So I don't think it's fair to say that this is all bad, either.
  12. RR503

    Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

    This is a crucial question. The way I see it, overlong dwell times are symptomatic and aggravatory of capacity reductions, not causative of them. We can only run x tph because people hold doors because we only run x tph. So really, you just have to break this vicious cycle -- and I think this is where measures like encouraging local recycle and mounting a public information campaign could be helpful. Well, remember that the and will have significantly shorter runs (168/BPB to WTC), so I'd imagine that a combo of 207/Concourse/174 put-ins along with overnight storage on the many relay tracks along the corridor would suffice. If not, yes, Euclid runs would be necessary. As for why, the idea is to deinterline the 59th/50th area without totally screwing riders up north. Sending to 207 and to 205 allows both branches of CPW to get express service to the core, which, IMO, is a must given those areas' distance. Yup! Not exactly, no. Most of the subway's signal system was designed to allow trains to run about 90 seconds apart. That throughput was never scheduled as you'd have zero resiliency, but the capacity nevertheless remained. Thus, when something went wrong, there was that inherent capability to absorb delays/displaced trains, allowing faster incident recovery. With the proliferation of timers, the reduction in braking capability, the extension of control lines, the fear culture etc, that capacity no longer exists -- meaning normal operation is taking place on a razor thin capacity margin. So, when something goes down, its negative effects cannot be absorbed easily, all but forcing endless cascades.
  13. Exactly. The phrases "analysis paralysis" and "managerial blubber" are terms these folks need to get acquainted with.
  14. The cuts were noted in the July Financial Plan, which is crucially a budget proposal. The final plan doesn't go into effect until November -- that's why people refer to the budget as the "November Plan." Service cuts are a very temporary solution to a structural problem. As long as the MTA continues to rely on borrowing/PAYGO/weird pension games to fund things, you can count on a real scale financial crisis taking place. There needs to be a drawdown of debt and a complete examination of both funding mechanisms and of the spending itself -- I daresay there are many wasteful practices on the expenditure side.

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