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Bill from Maspeth

NEC Signal Problems Last Night

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On the way home from the New Brunswick (Rutgers) event yesterday, my friend and I stopped off at the westbound platform at North Elizabeth. He shot video and I was observing the operation when just about the time we were ready to leave because of darkness all signals went dark.

 

Upon checking the NJT web site throughout the evening, there were delays starting at 1-2 hours increasing to 2-3 hours later at night with at least one reported cancellation. Tickets were being cross honored on buses, but knowing them I doubt if extra buses were added. According to them the signal outage extended from Eliaabeth to Rahway but from what we saw it was actually from at least east of North Elizabeth based on the signals we were able to observe. All is well for now.

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Seems to me, when it comes to situations like this, (NJT) isn't very well organized to handle service disruptions... but then again, it's signals, and that's what runs the trains.

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The PRR signals need to go ASAP. I'm pretty sure that no other railways in the world still use signals from the first half of the 20th Century or use those with different light patterns.

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The signals are actually very reliable, what happened is a blackout to the power system. As far as signals from the first half of the 20th century, some systems are still using semaphore, which was what signals were first, before lights, before electricity.

 

- A

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I was listening to the entire thing on the radio thanks to the postponement of the ALCS and plans ruined .

 

Around 8 something a NJT train reported fire coming from a transformer over a signal bridge, they called CETEC to whom they told the incident, they were asked if they could get under way and they said yes and did. Then the another train reported signals being out. As a result they were single tracking and using form D's to operate through the problem area which from the radio seemed to be somewhere between Rahway and LANE Interlocking. The next problem to occur was many crews were running short on time, all of this caused for one giant mess.

 

 

 

The PRR signals need to go ASAP. I'm pretty sure that no other railways in the world still use signals from the first half of the 20th Century or use those with different light patterns.

 

Ever hear of a railroad called Norfolk Southern? They use CPL's as well and they have no problem both N&W and PRR Style. Ever hear of CSX they use B&O style CPL's.

 

We have to keep in mind that the PRR signals are one of the factors why our trains can't run faster.

 

What? I don't think that makes any sense? The signaling system has no effect on speed when most of the time the engineer is relying on the cab signal as well, which displays the same signal as the one up on the signal bridge.

 

I think you honestly are just looking for excuses to bash the PRR this is not the first thread in which I have seen you blame something on the Pennsy.

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Probably a lightning strike. That was one random and somewhat wild storm. I saw the area on a rainfall etc map after the fact, it was pretty hard hit.

 

Thanks (;)(K) for all the insight & common sense. :tup:

 

- A

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I was listening to the entire thing on the radio thanks to the postponement of the ALCS and plans ruined .

 

Around 8 something a NJT train reported fire coming from a transformer over a signal bridge, they called CETEC to whom they told the incident, they were asked if they could get under way and they said yes and did. Then the another train reported signals being out. As a result they were single tracking and using form D's to operate through the problem area which from the radio seemed to be somewhere between Rahway and LANE Interlocking. The next problem to occur was many crews were running short on time, all of this caused for one giant mess.

 

 

 

 

 

Ever hear of a railroad called Norfolk Southern? They use CPL's as well and they have no problem both N&W and PRR Style. Ever hear of CSX they use B&O style CPL's.

 

 

 

What? I don't think that makes any sense? The signaling system has no effect on speed when most of the time the engineer is relying on the cab signal as well, which displays the same signal as the one up on the signal bridge.

 

I think you honestly are just looking for excuses to bash the PRR this is not the first thread in which I have seen you blame something on the Pennsy.

 

Alright, I apologize and admit that I'm wrong about the signals. I personally applaud PRR for being one of the most successful RR companies in the USA, but blame them most for power failures on the NEC catenary. We have to acknowledge that the PRR electric train tech dates back to the Great Depression when the materials used to construct the catenary poles and substations were of minimal quality. Unlike most of the RRs that electrified their lines, PRR used a simple suspended method with almost no tension. By that, trains constantly rip the catenary of other tracks upon incidents on one catenary, which caused most of the delays/problems for NJT commuters over the years. Furthermore, this is a massive reason why NEC trains cannot exceed 125mph south of NY.

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The signal system along the NEC has been overhauled several times in the last 50 years. It's not like they are using transformers & relays from the 30's or something. Unlike stations rolling stock, and tracks during the decline & hell years, the signal system has always been taken care of, because if it isn't working nothing moves & people don't ride.

 

- A

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Alright, I apologize and admit that I'm wrong about the signals. I personally applaud PRR for being one of the most successful RR companies in the USA, but blame them most for power failures on the NEC catenary. We have to acknowledge that the PRR electric train tech dates back to the Great Depression when the materials used to construct the catenary poles and substations were of minimal quality. Unlike most of the RRs that electrified their lines, PRR used a simple suspended method with almost no tension. By that, trains constantly rip the catenary of other tracks upon incidents on one catenary, which caused most of the delays/problems for NJT commuters over the years. Furthermore, this is a massive reason why NEC trains cannot exceed 125mph south of NY.

 

 

As Andy said the signal system has gone for a few overhauls and in there I really don't see an argument for how the signals are the reason trains can't run faster. I see you saying the catenary is the problem which I agree with, but that has nothing to do with the problem. Also Acela's routinley go 135 South of NY and conventional equipment cannot exceed 125 according to FRA regulations, yes it can physically do it but the rules state that it is not allowed, so even if a new cat system was built you could still only go 125.

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As Andy said the signal system has gone for a few overhauls and in there I really don't see an argument for how the signals are the reason trains can't run faster. I see you saying the catenary is the problem which I agree with, but that has nothing to do with the problem. Also Acela's routinley go 135 South of NY and conventional equipment cannot exceed 125 according to FRA regulations, yes it can physically do it but the rules state that it is not allowed, so even if a new cat system was built you could still only go 125.

 

Correct. FRA has to protect the minimum safe operating levels. Which means that all of the embankments, ballast, track welds, switches, track joints where they remain, and wayside equipment such as flange greasers, relay boxes, bridge piers, and allowable rolling equipment are only tested to certain limits, above which (speeds) no one knows what happens reliably enough in our own home based FRA trials to let trains go faster. Even if the stuff could take it without a problem, the FRA tests and resulting regulations are what set the bar.

 

If we could get designated separate tracks for pax moves, they would have testing to see what specs would be needed to allow the higher speeds wanted by transit & amtrak.

 

Wooden ties currently hold together a large number of switches in NJ, those happen to be on some of the fastest tracks in north america known by many slang terms such as "the speedway" between new brunswick and trenton. You could, if you upgraded tracks, cat & switching, get a train in that stretch well above 180 mph, which is the real world standard for high speed trains. In a lot of situations, 110/125 would be for commuter trains, and the high speed trains would make the commuter trains look like they were standing still.

 

That said, it would take an act of congress to get enough money to do anything like that, which is why we are where we are. Another story all together.... Whenever this country pulls its collective head out of the sand on proper land use, zoning control, and transportation funding, it will be a glorious day.

 

- A

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