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xtey92a

Slow Entering GCT Yard

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Why does it take up to 10 minutes to get through the (MTA) GCT yard. The Trains creep along to get to the platform? Is it the quality of the rails and switches, or a 5 minute pad to ensure trains run "on time"?

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Why does it take up to 10 minutes to get through the (MTA) GCT yard. The Trains creep along to get to the platform? Is it the quality of the rails and switches, or a 5 minute pad to ensure trains run "on time"?

 

The speed limit between GCT and the abandonned 59th Street station is 10MPH. An easy way to remember is that the limit changes as soon as all the switches related to GCT are passed. It probably has to do with the density of the switches.

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The speed limit between GCT and the abandonned 59th Street station is 10MPH. An easy way to remember is that the limit changes as soon as all the switches related to GCT are passed. It probably has to do with the density of the switches.

 

This is correct. Harlem-125th is just over 3 full miles north of 59th. A 45-mph speed restriction (a few of the cars have suffered a few nicks and scratches due to the Park Avenue Tunnel's tight structure gauge - any decent engineer will tell you to keep it in "L"imited) will eat over four minutes of travel time between the points. The north end of the 59th Street platform is the north limit of Interlocking CP 1 "U," which essentially runs right to the bumper blocks. 59th Street is also just south of MP1, and with a 10-mph speed restriction enforced, simple math will give you almost six full minutes before the train platforms for passenger unloading.

 

There are several reasons for the heavy restrictions:

 

1) The MNRR operating rulebook calls for speed restrictions through switches of 15 mph for straight routing and 10 mph for diverging routing. There isn't any straight routing through GCT.

2) Speeds are dictated by switch types. With regards to the GCT layout, the switch geometry is tight because the terminal was built when railroad cars were 60' in length. Also, it the engineer's responsibility to know where a certain switch alignment will lead him/her. GCT presents several routes to end at each point, and if an engineer has a switch set to lead his/her train to a place where it shouldn't go, he/she must be moving a speed at which the train is under his/her complete control and he/she is able to make a safe and smooth stop.

3. Speeds are also dictated by the protection that is provided. Once "U" has been reached, the a "R"estricted aspect will display on the cab signal unit, at which point wayside signalling must be obeyed. There are only four different types of aspects found throughout GCT, all of which is Automatic Block Signal territory. If you recall that ABS is simply an approach signalling system that indicates track occupancy and condition ahead, then you should understand why 10 mph cannot be exceeded when operating a passenger train through a complex maze of switches and tracks amongst a number of other passenger, deadhead and work trains.

4. Traffic through GCT is extremely heavy, especially during the rush. Aside from the congestion, the GCT track layout is such that four tracks expand to 44 revenue tracks alongside 28 platforms and a total of more than 100 revenue, siding, yard, lay-up and maintenance equipment tracks in just several thousand feet. It's one of the most complex interlockings in the world, I think, and it's certainly one that commands respect.

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The is no Automatic Block Signalling(ABS) anywhere on Metro-North, especially not GCT. GCT through CP1 is all Interlocking rules/CSS

 

CP 1 does not run all the way to the bumping blocks, the upper level and lower level interlockings are south of CP 1.

 

Certain switches in GCT have special speed and equipment restrictions because of their geometry.

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Why does it take up to 10 minutes to get through the (MTA) GCT yard. The Trains creep along to get to the platform? Is it the quality of the rails and switches, or a 5 minute pad to ensure trains run "on time"?

 

It doesn't take ten minutes to go from oh say....Track 14 or 114 to CP1 (or 59th Street). All trains are scheduled to make it from GCT to 125 in ten minutes, and for the most part they make that schedule. Unless something happens it's no more than five minutes of switches and speed restrictions (and that part of the question has already been answered).

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I spoke with an engineer, an acquaintance of mine with some serious seniority who's qualified on the entire Metro-North system and Amtrak NEC trackage from INT CP 216 "SHELL" into New York Penn. I'll address our disparities:

 

The is no Automatic Block Signalling(ABS) anywhere on Metro-North, especially not GCT. GCT through CP1 is all Interlocking rules/CSS

 

I can get technical and quote the NORAC rules on Interlockings, CSS and ABS, and there is very little deviation between NORAC and the Metro-North rulebook with regards to these sections. If you know anything about CSS, then you know that it is used an operational safety enhancement of CTC, Rule 251 and ABS. CTC-CSS is used ONLY upon 59th Street; south of 59th, interlocking rules are effective and the Cab Display Unit (CDU) aspect drops to Restricted, requiring the engineer to operate the train at a maximum speed of 15 mph. The presence of wayside signaling at this point is to complement the CSS.

 

The switches south of 59th Street are controlled by Rail Traffic Control (RTC); the signals are not, as signals between control points are of the automatic type. While RTC can align switches, signals are controlled by the condition of the track within that signal's block and the condition of the following signal. That having been stated, RTC cannot control the signals and ABS is used through GCT up until 59th Street is reached, at which the cab aspect picks up sequentially to Medium and then Limited. However, train speed does not increase until the entire train has passed the location where the more favorable signal was received.

 

CP 1 does not run all the way to the bumping blocks, the upper level and lower level interlockings are south of CP 1.

 

CP 1 has no true southern limits. While RTC controls all switches south of 59th street, all interlockings are controlled points, though not all controlled points are interlockings. Really a "controlled point" is just that - a point without any length or size. I don't believe that the Metro-North system has any interlockings that are not controlled point limits used for revenue purposes. Any non-CP interlockings would be used strictly for lay-up, passing and freight siding movement to and from the mainline. If anyone knows otherwise, please correct me.

 

Certain switches in GCT have special speed and equipment restrictions because of their geometry.

 

I was told that "Every switch south of 59th Street has been approved for speeds up to 20 mph according to FRA standards."

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The switches south of 59th Street are controlled by Rail Traffic Control (RTC); the signals are not, as signals between control points are of the automatic type. While RTC can align switches, signals are controlled by the condition of the track within that signal's block and the condition of the following signal. That having been stated, RTC cannot control the signals and ABS is used through GCT up until 59th Street is reached, at which the cab aspect picks up sequentially to Medium and then Limited. However, train speed does not increase until the entire train has passed the location where the more favorable signal was received.

 

 

Well as a MNR Conductor myself I can tell you this...

 

I think you misunderstood what your friend told you. All signals in GCT are interlocking signals and Interlocking Rules are in effect. Hudson Line SI GCT 48-A clearly states such.

 

The RTC does control all switches AND signals in GCT complex. What your friend means is that the aspect of the signal is not controlled by the RTC, Terminal Restricted, Terminal Approach, Terminal Proceed. But, whether a signal is cleared or not is controlled by the RTC. It may appear to the eye that these signals work as if automatic, but they are controlled by the RTC.

 

Interlocking rules are in effect on all tracks between GCT and CP 1 inclusive. ABS is not mentioned anywhere in MNR's Rulebook. The RTC has the ability to give and take away signals in all of MNR's interlockings. In fact when we have mechanical problems at departure time it's very common for the RTC to inform us that he is taking the signal away to allow other trains to pass. The RTC does not control the aspect that the signal displays once cleared, but whether or not the signal is cleared is controlled by the RTC. While the aspects of the terminal signals do convey the condition of the next signal ahead, it is still possible for the RTC to take a signal away, or force it to show stop.

 

To quote the MNR Physical Characteristic Guide for GCT: "Toward the north end of each platform track is an interlocking signal that control train movements into the Upper level interlocking. (controlled by the RTC)."

 

CP 1 has no true southern limits.

 

True, CP 1 has no definite southern limit, however the Upper and Lower Level interlockings are south of CP 1. You can tell when you enter CP 1 when going north because you'll see the "go-no/go" interlocking signals. CP 1 is the only interlocking with terminal and "go-no/go" signals on MNR.

 

While RTC controls all switches south of 59th street, all interlockings are controlled points, though not all controlled points are interlockings.

 

Actually, all CP's are interlockings on MNR. If you can find one that's not let me know.

 

I was told that "Every switch south of 59th Street has been approved for speeds up to 20 mph according to FRA standards."

 

There are restrictions to certain types of equipment going over specific switches, for instance the 471 switch reversed has certain equipment restrictions. Also track 19 has certain equipment restrictions. These are not speed restrictions, but prohibitions from operating certain types of equipment at all over these tracks and switches.

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I have to agree with everything Home Ball said.

 

Rutgers, speed within GCT is Restricted speed not exceeding 10mph, not 15.

 

The cabs in CP-1, headed north, if no funny conditions ahead, goes to Medium at the first northbound signal, then Normal after the second. It does not go sequentially.

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Thank you for the corrections. I appreciate them greatly, and you did a more thorough job explaining the concept than the engineer I asked did. I have a few questions for you, if you wouldn't mind answering them.

 

Well as a MNR Conductor myself I can tell you this...

 

I think you misunderstood what your friend told you. All signals in GCT are interlocking signals and Interlocking Rules are in effect. Hudson Line SI GCT 48-A clearly states such.

 

The RTC does control all switches AND signals in GCT complex. What your friend means is that the aspect of the signal is not controlled by the RTC, Terminal Restricted, Terminal Approach, Terminal Proceed. But, whether a signal is cleared or not is controlled by the RTC. It may appear to the eye that these signals work as if automatic, but they are controlled by the RTC.

 

Interlocking rules are in effect on all tracks between GCT and CP 1 inclusive. ABS is not mentioned anywhere in MNR's Rulebook. The RTC has the ability to give and take away signals in all of MNR's interlockings. In fact when we have mechanical problems at departure time it's very common for the RTC to inform us that he is taking the signal away to allow other trains to pass. The RTC does not control the aspect that the signal displays once cleared, but whether or not the signal is cleared is controlled by the RTC. While the aspects of the terminal signals do convey the condition of the next signal ahead, it is still possible for the RTC to take a signal away, or force it to show stop.

 

To quote the MNR Physical Characteristic Guide for GCT: "Toward the north end of each platform track is an interlocking signal that control train movements into the Upper level interlocking. (controlled by the RTC)."

 

So, track occupancy causes the signal aspect to change, while permission to proceed beyond a signal is either granted or denied by RTC, correct? If that's the case, and I'm understanding you correctly, the Terminal Proceed, Restricted and Approach aspects change automatically based on conditions ahead.

 

Is there a specific name used when referring to these signals or they just called "terminal signals"? Is their use limited to GCT? I'm not sure I've seen them elsewhere in the MNR system.

 

True, CP 1 has no definite southern limit, however the Upper and Lower Level interlockings are south of CP 1. You can tell when you enter CP 1 when going north because you'll see the "go-no/go" interlocking signals. CP 1 is the only interlocking with terminal and "go-no/go" signals on MNR.

 

Are those wayside interlocking signals used in GCT HS&S H-5's? You're referring to the three-aspect signals, I assume.

 

Actually, all CP's are interlockings on MNR. If you can find one that's not let me know.

 

CP's 230, 244, 256. ;)

 

There are restrictions to certain types of equipment going over specific switches, for instance the 471 switch reversed has certain equipment restrictions. Also track 19 has certain equipment restrictions. These are not speed restrictions, but prohibitions from operating certain types of equipment at all over these tracks and switches.

 

What is the 471 switch and what restrictions does 19 Track have? I know that's one of the longest platforms at GCT.

 

I have to agree with everything Home Ball said.

 

Rutgers, speed within GCT is Restricted speed not exceeding 10mph, not 15.

 

The cabs in CP-1, headed north, if no funny conditions ahead, goes to Medium at the first northbound signal, then Normal after the second. It does not go sequentially.

 

Jay, it's always nice to hear from you.

 

The 15 mph statement completely contradicted my first post. I'm still not sure why I wrote that in the second time, but yes, it's 10 mph south of CP 1. And as far as the CDU aspect is concerned, I was under the impression that the signals pick up just as they drop - in sequence. Sorry for the mistake there!

 

Also, I'm almost positive MNR operates according to Rule 261, but I've heard different opinions on 562. Can either of you explain how MNR puts their spin on that one?

 

Thanks a lot for all of the clarifications. They're greatly appreciated.

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So, track occupancy causes the signal aspect to change, while permission to proceed beyond a signal is either granted or denied by RTC, correct? If that's the case, and I'm understanding you correctly, the Terminal Proceed, Restricted and Approach aspects change automatically based on conditions ahead.

 

Yes. Once the RTC clears the signal, the aspect of the signal IS the permission to pass, in most cases.

 

Is there a specific name used when referring to these signals or they just called "terminal signals"? Is their use limited to GCT? I'm not sure I've seen them elsewhere in the MNR system.

 

Just 'terminal signals'. They're only found in GCT.

 

Are those wayside interlocking signals used in GCT HS&S H-5's? You're referring to the three-aspect signals, I assume.

 

Yes, they're the same as the other interlocking signals on the mainline.

 

CP's 230, 244, 256. ;)

 

Nope, those are interlockings too. The movable bridges have derails and mitre rails which are considered "interlocking appliances".

 

What is the 471 switch and what restrictions does 19 Track have? I know that's one of the longest platforms at GCT.

 

471 switch is part of the loop tracks in the East Yard in GCT. For track 19 bomb trains and multiple engines are prohibited.

 

Also, I'm almost positive MNR operates according to Rule 261, but I've heard different opinions on 562. Can either of you explain how MNR puts their spin on that one?

 

MNR runs according to their own rules. But if you had to pick one most similar it would be 562. But there are differences.

Edited by HomeBall

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Nope, those are interlockings too. The movable bridges have derails and mitre rails which are considered "interlocking appliances".

 

Great point. I forgot that North American railroads use the following generalized definitions, of which the wording may have slight variations but no essential change in meaning:

 

INTERLOCKING (Int): An interconnection of signals and signal appliances such that their movements must succeed each other in a predetermined sequence, assuring that signals cannot be displayed simultaneously on conflicting routes.

 

INTERLOCKING APPLIANCES: The parts of an interlocking that are capable of movement—switches, derails, locks, movable point frogs, movable bridges, etc.

 

Complete interlockings allow continuous movements from any track on one side of the interlocking to any track on the opposite side without the use of a reverse move within the limits of the interlocking. This is true even if there are differing numbers of tracks on opposing sides, or if the interlocking has multiple sides.

 

Incomplete interlockings do not allow such movements as described above. Movements in an incomplete interlocking may be limited and may even require reverse movements to achieve the desired route.

 

This leads into my next response. . . .

 

MNR runs according to their own rules. But if you had to pick one most similar it would be 562. But there are differences.

 

I'm well aware, and I know that there are similarities just as there are differences. But I'm wondering the following:

Once MNR updates their entire system to ACSES, will there be a significant change in their rulebook as well?

 

Thanks again.

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I know I'm kinda late but I shot this for the people that didn't understand the speed restrictions. I was in one of the cab seats where the speed panel is. It shows the cab signaling as well.

 

 

 

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I'm well aware, and I know that there are similarities just as there are differences. But I'm wondering the following:

Once MNR updates their entire system to ACSES, will there be a significant change in their rulebook as well?

 

Thanks again.

 

I've never heard that the entire system would be ACSES. Plans were for the New Haven Line to eventually go ACSES. As far as rulebook, MNR was planning to create a new rulebook anyway. Not so much a change of rules, but a reorganization of information. Not sure if budget constraints have changed that.

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Ever see the movie "silver streak"? Well, they don't want that to happen, there's your answer. :cool:

 

- A

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I've never heard that the entire system would be ACSES. Plans were for the New Haven Line to eventually go ACSES. As far as rulebook, MNR was planning to create a new rulebook anyway. Not so much a change of rules, but a reorganization of information. Not sure if budget constraints have changed that.

 

If the entire system won't be upgraded to ACSES, what PTC system will be used? And is this applicable/enforceable in dark territory?

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The current system in grandfathered in. Soon the only dark territory on MNR will be the Waterbury Branch and the Beacon line.

 

I thought the current ATC system had been required by federal law to be upgraded to CTC, which is why the M8's were purchased with provision for ACSES installation. Please correct me if I'm wrong there.

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Upgraded to CTC? Everything on MNR besides Waterbury Branch, Beacon Line and soon to include to this the Danbury branch is already CTC.

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Upgraded to CTC? Everything on MNR besides Waterbury Branch, Beacon Line and soon to include to this the Danbury branch is already CTC.

 

Ugh, I meant PTC. I know that CTC/CSS is already used. Sorry, I was tired when I made that error.

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