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The Schoolcar Experience


mediccjh
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Just want to thank everyone on here again for the tips. I passed my 1st practical and went on my own pace. Talked out loud and next thing you know I was done. The worst part was actually waiting to go.. that by far was the worst. lol.  Now its the midterm next week, the signal test/practical the following week and the final yard practical the week after that. Jesus this is a lot in a short period of time !!

 

On a side note, I only been down the road 3 times.  I am trying to find my groove in terms of stopping by the station car stop sign, I either brake too soon or brake too late. I know you have to get a feel for it but if anyone can share how they learned to brake properly in a timely fashion would be great.  I was on the R46 the other day and I noticed I brake too early then have to put it back to coast and/or switching (4 seconds or so) to move to the correct station car stop sign. So the next stop I braked too late and the stop sign was slightly pass my cab window.

 

1) I been observing going to work the T/O on the train that I am riding it seems to me most of the time they come into the station still taking power and I feel the brake by the time about 1/3 of the train is already into the station.

 

2) I am going down the road on a 160 next week so how do you guys like the braking on the 160's compared to the 46's or 68's ? 

 

Thanks guys.

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Congratulations to the 1/28/13 induction class of Train operators both A and B Division who made it to the end of probation, may you continued to succeed in your transit career.  It wasn't easy but to those of us who made it  good luck.   P.S.  No more high lights over our names :ph34r: lol

congrats etrain. I got till end of may. Then no more probie on the sign in sheets.
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It's been about a 1.5 month out of school car. For the most part progressing well. But there have been a few humbling on the job experiences. For all the ones coming out to the road, think before you say something to supervision/rcc, and establish a professional relationship with your c/r before you start. Yes we all make rookie/fng mistakes, write G2s and speak to superintendents. But I've been honest and forthright in stating just the facts and how they relate to the situation and rules/regs. Thank goodness I read my blue book while in the yard.

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The two most important things for a new train operator:

 

-Develop good control of the train

-Develop a good feel for the handling of the train

 

That means you should be able to operate a train as well with a broken or incorrect speedometer as well as you can with a working one. Learn not to rely on the speedometer, and take advantage of a working one to perfect an idea how fast you're going based on visual cues. Once you develop this skill, here are some general rules (these are on the conservative side...in time you will come up with your own) you can use to perfect your station stops. All of the above assume good conditions (not snowy, icy, and you have a good braking train)

 

-Faster than 35 MPH...brake outside the station. Over 40 MPH you will want to brake well before the station.

-35 MPH brake as you enter the station

-30 MPH brake 3 cars into the station

-25 MPH brake just before the conductor's board.

 

Again, as long as you have a good braking train and good conditions (not snowy/icy), if you are at or under 30 MPH by the conductor's board and have a brake applied there is no reason you can't make the stop.

 

Brake earlier if the station is downgrade (downhill) and later if the station is upgrade (uphill)

 

Last thing...don't overbrake...especially with SMEE. A good T/O on SMEE never needs more than 40 pounds, and 20-30 is generally the rule. Also on SMEE, the more brake you grab the longer the train will take to respond.

 

Keep those things in mind, practice more, and in time you'll get it down.

Edited by SubwayGuy
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SubwayGuy as always I look forward to reading your informative posts !  Thanks man !

 

You're welcome. Those are general guidelines...very much on the conservative side, feel free to use them. As your experience grows you may feel comfortable doing slightly faster, that is OK as long as you have a well developed feel for the train and how fast you're going. I can't stress the part about getting the feel enough...you will have trains with bad speedometers, and you've still got to complete the trip adhering to speed restrictions, clearing timers, and having full control of your train to make proper stops.

 

One more thing:

 

When you practice station stops with your class (with an empty train) is the time to try new things and master the feel of the train. Basically anything goes when you're on the train with no one but your class and the TSS's, so long as you don't hit anything (signals, portable train stop, 12-9). So overrunning a station with a clear leaving signal is not the end of the world if it does happen when you're practicing with the TSS's, although obviously you should try to avoid it to get in the habit of making good stops. Just remember that by the time you're on your own, or even road posting, you've got to be perfect.

 

You will have much more time to practice on station stops, so don't be alarmed if you don't have it mastered right now. While you're YX, or yard posting, there's nothing that says you can't practice stops whenever you are transfering a train, laying up, washing at a foreign yard, or doing a put-in. Just be sure to sound your horn (unless it's late at night outdoors) so the passengers know you're not stopping, and be sure to take off right after you've practiced the stop so you're not sitting in the station for any length of time.

Edited by SubwayGuy
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Ladies and Gents I can't begin to stress just out excellent SubwayGuy's advice is regarding yard posting while XY. This is the time more than any other to try taking a train into Baychester and seeing what it takes to stop any train on there mark in any weather condition and other stations as well.

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Your right SubwayGuy's posts are always golden on here. I start Yard Posting beginning of next month. Not going to lie, I am nervous and excited at the same time (you pros might think that sounded corny lol). I only went down the road 3 times during school car. I would have thought I would have went down the road a little more than that. This site has really helped me along the way with SubwayGuy and others making my experience much more at ease.

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Just want to thank everyone on here again for the tips. I passed my 1st practical and went on my own pace. Talked out loud and next thing you know I was done. The worst part was actually waiting to go.. that by far was the worst. lol. Now its the midterm next week, the signal test/practical the following week and the final yard practical the week after that. Jesus this is a lot in a short period of time !!

 

On a side note, I only been down the road 3 times. I am trying to find my groove in terms of stopping by the station car stop sign, I either brake too soon or brake too late. I know you have to get a feel for it but if anyone can share how they learned to brake properly in a timely fashion would be great. I was on the R46 the other day and I noticed I brake too early then have to put it back to coast and/or switching (4 seconds or so) to move to the correct station car stop sign. So the next stop I braked too late and the stop sign was slightly pass my cab window.

 

1) I been observing going to work the T/O on the train that I am riding it seems to me most of the time they come into the station still taking power and I feel the brake by the time about 1/3 of the train is already into the station.

 

2) I am going down the road on a 160 next week so how do you guys like the braking on the 160's compared to the 46's or 68's ?

 

Thanks guys.

Congrats on the practical!! As you did with this, take your time on the others and focus...everything will fall into place!

 

As far as braking, I didn't develop a really good, smooth brake until a month or two AFTER schoolcar! I was always able to stop the train, but as with you I would have to go back to coast or take a point to get to the 10/S marker. I make a year on road next month and I'm still not perfect with my stops, but 90% of the time they are smooth. I can't give you any B div specific advice since I'm in the A, but here's what TSS Lee told me that really helped: Entering the station if you're at 35mph, you're good. 35mph isn't the end all, but that's a good speed to enter. By the conductor board, if you're at 25mph and holding a good brake, you should be good. Finally at the 8 car marker if you're at 13mph, whatever brake you're holding should take you to the 10 car marker.

 

This is far from fool proof!! Not gonna work at all stations, but it was a good guideline for me that i still use sometimes. Also, I'm in the A so it might not be the same...but it might still be a good guideline for you.

 

You will develop your own methods. All the advice we give you is good, but use it to figure out what to do and what not to do. Your operation will improve as you go along.

 

Subwayguy is absolutely right! The only thing I will slightly disagree with is that you have to be perfect by road posting! I surely wasn't! However, you must be able to have your train under control at all times and be able to stop at or as close to the 10/S car marker

Edited by beneka
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congrats etrain. I got till end of may. Then no more probie on the sign in sheets.

Thanks brother, you will get there too good luck.

 

It's been about a 1.5 month out of school car. For the most part progressing well. But there have been a few humbling on the job experiences. For all the ones coming out to the road, think before you say something to supervision/rcc, and establish a professional relationship with your c/r before you start. Yes we all make rookie/fng mistakes, write G2s and speak to superintendents. But I've been honest and forthright in stating just the facts and how they relate to the situation and rules/regs. Thank goodness I read my blue book while in the yard.

Keep your head up and take your time it will get better.

Congrats on the practical!! As you did with this, take your time on the others and focus...everything will fall into place!

 

As far as braking, I didn't develop a really good, smooth brake until a month or two AFTER schoolcar! I was always able to stop the train, but as with you I would have to go back to coast or take a point to get to the 10/S marker. I make a year on road next month and I'm still not perfect with my stops, but 90% of the time they are smooth. I can't give you any B div specific advice since I'm in the A, but here's what TSS Lee told me that really helped: Entering the station if you're at 35mph, you're good. 35mph isn't the end all, but that's a good speed to enter. By the conductor board, if you're at 25mph and holding a good brake, you should be good. Finally at the 8 car marker if you're at 13mph, whatever brake you're holding should take you to the 10 car marker.

 

This is far from fool proof!! Not gonna work at all stations, but it was a good guideline for me that i still use sometimes. Also, I'm in the A so it might not be the same...but it might still be a good guideline for you.

 

You will develop your own methods. All the advice we give you is good, but use it to figure out what to do and what not to do. Your operation will improve as you go along.

 

Subwayguy is absolutely right! The only thing I will slightly disagree with is that you have to be perfect by road posting! I surely wasn't! However, you must be able to have your train under control at all times and be able to stop at or as close to the 10/S car marker

TSS Lee gave me the same advice, too bad he is retiring good guy.

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You guys have to understand that there is really no set standard or MPH etc of where and when is a good time to take a brake. No one can give you a set formula or rule of thumb that will work. The things Subway guy and from what beneka posted of what TSS Lee said are helpful and good info but dont bother trying to go by those recommendations because you will find yourself outside of the station and keying people off the trains. There are just way too many variables involved and only you can figure out on your own.[br]

 

Every train brakes differently, new tech, SMEE, every train accelerates differently. every station is different and you will have to compensate for things like mild to extreme upgrades, downgrades or grades that change from up to down and vice versa halfway through the station. New Tech you have much more accurate Dynamic braking to take advantage of versus the Smee that doesnt have as good of a dynamic brake.

 

First off you should be able to find out how your train is going to operate for the duration of your trip, ie: accelerate and braking after the first 3 or 4 stops. Then you can decide how much brake you need to take at what point. Whether it is upon entering the station or at the conductors board and anywhere in between.

 

You should be able to stop your train on the stop marker by paying attention to the speedometer and by learning how fast your train is moving by judging how fast you are passing by pillars and etc. and knowing the relative distance versus speed against the amount of brake you are taking.

 

For example, you come into a fairly level station at 30MPH, knock off the power when the first car begins to enter or enters the station, take a "medium" brake at the conductors board, your train should be at around 20 MPH when you start to come closer to the 6 car stop marker that some stations still have posted. When you are coming closer to the 8 car marker your train should be in the mid teens and there should be no reason you cant drop the train down you 5 MPH by the time you are approaching the 10/Stop marker which at this point you should be able to stop on a dime and then move the brake to min brake as the train is coming to a stop to make it a smooth stop.

 

It all boils down to your own technique and ways of adapting and compensating for said variables.

Edited by Dandre
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Thanks Beneka for the congrats/advice and thank you everyone else for chiming in too.  I heard about TSS Lee from my TSS. He said he is one of the best.  Wish I could meet him one day.  Just to confirm the info I have to see if its correct.  After I finish my final yard practical, it says I do Yard Posting for 15 days then it says "released to RTO for 3 months".  The first 15 days on YP, I am shadowing someone so I get familiar with what to do? (ex: laying up a train, put-in, relays?) After that 15 days, when "released to RTO for 3 months, then I am on my own? The reason why I ask is because there are some things in the schedule we will not be able to do because we were behind from early on and never caught up to par so I am concerned about doing yard posting and they are telling me to do something which I never did and only read from the book. Please bear with me when I ask these newbie questions. :)

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You will also be making moves in the yard when you are yard posting.  The 3 months afterward, you are yard extra (YX) and must contact the crew office for your assignment each day.  Your first week of YX is yard familiarization, when a TSS in that yard familiarizes your class with each yard.

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Subwayguy is absolutely right! The only thing I will slightly disagree with is that you have to be perfect by road posting! I surely wasn't! However, you must be able to have your train under control at all times and be able to stop at or as close to the 10/S car marker

 

To clarify this "perfect" what I mean is this: By the time you are road posting you MUST be able to stop that train in the station. 100% of the time, every time.

 

That means no overruns. While consideration is given to the fact you're a student should one occur, an overrun is an overrun and at the point of road posting, it WILL go on your permanent record, even if it's chalked up to "part of the learning process." So the reason I am saying you need to be perfect is simple...Keep your record clean.

 

Not being exactly on the 10 car marker can happen, no big deal as long as you're in the station. There are procedures for this that don't involve an RTO charge and supplemental discipline, or referral for retraining.

 

Any station where a precise stop is required (such as gap fillers in the A Division - South Ferry/14th Street), missing the gap fillers IS an overrun, so that's the one exception to this rule. There you really need to be on point, so come in as slow as you need to in order to hit that mark.

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The two most important things for a new train operator:

 

-Develop good control of the train

-Develop a good feel for the handling of the train

 

That means you should be able to operate a train as well with a broken or incorrect speedometer as well as you can with a working one. Learn not to rely on the speedometer, and take advantage of a working one to perfect an idea how fast you're going based on visual cues. Once you develop this skill, here are some general rules (these are on the conservative side...in time you will come up with your own) you can use to perfect your station stops. All of the above assume good conditions (not snowy, icy, and you have a good braking train)

 

-Faster than 35 MPH...brake outside the station. Over 40 MPH you will want to brake well before the station.

-35 MPH brake as you enter the station

-30 MPH brake 3 cars into the station

-25 MPH brake just before the conductor's board.

 

Again, as long as you have a good braking train and good conditions (not snowy/icy), if you are at or under 30 MPH by the conductor's board and have a brake applied there is no reason you can't make the stop.

 

Brake earlier if the station is downgrade (downhill) and later if the station is upgrade (uphill)

 

Last thing...don't overbrake...especially with SMEE. A good T/O on SMEE never needs more than 40 pounds, and 20-30 is generally the rule. Also on SMEE, the more brake you grab the longer the train will take to respond.

 

Keep those things in mind, practice more, and in time you'll get it down.

 

 

Very-sound advice!

 

Train-control is paramount. Controlling the train is (more-than) "half the battle". You should feel that your train is under control at all times. Whether you're doing 45 mph, or creeping up to "key" an automatic.

 

There are some "fast" stations down here! A fast station is one that allows you to enter at maximum speed. There are no grade-timers, inclines, sharp curves/obstructions that prevent you from keeping it "wrapped" (max power/"multiple") in approach to the station. I'm in the IRT. Off the top of my head: 14th St. s/b 7 Av Express; 96th St. n/b Lex Local; Pelham Parkway s/b White Plains Local, and Junction Blvd. n/b Flushing Express. These are stations you can approach in excess of 40 mph. As SubwayGuy said, you need a big brake outside the station! On tech trains, a full service; on SMEE equipment, 40-60lbs. The "big brake" rapidly reduces the momentum of your 400+ ton train as it is blasting into the station. Timing is everything. At some of these stations, if you wait to brake while in the station-- you are likely to put a door panel (or more) out of it. It's really not that scary at all. You learn how these trains respond, and you adjust accordingly. Can't stress that enough. Even within the same car class (R-62A, for example) you have great variation. Hell, even within the same consist, on different ends!

 

Moving trains is fun. It's not that complicated, but it takes practice, repetition, concentration, attentiveness, and intuition. On that last one, intuition, a lot of this is "feel". You have to feel that train braking to an appropriate speed, and "release" brake accordingly, to get you to the "10 car marker". You don't want to release too much, too little, etc. You'll develop that intuition the more you do it. Just remember-- its always better to take more brake, than not enough. You can always "give it back" by releasing. If you take insufficient brake-- and too late into the stop-- you're basically screwed.

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All great advice to be used as a reference when developing your style of safe/ efficient operation. I would also add, learn/read about the differences btw dynamic and friction braking, the various mphs they are activated and deactivated. This is good to know especially when you feel the train is under control but it slides a wee bit.

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Very-sound advice!

 

Train-control is paramount. Controlling the train is (more-than) "half the battle". You should feel that your train is under control at all times. Whether you're doing 45 mph, or creeping up to "key" an automatic.

 

There are some "fast" stations down here! A fast station is one that allows you to enter at maximum speed. There are no grade-timers, inclines, sharp curves/obstructions that prevent you from keeping it "wrapped" (max power/"multiple") in approach to the station. I'm in the IRT. Off the top of my head: 14th St. s/b 7 Av Express; 96th St. n/b Lex Local; Pelham Parkway s/b White Plains Local, and Junction Blvd. n/b Flushing Express. These are stations you can approach in excess of 40 mph. As SubwayGuy said, you need a big brake outside the station! On tech trains, a full service; on SMEE equipment, 40-60lbs. The "big brake" rapidly reduces the momentum of your 400+ ton train as it is blasting into the station. Timing is everything. At some of these stations, if you wait to brake while in the station-- you are likely to put a door panel (or more) out of it. It's really not that scary at all. You learn how these trains respond, and you adjust accordingly. Can't stress that enough. Even within the same car class (R-62A, for example) you have great variation. Hell, even within the same consist, on different ends!

 

Moving trains is fun. It's not that complicated, but it takes practice, repetition, concentration, attentiveness, and intuition. On that last one, intuition, a lot of this is "feel". You have to feel that train braking to an appropriate speed, and "release" brake accordingly, to get you to the "10 car marker". You don't want to release too much, too little, etc. You'll develop that intuition the more you do it. Just remember-- its always better to take more brake, than not enough. You can always "give it back" by releasing. If you take insufficient brake-- and too late into the stop-- you're basically screwed.

 

I would add one correction to this. While most of it is sound advice, I don't recommend taking that heavy of a brake, especially on a tech train unless you absolutely need to.

 

The key to making smooth stops is not to overbrake, but brake earlier. You want to leave yourself a cushion should you need it. Case in point: Train comes flying into a fast station. T/O takes a full service brake on a tech train. Train delays, or brake is lighter than expected. You've already shot your wad...there's nothing you can do now except hope and pray that it stops at the 10 car marker. Vs. coming in still fast, but breaking earlier and lighter, and reacting to what you get. Now if you pull 2/3 of a full service brake earlier and realize the brake feels on the light side, you have a cushion to play with, and can take more. At 45 MPH, every second the brake unexpectedly takes to begin applying, you're moving about 66 feet per second, or more than a car length in either division. So if you pull full service and your brakes take ONE SECOND longer to apply than you're expecting, you've lost an entire car length of cushion. This is why it is so important to brake early

 

Same goes for SMEE. Remember what I said - the more you grab, the longer it will take to get it. You'll get 20 pounds almost immediately. 40 pounds will feel like it takes about 2 seconds. 60 or 70 will take even longer. So why not grab 20-30 early, feel how the train reacts with plenty of room for error, and then grab more if you need it? Doing it this way the train will also respond a little quicker (that's just the way dynamic brakes work) when, say, you adjust and decide you need 40, vs. going straight to 40.

 

The key with SMEE is to figure out at what point your dynamics drop out - the train feels like it lurches forward and the brakes get very light - and not go past it. This can occur if you grab 30 pounds of brake, then try to release to 10 or 15. On most SMEE trains dynamics drop out around 20 pounds, but you have to find out during your brake tests, or entering the first few stations on the line where it is on YOUR train and adjust your operation accordingly. If you accidentally drop your dynamics out, it takes a second or two for the train to respond when you request brake again, and if you make this mistake at the wrong time in a fast station, it will put you out. That's another reason to take that initial brake a little earlier as you can HOLD IT and adjust if you need more, and keep the stop smooth.

 

Combine this advice with the idea that you should be aiming to be able to stop a few feet before the stop marker...then as you approach it with your train under full control, you can begin releasing some of your brake, which will smooth out the stop, and also bring you right up to the marker where you can make a perfect stop.

Edited by SubwayGuy
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Yup....and try to always be in coast a couple seconds before you actually need to brake. Brakes apply almost immediately from coast and there is a slight delay when going from power directly to a brake.

 

Everyone has given you some great advice here, but its important that you develop your own methods. You will as you continue to operate more often, but its always good to have some guidelines as a reference

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I passed the signal test/practical this week. It is a HUGE relief to get that over with. Now on to the final practical. Preparing train for revenue service and brake pipe rupture then Yard Posting.   School car is moving so fast its crazy.  Is there suppose to be any new model trains coming out ? I over heard a TSS mentioning something about R-217 (I could be wrong with 217, but he definitely said a 2 something model #)  It was something along the lines of the R-188 is for the A division and some newer model is going to be for the B division supposedly in the future.

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