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Deucey

MTA: We’ll think about moving faster than sloths”

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http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-reviewing-fixes-signal-system-speed-trains-article-1.3884804

 

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There may be light at the end of the subway tunnel for riders stuck in long waits for trains.

Transit Authority President Andy Byford said Monday he’ll look into tweaks to the signals that’ll speed up train service.

Safety speed restrictions on signals were put in place after a deadly 1995 train crash on the Williamsburg Bridge that killed a J train operator and injured more than 50 people.

“It is good practice periodically to review the impact of changes and I think we can do that safely,” Byford said.

He said his team identified 37 locations to review speed restrictions at signals.

A report in the Village Voice last week said a 2014 MTA study found slow speeds cost 2,851 passenger hours of service each weekday from 13 modified signals.

“It's good practice to always look at (the question), are there unintended consequences of one change,” he said. “Have you inadvertently created a secondary safety risk, namely, crowding, because the system can't cope?”

Slower speeds and the MTA's out-of-whack train schedules have hammered its on-time performance, resulting in fewer trains running through the system. The subway's on-time performance for January plunged to 58%, down from 64% in the same month for the prior year.

MTA board member Carl Weisbrod said transit officials should track how many trains are late and for how long.

“That's what people who ride the subway think about, as opposed to whether average wait times go up two seconds,” Weisbrod said.

Byford, however, argues their focus is to keep trains evenly spaced, instead of sticking to the schedule.

As Byford's team looks to speed up trains, transit union brass cautioned there’d be a fight if workers' safety is at risk.

“We will fight against any proposed rule or procedural change that we believe would put our members at greater risk of injury or death,” Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano said in a statement. “Many of these protections were put into place because our members were maimed and killed on the tracks.”

Byford, anticipating the concern, stressed his background as chief safety officer at one of London's largest rail operators.

“Before anyone says, 'Oh, hang on a minute, he's putting production before safety' — no, I'm not,” Byford said. “I'm a former safety director. I would never do that.”

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10 hours ago, Deucey said:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-reviewing-fixes-signal-system-speed-trains-article-1.3884804

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“Before anyone says, 'Oh, hang on a minute, he's putting production before safety' — no, I'm not,” Byford said. “I'm a former safety director. I would never do that.”

 

And as a former safety director, I’m sure he know what safety measures are bullshit.

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Has there ever been a stated reason for this relatively recent obsession with installing timers in places that do not protect curves or other areas where excessive speed would be dangerous? I mean, with field shunting disabled on SMEE equipment and with NTT acceleration being software-restricted the cars can’t even hit the speeds the system was designed for, so it’s not like they are protecting against 60mph runs down Central Park West or something. Then there are those timers that protect a switch regardless of it’s position—why? Half of a track circuit’s entire job is to detect the position of switches. It can’t be that hard to disable the timer function of a signal when the switch it protects is normaled.

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26 minutes ago, Amtrak706 said:

Has there ever been a stated reason for this relatively recent obsession with installing timers in places that do not protect curves or other areas where excessive speed would be dangerous? I mean, with field shunting disabled on SMEE equipment and with NTT acceleration being software-restricted the cars can’t even hit the speeds the system was designed for, so it’s not like they are protecting against 60mph runs down Central Park West or something. Then there are those timers that protect a switch regardless of it’s position—why? Half of a track circuit’s entire job is to detect the position of switches. It can’t be that hard to disable the timer function of a signal when the switch it protects is normaled.

 

The signal system is based on a different braking rate than currently exists. The overlaps between trains are based on the maximum attainable speed, therefore the waya to correct this error is to install timers lowering the maximum speed, increase brake performance or create longer signal blocks...mta has chosen...

 

Do bear in mind the R160 may limit the *propulsion* at speed, that does not prevent acceleration due to gravity so a train could theoretically accelerate.

 

As for timing devices working on which way the points are set, wheel detectors do work in this way only activating when the controlled switch is reversed (or normaled), even diverging routes may activated timers although why some are constantly in force is baffling.

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On 3/21/2018 at 4:30 AM, Jsunflyguy said:

 

The signal system is based on a different braking rate than currently exists. The overlaps between trains are based on the maximum attainable speed, therefore the waya to correct this error is to install timers lowering the maximum speed, increase brake performance or create longer signal blocks...mta has chosen...

 

Do bear in mind the R160 may limit the *propulsion* at speed, that does not prevent acceleration due to gravity so a train could theoretically accelerate.

 

As for timing devices working on which way the points are set, wheel detectors do work in this way only activating when the controlled switch is reversed (or normaled), even diverging routes may activated timers although why some are constantly in force is baffling.

Timers on downhill runs existed before this recent situation, along with those protecting sharp curves or diverging routes, as they actually make sense. I don’t think there are many places where a timer only protects against the possibility of a train not able to stop before the next block after being tripped by a stop signal at maximum attainable speed. Maximum attainable speed on flat or uphill sections is no longer that high, *regular length* blocks are not that short, and even with composite brake shoes stopping distance in emergency is pretty short. Where one of these factors is different, such a timer would make sense, but that is really the exception to the rule, and there are now far more timers in areas where all three of those are still the case.

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12 hours ago, Amtrak706 said:

Timers on downhill runs existed before this recent situation, along with those protecting sharp curves or diverging routes, as they actually make sense. I don’t think there are many places where a timer only protects against the possibility of a train not able to stop before the next block after being tripped by a stop signal at maximum attainable speed. Maximum attainable speed on flat or uphill sections is no longer that high, *regular length* blocks are not that short, and even with composite brake shoes stopping distance in emergency is pretty short. Where one of these factors is different, such a timer would make sense, but that is really the exception to the rule, and there are now far more timers in areas where all three of those are still the case.

Depends on your definition of “ short “ stopping distance. Location is a factor. Case in point. S/B (5) approaching Union Square.  AC power failure as train is adjacent to north end of 23rd St station. Train trips on a now red signal and goes BIE. Train comes to a stop past an automatic approach signal and an interlocking signal over the switches north of Union Square. In other words past 18th St station. Maybe you call that distance short. I don’t. Carry on.

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On 3/25/2018 at 5:00 PM, Trainmaster5 said:

Depends on your definition of “ short “ stopping distance. Location is a factor. Case in point. S/B (5) approaching Union Square.  AC power failure as train is adjacent to north end of 23rd St station. Train trips on a now red signal and goes BIE. Train comes to a stop past an automatic approach signal and an interlocking signal over the switches north of Union Square. In other words past 18th St station. Maybe you call that distance short. I don’t. Carry on.

Well yeah that would be a scenario where a timer makes sense to protect against that possibility. The MTA knows to a certain degree of precision what the exact stopping distances are for every car class, so no guessing is needed to figure out what “short” is or which areas timers are necessary in reality. However, there are newer timers which in no way shape or form protect against anything like what you described above. Those are what I am against.

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Braking rates of any train (NTT or SMEE) do not match those of pre-GOH equipment or trains such as R1/9s, D-Types, Lo-Vs, etc, on which the signal system (depending on the division) is flat out based on or even loosliey based on. Composite brake shoes work the best when hot,  shoes get hot when compressed against the wheel and dynamic braking doesn’t provide for wheel to pad compression until the train is under 10mph (or so) depending on the car class. Do the math. The signal system is unsafe so make it safe my having trains barely move.

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1 hour ago, INDman said:

Braking rates of any train (NTT or SMEE) do not match those of pre-GOH equipment or trains such as R1/9s, D-Types, Lo-Vs, etc, on which the signal system (depending on the division) is flat out based on or even loosliey based on. Composite brake shoes work the best when hot,  shoes get hot when compressed against the wheel and dynamic braking doesn’t provide for wheel to pad compression until the train is under 10mph (or so) depending on the car class. Do the math. The signal system is unsafe so make it safe my having trains barely move.

Thanks for pointing out what many railfans fail to comprehend. That's the main reason why I've always preferred operating the older SMEE equipment  over any NTT class train. I knew that when I needed to stop my train quickly that SMEE equipment would beat the NTT hands down in my experiences. Add a little rain, snow, or the Sperry car into the mix and the comparison is even more one-sided in favor of the older equipment.  You are one of the few people who understand where I'm coming from.  We were taught that the correct question is " how fast does the train stop" rather than " how fast does the train go". We had an instructor in school car who would throw erasers or a metal brake handle at anyone who asked the latter question. As he put it your life and the lives of your passengers depended on your knowledge of the braking and the signal systems you operated in. The signal systems and the equipment were originally designed to complement each other but as newer equipment arrived the signal systems didn't evolve at the same time. That's part of the move toward governing down train speeds and the proliferation of new timers around the system. As I pointed out in my earlier post what happened to me north of Union Square wasn't supposed to be possible. That's because of the composite brake shoes. Pre-GOH brake shoes would have stopped me quicker than that.  NTT.....I wouldn't even try to guess.  Carry on. 

Edited by Trainmaster5
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1 hour ago, Trainmaster5 said:

Thanks for pointing out what many railfans fail to comprehend. That's the main reason why I've always preferred operating the older SMEE equipment  over any NTT class train. I knew that when I needed to stop my train quickly that SMEE equipment would beat the NTT hands down in my experiences. Add a little rain, snow, or the Sperry car into the mix and the comparison is even more one-sided in favor of the older equipment.  You are one of the few people who understand where I'm coming from.  We were taught that the correct question is " how fast does the train stop" rather than " how fast does the train go". We had an instructor in school car who would throw erasers or a metal brake handle at anyone who asked the latter question. As he put it your life and the lives of your passengers depended on your knowledge of the braking and the signal systems you operated in. The signal systems and the equipment were originally designed to complement each other but as newer equipment arrived the signal systems didn't evolve at the same time. That's part of the move toward governing down train speeds and the proliferation of new timers around the system. As I pointed out in my earlier post what happened to me north of Union Square wasn't supposed to be possible. That's because of the composite brake shoes. Pre-GOH brake shoes would have stopped me quicker than that.  NTT.....I wouldn't even try to guess.  Carry on. 

This makes sense, but we still aren’t at the core of what I meant. No one is arguing that safety should not be the first priority.

After the 1991 Union Square wreck and the later Williamsburg Bridge wreck, the timers got installed around the system to protect curves, diverging routes, downhill runs, and shorter blocks. This stayed more or less the same for over 15 years, and then over the last couple of years suddenly new timers started popping up all over the place protecting seemingly nothing.

For example, there is now a very slow timer (GT 10 I believe) directly south of 34 St on the 8 Av IND local track. Trains barely have time to accelerate out of the station to 5mph before this timer, and south of it there is an arrow straight, mostly level run through pretty long blocks to 23 St. Another example would be GT 40 timers on the (uphill!) section between about 86 St and 110 St on the northbound CPW Express track that clear at about 35.

What new problem are these protecting against that was not around between the 90s and 2010s? Was there an incident that happened in the last couple of years that exposed flaws in the signal system related to this stuff?

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The main thing issue is an over reaction by management to things like signal over runs even when they do not endanger life or property. They see a particular location when there have been several incidents (signal over runs, station over runs, etc.) and they slow the timers down to make these incidents almost impossible to reoccur. In the mean time, it slows every train down and makes the whole system slow.

Its like when you have an intersection with no traffic control devices. When the first car crash happens, stop signs are installed. After a few more incidents, all way stop signs are installed. When more accidents take place traffic lights are installed, then speed bumps and so on and so forth. 

*This is not to say that signal or station over runs are equivalent to car crashes.

Edited by INDman
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12 minutes ago, INDman said:

The main thing issue is an over reaction by management to things like signal over runs even when they do not endanger life or property. They see a particular location when there have been several incidents (signal over runs, station over runs, etc.) and they slow the timers down to make these incidents almost impossible to reoccur. In the mean time, it slows every train down and makes the whole system slow.

Exactly. We have to trust T/Os to do their jobs. 

Also, hitting a red is bad, but it doesn't have the same implications as it does elsewhere in railroading. A friend pointed out to me that a lot of this obsession with not overrunning stuff is a misapplication of mainline railroad culture, in which passing a red can be -- and frequently is -- fatal. In the subway, you hit a red, you say "gosh darnit," you check your train, recharge and keep moving. Unless your train's braking is shit, and you're overrunning the next signal, everything is still safe by the nature of the automatic stop system. Maybe you should take a refresher in braking management, but you are not posing a risk to life and property in the same way that an engineer on, say, CSX would if they stormed past a restricting absolute. I think given that, management should rethink the way they deal with such incidents. 

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20 hours ago, RR503 said:

Also, hitting a red is bad, but it doesn't have the same implications as it does elsewhere in railroading. A friend pointed out to me that a lot of this obsession with not overrunning stuff is a misapplication of mainline railroad culture, in which passing a red can be -- and frequently is -- fatal. In the subway, you hit a red, you say "gosh darnit," you check your train, recharge and keep moving. Unless your train's braking is shit, and you're overrunning the next signal, everything is still safe by the nature of the automatic stop system. Maybe you should take a refresher in braking management, but you are not posing a risk to life and property in the same way that an engineer on, say, CSX would if they stormed past a restricting absolute. I think given that, management should rethink the way they deal with such incidents. 

Unless, of course, the red signals protect a stub end such as for the (D) at Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue or the (7) at Flushing–Main Street. Punishment should be conditional, tied to where the overrun occurred. An overrun at a station like 8 Avenue ((N)) basically means stepping out of the cab and making sure people don’t try to step off the first door that isn’t platformed. I’ve seen it happen before when the rules were less strict.

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We're glossing over the amount of force and injury potential when a train full of 1000 people goes in to emergency and who's to say that the MTA has identified and adequately addressed all signal overlaps since the Willy B.

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1 hour ago, Jsunflyguy said:

We're glossing over the amount of force and injury potential when a train full of 1000 people goes in to emergency and who's to say that the MTA has identified and adequately addressed all signal overlaps since the Willy B.

If you have ever been on a train that goes BIE at speed, you would know that the train stops softer than a stop made by a full service brake application.

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8 hours ago, INDman said:

If you have ever been on a train that goes BIE at speed, you would know that the train stops softer than a stop made by a full service brake application.

Depending on rail and car conditions, service braking can be significantly more powerful than emergency, given that it blends dynamics and pneumatics to stop the train. Problem is that because dynamics aren't fail safe, they can't be used as part of the emergency braking mixture. 

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13 hours ago, RR503 said:

Depending on rail and car conditions, service braking can be significantly more powerful than emergency, given that it blends dynamics and pneumatics to stop the train. Problem is that because dynamics aren't fail safe, they can't be used as part of the emergency braking mixture. 

For the sake of this discussion, we’re talking about subway cars. Unless there is a defect with the car (dead motors, car taking excess power) dynamic brakes are cut in at all times. Outside of a train going BIE, SMEE trains use dynamic brakes down to about 10mph and NTTs use dynamics down to 5-3 mph before they fade out and it’s only air until the train stops. Even then, going 55mph and moving the MC or brake handle to full service, it isn’t enough to throw people around or hurt anyone. Usually full service braking provides a deccerlation rate of 3 mph per second. The issue with NTTs is that they have a spin-slide feature with acts like ABS. The problem with this is that it creates a violent “bucking” effect as the brakes apply and release to save wheel wear and prevent flat spots. It’s good in theory except that is greatly increases a train stopping distance. 

 

Dynamic braking could be used in an emergency application except that a BIE not only vents the brake pipe to atmospher, but it also cuts power to the motors. The reason for this is so that you don’t have a train go BIE and continue since it may still have the MC in a power position. It’s an electrical function that could be changed.

Edited by INDman
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