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Jsunflyguy

Elevated Express Suspended

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I know cold weather plans usually lead to underground express being terminated for layups, but when did they start killing the (J) express...not that its much an express run, but all the same.

MTA Service Status

Service Change  Posted: 03/21/2018  4:43PM 

 trains are running local between Marcy Av and Myrtle Av in both directions because of the NYCT Winter Weather Plan. 

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I thought the express was suspended anyway due to the (M) rehab.

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1.Its all local anyway now.

2. Why would they store trains there ? It’s outside!

 

Who came up with this ? I forgot to mention it to Twitter .Could be they would have removed it.

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The person was probably told that all peak direction express service was suspended due to the CWP and they accidentally included the currently suspended (J) express service in there as well.

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16 hours ago, Abba said:

2. Why would they store trains there ? It’s outside!

 

So they can de-ice the yards.

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Also to keep the trains available for the morning rush. During the last true blizzard, some trains got stuck in the yards because of frozen switches.

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5 minutes ago, Lance said:

Also to keep the trains available for the morning rush. During the last true blizzard, some trains got stuck in the yards because of frozen switches.

It's insane to me that after 114 years of subway operation and ~140 years of train operation in NY/NJ/CT, that not one railroad company or agency has figured out how to operate trains and other infrastructure in a blizzard.

Are defrosters or heated switches a thing? Can wind guards  and heating filaments be put on Els to make them able to run trains during blizzards?? Can heating filaments be put on the open cuts to melt snow during blizzards?

I mean, SF burned down after an earthquake and they rebuilt the city so there's less destruction. 89 Loma Prieta? They got rid of double-deck freeways and started rebuilding and reinforcing feeble-framed buildings. Transbay Tube? Not a single crack or leak related to an earthquake.

Point is, most places, services adapt to typical and extraordinary situations to make sure negative impacts are as mitigated as possible. Why does it seem like that's asking too much of NYC?

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1 hour ago, Deucey said:

It's insane to me that after 114 years of subway operation and ~140 years of train operation in NY/NJ/CT, that not one railroad company or agency has figured out how to operate trains and other infrastructure in a blizzard.

Are defrosters or heated switches a thing? Can wind guards  and heating filaments be put on Els to make them able to run trains during blizzards?? Can heating filaments be put on the open cuts to melt snow during blizzards?

I mean, SF burned down after an earthquake and they rebuilt the city so there's less destruction. 89 Loma Prieta? They got rid of double-deck freeways and started rebuilding and reinforcing feeble-framed buildings. Transbay Tube? Not a single crack or leak related to an earthquake.

Point is, most places, services adapt to typical and extraordinary situations to make sure negative impacts are as mitigated as possible. Why does it seem like that's asking too much of NYC?

FWIW there are heated switches in some locations but obviously not enough. The best example I can think of of is LIRR, especially Jamaica Station territory. Fascinating light show during snow storms.  The problem with operating in blizzard conditions on railroads and Els pertains to the visibility factors.  You cannot see the signals or the roadbed reliably. The lawyers would be lining up like sharks in a feeding frenzy.  Just my thoughts.  Carry on. 

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@Lance, kosciusko, and Trainmaster5: Just learn something brand new. Thanks. I’ll keep this in my mind everytime we have a snowstorm.

It’s just strange to me at first that they would keep trains on the outdoor express tracks even though it is or was snowing out there.

Edited by Jemorie

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3 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

FWIW there are heated switches in some locations but obviously not enough. The best example I can think of of is LIRR, especially Jamaica Station territory. Fascinating light show during snow storms.  The problem with operating in blizzard conditions on railroads and Els pertains to the visibility factors.  You cannot see the signals or the roadbed reliably. The lawyers would be lining up like sharks in a feeding frenzy.  Just my thoughts.  Carry on. 

The signals I could dispute because that Staten Island Ferry has lights directing captains to the slips in near-zero vis, but not seeing the rails on an El is something impossible to overcome visually.

But given planes fly through storms and whatnot with IFR, and utilities can track faults in power lines by breaks in current, why couldn’t (MTA) use something similar to measure rail integrity in real-time?

I’m pretty sure NS, BNSF and UP can do that, given there isn’t a derailment every day because of broken rail (and they don’t have people inspecting every inch of rail daily or weekly)?

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It could be because all the examples you mentioned are for-profit companies whereas the MTA well, isn't. The MTA could in theory switch over to in-cab signaling for the subways to remove the need to actually see the signals as it does for the railroads, but that would be a monumental expense to upgrade every car with such equipment. In the same vein, they could get high-tech equipment to ensure the safety and security of the rails without the need to regularly check them, but I imagine this would be quite expensive as well. There is always the discussion of excess and wasteful spending by the MTA and in my opinion, doing all these upgrades for the purpose of operating trains in the worst conditions really seems like a waste. More so when it's so hard for them to make service during optimal conditions.

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6 hours ago, Deucey said:

It's insane to me that after 114 years of subway operation and ~140 years of train operation in NY/NJ/CT, that not one railroad company or agency has figured out how to operate trains and other infrastructure in a blizzard.

Are defrosters or heated switches a thing? Can wind guards  and heating filaments be put on Els to make them able to run trains during blizzards?? Can heating filaments be put on the open cuts to melt snow during blizzards?

I mean, SF burned down after an earthquake and they rebuilt the city so there's less destruction. 89 Loma Prieta? They got rid of double-deck freeways and started rebuilding and reinforcing feeble-framed buildings. Transbay Tube? Not a single crack or leak related to an earthquake.

Point is, most places, services adapt to typical and extraordinary situations to make sure negative impacts are as mitigated as possible. Why does it seem like that's asking too much of NYC?

The issue is not running trains in snow per se, it's dealing with the rapid accumulation of snow and ice. NYC does have switch heaters, but that is only for the rail and doesn't affect accumulation on the ties, and everything outside the switches. Where do you put that snow? Not a lot of room in a turnout area. The typical solution is to runs trains often, but it can become problematic in a blizzard when snow and ice builds up right after a train passes, covering the running and contact rails and gapping trains from power like what happened during the Christmas blizzard a few years back.

It's not just NYCT that got affected. Amtrak suspended service more than once during the back to back (to back) storms over the last few weeks. You can try and run trains during a blizzard, but it's safer to hold service if you can't keep up with the accumulation.

Edited by SmallParkShuttle
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26 minutes ago, Deucey said:

The signals I could dispute because that Staten Island Ferry has lights directing captains to the slips in near-zero vis, but not seeing the rails on an El is something impossible to overcome visually.

But given planes fly through storms and whatnot with IFR, and utilities can track faults in power lines by breaks in current, why couldn’t (MTA) use something similar to measure rail integrity in real-time?

I’m pretty sure NS, BNSF and UP can do that, given there isn’t a derailment every day because of broken rail (and they don’t have people inspecting every inch of rail daily or weekly)?

NYCT's signal system is designed to set to red if there is a substantial break in the rail, though I'm not sure if it's for both power and signal rails or just the signal rail. For most railroads, any real-time rail integrity monitoring is tied to the integrity of the signal system. Otherwise, visual inspections and ultrasonic testing is the industry practice.

The freights have much more derailments than what we hear about. We hear about the big ones that affect residential areas and have large environmental impacts. I remember reading the NTSB's response to a Midwest congressman's letter why they didn't deploy to investigate a derailment in his state. Their reply: we've see this kind before, we don't think it unusual enough to look into.

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2 hours ago, Deucey said:

The signals I could dispute because that Staten Island Ferry has lights directing captains to the slips in near-zero vis, but not seeing the rails on an El is something impossible to overcome visually.

But given planes fly through storms and whatnot with IFR, and utilities can track faults in power lines by breaks in current, why couldn’t (MTA) use something similar to measure rail integrity in real-time?

I’m pretty sure NS, BNSF and UP can do that, given there isn’t a derailment every day because of broken rail (and they don’t have people inspecting every inch of rail daily or weekly)?

CBTC is IFR for trains. Centrally managed train spacing, routing, and control. 

The issue isn't just with signal visibility though. It's with platform conditions, and the buildup of snow/ice on critical parts of infrastructure. Even if you heat every switch in the system, you still can get flash icing on the 3rd rail, and ice buildup in areas where another element of similar height (guardrails, for example) are near the running rail. Freight railroads every now and then have derailments at railroad xings where ice has built up in the flangeways -- similar problems could develop on open air structures, probably with much more disastrous results. 

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

CBTC is IFR for trains. Centrally managed train spacing, routing, and control. 

The issue isn't just with signal visibility though. It's with platform conditions, and the buildup of snow/ice on critical parts of infrastructure. Even if you heat every switch in the system, you still can get flash icing on the 3rd rail, and ice buildup in areas where another element of similar height (guardrails, for example) are near the running rail. Freight railroads every now and then have derailments at railroad xings where ice has built up in the flangeways -- similar problems could develop on open air structures, probably with much more disastrous results. 

Typically switch heaters are focused at keeping the points from freezing so that they can be thrown if need be. Your post reminded me that it the frog and associated guardrail (as you've pointed out) can fill with ice and snow, which can cause a derailment also. I haven't come across a system that heats their frogs, too (my experience is limited to four systems, though)

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4 hours ago, Deucey said:

The signals I could dispute because that Staten Island Ferry has lights directing captains to the slips in near-zero vis, but not seeing the rails on an El is something impossible to overcome visually.

But given planes fly through storms and whatnot with IFR, and utilities can track faults in power lines by breaks in current, why couldn’t (MTA) use something similar to measure rail integrity in real-time?

I’m pretty sure NS, BNSF and UP can do that, given there isn’t a derailment every day because of broken rail (and they don’t have people inspecting every inch of rail daily or weekly)?

As far as switch heaters goes the MTA does have them in key places and maintains a list of vulnerable switches that are switched to keep free of ice.

One of the main killers is platform safety, as you have to constantly move staff to keep platforms and stairs clear. It isn't really an issue of moving the trains over the rail most of the time since even during the full shutdown trains are run to keep the line de-iced and avoid equipment being locked up (the shut down which was order by the Governor, not the MTA) . But the real question is what is the point of running the trains at full volume when a majority of 9-5ers can "work from home", most of the business are closed because they can't turn a profit so for the 10 people left riding the subway, are we really investing millions and millions of dollars to run trains almost no one will ride and increase the risk the MTA will get sued?

The aviation part I can speak to, we do fly IFR, but there are still weather conditions that we do not fly into ----hard stop---even though airplanes can "land themselves". We pilots and dispatchers do our best to AVOID flying in storm, or at worst only flying through the weakest parts. Planes have aircraft controllers separating them from other traffic, with radar, and the instrument approaches and departures separate us from terrain on final approach so we don't need to look outside until decision height. The only thing protecting trains from other traffic and obstructions is the signal system since, unlike airplanes, trains are committed to a collision course with their leader.

That being said during these Blizzards airlines suspend service, delay and cancel literally constantly so when comparing like-for-like in the case of a large blizzard the MTA isn't an outlier when they pack it in on the most vulnerable lines. Airplanes also take substantial delays when flying in hard IFR since all but the busiest airports don't have the required lighting and surface radar, in fact EWR/LGA/JFK/LAX and SFO go on multi hour delays when the wind blows the wrong way. To say nothing of international airports like London Heathrow where airborne holding is the norm all day every day. So aviation is hardly the model of  efficiency in bad weather. In fact IFR operations cut airport capacity *in HALF* at all but the most expensive airports. 


As an addendum the railroads of the US have multiple derailments a day (of which track geometry and broken rails lead the pack by miles), and have over a thousand incidents per year classified as "accidents" and kill about a dozen employees per year. Its just that when there's an issue in Cadiz, CA there's no media to notice so claiming they have a better system isn't precisely accurate. 

source: (https://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/officeofsafety/publicsite/Query/inctally3.aspx)

Edited by Jsunflyguy
Added state on Class 1 derailments
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As SmallParkShuttle and RR503 rightfully point out the rapid snow and ice buildup on the third rails and within the switch mechanisms are a major reason for overly cautious operations during severe snowstorm/blizzard conditions. In the subway system we run" sweepers" , light trains with no passengers , between scheduled intervals to combat the buildup of ice on the third rails. One night I left Dyre Avenue 2 minutes after a sweeper had left. On a Redbird. I was heading s/b, last trip, and taking no prisoners. I made a stop at Baychester and I could barely tell where the sweeper was at because of the blowing snow. All I could see was the sparking coming from it up ahead. When that leaving signal turned green I wrapped it up and the light show began. Sparking from the third rail and white flashing reflections from the snow along the embankment. Train bucking and the radio putting out static.  When I reached Gun Hill Road i made a five car stop, against all rules and my C/R caught sight of what I was doing and opened the first five cars. I did that because the station and street above it gave the third rail some protection from the elements.  Maybe two people boarded and we closed up and proceeded s/b. There was a TSS heading n/b on a sweeper and he started to question me. He recognized my voice and became very silent. Pelham Parkway was no problem once we were underground but at Morris Park I did the same move I did at Gun Hill, five car stop, and made it to East 180th St. When I arrived there the dispatcher and the Command Center radioed me about the conditions up on the Dyre Line. I told them truthfully about the conditions and the TSS who I passed going in the other direction said it was slow going but passable. I didn't mention my unorthodox operation obviously.  Once I left East 180th St and proceeded s/b I encountered the occasional sparking but nothing major because the snow and ice buildup wasn't a big factor any more. Whereas the Dyre line is in an embankment the El portion gave the snow and ice somewhere to go to, meaning the street below. BTW when I got to Grand Concourse the dispatcher had to put on the holding lights even though I was about 5 or 6 minutes late at that point. Seems that my follower out of Dyre made a regular 10 car station stop at Gun Hill Road, and the ice under the contact shoe and third rail got him. They had to send a rescue "sweeper" behind him to get him moving again. Back when this happened the NTTs had just started appearing on the (5) and I remember thanking the Lord that I wasn't operating that equipment that night. The TSS who tried to question me that night ? He loved the NTT. Until the day I retired I used to tease him about the R142s. It was he who gave the definitive O.K. to run service out of Dyre that night and it was he who told the Dyre dispatcher to use the NTT instead of the train he took n/b. Of course it was he who got written up that night too. Seriously though it's the things you don't notice in a snowstorm or blizzard that pose the greatest risk to you, the passengers and the equipment . No one thinks about switch points, flanges, or frogs on a normal day ( except maybe a railfan ), lol. Thanks again SmallParkShuttle and RR503 for elaborating clearly on my previous post. Carry on.

Edited by Trainmaster5
Identified "my" train
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36 minutes ago, Trainmaster5 said:

As SmallParkShuttle and RR503 rightfully point out the rapid snow and ice buildup on the third rails and within the switch mechanisms are a major reason for overly cautious operations during severe snowstorm/blizzard conditions. In the subway system we run" sweepers" , light trains with no passengers , between scheduled intervals to combat the buildup of ice on the third rails. One night I left Dyre Avenue 2 minutes after a sweeper had left. On a Redbird. I was heading s/b, last trip, and taking no prisoners. I made a stop at Baychester and I could barely tell where the sweeper was at because of the blowing snow. All I could see was the sparking coming from it up ahead. When that leaving signal turned green I wrapped it up and the light show began. Sparking from the third rail and white flashing reflections from the snow along the embankment. Train bucking and the radio putting out static.  When I reached Gun Hill Road i made a five car stop, against all rules and my C/R caught sight of what I was doing and opened the first five cars. I did that because the station and street above it gave the third rail some protection from the elements.  Maybe two people boarded and we closed up and proceeded s/b. There was a TSS heading n/b on a sweeper and he started to question me. He recognized my voice and became very silent. Pelham Parkway was no problem once we were underground but at Morris Park I did the same move I did at Gun Hill, five car stop, and made it to East 180th St. When I arrived there the dispatcher and the Command Center radioed me about the conditions up on the Dyre Line. I told them truthfully about the conditions and the TSS who I passed going in the other direction said it was slow going but passable. I didn't mention my unorthodox operation obviously.  Once I left East 180th St and proceeded s/b I encountered the occasional sparking but nothing major because the snow and ice buildup wasn't a big factor any more. Whereas the Dyre line is in an embankment the El portion gave the snow and ice somewhere to go to, meaning the street below. BTW when I got to Grand Concourse the dispatcher had to put on the holding lights even though I was about 5 or 6 minutes late at that point. Seems that my follower out of Dyre made a regular 10 car station stop at Gun Hill Road, and the ice under the contact shoe and third rail got him. They had to send a rescue "sweeper" behind him to get him moving again. Back when this happened the NTTs had just started appearing on the (5) and I remember thanking the Lord that I wasn't operating that equipment that night. The TSS who tried to question me that night ? He loved the NTT. Until the day I retired I used to tease him about the R142s. It was he who gave the definitive O.K. to run service out of Dyre that night and it was he who told the Dyre dispatcher to use the NTT instead of the train he took n/b. Of course it was he who got written up that night too. Seriously though it's the things you don't notice in a snowstorm or blizzard that pose the greatest risk to you, the passengers and the equipment . No one thinks about switch points, flanges, or frogs on a normal day ( except maybe a railfan ), lol. Thanks again SmallParkShuttle and RR503 for elaborating clearly on my previous post. Carry on.

Would having the contact shoe running under the rail mitigate the sparking?

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2 hours ago, Deucey said:

Would having the contact shoe running under the rail mitigate the sparking?

Perhaps it would if we're talking about shoes on MNRR. I see those shoes breaking off icicles rather than riding atop the ice. The Redbird cars had sturdy contact shoes but the NTT have a less robust current collector which serves the same purpose but is rather flimsy compared to the old style shoes.  Carry on. 

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