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Union Tpke

Why Your Subway Train Might Start Moving Faster

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3 hours ago, RR503 said:

As far as non-diverging moves are concerned, I can only think of one place where a I believe a new sign was installed: the 45 on D3 by 65 St

This new sign, unless I am missing something, is pointless given that the curve just past there was upgraded to 43mph a couple of months ago. 

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1 minute ago, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

This new sign, unless I am missing something, is pointless given that the curve just past there was upgraded to 43mph a couple of months ago. 

If I had to *guess*, it's protecting a control line deficiency somewhere. They would otherwise just put the 43.

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Those wheel detectors at Queens Plaza on the n/b local need to be recalibrated. While its better to use them than leave the train stopped short, the last 2 by the end of the platform definitely dont clear at the stated WD10. My (R) took over a minute to enter the station on yellows. 

On another note, did they increase the speed limit or recalibrate the timers on the express between QP and the 36th st interlocking? The (E) adjacent appeared to go thru there quicker than usual. 

Edited by RestrictOnTheHanger

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I wonder how often Lexington Express trains just bolt out of GCT n/b or 125 St s/b nowadays...because I’m loving every second of it. I have to wonder if it’d be possible to increase the limit out of 125 St n/b for trains going towards 138/Concourse...I know that part’s still really slow.

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2 hours ago, Axis said:

I wonder how often Lexington Express trains just bolt out of GCT n/b or 125 St s/b nowadays...because I’m loving every second of it. I have to wonder if it’d be possible to increase the limit out of 125 St n/b for trains going towards 138/Concourse...I know that part’s still really slow.

The highest that may ever go to is 15 Miles but the first thing they would have to do is recalibrate the timed homeball after the switch, that clears around 5-8 miles.

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On 9/30/2019 at 5:53 PM, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

Those wheel detectors at Queens Plaza on the n/b local need to be recalibrated. While its better to use them than leave the train stopped short, the last 2 by the end of the platform definitely dont clear at the stated WD10. My (R) took over a minute to enter the station on yellows. 

On another note, did they increase the speed limit or recalibrate the timers on the express between QP and the 36th st interlocking? The (E) adjacent appeared to go thru there quicker than usual. 

WDs are famously unreliable. It takes a lot for the signal department to stop installing a type of component, yet that's exactly what WDs suffered.

There are no timers between QP and 36 northbound on the express, though there are sign speeds that protect the merge with the (F). Trains do usually slow down there, though, as you never know whether you're going to get a lineup through or not, and even if you are, you sometimes face a red homeball which changes to green as you approach. 

1 hour ago, Biggie said:

The highest that may ever go to is 15 Miles but the first thing they would have to do is recalibrate the timed homeball after the switch, that clears around 5-8 miles.

That GT10 absolutely kills nb service at 125. The dwell times are bad enough, but with trains taking that long to exit losses become pretty terrible. Was so much more fluid before...

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1 minute ago, Union Tpke said:

@RR503 Do you know anything about the comment this makes about GTs being set to be 5 mph faster than they are signed? This is ridiculous.

Yes, what the comment says is true. There are a number of other locations I hear are under review for this sort of change, including Marcy Ave. As for others that have already been implemented, the GT20 to GT24 change for the one one shot on A4 by 49 St was a similar case I'm told. 

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Just now, RR503 said:

Yes, what the comment says is true. There are a number of other locations I hear are under review for this sort of change, including Marcy Ave. As for others that have already been implemented, the GT20 to GT24 change for the one one shot on A4 by 49 St was a similar case I'm told. 

Why were they set to be faster then they are signed?

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1 minute ago, Union Tpke said:

Why were they set to be faster then they are signed?

I'm unsure, but if I had to guess it was to ensure sign speeds would allow ops to see GTs clear, which would in turn reduce variability.

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Just now, RR503 said:

I'm unsure, but if I had to guess it was to ensure sign speeds would allow ops to see GTs clear, which would in turn reduce variability.

Wouldn't it be better for the GTs to clear right as they pass them?

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1 minute ago, Union Tpke said:

Wouldn't it be better for the GTs to clear right as they pass them?

From a capacity standpoint, yes. But this was the '80s and '90s...

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2 minutes ago, RR503 said:

From a capacity standpoint, yes. But this was the '80s and '90s...

I am still baffled as to why they were signed at rates lower than they actually allow for. T/Os who weren't familiar with these signals would take them at a rate lower than the posted rate, which is lower than the permissible rate. Did T/Os know that these signals cleared at higher than the posted speed. I doubt it given that they would not want to risk their jobs

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21 hours ago, Union Tpke said:

Wouldn't it be better for the GTs to clear right as they pass them?

 

21 hours ago, RR503 said:

From a capacity standpoint, yes. But this was the '80s and '90s...

Shouldn't they clear before hand? This way the T/O knows for sure? If it's set to clear as you pass them wouldn't it feel (as a T/O) like you're taking a chance each time ?

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21 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

Shouldn't they clear before hand? This way the T/O knows for sure? If it's set to clear as you pass them wouldn't it feel (as a T/O) like you're taking a chance each time ?

Depends on your priorities. If you want to eeke every bit of capacity and speed out of the system, then you should make your GTs and speedometers reliable enough that operators feel confident passing them as they clear -- this seems to be the course of action being pursued by current management. But if you're going to treat vital components like garbage as NYCT did for many years, then yes, you should absolutely sign speeds for sighting distance. 

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@RR503 I am very concerned that this will be dangerous. The Governor is the MTA.

http://www.mta.info/press-release/mta-headquarters/mta-train-speed-and-safety-task-force-announces-preliminary-findings

https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/video-audio-photos-rush-transcript-governor-cuomo-joins-senior-mta-and-twu-officials-announcing

Quote


MTA Train Speed and Safety Task Force Announces Preliminary Findings: Subway Train Speeds to Be Safely Increased Up to 50% in Parts of System
 
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced preliminary findings of the Train Speed and Safety Task Force that demonstrate subway train speeds on certain sections of track can be increased by as much as 50 percent. The task force initiated a study with engineering firm STV, with the help of Transport Workers Union, that remains ongoing but has already determined four core areas of focus that would lead to faster trains while prioritizing customer and employee safety.
The task force’s initial work examined stretches of track from 14 St to 34 St-Penn Station on the Seventh Avenue 1 Subway2 Subway3 Subway lines and in Manhattan to the 34 St-Hudson Yards terminal of the Flushing 7 Subway line. The task force determined the following areas of focus to identify tracks where speeds could be safely raised: Reducing running times through straight tracks and interlockings, improving running times through curves, alleviating bottlenecks and fine-tuning schedules to optimize train movement, and updating speed signage to increase train operator confidence. 


The next step is for the task force to examine appropriate and safe speed limits using train operation testing in actual conditions to determine running speeds in different configurations. 


“Our modern trains are better designed than our older fleet, and we have new tracks and continuous welded rail, better water drainage, improved electric service and interlockings, all of which means we can safely increase speeds beyond those set 20 years ago,” said MTA Managing Director Veronique Hakim. “Our work continues, and we are committed to drastically improving service and increasing the reliability of the system for all customers.”


“As a former federal regulator, I understand that the safety of the more than 5.6 million people who ride on North America’s largest mass transit system is of paramount importance,” said former U.S. Federal Aviation Administrator and task force chair Jane Garvey. “The goal of this study has been - and always will be - to increase reliability in the system, reduce running times, but all while ensuring that riders who rely on the subways will reach their destinations safely. I am extremely confident that the recommendations the task force is making today are a huge step towards achieving these goals and I look forward to continuing this important work.”


The New York subway system was built more than 100 years ago, and to provide for safe operations, various measures were implemented to ensure that trains did not go faster than the conditions they could handle. Two fatal incidents at 14 St-Union Square in 1991 and on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1995 cumulatively led to subway trains operating at slower speeds. Later, the NTSB concluded in both cases the accidents were mainly due to operator error, however, localized system and signal issues were also discovered. At the same time, the MTA never completed the comprehensive speed and safety review they had commenced and thus the trains remained operating at slower speeds with actual devices installed to limit train acceleration.


The slowdown was further compounded by the practice of train operators controlling trains, some of whom believed that the signal system was not properly calibrated, at speeds below the posted limits due to the perception they would be unfairly penalized. The result led to operators driving even slower than posted speed limits. Over the decades, car design and track geometry have improved, allowing cars to maintain stability and safe operation at higher speeds, but the speed limits were not changed to reflect these advancements in safety and comfort.


Under the task force’s preliminary recommendations, NYC Transit will coordinate with the TWU to ensure that mis-calibrated timed signal timers have been fixed and that operators will not be penalized. Overall, the task force’s findings build on the success of NYC Transit’s Save Safe Seconds effort to increase subway speed limits by locating and fixing mis-calibrated signals in parts of the system. The task force’s continuing work will expand the number of locations where speeds could be raised, and increase operator confidence thanks to coordinated efforts with Transit’s labor partners.


Final recommendations from the task force will be sent to MTA Chairman Patrick Foye for review and approval by the end of 2019.
“The task force’s work builds on the success of the efforts NYCT has underway by identifying new opportunities to deliver more benefits for our millions of daily riders,” said Sally Librera, NYC Transit Senior Vice President for Subways. “With safety as our top priority, we’re doing everything we can to improve operations as we work toward modernization. “


“Our Train Operators want to get riders to their destinations as quickly as possible while maintaining safety, and it’s frustrating for both passengers and our workers to endure delays due to unnecessary speed restrictions or signal issues,” said Earl Phillips, Secretary-Treasurer of TWU Local 100. “The initial findings of the Train Speed and Safety Task Force are incredibly promising, and most importantly, when these recommendations are complete I have no doubt that our confidence in the system will be restored and it will result in a fairer system for our operators and a better experience for riders.”
 
ABOUT THE TASK FORCE:
The Train Speed and Safety Task Force was created in July 2019 and charged with addressing longstanding and unnecessary train slowdowns across the system. The task force is chaired by former U.S. Federal Aviation Administrator Jane Garvey and members include:
·         Robert Lauby, former Chief Safety Officer at the Federal Railroad Administration;
·         Tony Utano, President of TWU Local 100;
·         Dominick Servedio, Executive Chairman of STV;
·         Andy Byford, President of New York City Transit;
·         Pat Warren, Chief Safety Officer at the MTA;
·         Thomas Quigley, General Counsel at the MTA; and
·         Veronique Hakim, Managing Director at the MTA.
 
PRELIMINARY FINDINGS FROM MTA MANAGING DIRECTOR AND TASK FORCE MEMBER RONNIE HAKIM:
Several months ago, Governor Cuomo posed straightforward questions to the MTA: "Are the trains moving slower than they did years ago? And if so, why? Do they travel at the same speed as other systems?" These apparently simple questions in actuality were not simple to answer.


After much analysis, the task force’s preliminary findings show that the answer is yes, the trains move at slower speeds than they did 20 years ago. And yes, it is possible to safely increase the speeds to higher limits; and no, NYC Transit trains do not travel as fast as some other systems.


The historic facts on train speed are difficult to specifically reconstruct as the first-hand recollections are somewhat obscure. However, research shows that the cumulative effect of actions taken after two tragic train accidents in Union Square in 1991 and on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1995 were that NYCT trains operated more slowly. This was a safety precaution put in place as the MTA did a comprehensive speed and safety study and the NTSB reviewed the cause of the crashes. Later, the NTSB concluded in both cases it was mainly operator error, however, localized system and signal issues were also discovered. At the same time, the MTA never completed the comprehensive speed and safety review they had commenced and thus the trains remained operating at slower speeds with actual devices installed to limit train acceleration.
This speed reduction moved trains at slower speeds than comparable systems internationally.


This slowdown was then compounded by the practice of actual train operators. There has been a widespread perception held for years by train operators (with some basis) that the signal system was not properly calibrated to the posted speed limits and that if operators traveled at the posted speeds they would be unfairly penalized by mis-calibrated signals. The result has been that the operators have been driving slower than even posted speed limits.


Our analysis also suggests the current posting of speed limits and signage in the system is irregular or deficient and must be corrected for train operators to have confidence.


Another factor to consider is that modern trains are better designed than our older fleet. We have installed new tracks and continuous welded rail, we have improved and corrected the flawed signal system and water drainage, improved electric service and interlockings: all improvements made through the Subway Action Plan. The result is that trains can operate at not only the speed of operation dating back twenty years but can be safely increased beyond that level.
To study the proper speed and safety operating protocols, the MTA established a unique task force of top safety officials, engineers and train operator union representatives in July. The MTA Speed and Safety Task Force is chaired by Jane Garvey, former Administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration, and members include Robert Lauby, former Chief Safety Officer at the Federal Railroad Administration, Tony Utano, President of TWU Local 100, Dominick Servedio, Executive Chairman of STV, Andy Byford, President of New York City Transit, Pat Warren, Chief Safety Officer at the MTA, Thomas Quigley, General Counsel at the MTA, and myself.


The work of our task force has begun with engineering work to study the track configuration and car capacity. The next step is for the task force to examine appropriate and safe speed limits using train operation testing in actual conditions to determine running speeds in different configurations. 
The initial findings of this work have identified core areas of focus:
1.   Reducing running times through straight tracks and interlockings
2.   Improving running times through curves
3.   Alleviating bottlenecks and fine-tuning train scheduling to optimize movements
4.   Updating and improving speed signage to increase operator confidence in posted limits.
 
Our preliminary estimate is that by correcting the current issues, train speeds could be increased by as much as 50 percent.
We will join with our union officials in this testing to provide certainty to the train operators that the signals are properly calibrated to the new posted limits.
Our final recommendations will be sent to MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye by the end of the year for his approval.
Our work continues, and we are committed to drastically improving service and increasing the reliability of the system for all customers.

I love how they are absolving their responsibility (NYCT and MTA's brass) in this slowdown.

 

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I thought they already boosted the speeds on the (7) and <7> as part of the CBTC/ATO roll out that completed earlier this year.  Is he saying the speeds currently programmed into the signal system can be increased even further?

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9 minutes ago, 7-express said:

I thought they already boosted the speeds on the (7) and <7> as part of the CBTC/ATO roll out that completed earlier this year.  Is he saying the speeds currently programmed into the signal system can be increased even further?

I wouldn't be surprised, the trains don't go that fast from Times Square to 11th Ave.

 

1 hour ago, Union Tpke said:

I love how they are absolving their responsibility (NYCT and MTA's brass) in this slowdown.

😆

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9 minutes ago, 7-express said:

I thought they already boosted the speeds on the (7) and <7> as part of the CBTC/ATO roll out that completed earlier this year.  Is he saying the speeds currently programmed into the signal system can be increased even further?

Yes. The approach to HY is a problem spot for CBTC. 

1 hour ago, Union Tpke said:

@RR503 I am very concerned that this will be dangerous. The Governor is the MTA.

My biggest concern is that they'll sacrifice capacity for speed. Remember, some GT installations actually *increase* throughput by shortening control lines -- if we do away with them in the wrong places, we'll allow trains to reach higher speeds, but will pay through the nose in congestion and lost capacity. Of course, there are ways to eliminate GTs without causing these adverse effects (in most areas), but given NYCT's history with GT removal...*looks at the northbound 4th Avenue express track*

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5 minutes ago, RR503 said:

Yes. The approach to HY is a problem spot for CBTC.

How?

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2 minutes ago, Lex said:

How?

As I understand it, there's some issue where ATO is unavailable in both directions in the area, as well as a speed profile that's well below area capability.

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21 minutes ago, RR503 said:

As I understand it, there's some issue where ATO is unavailable in both directions in the area, as well as a speed profile that's well below area capability.

I thought it was to control for noise through the curve and to help prevent excessive rail wear.

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

Remember, some GT installations actually *increase* throughput by shortening control lines -- if we do away with them in the wrong places, we'll allow trains to reach higher speeds, but will pay through the nose in congestion and lost capacity.

Any such installations in place right now?

And what happened with the 4th ave express track GTs? I dont get into Brooklyn at all

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