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Why Your Subway Train Might Start Moving Faster


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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/23/2021 at 11:43 AM, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

Amusingly, some on that list were ones from years ago (ex: the (R) and (2)(5) changes mentioned). They've made new changes, but for whatever reason decided to highlight old ones. 

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What's the speed limit on northbound (4)(5) trains between Canal & Union Square? Some operators floor it all throughout the curves and some slow down throughout, especially before taking the Astor Pl curve. I personally love that stretch and hate when they slow down (when it's all green signals too). 

 

Also what about the southbound (2)(3) between 14th St & Franklin St? Same deal, some operators floor it to Canal before a timer or something unnecessary slows them down. Others slow down at the curve near Houston and glide it out to Canal. 

 

Why are some operators scared of curves? I mean I know the MTA can be negligent but I don't think taking a curve at the permitted high speed is scary or a safety risk. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, XcelsiorBoii4888 said:

What's the speed limit on northbound (4)(5) trains between Canal & Union Square? Some operators floor it all throughout the curves and some slow down throughout, especially before taking the Astor Pl curve. I personally love that stretch and hate when they slow down (when it's all green signals too). 

 

Also what about the southbound (2)(3) between 14th St & Franklin St? Same deal, some operators floor it to Canal before a timer or something unnecessary slows them down. Others slow down at the curve near Houston and glide it out to Canal. 

 

Why are some operators scared of curves? I mean I know the MTA can be negligent but I don't think taking a curve at the permitted high speed is scary or a safety risk. 

 

 

 

It may have to do with the switches and curves, to say nothing of trying to avoid rear-ending another train.

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4 hours ago, XcelsiorBoii4888 said:

Why are some operators scared of curves? I mean I know the MTA can be negligent but I don't think taking a curve at the permitted high speed is scary or a safety risk.

In the end, the MTA still places the blame on the operator if there's an incident, so some use more caution than might be expected (especially if they're still on probation)

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11 hours ago, XcelsiorBoii4888 said:

What's the speed limit on northbound (4)(5) trains between Canal & Union Square? Some operators floor it all throughout the curves and some slow down throughout, especially before taking the Astor Pl curve. I personally love that stretch and hate when they slow down (when it's all green signals too). 

 

Also what about the southbound (2)(3) between 14th St & Franklin St? Same deal, some operators floor it to Canal before a timer or something unnecessary slows them down. Others slow down at the curve near Houston and glide it out to Canal. 

 

Why are some operators scared of curves? I mean I know the MTA can be negligent but I don't think taking a curve at the permitted high speed is scary or a safety risk. 

 

 

 

Let me try to sort out your complaints somewhat. Some of us were promoted from the Conductor title back in the prehistoric days. On the older SMEE equipment the Conductor was told to ride outside of the cab in passenger view between the station stops.  On a northbound (4) or (5) leaving Brooklyn Bridge the consist makes a series of curves before reaching Union Square itself. We actually had "C" signs affixed to the pillars advising the M/M to coast from about Spring St, through Bleecker, to south of Astor Place. If your Conductor couldn't stay balanced because of the operator's " excessive" speed in the middle of the train as it lurched from side to side just imagine how the passengers and the Motor Instructor riding incognito in the last car were treated. That, by itself, was called "reckless running" or improper operation. I noticed that you stated that all signals are/were green entering Astor Place. I can assure you that all signals could be green but at the north end of Astor Place there's an interlocking signal that be changed to RED/ Danger while the preceding approach signal was green when you passed it. Hit that RED interlocking signal and one could be looking at platform duty, time in the street, or demotion. It depends on one's disciplinary record and what message supervision wants to send to the rest of the field. I know of one Train Operator who was taken out of service at Grand Central, n/b because of his actions between Brooklyn Bridge and entering Grand Central. The reason given was " unsafe" operation. The s/b (2)(3)  example you gave basically boils down to the same thing operation-wise. As the train turns toward Chambers St there's timer and approach signals before the interlocking north of the switches between the local and express tracks. A s/b express can barrel around the curve at Houston and stop taking power in the dip between Canal and Franklin and have the train under control before the turn toward Chambers St. I've been crossed from express to local north of Chambers St. many times while operating in service on the (3) . I've also made that move on my re-routed (5) while heading down to South Ferry-Bowling Green for n/b service. I think most of us learned at so-called " Refresher Courses" given by school car instructors very early on. Speeding up to a signal where you have to then start braking is a rookie move. Unless one is intentionally trying to build up one's biceps by excessive power and braking movements that type of operation is considered a "rookie" move and frowned upon. When a group of Conductors all criticize a Train Operator's operation in a Crew Room that's a red flag to all supervision. Seen a T/O get cold-cocked in the parking lot at East 180th St for throwing his C/R and some passengers from side to side on that stretch below Astor Place. At least one supervisor and a Property Protection Agent witnessed the whole thing and  no one said a word. One Motor Instructor actually told a group of us that if excessive speed was your thing NYCT wasn't your thing. He said try Nascar or the Cyclone at Coney Island. Just my thoughts. YMMV. Times have changed, obviously. Carry on.

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12 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

Let me try to sort out your complaints somewhat. Some of us were promoted from the Conductor title back in the prehistoric days. On the older SMEE equipment the Conductor was told to ride outside of the cab in passenger view between the station stops.  On a northbound (4) or (5) leaving Brooklyn Bridge the consist makes a series of curves before reaching Union Square itself. We actually had "C" signs affixed to the pillars advising the M/M to coast from about Spring St, through Bleecker, to south of Astor Place. If your Conductor couldn't stay balanced because of the operator's " excessive" speed in the middle of the train as it lurched from side to side just imagine how the passengers and the Motor Instructor riding incognito in the last car were treated. That, by itself, was called "reckless running" or improper operation. I noticed that you stated that all signals are/were green entering Astor Place. I can assure you that all signals could be green but at the north end of Astor Place there's an interlocking signal that be changed to RED/ Danger while the preceding approach signal was green when you passed it. Hit that RED interlocking signal and one could be looking at platform duty, time in the street, or demotion. It depends on one's disciplinary record and what message supervision wants to send to the rest of the field. I know of one Train Operator who was taken out of service at Grand Central, n/b because of his actions between Brooklyn Bridge and entering Grand Central. The reason given was " unsafe" operation. The s/b (2)(3)  example you gave basically boils down to the same thing operation-wise. As the train turns toward Chambers St there's timer and approach signals before the interlocking north of the switches between the local and express tracks. A s/b express can barrel around the curve at Houston and stop taking power in the dip between Canal and Franklin and have the train under control before the turn toward Chambers St. I've been crossed from express to local north of Chambers St. many times while operating in service on the (3) . I've also made that move on my re-routed (5) while heading down to South Ferry-Bowling Green for n/b service. I think most of us learned at so-called " Refresher Courses" given by school car instructors very early on. Speeding up to a signal where you have to then start braking is a rookie move. Unless one is intentionally trying to build up one's biceps by excessive power and braking movements that type of operation is considered a "rookie" move and frowned upon. When a group of Conductors all criticize a Train Operator's operation in a Crew Room that's a red flag to all supervision. Seen a T/O get cold-cocked in the parking lot at East 180th St for throwing his C/R and some passengers from side to side on that stretch below Astor Place. At least one supervisor and a Property Protection Agent witnessed the whole thing and  no one said a word. One Motor Instructor actually told a group of us that if excessive speed was your thing NYCT wasn't your thing. He said try Nascar or the Cyclone at Coney Island. Just my thoughts. YMMV. Times have changed, obviously. Carry on.

Thanks for the update, and everything you provided makes perfect sense. My concern is just consistency. Most haul through, some (about 4 in every 10 operators), do what I complained about. So it was just trying to understand why operations aren't consistent across the board. That's one of the main reasons why I favor CBTC and ATO because of consistent operations when good service is running. I posted here because they are trying to increase the speed in some parts of the subway but operations aren't the same across all operators (in modern day era at least).  If the speed limit is 45 i don't see what the problem with doing 42 or 43mph is. And if signals can just turn RED like that then it's a system issue that the MTA needs to resolve ASAP. 

So thanks for those clarifications, they make sense for past times, but it's 2021 so no operator should have to worry about signals turning red, or getting written up for reckless operating if that's the posted speed limit. You're making it seem like operators are speeding down there (I would hope not). 

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3 hours ago, XcelsiorBoii4888 said:

If the speed limit is 45 i don't see what the problem with doing 42 or 43mph is. And if signals can just turn RED like that then it's a system issue that the MTA needs to resolve ASAP. 

You can't run at MAS even with CBTC/ATO because there will be no recovery time for baby carriage or door holding or dead motor/axle or oil/leaves on the rails.. A baby carriage woman caused 25 seconds of delays in this video. 3 trains had to come 5-10 seconds FASTER between stations until the schedule returned to 5 second accuracy. NYCT CBTC has the same "headway countdown" management displays to C/Os to close doors ASAP or keep them open 5 more seconds because you are on-time. They are only used on the 7 AFAIK. I'm not sure about L train. L doesn't have remotely enough TPH to need headway management. If an L train is more than 10 minutes late, dispatcher just makes it run express until its back on-time. 7 always runs 5-10, max 13 mph below MAS in ATO unless its late. 

 

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 8:00 PM, Trainmaster5 said:

Let me try to sort out your complaints somewhat. Some of us were promoted from the Conductor title back in the prehistoric days. On the older SMEE equipment the Conductor was told to ride outside of the cab in passenger view between the station stops.  On a northbound (4) or (5) leaving Brooklyn Bridge the consist makes a series of curves before reaching Union Square itself. We actually had "C" signs affixed to the pillars advising the M/M to coast from about Spring St, through Bleecker, to south of Astor Place

Great post, TM5. Despite all the signal mods made since your time, the "don't risk flying into a red home @ 108-ball" is still the cause of much slowing at the Astor Curve. If I may make one little correction, though: the "C" signs are now gone, and if you're operating totally textbook you're good for MAS from the "R10" sign beyond the curve leaving BB to the 35mph sign entering Spring, and then from when clear of those curves to wherever you choose to slow for Astor (there is no sign there, so you're not technically doing anything wrong if you go MAS)

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On 4/19/2021 at 8:00 PM, Trainmaster5 said:

Let me try to sort out your complaints somewhat. Some of us were promoted from the Conductor title back in the prehistoric days. On the older SMEE equipment the Conductor was told to ride outside of the cab in passenger view between the station stops.  On a northbound (4) or (5) leaving Brooklyn Bridge the consist makes a series of curves before reaching Union Square itself. We actually had "C" signs affixed to the pillars advising the M/M to coast from about Spring St, through Bleecker, to south of Astor Place. If your Conductor couldn't stay balanced because of the operator's " excessive" speed in the middle of the train as it lurched from side to side just imagine how the passengers and the Motor Instructor riding incognito in the last car were treated. That, by itself, was called "reckless running" or improper operation. I noticed that you stated that all signals are/were green entering Astor Place. I can assure you that all signals could be green but at the north end of Astor Place there's an interlocking signal that be changed to RED/ Danger while the preceding approach signal was green when you passed it. Hit that RED interlocking signal and one could be looking at platform duty, time in the street, or demotion. It depends on one's disciplinary record and what message supervision wants to send to the rest of the field. I know of one Train Operator who was taken out of service at Grand Central, n/b because of his actions between Brooklyn Bridge and entering Grand Central. The reason given was " unsafe" operation. The s/b (2)(3)  example you gave basically boils down to the same thing operation-wise. As the train turns toward Chambers St there's timer and approach signals before the interlocking north of the switches between the local and express tracks. A s/b express can barrel around the curve at Houston and stop taking power in the dip between Canal and Franklin and have the train under control before the turn toward Chambers St. I've been crossed from express to local north of Chambers St. many times while operating in service on the (3) . I've also made that move on my re-routed (5) while heading down to South Ferry-Bowling Green for n/b service. I think most of us learned at so-called " Refresher Courses" given by school car instructors very early on. Speeding up to a signal where you have to then start braking is a rookie move. Unless one is intentionally trying to build up one's biceps by excessive power and braking movements that type of operation is considered a "rookie" move and frowned upon. When a group of Conductors all criticize a Train Operator's operation in a Crew Room that's a red flag to all supervision. Seen a T/O get cold-cocked in the parking lot at East 180th St for throwing his C/R and some passengers from side to side on that stretch below Astor Place. At least one supervisor and a Property Protection Agent witnessed the whole thing and  no one said a word. One Motor Instructor actually told a group of us that if excessive speed was your thing NYCT wasn't your thing. He said try Nascar or the Cyclone at Coney Island. Just my thoughts. YMMV. Times have changed, obviously. Carry on.

Wow, they really have no tolerance for speeding at Transit. If the bosses won’t get you for it, your coworkers will! And I assume this happened before speedometers were installed in the cabs.

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On 4/19/2021 at 11:31 AM, checkmatechamp13 said:

In the end, the MTA still places the blame on the operator if there's an incident, so some use more caution than might be expected (especially if they're still on probation)

You do realize you're talking about the company that altered the braking characteristics of its entire fleet without adjusting the signals to compensate for that right?

Just because there's political pressure to round the numbers up doesn't mean going vroom vroom is a good idea in all cases. If you're in a room answering "well if that's the case why didn't you..." you're already losing.

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On 4/19/2021 at 7:16 AM, XcelsiorBoii4888 said:

 

 

Why are some operators scared of curves? I mean I know the MTA can be negligent but I don't think taking a curve at the permitted high speed is scary or a safety risk. 

 

 

 

You do realize you're talking about the company that altered the braking characteristics of its entire fleet without adjusting the signals to compensate for that right?

Just because there's political pressure to round the numbers up doesn't mean going vroom vroom is a good idea in all cases. If you're in a room answering "well if that's the case why didn't you..." you're already losing.

Also if you know you're running hot or if your leader is making good speed and no delay is expected, drive for comfort and avoid being early. 
 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Personal observation on today's ride, the curve west of 65th st on the Manhattan bound QBL express has a new 35 MPH sign, despite CBTC being active. This is lowered from when the limit was raised to 43 back in 2019 or so during one of the SPEED unit evaluations.  

Not sure when the speed limit was lowered, as it was my first RFW trip in over a year. 

Edited by RestrictOnTheHanger
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8 hours ago, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

Personal observation on today's ride, the curve west of 65th st on the Manhattan bound QBL express has a new 35 MPH sign, despite CBTC being active. This is lowered from when the limit was raised to 43 back in 2019 or so during one of the SPEED unit evaluations.  

Not sure when the speed limit was lowered, as it was my first RFW trip in over a year. 

If it really is new, it may be because of CBTC being active, especially if it was installed over the past few days.

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22 hours ago, RestrictOnTheHanger said:

Personal observation on today's ride, the curve west of 65th st on the Manhattan bound QBL express has a new 35 MPH sign, despite CBTC being active. This is lowered from when the limit was raised to 43 back in 2019 or so during one of the SPEED unit evaluations.  

Not sure when the speed limit was lowered, as it was my first RFW trip in over a year. 

13 hours ago, Lex said:

If it really is new, it may be because of CBTC being active, especially if it was installed over the past few days.

Ever since Byford was forced out, I've had suspicions that many of his initiatives would ultimately get scrapped by the new people in charge.  Hopefully this new limit isn't the start of some regression to the bad old days of slow speeds and excessive timers.

 

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57 minutes ago, R10 2952 said:

Ever since Byford was forced out, I've had suspicions that many of his initiatives would ultimately get scrapped by the new people in charge.  Hopefully this new limit isn't the start of some regression to the bad old days of slow speeds and excessive timers.

 

Oh, I wouldn't doubt that. At the moment, I'd suggest waiting a bit, seeing how QBL CBTC's been off to a rough start.

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11 hours ago, R10 2952 said:

Ever since Byford was forced out, I've had suspicions that many of his initiatives would ultimately get scrapped by the new people in charge.  Hopefully this new limit isn't the start of some regression to the bad old days of slow speeds and excessive timers.

 

As a whole I think SPEED is still going on in the background, probably the pandemic slowed the pace. There were still changes after Byford left, including the Church Ave interlocking modification to speed up service. 

If I recall, some other places had limits slightly dropped too. On the curve mentioned in my last post, from a passenger point of view 43 could get you tossed around a bit. 35 is an improvement from the older limit anyway and who knows what will happen once CBTC and ATO are fully live on QBL

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