PTC in track warrant territory?

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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:54 am

Thanks for the update MattW. I believe I witnessed the finishing installation of the Stone Mountain south end signal by CSX crewmen yesterday morning October 12th. The installation of PTC on The Georgia Line is markedly different than what CSX is doing on their Abbeyville Subdivision near the location of Rockbridge Road in Lilburn that has a Verizon DISH mounted to the stainless steel utility box. When I have the chance I'll upload the picture in addition to ones for the GA Line. As far as any work beyond Covington is concerned, two weeks ago I traveled to the Georgia Line in Union Point Georgia. While their exist a siding between two ABS signals the track is in too poor a condition to allow for train meets. My brother and I suspect that there are only THREE automatic interlocking outside Atlanta (Lithonia, Social Circle and Buckhead, twenty miles part) and the next one outside Augusta in Harlem. Traffic appears to be light between Buckead and Harlem. TWC is necessary because ABS cannot be trusted for bidirectional travel on a single track mainline. It's worth remembering that ABS is used simply for compliance with outdated FRA rules governing train speeds. Without ABS the trains can travel a maximum speed of 45 mph with TWC. With ABS freights may go as fast as 59 mph and passenger trains 69 mph. ABS provides almost complete train protection in one direction traffic on double track mainlines, rule 251 (NORAC). The Georgia Line has bidirectional traffic on single track main line. If standard ABS provided sole protection opposite direction trains approaching signals simultaneously for two block protection could possibly collide. That's why the need for Absolute Permissve Block signaling (APS) I mentioned earlier.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:09 pm

Well, CSX is keeping going, there's some nice, bright utility markings along the RoW from somewhere near Hulsey basically out to Scottdale. Also, I saw a bunch of new Darth Vaders stacked on the south side of the CSX tracks where the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA station is. Looks like the old signals between Scottdale and Atlanta aren't much longer for this world either.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:36 pm

Dear MattW;
I have uploaded a few pictures of the new signals on both of CSX' Abbeville and GA line subdivisions. The downtown Decatur signal appears to be 'downgraded' while the two signals at Scottdale as you stated, are being upgraded. I noticed that CSX has installed a new stainless steel utility box at their east turnout of the Avondale yard situated across from the MARTA rapid rail yard (you can see it on any eastbound MARTA train). Whether this box will house the circuit for a new switch-lock mechanism to be installed at the turnout, or, if it turns out just to be another digital repeater we will have to wait and see (the only switch-lock on the Georgia line is the unit controlling the US&S T-20 switch machine connecting track to the MARTA rail yard in Avondale). CSX has installed new signals adjacent to the MARTA East lake station and these I will attach to my later reply. The Abbeville subdivision signal is already in use and has a satellite dish attached to the control box and I have yet to see a dish on any of the new boxes on the GA line. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact the Abbeville subdivision is CTC and the GA line is TWC-ABS/APB.

Please give me your ideas.

SleepyCat.
Attachments
100_0167.jpg
NEW PTC signal replacement downtown Decatur
100_0195.jpg
NEW PTC signal replacement on CSX Abbeville Subdivision (now in use)
100_0158.jpg
NEW PTC signal replacement at Scottdale on GA Line
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:16 am

MattW, CSX is really pulling out the stops on its Georgia Line. If you care to ride the MARTA East rail line paralleling the Georgia line to Avondale, you can see increasing developments. All of the turnouts have orange markings on them, from adjacent the MARTA Inman park Reynoldstown station all the way to the east end of the siding in Stone Mountain. And just yesterday November 17th I noticed parked on the CSX siding in their Avondale yard at least six M.O.W gondolas, five uncovered hoppers and six regular gondolas FULL of fresh new railroad wood ties. Past the siding east of Stone Mountain there is a large box covered by a white cloth laid near the wheel lubricator that spouts grease for train flanges. This is what I surmise; CSX is going to replace the turnouts with either T-20 heavy duty switch machines or powered switch machines, where appropriate. CSX has already the last few years been gradually replacing the older high profile manual switch machines (the ones with flags attached) with T-20's which successfully will derail a train attempting to move through misaligned switch points. in many cases a T-20 has an electric switch lock accompanied which would be perfect for PTC. I believe the switch machines at Inman park will become powered for obvious reasons. If I'm correct, the management of the line timed the switch machine replacement with the installation of PTC during their usual annual or bi-annual overall of rail and ties. We're just going to have to wait and see but I'd be interested in your thoughts.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby Freddy » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:31 pm

T 21 hand throw with circuit controller and High Weir. Named after the manf.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:27 pm

That's great to hear! I ride Avondale to Atlanta every day on MARTA now, but it's unfortunately rare that I get a window seat on the south side of the train, but I'll work on it and keep my eyes open. I saw the tie cars from the Avondale station pedestrian overpass yesterday, but couldn't quite make out what they were. Either way, they were gone by this morning. I'll probably be driving along the route this weekend so I'll see for myself what they're doing south of Scottdale. By the way, any idea what the signal aspects on the SE Stone Mountain and 153 (near the detector) intermediates are? With the lower head they could display either Advance Approach or Restricting, but I can't figure out why the intermediates would need restricting, and why 2 mile signal blocks need Advance Approach. I can understand lower-head restricting on Scottdale and the 151 (approach to Lithonia) if they're making the latter a control-point
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:27 pm

Well whatever they're doing to the line, it's going to be big at Hulsey. There was a new signal pedestal installed and 3-4 new multi-head darth vader masts lying next to the Inman Park MARTA station which is right at the southern (timetable) throat of Hulsey Yard. I know right now track 2 is rule 93 so I'm wondering if they're planning to signal/PTC both tracks. I imagine it would help traffic flow by having a second track to manage things with.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:55 pm

You might have a point MattW. On my way to work downtown Atlanta last Thursday on January 15th riding MARTA on the East-West line I noticed that the Dwarf signals located at Arizona and Lafrance avenues in Atlanta between Kirkwood junction and Hulsey yard have fluorescent orange painted on them that is often used as an indicator for signal or track retirement based (upon past use when the color is applied). I observed numerous CSX MofW cars (Crane, Hammer Spiker, Track Geometry Car, Plasser Geometry Car, Crew Bus, Ballast Regulator, etc.) at work at Kirkwood junction, Hulsey yard and tracks adjacent to the MARTA Georgia State Station. It seems our suspicions were correct that CSX is going to refurbish the track in conjunction with the upgrade of the signal system to PTC standards via the new installation of signals and control boxes with one fell swoop. If you travel alongside the Georgia line from Hulsey yard to Lithonia you will discover plenty of wooden railroad ties beside the track, waiting to replace the old ties. More recently bulk loads of ballast-gravel have been dumped at street intersections near the rail line along the route. It also appears CSX is going to replace the wheel flange lubricators at Clarkston, Stone Mountain and Conyers as all three present have new large colored white/orange boxes placed beside them. In addition there are bundles of HiRAIL RS rail seal strips for railroad crossings in the CSX storage rail yard between Chapman and Marbut roads. What is particularly perplexing right now is work being done at the Lithonia classification rail yard between Marbut and Rogers Lake road. CSX has been drilling and digging adjacent to the yard office where they haven’t done so for as many years I can remember. I maintain my prediction that CSX is replacing the older low century switch stands between Hulsey and Lithonia with the more secure T-20/T-21 type with possible use of switch locks. And, install remote control powered switch machines at both ends of the Hulsey yard, replacing the T-20/T-21 there. I do not know for sure if they will install an additional powered switch machine for the third track that diverges from track 2 under rule 93 at Kirkwood alongside the old Pullman yard. The third track is a big hold up for cars at the DeKalb avenue railroad crossing whenever engineers in westbound trains must exit and throw the switch machine manually. This is an exciting time to watch developments on a line that has often seen little to no upgrade when compared to other CSX main lines in metro Atlanta.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:12 am

Well track-wise, they've made it at least as far as Avondale. Signal/PTC wise, there's no visible progress, but I've seen a number of workers around the NB main signal at Kirkwood, there's also still conduit poking out of the ground in places. I don't quite have a handle on where things are going to go. They have a dwarf between the Inman Park and Edgewood MARTA stations painted, but there doesn't look like enough room to replace it with anything but another dwarf. There's also several new Darth Vaders on poles under the pedestrian bridge of the Inman Park MARTA station that I have no clue where they're going. Only thing I can think is unlike the other installations, they're replacing the ex-seaboard signals in-place rather than installing the new alongside the old.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:55 pm

PTC wise, there's a new box at the north end of the Avondale siding next to what was once (and for now is) a manual switch stand. Nothing on it yet, looks just installed, but definitely PTC, though it's definitely within CTC "limits" (North of Scottdale on this particular line).
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:30 pm

IMGP1400_2.jpg
IMGP1395_2.jpg
Good observation MattW. I learned from a reliable source that both siding exits at Avondale will have T21 electric lock controllers installed. This explains the two new silver boxes at each end (I took two pictures on the 28th of a CSX truck carrying the boxes). My source tells me that CSX is upgrading the Georgia Line to PTC from Circle Track adjacent to Marta Five-Points station downtown Atlanta all the way to Lithonia. Beyond Lithonia there hasn’t been a set date for conversion to PTC and considering the low amount of traffic beyond Buckhead East I-20 where the LAST automatic interlocking exist, CSX MIGHT be able to get away with no PTC installation here. The line from Kirkwood to Scottsdale will remain TCS with new PTC overlay while the line from Scottsdale to Lithonia will remain ABS/TWC with new PTC overlay. While they are changing frequencies from Scottsdale to Lithonia they will NOT be installing electric lock controllers at either end of the Stone Mountain siding in downtown Stone Mountain. The source says the turnouts will ‘remain as they are’ (whether this means CSX will or will not convert the present Low Century switch stands to the more reliable T-21 I do not know; over the last few years CSX has slowly been replacing from Redan to Covington their low switch stands to T-21 type). I am waiting to see what kind of 'new' flange lubricators CSX will be installing in Clarkston, Stone Mountain and Conyers. The pre-existing ones looked rather decrepit and unkempt, compared to the shiny green boxes used on the Athens and Senoia lines.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:54 pm

Thanks for that info! Any idea why they are keeping Scottdale-Lithonia ABS/TWC? It's single-track, with not a single spur track, it's not like they really need more than one controlled signal, just a holdout there at YYG151 approaching Lithonia would work well. Scottdale wouldn't even need to remain controlled in that case, Decatur provides the approach to Kirkwood NB, and southbound, Scottdale isn't exactly special. It almost looks like they want to do that actually, the SB Intermediate at 152.9 has a new lower-head, in ABS, the only thing it could possibly display is advance approach, likewise for the SB intermediate at the South End of Stone Mountain, other than advance approach, I don't see what the lower head could be for and the signal blocks on this line aren't exactly short, right at 2 miles. The lower heads at Scottdale make sense since apparently CSX wants its controlled signals to have restricting aspects (and indeed, one of the lenses looks white). Suffice to say, I'm sure CSX is glad to be getting rid of the last of the mechanical searchlights on this line.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby SleepyCat » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:45 pm

I’ve been giving your question a lot of thought MattW regarding retention of ABS/TWC from Scottsdale to Lithonia. It’s important to remember that the function of ABS in Dark Territory is added capacity not necessarily added safety. If TWC is used properly there should be no problems. Without supplementation of ABS, trains would have to proceed at slower speeds in Dark Territory, mandated by the FRA. Remember that the line between Scottsdale and Greensboro is APB (Absolute Permissive Block) ‘Poor Man’s CTC’, a sophisticated form of ABS. In APB the signals at sidings often have a top hat and lower hat, the top to protect through movements the lower to protect sidings. Trains in APB must come to a complete stop at ‘absolute’ signals just as they do in CTC; they cannot proceed under stop as in ABS. There are six signals between Scottsdale and Lithonia, three standard ‘permissive’ block at Clarkston, Goldsmith road and near Redan; three ‘absolute’ signals at Scottsdale, Stone Mountain 154.54, and Lithonia 153.0 (you can identify an absolute signal in ABS territory by the absence of number plating on the signal). 153.0 represents a unique situation for absolute stop because of the ‘G’ label, indicating although it’s absolute, trains may proceed at restricted speed because if they were to stop they would have a difficult time climbing the hill (‘G’ means Grade).

As you so pointed out the line is largely single tracked from Scottsdale to Stone Mountain limiting the number of trains CSX can run in bi-directional operation. Originally there were ten pairs of signals from Scottsdale to Lithonia for normal ABS controlled by telephone pole wires and track circuits when trains ran more frequently than they do now, even after DTC replaced manual block rules enforced by station masters. CSX never buried cable for the Georgia line but instead installed a pulse coded rail signaling system to replace telephone poles from Clarkston to Augusta. Regardless, quite a few local trains still travel back and forth from Lithonia to Avondale and Atlanta weekly in addition to long haul freight. Because it’s APB the Scottdale signal protects the NB Stone Mountain siding, the main function of APB being to protect movements on single track between sidings. Whereas the original eastbound US&S searchlight at Scottsdale marked the end of TCS territory control, the replacement will continue to do so with its top Hat while the new lower Hat no doubt will be used for PTC protocol to Stone Mountain in conjunction with the top Hat (the line from Scottsdale to Greensboro was converted to APB after TCS was installed from Scottsdale to Kirkwood).

The 154.54 SB Stone Mountain never had a lower Hat until the new plans for PTC, possibly to insure protection of the advance approach signal at Redan and the daily traffic on the Lithonia Industrial spur that supports several customers. When Track Warrant is in effect (or, Work & Time Authority) for locals to work the spur quite often the switch machine on the mainline is fouled so that train crews can serve customers as long as three hours. This is especially true of local traffic east of Lithonia all the way to Madison. I think that APB will remain in effect supplemented by PTC, the switch over happening when needed.

The hyperlink for GE Electro-Code, a standard for pulse coded rail signaling system;
http://www.getransportation.com/its/sig ... -interface

The hyperlink for information on APB;
http://www.lundsten.dk/us_signaling/abs_apb/
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:30 pm

Not been much happening this past month, they installed a new signal at YYG-168 just a quarter mile RR-North of another signal (this one is closer to the Inman Park MARTA station). SB it looks like a 3 over 2 over 2 while NB it looks like a 3 over 1 over 2. Other than that, I haven't seen much, none of the new signals I see are in-service yet (except that one at 153) but then I haven't really been south of Scottdale in the past month, I hope to get out to Lithonia soon and see what's happening there, though it doesn't sound like Lithonia is getting any kind of upgrade at this time.
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Re: PTC in track warrant territory?

Postby MattW » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:16 pm

(I'm past the editing time so apologies for double post)
I made it to Lithonia today. The place where they were digging next to the depot is surrounded by yellow bollards linked with chain. The area looked to be about 16 x 8 feet or so. Other than that, nothing else has changed between Covington and the new signal I reported near Inman Park.
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