All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby AC4619 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:04 am

You know, it's been years since all crossings have been eliminated and still no 125 MPH service on the Keystone line. What gives? All of the equipment supports 125, there are no crossings...is the track class not high enough? If not, why...and why go to all the trouble to remove the crossings?

-AC
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:52 am

There is still a grade crossing for farm equipment, I believe, between Mt. Joy and Elizabethtown. Yes, the three street grade crossings have been eliminated. I’m not sure if you would be saving much travel time but upping the speeds from 110-125 mph.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby electricron » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:45 am

It's 104 rail miles between Philadelphia's 30th Street and Harrisburg, with 10 intermediate train stations for Keystone trains. That averages out to be approximately 10 miles between stations.

The longest segment is 26 miles between Parkesburg and Lancaster, the shortest segment is 4 miles between Coatesville and Parkesburg. I think it would be impossible for a train to reach 125 mph from a stop and slow down to stop again within 4 miles. I don't even think it could even reach 110 mph in that short segment. The only possible segment possibly long enough to reach 125 mph would be the longest segment of 26 miles ?????

Let's be honest , it's difficult for any train to go really fast when it's stopping on average every 10 miles.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby AC4619 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:42 am

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:There is still a grade crossing for farm equipment, I believe, between Mt. Joy and Elizabethtown. Yes, the three street grade crossings have been eliminated. I’m not sure if you would be saving much travel time but upping the speeds from 110-125 mph.


I don't recall if private crossings count in terms of FRA rules vis a vis speeds.

electricron wrote:It's 104 rail miles between Philadelphia's 30th Street and Harrisburg, with 10 intermediate train stations for Keystone trains. That averages out to be approximately 10 miles between stations.

The longest segment is 26 miles between Parkesburg and Lancaster, the shortest segment is 4 miles between Coatesville and Parkesburg. I think it would be impossible for a train to reach 125 mph from a stop and slow down to stop again within 4 miles. I don't even think it could even reach 110 mph in that short segment. The only possible segment possibly long enough to reach 125 mph would be the longest segment of 26 miles ?????

Let's be honest , it's difficult for any train to go really fast when it's stopping on average every 10 miles.


In that case, there was no point in spending millions replacing roads that aren't that heavily used. In fact, it was stated multiple times whilst this construction was occurring that once the grade crossings were removed, MAS would increase. These were not roads that were unduly affected by trains crossing every half hour or so, and conversely, didn't have a particular issue with motorists improperly entering said crossings. You're right on the 4-mile aspect, but not all of the segments permit 110/125 anyway due to track curvature. Also, factor in that the Keystones are "light" for an Amtrak train, 5 amfleets + an ACS. Those trains are rockets, and accel/decel quickly by train standards. Again I'm not going to poke holes in the 4 mile distance, but, 26 miles is plenty of room, and some Keystone's run express and skip stops, further increasing inter-stop distance. I suspect the limiting factor is in fact curvature, even if you have no stations to deal with, your speed "bookends", for a given MAS, are the endpoints at which that speed is no longer safe...e.g a curve of an insufficient radius. It's possible that there simply isn't a stretch of track PHL-HAR that is straight enough, long enough, to allow a train to hit 125. It's not like they cruise along at 110 now...you get up to speed for a bit, then drop, then back up. Regardless, seems pointless to have spent the money on these crossing removals when there are other improvements they could have made with that money on the route. Also, it's a good marketing tool. Comparatively, upcoming Acela II MAS increase on NJ race track, won't save much time. But it will expose NEC travelers btwn WAS-NYP, to true HSR, making them more likely to support future Amtrak efforts. Same thing with the Keystone. ++ Speed--> market it as fastest commuter-intercity rail in US, "higher speed rail", even if it saves 5 mins, doesn't matter, people like speed.

-AC
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:25 pm

Eliminating crossings is worthwhile from a safety standpoint. I also believe speeds were raised as well but no time came out of the schedule due to increased dwell times at stations.
Several minutes could he cut between 30th and overbrook while the rest of the line needs unbalance and interlocking work to improve average speeds. Still, to get 125 you might need tilting equipment (had an engineer say that to me once).
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby AC4619 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:33 pm

Suburban Station wrote:Eliminating crossings is worthwhile from a safety standpoint. I also believe speeds were raised as well but no time came out of the schedule due to increased dwell times at stations.
Several minutes could he cut between 30th and overbrook while the rest of the line needs unbalance and interlocking work to improve average speeds. Still, to get 125 you might need tilting equipment (had an engineer say that to me once).


Suburban, thank you for the insight...that does make some sense, both in a schedule padding sense and the curvature of the line not really ever giving trains a chance to get up to 125 before the next drop. I think the time between 30th and Overbrook is just more padding.

-AC
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby ryanov » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:54 pm

I'm on 43 right now. The ride sucks. Hard. We're only doing around 100 and it's hard to type. In its present condition, I think it's probably a good move not to run at 125.

I can say, now that we're between Tyrone and Altoona, that this trip is far better than any of my previous trips in terms of freight interference. We're running alongside a long freight right now at track speed, and I cannot think of a single slow period so far, apart from places where obvious MOW equipment was present (and they were all before Harrisburg).
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:10 pm

ryanov wrote:I'm on 43 right now. The ride sucks. Hard. We're only doing around 100 and it's hard to type. In its present condition, I think it's probably a good move not to run at 125.


On Amtrak track presumably?

ryanov wrote:I can say, now that we're between Tyrone and Altoona, that this trip is far better than any of my previous trips in terms of freight interference. We're running alongside a long freight right now at track speed, and I cannot think of a single slow period so far, apart from places where obvious MOW equipment was present (and they were all before Harrisburg).

Glad NS has improved its dispatching west of Harrisburg. Is it all triple-track out that way, and how is the ride quality?
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby ryanov » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:21 am

The bad ride was short of Harrisburg, in areas where we topped out at 110.

The ride was much better on NS track, by but we were also going 30mph or more slower.

Disappointing to see they still change to diesel in Philadelphia.

Train was 2 mins early into Pittsburgh.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby andrewjw » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:59 am

ryanov wrote:The bad ride was short of Harrisburg, in areas where we topped out at 110.

The ride was much better on NS track, by but we were also going 30mph or more slower.

Disappointing to see they still change to diesel in Philadelphia.

Train was 2 mins early into Pittsburgh.


Why not change to diesel in Philadelphia? The crew and diesel facilities are there, not in Harrisburg. The turnaround in Philadelphia would necessitate a cab car otherwise, and another break test, adding time to the trip since now the reversal and engine change are now done separately.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:07 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Is it all triple-track out that way, and how is the ride quality?

To the best of my knowledge it's all three-tracked except for a few pinch points like Spruce Creek Tunnel, and all 3 tracks are reverse-signaled, not just the center track.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:49 am

mtuandrew wrote:Glad NS has improved its dispatching west of Harrisburg. Is it all triple-track out that way, and how is the ride quality?


When I rode out there in 2015 and 2016, it was double-tracked PGH to HAR.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby ryanov » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:15 am

andrewjw wrote:Why not change to diesel in Philadelphia? The crew and diesel facilities are there, not in Harrisburg. The turnaround in Philadelphia would necessitate a cab car otherwise, and another break test, adding time to the trip since now the reversal and engine change are now done separately.

Because it's a long ride with a diesel under the wire. I guess I can see the operational reason.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:42 pm

What operational reason is there for Race Street Yard to exist nowadays? Amtrak hasn’t run Clockers years ago, not many (any?) Keystones are HAR-PHL only, and Amtrak only rarely runs diesel LD trains WAS-PHL anymore.
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Re: All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

Postby ThirdRail7 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:15 pm

mtuandrew wrote:What operational reason is there for Race Street Yard to exist nowadays? Amtrak hasn’t run Clockers years ago, not many (any?) Keystones are HAR-PHL only, and Amtrak only rarely runs diesel LD trains WAS-PHL anymore.


1) You do realize that they perform a lot of the mechanical work in race street, right? They perform PM work on the coaches, are a lead terminal on the refresh program and have full responsibility for the cab car fleet.
2) They are at the crossroad of the lower part of the NEC. That puts them in an ideal location to have mechanical forces and facilities to handle en route problems.
3) Since it is centrally located, it is also in an ideal location to have protect equipment, overflow equipment and a great place to launch your track projects.
4) Since it is centrally located, has catenary and decent ridership in all directions, it is a great place to handle service disruptions. After all, WTC and SSYD are AT capacity during the weekday. When your Silvers or some other train is not running, they often deadhead the equipment to Race Street to ride out the disruption. The equipment can be serviced as it waits.
5) When the PTC regulations kick begin in earnest, Race Street Engine house will be a pivotal point on the NEC.
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