Single-end stations at midpoints

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Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby Tadman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:59 am

I notice at single ended stations on Amtrak and Via that they either back in or out. There is one concept of "the front of the train" maintained the whole ride, end to end. This happens at Denver and Edmonton, and perhaps more. The only exception I can think of is Philly on the Keystone.

I've noticed in Europe and Argentina that it is not uncommon for trains to change directions once or twice at stub-ended midpoints. In that case, the power either runs around or is swapped. For example, at Kiruna on SJ #94, the RC's cut off and run around . At San Antonio de Oeste, the GM22 cuts off eastbound Patagonian Express and an RSD16 pulls the train to Viedma.

Has either method ever been compared by a consultant, accountant, or operational person to see if one is better than the other? Is one culture averse to backing up? Is the runaround practice hampered by our "FRA knows best" brake test rules?
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:25 am

I experienced that at Marseilles, France. I immediately changed seats so as to be able to ride forward. I don't know why, but it seems many Americans have an aversion to riding backwards. It would be interesting to find out if some sort of study has been done.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:29 am

With the lengths Amtrak goes to to prevent passengers from having to ride facing backwards, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the primary reason.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby Allouette » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:07 pm

Before the Vermonter was moved onto the former B&M between the Vermont line and Springfield, it made an end-swapping move during a non-passenger stop at Palmer MA east of Springfield. The move between the New England Central (former Central Vermont) and CSX (former Conrail/PC/NYC/Boston & Albany) is only possible in the northeast corner of the crossing. A river and some industries made the cost of a direct route impossibly expensive. The result was that the Vermonter ran with half of the seats facing in each direction - tolerable in the relatively lightly loaded MA/VT section, annoying in the Corridor.

On the new route Amtrak has returned to doing things the way B&M and NYNH&H did things for decades. To reach the east-west lying Springfield Union Station from the north-south Conn River line southbound trains pull past the B&A down to Spring interlocking and back in to the station, and then depart southbound. Northbound trains head in and depart by backing down to Spring and then heading north. All seats face the same way, only one control position is required. Customers are happier and the train does not need to carry a cab car or a second locomotive. The train crew does not have to get off the train to throw switches or move from one cab to the other.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:43 pm

Ones I know of in Germany

Frankfurt HBF
Munich HBF (and yes, there are trains which do not originate/terminate in Munich).
Stuttgart HBF

Trains are not wyed at these stations. Train comes in, new locomotive hooks on the now front end, old locomotive is cut off, the whistle blows, and away she goes!
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:44 pm

A 140 mile ride I took last August from Salzburg to Leoben. There were changes of direction at both Bischofen and again at St. Michael/Obersteirmark (Mr. Google, please allow me to do the spelling). I was changing seats at each station. Nobody else cared.

I understand the Amtrak fan trip during October had two direction changes.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:57 pm

Are you thinking about Minneapolis Target Field Station? It would be a solid midpoint station for the Empire Builder, though it’d be more convenient operationally to create a station abutting the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium at the end of SE 23rd Ave..
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby granton junction » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:16 pm

Changing ends / direction is quite common in Europe since major stations, for examples, in Germany and Switzerland are often stub-end or partially stub-end. "Riding backwards" is more common in Europe and is more accepted. European equipment is very different (couplings, brakes, engines, seating) from North American equipment, and therefore relatively fast engine and directional changes are possible. Safety rules and operating procedures are different (NOT better or worse), and again this facilitates fast engine and directional changes. 5 minute engine and directional changes are common. European railroads have a density of (passenger) traffic not found in North America. Major trunk routes often have hourly service in Western Europe so fast engine and directional changes are necessary. In North America with often only one train a day with slow schedules on some routes a fast engine / directional change is hardly an important issue.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby andrewjw » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:50 pm

Also - the Keystone still makes a direction change in Philadelphia, but with a long enough stop to change seats easily and with a very small number of through passengers.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:27 pm

Since the dawn of railroading European trains have had facing seats. The earliest coaches were arranged like a succession of stagecoaches on one underframe; passengers were accustomed all their lives to seeing passengers facing each other, half of them riding backwards, regardless of whether the train reversed en route; that probably influenced the culture. One practice which seems to have ceased was, on the signs mounted on the side of each coach showing origin, major intermediate stops, and destination, that of underlining stations at which reversal took place. The "airline-style seating" now becoming common in Europe dates from sometime after 1945 (except that in the 1950's Denmark had reclining-seat coaches with forward-facing seats which may have been prewar). One point perhaps worth noting is that when San Diego inaugurated its light-rail system with Duewag cars just as they came from the factory, passengers apparently had no problem about which direction they were looking when they sat down facing each other. (Note to Mr. Norman: I share an aversion to riding backwards and find that if all facing window seats are taken it helps if I can sit opposite a facing seat with a wide window between rather than looking at the back of the seat in front of me.)
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:07 pm

Did any through trains operate in and out of St. Louis Union Station as an intermediate stop?

VIA still does it on the Hudson Bay route: trains enter and exit the branch to Thomson while heading north or south.

Reversing at stub-ended terminals is common in rapid transit: Overnight/weekend PATH service enters and leaves Hoboken Terminal while operating through between JSQ and Midtown. BART on weekends operates in and out of SFO Airport in both directions either north to SF/Oakland/East Bay or south to Millbrae.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby edbear » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:33 pm

For a short time after World War II, a Sunshine Special was operated through from New York City via the PRR via St.Louis to Texas destinations on the MoPac. I believe the usual practice at St. Louis was that all arriving trains backed into the station with the exception of the MoPac's commuter train, the Pacific Eagle.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:11 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Since the dawn of railroading European trains have had facing seats. The earliest coaches were arranged like a succession of stagecoaches on one underframe; passengers were accustomed all their lives to seeing passengers facing each other, half of them riding backwards, regardless of whether the train reversed en route; that probably influenced the culture. One practice which seems to have ceased was, on the signs mounted on the side of each coach showing origin, major intermediate stops, and destination, that of underlining stations at which reversal took place. The "airline-style seating" now becoming common in Europe dates from sometime after 1945 (except that in the 1950's Denmark had reclining-seat coaches with forward-facing seats which may have been prewar). One point perhaps worth noting is that when San Diego inaugurated its light-rail system with Duewag cars just as they came from the factory, passengers apparently had no problem about which direction they were looking when they sat down facing each other. (Note to Mr. Norman: I share an aversion to riding backwards and find that if all facing window seats are taken it helps if I can sit opposite a facing seat with a wide window between rather than looking at the back of the seat in front of me.)

All Metro-North equipment has fixed seats. Half the seats face one end of the car, half face the other, with up to 9 pairs of facing seats per car depending on type.

I've never noticed any particular pattern in how the seats fill up (other than people trying to avoid being adjacent to the toilet :-D ). I usually just try to sit where I can have my left arm against the wall and my right arm free to hold a coffee (a.m.) or beer (p.m.) Riding backward never bothered me at all. Then again I've been used to it my whole life.

With regard to the main topic-- doesn't the Silver Star back into/out of Tampa Union?
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:28 pm

I'm trying to remember (without looking it up) whether in the first days of Amtrak the National Limited operated through from New York to Kansas City; if it did, it undoubtedly backed into Union Station westbound, but as edbear points out it would have done that anyway if it terminated there. Presumably it also would have backed in eastbound.
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Re: Single-end stations at midpoints

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:38 pm

To complicate the Eastbound through Amtrak National Limited, the Washington, D.C. coach was added at St. Louis (and detached at Harrisburg, Pa.).
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