Signals on the NEC

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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Alcochaser » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:26 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
TomNelligan wrote:One other note regarding the different signals in former New Haven versus Pennsylvania territory: all Amtrak trains change crews at Penn Station, thus a given engineer would normally be working only on one side or the other. And as Mr. lstone19 notes above, crews become familiar with the signals in the territory in which they work.


Metro North territory also doesn't have intermediate waysides like the rest of the NEC, as the cab signals are fully adequate for that. Only interlockings, powered switches, phase breaks, etc. of greater importance have wayside indicators backing up the in-cab display.

Not sure why AMTK insists on having wayside intermediate signals, and rebuilt NHV-BOS with them, when pretty much every other cab signaled line has done without them for decades. Is there some non-obvious crew training reason they do that when nobody else does, or are they just paranoid enough to want everything backed up in triplicate?


Metro North went FULL BRAIN REMOVAL with their system. It is low information. Just has 4 aspects with speeds. No diverging information. Home signals are go/no go ONLY.
Got so obnoxious that Metro north had to install non conforming arrow aspects just for an engineer to be able to tell if he was misrouted at the major junction north of NYC.

Amtrak is slowly eliminating waysides. But they are going about it a different way.
Amtrak has been more diligent about it. Even if you go from the 4 aspect to the 9 aspect cab signals, there are still useful signal aspects in the timetable that are not in the 9 cab signal aspects.
So what Amtrak has done is that Amtrak only installs the interlocking home signals. CR did this, as well as NS.

Thus you can get rid of most of the signals, but keep the really useful ones. They have been changing over the ex PRR lines to this operation.

The problem with removing waysides has been a cab signal failure. Thus why Conrail and now NS and Amtk install the CLEAR TO NEXT INTERLOCKING auxiliary signals. These light to tell a train in cab signal failure that the entire block to the next interlocking is clear.

That said. Amtrak is moving ahead with SMART wayside elimination. There were a BUNCH of requests filed with the FRA to enable it on certain sections last year for the ex PRR.

That is another problem. In the eyes of our legal system. Moving to cab signal only operation is treated like a signal removal. Subject to proceedings and regulatory approval.
(exactly the same request as if a railroad wanted to file and deactivate their CTC system)
Last edited by Alcochaser on Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Alcochaser » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:37 am

Here is an example of an Amtrak filing to move to cab signals on a section near Perryvile.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... nal-system

PDF with detailed signal plans
https://www.regulations.gov/contentStre ... ntType=pdf
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby n2cbo » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:30 am

east point wrote:
STrRedWolf wrote:[

Although, having all three die at the same time has happened. A few years ago, the signal system completely died in a flash thunder storm around Baltimore. !


That situation is slowly being resolved. As Amtrak gets funding it is installing commercial 60 hZ power back up on the PRR side. What happened was PRR built its signal system off a 4400 25 hZ signal power. It was supplied from the 25 hZ transmission lines thru step down transformers.
On the New Haven - BOS side the signal system is powered from the 25 kV 60 hZ power lines paralleling the tracks. But at each location there is also a commercial power drop to the signal bungalows including the few grade crossings.
Before the 25 kV system was in place all signals were powered from commercial sources. For a while Amtrak dropped the commercial power connections but soon had it reconnected. The commercial power drops do not cost much as they come under the 100 watt rate.


Granted, it has been since the mid-1970's since I have worked for Amtrak, but I seem to remember that the signal system was 91.67 cycle as to not have interference from commercial AC power nor from the 25 cycle traction power.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby amtrakhogger » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:54 pm

562 will be in effect Grace to Bacon when it is cut over.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Alcochaser » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:13 pm

amtrakhogger wrote:562 will be in effect Grace to Bacon when it is cut over.


Well when the FRA gets off their butts and approves the request. That request was posted on 5/18/2017. But that is just when the FRA bothers to publish the filing. The request went in likely a couple months before. Yet the request has yet to be approved by the FRA.

All of this, plus at least low to mid four figures plus in legal fees, let alone C&S hours getting the info needed for the lawyers to file the request....

All of this for something that usually gets a cursory look and a rubber stamp. Never seen an application to install 562 operation denied.

Yep.

This isn't the only pending 562 application before the FRA. NS has some and Amtrak has others.

Speaking of the ex New Haven, here is a 562 request for the Springfield branch. This was approved in November after being posted on 4/25/2017
https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... nal-system

Detailed
https://www.regulations.gov/contentStre ... ntType=pdf
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Alcochaser » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:16 pm

Norac 562 Application for Oak to Bush

https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... nal-system

Amtrak is installing new clear block signals at Oak and Bush interlockings to establish NORAC Rule 562 territory, cab signals without fixed automatic block signals. As a result, Amtrak seeks to retire the fixed wayside signals numbers 651, 652, 672, 673, 695, and 696 on Tracks 2, 3, and 4 on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, Mid-Atlantic Division, Main Line, Philadelphia to Washington.

All NORAC Rules will remain in effect. The existing advanced civil speed enforcement system (ACSES) will be modified to enforce a positive stop at Oak and Bush interlockings for a train with failed cab signal equipment unless the “C” signal is displayed allowing the failed train to enter the block.

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D= ... -0129-0001
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:00 pm

TomNelligan wrote:One other note regarding the different signals in former New Haven versus Pennsylvania territory: all Amtrak trains change crews at Penn Station, thus a given engineer would normally be working only on one side or the other. And as Mr. lstone19 notes above, crews become familiar with the signals in the territory in which they work.

The Hell Gate from New Rochelle south has position light signals. Believe they were installed when the line was cut back to 2 tracks in Penn Central days.

Alcochaser wrote:Metro North went FULL BRAIN REMOVAL with their system. It is low information. Just has 4 aspects with speeds. No diverging information. Home signals are go/no go ONLY.
Got so obnoxious that Metro north had to install non conforming arrow aspects just for an engineer to be able to tell if he was misrouted at the major junction north of NYC.

Actually I think those arrow signals preceding the Hudson/Harlem split at MO and the Harlem/New Haven split at JO date all the way back to New York Central days, although they've obviously been renewed multiple times-- the heads on the one just before the Harlem River bridge appear to be LED.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:31 pm

Believe the first use of the "route arrow" signal dates back to 1980's at Harold interlocking where Amtrak and LIRR split,
and where the LIRR Port Washington Branch splits from there.
"Route arrows" started showing up at MO in the late 80's,not so sure about JO(Woodlawn) where the New Haven Line splits off.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:20 pm

the route indicators on Metro-North are not really signals, just advisory indication for engineer
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:12 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Believe the first use of the "route arrow" signal dates back to 1980's at Harold interlocking where Amtrak and LIRR split,
and where the LIRR Port Washington Branch splits from there.
"Route arrows" started showing up at MO in the late 80's,not so sure about JO(Woodlawn) where the New Haven Line splits off.

When the gauntlet track was installed in the B&P Tunnel in Baltimore (1960's?) horizontal and vertical arrows were displayed alongside the signals at both ends; horizontal indicated that the route was lined for the gauntlet. Much later the same thing was done at New Carrollton.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby RRspatch » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:05 am

ExCon90 wrote:When the gauntlet track was installed in the B&P Tunnel in Baltimore (1960's?) horizontal and vertical arrows were displayed alongside the signals at both ends; horizontal indicated that the route was lined for the gauntlet. Much later the same thing was done at New Carrollton.


Both Gauntlets at the B&P tunnel and at New Carrollton have been removed. I believe there are directional arrows at "Swift" interlocking just east of Newark. This is to prevent trains from the sent down the wrong track by having arrows that show which route is set. I guess at arrows would be the US version of the BR feather signals.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:16 pm

Exactly; Continental railroads, and British also at certain points, also use a brightly lit capital letter alongside or under the aspect to identify the route. I sometimes wonder which is easier to identify at a distance from a fast-moving train. Any thoughts from engineers? Are those arrows easy to see?
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby NaugyRR » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:24 pm

I think speed is irrelevant in the matter of identifying routing markers like theater boxes and feather lights, since you're theoretically supposed to be slowing for the junction, terminal station, etc., or at least that's been my experience playing office chair hogger behind a computer screen.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:51 pm

True--in most cases you'd likely be proceeding on an Approach Medium, but SWIFT is good for 80 mph, and Rule 562 wouldn't tell you the reason for whatever the displayed speed is.
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Re: Signals on the NEC

Postby RRspatch » Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:58 am

ExCon90 wrote:True--in most cases you'd likely be proceeding on an Approach Medium, but SWIFT is good for 80 mph, and Rule 562 wouldn't tell you the reason for whatever the displayed speed is.


The reason for the arrows at Swift approaching westbound is to prevent the miss route of a train composed of Jersey Arrow cars. These cars can not handle the voltage change from 12.5Kv 25Hz to 25Kv 60Hz on the fly. Of course you certainly don't want an ACELA train heading for Dover either. Remembering my CETC days ID swaps in the computer system do happen now and then so the arrows also act as a backup should that happen.
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