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. ... nal-system

PDF with detailed signal plans ... 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.


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 ... nal-system

Detailed ... ntType=pdf
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