Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

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Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby Tom6921 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:40 pm

On Thursday, I saw train #393 with a heritage diner and two 1700 series baggage cars on the rear end. They seemed to be deadheading somewhere. Any idea where they were going?
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby CHTT1 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:49 pm

CN requires Amtrak to run a certain number of cars on trains in order to ensure that crossing gates work properly, so the Illini and Saluki are filled out with various cars. CN, unlike every other railroad in North America, seems incapable of operating its crossing gates with shorter trains. I assume its gross incompetence.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby F40CFan » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:48 pm

Must be. I don't remember any such restriction when the IC owned the line.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby ExCon90 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:03 pm

Or just orneriness because they don't want to be running the service anyway?
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:44 pm

It’s not just CN. UP is requiring it on the cross Missouri service.

ADMIN NOTE: Movements of heritage cars as part of axle count for scheduled service isn’t unique equipment. I’ll split this off to its own topic.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby east point » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:30 pm

Maybe the requirements come from the crossing signal detection systems use the older fixed distance crossing circuits that work thru track occupancy detection ? It may be the newer tone signal detection is not installed on those lines yet ?
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby Arborwayfan » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:28 pm

Would it be silly to ask why Amtrak doesn't offer checked baggage to Champaign and Carbondale on those trains? They have to haul an extra car anyway, the stations are open when the trains stop there, and a fair number of people transfer at Chicago to trains with checked baggage. As it is, the City of New Orleans only carries baggage northbound (if that, any more).

Or add a coach, or offer seating in an old diner for professors grading papers and such. (I realize that the answer to that one is probably cleaning or lack of reliable cars in good internal condition, but with the v-diners coming and not apparently all going to be used, I do wonder about sticking on anything with seats and opening it up at peak periods. Would that mean they needed a second asst. conductor or something?)
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:36 pm

Most likely the onboard HVAC on the heritage cars is not turned on/maintained. :(
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby WesternNation » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:30 am

Minimum axle count for CN is 32 axles. For quite some time, the 350/355 turn was running around with a new Viewliner baggage car, as they traverse CN between Detroit and Pontiac.

The Blue Water doesn't usually have to deal with the axle counts because they need more than 32 axles for their train already.

The whole thing came about after a crossing accident in IL (I think) where a crossing didn't activate correctly and someone got hit. Somewhere along the line (no pun intended), it was decided that Amtrak's train length was the reason it didn't activate correctly and thus the minimum axle count was born.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby mmi16 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:49 pm

east point wrote:Maybe the requirements come from the crossing signal detection systems use the older fixed distance crossing circuits that work thru track occupancy detection ? It may be the newer tone signal detection is not installed on those lines yet ?

B&O when the got their Budd RDC cars back in the 50's discovered that a single car would operate through the relay detected track occupancy sections at track speed (79 MPH) too quickly to permit the relays to respond and thus would not leave Red Signals behind their operation. I am not aware of problems operating crossing protection but that does not mean there weren't issues. As a result the B&O restricted single unit movements (Budd RDC's or Locomotives) to 30 MPH. Two RDC's or a Locomotive and one car were not restricted and could operate at track speed. These restrictions carried through on to CSX, at least until I retired in December 2016. What has happened post EHH I don't have any facts.

If CN & UP signal systems actually require 24 or more axle movements to properly activate - they must be using sand falling through an hourglass to activate their systems.

More likely, with both CN & UP being on the anti-Amtrak side of the equation they are just arbitrarily ordering it to run up Amtrak operating costs.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:38 pm

Jim Boyd on p. 170 of "Illinois Central Monday Morning Rails" mentions that "a short train can 'phantom' the block signals and not be detected if it moves too fast, 2 light units are limited to 25 m.p.h., and 3 units are permitted only 45 m.p.h. in block signal territory".
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby Tom6921 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:09 am

Hypothetically, if Amtrak used the Wisconsin Talgos on the lines, would the Talgo and locomotive be enough to satisfy the axle requirement?
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby east point » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:26 am

If axel count cars are needed how about this solution ? Once enough coaches are available ( that may be several years ) run coaches and lower the prices until you can fill all the cars. Would take some advertising and probably take some time to fill more coaches ?
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby electricron » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:32 pm

Tom6921 wrote:Hypothetically, if Amtrak used the Wisconsin Talgos on the lines, would the Talgo and locomotive be enough to satisfy the axle requirement?

The Wisconsin Talgo sets had 16 axles, plus 4 axles under each locomotive, a minimum oof 20 axles for a 14 Talgo car train.
What does CN need in Illinois; isn’t it more than 20 axles? FYI, the cab car had two axles under the cab while the end car had one axle under the car, and thirteen other axles between the fourteen cars.
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Re: Axle Counts for Amtrak on Host Roads

Postby HammerJack » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:10 pm

On Saturday, November 3rd, #311 operated with 2 heritage baggage cars and a Viewliner II diner, Indianapolis, attached to the back of the train. I assume this is for axle count purposes.
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