Keystone set with ECP braking

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Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby twropr » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:29 pm

A few years ago Amtrak equipped a 5-car Keystone Service trainset with electronic braking along with ACS-64 #670.
Has anyone ridden this equipment, and does it decelerate better than the trainsets where blended braking is applied?
This was supposed to be an experiment - have heard nothing on the pros and cons.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby amtrakhogger » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:25 pm

The set in question has been running around recently with the 9644 and the 670. The testing phase with this consist was supposed to evaluate equipping the Auto-Train with ECP.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby EricL » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:11 pm

For historical context, the first Pullman-Standard Superliners were supposed to have been capable of ECP, but this functionality was apparently never used. Anyone have some background on that?
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:36 am

Did any of the Electro Pneumatic EP brake systems used on some of the early streamlined passenger trains last long enough to be used by Amtrak? These were just Electric, not Electronic.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby ApproachMedium » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:58 am

The superliners were supposed to have EP brake, not ECP brake. ECP brake is microprocessor controlled and does not actually change the brake pipe drop. Its as close to a train being a train simulator as you can get. It just works. The air brake rack on each car has this strange electronic device that replaces the control valve thats normally all pnumatic. ECP is not an entirely new new thing, the freight railroads have been messing with it on long coal drags for well over 10 years now. The EP brake is what NJ Transit uses, i think some metra equipment, Acela express, and septa MUs.

Operation of the ECP set to passengers wont feel any different. The cab car still slams around the train as the engine bumps in and out of the consist as the blended brake apples and releases on the engine. Operating from the engine can feel a little different depending who is running because there is a secret about this system i cannot reveal here but it basically can allow you to run a lot smoother if you know what you are doing with it. Supposedly MARC is going to get the same system but idk. I dont see it being good for push pull service. The Amtrak set has a Knorr system in the engine and a Wabtec system in the cab car. The Knorr system sets up and tests pretty quick, but a lot more to deal with than your standard air brake set up. The Wabtec system takes FOREVER to set up. Its a mess. Every time you have to cut in and out of the system or shut it down for any reason you have to go thru the whole process of it discovering all the cars, the EOT, etc. Just a lot of work for a commuter rail ops. For the auto train however, its golden. I could see this making the auto train work much better for them.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby Engineer Spike » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:50 pm

I haven’t run ECP, but I know what you’re talking about. The system gives an instant even brake application. I can see the day when the system is sophisticated enough to make each car’s brake application correspond to the cars weight. This will eliminate much of the need for slack control, which compensated for the varied result of the car weights now, and how a car now gets the same cylinder pressure, whether it is a 30 ton empty, or a 143 ton load.

One day I was in Chicago, and deadheaded back home with a friend, who was running a long distance passenger train. Back then they were running the express boxcars and roadrailers, which ase essentially freight cars behind disk braked coaches. He had to power brake to keep the boxcars front running in on the coaches. This situation is magnified on Autotrain, with many auto racks running on the tail end. Proportional ECP could solve this.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby ApproachMedium » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:41 am

I believe there is a leveling valve that is hooked up to the aluminum coal hoppers and tied into the brake controller on the ECP freight cars to adjust braking. I know theres leased freight cars at adams that have a mechanical device that sorta does the same thing for the flat cars.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby farecard » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:00 pm

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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby talltim » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:00 am

Having had a read of that preliminary report, I don't see how you can say that. Obviously something wasn't working in the braking system, and there's nothing to say that if it had ECP, it wouldn;t have been that.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby farecard » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:38 am

The air line had to have been blocked at some point in the consist. It's rational to assume that any ECP would report the pressure at each car back to the cab, so they'd have known that.

And ECP does not require dropping the main line pressure to activate.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby farecard » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:03 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:The system gives an instant even brake application. I can see the day when the system is sophisticated enough to make each car’s brake application correspond to the cars weight. This will eliminate much of the need for slack control, which compensated for the varied result of the car weights now, and how a car now gets the same cylinder pressure, whether it is a 30 ton empty, or a 143 ton load.


The railroads have tried multiple kludges to alter the braking force applied vs. load, but they are still open loop (i.e. guesses...) They can not compensate for wet/slippery track etc.

Meanwhile every auto and truck built in the last decade++ has antilock braking. Once you have ECP, I can't see that it's that big a step to go to ABS on the rolling stock. But the issue is that the line does not own that part, various tax avoidance trusts do, and they would hate to spend any money.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:34 pm

The Union Pacific rear end freight train collision in the Nov. 18 post was also a failure of Positive Train Control, which was active according to the report, and is supposed to prevent train to train collisions. Also, the End of Train Device didn't set Emergency Brakes from the rear when the Engineer did so from the locomotive.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby ApproachMedium » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:23 pm

farecard wrote:
Engineer Spike wrote:The system gives an instant even brake application. I can see the day when the system is sophisticated enough to make each car’s brake application correspond to the cars weight. This will eliminate much of the need for slack control, which compensated for the varied result of the car weights now, and how a car now gets the same cylinder pressure, whether it is a 30 ton empty, or a 143 ton load.


The railroads have tried multiple kludges to alter the braking force applied vs. load, but they are still open loop (i.e. guesses...) They can not compensate for wet/slippery track etc.

Meanwhile every auto and truck built in the last decade++ has antilock braking. Once you have ECP, I can't see that it's that big a step to go to ABS on the rolling stock. But the issue is that the line does not own that part, various tax avoidance trusts do, and they would hate to spend any money.


Passenger rail cars have had "anti lock brakes" Or as its called a wheel slide protection system and they help but they dont. When the axles "dump" their air enough it can cause the car to buck around, which on freight cars could be a shifted load. Its not something I would recommend for freight cars since 90% of them have a single brake cylinder vs a passenger car that has 12-16 brake cylinders. When the passenger car units do their thing, if the rail is bad enough the entire train could end up not stopping. There has been incidents with commuter trains, Acela trains etc that have completely missed a platform with full brake applied because of a wheel slide controller system releasing brakes on the entire trainset and sending it beyond its designated stopping point. On a freight train this could be unacceptable, as this could be the back of another train or a possible derailment.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby east point » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:24 am

The BHP failure of ECP operating practices will have some rethought of how to operate ECP when there is a separation of ECP control cable.
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Re: Keystone set with ECP braking

Postby farecard » Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:15 am

JimBoylan wrote:The Union Pacific rear end freight train collision in the Nov. 18 post was also a failure of Positive Train Control, which was active according to the report, and is supposed to prevent train to train collisions.


That's hard for either the engineer or PTC to accomplish when the brakes don't work!

Also, the End of Train Device didn't set Emergency Brakes from the rear when the Engineer did so from the locomotive.

Quite true & a major factor.
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