PTC and 79 mph

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PTC and 79 mph

Postby Amtrak706 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:57 pm

As we get closer to the deadline, sections of railroad without cab signals where passenger trains are allowed 79 mph are slowly getting PTC. I know there are other factors in max speed like grade crossing activation times and signal spacing, but is there any reason a system like I-ETMS would not satisfy the FRA rule that requires cab signals above 79 mph? At the very least, passenger trains could be bumped to 90 where possible to fully utilize the capability of Class 5 trackage.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby ThirdRail7 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:24 pm

Amtrak706 wrote:As we get closer to the deadline, sections of railroad without cab signals where passenger trains are allowed 79 mph are slowly getting PTC. I know there are other factors in max speed like grade crossing activation times and signal spacing, but is there any reason a system like I-ETMS would not satisfy the FRA rule that requires cab signals above 79 mph? At the very least, passenger trains could be bumped to 90 where possible to fully utilize the capability of Class 5 trackage.


I doubt the FRA will allow it. Unless something changes, when the regulations begin in earnest, if your trains doesn't have an active form of PTC with active Cab Signals, they plan on lowering the speed to 79mph. If your trains doesn't have an active form of PTC and an active cab signal system, you will not be able to exceed 59mph. I believe there are already rules on some of the books indicating this. I know SEPTA trains with PTC failures must operate not exceeding 79mph if they have cab signals.

As such, I don't think they'll be agreeable to allowing PTC to run the show,
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby Amtrak706 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:28 pm

That’s disappointing although not unexpected. You would think that PTC should be considered even safer than cab signals, but I guess the language in the law specifically requiring cab signals is the obstacle.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:29 am

Time to read the Regulation again. Cab Signals were never the only way to run 80 or more miles per hour.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 236.0(d)(1) Prior to December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part shall be installed, unless an FRA approved PTC system meeting the requirements of this part for the subject speed and other operating conditions, is installed.

The answer to the original question is in the next paragraph. It still doesn't say that Cab Signals are the only way to go.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 236.0(d)(2) On and after December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, a PTC system complying with the provisions of subpart I shall be installed and operational, unless FRA approval to continue to operate with an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part has been justified to, and approved by, the Associate Administrator.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby ThirdRail7 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:50 am

JimBoylan wrote:The answer to the original question is in the next paragraph. It still doesn't say that Cab Signals are the only way to go.
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 236.0(d)(2) On and after December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, a PTC system complying with the provisions of subpart I shall be installed and operational, unless FRA approval to continue to operate with an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part has been justified to, and approved by, the Associate Administrator.


While I used cab signals (since it a major part of the ATC and ATS system and it commonly lumped together,particularly since a lot of Amtrak equipment no longer has a separate cut out for train control and speed control) as an example, your post is largely irrelevant.

Let's cut and paste part my opening statement:

Unless something changes, when the regulations begin in earnest,

Has it not occurred to you that new regulations will kick in January, 2019? Your quote from a 2015 regulation means very little....unless something changes, like an amendment to the deadline or a rule change.

This is because unless something changes, if you do not have an active form of PTC AND ATS/ATC (routed though our cab signal system), you will not be allowed to exceed 79mph.

To drive the point home, let's look back on the SEPTA operating profile (which is also a NORAC rule at this point.) Up until earlier this year, a SEPTA train which wasn't equipped with PTC could operate up to 100mph on the NEC with cab signals only (and remember,I'm bundling it for brevity.) If the cab signals or speed control failed, it could not exceed 79mph.

Now, fast forward to the roll out of PTC equipped SEPTA trains. Now, if the PTC system fails, they must reduce to 79mph on a territory they were doing 100mph last year....despite the fact they still have the former systems working.

So, I seriously doubt if they will all of a sudden allow other railroads to use PTC only to exceed 79mph. I sincerely doubt that Amtrak will be allowed to exceed 79mph without active PTC (even though they are doing it now) for the direction of movement if things stay their course.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:47 am

Here's the link to the Regulation, https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=b6759a3802c33f4c9be3c5bada12e8ea&mc=true&node=se49.4.236_10&rgn=div8, "e-CFR data is current as of November 14, 2018". That "quote from a 2015 regulation" is what will kick in shortly. It has only been postponed from Dec. 31, 2015 by amendments.

This link to Appendix I of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 236 gives the details of Positive Train Control. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=b6759a3802c33f4c9be3c5bada12e8ea&mc=true&node=sp49.4.236.i&rgn=div6 Where does it say that Cab Signals must be part of Positive Train Control?
In that link are the new dates for requiring Positive Train Control:
236.1005 Requirements for Positive Train Control systems.
…..
(6) New rail passenger service. No new intercity or commuter rail passenger service shall commence after December 31, 2020, until a PTC system certified under this subpart has been installed and made operative.
(7) Implementation deadlines. (i) Each railroad must complete full implementation of its PTC system by December 31, 2018.
(ii) A railroad is excepted from paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section and must complete full implementation of its PTC system by December 31, 2020, or the date specified in its approved alternative schedule and sequence, whichever is earlier, only if the railroad:
(A) Installs all PTC hardware and acquires all spectrum necessary to implement its PTC system by December 31, 2018;
(B) Submits an alternative schedule and sequence providing for implementation of positive train control system as soon as practicable, but not later than December 31, 2020;
(C) Notifies the Associate Administrator in writing that it is prepared for review of its alternative schedule and sequence under 49 U.S.C. 20157(a)(3)(B); and
(D) Receives FRA approval of its alternative schedule and sequence.
(iii) If a railroad meets the criteria in paragraph (b)(7)(ii) of this section, the railroad must adhere to its approved alternative schedule and sequence and any of its subsequently approved amendments or required modifications.

If S.E.P.T.A. and Amtrak want to have stricter rules, they are allowed.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby ThirdRail7 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:19 am

JimBoylan wrote:.


Where's your information on the 2019 modifications and changes? The ones I keep mentioning?
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:10 pm

ThirdRail7 wrote:Where's your information on the 2019 modifications and changes? The ones I keep mentioning?

They've only posted the Dec. 31, 2018 modifications and changes, some of which I posted above. All that they are doing so far is changing the dates that the Dec. 31, 2015 specifications become required. It may now be too close to 2019 to have enough time for notices, hearings, comments, etc. for any modifications and changes to Positive Train Control specifications to be effective at the start of 2019.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby ThirdRail7 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:19 pm

JimBoylan wrote:
ThirdRail7 wrote:Where's your information on the 2019 modifications and changes? The ones I keep mentioning?

They've only posted the Dec. 31, 2018 modifications and changes, some of which I posted above. All that they are doing so far is changing the dates that the Dec. 31, 2015 specifications become required. It may now be too close to 2019 to have enough time for notices, hearings, comments, etc. for any modifications and changes to Positive Train Control specifications to be effective at the start of 2019.


Unless....wait for it.....they've actually summarized more changes...sent them to the railroads....who crafted operating rules and released a schedule of implementation....which have been provided to those that need to be notified....and they trickled the information to those that are affected by them.


Hmmmm. That couldn't have happened.

At any rate, as much as I can appreciate you trying to hang on to your beliefs, shall we cut to the chase?

The OP made an inquiry. He asked:

As we get closer to the deadline, sections of railroad without cab signals where passenger trains are allowed 79 mph are slowly getting PTC. I know there are other factors in max speed like grade crossing activation times and signal spacing, but is there any reason a system like I-ETMS would not satisfy the FRA rule that requires cab signals above 79 mph?

My answer:

I doubt the FRA will allow it. Unless something changes, when the regulations begin in earnest,............

I stand by my answer. I highly doubt it. It is based on a summary of forthcoming changes for when PTC is mandatory.

Thus far, your answer has....well....there hasn't been one. You've quoted regulations that may or may not be amended (depending on what happens) in January, 2019.

So, the debate aside....do you actually have an answer or even an opinion for the OP?
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:26 pm

Amtrak706 wrote:As we get closer to the deadline, sections of railroad without cab signals where passenger trains are allowed 79 mph are slowly getting PTC. I know there are other factors in max speed like grade crossing activation times and signal spacing, but is there any reason a system like I-ETMS would not satisfy the FRA rule that requires cab signals above 79 mph? At the very least, passenger trains could be bumped to 90 where possible to fully utilize the capability of Class 5 trackage.
!st, there is no "FRA rule that requires cab signals above 79 mph" and no other alternative. The rule says
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 236 d (2) wrote:On and after December 31, 2015, where any train is permitted to operate at a speed of 80 or more miles per hour, a PTC system complying with the provisions of subpart I shall be installed and operational, unless FRA approval to continue to operate with an automatic cab signal, automatic train stop, or automatic train control system complying with the provisions of this part has been justified to, and approved by, the Associate Administrator.
Does I-ETMS comply with Subpart I? If it does, then the FRA Rule allows speeds of 80 or more m.p.h. Of course, railroads are free to impose stricter rules on themselves and their tennants.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby Trinnau » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:52 pm

As of Dec 31, 2018 Cab Signals are no longer sufficient alone to exceed 79mph. An approved PTC system is required over 79mph, and I-ETMS fits the bill. It's all in §236.0 Applicability, minimum requirements, and penalties.. Basically, Cab is ok to exceed 79 now, but PTC is needed in the future.

However there are more stringent restrictions when it comes to failures. This regulation is already on the books, which is what SEPTA must be following.

§236.1029 PTC system use and failures. wrote:...
(2) Where a block signal system is in place:
(i) A passenger train may proceed at a speed not to exceed 59 miles per hour;
(ii) A freight train transporting one or more cars containing PIH materials, excluding those cars containing only a residue of PIH materials, may proceed at a speed not to exceed 40 miles per hour; and
(iii) Any other freight train may proceed at a speed not to exceed 49 miles per hour.

(3) Where a cab signal system with an automatic train control system is in use, the train may proceed at a speed not to exceed 79 miles per hour.
...
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby Amtrak706 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:17 pm

The last time I read the regulation none of this was in there, so it’s good to hear that they updated it. And I guess this means that it’s technically possible, wherever Amtrak runs on FRA Class 5 track, that passenger speeds could be upped to 90 from 79.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby electricron » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:25 am

Amtrak706 wrote:The last time I read the regulation none of this was in there, so it’s good to hear that they updated it. And I guess this means that it’s technically possible, wherever Amtrak runs on FRA Class 5 track, that passenger speeds could be upped to 90 from 79.

And lets assume the FRA Class 5 track is around 40 miles in length. an increase of 10 mph max speed over 40 miles saves minutes.
Math
40 miles/ 80 mph = 30 minutes
40 miles / 90 mph = 26 minutes, 40 seconds
30 minutes - 26 minutes, 40 seconds = 3 minutes, 20 seconds.
Over a distance of let's say 240 miles, such as the approximate distance of Chicago to St. Louis or Chicago to Detroit, time savings would be 6 times as much, approximately 20 minutes. This assumes the 10 mph speed increase is in effect the entire 240 miles, but we all know in the real world it can't be so. There will be sections of tracks where the curves are too tight, where the tracks are not maintained as Class 5, and when a slower freight train ahead slows the faster passenger train behind.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby Amtrak706 » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:11 am

The whole reason such an upgrade would only be 90 is that it would be making full use of existing PTC and Class 5 track, with virtually no costs involved. If you want to bring up the cost/benefit of a speed upgrade, make it 110-125 mph as that would require higher track standards and other added costs. Superliners are only good for 100 but almost all new equipment Amtrak has acquired in the past few decades is 125 capable, so it stands to reason that any eventual Superliner replacement might be as well. Chargers and Superliner IIIs at 125 mph on the national network would suddenly make train travel a lot more competitive. All this may be a pipe dream, but the strategy of squeezing as much as possible out of what you already have is arguably a lot more productive than Amtrak’s current strategy of blind cost cutting.
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Re: PTC and 79 mph

Postby electricron » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:06 am

Amtrak706 wrote:The whole reason such an upgrade would only be 90 is that it would be making full use of existing PTC and Class 5 track, with virtually no costs involved. If you want to bring up the cost/benefit of a speed upgrade, make it 110-125 mph as that would require higher track standards and other added costs. Superliners are only good for 100 but almost all new equipment Amtrak has acquired in the past few decades is 125 capable, so it stands to reason that any eventual Superliner replacement might be as well. Chargers and Superliner IIIs at 125 mph on the national network would suddenly make train travel a lot more competitive. All this may be a pipe dream, but the strategy of squeezing as much as possible out of what you already have is arguably a lot more productive than Amtrak’s current strategy of blind cost cutting.

You're assuming the Class 4 or higher track is already on the ground. On most of the miles of tracks Amtrak uses you see Class 4 or lower track on the ground.
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