WMATA - Back2Good

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:18 am

DCMike, I agree completely with you. I've been saying for years that I believe the herky jerky experience is the operator's hand on the controller, not the mixed consist. This fact becomes obvious when you ride a non-mixed consist, and find it is just as jerky as the mixed consist. The common denominator is manual control. This was further confirmed when I rode several mixed consist 8 car trains with ATO in use. As if by magic, the mixed consist was nice and smooth. Most people never experienced mixed consists or manual control until the red line crash. All at once, they switched from ATO to manual (a PR stunt), and mixed up consists to protect the 1000 series cars (another PR stunt). Not surprisingly, the union and operators blame the jerky movements on the mixed consist because they don't want to admit it's themselves. It's not really a big human fault either. The human hand will never operate that control as smoothly as a computer.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby JackRussell » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:55 pm

dcmike wrote:I look forward to any comments or feedback as I am far from perfect (particularly at my age) and may have overlooked something.


What about the station announcements? It seems that on some trains the announcements are as clear as a bell, and on some trains you hear a muffled voice that is barely intelligible.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby Chris Brown » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:14 am

dcmike wrote:There is a comment in this thread discussing the mixture of 2000 and 3000 series cars which is even more confounding. When those two fleets underwent midlife rehabilitation, they were combined in to a single fleet. All components are 100% interchangeable. All internal documentation, procedures, and policies refer to them as a single fleet. Also relevant is the fact that the rehabbed 2/3K and 6K fleets were designed to be nearly identical, sharing many of the same fully interchangeable components including door controls, ATC, VMS, and propulsion - the same Alstom propulsion system used on NYCT's R160 fleet by the way.

----

Now, that being said, there is one minor inconvenience associated with mixed consists. The interior LED "next station" signs will not operate when 1000 or 4000 series cars are included in a consist. This is because they don't carry the required equipment that carries the serial data link which transmits the station ID throughout the trains. There is also an issue where some of this equipment doesn't communicate correctly in the newer cars. This is because the hardware architecture changed somewhere along the line during production. Some cars delivered with legacy equipment and some with newer hardware (including all of the 6K cars). The good news is that engineering and the hardware vendor are approximately halfway through an on-going project that will update all 2/3/5/6K cars with unified equipment that will ensure reliable communication.


I made the comment about the mixing of the 2k and 3k series. All I said was that Metro will probably still mix those while keeping the 5k and 6k cars as separate trains.

Even if the mixing doesn't really matter for performance, I still don't like it. The interior next stop signs are one reason. In addition, I don't like the cosmetic look. The trains look uneven. I'm sure many non-rail fans probably don't even notice the difference, but I do. Especially when you have the first and last two cars in a train showing bright LED destination signs and the two or four cars in the middle have dull, dark flip-dot signs. Looks like crap.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby dcmike » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:49 am

JackRussell wrote:
What about the station announcements? It seems that on some trains the announcements are as clear as a bell, and on some trains you hear a muffled voice that is barely intelligible.


Good question. This is purely an operator / training issue.

Between 2012 and 2015, all rail cars were retrofit with brand new operator communication panels to facilitate the switchover to the digital trunked radio system. Part of this program included upgraded microphones. The old units were omnidirectional high gain mics that would readily pick up audio while the operator maintained a comfortable seating position. The old comm panels also had LED VU meters that provided the operators with visual feedback to guide them on how loud they needed to speak. The new comm panels eliminated the VU meters and switched to a low gain unidirectional noise-cancelling mic. If the operators don't lean in and get right on top of these new mics, the riders hear nothing but broken up garbled nonsense because the bulk of the audio is being thrown out as background noise.

To imply that this has anything to do with mixing series is again incorrect. The PA audio is distributed via standard line level output to each car. Amplification is handled independently in each car. Saying the cars are incompatible in this regard is akin to stating that Bose speakers won't work with a Denon receiver.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby MCL1981 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:17 am

It's amazing the lengths the PR department and ATU "leadership" will go to pretend everything they do wrong is someone or something else's fault. I wonder what their excuse will be once they're back to same-series consists and the ride is still jerky and audio still sucks? They can't blame it on mixed consists anymore. Perhaps they'll blame it on the customers, which is usually Jeter's next play.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:54 am

Mike, Does each power notch have a maximum speed associated with it as well? For example, does P1 accelerate at 0.75 mph per second until it reaches a given speed, say 10mph, and then hold that speed? Or will it keep accelerating at 0.75mph per second until it maxes out at the speed limit?
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby Chris Brown » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:32 pm

MCL1981 wrote:It's amazing the lengths the PR department and ATU "leadership" will go to pretend everything they do wrong is someone or something else's fault. I wonder what their excuse will be once they're back to same-series consists and the ride is still jerky and audio still sucks? They can't blame it on mixed consists anymore. Perhaps they'll blame it on the customers, which is usually Jeter's next play.


I think the incompetence at Metro is a leftover result of DC's past as a "government town" that went to sleep at 7PM every day.

DC has only recently become a "real city". Metro is now forced to operate as a large inner city subway system rather than a commuter rail/subway like it was in the past. This means longer operating hours, more frequent trains, and a larger fleet. Metro is new at this, while NYC, Boston and Chicago have been doing it for a century.

Metro is experiencing growing pains from adjusting to its new reality. Its used to being a teenager and now it has to be an adult. DC has transformed into a high ranking cosmopolitan city where people expect "more" and "better".

I think the worst is over for Metro. But there is still a lot of work and improving to be done.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:21 pm

Sitting in the break room radioing in that you're walking a track inspection... then signing off on a fake inspection report... is not "growing pains". It is a culture of willful incompetence and laziness that has filled in every department of rail operations and management. The worst isn't over. They've only just begun to scratch the surface of it.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby Chris Brown » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:24 pm

MCL1981 wrote:Sitting in the break room radioing in that you're walking a track inspection... then signing off on a fake inspection report... is not "growing pains". It is a culture of willful incompetence and laziness that has filled in every department of rail operations and management. The worst isn't over. They've only just begun to scratch the surface of it.


Well.. that's what I'm talking about. This kind of behavior was acceptable in the past and often swept under the rug. After all the recent safety incidents and DEATHS this kind of stuff has become harder to hide. Metro is now in the spot light and people EXPECT improvement.

Metro has lost the luxury of privacy it used to have. For this reason.. the worst is over. The new management along with public anger is forcing Metro to get its crap together.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby MCL1981 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:40 pm

Sadly I don't think they've uncovered the majority of it. The amount of incompetence and laziness still hidden and taking place daily is likely a lot more than what has been exposed and corrected to date. There are 8,000 employees in the ATU. They've taken major disciplinary action against what now? 30? And the ATU is arguing they did nothing wrong.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby Chris Brown » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:57 pm

MCL1981 wrote:Sadly I don't think they've uncovered the majority of it. The amount of incompetence and laziness still hidden and taking place daily is likely a lot more than what has been exposed and corrected to date. There are 8,000 employees in the ATU. They've taken major disciplinary action against what now? 30? And the ATU is arguing they did nothing wrong.


Well, moves are already being made to change how Metro is funded, managed and structured:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/2-us-lawmakers-want-to-fix-metro-but-their-bills-will-probably-face-major-hurdles/2017/01/14/d85eb21c-d90b-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?utm_term=.d57c237c97c2

Some ideas include weakening the union, banning elected officials from the Metro board, strengthening oversight and providing reliable funding.

Lets hope it happens.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby JackRussell » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:32 am

MCL1981 wrote:Sadly I don't think they've uncovered the majority of it. The amount of incompetence and laziness still hidden and taking place daily is likely a lot more than what has been exposed and corrected to date. There are 8,000 employees in the ATU. They've taken major disciplinary action against what now? 30? And the ATU is arguing they did nothing wrong.


Perhaps, but the lazy ones all know that they are on notice.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby JDC » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:39 am

Not sure if this is part of Back2Good, but it seems like many of the brass railings at L'Enfant have been buffed to a nice shine again.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby JDC » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:31 pm

Another sign of the Back2Good programme: all of the platform lights at Dupont circle have been switched from red to white. Apparently that is rolling out system wide.
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Re: WMATA - Back2Good

Postby Chris Brown » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:12 pm

JDC wrote:Another sign of the Back2Good programme: all of the platform lights at Dupont circle have been switched from red to white. Apparently that is rolling out system wide.


White was the original color when the system opened. Why did they change to red?
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