Red lights on the Green Line

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby sery2831 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:06 pm

This is a railfan forum. It is made up of a very diverse community. This is not the place for very serious technical discussions.

While technology has evolved to be able to prevent this issue, money will always be the road the block. The T has bigger and better things to spend capital on at the moment. Maybe someday down the road the T will address this.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby CRail » Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:01 pm

sery2831 wrote:This is a railfan forum. It is made up of a very diverse community. This is not the place for very serious technical discussions.


I think being a railfan forum makes it exactly the place for technical discussions. It's when fact is blended with opinion that things get messy. That is what this isn't the place for.

Which brings me to:
bostontrainguy wrote:These signals are not for "brake testing" as mentioned by others. They are intended to slow service down . . . period...


At what capacity are you qualified to make such a determination? What experiences do you have to detest a system which has obviously been deemed necessary by many qualified people in the field? It's the statements that have been made all throughout the discussion similar to this that have brought on the tone in responses that ryanov complain about.

The original question was valid and respectful, the responses on the other side of the argument were not. That is where the tone came from. I can tell very easily who is in the know and who isn't by reading their responses, and the ones that claim that MBTA management either doesn't have a clue or is sabotaging its own service clearly aren't in the know. The question has been answered, the dead horse has been pulverized.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby bostontrainguy » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:42 am

CRail wrote:
sery2831 wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:These signals are not for "brake testing" as mentioned by others. They are intended to slow service down . . . period...


At what capacity are you qualified to make such a determination? What experiences do you have to detest a system which has obviously been deemed necessary by many qualified people in the field? It's the statements that have been made all throughout the discussion similar to this that have brought on the tone in responses that ryanov complain about.

I can tell very easily who is in the know and who isn't by reading their responses


I don't think so :)
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby ryanov » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:37 am

People who really know what they're talking about and are secure in that knowledge tend to elaborate and explain, not get defensive. Maybe that's overgeneralizing, though. But I agree with the other poster, technical info and discussion is why I read these boards at all. I can tell a somesuch went by on whatever route at 11:45a by going out and looking at the tracks if I feel like it. The insider knowledge shared is what is nice about this site.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby sery2831 » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:00 pm

I guess I choose poor wording on the technical aspect of discussions here. That's not the point I was making... I am trying to say the discussion here isn't designed to yield a real world solution for most part, is mostly for fun. And we have people from all ages and various interest levels. All are welcome to participate in any discussion on here.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:19 pm

Almost never do I direct my posts at a particular person but bostontrainguy's last post has two problems, one of significant importance.

1.) Thank you for sharing what you think, it doesn't have an impact on what I know.

2.) The serious issue here; If you're going to use quotes, you need to do so properly. You're quoting the wrong person when intending to quote me. This is apt to upset people, and rightfully so.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:27 pm

CRail wrote:Almost never do I direct my posts at a particular person but bostontrainguy's last post has two problems, one of significant importance.

1.) Thank you for sharing what you think, it doesn't have an impact on what I know.

2.) The serious issue here; If you're going to use quotes, you need to do so properly. You're quoting the wrong person when intending to quote me. This is apt to upset people, and rightfully so.


As far as your #1 comment, I don't know what you know but I do know the facts about the situation. It's not my "thinking" or opinion.

As far as your #2 comment, it is directed at your statements, "At what capacity are you qualified to make such a determination?" and "I can tell very easily who is in the know and who isn't by reading their responses." Sorry for any unintended confusion with the quotes.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby CRail » Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:47 pm

OK then, so the T sabotages their own service. Why? You're so "in the know" perhaps you can explain it. Tell us the facts of the situation.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:35 pm

CRail wrote:OK then, so the T sabotages their own service. Why? You're so "in the know" perhaps you can explain it. Tell us the facts of the situation.


Be happy to. You see the T practices the law of "CYA" (e.g., Cover Your Ass). Whenever anything happens they have to do something although it is usually an overreaction. A perfect example is the 2012 accident at Boylston Station. A driver falls asleep and slams into the train in front of him. A higher power asks the T what they are going to do to prevent this in the future. The T decides to change the double-yellow at the station approach to a single red. Now every train has to wait for the one in front of it to completely leave the station before the next train can enter . . . the only station that requires this. It is backing up service and slowing the subway down even more, but the T did "something". The truth is maybe they should be addressing the actual cause which is driver fatigue often caused by horrible work hours and long split shifts. Remember the 2008 fatal in Newton? This red signal would not have prevented a dozing driver from crashing his train into the one in front of him any more than a double-yellow.

You will find that in most cases, these "safety-stop" signals are located where actual incidences have occurred and are there under the misconception that this will prevent a similar accident from reoccurring. In fact the existing block signals should keep trains safely separated if they are obeyed as they should be. You can bet that the new red signal at Boylston will be there 10 years from now and in the future people will be asking why is that signal different than all the others.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:36 am

bostontrainguy wrote:
CRail wrote:OK then, so the T sabotages their own service. Why? You're so "in the know" perhaps you can explain it. Tell us the facts of the situation.


Be happy to. You see the T practices the law of "CYA" (e.g., Cover Your Ass). Whenever anything happens they have to do something although it is usually an overreaction. A perfect example is the 2012 accident at Boylston Station. A driver falls asleep and slams into the train in front of him. A higher power asks the T what they are going to do to prevent this in the future. The T decides to change the double-yellow at the station approach to a single red. Now every train has to wait for the one in front of it to completely leave the station before the next train can enter . . . the only station that requires this. It is backing up service and slowing the subway down even more, but the T did "something". The truth is maybe they should be addressing the actual cause which is driver fatigue often caused by horrible work hours and long split shifts. Remember the 2008 fatal in Newton? This red signal would not have prevented a dozing driver from crashing his train into the one in front of him any more than a double-yellow.

You will find that in most cases, these "safety-stop" signals are located where actual incidences have occurred and are there under the misconception that this will prevent a similar accident from reoccurring. In fact the existing block signals should keep trains safely separated if they are obeyed as they should be. You can bet that the new red signal at Boylston will be there 10 years from now and in the future people will be asking why is that signal different than all the others.

You hit the nail on the head. I get the sense that many of the people here defending the MBTA's practice of having so many red signals may very well be "informed," sure. But being informed isn't the same as thinking rationally, or outside of the box, or questioning why things are how they are. It's actually really sad that the green line keeps getting slower, and slower, and slower as time goes on. I think part of this is due to the fact that the city is getting more and more crowded, and more people are simply taking the T. If you look up old videos of the green line you'll see many single car trains with empty platforms in the central subway. But there's more to it than that. Remove the damn red "test your brakes" signals and and install trip cocks like the blue line/NYC subway to address the root cause of the issue of "safety" rather than using a band-aid. Oh, and fix the Riverside track and the Type 8's to bump up the speed limit to 50 mph again. That would also help.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:38 am

Outbound just west of Newton Center, if you look really close you will see one of the original 50 MPH speed limit signs :)
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby TrainManTy » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:44 am

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:Remove the damn red "test your brakes" signals and and install trip cocks like the blue line/NYC subway to address the root cause of the issue of "safety" rather than using a band-aid. Oh, and fix the Riverside track and the Type 8's to bump up the speed limit to 50 mph again. That would also help.


"CYA" is most definitely part of this equation, but so is money. Red signals are a lot cheaper than trip cocks on the entire fleet plus wayside installations.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:50 pm

Remember in 1897, the tunnel was populated by 25' wooden closed cars and 9 bench opens!!!, running very close to each other and depending on hand brakes to stop. There were no signals. Accidents were unheard of.
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby Cosmo » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:37 pm

Gerry6309 wrote:Remember in 1897, the tunnel was populated by 25' wooden closed cars and 9 bench opens!!!, running very close to each other and depending on hand brakes to stop. There were no signals. Accidents were unheard of.

"Unheard of" or just not heard about?
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Re: Red lights on the Green Line

Postby CRail » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:13 am

A casual rear end collision with minor if any damage and no injuries didn't get the hype that it does today. Top speeds were also a bit lower, and I would suspect that acceleration was as well.

The suggestion of putting trips in at existing wayside signals is, in my opinion, the way to go. Even if it wasn't a mechanical device (although I think such would be far more reliable), and were some sort of transmitter that would force a car to stop if a signal were passed, that would be suitable. My only major opposition is a form of PTC that is similar to what the red and orange lines employ. That is what the T seems to be against as well, thankfully.

The comments regarding the CYA mentality, I think, are right on the money. Everything that Bostontrainguy said after I asked for facts looks darn accurate to me. It's certainly true that the current situation is not ideal, but it's better than not having anything at all (particularly at junctions). Also, I wouldn't dispute that there are some that aren't necessary (like Boylston WB, which I agree should still be a double yellow), but I maintain that some are (like junctions).
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