Beacon Park Updates (was "Single Track Yard")

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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby csor2010 » Sat May 02, 2015 4:32 pm

There was an MOW crew out at CP-3 today on track 2 digging cable trenches. Maybe the beginnings of re-doing that interlocking?
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby dbperry » Sat May 02, 2015 9:40 pm

csor2010 wrote:521/522 meet at CP-4 every day, and they both make Newton stops, which would indicate that 521 consistently boards on Track 1.


522 makes the Newton stops from 14:58 to 15:04. And they are "flag" stops so the train might not stop at all.
521 is scheduled to make the Newton stops from 15:14 to 15:20. Looks to me like 522 gets to occupy track 2 first, with 521 held at CP 3. Then 521 gets track 2. I rarely take those trains, but I really doubt that they would schedule service to Newton stops using track 1. And schedule for 521/522 doesn't seem to require it here.

csor2010 wrote:As far as "single track," I'm referring to the idea that trains cannot meet on that stretch when one train is working the Newton stops.


See my reply above. Many 'meets' between CP 11 and CP 4 while train on track 2 making Newton stops. In addition to the 528/531 meet I mentioned, there are others: 500/503, 535/532, 539/536, 541/538 are just some of them. And you are correct, 582 passes 504 between CP 11 and CP 4.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby dbperry » Tue May 05, 2015 7:35 am

Here is a screen shot from this AM of the daily 508 - 509 meet. 509 is on track 2 to make Newton flag stops and 508 has crossed over to track 1 at CP 11 to run express through Newton.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby boblothrope » Tue May 05, 2015 12:18 pm

csor2010 wrote:I passed 522 making its stop at Auburndale around 15:10 (~10" down). As I drove past CP-4 around 15:20, 521 was sitting on the single iron, and presumably had been since shortly after leaving Yawkey 15 minutes before. Additionally, when I have ridden 528 we will often get held at CP-11 until 529 is west of us, presumably waiting for them to finish their work at Auburndale before heading east.

Based on these observations, would I be correct in guessing that Newton is effectively single-track when a train is working stations? I'm presuming that this has something to do with the fact that 521 works Newton from the outbound track (passengers would be crossing in front of 522 to board). In other cases, I've seen trains take turns at Ayer and West Natick to avoid issues with the pedestrian crossings, but holding 521 all the way back at CP-4 seems a little strange; in the other cases the second train would hold just outside the station for the first to finish.


What rules does the Commuter Rail have about trains passing through (or even pulling into) a station while another train is stopped on the other track to load passengers? Do they always hold outside the station? Is it only on certain lines? I'd be surprised if an Acela Express has to stop every time it tries to pass a Providence local which is in a station.

What technology or procedures enforce this rule? Is it up to the engineer to visually spot a train stopped on the other track? Or is it enforced by the signal system or dispatcher?
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby nomis » Tue May 05, 2015 12:46 pm

NORAC Rule 121 ...

121. Intervening Tracks at Station Platforms
a. General Requirements
When a passenger train is receiving or discharging passengers across an intervening track, trains and track cars must not pass between that train and the station platform.

b. Obtaining Assurance of Protection
A passenger train routed to a track that will result in a station stop for receiving or discharging passengers across a main track or controlled siding intervening between that train and the station platform must stop as soon as it is known it is so routed. Before proceeding, the Engineer or Conductor must obtain assurance from the Dispatcher or Operator that protection on the track adjacent to the station platform has been provided. Two exceptions to the stop requirement are:
    1. When verbal or written assurance of protection has been previously provided.
    2. When the track adjacent to the station platform is out of service.
The Dispatcher or Operator must not give a train assurance of protection until it has been determined that:
    1. No train is approaching the station on the track to be protected.
    or
    2. All trains involved have been advised as to how to proceed to ensure passenger safety.
Signals governing entrance to the track must be placed in stop position and blocking devices must be applied.

c. Receiving and Discharging Passengers: Designated Stations
Specific stations are designated in the Timetable as those where scheduled trains normally receive and discharge passengers across a track between the train and the station platform. Protection against other trains is not required when trains make scheduled stops at these stations. Trains operating on tracks across which passengers are normally received and discharged must approach such stations prepared to stop, until the Engineer has determined that no passenger train is occupying the station by:
    1. Visual observation.
    or
    2. Verbal confirmation from the Dispatcher.
If a passenger train is occupying the station, the approaching train must not occupy the station unless permission is received from the crew of the train occupying the station and measures have been taken to ensure the safety of its passengers.

d. Occupying Station Platform Area
When a passenger train is approaching, the station platform area must not be occupied by either:
    1. Trains operating on an out-of-service track that is adjacent to a station platform.
    or
    2. Track cars operating on a track (in-service or out-of-service) that is adjacent to a station platform.
e. Blocking Access to Platform
At stations where tracks intervene between a station platform and a track on which passenger trains normally receive or discharge passengers, trains other than passenger trains must not block access to the platform.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby BandA » Tue May 05, 2015 12:53 pm

boblothrope wrote:
csor2010 wrote:I passed 522 making its stop at Auburndale around 15:10 (~10" down). As I drove past CP-4 around 15:20, 521 was sitting on the single iron, and presumably had been since shortly after leaving Yawkey 15 minutes before. Additionally, when I have ridden 528 we will often get held at CP-11 until 529 is west of us, presumably waiting for them to finish their work at Auburndale before heading east.

Based on these observations, would I be correct in guessing that Newton is effectively single-track when a train is working stations? I'm presuming that this has something to do with the fact that 521 works Newton from the outbound track (passengers would be crossing in front of 522 to board). In other cases, I've seen trains take turns at Ayer and West Natick to avoid issues with the pedestrian crossings, but holding 521 all the way back at CP-4 seems a little strange; in the other cases the second train would hold just outside the station for the first to finish.


What rules does the Commuter Rail have about trains passing through (or even pulling into) a station while another train is stopped on the other track to load passengers? Do they always hold outside the station? Is it only on certain lines? I'd be surprised if an Acela Express has to stop every time it tries to pass a Providence local which is in a station.

What technology or procedures enforce this rule? Is it up to the engineer to visually spot a train stopped on the other track? Or is it enforced by the signal system or dispatcher?
I think the train running through blows it's horn. There shouldn't be anybody standing on the track, lol. I think they've been trying to eliminate pedestrian crossovers at stations by placing fencing at some stations and making people walk much further to get to the other side.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby harshaw » Tue May 05, 2015 3:24 pm

regarding the original issue and the delays, I just timed it at about 3 minutes. This was on the 523. We slowed to approach the signal and were given word that we were waiting on the inbound train. So yeah, not a huge issue, but still looking forward to the double track :)
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby deathtopumpkins » Wed May 06, 2015 12:05 pm

boblothrope wrote:What rules does the Commuter Rail have about trains passing through (or even pulling into) a station while another train is stopped on the other track to load passengers? Do they always hold outside the station? Is it only on certain lines? I'd be surprised if an Acela Express has to stop every time it tries to pass a Providence local which is in a station.


I can't speak for the Worcester line, but I do have anecdotal evidence from elsehwere: I've noticed they hold outside the station at some stations, and not at others. My experience is mainly from the Rockburyport line, where my regular trains had meets at Beverly, Swampscott, Lynn, and sometimes Chelsea (plus others not at stations). There were never two trains in the station at the same time at Beverly or Chelsea. One would always hold shy of it. But at Swampscott and Lynn both trains would platform at the same time. The only difference I can think of is that Beverly has at-grade crossings between the platforms (even though I've never boarded across the track using those), and Chelsea is right at a grade crossing, while Swampscott has a fence between the tracks and no crossings, and Lynn has an island platform.

At Beverly northbound trains hold just before the platform, and southbound trains hold just before the route 62 crossing.
At Chelsea northbound trains hold before the 6th St crossing (blocking the other grade crossings), and southbound trains hold just before the platform.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby boblothrope » Wed May 06, 2015 12:26 pm

nomis wrote:NORAC Rule 121 ...

121. Intervening Tracks at Station Platforms
a. General Requirements
When a passenger train is receiving or discharging passengers across an intervening track, trains and track cars must not pass between that train and the station platform.
...


Ok, so that addresses situations where passengers are walking across a track to board (for example, the unusual situation of a train boarding from track 1 in the Newton stations, Lincoln inbound, etc).

But what about the normal situation of a train adjacent to the platform? Does the T have a rule that a train on the other track has to wait outside the station if there's no fence between the tracks?
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby diburning » Wed May 06, 2015 1:41 pm

I'm not sure about other lines, but on the Fitchburg line, I have always observed the operation at Ayer when two trains meet. Only one train occupies the platform at one time, and I think it's because Ayer only has one outlet for both platforms, which is on the outbound side. Conductors will open doors on the appropriate platform, but will also check the other side (especially on inbounds) and open the door on the other side as necessary for people running for the train, and/or for people waiting on the wrong platform (since only the inbound platform has a shelter with benches). Conductors will go as far as opening the door and asking the people waiting if they're going in the direction that the train is going if the train is on the wrong track (usually due to freight occupying the other track)
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby BostonUrbEx » Wed May 06, 2015 4:03 pm

At Melrose Highlands, full length low-level side platforms with mini-highs and no fence between the tracks, trains would slow down so as not to pass through until a stopped train was clear. I believe it was in case anyone getting off went in front of or behind the train without seeing the approaching train on the other track.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby ExCon90 » Thu May 07, 2015 1:42 pm

Back in B&M days there used to be fixed signals of the PRR position-light type at certain locations to hold trains out if an opposing train was present or imminent; are any of those still in service?
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu May 07, 2015 2:19 pm

ExCon90 wrote:Back in B&M days there used to be fixed signals of the PRR position-light type at certain locations to hold trains out if an opposing train was present or imminent; are any of those still in service?


The one governing westbound movements for the Ballardvale station disappeared when they went to single track through there, if not before.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby csor2010 » Thu May 07, 2015 8:04 pm

Returning to the topic, Curbed Boston is reporting that MassDOT is breaking ground on the New Boston Landing station next Tuesday (5/12). This is important because most of the renderings place this station smack in the middle of CP-4, which likely explains the large MOW presence there recently. This will likely move the end of double track east, though it may not eliminate the single track entirely. Extending double track to the east end of Beacon Park is relatively easy, but from there to CP-3 things are somewhat complicated - at the east end of Beacon Park track 1 is still on the yard grade and intersects the Grand Junction and engine service loop, while track 2 bypasses that mess at a lower elevation. See this Street View for reference. Notice that plopping a new track down next to the current main is complicated by the placement of the turnpike viaduct's columns. This leads me to wonder if the section from the West Station site to CP-3 gets pushed to 2016-20, for two reasons: allowing West Station construction to proceed without straddling a main track, and giving MassDOT time to move the turnpike columns to more accommodating locations as part of the viaduct reconstruction.
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Re: status of single track through beacon yard

Postby dbperry » Fri May 08, 2015 9:19 pm

sorry to keep the off topic discussion going. If inappropriate, let me know and I'll move to a new thread...

diburning wrote:I'm not sure about other lines, but on the Fitchburg line, I have always observed the operation at Ayer when two trains meet. Only one train occupies the platform at one time, and I think it's because Ayer only has one outlet for both platforms, which is on the outbound side.


At West Natick and Wellesley Hills stations, there are platforms on both tracks, but the only access to the Track 1 platform is by CROSSING both tracks via a wooden walkway. There is no way to get from Track 1 into the broader world (I guess "outlet" as you mention above). At both those stations, only one train is allowed in the station on either track at the same time. Trains will call out (via radio) to opposite moving trains and coordinate the meet - if one train is in the station, the other train will slow or stop, and the engineers will decide who gets the station first based on relative distances. The Framingham / Worcester schedule seems to be arranged so that this doesn't happen routinely, so it usually only happens when something is delayed. And this affects express trains not scheduled to make those stops - if another train is in that station, even an express scheduled to bypass that station must stop outside the station.

After a fatality a few years back, the Framingham / Worcester timetable was re-arranged so that all rush hour trains use Track 2, so as to minimize the number of people who have to walk across the wooden walkways. In other words, the inbound trains in the AM use Track 2 as would be expected (it is the "right hand" track for direction of travel). But in the evening, the outbound trains use Track 2 also, meaning the inbound trains use Track 1. So the inbound pax still need to use the walkways (and cross both rails) at West Natick and Wellesley Hills, but that is far less px than the hundreds detraining from the outbounds.

And obviously none of this has anything to do with the three Newton stops, since those only have platforms on Track 2.

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