Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby Head-end View » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:37 am

This whole question about backing up seems almost moot. In the event of an impending head-on collision, there probably wouldn't even be time to back up before the moment of impact.

To answer the above question about the history of the Boston & Albany Railroad. It was originally a 4-track line thru Boston and Newton. It was reduced to 2 tracks and the right-of-way was slightly re-aligned in the course of building the MassPike Extension in the mid-1960's along with Prudential Center. You can see many good photos of the reconstruction and read the history in the Images of America Book: Building the Mass Pike. You can probably find it in the bigger book stores like Barnes & Noble. Or you can order it by calling Arcadia Publishing at 1(888) 313-2665 or check their website: http://www.arcadiapublishing.com. :-D
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby dbperry » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:39 pm

Thanks for the follow-up on the history of the line. Do you (or anyone) understand when or why the CP 3 to CP 4 block went to single track? Was it at the same time as the Mass Pike extension?

My guess is that it would make sense that is when it happened, and perhaps because there were much fewer (if any?) commuter trains, so the traffic from CP 4 into Boston was anticipated to be very minimal?

I don't think we're too far 'off topic' here - if that block was still double tracked, and if the Newton and Yawkey Stations were accessible to both tracks, this incident would not have happened.

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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby GP40MC1118 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:04 pm

This incident could have happened whether it was double or single track. If one track was out of
service for trackwork, the incident would've happened on the live track. That's what happened in
Bevely Farms in August of 1981...
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby jbvb » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:30 pm

The single-track main past Beacon Park goes back to the 1970s, at least. I expect (but don't know definitely) that after the end of through passenger service in 1971, the Penn Central felt it would benefit them more as a freight make up track than as a main line. At that time, commuter service only went to Framingham, and consisted of a fleet of 4 or 5 trains that ran in weekday mornings and out weekday evenings. They didn't have any need for meets in that area. There were plenty of cars and locos to handle the load, so nothing needed to make more than one round-trip a day. At times, the equipment laid over in Boston, so there were deadhead moves, but they did not need to be scheduled to conflict with the in-service moves.

Post-PC, between varying levels of Amtrak service and more commuter trains, including equipment positioning moves which also carry reverse-commuters, it's been a thorn in the side of operations. It's been decades since I spent any time around the Beacon Park throat, so I can't say what it would cost CSX operationally to restore it as main track, but there 's no room to add track to that stretch of RoW.
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby Burgaman » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:32 pm

Just a FYI to an earlier post.

There is no automatic 1. When departing south station your first interlocking signal is at COVE (Controlled by Amtrak), once you Exit Cove interlocking you are on CSX territory. The next signal you see is Automatic 2 which is located just by the Jillians Club. (It can be seen from the MASS PIKE)

Ok lets think this through....

Lets pretend that the outbound train (in this case 529) has a stop signal at CP3. The engineer would have an Approach Medium at Cove, an Approach at Automatic 2, and then the stop at Cp3.

Now lets hypothetically say that the dispatcher on CSX gave a 241 to a eastbound train at CP3 and lined him onto track 1. Once that train exited cp3 interlocking onto track 1, it would then drop the automatic to "Stop and proceed" or on CSX territory its call "proceed restricting" and therefore drop the signal at cove to an "approach" for the westbound train.

Now it seems in this scenario what could have played out, is the engineer on 529 may have passed COVE BEFORE 526 entered the block at CP3. So now the engineer is running on a good signal into back bay station, through the tunnel, and into the S curve where it is believed the 2 trains met shortly after (someone said on an earlier posted it was just west of the S curve). 526 would have been operating at restricted speed due to the 241 at CP3 anyway (and the proceed restricting at automatic 2 due to the oncoming train), but 529 would have been operating at TRACK SPEED (30mph in that area i believe).

The problem is that you have 2 railroads intersecting at COVE. The same situation plays out on the Haverhill line up north. When trains operate west of Wouburn st in Reading the dispatcher has to call the other railroad (guilford) for a blocking device to be applied to prevent a train being sent in the opposite direction. (Thats why you hear the valley dispatcher giving outbound commuter trains permission to operate past wobourn st)

I'm not 100% sure, but I believe the same scenario plays out on Worcester line. The CSX dispatcher might have to call Amtrak to place a block on whatever track he is sending a train inbound on. (If someone else knows for sure, correct me). Or maybe the Amtrak disp has to call them...who knows for sure...?

Like I said, all hypothetical, the investigation will eventually reveal the true events of that night. I'm happy to see it all ended in a somewhat positive note, an no one was injured on either one of the trains and the worst thing that came of it was some delays. Sounds like some quick thinking of BOTH engineers on those 2 commuter trains, and whether it was 500 feet apart or 75 feet, it still sounded like a close call.

Now I Guess we can all sit back and listen to what Channel 7 has to say...they seem to be the authority on railroad operations nowadays....lol
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby Mr.CommuterRail » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:50 pm

The news can't tell the difference between Engineer and Conductor. Let alone CP's, signals, interlockings, ownership of track, etc....
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby Head-end View » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:29 pm

Can someone confirm for me exactly where Cove interlocking is? I'm not from the area, though I do visit Boston once a year or so. I'm familiar with South and Back Bay Stations, and Prudential Ctr. Is it where the Northeast Corridor splits from the Worcester line just east of Pru? Thanks! :-D
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby dbperry » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:31 pm

It is just east of Back Bay Station. During the incident in question, our one loco plus 8 coach (6 doubles plus 2 singles) train could not fit between COVE and TOWER 1. When the loco was clear of COVE, the end of the train was about 1 and a half cars past TOWER 1, according to the radio traffic I heard. That gives you a sense of the distance between the east end of COVE and TOWER 1. I think the interlocking is quite big, but I'm not sure exactly where the east end of the interlocking is.

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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:07 am

dbperry wrote:According to my track chart, automatic signal 1 is between Boylston Street and Mass Ave, which would put it under the bridge work / quasi-tunnel in that area. I can't picture what automatic signal 1 looks like. Also according to my track chart, automatic 1 and automatic 2 are the only automatic block signals between COVE and CP 3. Can someone with more knowledge confirm that automatic 1 is really there and is bidirectional? Dave

There is no such thing as "Automatic signal 1". From South Station you have Tower One, then Cove. After getting west of Cove Track 5 becomes CSXT Track 2 and Track 7 becomes CSXT Track #1, even though in the station they are referred to as 5&7 still, this is just to prevent confusion with the public. After Cove there are no other signals until automatic 2 behind Jillians, then CP-3. West of CP-3 there are not automatics, the next signal would be the home signal @ CP4 which is why CP3 westbound and CP4 eastbound have the "Distant Signal" Markers on them. (The yellow circular sign with a black "D" on it.). Years ago there was an automatic signal about halfway through Beacon Park which acted as a westbound distant signal to CP-4 and an Eastbound distant signal to CP-3, but it was removed. The post is still there, but the mast is gone, on the south side of the tracks.
BuddSilverliner wrote: Below is a brief excerpt from Norac Rule 501 just to give a slight idea on how just backing up is a no no.
Budd, I know that you're in Zone 2 and perhaps not familiar with the territory involved, but this territory is CSXT Operating Rules, which would also prohibit reversing without permission.
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:14 am

dbperry wrote:It is just east of Back Bay Station. During the incident in question, our one loco plus 8 coach (6 doubles plus 2 singles) train could not fit between COVE and TOWER 1. When the loco was clear of COVE, the end of the train was about 1 and a half cars past TOWER 1, according to the radio traffic I heard. That gives you a sense of the distance between the east end of COVE and TOWER 1. I think the interlocking is quite big, but I'm not sure exactly where the east end of the interlocking is.

Dave

East limit of Cove is under I93. The west limits (or end) of Tower One is the signal with the white position signals on the high signal bridge just outside South station for the Corridor and at the east/north end of the Fort point Channel for the Dorchester Branch & Old Colony.

I believe that it is 5 coaches & 1 loco that can fit between Tower One & Cove.


Also, just noticed that Burgaman had already posted that there is no Automatic 1, sorry for the duplicate reply.
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby dbperry » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:45 pm

Anyone know if there was any follow up, investigation, or modifications to operations as a result of this incident? I'm not really interested in punishments; I'd rather know if they found an engineering / operations change to try and prevent this type of incident.

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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby Burgaman » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:05 am

Yea Amtrack terminal dispatcher now controls cp3 to cove. Now territory changes at a interlocking west of yawkey
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:26 pm

Burgaman wrote:Yea Amtrack terminal dispatcher now controls cp3 to cove. Now territory changes at a interlocking west of yawkey

Negative. The Amtrak Terminal Dispatcher (Dorchester on weekends) does not control CP-3. CP3 is still controlled by the CSXT NA Dispatcher in Selkirk.
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Re: Near Collison on Worcester Line? 9/14/09

Postby sery2831 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:57 pm

The change of dispatching has nothing to do with the incident.
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