SEPTA Announces new FRA rules regarding horn use

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SEPTA Announces new FRA rules regarding horn use

Postby jfrey40535 » Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:44 pm

In Friday's Metro, SEPTA had a brief paragraph outlining how trains are to sound their horns when approaching grade crossings per new FRA regs.

I'm just wondering how it will affect how the engineers currently use the horns (if at all).

The paragraph stated that horns must be sounded for 15-20 seconds but not more than a 1/4 mile before crossing the grade.

Does that mean that trains will be limited in speed when approaching crossings? It sounds like for the duration and distance, that the train would have to be going 35-40mph. Don't we have crossings where the trains travel at higher speeds?

I know from watching NS trains crossing County Ln Road on the Trenton Cutoff that they still use the traditional 2 long (5 sec), 1 short (2 sec) and 1 long pattern. But it seems as they sometimes start more than a 1/4 mile away.

I've also noticed alot of crossings dont have the old "W" sign anymore. Does that leave the engineer guessing when he is within range to start sounding the horn?

I take it this legislation is from NIMBY complaints? Look at the hassles the Riverline went through, those guys hardly sound the horn at all now.
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Postby jg greenwood » Sat Jun 18, 2005 1:26 pm

This is a nation-wide change in whistle procedures. When operating below 45-mph there will be a required delay, after passing the whistle post, to provide 20-seconds of warning. The delay will will be based upon the speed at which the train is operating. Somewhere in this pile of junk before me is the guidelines. If/when I locate said item, I'll post it. These new guidelines in no way restrict speed.
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Postby jfrey40535 » Sat Jun 18, 2005 5:48 pm

OK, that was my basic question---if the new regulation was a way of restricting speed when approaching crossings. There's enough FRA regs that make trains slower than dirt as it is, the last thing we need is a new one.

I was also curious as to why SEPTA decided to print this in the Metro.
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Postby jg greenwood » Sat Jun 18, 2005 6:24 pm

jfrey40535 wrote:OK, that was my basic question---if the new regulation was a way of restricting speed when approaching crossings. There's enough FRA regs that make trains slower than dirt as it is, the last thing we need is a new one.

I was also curious as to why SEPTA decided to print this in the Metro.

Attempting to "get the jump" on someone complaining of irregular whistle procedures?
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Postby jg greenwood » Sun Jun 19, 2005 7:06 am

Use of this chart will provide 20 seconds of warning for speeds of 45 MPH or less.

Speeds above 45 MPH sound the whistle at the crossing sign.

Example: At 30 MPH wait 10 seconds to sound the whistle after passing the crossing sign.


Train Speed/ Delay To Sound Whistle:
40 MPH/ 3 Seconds
35 MPH/ 6 Seconds
30 MPH/ 10 Seconds
25 MPH/ 16 Seconds
20 MPH/ 25 Seconds
15 MPH/ 40 Seconds
10 MPH/ 1 Minute 10 Seconds
5 MPH/ 2 Minutes 40 Seconds

Your first question might be: "What's the deal with this." Why not continue to start at the post, regardless of train speed, and continue until the crossing is occupied? My only guess is it's an attempt to minimize excessive whistle use.
The final rule for use of locomotive horns will go into effect June 24, 2005.
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Postby jfrey40535 » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:04 pm

Since the rule went into effect, I've noticed SEPTA engineers using their horn more, not less. I'm guessing now that the FRA Rule clarifys things, the engineers don't have to worry about NIMBY complaints. Rules are rules.
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Postby jg greenwood » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:44 pm

jfrey40535 wrote:Since the rule went into effect, I've noticed SEPTA engineers using their horn more, not less. I'm guessing now that the FRA Rule clarifys things, the engineers don't have to worry about NIMBY complaints. Rules are rules.

IMHO, a prime example of the FRA at their finest! Another uselss, stupid rule to comply with.
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Postby octr202 » Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:36 pm

Interesting to see this being an issue on SEPTA...are there even any "no horn zones" on SEPTA? I've never noticed any, and at one time or another I've ridden the whole system except to Cynwyd, and never noticed any. Of course, can you even have a horn ban when you're dealing with MU's without bells?

Up here (Boston) the issue is really wrangling some towns. It seems like the MBTA's northside is almost completely no-horn. And our stuff doesn't have the quait, quiet horns that the Silverliners have.
Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
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Postby Matthew Mitchell » Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:05 pm

octr202 wrote:Interesting to see this being an issue on SEPTA...are there even any "no horn zones" on SEPTA?

None that are a matter of local law.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:09 pm

<i>Of course, can you even have a horn ban when you're dealing with MU's without bells? </i>

Yes. The bell is not a legal requirement, even today.

Of course, a trolley type bell isn't a bad ida just for warning people the train's about to move, but even that's not required, just a horn.

MUs up near NYC never had them either, and the M-7s don't. I think bells on MUs is a Chicago thing...
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