Railway Age Article on Penn Station

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ThirdRail7
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by ThirdRail7 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:23 pm

EuroStar wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:38 pm
jonnhrr wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:17 am
I would be curious to know what "Regulations and union rules" cause it to take 28 minutes to unload, load and clear a track at NYP for Amtrak and NJT.
I do not know whether the average turn is 28 minutes as I have no way to check that claim. The standard practice for most runs on the dead-end tracks 1-4 is to have the train unload (~5+ minutes during rush hour), engage hand break, possibly check the train for sleeping passengers, close all doors, crew leaves, new crew arrives, open all doors, load (~10 minutes regardless of time of day), disengage break, wait for favourable signal, leave. For trains coming from Sunnyside the process is somewhat different, and probably somewhat faster.

Proper comparison for the turning time should be Metro-North turning trains at Grand Central. I do not believe Metro-North turns to be any faster than NJTs. The PATH and the subway turn trains much faster, but that is primarily because the same (!) crew just walks to the other end of the train while the passengers are unloading/loading and leaves within a few minutes.
The dwell time largely depends on the schedule. Trains have turned off the low tracks in under 10 minutes. There are no particular "union" rules involved and the only regulation is the need for a brake test after they change ends.
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EuroStar
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by EuroStar » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:28 am

ThirdRail7 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:23 pm
The dwell time largely depends on the schedule. Trains have turned off the low tracks in under 10 minutes. There are no particular "union" rules involved and the only regulation is the need for a brake test after they change ends.
The fact that someone turned one train once in less than 10 minutes does not mean that it can be done at that pace during rush hour with current rules and practices. Trains are supposed to be announced 10 minutes before departure and the empty (!) train should be on the track at that time. So the absolute minimum is probably 15 minutes with the 5 minutes allowing for unloading and all break checks, crew changes, etc occurring while the unloading/loading is taking place. And that leaves no time for recovery from the inevitable delays. Indeed if they could do it in 15, then why did NJT cancel more trains going to NYP this summer and redirect the Montclair trains to Hoboken? Note that this summer's work is on the east side of the station so it was not an issue with the capacity of the tunnels under the Hudson River. They could have just sped up the turns on the low numbered tracks and kept all Montclair trains going to NYP. They did not do it because they cannot do it with the current rules.

ThirdRail7
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by ThirdRail7 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:14 pm

EuroStar wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:28 am
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:23 pm
The dwell time largely depends on the schedule. Trains have turned off the low tracks in under 10 minutes. There are no particular "union" rules involved and the only regulation is the need for a brake test after they change ends.
The fact that someone turned one train once in less than 10 minutes does not mean that it can be done at that pace during rush hour with current rules and practices. Trains are supposed to be announced 10 minutes before departure and the empty (!) train should be on the track at that time. So the absolute minimum is probably 15 minutes with the 5 minutes allowing for unloading and all break checks, crew changes, etc occurring while the unloading/loading is taking place. And that leaves no time for recovery from the inevitable delays.

Actually, trains routinely turn (during rush hour to boot) and are often scheduled to do it in 10 minutes. If you actually commute on NJ, you'll notice that there are plenty of time when the trains aren't announced announced 10-15 minutes prior. You'll also notice there are plenty of time you'll arrive at the train and notice the crew is doing their inspections or sometimes, you'll hear the crew call for a brake test as the train is being loaded.

And your last sentence is a large problem with NJT and their manipulations.

With that kind of turnaround time, it often becomes an issue if a crew or equipment is late.

What typically happens with a scheduled short turn assignment (which typically operates between divisions) is a train arrives off the road and as it unloads, a NEW crew makes their way to the train and often meets it. As the train is being unloaded, the old crew gets off, the new crew gets on, NJT mechanical will change the pantograph if it is on the opposite end of the engineer and perform a brake test. The train is often loaded as this occurs. However, if a crew is late or equipment is late, it can throw things off. The manipulation is too aggressive.

Additionally, let's not forget about all of the X-jobs that aren't in the public timetable. They typically arrive and turn in under 10 minutes because you don't really have 28 minutes (still not sure where you plucked that number) for a train to hang out in NYP during rush hour.
EuroStar wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:28 am
Indeed if they could do it in 15, then why did NJT cancel more trains going to NYP this summer and redirect the Montclair trains to Hoboken? Note that this summer's work is on the east side of the station so it was not an issue with the capacity of the tunnels under the Hudson River. They could have just sped up the turns on the low numbered tracks and kept all Montclair trains going to NYP. They did not do it because they cannot do it with the current rules.
One thing has nothing to do with the other but very well. The reason the trains were cut is while the station track work is on the high tracks, that means LIRR will (and has) encroached on the lower tracks despite LIRR cutting trains of their own. Additionally, you left out E yard and part of D yard being closed. NJT would typically store trains their since the north river tunnels can't handle sending out the additional trains for storage and bringing them back later. Finally, you also left out that while work in the station is occurring, there is also a oft ignored track rehab occurring in Sunnyside Yard. This also leaves less space for NJT to store their trains during the day and shipping them out and bringing them back is not an option since their is already limited capacity in the North RIver Tunnels.

However, if you have all of these "rules" and "regulations" at your disposal that you think is causing the cancellations, please post them on the board. I'm sure we'd all love to see them since we're all here to learn and discuss.
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EuroStar
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by EuroStar » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:13 am

ThirdRail7 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:14 pm
Actually, trains routinely turn (during rush hour to boot) and are often scheduled to do it in 10 minutes.
I am not convinced that there are any scheduled turns that are 10 minutes apart. Could you please point me to a pair of trains in the current schedule, one incoming into NYP and one outgoing from NYP which use the *same* equipment and are scheduled so that the outgoing departs within 10 minutes of the scheduled arrival of the incoming one? I do not have a current employee time table or I would look it up myself.
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:14 pm
If you actually commute on NJ, you'll notice that there are plenty of time when the trains aren't announced announced 10-15 minutes prior.
There are many times when the trains are not announced 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure, however that is not meant to occur during normal operation when everything operates as scheduled (these days it never does on NJT). It is my understanding that the schedule is made with the intention that every train can be announced 10 minutes before its scheduled departure, but maybe that was in the old days and this is not done any more.
ThirdRail7 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:14 pm
Additionally, let's not forget about all of the X-jobs that aren't in the public timetable. They typically arrive and turn in under 10 minutes because you don't really have 28 minutes (still not sure where you plucked that number) for a train to hang out in NYP during rush hour.
I have no idea where the 28 minutes came from. We need to ask the author of the article, Mr. David Alan, where he got it from. I did say in an earlier post that I had no idea where he got it from. Also there is no argument that a train going to or coming from the yards can be turned faster than one going to or coming from the road. If I had to make a guess the 28 minutes is the average time between departures from the same track during rush hour. If you look at Departurevision and see a train departing from track 1 at 4:09pm and then the next departure from track 1 is at 4:43pm, the time between departures is 34 minutes. Now average those times over all tracks during the full rush hour and you probably get his 28 minutes or something very close to it. [by the way, on July 10 the departures from track 1 during the beginning of the evening rush hour were: 3509 at 3:20pm, 6341 at 4:09pm, 6343 at 4:43pm and 6431 at 5:15pm].

Has anyone ever seen 4 scheduled NJT departures within a single hour (corresponding to turning a train every 15 minutes) from the same number deadend track? I certainly have not.

Now the problem of the next crew not being at the station on time because they are delayed coming in (or the same for the equipment) has one very simple solution: do what the PATH does. Same crew on the same train set going out on the same line as they came in. That is a train that came to 33rd street from Hoboken goes back to Hoboken. A train that came to 33rd street from Journal Square goes back to Journal Square. During rush hour the PATH turns a Hoboken train at 33rd street every 6 or 7 minutes. The trains from Journal Square turn at 33rd street every 5 minutes. So on average PATH turns one train every 3 minutes or so on three deadend tracks for about 20 trains per hour each way for the two track tunnel going to 33rd street. Now tell me why can't we do that with NJT's trains using the four deadend tracks 1-4 only? This has several other nice features. First, there is no need for storage of trains within NYP's yards or at Sunnyside: what comes in goes out, so any storage occurs on the far ends in NJ. Second, no equipment breakdowns or crew issues spill between the different lines as long as each trainset and crew are assigned to stay on the same line for the duration of their shifts. Third, delays on one line will generally propagate less to the other lines as the coupling through shared crews and train sets is severed (the coupling through using common tracks in and out of NYP remains). So why can't we turn the 20 or so per hour NJT trains on tracks 1-4 only? The PATH does it every day.

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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:19 am

When the LIRR West Side Yards were going in, the ex-NYC West Side Line was still in place around three sides of the Penn Station property and (theoretically) an active railroad. At that point in the 1980s, would it have been possible to connect it into the existing PSNY trackwork for use as a loop track, or is the elevation difference too high even for MUs? It would have helped with the turnaround time just as the Grand Central loops help turn MNRR trains more rapidly than changing ends and doing a brake check.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by Ridgefielder » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:50 am

Too much of an elevation change, I think. And they'd have had to demo the whole south end of the viaduct where it loops around the yard and build a ramp to bring the tracks back down to cross under 11th Ave.

With regard to the "turning time" debate- I've definitely gotten on MN trains at GCT at rush hour that turned in under 15mins-- and possible under 10mins. At Grand Central, just because the track is posted doesn't necessarily mean the equipment is waiting.

Nasadowsk
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by Nasadowsk » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:58 am

EuroStar wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:13 am
So why can't we turn the 20 or so per hour NJT trains on tracks 1-4 only?
Because NJT's rail operations are notoriously sloppy?

Because if they did turn 20 trains an hour on 4 tracks, the arguments for ARC would have evaporated in a heartbeat?

Because it's easier to scream "MOAR MONEY!!!" than it is to provide a competent functional, rail service?

This is the agency that can't even be bothered to fix the a/c in their own woefully undersized waiting area in Penn. You expect them to get off their duff and actually put effort into running trains?

(but hey, you can enjoy looking at the silly 'art' installation that takes up a ton of room in Penn, while you sweat it out waiting for the next train, which may be in 10 minutes or two hours, depending on what NJT feels like doing that day...)

west point
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by west point » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:08 pm

33rd street and WTC station have leaving train from one side and boarding passengers on other side of car. That speeds up train turs very fast.

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BandA
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by BandA » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:54 pm

I was under the impression that most trains in Penn Station were through trains. This thread is implying that most are turned & sent back the way they came, requiring the dreaded brake test. And there is no reason that most crew changes can't occur somewhere other than Penn Station.

ExCon90
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by ExCon90 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:28 pm

The only through trains are Amtrak's, and I think not even half of them, though I haven't done an actual count.

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BandA
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by BandA » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:43 am

I assume dwell + changing ends + brake test is much longer than just dwell time? Then the limit becomes narrow platforms, lack of stairs/escalators?

west point
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by west point » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:19 am

ExCon90 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:28 pm
The only through trains are Amtrak's, and I think not even half of them, though I haven't done an actual count.

guess that there are 20 NYP - NHV trains on weekday and 50 NYP - PHL trains. Would expect the 20 are thru trains. 20 = 19 to BOS and 1 to Springfield.

mtuandrew
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:50 am

Two NYP-NHV-SPG, counting the Vermonter.

daybeers
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by daybeers » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:16 am

BandA wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:54 pm
I was under the impression that most trains in Penn Station were through trains. This thread is implying that most are turned & sent back the way they came, requiring the dreaded brake test. And there is no reason that most crew changes can't occur somewhere other than Penn Station.
Brake tests are required anytime the crew changes as well. That's why every single train leaving NYP in either direction gets a brake test.

Also, how much does PTC affect this? I know some other railroads (namely Metra) are having issues keeping to schedules because of PTC initialization when switching ends. That could just be a compatibility issue with the freight railroads, though, and ACSES may not have these problems.

mtuandrew
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Re: Railway Age Article on Penn Station

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:10 am

I was just on a high-profile job site for the first time today for my new employer. We had a long safety orientation, during which our site safety officer (from a well-known international contracting company) informed us that the site had a terrible safety record - our last reportable incident was only 19 days ago which is quite bad by industry standards.

From what others have said elsewhere in this forum, Amtrak has a similar safety record. It must not and will not make faster turns until it can reliably get its incident and accident rate under control. Incident means cut brake hoses, damaged couplers, and destroyed luggage through human error or faulty equipment & infrastructure, not just accidents involving trips, falls, cuts and bruises.

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