2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

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

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CRail
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by CRail »

It sounds like the switch wasn’t properly set in either direction, that makes it seem to me the switch was already broken.
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GP40MC1118
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by GP40MC1118 »

The only reason for a remotely controlled crossover and/or switch to be hand-thrown is
for a switch failure. There are tons of reasons for a switch failure:
debris, snow/ice, point detector out of adjustment, vandalism, signal code failure or
some other issue. It happens - I'd be a rich man for every switch failure over 35+ years
in the railroad industry. Signal guys probably financed many a new car, the kid's college fund
etc. with the OT they made!

For whatever reason and as I stated in a previous post, it sounds like one end of the crossover
was not lined properly after being taken off power.

D

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Disney Guy
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by Disney Guy »

Philosophical questions:

1. Would double checking the switch prior to operating over it have revealed that there was a problem with the switch?

2. Has railroading evolved/progressed to a point (in a direction) that reading switches as a part of standard operating procedure would impose enough slowdowns to wreck the scheduling? Or that the economic and time loss from reading switches day in and day out exceeds the economic and time loss of a once in a blue moon derailment(?)
(To the theater stage manager) Quit twiddling the knob and flickering the lights while the audience is entering and being seated. (To the subway motorman) Quit twiddling the knob and dinging the doors while passengers are getting off and others are waiting to board.

chrisf
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by chrisf »

Disney Guy wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:00 am
2. Has railroading evolved/progressed to a point (in a direction) that reading switches as a part of standard operating procedure would impose enough slowdowns to wreck the scheduling? Or that the economic and time loss from reading switches day in and day out exceeds the economic and time loss of a once in a blue moon derailment(?)
A train is going to have to be moving awfully slowly in order to stop in time if a switch is to be visually inspected before operating over it. I'd guess something like 10 mph at most, and slower at night, which is just not suitable for normal operation.

Trinnau
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by Trinnau »

Hand-lining a power switch means getting talked by the signal or getting a restricting aspect at best. Runnning at Restricted speed requires operating slow enough to stop short of a misaligned switch. In this case if the crew had to get out and hand line the switch they were already going to be off schedule so "reading the iron" isn't a big deal. Signal systems are tied into the switches ensuring they are lined properly provide the protection required to operate at higher speeds because there is no way to read the iron and stop in time.

8th Notch
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by 8th Notch »

Disney Guy wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:00 am
Philosophical questions:

1. Would double checking the switch prior to operating over it have revealed that there was a problem with the switch?

2. Has railroading evolved/progressed to a point (in a direction) that reading switches as a part of standard operating procedure would impose enough slowdowns to wreck the scheduling? Or that the economic and time loss from reading switches day in and day out exceeds the economic and time loss of a once in a blue moon derailment(?)
1. Yes, there are a set of procedures to follow when taking a switch off power and lining it manually. The crew did not follow them all correctly in this case which is why “human error” has been listed as the probably cause.

2. That is partly why we have a signal system...

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BandA
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Re: 2019 Commuter Rail Delay Thread

Post by BandA »

Have there been further reports on what happened? Beyond just saying "human error" and some procedures are being improved. Back in the 1990s that was always the choke-point between double-track & single-tracked Beacon Park.

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