Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

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Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by MNCRR9000 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:21 pm

From Newsday about the new signals.
he LIRR has begun using a new kind of signaling system it says is less prone to problems, but the head of the railroad’s engineers’ union is raising concerns about the signals because they provide less information to train operators than the old ones.

Kevin Sexton, general chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 269, which represents LIRR train operators, said the railroad’s new system “makes it difficult for the locomotive engineer to provide a smooth train ride” for passengers because they have less ability to anticipate track conditions ahead and gradually slow down a train.

“While I am sure that the intent is to standardize and modernize the signal system, the reduced aspect signal system provides the locomotive engineer with less information than that of the old system,” Sexton said.

The LIRR said the new signals only account for a fraction of the signals throughout the system. The railroad started installing the signals last year as part of its infrastructure modernization efforts, including along the recently completed Double Track project between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma.

https://www.newsday.com/long-island/tra ... 1.27636187" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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MattAmity90
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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by MattAmity90 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:26 am

Oh those signals? Well I can understand that because unlike the tri-color signals that you see at Patchogue, Amityville, Wantagh, and Harold, these are dwarf signals with three lights. Top light is red, middle is green, but the bottom goes green then blinks. I kind of see them as an eyesore and dangerous because it just looks weird and doesn't look "railroad" and they are so low that if one breaks the train will hit it and I'm not going into what the result might be.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by NaugyRR » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:55 am

Doesn't the LIRR use cab signalling similar to Metro-North? The Metro-North signals only show blinking green or red and rely on the cab signalling for information.
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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:02 pm

MNR uses plenty of dwarf signals along their right of ways.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by ExCon90 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:39 pm

NaugyRR wrote:Doesn't the LIRR use cab signalling similar to Metro-North? The Metro-North signals only show blinking green or red and rely on the cab signalling for information.
The news story on the link confirms that. But there's no question that the engineer no longer gets the information conveyed by the traditional system. The same complaints are heard on MN and SEPTA--from what I've heard and read the cab signal indication suddenly drops to a significantly lower speed and the engineer only has so many seconds to apply the brakes and keep them applied until the lower speed is reached, and often earlier than really necessary. Another reason to call them stop-and-go signals?

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by workextra » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:20 pm

Fact is RAS signals have no place on a railroad, not even the MTAs ideal fantasy MNCR.
There so many things we can prove here why the decision to go RAS was a total operational disaster.
Standardized signals were being done,
Southern routes (safetean)
Northern routes (G-heads)
That idea ended with the political hacks and crooks a few years ago. But that’s for a different topic

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by Kelly&Kelly » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:51 pm

There was twenty years of spirited controversy over "go, no-go" signalling on the LIRR, and the old guard there successfully fought it during that time. The MTA is taking a bigger role in day to day operations, forcing a decision in defiance of the Operating Departments, which greatly favored the conventional PRR type signaling.

The sole benefits of the new system is lower cost and perhaps eventual simplified engineer qualification requirements.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by Head-end View » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:35 pm

I'm amazed the Newsday story was on Page-2. I didn't think they'd consider it that important. LOL

MTA-LIRR has now reinvented the wheel re: railroad signals. A vertical array of red-green-white. They put the red on top; most railroads have it on the bottom. And they put the lighted green-over-white aspect so close together, they may be visually difficult to distinguish as you approach. Most railroad signals have separation between two lighted bulbs to give better visual clarity. Like Metro-North's red-over-red separated by the green in between.

Currently these new "Reduced Aspect Signals" are only on the main-line between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma. It will be interesting to see if the MTA-LIRR installs this type of signaling on other sections of the LIRR. This is especially ironic after they went to the trouble of creating a whole new family of full-aspect color-light signals around 2005? Now they're going to have three different types of signals in service on different sections of the railroad?

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by DaveBarraza » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:17 pm

OK so I have a question for the transportation crowd:

The Newsday article says that the additional speed information conveyed by the older signal aspects adds a margin of safety which is lost with the Reduced Aspect system. They don't go into specifics.

So I'm curious what the extra margin actually is from your practical perspective.

Thoughts?

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by Steamboat Willie » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:56 pm

The money they’re going to save with RAS signals they’re going to spend more with wear and tear on the rolling stock. At least that was the case on MN.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by Teutobergerwald » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:54 am

And what is wrong with the PRR-style position lights and the pedestal signals, like at the east end of Hicksville, controlling Track 2 & Track 1 ????
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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by workextra » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:32 am

LIRRs traditional signals (PRR PL/ Color lights) are based off the speed signaling logic.
Most aspects gives 2 prices of information to the engineer.
1) condition of the block
2) speed to do at that signal or at the next signal

A clear is telling you that 1 or more blocks are clear and to proceed at the MAS states in the timetable for that track.
A medium clear (interlocking signal) is telling you to proceed at medium speed (30MPH) (keep it simple here) within the interlocking limits over the said speed switches and to proceed at the MAS after the rest of your train clears the limits of the interlocking.
A slow clear is the same as medium clear but now is at slow speed (15MPH)

Approach medium is telling you to use this distance wisely to reduce your speed from the MAS down to 30 MPH at the next signal, you don’t need to do 30 as soon as you see the approach medium as some at LIRR currently think, you can pass it at MAs and brake accordingly and be in compliance with its indication.

There’s a few examples of the information given by the aspect of normal speed signals for which the RAS fails to encompass.
RAS signals are not block signals and provide no indication of the block or conditions ahead, they’re strictly controlled point indicators as to where to stop if the track ahead is lined against you. Still providing no information other than stop and stay here.
They rely on a pulsing code in the rails to provide data to the cab signal indicator which on LIRR is Numbers (signal speeds) not actually signals as was on PRR. So if you have a what should be a “medium clear” on a RAS type signal. Your cabs will drop blindly from MAS to 40MPH (30/40Medium speed in cab signal territory on LIRR) a specified distance ahead of the RAS Location. You will fly into this blind and the brake comes on full service, and you, and your passengers and freight move faster than the train. That’s the problem with this air train type automated operation signal system.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by bellstbarn » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:08 am

Maybe my thinking is incomplete, but here goes. Stopped and unloading passengers at Wantagh, track 2, looking east the engineer might see green over red on the signal bridge before him. That's clear. He moves, the green flips to red and stays red until that train almost reaches Seaford. Then the red flips to yellow, and a while later flips to green. The yellow phase has informed any observer that there is a train ahead.
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On the adjacent New York State Highway, the traffic signal turns green. That green says absolutely nothing about the next light, a quarter-mile ahead. Sometimes the automobile driver can see ahead several signals down the road, but that is only his good vision at work. On the other hand, the LIRR engineer who sees yellow over green at Wantagh knows he has another train about a mile ahead. It's a good warning, and it has been available in recent decades on the Babylon line only where there are interlocking signals. Otherwise, it's the cab signal that says you are NOW entering restricted speed because of something ahead. I, for one, would prefer the system that provides more advance information.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by DaveBarraza » Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:59 am

Thanks workextra!
workextra wrote:LIRRs traditional signals (PRR PL/ Color lights) are based off the speed signaling logic.
Most aspects gives 2 prices of information to the engineer.
1) condition of the block
2) speed to do at that signal or at the next signal
Agree. The cab signaling enforces those speeds. LIRR even has a couple of "bonus" codes for 60/70mph that are used when there is a civil constraint such as a curve which requires lower speed. Also the #32.7's at Queens.
workextra wrote:A clear is telling you that 1 or more blocks are clear and to proceed at the MAS states in the timetable for that track.
A medium clear (interlocking signal) is telling you to proceed at medium speed (30MPH) (keep it simple here) within the interlocking limits over the said speed switches and to proceed at the MAS after the rest of your train clears the limits of the interlocking.
That is one of the differences, instead of using a Medium Clear, RAS uses "Proceed Cab" and lets the ASC system limit the train to Medium. In either system the ASC is going to enforce Medium Speed, but the older aspects have a corresponding Medium Clear aspect.
workextra wrote:A slow clear is the same as medium clear but now is at slow speed (15MPH)
The RAS aspect system does have distinct aspects for Slow and Restricting, (298C and 298D). I imagine this choice was made because those two rules can have the same speed code - although I believe it is allowable to get up to 30 in the cab if the signal displays slow, that might be a recent change.
workextra wrote:Approach medium is telling you to use this distance wisely to reduce your speed from the MAS down to 30 MPH at the next signal, you don’t need to do 30 as soon as you see the approach medium as some at LIRR currently think, you can pass it at MAs and brake accordingly and be in compliance with its indication.
This may be an actual advantage of the RAS system (or Rule 410 area in general): The ASC speed downgrades are computed to give the highest safe speed for the longest allowable time/distance - which helps throughput. Observant engineers will tend to "preact" to the code change points that they encounter every day, which leads to very smooth operation. I can't think of any system that makes a less talented Engineer drive better... :-)
workextra wrote:There’s a few examples of the information given by the aspect of normal speed signals for which the RAS fails to encompass.
Thanks again, I surely agree that more information is better, but the Newsday article was intimating that the newer system is somehow unsafe - that's the thing I'm trying to work out
workextra wrote:RAS signals are not block signals and provide no indication of the block or conditions ahead, they’re strictly controlled point indicators as to where to stop if the track ahead is lined against you. Still providing no information other than stop and stay here.
LIRR does give a bit more information. Aside from "Stop" you have Proceed / Absolute Proceed / Slow Proceed / Restricting Proceed / Restricting - three more than MNCR. The Newsday article said something about "80 indications" on a position light which seems like a typo!
workextra wrote:They rely on a pulsing code in the rails to provide data to the cab signal indicator which on LIRR is Numbers (signal speeds) not actually signals as was on PRR. So if you have a what should be a “medium clear” on a RAS type signal. Your cabs will drop blindly from MAS to 40MPH (30/40Medium speed in cab signal territory on LIRR) a specified distance ahead of the RAS Location. You will fly into this blind and the brake comes on full service, and you, and your passengers and freight move faster than the train. That’s the problem with this air train type automated operation signal system.
Agree that any hard braking could result in "passengers-off-balance." This is not unlike the current situation in Rule 410 territory which has existed on LIRR for some time, no? (possibly why the beers used to be served in a cup with a straw?!?)
I don't know of any plan to expand the LIRR train control system beyond Speed Control into a driverless "Air-Train" scenario, I don't think that would be a very good idea.

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Re: Newsday - LIRR brings on new signaling system

Post by Kelly&Kelly » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:52 pm

Perhaps more damaging than the Reduced Aspect Signalling is the lacking signal system consistency. Long Island seems to have written the book on numerous differing systems and "rules in effect" in different locations. We had color light block signals, position light block signals, manual block signals, manual block with train orders,secondary tracks, cab signals with wayside signals, and cab signals without wayside signals. We had Amtrak aspects and PRR aspects. Now we have still more.

This is the fruit of the political environment that government ownership and political patronage brings to the system. An idea comes to the table, maybe from India, maybe from a consultant who never did railroad work before. Rerhaps from some guy who ran subways. It's adopted and installed in a new place. Then an election brings another political party in control and with it comes a new troupe of management, from the NYC Sanitation Department perhaps, or maybe from the Canadian Railways. Here comes a new signal system added to the Book of Rules.

In the end, it's confusing, difficult and downright dangerous. The lack of research and development is simply stupid. It adds to costs, creates confusion and makes maintenance a nightmare.

It looks like "Go, No-go" signalling is here to stay, in the places where new installations are occurring at least.

Safety? I wrote part of the book and I tell my family not to ride in the head or rear cars.

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