MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Jeff Smith » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:34 am

roee wrote:I'm sure it'd be more than fines. More like not authorized to operate trains as of Jan 1, 2016. And the arrest of people who try and operate/make crews operate trains on Jan 2, 2016.

The FRA doesn't make suggestions, they make Laws. Every FRA rule is a LAW, and laws have penalties. From fines to the RR to personal liability to arrest and imprisonment. I've never heard of the FRA imprisoning someone, but they have the power.


I believe you missed the episode of School House Rock where they discuss the three branches of government and the constitution. The FRA does not make laws; as the estemed Col Perkowski over on Amtrak forum points out, laws are made 218-51(60)-1, i.e. Congress writes them, and the President signs them into law (although I don't believe Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi understand that; perhaps they were too busy making shady deals to have watched that same episode).

The FRA is authorized (also, by an act of Congress and aproval of the President) to propogate rules and regulations based on the intent and guidance expressly authorized by said bodies to implement Congress' intent.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the FRA is not a police agency. They do not have the power to arrest. That's limited to the FBI and certain other federal agencies (branches of Homeland (Customs, TSA), Defense, Treasury (SS and IRS). I am not aware that the FRA has any police agencies. Fines can be levied; that's it. If there's criminal conduct, they have to refer the matter.

It's silly to think that a public agency would act in defiance of a legal mandate (PTC as enacted by Congress and applied by the FRA), especially by shutting down service. Unions, yes. Public agencies? Think of the outroar from commuters. That's just silly. It has happened but to a far lesser degree; the ban of diesel operation in the tunnels of GCT in the waning days of CR and early days on MNRR, I believe. MTA, NJT will all try to come to a compromise, or get the funding. If they can't afford to do it, someone will have to yield. My bet is it will be the FRA.
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:44 pm

Couldn't an Indusi-style inductive stop be fitted to the existing system to satisfy the FRA? Granted, with ASCES already on the NEC and the newer fleets either equipped or retrofittable for it, there's a compelling reason to go that route, though I'm not sure it's the best way...


As for the FRA paying for this? The FAA doesn't pay airlines to upgrade and comply with new safety regulations, the NRC doesn't pay nuke plant operators (not even the publicly-funded TVA) to comply with new regulations, the EPA doesn't pay power plants or car makers to do it. Why should the rail industry be treated any differently?

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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by DutchRailnut » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:38 pm

Right Phil , so MTA should just like the airlines just add cost to customer.
No more subsidies ???????
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:29 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:Right Phil , so MTA should just like the airlines just add cost to customer.
No more subsidies ???????


I'm just saying - nobody else gets free money from the feds to meet regulations, why should the RRs be any different? Even the government funded utilities don't get a free ride from the EPA or the NRC on anything.

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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by DutchRailnut » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:37 pm

What public outcry do you imagine when cost gets billed to consumers like in oter utilities and transportation.
After all the Customer only pays 68% of every dollar its cost to transport them.
Wghat do you think happens id we made that 100% ;-)
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:21 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:What public outcry do you imagine when cost gets billed to consumers like in oter utilities and transportation.


The public's paying for it either way - either through their tickets or through taxes!

After all the Customer only pays 68% of every dollar its cost to transport them.


So?

What do you think happens id we made that 100% ;-)


Maybe it should be?

In any case - why couldn't an inductive stop at every home signal be used? It'd be simple, fairly inexpensive, and basically achieve the basic goal of preventing trains from bumping into each other. Since the maximum approach speed would be 15mph, a dump into emergency would be a rough stop, but better than a rough stop into the side of another train...

I think what happened was the FRA set an insanely silly high bar for PTC (assuming that if it was set that high, nobody would rationally want to bother), and congress said "hey, that's a great idea, everyone should do it" Whoops.

Also - they'd rather punish the industry for the sins of a few. Metro-North (and the LIRR, for that matter), don't have the accidents that Metrolink or Metra have, but are dumped into the same bucket anyway. I don't see PTC bringing terribly much to MN, but it looks like it has to be done, unless congress changes it's mind. Another Chatsworth happens in the US anytime soon, and you can forget about that...

A better approach would be a standardized, next generation signaling system (along the lines of ETCS, though that's hardly one happy standard), deployed incrementally, but that's not going to happen. Amtrak's gonna have fun post 2015...

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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by DutchRailnut » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:25 pm

Correct , its called a national standard, somehing the rail industry has been crying for for years.
operating rules, signaling etc
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Silverliner II » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:09 pm

And yet, they can't even agree on a national standard for operating rules, let alone signals....
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by DutchRailnut » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:03 am

getting a two system PTC standard, is close enough for me as a national signal standard.
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Silverliner II » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:43 pm

I guess it will be a wait-and-see situation...
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by roee » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:05 am

Ok, I agree, they don't make the laws, congress makes laws that in turn the FRA enforces said laws and creates regulations based on those laws. I never said the FRA was a police agency, but they do in fact have regulations that violation of those regulations result in fines and imprisonment. Obviously the FRA isn't going to show up and put you in cuffs, but the AG's office will file charges and the FBI or some other law enforcement agency will place you under arrest. Again, I've never heard of it happening, but it can.


Sarge wrote:
roee wrote:I'm sure it'd be more than fines. More like not authorized to operate trains as of Jan 1, 2016. And the arrest of people who try and operate/make crews operate trains on Jan 2, 2016.

The FRA doesn't make suggestions, they make Laws. Every FRA rule is a LAW, and laws have penalties. From fines to the RR to personal liability to arrest and imprisonment. I've never heard of the FRA imprisoning someone, but they have the power.


I believe you missed the episode of School House Rock where they discuss the three branches of government and the constitution. The FRA does not make laws; as the estemed Col Perkowski over on Amtrak forum points out, laws are made 218-51(60)-1, i.e. Congress writes them, and the President signs them into law (although I don't believe Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi understand that; perhaps they were too busy making shady deals to have watched that same episode).

The FRA is authorized (also, by an act of Congress and aproval of the President) to propogate rules and regulations based on the intent and guidance expressly authorized by said bodies to implement Congress' intent.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the FRA is not a police agency. They do not have the power to arrest. That's limited to the FBI and certain other federal agencies (branches of Homeland (Customs, TSA), Defense, Treasury (SS and IRS). I am not aware that the FRA has any police agencies. Fines can be levied; that's it. If there's criminal conduct, they have to refer the matter.

It's silly to think that a public agency would act in defiance of a legal mandate (PTC as enacted by Congress and applied by the FRA), especially by shutting down service. Unions, yes. Public agencies? Think of the outroar from commuters. That's just silly. It has happened but to a far lesser degree; the ban of diesel operation in the tunnels of GCT in the waning days of CR and early days on MNRR, I believe. MTA, NJT will all try to come to a compromise, or get the funding. If they can't afford to do it, someone will have to yield. My bet is it will be the FRA.
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Re: MTA trying to weasel out of PTC

Post by Jersey_Mike » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:16 am

In any case - why couldn't an inductive stop at every home signal be used? It'd be simple, fairly inexpensive, and basically achieve the basic goal of preventing trains from bumping into each other. Since the maximum approach speed would be 15mph, a dump into emergency would be a rough stop, but better than a rough stop into the side of another train...


That's not applicable on mixed use freight and passenger lines as the braking rates are too dissimilar. The Dutch installed a system like that for low speed overrun protection to augment their PRR style cab signals, but the Dutch network is primarily for passenger service. It uses a pair of inductors, one to trigger the braking and another to enforce a stop. There's a Dutch website that explains how it works, but I can't find it now. You can start here if you want to dig for it.

I think what happened was the FRA set an insanely silly high bar for PTC (assuming that if it was set that high, nobody would rationally want to bother), and congress said "hey, that's a great idea, everyone should do it" Whoops.


It's not the FRA, they have been consistently against PTC, it was the NTSB and the signal vendors that promised the moon. PTC was billed as being inexpensive and reliable utilizing the wonders of modern wireless technology and GPS. While it might become reliable it certainly isn't going to be cheap and is going to result in degraded performance.

A better approach would be a standardized, next generation signaling system (along the lines of ETCS, though that's hardly one happy standard), deployed incrementally, but that's not going to happen. Amtrak's gonna have fun post 2015...


The standard doesn't matter when you're dealing with software. It's not hard to just install a compatible module for some new format of signaling system. Look at ASES and ACSES, different systems, but completely compatible. There will almost certainly have to be another round of design once the wireless systems prove to be more trouble than they are worth and then you might see some differences as the roads who have an installed Cab signal base (NS and UP) take a different track from those who don't and might want beacons or some junk. Also for wireless there will be a HUGE key management problem. All of the wireless vital communications will need to be keyed to avoid being spoofed. Running a competent cryptographic infrastructure is not an easy task and with so many field locations requiring key material, the risk of a compromise will be very high. Having to deal with re-keying events or running a PKI is not cheap so either railroads will punt on security or fall back to a more physical system.

It's clear the FRA is already gearing up to deal with technological issues with waivers. The industry's lack of concern implies that they expect the whole matter to evaporate somehow. The question will be how much money gets spent in the elaborate theater that takes place between now and when mandate is relaxed. At 700 million dollars the MTA is correct to shout their concern from the rafters. Think about it, PTC will probably cost double or triple the amount allocated for high speed rail from the stimulus package. I guess the safest high speed rail system is the one that doesn't get built.

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PTC grants

Post by DutchRailnut » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:03 pm

Will MNCR go for PTC grands ???
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/n ... p?id=22954

FRA unveils PTC grant program; Amtrak accelerates PTC installation work

Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it will begin accepting grant applications April 9 for the deployment of positive train control (PTC) systems and complementary advanced technologies under a new $50 milion rail safety technology program.

Eligible applicants include passenger and freight railroads, railroad suppliers, and state and local governments.

The program requires that the funded PTC projects or related systems be ready for deployment within 24 months of the grant award.


etc etc etc
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Re: PTC grands

Post by JoshKarpoff » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:36 pm

Shouldn't this topic title read "PTC Grants" not "PTC Grands" :wink:
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Re: PTC grands

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:55 pm

yup but since there is no edit button anymore, can't change it ;-)
guess once a post has a follow up, you can't edit anymore.
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