• From the Post: 12 Cars Make Way Too Much Train

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by jerryinva
 
***Read this below, and then see if you ask yourself, like I did.... how? ***



12 Cars Make Way Too Much Train

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; B03

Metro was operating a particularly long train Sunday morning on the Blue Line. It was supposed to have six cars. Train 409 had 12.

A preliminary investigation suggests that the mix-up occurred as the train was preparing to leave the Largo rail yard at 7:27 a.m. to begin its run to Franconia-Springfield. Metro officials think the regular six-car train might have rolled backward on an incline and hooked up with a six-car train behind it, said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel.

No one noticed anything unusual as the 12-car train traveled to seven stations. At Eastern Market, a station manager thought he was looking at an eight-car train that had not stopped properly at the platform, a recurrent problem.

The station manager radioed Metro's control center, which alerted the train operator. By then, she had pulled into the Capitol South station.

The controller asked the operator what kind of train she had.

A six-car train, the operator said.

The controller told her to double-check.

The operator looked out her cab window and remarked, "It looks like I have more lights than I should,'" according to Taubenkibel. She got out for a closer look. Sure enough, there were 12 cars.

No injuries were reported, although it is unsafe for train doors to open in tunnels or other areas away from station platforms. A station platform is only 600 feet long, the exact length of an eight-car train.

The operator is on administrative leave while Metro investigates.

  by realtype
 
This past spring I saw an out of service Red Line 12-car train pass through Ft. Totten station while I was waiting on the platform. I guessed it was two 6-car sets, and one had a mechanical problem and the other had 'rescued' it. Since it was heading in the Shady Grove direction, I figured that it would head into Brentwood yard.

Other than that I have never seen a train longer than 8 cars. Interesting article though. Recently, WMATA train operators don't really seem to be paying attention to what they're doing.
Last edited by realtype on Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

  by Mirai Zikasu
 
Whoops, lol.

The longest train I ever saw was a back in early August of last year. I got stuck on a Blue Line train that broke down in the Rosslyn Tunnel heading towards Franconia-Springfield. The trains' brakes jammed, and after about 45 minutes of WMATA personnel futzing around, they sent an eight car Orange Line train to push and had workers come in and disable the brakes. The combined train dumped all fourteen cars jammed with rush-hour passengers on an already crowded platform at Rosslyn and headed off--presumably towards the West Falls Church shop. To add insult to injury, the next Blue Line train had three cars. That was not a fun day to be on Metro.

Also, while I don't remember seeing any 12-car trains in the past, I believe I've seen a few 10-car deadheads before.

  by Robert Paniagua
 
What the heck, 12-car train taking passengers?? That ain't too good especially since four of the 12 cars are off the platform and that's dangerous, and I know this isn't like New York City's subways especially South Ferry where the operator and his attendant can open the doors in the platform only while the part of that train that's in the tunnel or off the platform can remain closed. In Metro, you can't do that, it's either all doors open or closed regardless of whether a 10-12 car train's portion is off the platform or not, you can't do like NYC Subways or MBTA boston, have the front of the train's doors open and the rear closed or vice-versa, Washington Metro is far different, since there's no secont man, it's an OMTO system.

OMTO- One Man Train Oparation

  by Gerry6309
 
Does just coupling on engage all train line functions? Normally the door controls at the end of a train have through and local settings set to "local" so the controls would be blocked at that point, while those at unused cabs in the middle of a train would be set to "through".

  by Sand Box John
 
"Mirai Zikasu"
To add insult to injury, the next Blue Line train had three cars. That was not a fun day to be on Metro.


I think you meant four cars. It is not possible to operate odd number car trains on metrorail. All of metrorail's rolling stock is configured in semi permanently coupled married pairs.

"Gerry6309"
Does just coupling on engage all train line functions?


Yes

Normally the door controls at the end of a train have through and local settings set to "local" so the controls would be blocked at that point, while those at unused cabs in the middle of a train would be set to "through".

There is such a setting. It is there to tell the train how long it is. The train length is displayed on the operator console (2, 4, 6 and 8). Central control had to radio the operator to confirm what the actual number of cars in the train was. The train sends a code containing train length and destination to wayside train control by way of Train to Wayside Communication (TWC) system. Wayside hears the code when the train passes through the TWC fly by track circuit. The train control system saw the train as a 6 car train. The program station stop system executed station stops as if the train was 6 cars long. The controllers display in central control numerically identified the train as 6 cars. A more detailed display of the occupied track circuit by the central control controller would have shown the controller that the train was in fact longer then 6 cars.

Gerry6309, Robert

What seem strange to me is why the operator was able to open door at all. ATP is suppose to prevent door opening off the platform. The platform track circuit is a TWC track circuit. The train sends a signal code to wayside from both ends of the train to the WEE-Z bonds at both ends of the platform track circuit to confirm that the full length of the train is in fact berth at the platform. If one or both of the WEE-Z bonds at the ends of the platform don't receive the train berthed signal, wayside will not transmit the OK to open door signal back to the train. One end of the train was off the platform.

Re:

  by Mirai Zikasu
 
Sand Box John wrote:"Mirai Zikasu"
To add insult to injury, the next Blue Line train had three cars. That was not a fun day to be on Metro.


I think you meant four cars. It is not possible to operate odd number car trains on metrorail. All of metrorail's rolling stock is configured in semi permanently coupled married pairs.

Technically, there were four cars in the trainset, but one was out of service for whatever reason. I should have said "the next Blue Line train had three cars in service," but for whatever reason I didn't fully think that one through. It probably had something to do with me posting that at five in the morning. :P

Re:

  by WMATAGMOAGH
 
Sand Box John wrote:

What seem strange to me is why the operator was able to open door at all. ATP is suppose to prevent door opening off the platform. The platform track circuit is a TWC track circuit. The train sends a signal code to wayside from both ends of the train to the WEE-Z bonds at both ends of the platform track circuit to confirm that the full length of the train is in fact berth at the platform. If one or both of the WEE-Z bonds at the ends of the platform don't receive the train berthed signal, wayside will not transmit the OK to open door signal back to the train. One end of the train was off the platform.
John,

All train doors are being opened manually, so the protections that are usually provided by ATP aren't there.
  by Sand Box John
 
"WMATAGMOAGH"
All train doors are being opened manually, so the protections that are usually provided by ATP aren't there.


The opening and closing door manually has nothing to do with doors opening off the platform. Trains with door off the platform can not be opened manually with the ATP function that keep the doors from being opened off the platform enabled. The only way door can be opened off the platform is if that ATP function disabled. That ATP function protects the doors from being opened off the platform regardless of how they are opened, manually or automatically.

I is pretty obvious to me that WMATA has made the conscious decision to disable fleet wide the ATP function that prevents operators from opening the doors off the platforms.
  by HokieNav
 
Sand Box John wrote:"WMATAGMOAGH"
I is pretty obvious to me that WMATA has made the conscious decision to disable fleet wide the ATP function that prevents operators from opening the doors off the platforms.


I don't think this is necessarily the case (if I'm understanding your description correctly).

While the train was mechanically 12 cars long, you said that it appeared to be a 6 car train to the control systems. If this is the case,is it possible that the controls at the "end" of the train in the 6th car of the train transmitted the "train berthed" signal to the aft WEE-Z bond? It seems to me that this would satisfy the system, and allow the doors to open, right?

Is this possible, or am I missing something?
  by Sand Box John
 
"HokieNav"
I don't think this is necessarily the case (if I'm understanding your description correctly).

While the train was
mechanically 12 cars long, you said that it appeared to be a 6 car train to the control systems. If this is the case, is it possible that the controls at the "end" of the train in the 6th car of the train transmitted the "train berthed" signal to the aft WEE-Z bond?

Yes.

It seems to me that this would satisfy the system, and allow the doors to open, right?

No.

Is this possible, . . .

No.

. . . or am I missing something?

The 7th car was between the antenna on the 6th car and the WEE-Z bond at the end of the platform. The wheels on the 7th car shunted the track circuit between the antenna on the 6th car and the WEE-Z bond at the end of the platform preventing the train berthed signal from being heard by the track circuit WEE-Z bond at the end of the platform. Wayside train control never received the train berthed signal that was transmitted by the 6th car to the WEE-Z bond at that end of the platform. Therefor wayside train control could not have transmit an OK to open doors signal back to the train.

Two logical conclusions. On board door ATP was disabled or signal that was transmitted by the 6th car was powerful enough to overcome the shunting of the track circuit by the wheels on the 7th car. I kind of doubt that conclusion two is in fact what happened. If it is there is a flew in the system.

  by farecard
 
Sand Box John wrote:
There is such a setting. It is there to tell the train how long it is. The train length is displayed on the operator console (2, 4, 6 and 8).

Wonder if it goes past 8? [Al-la Apollo 13 Ox tank temp....]