Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Wingnut
 
Until now, I thought the only options were either "go north" and deal with the creek and other issues or "go south" over the CSX alignment. I never dreamt that they would approve a plan that involves demolishing over 100 buildings and homes. Yes, downtown Michigan City could benefit from the overall plan once the dust settles and it's cheaper than going over the north route. But this plan is going to take a lot of time to implement. Not everyone will readily accept buyouts and relocate. There are going to be lawsuits, appeals, and delays out the wazoo. And time is money.

From a railfan point of view, I often wonder when I should take my next trip on the South Shore so I can say my goodbyes to the street running section. It looks like I can safely postpone this trip until 2011 or 2012.
  by jb9152
 
justalurker66 wrote:How separated does the time need to be? Does it have to be set times that passenger trains never run and freights never run or can the railroads set "passenger only" and "freight only" times on demand? (I expect the former. No "on demand" changes.) Also how long do the periods have to be? Could a railroad theoretically define odd hours as freight and even hours as passenger on a segment of rail? (That wouldn't work for NICTD, but carving specific "freight holes" in the day might be possible. Personally I believe the FRA is looking for LONG periods of time, such as hours between morning runs into downtown and evening runs back to the burbs or overnight hours between those runs - not small windows.)
Temporal separation, up to this point, has been defined as strictly defined blocks of time during which there are *no* mixed operations. Typical applications normally have freight operating between midnight and 5 AM or so, and the passenger service operating at all other times. I haven't seen any applications of "on demand" or "odd/even" usage. There can be no possibility whatsoever that the two types could possibly mix. Temporal separation ensures that. However, there is an enhanced type of temporal separation approved by the FRA using vital signal logic to allow some 'pseudo-mixed' use. NJT's RiverLINE uses it. It's called Extended Temporal Separation (ETS), and was pioneered by SYSTRA, NJT, and Bombardier just north of Camden on the RiverLINE. It allows the boundaries of the temporally separated times to become a bit more blurred. I don't know that the FRA would allow its use to "throw" the railroad back and forth between freight and passenger modes, though, throughout the day.
  by jb9152
 
Wingnut wrote:Until now, I thought the only options were either "go north" and deal with the creek and other issues or "go south" over the CSX alignment. I never dreamt that they would approve a plan that involves demolishing over 100 buildings and homes. Yes, downtown Michigan City could benefit from the overall plan once the dust settles and it's cheaper than going over the north route. But this plan is going to take a lot of time to implement. Not everyone will readily accept buyouts and relocate. There are going to be lawsuits, appeals, and delays out the wazoo. And time is money.

From a railfan point of view, I often wonder when I should take my next trip on the South Shore so I can say my goodbyes to the street running section. It looks like I can safely postpone this trip until 2011 or 2012.
Probably safe, as the money is just now being secured to start the necessary studies to secure federal and state money for engineering, etc.
  by justalurker66
 
Related to the discussion as it mentions the Trail Creek bridge ...
http://thenewsdispatch.com/articles/201 ... 472478.txt
Oberlie: High-speed rail ‘exciting’

MICHIGAN CITY — Existing maps are not clear about the precise route high-speed Amtrak trains might take through Michigan City, but it looks as if the Chicago-to-Detroit train would run along the lake shore, where Amtrak now runs or near to that route. That means it likely will cross Trail Creek on the aging turning bridge.

Mayor Chuck Oberlie, who says it would be exciting to have the fast train traveling through the city, does not believe the bridge will pose a problem.

“It’s my understanding that some minor repairs will be necessary, but I don’t believe anyone has any intention of replacing it,” the mayor said.
I suppose he is right as long as they don't try to run 110 MPH+ through the city. But will the trains stop?
Yes, Oberlie said, he would love to have one of those high-speed trains stopping in Michigan City to pick up and drop off passengers. “Every community along the route would like to have the train stop.”

But, the mayor noted, “it’s supposed to be high-speed transportation.” He knows stopping, by its very nature, does not contribute to speed.
I think Oberlie gets it! :-D
  by dinwitty
 
Shoot some of that high speed money to the South Shore.

Rules rules rules, those rules sound dumb especially related to the South Shore, they simply do not fit it's style.

Somebody has way too much time in their office writing rules.

The North Shore and South Shore held high speed records for operations in the past, now what gives? That included the street operations.

You want to get off the street. Don't play around with the extended yard limits, its just not the goal. Its already signaled territory thru MC. Its always been normal coordinating Freight and passenger on the line, that's the dispatcher's responsibility, keeping everything in the right place, not some silly rule that doesn't know the daily/hourly/minute circumstance on the railroad.
All of the sudden the dispatcher has to think,, duh, this is a freight, uh well, there's a passenger coming better get him off the line like now...that doesn't work, thats why there are passing sidings.
  by dinwitty
 
seems the rule (after some reading) has to do with hazardous product. If you know a car/train has hazardous product, wouldn't you just schedule its running off passenger times, that would be overnight on the South Shore, non-hazardous traffic should move normally. It seems the rule is about keeping Hazardous materials separated from "people". Sidings do that, the rule tries to do it further by separating the 2 further.

Positive train control sounds fine in knowing the exact location of trains/cars, but some of the associated "rules" sounds like rule bloating.
  by jb9152
 
dinwitty wrote:You want to get off the street. Don't play around with the extended yard limits, its just not the goal. Its already signaled territory thru MC. Its always been normal coordinating Freight and passenger on the line, that's the dispatcher's responsibility, keeping everything in the right place, not some silly rule that doesn't know the daily/hourly/minute circumstance on the railroad.
All of the sudden the dispatcher has to think,, duh, this is a freight, uh well, there's a passenger coming better get him off the line like now...that doesn't work, thats why there are passing sidings.
That's all well and good but the FRA regulation has the force of law. In other words - no PTC, no South Shore. The time for tough talking is over at this point; the railroads had their say, and the result is the final rule. NICTD is required to install PTC on every inch of its operation unless it can get certain parts of it excluded by classifying those parts as "other than main line". That would be the goal of extending the yard limits from School Street to CP 35.2, and forcing all trains to operate at Restricted Speed (5 mph lower than currently) in the street running.

Again - this is only one method of handling this. The other is to continue with the relocation, *but* the railroad is really getting up against the wall in terms of time to study, design, engineer, and construct the project, where ever the tracks wind up going.
  by jb9152
 
dinwitty wrote:seems the rule (after some reading) has to do with hazardous product. If you know a car/train has hazardous product, wouldn't you just schedule its running off passenger times, that would be overnight on the South Shore, non-hazardous traffic should move normally. It seems the rule is about keeping Hazardous materials separated from "people". Sidings do that, the rule tries to do it further by separating the 2 further.
The TIH/PIH portion of the rule is only one part. The majority of the rule has to do with keeping trains from striking other vehicles, exceeding their movement authorities, getting past a fouling point, going over a switch thrown in the wrong position, and fouling work zones. All of those have nothing necessarily to do with haz mat. The South Shore finds itself subject to the entire rule, pretty much, because it is a passenger railroad.
  by jb9152
 
dinwitty wrote:why is the street trackage an issue NOT being PTC, it is signaled territory.
Whether or not territory is signaled or not is immaterial to the application of PTC. If it's passenger and main line (very generally), it has to have PTC under the rule.
  by jb9152
 
dinwitty wrote:let me rephrase the question then..(boink!)


why is the street trackage an issue to try for the yard limit arrangement?
Ah! Now I get it. The issue is that, especially in the winter time when the roads are salted, it's very difficult to hold a good track circuit in the street running portion. A good deal of the time, the signals are red through town because the circuits are shunted by the electrolytic action of the salt and wetness. Under PTC, those become "stop targets", and trains will be forced onto a braking profile approaching those signals, rather than simply operating under the rules at Restricted speed.
  by justalurker66
 
Are you referring to the railroad's CP signals (at CP 33.0, CP 34.5 and CP 35.2) not traffic lights becoming stop targets? Or are Michigan City's traffic controls causing the problems?

dinwitty's idea of "going dark" can't be done at control points. NICTD has already removed the intermediates in street running.

Wouldn't a "Stop" at a control point be a stop and proceed (after contacting the dispatcher) under the current rules? Or are these signals showing a restricting aspect when they falsely sense a train ahead (but are still cleared by the dispatcher for that direction of travel)? Could they be set to "restricting" when the direction is cleared but an obstruction is sensed? I'm missing where PTC changes a stop at a CP into something worse than it is today.

(The Westbound intermediate at 330 before the street running is at it's worse restricting ... I'm assuming from your description PTC changes this to a stop and proceed. This signal would be affected by false senses anywhere on 11th St all the way to CP34.5 .)
  by dinwitty
 
It seems to me first of all PTC will know nearly the exact position of any train/car, and it looks like it will have some signal tie-ins, and some train controlling will be connected directly to the operating train, but I believe there has to be an override and that would be with dispatcher clearance to do that.

PTC is a technology, but like any technology, it can fault somewhere down the line.

Seems you need to bring back that trolley sprinkler car and wash down the rails....
  by Franklin Gowen
 
justalurker66 wrote: dinwitty's idea of "going dark" can't be done at control points. NICTD has already removed the intermediates in street running.
Do you mean that this very block signal in the attached image has since been retired? Photo dates from 2006. Thanks in advance!
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