• The stopping guidelines have officially been dumbed down

  • 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 SchuminWeb
 
In the most recent LunchTalk chat with Catoe, I asked this:
Silver Spring, MD: First of all, my hat is off to you regarding the recent improvement in reliability on the Red Line. My commute is once again becoming more predictable, and I have been able to slowly return to my old pre-accident commute routine.That said, when will Metro be discontinuing the practice of stopping all trains at the eight-car mark regardless of length? In many cases, this puts the train some distance away from escalators and elevators, and causes great inconvenience as a result.
And Catoe said this:
Reply: Hi Silver Spring. Sometimes we run 8-car trains and sometimes we run 6-car trains. Our platforms are the length of an 8-car train. Sometimes train operators would forget that their train had 8 cars and they would accidently stop at the 6-car mark. When that occurred, the last two cars of the train would still be in the tunnel when the doors opened. So it became a safety issue. We trained, and retrained operators. But sometimes they would forget how long their train was. Sometimes an operator can be switching from running an 8-car train to a 6-car train in the same day. So, in the spirit of safety, we decided to stop all trains at the front end of the platform. This is the new nromal, especially while we are operating our rail system in manual mode.
I guess we all figured this was coming eventually, but basically, Catoe just admitted that his operators are incapable of actually paying attention to their displays and stopping properly.

I also found how many typos and spelling errors there were in this chat to be quite amusing. One would think that they would edit this to at least make Catoe look like less of a buffoon.
  by WMATAGMOAGH
 
jamesinclair wrote:I dont disagree with the decision. I think most transit systems do this.
Most transit systems have trains of consistent lengths, which "solves" the problem, but I can't think of any that have varying train lengths and have all trains stop at the far end of the platform at every station. In New York, when R33s and R36s ran on the 7 line and were being retired, the year that there was a mix of R33s, R36s, and R62As on that line in the summer, all the trains became 10 car trains so the operators wouldn't need to think about how long their train was, even though all the R62A cars had air conditioning (the R33s did not, so those cars were not operated during the summer). The next year, when only a handful of Redbirds were left, they just ran 11 car trains all summer, and have done so ever since.
  by jamesinclair
 
WMATAGMOAGH wrote:
jamesinclair wrote:I dont disagree with the decision. I think most transit systems do this.
Most transit systems have trains of consistent lengths, which "solves" the problem, but I can't think of any that have varying train lengths and have all trains stop at the far end of the platform at every station. In New York, when R33s and R36s ran on the 7 line and were being retired, the year that there was a mix of R33s, R36s, and R62As on that line in the summer, all the trains became 10 car trains so the operators wouldn't need to think about how long their train was, even though all the R62A cars had air conditioning (the R33s did not, so those cars were not operated during the summer). The next year, when only a handful of Redbirds were left, they just ran 11 car trains all summer, and have done so ever since.
The red line in Boston runs shorter trains on weekends sometimes, they stop all the way forward.

The green line has some stations that can accommodate up to 4 cars, even though they only run 1 or 2. Trains always pull to the front. In the past, stations had a "3 car stop" and "2 car stop" but thats no longer the case.

The blue line runs older 4 car trains and newer 6 car trains. The 4 car trains stop forward as well.
  by NellieBly
 
The technical incompetence of transit management in this country never ceases to astound me. New York does NOT stop all trains at the 10 car marker. First of all, on the B Division trains are made up either of 60-foot cars (up to a max of 10 cars per train) or 75-foot cars (four or eight). So where does an 8-car train of 75-footers stop?

New York has a well trained (some would say exhaustively trained) force of train operators and conductors. The operator will stop the train at the appropriate car mark. The conductor looks out his/her window. There is a horizontal board with black and white diagonal stripes at the middle of each platform, hung from the ceiling. If the conductor cannot see that, the train is not at the right spot on the platform, and the conductor will not open all doors. Simple, and doesn't require operators to know how long their trains are. However, I've never see a train in New York stop at the "wrong" car marker.

John Catoe and his senior management are incompetent and should resign.
  by SchuminWeb
 
That seems to work for New York, where there is a conductor in the center of each train as well as a motorman in the cab, and the center mark has to stop at the same place regardless of train length. WMATA trains are one-person operation with that person in the front of the train, and the front would therefore be at a different location depending on the length of the train.

I think the New York method is a good one, but wouldn't work with WMATA's OPTO system. The thing is figuring out something that would be meaningful from the cab...
  by HokieNav
 
Something meaningful? If only they could get some rectangular squares of metal, and paint them (say green for example), and then apply a number that corresponds to the number of cars on the train. Then perhaps these pieces of metal could be distributed along the tracks at stations to give the operators some way of knowing exactly where to stop when they come into a station!


Nah, that would NEVER work!
  by Sand Box John
 
"SchuminWeb"
The thing is, that's dependent on the operators' knowing how long their train is to stop at the right marker, and knowing the length is the root of the problem.


As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse for a train operator to not know how many cars are in the train he/she is operating. The number of cars in the train is constantly displayed on the operators console.
  by JimBoylan
 
In the case of a recent 12 car train, it seemed that the number of cars displayed on the operator's console was "6", the number that was fed into the console, probably by that operator.
Philadelphia stations have numbered metal plates to help motormen spot trains of various lengths at platforms. Usually this will center the train, but there are exceptions, and a few stations have "All Trains Stop Here" signs. Some stations also have 3 signs, "<-2-4->", "<-3-3->", and "<-4-2->", for the use of the former conductors, even if they were stationed 1 car off center in the train.
Between 1921 and 1960, there were 2 sets of motorman's train stop numbers, with letter prefixes to indicate different length cars (which were not mixed in the trains).
  by Sand Box John
 
"JimBoylan"
In the case of a recent 12 car train, it seemed that the number of cars displayed on the operator's console was "6", the number that was fed into the console, probably by that operator.


Train lengths are displayed automatically. There is no way to set them manually. The "6" that was allegedly displayed on the operator's console was likely because the cab in 6th cars was configured as the last car in the train even though it was coupled to another pair of cars.
  by Head-end View
 
The Long Island Railroad runs MU trains of 6-8-10-12 cars. Their engineers generally do not have a problem stopping at the correct car markers which are prominently displayed at all platforms. You could make a case for either type of operation. It's possible that WMATA's operators are not as used to running this way, 'cause they normally ran in full automatic mode, so they haven't developed the skills.
  by krtaylor
 
I thought that WMATA actually was set up to have the automatic computer controls stop the trains at the correct locations, which would solve this problem. Why do they have clearly incompetent human beings doing this?

When I was in Japan, not only did the trains there stop at logical places on the platform, but they had metal circles inset in the floor to indicate exactly where the doors would be when the trains stopped. People would form a neat queue at that spot... and sure enough, the trains always stopped in precisely the right spot, within a couple inches.

No excuse whatsoever.
  by Sand Box John
 
"krtaylor"
I thought that WMATA actually was set up to have the automatic computer controls stop the trains at the correct locations, which would solve this problem. Why do they have clearly incompetent human beings doing this?


WMATA's automated station stopping system use to work like a charm. Things started going down hill when WMATA eliminated the running of 8 car trains back in the early 1980s. Back then the train board and wayside hardware that controlled station stops was well maintained. The first of the 2k cars had not run their first revenue miles.

In the mid 1990s WMATA upgraded the propulsion systems and other hardware on 1k cars. The first of 5k cars started carrying revenue passengers in 2002. The first of 6k cars started carrying revenue passengers in 2007. The 2 and 3k cars had their propulsion systems and other hardware upgraded within the last 5 years

The various series of cars have small differences in them that make them slightly incompatible.

The increased propulsion current requirement was discovered to be causing problems with the wayside and on board system that controls station stops and door openings. That coupled with the lack of maintaining proper calibration of the wayside hardware made the system less then perfectly reliable.
  by arrow
 
krtaylor wrote:I thought that WMATA actually was set up to have the automatic computer controls stop the trains at the correct locations, which would solve this problem. Why do they have clearly incompetent human beings doing this?

When I was in Japan, not only did the trains there stop at logical places on the platform, but they had metal circles inset in the floor to indicate exactly where the doors would be when the trains stopped. People would form a neat queue at that spot... and sure enough, the trains always stopped in precisely the right spot, within a couple inches.

No excuse whatsoever.
Because they have incompetent humans maintaining the equipment and incompetent humans making decisions.

Out of the 3 systems that run the trains, they disable the 2 that had nothing to do with the crash. They must think the public is really stupid, but I think the public does actually feel better hearing that they've "solved the problem" by running trains in manual mode. There's really no excuse for that either.