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: PTC grands

Post by Otto Vondrak » Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:26 am

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MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:28 pm

Someone started a thread in LIRR on PTC: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 63&t=87309

I thought it would be useful to have a topic here discussing PTC and/or ACSES. I know there is a topic on Danbury signalization here:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 21#p979221

but thought it would be useful to have a place to discuss what's currently happening on the New Haven, the plan for the Hudson and the Harlem, and the plan for the Waterbury.
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:35 pm

I know Waterbury was recently subject to a study. Does MNRR/CDOT actually have any hope of getting funding for the initial signal system with only 3 years to go before the deadline and FRA still mum on whether it'll grant deferments for unfunded line upgrades hopelessly behind schedule? That branch would seem to be MNRR's biggest overriding concern at this point. Cost estimate for ACSES installation on the Springfield Line with the NHHS project is $8.8 mil for 60 miles of double track on a line that's already cab signaled. That seems quite reasonable...a bit less than $150K per double-tracked mile. Hudson's 74 miles from GC and Harlem 82 miles from GC. Maybe $12M to $15M max per mainline, with shared trackage from GC more or less canceling out cost of mileage that's 3 or more tracks on each line. Plus 8 miles of New Caanan Branch and 24 miles of Danbury Branch. If all the cab signal systems on these lines are up to same spec as the Springfield Line, at that price point $50M ought to generously cover all East of Hudson trackage excluding Waterbury and any closeout costs for the New Haven Line's installation. Unless there are any differences in the signal systems or gaps in existing cab signals on these lines that would increase cost to get a full implementation. I would think that even in a budget crisis they could come up with that sum of money in time to meet a firm deadline. It's no backbreaker.

Waterbury's a different story. That alone could cost almost as much as doing all others combined. I haven't read anything recently about what they'll try to do to overcome this hurdle.

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by giljanus » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:53 pm

Doing some research via the web:

Metro-North / LIRR PTC

MTA CAPITAL PROGRAM MILESTONES (38-page PDF)

Page 15 - LIRR - PTC Budget Timelines
To increase safety and comply with federal mandates, a Positive Train Control (PTC) system will be installed throughout LIRR territory in New York State (in coordination with MNR).
Page 22 - MNR - PTC Budget Timelines
To increase safety and comply with federal mandates, a Positive Train Control system will be installed throughout Metro-North territory in New York State (in coordination with LIRR). West of Hudson Signal Improvements will install a cab signal system including Positive
Train Control for the Port Jervis Line, similar to MNR East of Hudson territory.
MTA website - Service Reliability
The MTA Capital Program includes over $4 billion to advance communication initiatives for projects such as Positive Train Control (PTC) which enhances safety throughout Metro North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road, and for continuing real time bus information.
================

MTA - Eye On The Future
MTA - Eye On The Future Descriptions

Metro-North Railroad
Brief Description of Work
Nov 2011
M09235*
SIGNAL SYSTEM REPLACEMENT - PORT JARVIS LINE
$10M - $50M

This project will procure and install a new 100 Hz Cab Signal system replacing existing wayside signal system for the West of Hudson Port Jervis Line between Suffern, NY (MP 31.3) and Sparrowbush, NY (MP 89.9). This system will be consistent with NORAC (Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee) and NJT (New Jersey Transit) operating rules. This project will extend cab signal system from NJT's territory (East of Suffern) to MNR territory up to the division post at MP 89.9.

Duration of Contract 17 Months
M09221/M09222/M092223 (NOTE: FULL FUNDING NOT IN PLACE FOR THIS PROJECT)
PROCURE WAYSIDE, ONBOARD & RADIO COMM. EQUIP
OVER $50M

Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 which requires that all commuter railroads implement a Positive Train Control System (PTC) on it's mainline tracks by Dec 31, 2015. PTC is a system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position. This project will provide for the procurement of radio/communication equipment, onboard equipment and wayside equipment.

Duration of Contract 47 Months
Note - there is no info in any of the budget docs or planning docs that I could find for the LIRR plans and budget for PTC and any proposed contracts.

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by Jeff Smith » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:00 pm

Great background info; thanks for doing the yeoman's work on this. CDOT will have to come up with the funds somehow for Waterbury, or if not, would they have to shut down the line? I can't see that there's much freight left on it, especially with the Maybrook OOS west of Derby and the P&W running up the Danbury instead.
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:52 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:Great background info; thanks for doing the yeoman's work on this. CDOT will have to come up with the funds somehow for Waterbury, or if not, would they have to shut down the line? I can't see that there's much freight left on it, especially with the Maybrook OOS west of Derby and the P&W running up the Danbury instead.
Waterbury's certainly going to get milked as a budget pawn a few more times, as every CT gov raises the threat of terminating service to make a point. And it never lasts more than a week before getting a "just kidding". I wouldn't expect a thing like PTC to up the ante to any more ominous place than we've been before. Not with Malloy up for reelection in 2014 and Greater Waterbury being one of the most entrenched Republican strongholds in the state. Democrats re-took the Gov. mansion and that U.S. Congressional district in part because of the Waterbury area's fatigue and desire to move on from the machine of hometown criminal John Rowland. Malloy knows that those doldrums helped get him elected. Re-galvanizing the opposition is something he'll overtly avoid for '14, and I would not expect antagonizing local commuters with service cuts is part of his reelection strategy. CDOT's up the creek in a big way on the $1B I-84/CT8 interchange replacement that has no hope of getting funded before it falls into the Naugutuck River, so it's path of lesser resistance to keep some transit consistency and play up the vague hope of better service on the line (while simultaneously bluffing on cuts because it's an easy talking point).

I do think because of these political factors and the really big asphalt-transit dilemmas that the improvements study and modest upgrades proposed in it were an earnest gesture of mitigation for other more expensive things Waterbury's not going to get in this lifetime. So I think they can find the money if they've got a gun to their heads. But it's CDOT we're talking. How can they feasibly get it scheduled in time with how long it took to get construction going on the Danbury Branch? If they're not at the starting gates with a plan now, there's no way they'll have one by the deadline. Maybe they can get a deferment from the FRA if a firm plan is enacted and the construction schedule simply starts too late, but they're running out of time for even that.

The FRA's got to say something sooner or later about how they're going to handle the cases that are impossible by '15. MNRR and LIRR are in comparatively very good shape vs. other agencies on the PTC mandate. I don't know for example how the hell the MBTA is going to do it with only its southside being (almost/90%) cabbed and ready for ACSES and northside still being 0% cabs with large backlog of ancient ABS mileage needing upgrade.


EDIT: As per freight, what the hell is Pan Am still doing here? They run only 1 train per week and reduced service to just 1 per week because they didn't want to pay Amtrak's steep fees for use of the Springfield Line. The Highland Line and Waterbury Branch are both on the PAS side of the network, and by far the biggest outliers in the partnership. I can't imagine NS wants anything there if PAR can't fake the slightest interest. It's not worth holding onto for the Housy interchange that's not driving any business. Sell the lines to the state, and sell the trackage rights to (soon-to-be ACSES capable) CSO, and have them hand-deliver the same exact carloads to PAS's doorstep at the Springfield interchange without need to come fetch it themselves.

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by DutchRailnut » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:20 pm

The waterbury will get ACSES next, CDOT has budget of $60 million for Waterbury Signaling project
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by kitn1mcc » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:49 pm

yeah the MBTA really does have an uphill battles. i thaught the system the MNR uses is an easy overlay to ACCESS
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:53 am

the current Cab signal/ Automatic Train Control is the basis for ACSES, it is used from Richmond to Boston , I believe
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by LIRR272 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:20 pm

Dutch,

You are correct. Cab Signals also run from Philly to Harrisburg and from Amsterdam, NY to GCT.

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:20 pm

plus B & A and springfield line.
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by LIRR272 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:06 pm

Oh yeah I forgot about those lines. Especially Springfield since I rode that line this summer. How is MN progressign with their PTC program? Which lines are going to have ACSES installed first?

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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:08 pm

Danbury and New Haven line(incl New Canaan) first, Hudson and Harlem next and Waterbury last
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by freightguy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:10 am

EDIT: As per freight, what the hell is Pan Am still doing here? They run only 1 train per week and reduced service to just 1 per week because they didn't want to pay Amtrak's steep fees for use of the Springfield Line. The Highland Line and Waterbury Branch are both on the PAS side of the network, and by far the biggest outliers in the partnership. I can't imagine NS wants anything there if PAR can't fake the slightest interest. It's not worth holding onto for the Housy interchange that's not driving any business. Sell the lines to the state, and sell the trackage rights to (soon-to-be ACSES capable) CSO, and have them hand-deliver the same exact carloads to PAS's doorstep at the Springfield interchange without need to come fetch it themselves. F line wrote.

I don't know if it's legally possible you may see changes to this mandate. The major class 1 freight carriers who attempt to turn a profit aren't exactly in bed with the idea. With a shift in the balance of power for US gov't possibly I'm wondering if the class ones' will lobby to have things amended and put pressure on Congress before 2016. Like other laws can the gov't repeal certain parts of what was passed? It is alot less of a burden for state and federal subsidized operations even in this economy to install PTC. Does the FRA having a say or ruling on this?
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Re: MNRR PTC Status and Plans (ACSES)

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:18 am

Freight-only track is a big debate, but I don't think there's much pushback on passenger track because of how much ridership is weighted to the ACSES member railroads. CSX, NS, P&W already run over the NEC with ACSES on some of the heaviest-trafficked parts of their system, and the line ownerships in the northeast are >90% state not private. They're prepared to have whole divisions of their networks go over to it because they have the equipped rolling stock already available, and interoperability with PTC systems on other parts of their networks is trivial vs. cost of installation (which the states are paying for). I could see this being an issue out west and it may put some smaller commuter rail agencies in a bind if the host RR pushes back, but that's not the case here.

PAR is uniquely screwed among regional freight carriers because they don't even run on cab signals yet. They have exactly 3 cabbed locos equipped to run on the Springfield Line, and that's it. Every other piece of track in their system is wayside-only, and virtually everything off the mainline unsignaled including a couple major interchange branches. Throw in 2 Amtrak routes, MBTA northside, and over a hundred miles of mainline shared with passengers and they are screwed on fleet modifications for cabs alone before factoring in cost of the PTC overlay. I'm sure all that has a lot to do with why they gave the main over to NS and passed out as many passenger rights future considerations as they could, but it won't help them for 2015 when they don't have an implementation plan. As for CT, they'll have even less interest in running down there when Waterbury-Derby gets cabbed and the Springfield Line gets ACSES...both installs likely to be online before the '15 deadline. With them having to contend with PTC running in so much other critically important territory, it makes less sense by the day what they're doing still serving CT once a week.

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