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Positive Train Control?
http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44693
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Author:  Dick_Morris [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:40 am ]
Post subject:  Positive Train Control?

One of the major challenges to overcome before we can operate Alaska Railroad #557 on the Alaska Railroad main line is PTC compliance. Is anyone making progress in resolving PTC issues for steam operations?

Author:  krumreich, Ted [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

You might try reaching out to Ed Dickens with the Union Pacific steam program to see how they have handled the issue with 844 and 4014.

The solution may be to have a PTC equipped diesel in the consist behind the 557.

Author:  Kelly Anderson [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

The FRA had announced that they recognize the impracticality of installing PTC on steam engines, and is writing or has made allowances. I gather that steam engine PTC will mainly consist of a mechanism to apply the brakes if they overshoot their authority, similar to ATS.

If I recall, Steve Zuiderveen of the FRA made the announcement about PTC on steam during the FRA's clinic at the 2018 HRA convention.

Author:  buzz_morris [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

A form of PTC has been in operation at Disney World since it was built. Walt demanded the trains stop automatically if passing a red signal after an accident occurred in California. I believe they use a mechanical trip similar to whats used in the NY subway system. I saw it demonstrated on the back stage tour a few years back.

Author:  CA1 [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Wouldn't the disney system basically be a mechanical ABS style system?

Author:  Kelly Anderson [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Automatically putting the brakes on when passing a red signal has been around for probably pushing a century. The thing that I understand had people upset was the PTC feature that cuts locomotive power in addition to applying the brakes, and how were they supposed to connect that to a steam locomotive's throttle. What I understand is that the FRA recognizes that issue, and was going to allow steam locomotive operators to skip that part of the installation. As far as any finer details, I am out of the loop. SRC is exempt from needing PTC.

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Maybe it's not too late to get a change, but this could have been solved in the creation of the PTC legislation if mainline steam operators had gotten a seat at the table when the law was being drafted. What's really needed is an exemption that says something to the effect that if a T&E supervisor (RFE, Train Master, etc.) is on board and in charge of any move involving a steam locomotive or other historic equipment (which could, for instance, also apply to Mr. Levin's E-Units), the move is exempt from having working PTC equipment. It's not a major additional burden, since in my experience it's more common than not for a supervisor to be on a mainline excursion, and they get far more scrutiny by every dispatcher than any regular passenger move.

Your chances of being in a PTC function related accident are less on an excursion than on just about any other kind of train, just because of how much attention railroad supervision gives them, even before there was any PTC equipment. I've listened to plenty of radio chatter during excursions, and they pretty much follow textbook procedure because of the presence of supervision. I have never heard of a major signal violation by an excursion train in this country in the last 40 years. I know about the one in the UK several years ago, but from what I read about it, excursions over there were being treated like any other passenger train operation, without any added scrutiny by supervision. PTC would not have prevented the Great Dismal Swamp wreck, or the Gettysburg explosion. It's not a panacea, it's a tool, with a lot of teething problems.

Author:  JimBoylan [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Ross Rowland 25 years ago and Pennsylvania RR 70 years ago had to deal with Automatic Train Stop on steam locomotives. Ross had told us in other posts how he did it on C & O 614.

Author:  Crescent-Zephyr [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

JimBoylan wrote:
Ross Rowland 25 years ago and Pennsylvania RR 70 years ago had to deal with Automatic Train Stop on steam locomotives. Ross had told us in other posts how he did it on C & O 614.


I’ve seen ATS systems on steam locomotives in museums. It’s nothing new.

Author:  Bobk [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

3751 has ATS

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

PTC and ATS are two different animals. ATS relies on the logic of the track side signal system to initiate the stop; the on board equipment can be as trivial as a valve to vent the brake pipe to atmosphere when the valve handle struck the raised "trip" provided by the signal system. PTC relies on an on-board computer to interpret the GPS data the system feeds it. While not having to interface the throttle is helpful, the rest of the on-board equipment is NOT trivial, or cheap.

Author:  EJ Berry [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Brother Storzek has a point.

However CSS/SC ("ATC") and PTC both rely on an external input to stop the train without input from the engineer. In this respect we can consider them similar.

On PRR the term "Automatic Train Control" included all forms of external control devices including NYC's Inductive Train Stop. What we're thinking of, PRR called "Speed Control." You go faster than the Cab Signal allows, you get a whistle, then a penalty brake application.

PRR did attempt to install CSS/SC on K4's used on the NY&LB but not all the engines had it. They did all have Cab Signals (whistle and acknowledger) but as engines' flue times expired, engines from other divisions were brought in that did not have Speed Control, and it was not installed on them.

For example in MP229 dated 3/1/54, of 30 K4's assigned to the NY Division, all had Cab Signals but only 14 had Speed Control. Incidentally K4s 1361 had Speed Control; 3750 did not.

Phil Mulligan

Author:  Dick_Morris [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Thanks for the responses. I've passed the info to the people in our group who are grappling with PTC issues.

Author:  PMC [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Could a steam locomotive move with the engine brakes set, especially if set at speed? As has been noted it is unlikely that the unconsciousness of the head end crew would go unnoticed for long on an excursion, but what about a light engine move? Still seems unlikely, but the FRA probably needs to consider such unlikely possibilities.

Author:  jcmarksbury [ Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Positive Train Control?

Alaska Railroad would be able to get a waiver to operate the locomotive without PTC from the FRA much like UP did last year.

Until the FRA makes something official, this is likely what any mainline groups will do, depending on the requirements of the host railroads.

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