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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:21 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8524
Location: Baltimore, MD
From what I'm seeing in my documentation, the ETMS that BNSF was experimenting with in Illinois, had it been applied to this trackage, would have applied the brakes in the absence of the engineer's actions--maybe even gone into emergency, given the severity of the curve at the end of that 79-mph stretch.

But it's still not PTC by the FRA definition, last I heard.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
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Location: S.F. Bay Area
Dennis Storzek wrote:
Well said. Where's the LIKE button when you need it?


I think Kim Jong Un has it.

Here's the crazy: if PTC was really dependent on GPS, then it could have been implemented in 6 months as an iPhone app. I've been thinking for 25 years how train dispatching could change if you could fit a unit at each signal and locomotive cab that contained a GPS, computer and radio. Every cell phone is that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 755
robertmacdowell wrote:
Dennis Storzek wrote:
Well said. Where's the LIKE button when you need it?


I think Kim Jong Un has it.

Here's the crazy: if PTC was really dependent on GPS, then it could have been implemented in 6 months as an iPhone app. I've been thinking for 25 years how train dispatching could change if you could fit a unit at each signal and locomotive cab that contained a GPS, computer and radio. Every cell phone is that.


Yet cell phone usage in the cab of a moving locomotive, no matter the app and no matter the reason, is verboten. You can't even have the thing in your pocket, and it must be off.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:31 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 432
They aren't going to postpone it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/tr ... 7a48f05c7d

IMHO certain freight railroads didn't help themselves by removing ATS from their lines in the 1990s. I lived in Illinois at the time and recall the consternation for state officials when IC chairman Moyers pulled the ATS on the main line in eastern Illinois, telling Amtrak if they wanted it they would need to pay all the costs of maintaining it, including the freight units. At the time Illinois was trying to encourage kids from the Chicago area to attend downstate universities, including increasing speeds on the state-supported passenger trains (the higher speed rail on the old GM&O is part of that). Removing ATS cut the speed on the route by 11 MPH, which added somewhere around an hour to the trip to SIU in Carbondale. Illinois is a big state, and their elected officials aren't afraid to make their opinions known to both their Washington elected officials and the staff at regulatory agencies, and I am sure there are other states who shared Illinois' frustration.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:04 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1797
robertmacdowell wrote:
Dennis Storzek wrote:
Well said. Where's the LIKE button when you need it?


I think Kim Jong Un has it.

Here's the crazy: if PTC was really dependent on GPS, then it could have been implemented in 6 months as an iPhone app. I've been thinking for 25 years how train dispatching could change if you could fit a unit at each signal and locomotive cab that contained a GPS, computer and radio. Every cell phone is that.


Now how is that going to funnel billions of dollars to the IT industry?

Dennis, thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:22 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 60
At least several years ago, civilian GPS wasn't accurate enough to distinguish on which track of a multi-track line a train was on. Military grade GPS can put a bomb down a smoke stack. The railroads want a system that is good enough that they can eliminate people in the cab. Also, they want someone else to pay for it, like Amtrak.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:06 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 213
What I don't understand is how they expect PTC to be in sync with steam locomotives. The two technologies are literally centuries apart. I wish a wavier could have been granted to mainline steam operators about this technology (which, by the way, I am beginning to wonder might turn out to be a white elephant, but I digress).

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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:05 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 1932
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Quote:
What I don't understand is how they expect PTC to be in sync with steam locomotives.


Well, our Helsingør Hornbæk Bane number 4, 4-6-0 tank engine, will be equipped with two modern signal systems. The conduit and equipment cabinets and a second turbo generator are already in place. Here in Copenhagen, the suburban railway network uses a modern wireless system call Communications Based Train Control, which is a moving block system. The long distance railways will use European Railway Traffic Management System, which is also wireless, but relies on fixed geographic track blocks. The CBTC system is necessary because the suburban lines include some of the most useful and popular routes for our summer excursions.

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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:58 am
Posts: 20
railfan261 wrote:
What I don't understand is how they expect PTC to be in sync with steam locomotives. The two technologies are literally centuries apart. I wish a wavier could have been granted to mainline steam operators about this technology (which, by the way, I am beginning to wonder might turn out to be a white elephant, but I digress).


Umm, isn't all you really need is some money to install some kind of electric generator and some room in the consist for the hardware?

It can't be that hard to think up how to mechanically interact with the reverser, throttle and air brakes.

Brian


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:00 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 1932
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
I don't believe we are worried about or required to control throttle or reverser from the signal system on our steam locomotives, just the brakes. We operate with a minimum of 3 persons in the cab, engineer, fireman, and pilot, so an automatic emergency brake application should be enough to wake up everyone and at least slow the trains progress.

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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:12 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 695
Location: Warren, PA
Here's just one specific issue. The complexity of current-era PTC (which is not exactly comparable with proven legacy ATS systems except in general 'run a red board' situations) includes a whole lot of new communications. I.e. radio towers where they weren't any before. Towers that require foundations, and foundations require holes. Holes require permits, permits require environmental permitting. Environmental permitting requires archeologists to see what's in the hole. And, on sovereign indian territory, approved (tribal) archeologists, few and far between.
Which, results, in what I've christened the PTC process flowchart from hell:

https://us-fcc.app.box.com/s/9ygwc3kdr0 ... trisaqbrf5

And that is the simplified version!!!

I wish that weren't the official process guide here. But for those that wonder why it's taken so long, is so fantastically expensive, etc., this is just one of the amazing unintended consequences of what would appear to the public to be a relatively logical technology application, mired in 'perfection is the enemy of good'.

Two of my other favorites are that the regulations include signal indication changes that most of the old signal systems can't display - which is why you're looking at a wholesale retirement of trackside signal systems and upgrading (think all PRR position lights) - and the third favorite is that UP was stuck at around 25% locomotive installation - because of backordered black boxes from their vendors. https://www.up.com/cs/groups/public/@up ... 17_ptc.pdf
You can't install what doesn't exist, deadlines or no deadlines.

My father was the national representative for the hardwood lumber industry during WWII, and in the war production board meetings with Truman. Similarly, you couldn't ship war material overseas without crates and pallets - which took a lot of oak lumber. Lumber mills were initially restricted for skilled manpower and industrial material rationing (fuel), which was immediately rescinded as a result of those meetings. That kind of 'so what's holding things up and get it out of the way!' has been very much slow to happen in Washington since this PTC program started, whether you're agreeing with the concept or not.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2465
Location: S.F. Bay Area
railfan261 wrote:
What I don't understand is how they expect PTC to be in sync with steam locomotives. The two technologies are literally centuries apart. I wish a wavier could have been granted to mainline steam operators about this technology (which, by the way, I am beginning to wonder might turn out to be a white elephant, but I digress).


Near-field communication is barely 20 years old. How is that possibly supposed to work with dogs, which we domesticated 15,000 years ago?

As far as PTC, the answer to these problems isn't PTC. The answer is 42. PTC is the *question*.

The more I hear about PTC, I hear about this boundless array of problems PTC is meant to solve -- problems which would be stupid-easy to solve *individually* in this age -- yet they seem to be trying to solve them all at once, and in doing so have created a morass requiring an impossible amount of tech to solve at once. The Philadelphia and Tacoma dead *don't care* if PTC can communicate diesel-engine health parameters to the mechanical shop. They need a system that enforces civil speed restrictions, and like I say, that's an iPhone app.

We also know from a series of accidents that willfullness is not the problem: inability to maintain attention is, and engineers would be *happy* for a reminder system that made sense, if it wasn't designed by railroad company lawyers to go off pretty much all the time, to maximize the chance that an accident is preceded by a whistle blow so they can blame the union for the accident. And we know from Air France 447 that alertspam is worse than useless. We also know from McDonalds and hospitals that an environment of constantly screaming false alarms has the same safety effect as no alarms at all.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:30 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:57 am
Posts: 192
Location: Sandpoint, ID
There is an article about this I remember I liked and I was able to find it. I hope it is found relevant.

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/ptc/rethinking-railroad-safety-and-efficiency.html

As I learned from my predecessor, I install air-operated butterfly valves as an emergency stop on stationary steam engines. They are very small and unobtrusive. In most cases I would envision installing them just above the cylinder valve chests.

The other thing that comes to mind is one might want to have a large battery bank for voltage stability and use a dynamo more as a battery charger.


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:00 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Philadelphia, PA
I turned on my WABAC Machine.

When the ICC in the early 1950's ordered the PRR to install the ATS and Speed Control functions to its cab signals for passenger engines, this should have included the K4s engines on NY&LB and PRSL trains. I haven't heard of any provision for closing the throttle or centering the reverser, but certainly the system dumped the train air in a penalty application.

Note, per 3-1-1956 MP 229, 1361 had speed control, but 3750 had whistle and acknowledger only; both were assigned to the NY Region.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: The Cost and Effects of PTC
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:59 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 958
Quote:
"As I learned from my predecessor, I install air-operated butterfly valves as an emergency stop on stationary steam engines. They are very small and unobtrusive. In most cases I would envision installing them just above the cylinder valve chests."


This might be a disaster on a steam locomotive of any particular size operating at any particular speed if they close quickly, or if the linkage breaks or the device inadvertently deploys only on one side. Perhaps a better answer, albeit a bit more complicated to install, is the Wagner throttles Porta suggested for the ACE3000; these devices are fluidic amplifiers and can be smoothly modulated with very small physical input, and have alternative uses for things like effective quick-acting slip control.

However, the best solution is the one from the 1940s: at least two manufacturers marketed air throttle actuators (ThrottleMaster being the one that advertised 'early and often' in the late-'40s trade press, and Franklin Precision being the one the T1 Trust has shop drawings for). This gives you all the smooth proportional speed control you need for even current inefficient PTC, and an easy bridge to the 'right' solutions once those are marketed; it also represents comparatively small (and essentially fully-reversible) modification to 'historic fabric', which I can't imagine butterflies in the main steam inlets comprising. Perhaps needless to add, a proper air throttle makes the task of operating a locomotive with conventional dome throttle considerably easier, and it can be interlocked with air-operated reversers relatively easily.

ATS was mandated in the Esch Act of 1920, and was to be implemented on at least one passenger division of every Class I by 1924, and two divisions a couple of years later. Most of these involved operations with steam engines, and one really needs to look no further than the technical descriptions of all the systems developed during the '20s "ATC bubble" to see what was required to stop a steam-powered train from high speed ... safely or otherwise. I suspect the really effective systems were just coming under development when the ICC 'relaxed' the mandate (they chose to concentrate on grade-crossing accidents instead, in 1918, and only re-established it in strict sense in the 1947 order following the Naperville accident to give us the 79mph working speed limit for passenger. The whole of the technical design of Frank Sprague's systems resides, largely untouched and unremembered, in the files of the New York Public Library -- even if many potentially useful details of other ATC systems have long been lost, I think a system designed by the father of practical MU over many years of effort is likely to provide a basis for anyone's 'period-correct' ATC.

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