couple things i didn't know about amtrak operating crews

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railiner

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It surprises me in this digital age, that train crews must still manually copy radioed train orders, or whatever they are called now...track warrants?

I believe in aviation, flights can now receive similar "clearance delivery" via the automated ACARS screens and printer's in airliner flight decks....
 

Triley

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It surprises me in this digital age, that train crews must still manually copy radioed train orders, or whatever they are called now...track warrants?

I believe in aviation, flights can now receive similar "clearance delivery" via the automated ACARS screens and printer's in airliner flight decks....
The FRA has not allowed it, which is why they're not allowed to keep their rule books or service standards manual on their devices.

Plus, you're talking about having to coordinate how many different company's systems in to this? Also, there are plenty of places where a conductor may not have a signal to send/receive info regarding train movements, but the radios still work.
 

Blackwolf

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For all firefighting aircraft in the country, dispatches are handled via microwave radio link to dispatch centers. Information such as incident name, request order numbers, legal location descriptions (township, section, range,) latitude and longitude, and radio frequencies are voiced out on this "intercom" and copied on paper documents with pencil at the receiving dispatch centers and air attack bases. It has not changed since the 1960's, and there are absolutely no plans to change it going into the future. Sounds a lot like writing down track warrant information to me.

I agree, there should probably be an update considering the technological era we live in, but alas. Even as a command officer in one of those dispatch centers, any ability to update the system is "way above my pay grade."
 
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Thirdrail7

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I realize this is an old thread and the info is stale by now, but for the record, I specifically mentioned toilet facilities on P42's. Last I heard, they don't haul Metroliners so the comment about Metroliners has nothing to do with what I said. If you see one on a Metroliner, I'm sure there are a whole slew of RR fans who will want to know about it and get a picture. P42's are used on trains that operate over longer distances and longer schedules. I have yet to meet the engineer who can hold it all the way from Lorton to Florence, or Florence to Sanford.

Good luck to anybody who thinks he can.

Tom
Well, the Metroliners have been gone for years so it would indeed be unlikely to see a P42 hauling one. However, I did see P42s, P40s and F40s hauling the MET when they were around. At any rate, that wasn't the point. This was:

. But if you're all alone in the cab and nowhere near a scheduled stop when nature calls, you have to stop to answer the call.

If there are any exceptions, I'm willing to be educated.
As indicated, apparently trains do not have to stop to answer the call of nature whether they are alone...or with their conductor. ^_^

It surprises me in this digital age, that train crews must still manually copy radioed train orders, or whatever they are called now...track warrants?

I believe in aviation, flights can now receive similar "clearance delivery" via the automated ACARS screens and printer's in airliner flight decks....
The FRA has not allowed it, which is why they're not allowed to keep their rule books or service standards manual on their devices.

Plus, you're talking about having to coordinate how many different company's systems in to this? Also, there are plenty of places where a conductor may not have a signal to send/receive info regarding train movements, but the radios still work.
Actually, the FRA authorizes the use of company issued electronic devices to reference rules, manuals and/or directives. However, some railroad(s) ***coughcoughcoughamtrakcoughcoughcough*** exercised their option to issue a more restrictive rule.

Your second point is valid and to expand on it, you'd need not only need a signal, you'd need to equip the trains with the means to receive it. Only the Acela power cars and the HHP-8s were equipped to receive them on the fly. Equipping every diesel and/or engineer with a company issued device to receive the transmission is probably cost prohibitive especially since there are sections where you're not going to receive a signal.
 

Acela150

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It surprises me in this digital age, that train crews must still manually copy radioed train orders, or whatever they are called now...track warrants?

I believe in aviation, flights can now receive similar "clearance delivery" via the automated ACARS screens and printer's in airliner flight decks....
The FRA has not allowed it, which is why they're not allowed to keep their rule books or service standards manual on their devices.

Plus, you're talking about having to coordinate how many different company's systems in to this? Also, there are plenty of places where a conductor may not have a signal to send/receive info regarding train movements, but the radios still work.
Triley, this is one where you're wrong. Sorry bud. At NS I kept many books on my iPhone. I think Amtrak is more restrictive about this. I can't say for sure. I do have a current copy of NORAC on my phone as well as a now outdated Harrisburg Division ETT.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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It surprises me in this digital age, that train crews must still manually copy radioed train orders, or whatever they are called now...track warrants?

I believe in aviation, flights can now receive similar "clearance delivery" via the automated ACARS screens and printer's in airliner flight decks....
The FRA has not allowed it, which is why they're not allowed to keep their rule books or service standards manual on their devices.

Plus, you're talking about having to coordinate how many different company's systems in to this? Also, there are plenty of places where a conductor may not have a signal to send/receive info regarding train movements, but the radios still work.
If they can receive voice transmission's from the dispatcher, why can't they receive data transmission?

As far as operating over different company systems...they all use the same railroad radio band, just as ACARS operates over the aviation band...both VHF, although aircraft use AM, and railroads use FM.....
 

Thirdrail7

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If they can receive voice transmission's from the dispatcher, why can't they receive data transmission?
I'm not versed on the technological aspects but it may have to do with the transmission. I liken it to your cell phone working in an area while you're wi-fi does not or your cell phone not working in a location while the radio still sends or receives.

Besides, they want as many people as possible to hear these types of transmissions. That way if there is an error, there is a chance someone may catch it.
 

Triley

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Dec 14, 2008
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If they can receive voice transmission's from the dispatcher, why can't they receive data transmission?
I'm not versed on the technological aspects but it may have to do with the transmission. I liken it to your cell phone working in an area while you're wi-fi does not or your cell phone not working in a location while the radio still sends or receives.

Besides, they want as many people as possible to hear these types of transmissions. That way if there is an error, there is a chance someone may catch it.
I did not want to toss on the bit about catching the error, or also wanting to have one's voice on tape if something should ever happen, they make it so you couldn't claim you didn't receive the transmission or that it was misunderstood.

Also, thank you TR and Steve for the correction. I must've misunderstood the conductor that told me it was prohibited by the FRA, or maybe they were misinformed.
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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There's that old " railroad culture" again....

Instead of having a system to lay the blame on someone for making an error, perhaps it's time to modernize the system, to make errors less possible.... :mellow:
 

TiBike

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Voice is well understood, standardised, brute force technology that operates on (relatively) low frequency bands that are better able to penetrate buildings, vehicles, trees, whatever. Lower frequencies also mean lower bandwidth, which isn't much of a problem for voice, but can be for data. AFAIK, railroads are still using analog voice technology, which is simpler still. Plus, the encoding/decoding equipment is pre-installed in the human body.

Very simple and reliable. Almost as simple and reliable as Morse code :help:
 
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