Lessons learned from Chi-Stl HSR YouTube video from High Speed Rail Alluance

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Steve4031

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There is an explanation of why trains are not going over 90 mph in the near future. Basically it takes too many seconds for the computers to coordinate the gps, and radio signals from trains to ensure safe operation above 90 mph.

Increased frequencies to 10 round trips a day requires double tracking entire line with some triple track.

Here’s the link to the hour long video.
 

Cal

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There is an explanation of why trains are not going over 90 mph in the near future. Basically it takes too many seconds for the computers to coordinate the gps, and radio signals from trains to ensure safe operation above 90 mph.

Increased frequencies to 10 round trips a day requires double tracking entire line with some triple track.

Here’s the link to the hour long video.
They can't upgrade the system to those where trains DO run at 90mph??
 

tricia

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I'd settle for reaching their maximum potential for OTP with existing speed restrictions. Until that's accomplished, I can't muster much enthusiasm for HSR.
 

Cal

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I'd settle for reaching their maximum potential for OTP with existing speed restrictions. Until that's accomplished, I can't muster much enthusiasm for HSR.
Well, yes, but having higher speed trains can still be a wish of mine.
 

Steve4031

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IMHO they need to double track and increase frequencies with reliable performance. Once that’s established they can compete with driving.

People like to say you can drive between chi-Stl in 4 hours. But that’s with no stops for bathroom breaks. Add in even one McDonald’s stop and you are close to 5 hours.
 

west point

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No over 90 MPH ? That makes no sense and fails the smell test. Airliners regularly use GPS with ground speeds sometimes faster than 600 Knots. The units update in less than 10 seconds continuously the last I heard. Did some lazy programmer just make the interfaces so slow that 90 MPH is limit ? Even my Garmin road GPS could keep up with airliner speeds along with true altitude readouts as well.
 

IndyLions

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No over 90 MPH ? That makes no sense and fails the smell test. Airliners regularly use GPS with ground speeds sometimes faster than 600 Knots. The units update in less than 10 seconds continuously the last I heard. Did some lazy programmer just make the interfaces so slow that 90 MPH is limit ? Even my Garmin road GPS could keep up with airliner speeds along with true altitude readouts as well.
I’m no expert on this specific topic - but complicated communications systems are one part of what I deal with every day.

I don’t think the problem is with the throuput of one communications segment (a.k.a. GPS to train). It’s more likely a total throughput issue with the entire communications chain.

Another possible issue could be how the system responds to inevitable disturbances. I myself was a victim of a PTC-related 5 hour delay when an Amtrak crew reacted incorrectly to a PTC-related outage - and the host railroad shut them down on the spot causing dozens of passengers to miss connections. And that was an issue at 79mph.

If another poster on another thread is correct, and Alstom is being brought in to help with their PTC-related sensor expertise – that would be good news. A ton of investment has been made in both Michigan and Illinois, and they need to take 110mph running over the finish line. If they need to figure out Michigan first, so be it. The state of Michigan has total control over those tracks – so a Class I railroad is less likely to get in the way there.
 

crescent-zephyr

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A ton of investment has been made in both Michigan and Illinois, and they need to take 110mph running over the finish line. If they need to figure out Michigan first, so be it. The state of Michigan has total control over those tracks – so a Class I railroad is less likely to get in the way there.
What happened in Michigan? Those trains were running at 110 when I rode 5 years ago!
 

IndyLions

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What happened in Michigan? Those trains were running at 110 when I rode 5 years ago!
I don’t know any specifics, I only know that the presenter in the HSRA webinar (linked to this topic) specifically answered a question about Michigan. He was asked if Michigan had similar PTC issues as Illinois. He answered in the affirmative.

He must be referring to the section of track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. As of 2018, that section had not yet been approved for 110 miles an hour. I haven’t been able to find an update on the situation.
 

jis

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I don’t know any specifics, I only know that the presenter in the HSRA webinar (linked to this topic) specifically answered a question about Michigan. He was asked if Michigan had similar PTC issues as Illinois. He answered in the affirmative.

He must be referring to the section of track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. As of 2018, that section had not yet been approved for 110 miles an hour. I haven’t been able to find an update on the situation.
On the Michigan Line Amtrak uses GE Transportation delivered ITCS which is specially engineered for 110mph. I suspect UP did not spend too much thought on whether I-ETMS that they installed would actually work at 110mph. There are many pitfalls in a pure wireless system that they may have ignored. In spite of all their efforts it took Amtrak many years to get ITCS to work. Admittedly a lot of the issues had to do with integrating grade crossings and intrusion detection and getting all that to work in addition to the core PTC functions. Grade crossing issues are not part of the core PTC specs, specially for higher speed.
 
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PaTrainFan

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It's fiascos like this that allow the noisy opponents of infrastructure spending to say, "I told you so." The California experience pretty much dooms the adoption of true high speed rail in this country for good, and now we have this mess in Illinois which makes "higher speed rail" a case study for the naysayers. Which reminds me, whatever happened to that huge spend that was to upgrade a stretch of rail in New Jersey? Weren't there issues with that as well? This is all very discouraging.
 

John Bredin

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Road and airport projects run into these kind of overruns and glitches too, but the "opponents of infrastructure" rarely use those as arguments to scrap the project altogether. California HSR isn't a disaster just because it has a price tag in the billions and some people insist it's a disaster.

It's easy to harp exclusively on the price of something when its value hasn't been demonstrated yet. I live in Chicago, and the Millennium Park project (improved parks over the Metra Electric tracks downtown, with the famous Bean, an outdoor concert venue, etc.) was repeatedly attacked for cost overruns and delays while it was uncompleted. It wasn't even finished by the beginning of the millennium. 🙃 But in the years since it opened, it's been a huge tourist attraction as well as a beautiful and useful amenity for city and suburban residents.

The Texas Central HSR project hasn't had any cost issues as far as I know, nor is it a government project subject to the peculiar American ASSumption that business is omnicompetent and government can never do anything right. Nonetheless, it's running into a full ration of sh*t from the same "opponents of infrastructure." They're just using a different line of attack (eminent domain for public highways and private pipelines but not private railways :rolleyes:) than against California HSR.

As to the Lincoln Service, the HSR Alliance video makes clear that only about $200 million of about $1.8 billion has been spent on the problematic PTC system. The rest was spent on stretches of double-tracking, longer sidings, improved safer grade crossings, new bridges, new and renovated stations, and a portion of the new trainsets for the Midwest. Passengers have already been using those stations, trains have already been crossing those bridges, and those improved gates have already been reducing grade-crossing incidents. The new trainsets are coming. Even if the installed PTC system can't be salvaged to run at 110mph, all of those improvements are still there to result in more trains running with new trainsets at improved speed (90>79) once enough of the new trainsets are delivered.
 

PaTrainFan

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Road and airport projects run into these kind of overruns and glitches too, but the "opponents of infrastructure" rarely use those as arguments to scrap the project altogether. California HSR isn't a disaster just because it has a price tag in the billions and some people insist it's a disaster.

It's easy to harp exclusively on the price of something when its value hasn't been demonstrated yet. I live in Chicago, and the Millennium Park project (improved parks over the Metra Electric tracks downtown, with the famous Bean, an outdoor concert venue, etc.) was repeatedly attacked for cost overruns and delays while it was uncompleted. It wasn't even finished by the beginning of the millennium. 🙃 But in the years since it opened, it's been a huge tourist attraction as well as a beautiful and useful amenity for city and suburban residents.

The Texas Central HSR project hasn't had any cost issues as far as I know, nor is it a government project subject to the peculiar American ASSumption that business is omnicompetent and government can never do anything right. Nonetheless, it's running into a full ration of sh*t from the same "opponents of infrastructure." They're just using a different line of attack (eminent domain for public highways and private pipelines but not private railways :rolleyes:) than against California HSR.

As to the Lincoln Service, the HSR Alliance video makes clear that only about $200 million of about $1.8 billion has been spent on the problematic PTC system. The rest was spent on stretches of double-tracking, longer sidings, improved safer grade crossings, new bridges, new and renovated stations, and a portion of the new trainsets for the Midwest. Passengers have already been using those stations, trains have already been crossing those bridges, and those improved gates have already been reducing grade-crossing incidents. The new trainsets are coming. Even if the installed PTC system can't be salvaged to run at 110mph, all of those improvements are still there to result in more trains running with new trainsets at improved speed (90>79) once enough of the new trainsets are delivered.
This is a very rational analysis. You are right, most public projects exceed their budgets. In fact, a great number of privately financed projects cost more than estimates, but those you never hear of. Given that almost all public projects go to the lowest bidder, it's also easy once a project starts to ask for more money as halting it is not a desirable option. But "taxpayers' money" is a always a convenient battering ram for political purposes.
 

MARC Rider

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This is a very rational analysis. You are right, most public projects exceed their budgets. In fact, a great number of privately financed projects cost more than estimates, but those you never hear of. Given that almost all public projects go to the lowest bidder, it's also easy once a project starts to ask for more money as halting it is not a desirable option. But "taxpayers' money" is a always a convenient battering ram for political purposes.
You know, after reading the wikipedia articles about "Hollywood accounting," and "creative accounting," I'm beginning to suspect that there's far more cost overruns and corruption in the financing of enterprises by private capital. The problem is that the people who are hurt by the crookedness and waste don't have any power at all, and the general public doesn't really care because they think it's not their money. (This is even though, in the end the taxpayers are paying for it, wither through implicit or explicit taxpayer subsidies from the fraud or because potentially viable businesses go down the drain and the government has to pick up the pieces. At least with public projects there is some oversight, and if the news gets out, powerful politicians make it their business to make a stink. I really think that most public corruption is penny-ante stuff compared to what goes on in secret behind our backs in the private sector.
 
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