Quantcast

RFP issued for Amfleet I replacement

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Seaboard92

Conductor
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
3,638
Location
South Carolina
The bypass tracks serve several purposes:

1. They allow high and wide loads to avoid crashing into the platforms and pass by safely. Admittedly those are few and far between. But they are not restricted from FEC, which they would be if there were no bypass tracks.

Fun fact when you are shipping a passenger car with a freight railroad it gets classified as a high and wide move. I learned that the other day.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
334
Location
MI
The bypass tracks serve several purposes:

1. They allow high and wide loads to avoid crashing into the platforms and pass by safely. Admittedly those are few and far between. But they are not restricted from FEC, which they would be if there were no bypass tracks.

2. They allow freight trains to pass by a station which has both platform tracks occupied by passenger trains.

3. When they go to skip stop operations after additional stations are built, they allow a skipping passenger train to pass by a station that has both platform tracks occupied.

All in all they provide flexibility to maintain fluidity of operations. Brightine is building a system with the mindset of providing reliable and on time service as opposed to the BS that passenger trains face all over the country with single platform on double track railroad, insufficient crossovers, passing tracks shorter that train and a litany of other poor design choices for the sake of (often false) economy.

Couldn't agree more. It was bad before but with the Class I companies continuing with PSR, it's just gonna get worse. Trains that are 12000+ feet in length fit very few places, and since no one wants to spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure...
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,563
Location
Toronto area
Couldn't agree more. It was bad before but with the Class I companies continuing with PSR, it's just gonna get worse. Trains that are 12000+ feet in length fit very few places, and since no one wants to spend the money to upgrade the infrastructure...
Another nail in the coffin of passenger service on freight railroads. Even if the freights wanted to get out of the way, they're too long to take the sidings in most cases. Even "saw-bys" don't really work anymore with super-long trains, since the passenger train must come to a full stop to wait for the back end of the freight to clear the switch.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
334
Location
MI
Another nail in the coffin of passenger service on freight railroads. Even if the freights wanted to get out of the way, they're too long to take the sidings in most cases. Even "saw-bys" don't really work anymore with super-long trains, since the passenger train must come to a full stop to wait for the back end of the freight to clear the switch.
I wouldn't say it's a nail in the coffin yet. There is still a chance IF the federal government starts taking enforcement seriously.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,563
Location
Toronto area
I wouldn't say it's a nail in the coffin yet. There is still a chance IF the federal government starts taking enforcement seriously.
True, of course, but are they going to mandate shorter freight trains? PSR could easily become a reason for non-compliance... "Oh we wanted to clear the main for Amtrak, but the train was simply too long for the siding. Sorry." Between railcam watching and my nearby CN mainline, I've seen some monsters lately. It's all about moving the maximum number of loads with minimum crew - even if it does take 8 locomotives dispersed through the consist to do it.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,265
True, of course, but are they going to mandate shorter freight trains? PSR could easily become a reason for non-compliance... "Oh we wanted to clear the main for Amtrak, but the train was simply too long for the siding. Sorry." Between railcam watching and my nearby CN mainline, I've seen some monsters lately. It's all about moving the maximum number of loads with minimum crew - even if it does take 8 locomotives dispersed through the consist to do it.
No. The freights can be "precision scheduled" so as not to interfere with the passenger train. With only one or two passenger trains in each direction on most routes, that's not rocket science but could be made punitive if the freight RR fails to comply.
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
387
The bypass tracks serve several purposes:

1. They allow high and wide loads to avoid crashing into the platforms and pass by safely. Admittedly those are few and far between. But they are not restricted from FEC, which they would be if there were no bypass tracks.

2. They allow freight trains to pass by a station which has both platform tracks occupied by passenger trains.

3. When they go to skip stop operations after additional stations are built, they allow a skipping passenger train to pass by a station that has both platform tracks occupied.

All in all they provide flexibility to maintain fluidity of operations. Brightine is building a system with the mindset of providing reliable and on time service as opposed to the BS that passenger trains face all over the country with single platform on double track railroad, insufficient crossovers, passing tracks shorter that train and a litany of other poor design choices for the sake of (often false) economy.
I appreciate your feedback. As far as your #2 example (which has been mentioned by others before), I can't really see the need for a slower longer freight train to pass a "high-speed" passenger train. Just saying.

And if Brightline gets to the point of needing passenger trains passing other passenger trains, I will be greatly impressed. But who knows . . . they are talking commuter service now too :)
 
Last edited:

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,031
Location
OTN
The fact that you can't imagine the need for operational flexibility says more about your imagination than the need for operational flexibility.

While not common, situations that make the bypass track useful will come up when things get weird and that flexibility is going to be needed. The outfit actually operating the trains felt it worthwhile to spend their own money constructing them, something that they wouldn't have done had they not thought that they would have utility. I'll take their assessment over the guesses of a random person on the internet. :D
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,860
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I appreciate your feedback. As far as your #2 example (which has been mentioned by others before), I can't really see the need for a slower longer freight train to pass a "high-speed" passenger train. Just saying.

And if Brightline gets to the point of needing passenger trains passing other passenger trains, I will be greatly impressed. But who knows . . . they are talking commuter service now too :)
I guess you are somewhat ignorant about operating patterns of Brightline and freight. Just because you can't see it in your imagination does not mean there is no need for it, since it does happen, specially at West Palm Beach, and would happen at any station which is a service termination point where trains spend some time at the platform.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,209
It may be that the STB will have require passing tacks ()sidings ) to be istalled of 20,000 feet or sidings at least 1000 - 2000 feet longer than the longest train allowed on any route. 2000 feet would allow Amtrak to tuck behind a mega freight . That includes freight only routes so long trains do not impact grade crossigs . For example CSX only has one siding from ATL - LaGrange ga that is less than their longest PSR train. Then you have the NS problem of too short sidings Birmingham - New Orleans. They do have a few but not enough to make the route fluid for freights and Amtrak. The warning that FRA and STB issued to all class ones applies to this NS route.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,265
I appreciate your feedback. As far as your #2 example (which has been mentioned by others before), I can't really see the need for a slower longer freight train to pass a "high-speed" passenger train. Just saying.
Uh! What about a southbound freight passing a northbound passenger train while the latter is in the station?
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,860
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
It may be that the STB will have require passing tacks ()sidings ) to be istalled of 20,000 feet or sidings at least 1000 - 2000 feet longer than the longest train allowed on any route. 2000 feet would allow Amtrak to tuck behind a mega freight . That includes freight only routes so long trains do not impact grade crossigs . For example CSX only has one siding from ATL - LaGrange ga that is less than their longest PSR train. Then you have the NS problem of too short sidings Birmingham - New Orleans. They do have a few but not enough to make the route fluid for freights and Amtrak. The warning that FRA and STB issued to all class ones applies to this NS route.
STB did not require anything in this case. It was entirely an FECR/Brightline decision to design things the way they are. STB's concern is mostly about passing tracks on single track railroads. Double track railroads with crossovers and bidirectional signaling on both tracks make the issue of passing tracks much less urgent as far as they are concerned.
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
387
Uh! What about a southbound freight passing a northbound passenger train while the latter is in the station?
Umm . . . they would just pass each other in the station on separate tracks?

You can watch it here if you want (at 1:30):

 
Last edited:

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
179
It may be that the STB will have require passing tacks ()sidings ) to be istalled of 20,000 feet or sidings at least 1000 - 2000 feet longer than the longest train allowed on any route. 2000 feet would allow Amtrak to tuck behind a mega freight . That includes freight only routes so long trains do not impact grade crossigs . For example CSX only has one siding from ATL - LaGrange ga that is less than their longest PSR train. Then you have the NS problem of too short sidings Birmingham - New Orleans. They do have a few but not enough to make the route fluid for freights and Amtrak. The warning that FRA and STB issued to all class ones applies to this NS route.
Can someone explain how grade crossings fit into this discussion? I'm not seeing the connection between grade crossings and longer sidings.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
334
Location
MI
True, of course, but are they going to mandate shorter freight trains? PSR could easily become a reason for non-compliance... "Oh we wanted to clear the main for Amtrak, but the train was simply too long for the siding. Sorry." Between railcam watching and my nearby CN mainline, I've seen some monsters lately. It's all about moving the maximum number of loads with minimum crew - even if it does take 8 locomotives dispersed through the consist to do it.
You wouldn’t have to mandate anything. Tell the railroads that DOT is going to start enforcing the “Amtrak first” policy and they don’t care how it gets done, as long as it’s safe and within the confines of the applicable sections of the CFR.

Even if you were somehow able to get train length mandates through the government, the AAR would hire the best lawyers they can find and take the feds to court, and that’s a battle I know wouldn’t turn out well for DOT.

CN and NS I think are the worst offenders. CN’s infrastructure is bare-bones (at least in MI) and NS can’t seem to dispatch the Chicago Line properly.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,209
Requirements for siding lengths to equal or exceed any length of train on a route might make it able to speed up freight trains to travel without delay. To this poster that is as important of not delaying passenger trains.
If the freight RRs are really serious about PSR the unimpeded movements of freight need full attention.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
334
Location
MI
Requirements for siding lengths to equal or exceed any length of train on a route might make it able to speed up freight trains to travel without delay. To this poster that is as important of not delaying passenger trains.
If the freight RRs are really serious about PSR the unimpeded movements of freight need full attention.
That could be something that DOT can do. However I’d imagine the AAR is still going to fight it with everything they have.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,209
I have to agree that RRs would probably fight any requirement but if congress finally passes a law that gives the STB, DOT,and FRA teeth then it might be different. A law could be crafted that would be directed toward better service to the small(er) shippers that are being hurt now days by PSR metrics. The 160% reasonable tariffs that are not enforced very much could come into play.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,150
Location
Baltimore. MD
Can someone explain how grade crossings fit into this discussion? I'm not seeing the connection between grade crossings and longer sidings.
Really long trains, especially if operated to relatively low speeds, could seriously block road traffic at grade crossings. So the long trains aren't just a nuisance for passenger trains, they're a nuisance to the communities through which they pass.
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
179
Really long trains, especially if operated to relatively low speeds, could seriously block road traffic at grade crossings. So the long trains aren't just a nuisance for passenger trains, they're a nuisance to the communities through which they pass.
Understood, but how does having a siding available reduce the amount of time that the crossing is blocked? The train is still long, and won't it still be traveling at the same slow speed when it gets moving again? Not arguing, I still just don't see the connection.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,150
Location
Baltimore. MD
Understood, but how does having a siding available reduce the amount of time that the crossing is blocked? The train is still long, and won't it still be traveling at the same slow speed when it gets moving again? Not arguing, I still just don't see the connection.
Obviously, longer sidings can't help that, what it means is that there probably need to be limits on train length, or the railroads need to grade-separate their tracks. The cost to do that might be a lot more than the money they're saving by running longer trains.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,110
Location
Spring Creek, NC
Obviously, longer sidings can't help that, what it means is that there probably need to be limits on train length, or the railroads need to grade-separate their tracks. The cost to do that might be a lot more than the money they're saving by running longer trains.
Part of the "cost" of how ever-longer freights are currently running is delays to passenger trains the freight RRs are legally obligated to prioritize. Right now, because that priority is not being enforced, the freight RRs are allowed to impose that cost on Amtrak. If they actually incurred meaningful fines for this, building adequate sidings or additional tracks might be considered more cost-effective.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,821
Location
Ithaca, NY
PSR has been a scam (it is neither precision nor scheduled), and people have been making up new meanings for the acronym, such as Poor Service Railroading. It's done serious damage to freight service because it is neither precision nor scheduled. The one railroad who has not adopted this short-termist, cash-now-bankruptcy-later cult mentality is BNSF. We can only hope that states buy out the tracks from the other Class Is as they go bankrupt.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
334
Location
MI
PSR has been a scam (it is neither precision nor scheduled), and people have been making up new meanings for the acronym, such as Poor Service Railroading. It's done serious damage to freight service because it is neither precision nor scheduled. The one railroad who has not adopted this short-termist, cash-now-bankruptcy-later cult mentality is BNSF. We can only hope that states buy out the tracks from the other Class Is as they go bankrupt.
The only reason BNSF hasn’t is because they’re still privately owned. I bet that if they were public like the others, their shareholders would’ve put the screwed to senior management already to implement PSR.
 
Top