SSLs used as axle count cars

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Bob Dylan

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It just doesn't make any sense why a trip of a 32 hour duration does not have a sightseer car...and traditional dining. Amtrak has said the SSL has been retired. Why? No excuse whatsoever no matter stuff Amtrak higher ups say.
It's also a Lie when they are running Sightseer Cars as Axle Count Cars on other non LD Trains!
 

jis

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Nope, just that the SSL is being used as an Axle Count Car, but @ Least it has one and is Open to Passengers unlike the 32+ Hour Eagle!
As long as passengers can use it in the case of CONO I think your argument that it is an axle count car is a bit over the top. It appears to be an argument for removing it if axle count cars were not required, which to say the least seems a bit weird to me.

The use on Midwest Regionals where they are out of bounds for passengers is weird and should not be happening.
 
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jis

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Are Sightseer cars used as axle count cars, off limits to passengers, on corridors train that do not normally have one set up for food service, yes or no ?
I have only heard rumors about SSLs being used as axle count cars. It would be nice if some specific examples were presented. I am not saying it does not happen, but actual evidence is better than general statements.

I don't even really care whether an SSL is set up for food service or not if the food service part is provided through a CCC. All I am looking for is access to it allowed for passengers.
 

jis

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I don't have pictures or specific dates, but I have seen SSLs being used as axle count cars on both the Illini/Saluki and CONO (in addition to the in-service SSL).
Ah OK. Good to know. of such specific observations.

Yes, two SSLs on a train is weird too, while other trains are going SSL-less.

By rough count based on various observations suggest that there are upto 6 SSLs that are claimed to be in service are actually not assigned to any train. I always keep wondering where they are hiding. Maybe Amtrak management should be required to provide a detailed accounting where its cars actually are. At present a quick count suggest that less than half the total fleet of SSLs are currently assigned to trains, and the rest are stashed away somewhere, including of course providing axle count and what not. The question to pose to Amtrak would be, why.
 

WWW

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Pardon - what is this "axel count" cars ?
Has it something to do with how many cars (axels) can be towed by a locomotive - or - length of train that can be parked on a siding ?
Something akin to an 18 wheel truck becoming a 16 wheel dock truck - I am grabbing at recycled straws here ! HELP ?

More axels on a locomotive - more tractive horse power ?

Really I can't imagine a cross country train NOT having a SSL (Sight Seeing Lounge) car - boring to the "Nth degree" - even a short hop
from MSP to CHI.
 

jis

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Pardon - what is this "axel count" cars ?
It is a car that is otherwise of no use in the train except to provide sufficient number of axles to trigger detection of the train in a track circuit based train detection system on railroads that are either unwilling or unable to install more reliable version of the system or alternative systems. It is a consequence of parts of the US system still trying to drag themselves by their heels into using 21st century technology or still debating whether they should bother.
 
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What is unique about the CN’s track/signals that require a certain number of axles but is not required on other railroads? I would have thought improvements associated with PTC would have eliminated any outdated practices.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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What is unique about the CN’s track/signals that require a certain number of axles but is not required on other railroads? I would have thought improvements associated with PTC would have eliminated any outdated practices.

My understanding is the axle count cars are need to trigger the grade crossing protection. Not so much for the PTC system. There are ways of doing this better, but money would be needed.

No idea how the freight railroads are getting away with this. Seem a bit dodgy.
 

Cal

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My understanding is the axle count cars are need to trigger the grade crossing protection. Not so much for the PTC system. There are ways of doing this better, but money would be needed.

No idea how the freight railroads are getting away with this. Seem a bit dodgy.
I think they also trigger signals (and systems relating to signals) as well, not sure though.
What is unique about the CN’s track/signals that require a certain number of axles but is not required on other railroads? I would have thought improvements associated with PTC would have eliminated any outdated practices.
UP also has them, the Missouri River Runner and I think the Lincoln Service has run with many unused baggage cars to meet their axle requirement. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if almost all railroads have them, it's just that the midwest (and the routes named above) are the the only trains with revenue consists that are too short to trigger it, therefore requiring extra cars.

At present a quick count suggest that less than half the total fleet of SSLs are currently assigned to trains,
Is this the total ordered originally (so all 50) , or the total amount that can actually go out on runs in the present day (so only the ones which have not been wrecked/out for maintenance)?

Also in California,
Not for axle counts in California, but to replace the cafe cars when one is out of service. Still a stupid way to use them, they should just try to get a superliner coach-cafe. The Surfline may be a wonderful train, but theres really not that much beach scenery south and it's only a three hour run so...
 

WWW

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Not for axle counts in California, but to replace the cafe cars when one is out of service. Still a stupid way to use them, they should just try to get a superliner coach-cafe. The Surfline may be a wonderful train, but theres really not that much beach scenery south and it's only a three hour run so...
That Surfline - almost half of it doesn't see the light of the ocean - ONLY the portion from Dana Point to Torrey Pines does - the rest is residential
industrial undeveloped property. The Coast Starlight is another similar case except for the portion at Vandenburg AFB - mostly an inland railroad.
 

Cal

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That Surfline - almost half of it doesn't see the light of the ocean - ONLY the portion from Dana Point to Torrey Pines does - the rest is residential
industrial undeveloped property. The Coast Starlight is another similar case except for the portion at Vandenburg AFB - mostly an inland railroad.
Well north of LA it has a pretty good amount of time along the ocean, but the Surfline should never take SSL's over LD trains that have 15+ hour run times.
 

Willbridge

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My understanding is the axle count cars are need to trigger the grade crossing protection. Not so much for the PTC system. There are ways of doing this better, but money would be needed.

No idea how the freight railroads are getting away with this. Seem a bit dodgy.
This issue goes way back. In the 1981 Pepin cutbacks at VIA Rail, the Super Continental on the CN main line between Saskatoon and Edmonton was replaced with an RDC train. The consist included one of the rare baggage-mail RDC-4's -- still in CN livery -- because CN demanded a minimum of three cars to shunt crossing circuits.

Here's the eastbound departing Edmonton.
1981 035.jpg
 

west point

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Speculation: Maybe the crossing signals on these routes are of a very older system? Is the system fixed distance approach activated or the more modern fixed timer activated by speed of approaching train? Or maybe some builder of the system that no longer provides the necessary software support updates? Just like windows 7 no longer supported.
 

jis

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Is this the total ordered originally (so all 50) , or the total amount that can actually go out on runs in the present day (so only the ones which have not been wrecked/out for maintenance)?
Other than about 7 or so that are wrecked and yet to be repaired if at all, I have no way to know how many can actually go out and run since that is a closely held secret at Amtrak. So my comment was relative to the total original fleet size.

If the wrecks are removed then it is a few more than half the non-wrecked fleet.
 

frequentflyer

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My understanding is the axle count cars are need to trigger the grade crossing protection. Not so much for the PTC system. There are ways of doing this better, but money would be needed.

No idea how the freight railroads are getting away with this. Seem a bit dodgy.

Must be a recent phenomena, I remember the midwest trains running F40 and four or five Amfleets/ Horizon with no problem of being recognized by the host railroad's systems.
 

WWW

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Really if you need a minimum number of triggering axel cars to trigger the crossing alarms gates -
I think the way the freight railroads get away this with a hundred of so cars in a freight consist who the hell is going to challenge a moving train at a crossing -
like the idiot who racing the train to the crossing hitting the 97th car in the consist (I think he was aiming for the end of the train - LOL !)

Anyway this axel thing puzzles me - having only read about it a few posts/threads ago - - -
The faster a train travels - the more time is needed for the crossing gates to close in time to clear ordinary routine traffic from danger.
Logically the triggering points need to move further away for faster trains for this to happen - - -
and obviously a parked train at a crossing needs to disable that function until moving again.
You can't factor in ignorance of the traffic control devices - "Stupid is what stupid does - or tries to do"
 
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