Timetables/Flag Stops

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Shanson

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So (repeating myself) I was told by a conductor on the Cardinal that there are no longer flag stops. Because of programming for PTC, trains observe the old flag stops as regular stops.

So, therefore I assume (risky) that the PTC has to be reprogrammed when East Glacier opens and also when it closes. Anyone have actual knowledge?
 

jis

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So (repeating myself) I was told by a conductor on the Cardinal that there are no longer flag stops. Because of programming for PTC, trains observe the old flag stops as regular stops.

So, therefore I ASSUME (risky) that the PTC has to be reprogrammed when East Glacier opens and also when it closes. Anyone have actual knowledge?
A train can stop wherever without reprogramming PTC. The Conductor clearly does not understand how PTC works. Most flag stops generally went away several years before PTC came about anyway.

In case there is interest in understanding how PTC in general and its I-ETMS incarnation as used by CSX among others in particular works, a possibly somewhat time consuming perusal of the following thread would be in order...

 
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RebelRider

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A train can stop wherever without reprogramming PTC. The Conductor clearly does not understand how PTC works. Most flag stops generally went away several years before PTC came about anyway.

All three points are spot on.

PTC doesn’t know the train’s schedule nor the location of any station stops. PTC only cares if the train isn’t slowing or stopping when PTC thinks it should be.
 

railiner

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I was never a fan of flag stops, that carried the risk of missing someone wanting to board, or carrying by someone wanting to disembark. Much better to make a quick one minute stop, at a specified time, IMHO.

That said, flag stops seem to be the only practical way to handle certain remote train services, such as the Alaska RR or Via Rail, where they will stop almost anywhere on their remote routes, on demand....
 

west point

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I like the concept of flag stops. However, there needs to be a better method of signaling the loco. Definitely more expensive but a permanent signal much like a train order signal is needed IMO. I can see the needfor Amtrak IT to only allow signal to be activated shortly before arrival. Oh wait IT doing anything?
 

joelkfla

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I like the concept of flag stops. However, there needs to be a better method of signaling the loco. Definitely more expensive but a permanent signal much like a train order signal is needed IMO. I can see the needfor Amtrak IT to only allow signal to be activated shortly before arrival. Oh wait IT doing anything?
In a previous discussion, it was noted that South Shore has upstream "beacons" that are activated by a push button at the station. Does Amtrak use these?

Of course, it shouldn't matter on all-reserved trains. It seems the conductor could notify the engineer when the passenger manifest shows someone scheduled to board.

Are Downeasters all-reserved?
 

Cal

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I was never a fan of flag stops, that carried the risk of missing someone wanting to board, or carrying by someone wanting to disembark. Much better to make a quick one minute stop, at a specified time, IMHO.
Conductors would’ve known if anyones getting off at a flag stop and would stop, unless it’s an intercity train.
 

railiner

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Good points, about reserved trains. But I have been on the ARR and the Via Jonquiere route, where a passenger can just tell the Conductor where they would like to get off...sometimes just a cabin trackside, or even a trailhead, and retrieve their canoe or whatever from the baggage car...o_O:)
 

jis

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Good points, about reserved trains. But I have been on the ARR and the Via Jonquiere route, where a passenger can just tell the Conductor where they would like to get off...sometimes just a cabin trackside, or even a trailhead, and retrieve their canoe or whatever from the baggage car...o_O:)
Alaska RR has that facility too between Talkeetna and Hurricane.
 

joelkfla

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Good points, about reserved trains. But I have been on the ARR and the Via Jonquiere route, where a passenger can just tell the Conductor where they would like to get off...sometimes just a cabin trackside, or even a trailhead, and retrieve their canoe or whatever from the baggage car...o_O:)
Even VIA now requires 48 hours advance notice for a flag stop boarding; it's not clear whether that also applies to drop-off.
 

railiner

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Even VIA now requires 48 hours advance notice for a flag stop boarding; it's not clear whether that also applies to drop-off.
Not sure of the reason for that...perhaps to determine whether it will delay the train or not? I imagine they will not let you off at a hazardous location, such as on a high fill, or similar....
 
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In Sanderson TX on the Sunset line, the engineer slows the train to a walking pace and then he's out of there. If you buy a ticket online (the only way, they won't accept a cash purchase at the platform) they should stop. I actually saw a passenger disembark last week. I am restoring the old Sanderson State Bank building right across the street from the stop. I get to see (and hear) a lot of rail action.
 

amtrakpass

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Flag stops work fine if customers have any experience taking the train. They are still common on many commuter systems. As long as people are visible on the platform the train will stop. Most engineers would slow down to around 20mph or so just in case they have to stop. If you have a lot of stops it does save time to only stop where there are actually passengers. For instance the Metra Electric district last I knew still had a lot of flag stops where the stations are not that far apart. Since Amtrak requires reservations most places they would only stop if there is an actual reservation in the manifest I suppose but I am not sure on their practices or procedures as far as flag stops
 

Barb Stout

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In Sanderson TX on the Sunset line, the engineer slows the train to a walking pace and then he's out of there. If you buy a ticket online (the only way, they won't accept a cash purchase at the platform) they should stop. I actually saw a passenger disembark last week. I am restoring the old Sanderson State Bank building right across the street from the stop. I get to see (and hear) a lot of rail action.
What are you renovating the Sanderson State Bank building to become?
 
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I'm not sure what I will do with it. I love restoring old historic buildings. The old Sanderson State Bank building will probably be a short term lodging for Amtrak touring lovers that want to stop for a day and a night. Then back on and keep going. At least that is what I would want to do, especially in eyesight of the whistle stop. Make's it real easy. You can sit on the bank porch and watch the trains go.
 

Northwestern

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Well, that is an improvement but, why is this print option so "obvious". Never would have noticed if you hadn't re-directed me to the original post. Thanks.

Noticed the Coast Starlight schedule takes two pages; the older traditional schedule fit on a single side (page) of the schedule.
Yes, I did notice. With the old Amtrak PDF online schedule pages, didn't they also include, on the same page, the Amtrak thruway bus connections? My old 2015 hard copy of the Amtrak System Timetable did show the timetables and bus connections on the same page. I would like to see the hard copy timetable booklet return. Maybe they could sell them on board the train. Or, possibly one of the train magazine publishers (Kalmbach, White River, etc.) could publish a timetable booklet.
 

acelafan

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Yes, I did notice. With the old Amtrak PDF online schedule pages, didn't they also include, on the same page, the Amtrak thruway bus connections? My old 2015 hard copy of the Amtrak System Timetable did show the timetables and bus connections on the same page. I would like to see the hard copy timetable booklet return. Maybe they could sell them on board the train. Or, possibly one of the train magazine publishers (Kalmbach, White River, etc.) could publish a timetable booklet.
A reminder that RPA has timetables on their site, and I have managed to scrape together the latest timetables from a variety of sources and rail enthusiasts (see Amtrak Timetable Archives - Home)

Part of my collection includes Nathanael Nerode's PDF timetable program which does a great job of trying to include bus connections wherever possible.

I posted the new Empire Builder schedule the other day. RPA should get it posted shortly, as well.

Really, Amtrak should be creating and maintaining the PDF timetables as we all know. I shake my head when Amtrak quit making the timetables but then making its passengers figure out when the trains run or connect to other trains. (Amtrak employees have timetables, why can't the passengers??)

Amtrak's annual funding from Congress should allow them to make timetables, without being micro-managed or directed to do so. But, I digress.
 
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