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Track Condition

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Riding Santa Fe's Super Chief in 1964 from KC to LA the track was very smooth and in western KS the speeds were especially fast but still smooth.
 

west point

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My roughest ride was on the Eagle when the engineer took a siding at twice the authorized speed. Missed a diverging signal. Have found that passenger cars with 6 wheel trucks at each end ride much better but do not hope for any.
 

railiner

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My roughest ride was on the Eagle when the engineer took a siding at twice the authorized speed. Missed a diverging signal. Have found that passenger cars with 6 wheel trucks at each end ride much better but do not hope for any.
Since Amtrak’s Ocean View dome lounge retired, there are none left in service, other than some privately owned ones. The Santa Fe had some, as did the GN, CB&Q, and the MILW. The only other streamliner 12 wheeler’s I am aware of, was the Santa Fe Hi-Level diner’s. Even the Hi Level lounge car was an 8 wheeler.
 

Trogdor

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In fact, I had assumed that the reason got bumpy in Kansas was because the train used the night time to speed up to catch up from being behind and also because it was now on flat stuff instead of climbing/descending mountains.
Trains don’t “speed” to catch up from delays. Engineers will get fired for that.

A given train at a given location along the route will have a maximum allowable speed (the slower of: timetable speed, equipment restrictions, signal restrictions, slow orders, restrictions due to work crew on the tracks, dispatcher orders, and any other caveats I’m forgetting), and that maximum speed does not change because a train is on time or late.
 

joelkfla

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Trains don’t “speed” to catch up from delays. Engineers will get fired for that.

A given train at a given location along the route will have a maximum allowable speed (the slower of: timetable speed, equipment restrictions, signal restrictions, slow orders, restrictions due to work crew on the tracks, dispatcher orders, and any other caveats I’m forgetting), and that maximum speed does not change because a train is on time or late.
So the timetable speed is never less than the otherwise maximum allowable speed?
 

Trogdor

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So the timetable speed is never less than the otherwise maximum allowable speed?
I suppose there could be a bulletin or special instruction that revises it upwards, but in the context of the thread, running late is not a condition that would do so.
 

Seaboard92

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Since Amtrak’s Ocean View dome lounge retired, there are none left in service, other than some privately owned ones. The Santa Fe had some, as did the GN, CB&Q, and the MILW. The only other streamliner 12 wheeler’s I am aware of, was the Santa Fe Hi-Level diner’s. Even the Hi Level lounge car was an 8 wheeler.

The only lightweight cars I can think of off hat are these.

-Milwaukee Road Super Domes
-Budd Full Domes (ATSF, GN)
-Santa Fe HiLevel Diners
 

Seaboard92

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That’s it...
I suppose the Hi-Level diners are heavier than Superliner diners?

The HiLevel Diner is 80 Tons whereas a Superliner is listed as 73.75 tons. So yes they are a bit heavier. Three axle trucks on a lightweight car are very uncommon. Very interesting for one to have that.
 

Steve4031

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There is padding built into most schedules. At night, with no visual reference outside the window unless you are in a dark room in the sleepers, it sometimes feels like you are moving faster than you are. This fact plus padding in schedules leads people to believe that a train ran faster during night hours to make up time.
Iirc, the derailment involving Casey Jones was caused by his operating the train at speeds above the speed limit. He took a curve too fast and thus the derailment and a famous song.
 

WWW

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That’s it...
I suppose the Hi-Level diners are heavier than Superliner diners?
Interesting trivIa the Milwaukee Road Superdome - from 261.com files:


WEIGHT 104 TONS - heaviest passenger car built

Even on bad trackage a fairly substantial ride
 
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There is padding built into most schedules. At night, with no visual reference outside the window unless you are in a dark room in the sleepers, it sometimes feels like you are moving faster than you are. This fact plus padding in schedules leads people to believe that a train ran faster during night hours to make up time.
Iirc, the derailment involving Casey Jones was caused by his operating the train at speeds above the speed limit. He took a curve too fast and thus the derailment and a famous song.
Casey was going too fast but the derailment was caused by failure to see a brakeman's signal on a foggy night and running into a train ahead of him
 

Siegmund

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So the timetable speed is never less than the otherwise maximum allowable speed?
It is at least uncommon to deliberately run slower than allowed. Occasionally overnight schedules are slowed down in order to give better times the next morning in a major city. Amtrak tends not to do this, though I seem to remember it being talked about with the Cardinal between Indianapolis and Cincinnati (back around the time it was first rerouted through Indianapolis) with the idea of making Chicago to Cincinnati "overnight" rather than a hideous 3-4am arrival.

It was also talked about around the time the Pioneer started splitting off of the CZ in Denver: there was discussion of fleeting it with freight trains limited to 70mph even though the passenger train would have been allowed 79 instead of 70 given clear track ahead. If the Warrington-years proposals for greatly increased express business had materialized we might have seen a lot more of that.

I don't know if that was ever actually built into the Pioneer's schedule or not. It's hard to detect the difference between 70 and 79-with-some-slow-orders in a public timetable.
 

jis

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So the timetable speed is never less than the otherwise maximum allowable speed?
I am not sure that there is one single uniform way in which time tabling is done on all railroads, and what the general practice is at Amtrak.

In India these days they use section times determined by actual trial runs for creating time tables. In the past they used to have the notion of what they called "Booked Speed" which was the speed at which the train needed to operate in order to make the time table given everything else worked perfectly, and it typically was 5mph to 10mph lower that the maximum allowed speed. But for obvious reasons, that worked progressively less well as traffic in a segment increased. So they abandoned that and moved to section times instead.

So these days what happens is that when a train gets a clear signal it runs at MAS (Maximum Allowed Speed), and very often after a long fast run it would catch up with something ahead of it or something else happens and then it sits at a signal for a while, before getting another good run.

They also time table fast trains in flights as much as possible, clumping together several of them one after the other so that they can predictably keep the track clear of slower trains for the flight to pass by. Helps them do better planning of the use of passing sidings to hold slower train for the duration of the flight's passage. It is fascinating how much planning goes into building reliable timetables. This of course gets more and more challenging as section occupancy increases to close to 100%, at which point the lower priority trains start getting clobbered and falling behind timetable. The only fix to that is to remove some trains for the timetable or add capacity to the route. In India typically it is the latter that happens, but it takes time.
 
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Steve4031

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Casey was going too fast but the derailment was caused by failure to see a brakeman's signal on a foggy night and running into a train ahead of him
Thank you for the correction. I should have checked before posting something as fact. This would have been easily verified.
 

jruff001

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Is it just me or are track conditions deteriorating?

I’m on the northbound Silver Star and it’s been a rough ride. I have a roomette so as if trying to get some sleep. A few times last I was almost thrown out of bed, the lower berth. And a few time it seems like the wheels hit hard against something. It was so bad that I actually thought I better look for the emergency exit Instruction.

i’ve done this trip before but don’t remember it being so rough. Any insight from anyone?
What room # are you in? Wondering if you were over the wheels vs towards the center of the car which generally has a better ride.
 

Trogdor

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Maybe some clarification is required (as it seems there is some confusion over interpretation). “Timetable speed” refers to the speed limits issued in the operating timetable by the railroad that operates or controls the track. It actually has nothing to do with the public timetable, which lists what time a train will serve which station. Ironically, there are virtually no times to be found in an operating timetable. It’s mostly a list of mileposts, control points, switches, operating categories, speed limits, etc.

So when I refer to timetable speed, that’s what I’m talking about. The train timetable doesn’t list speed because it’s constantly changing at different points along the route anyway.
 

tgstubbs1

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The roughest ride I ever remember on Amtrak (aside from the short stretch from the north portal of the B&P tunnel to Baltimore Penn Station) was on the Empire Builder westbound between St. Paul and Rugby. I could barely sleep, the train was rocking around so much. Funny, though, the eastbound trip wasn't as bad. That was back in 2007.
Was there a lot of high wind?

I was riding the CZ and in between Galesburg and Denver it was so stormy they detoured in parts of Nebraska.
There had been tornados and extreme lightning, hail and downpours in the area the entire week.
 

WWW

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Was there a lot of high wind?

I was riding the CZ and in between Galesburg and Denver it was so stormy they detoured in parts of Nebraska.
There had been tornados and extreme lightning, hail and downpours in the area the entire week.
Somehow I picture the tracks off the mainline as being in worse condition with slower speed limits.
When the winds are blowing over semi-trucks on the freeway - rail cars are likely to do the same out
on the unsheletered barren flat lands.
 

bms

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More than once, my Sleeping Car Attendant on the California Zephyr has apologized for the track conditions in Iowa. But though it's a bumpy ride, it doesn't seem to slow us down.
 

tgstubbs1

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Somehow I picture the tracks off the mainline as being in worse condition with slower speed limits.
When the winds are blowing over semi-trucks on the freeway - rail cars are likely to do the same out
on the unsheletered barren flat lands.
I think the detour was specifically to avoid high water, but I don't recall a detailed explanation. We were about a half day late pulling into Denver.
 
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