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Weather delays
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   Author  Topic: Weather delays  (Read 78 times)
ClydeDET
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Weather delays
 
« on: Dec 31st, 2015, 12:49pm »
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Heard a news bite indicating AMTRAK is having annulled trains and delays from the current weather, including flooding around St. Louis and bad weather in the NEC. Anybody got better information bout what is REALLY happening? Suppose I could go on AMTRAK site, but it is a PITA to move around in in my experience.

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HwyHaulier
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #1 on: Dec 31st, 2015, 1:02pm »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
At the least, it a very tough situation at Missouri points. Current Advisories report both IH-44 and IH-55 under water over many segments.  
Last night News accounts, River Flood levels had not peaked in St. Louis area.
 
In a tel call with an over the road friend, presently at Louisville, your writer made a point of passing along reports of conditions in Missouri...
 
..............................Vern.........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #2 on: Dec 31st, 2015, 11:04pm »
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Vern - and all  
 
Yeah, very bad in Missouri, especially in the St. Louis area. Meramac River has apparently really gotten out of its banks to the great injury to the folks in its valley. Seems to have completely flooded a historic 1 foot gauge live steam operation. No information on whether it was possible to get any of the equipment out of the way of the rising waters.


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #3 on: Jan 1st, 2016, 2:30pm »
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In the Richmond, VA area there have been numerous Amtrak delays due to the extra long CSX trains pulling apart. Delays of over 3 hours have been reported.
CHESSIEMIKE


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ClydeDET
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #4 on: Jan 1st, 2016, 4:15pm »
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on Jan 1st, 2016, 2:30pm, CHESSIEMIKE wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In the Richmond, VA area there have been numerous Amtrak delays due to the extra long CSX trains pulling apart. Delays of over 3 hours have been reported.
CHESSIEMIKE

 
CSX running extra-long trains because of the weather, or what?


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #5 on: Jan 1st, 2016, 4:53pm »
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This is their new operating plan, fewer longer trains. Less cost to run fewer trains, that is if you don't factor in the adverse side effects. I'm sure the shippers are happy with their new level of service.
CHESSIEMIKE


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ClydeDET
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #6 on: Jan 1st, 2016, 6:02pm »
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Not sure how much less cost there would be - crew labor, but doubt much else. Then if you are pulling draw-bars (or just breaking coupler), you have the knock on effect by delays to both the disabled train while you replace the coupler or bad-order and clear the busted car, etc.. Strongly suspect there is a fairly fine (but calculable) line, and sounds like SK done went and passed it. Need to recalibrate a bit, maybe.
 
Having ben on a passenger train delayed by freights, I can tell you that (much as I like riding a train) I don't much like that sort of delay.


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CHESSIEMIKE
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #7 on: Jan 1st, 2016, 10:06pm »
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I’m sure a lowly empty coal train does not matter to anyone so I will use it as an example.
 
The yard tracks at the originating terminal were not designed to handle 200 car trains. So the crew of train X gets permission from the dispatcher (who stopped and shared his thought process out loud about things he saw would need to happen over the next little while) to occupy the single track Main Line to head west with the understanding that they need to double their train to get it all put together. Dispatcher gives them the signal and train X proceeds out of the yard with their first 100 cars, aligning switches as they go. Near the yard throat, the conductor drops down at the last switch to be in position to throw it for the reverse move to get their next 100 cars. Under the previous operating plan this train with 100 cars would now be making time headed west to get more coal, but I digress. Train X is now on the Main Line and hears the Conductor (with a weak radio) give the stop signal. He stops and then, after receiving the ok from the Conductor confirming the switch is aligned for their move proceeds to back to his next 100 cars. They perform the obligatory Safety Stop but now the Engineer can no longer hear the Conductor on the weak radio. After several calls, the Yard Master over hearing the repeated calls steps in and starts to play relay man between the Engineer and the Conductor acknowledging the fact that the hand held radios don’t have the power needed to deal with the now standard length trains. So, every radio transmission sounds like the kid’s game of Telephone and takes about as long to make each move. While all this is going on the Dispatcher gets rung up by train Y. He is about 5 miles west on a siding and wants to come out on the Main (single track, remember) and do some work less than a mile away from his location. The dutiful Dispatcher has this route reserved for train X to go through. He is not sure he can take the signal away from train X without causing a problem, so he calls train X to find out how much longer it will be. After some discussion it is decided that dropping the signal on train X will not be a problem. But now enough time has gone by that there is an Amtrak train that originates at the station that is currently blocked by train X trying to get his mess together. The Engineer on train Y, a good man that wants to get some work done, suggests that instead of doing the work less than a mile away, he can go 5 miles farther and do some work on the branch and be out of everybody’s way. It does mean he will need to come back and do the work he is passing by before he goes further west. We all know fuel is cheap and locomotive HP Hours are negligible. Meanwhile, train X does have his mess together, the Car Inspector (Remember, even though train X has been tying up the main line, he has not left the yard with his train.) has confirmed brake operation at the end of the train and they can head west. But wait, what about the Conductor who is now mid train? Well, it will take him so long to walk to the engine that the decision is made to call him a taxi (after all, they are free, right?) and let him meet the front of the train about 2 miles up the track where there is a road crossing. Now train X saunters west because there is no sense of urgency because it will take a bit to get the Conductor to the assigned meeting point. Once train X’s last car with the FRED gets past the switch where the Amtrak train will come out the Amtrak Engineer calls the Dispatcher to get permission to throw the switch and come out onto the main line so he can back to the station to pick up his passengers. If all goes well (has it yet?) he will start boarding his passengers about 15 minutes after his scheduled departure time. Once he is ready to head west he will still go slowly following a 200 car empty train until he can go around on the double track that starts about 10 miles away. All this took place over several hours while I was track side. For me it was a bonus because I was able to catch all 3 trains and hear a comedy show in the process. Also it was a nice, unseasonably warm afternoon. Lord only knows how this would have played out under bad weather, but I can guess. Under the old operating plan train X would have gone west with his 100 cars and made it to the next Terminal with one crew. As it turns out he ran afoul of the Hours of Service laws and another crew had to be called and taxied out to finish the run (file that under “more savings”), but again I digress. Train Y would have been able to come out on the Main Line, do his work that was less than a mile away, and then go west to the branch and be out of the way. Of course he would have done this after train X went by, but before Amtrak would have left the station. Amtrak would not have been delayed getting to the station and would have stood at least a reasonable chance of an on time departure. Amtrak would have been able to run at track speed and quite possibly passed the empty train at a location where both trains could have been moving west on the double track section of the railroad, making good use of the CTC system. But someone somewhere has decided it is too expensive to run a railroad that way.
I do believe this is the most verbose and wordy Post I have ever made to date. If you made it to the end and understand what I witnessed you have too much free time. Give some of it to CSX, they need all the help they can get.
CHESSIEMIKE


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #8 on: Jan 2nd, 2016, 9:02am »
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CHESSIEMIKE - Lodge Members -
 
Great Report for those of us who can relate to the Wonder World Of Dispatch! Your account explains why Dispatchers never have a nice day.  
A lot of Tylenol useful...
 
Then the larger question here? Who had the nifty idea to tear up much 'secondary main' all over the railroad System? Finally (and SIGH!) all  
these lessons were taught by (examples) Messrs. J. W. Barriger and "Al" Perlman. Maybe the late R. R. Young, too, but he was more  
obsessed with fast, quality Passenger service. FWIW from your cranky, aging Old Coot...
 
...............................Vern.........................


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George_Harris
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #9 on: Jan 2nd, 2016, 12:50pm »
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on Jan 2nd, 2016, 9:02am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
CHESSIEMIKE - Lodge Members -
 
Great Report for those of us who can relate to the Wonder World Of Dispatch! Your account explains why Dispatchers never have a nice day.  
A lot of Tylenol useful...
 
Then the larger question here? Who had the nifty idea to tear up much 'secondary main' all over the railroad System? Finally (and SIGH!) all  
these lessons were taught by (examples) Messrs. J. W. Barriger and "Al" Perlman. Maybe the late R. R. Young, too, but he was more  
obsessed with fast, quality Passenger service. FWIW from your cranky, aging Old Coot...
 
...............................Vern.........................

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"
 
In the mid to late 60's Southern tried operating super long trans.  This of course caused problems on single track lines where there might be a siding in 100 miles that could hold 200 cars, and then their might not.  It apparently worked better on the Washington - Atlanta main which was a combination of double track, single-double, and long sidings, and the CNO&TP which was likewise for the most part.  They ran with intermediate engines attached to a radio control car.  I understood that they used a northbound frequency and a southbound frequency.  This left a few glitches.  First, regardless of train direction, loss of signals in tunnels on parts of the CNO&TP, and maybe on the Salisbury - Asheville line if they tried the long trains there, and then such issues that there Chattanooga to Ooletwah carried trains designated both southbound and northbound moving in each direction.  At least with theses trains they had mid-train power which served to keep the in-train forces and brake application time down.
 
I have no idea as to when or why they ceased doing this, but I have the impression that they have.  Maybe they still use it somewhere?  Maybe someone else that wants to start should ask why is it no longer used or common?
 
There are things you can try again, but if you do you had better figure out why it was not successful the first time that you should do differently, different process, different material, or both.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Weather delays
 
« Reply #10 on: Jan 2nd, 2016, 1:22pm »
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I look at the foregoing and say "Whee". Or something...

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