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Kansas City Southern Message Board

  • trackboss trackboss May 28, 2009 3:10 PM Flag

    Victoria Rosenberg Current Status?

    any update?

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    • ADD, not sure what r/r you are talking about. Makes no real difference. Rule books are full of rules that protect the railroad first and the employee second. They know darn well that 90% of conductors are going to shove blind instead of walking back to the engine. The rule I took exception to was the one that stated that while moving at 60mph on the mainline that the crew on the head end would NOT move over a switch until it was KNOWN to be properly lined for movement. Now, unless you're out front of the engine walking the train through the block just how are you able to comply with the rule? Knowing the signal is/was green for you is not sufficient enough to use as an excuse if trouble happened. I brought this very thing up at a rules class in Sacramento Ca. and was told to stop being a trouble maker, honestly. Think about movement in fog. Gee.......who ya think they're going to blame if you hit something at 60mph. But, they're have you in for investigation if you slowed the train to comply with the rules. And you're right, s/s are very easily fouled by debris. JKP

    • I agree that spring switches are almost more trouble than they are worth;they require almost daily lubrication and adjustment because every wheel in the train springing throught the points forces them open. And cleaning, in the case of a spring switch at the end of a passing track where many trains passing over it are accelerating from a meet and using sand. Of course that last item applies to power and hand through switches, as well, but the sand can prevent the spring switch from closing back up.

      Trouble is, there isn't anybody on the rear of most trains to line a switch back after a meet anymore. In the words of a Superintendent I once knew, "Are we going to violate Rule 104 by leaving a main track switch open, or are we going to violate Rule 103 by shoving the train back in the blind to pick up the conductor after he lines the switch back?" Option Three was make the conductor walk back to the engine, which what happened until the SS's were installed. While not a bad idea in theory, it takes a while, even without big ballast rock, snakes, wild dogs, and bridges with no walkways. So, spring switches are a necessary evil in non-CTC territory in these cabooseless days.

    • More on spring switches. The 'leading' point (that's the switch point that is against the rail when in normal position) sustains a great amount of wear as it is impacted with oncoming wheel traffic. The forces put upon it cause the point to become thin and brittle. Now when the switch is 'trailed' through in normal position the wheel force conducting the opening of the switch exerts an opposing force on the opposite side of the switch point. Thus causing the thin or worn point to become unsafe as it will tend to break a chunk of the switch point off eventually. This occurs even with spring switches equiped with a hydrolic system which helps to prevent the 'slapping' of the switch points as wheels trail through the switch. BTW, thinning of the leading switch point is common to all switches. In a world where all the flanges on wheels were the same width, the incidence of switch point wear would be greatly reduced. JKP

    • You certainly may be right about spring switches, but the Western Maryland used them for many years in mainline service at double track to single-track transitions. The reason I proposed using them is obviously to avoid the cost, maintenance and electricity of a powered switch.

      If they're not practical because of wear then they would obviously not be a good solution.

      Still, use of the cell phone system seems to me like a good alternative to coded carrier control for medium volume lines with relatively few turnouts.

    • I'd imagine any conductor would LOVE to throw switches via a cell phone. Using a spring switch might be difficult. Don't know if a spring switch could handle that kind of traffic. Seems to me this kind of use would beat the heck out of the switch. Also, I believe you'd have to also install a derail in conjuction with such a switch. Just in case you where having to use the cut of track for a bad order set-out or short term car storage. JKP

    • This seems like a good cost effective solution for lines approaching traffic approaching CTC volumes. But I'd like to offer what I think might be even cheaper than putting in stretches of "real" CTC.

      For a while I've been thinking that some sort of cell phone based system might be very cost effective where there is good coverage. With a little reconfiguration of one end of an existing siding and an upgrade of the track structure in the siding it would be possible to avoid having power switches. Essentially the siding would become a "lap siding" with the through route at each end of the siding leading through a spring switch into the right hand of a lap couplet. Let's call the resulting "double track" stretch a "meeting zone" because it's not really a "siding" and actually too short to be called "double track". The track warrant zone approaching the meeting zone would include the through-routed track of the lap couplet.

      A leaving signal would be placed at the departing end of each side of the meeting zone controlled through the cell system.

      No coded carrier line would be needed, and with no power switch the approach lighted leaving signals could be solar powered. Basically you'd have standard "red until cleared" technology in the signals. When a train approached the meeting zone it would phone the dispatcher to get the track warrant for the block beyond the leaving signal, and when the DS issued the warrant the departing signal would be cleared.

      This could be done by modifying the software that currently runs TWC systems to be certain that conflicting warrants are not issued.

      The signals would be controlled so that if the cell communication with the control center were lost during the period it displays green it would fall back to stop. Once a train moved into the departing spring switch it would also be set to red of course.

      Some sort of monitor of the spring switches should be included to be certain that they have not been thrown manually. That monitor could be connected to the leaving signal controlling departure through the turnout and report to the control center through its cell connection.

      When true CTC is adopted the end of the siding that had been modified to through-route down what was the original siding would have to be re-configured to through route on the straight track. But the cost to make the reconfigurations would be saved by the delayed costs of the coded carrier line and power switches until truly needed.

    • Mile, nice to see your hanging in too. Having CTC every 50 miles or so would act as a kind of 'lose' CTC system. I mean, CTC used every 50 miles would actually give you almost all the benefits of a full CTC but at a much cheaper price. I'd say 12 or so miles of CTC every 50. Wish it could be shorter but I think we'd have to allow for the change in signal territory. Oh, did you know that the same 'on star' technology that allows someone sitting in a room to disable your car's running engine is being looked into for dispatchers to stop a train? JKP

    • Allday...good to see you, thought you might have ended up working the spare board due to the economy, lol. I have to agree with you, CTC is certainly not needed for 8 trains per day and TWC is more than adequate. In my district, we have a section of TWC about 40 miles long with a section of CTC siding in the middle with power switches to speed meets, a sort of poor man's CTC if you will. Take care and GL.

    • yank, I speak from 27+ yrs of train service. And, I haven't had a beer in over a week. Yank, you're probably one of those train buffs that would come up to the engine when stopped and start telling me more about the engine than I cared to know. I'll bet you have walls covered in pictures of trains. If you think my writing is inspired by beer you should also ask yourself just what inspired YOU to take a shot at me. If you are doing it without the help of a beer substance I'd say you're the one with a problem. JKP

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