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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:23 AM   #21
Oponopono
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Originally Posted by zo1D View Post
ps: if it's possible, please put a link to the source you use when u want to say something usefull
zo1D, perhaps, for a start, wouldn't be a bad idea to glance over the Federal Legislation which sets the rules for several aspects of railway organization and operation in the United States. It is the Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

You can see it here.

As for Europe, there exists an ongoing effort to uniformize the operations in the continent and that is moving forward with several EU directives regarding the sector organization and the operations. There exist already standards of interoperability concerning a number of factors and that may, perhaps, be a good reading for you as well.

From here onwards you have a whole array of differences which cause both systems to have different infrastructure, different trains, different organization, etc, etc. The difference between European and US railways is a subject vast enough for you and your colleague to write a book about it, and a big one, if you want!
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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:26 AM   #22
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You make the mistake that you are speaking about Europe as one area. But this isn't reality. The differences within Europe are very big, think about the difference between France and Russia, between the UK and the Ukraine for example.
So a comparison USA vs. whole Europe makes no sense at all.
I honestly have to say that when I hear Europe Russia or even the Ukraine are not the first thing I think about, not even the second. I'd start with roughly the EU members or those countries that are in the single market the differences there would be still substantial enough anyway.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:47 AM   #23
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I know that rail is mostly about freight nowadays in the US, but that does not mean one should simply ignore the rest. Acela is already a victim of turning a blind eye to this question, it would be irresponsible to force a second project into a similar fate.
Quite right, Slartibartfas. But there is plenty of time yet. The major concerns about current regulations respect the rolling stock and we are still years away from that. There are a lot of studies to be done before reaching that phase.


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When I read your lines, it would almost look like technological progress would be done for the sheer fun of it by some weirdos. Thats simply not the case normally, also when it comes to freight rail.
Well, to be very honnest, sometimes in Europe I think it goes that way. For instance, what added benefit do you have with ERTMS 2 in a freight line?

Now, efficiency. A railway is a system, the sum of many factors put together. You may have one item where there is some inneficiency but sometimes the cost to improve the efficiency on that item alone will cause the efficiency of the whole system to fall.

Let me give you an example, fuel consumption, which is one where American railways lag a little behind. Of course that American railways could have more fuel efficient engines. But there are two points here:

1) Fuel in the US is cheap;
2) Introducing more hi-tech and fuel efficient engines would require adaptation.

Now, what happens is this: you introduce a new type of engine with advanced technology. So you have to train all your personel to maintain the new, very different, type of engine and keep them current on their training with both the old and the new types. At the same time, while with minor advancements you can use the same sets of tools you used for the last 50 years, only adding something here and there at a time, if you introduce a whole new type you need a whole new and different set of tooling and diagnosis instruments. All this training, tooling and instruments cost time and money.

Quite right that you are saving some fuel. But you had to expend money with the introduction of the new, very different types. Now, at what point would the difference in the fuel costs compensate the expense of the introduction of new, very different technology? More so if we speak about a country where fuel is cheap.

Now, please note, I am not, at all, against technology. Far from that. I merely deffend that we use the most efficient thing, seeing the system as a whole. If the most efficient thing for the requirements of the system is a whole, new, shining, high-tech gadget or an old, 19th century tool, I don't really care.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:51 AM   #24
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It's hard to compare safety according to me... The US is more going for a rigid trains approach where most of Europe is mainly investing in preventing trains to collide (well, at least with more high-tech solutions). Which approach is best, I don't know. For that you'd have to define "best": fast or strong?

Sidenote: in that first youtube video, it's clear from the pick-up's squeaking brakes that he didn't realise another train was coming after the first one had passed. I know from experience that our crossroads wouldn't open if there's another train coming so fast - which is safer.
Another sidenote: in Europe, people wouldn't accept the horn warnings of the trains when they near a crossroads, it'd be too noisy.

I don't fully agree that freight and passengers can't run on the same tracks. I do agree it's less optimal, but considering freight trains can accelerate quite fast as well (it all depends on what kind of loco you use and the length of the train), they can easily fit in the gaps of the schedule of passenger trains. Commuter trains accelerate a bit faster, but stop at each station whereas such freight trains drive a bit slower and as such shouldn't have to wait anywhere.
That way the freight is delivered faster, but it's transported in lower quantities. You could compare it with transporting data over the internet or with a truck filled with data tapes.

About ERTMS on the Betuweroute: ERTMS is there to eventually replace/accompany the national signalling systems on all international routes - including freight routes, so I don't see what's so strange about this? Sure, there are still bugs in the system, but you're naive if you think that no national signalling systems had no bugs when they were introduced (the only exceptions could be systems copied from other countries).

Also, the European railways are still developing quite a bit. Several lines are still being built and old lines are being modernised. In the US, the network has hardly changed the past few years. There hasn't been much need for innovation in the US because the equipment they have fills their needs. The "simple" loco's they use are all pretty much the same, which obviously helps maintenance and has resulted in a better reliability.
Again: good or false can only be decided depending on what you find important.

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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:05 AM   #25
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About ERTMS on the Betuweroute: ERTMS is there to eventually replace/accompany the national signalling systems on all international routes - including freight routes, so I don't see what's so strange about this? Sure, there are still bugs in the system, but you're naive if you think that no national signalling systems had no bugs when they were introduced (the only exceptions could be systems copied from other countries).
My issue is not about the bugs that the system may eventually have. What I question is, why is such expensive thing necessary in a freight route? I may even go as far as to question why is there the need for an ATP system, whatever it may be, in a freight line.


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Again: good or false can only be decided depending on what you find important.
Importance is measured in numbers. Those that measure efficacy and efficiency.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #26
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Well, I guess rail industry should learn a little from airlines. Albeit air crashes have always been extremely rare comparing to road or rail travel, their catastrophic nature have always pushed the industry toward a zero-failure approach, to the point that most improvents are now done only in response for accident findings, not for research in mitigation of known risks that cannot be reasonably reduced with present-day technological scenario (i.e., bird strikes, rever lightning etc.). Train industry should adopt a similar approach: if a feasible, more technological and safe solution are availabe, it should be implemented outright or in phases, no matter what.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Oponopono View Post
My issue is not about the bugs that the system may eventually have. What I question is, why is such expensive thing necessary in a freight route? I may even go as far as to question why is there the need for an ATP system, whatever it may be, in a freight line.
It allows more efficient use of train paths. All of Europe will use it at some point in the future, therefore all freight locos will need to be fitted with it unless they are segregated entirely which they won't be. Also, why implemement a soon-to-be-redundent signalling system on a brand new railway? It also provides the opportuninty to test the system on a customer that doesn't care about 5-10 minute delays caused by teething problems.

ATP is a safety system to prevent drivers running red lights. Unless the lives of freight drivers are somehow expendable I don't understand why you would ask such a question.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #28
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It allows more efficient use of train paths. All of Europe will use it at some point in the future, therefore all freight locos will need to be fitted with it unless they are segregated entirely which they won't be. Also, why implemement a soon-to-be-redundent signalling system on a brand new railway? It also provides the opportuninty to test the system on a customer that doesn't care about 5-10 minute delays caused by teething problems.

ATP is a safety system to prevent drivers running red lights. Unless the lives of freight drivers are somehow expendable I don't understand why you would ask such a question.
Neither congestion is a problem on that line for the foreseeable future nor the question of safety poses with such prevalence. How many lines, even main lines, have you got in Europe with no ATP whatsoever? How many lines do you have in the US with no ATP? Interestingly enough, there are lines is the US where ATP was fitted long time ago and dismantelled so that the companies didn't need to incur the expense of maintaining it. Do you see trains crashing every 5 minutes? What are the probabilities of an accident? Speed limitations apply, of course. In the US that is the reason for the 79 mph limit.

andrelot mentioned aviation. Quite interesting because that is a field where Europe also went for very high-tech years before the United States, even if some airspaces in the US are among the most heavilly congested worldwide. As a matter of fact, 35-plus years old aircraft which are currently flying in the US, both in passenger transport and in freight would not be allowed to fly in Europe, at least in an economically viable way. And it didn't and doesn't compromise safety.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Oponopono View Post
Neither congestion is a problem on that line for the foreseeable future nor the question of safety poses with such prevalence.
The problem on the Betuweline is that locomotives using it require both dutch and ETCS signalling systems, and (if electric) must be at least capable to use 3 different currents (1500 V-15 kV-25 kV). A lot of trins still use parallel lines because locomotives doesn't have ETCS or can't work under 25 kV. But this is often a problem with new techonlogies: the high-speed lines in The Netherlands, Belgium and Italy have the same problem and are t the moment under utilized.

But on other lines in Europe 5 to 10 trains/hour/direction are quite common.

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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #30
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Yes, and there are some with much more trains per hour and direction. Where exactly does that pose a problem for operation with no ATP?

Rephrasing it in reverse: how much was the added cost for installing it comparing with a simple electronic interlocking with no ATP?
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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:45 PM   #31
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Heres some Muscular movement on the US Freight system

Ancona,IL



Westmont, IL

METRA & BNSF Freight



Egg Harbor ,NJ

Atlantic City line NJT



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Old December 7th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
Heres some Muscular movement on the US Freight system

Ancona,IL

...
Ancona?
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Old December 7th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #33
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There are a lot of places in the USA named from an european city. Milano, London, and some more famous like York or Oréans.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #34
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
Atlantic City line NJT



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Is a loco that size really needed for 4 coaches?
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Oponopono View Post
Neither congestion is a problem on that line for the foreseeable future nor the question of safety poses with such prevalence.
True but that doesn't mean ETRMS won't be more efficient. It will enable better control over problem moments, reduce the total-stop/start inherent in colour-light signals thereby reducing power consumtion and lowering wear, and enable more effiecient traversing of junctions.

Quote:
How many lines, even main lines, have you got in Europe with no ATP whatsoever? How many lines do you have in the US with no ATP? Interestingly enough, there are lines is the US where ATP was fitted long time ago and dismantelled so that the companies didn't need to incur the expense of maintaining it. Do you see trains crashing every 5 minutes? What are the probabilities of an accident? Speed limitations apply, of course. In the US that is the reason for the 79 mph limit.
A more appropriate question to ask would be how many of the crashes that have happened would have been prevented by ATP? A lot. How many would have been avoided by ATP and ETRMS? Apart from extra-system causes like trucks on the line, all of them. I can understand why from a purely economic standpoint it may seem an overly-costly approach, but where human loss-of-life is concerned I'm glad for it. Nonetheless it is also about future-proofing and creating a unified network, much like the USA already enjoys. There is little point developing a unified legacy system for all countries to deploy, that would be an expense for little benefit. By creating ETRMS allows a step change in performance and gives the countries a good reason to upgrade.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Oponopono View Post
Interestingly enough, there are lines is the US where ATP was fitted long time ago and dismantelled so that the companies didn't need to incur the expense of maintaining it. Do you see trains crashing every 5 minutes? What are the probabilities of an accident? Speed limitations apply, of course. In the US that is the reason for the 79 mph limit.
You say it yourself: speed.
Europe works at higher speeds and as such we'll need extra protection and extra information (in-cab signalling) because working with just lights is a lot harder at those speeds. Having ATP is an additional security to prevent mistakes from turning into disasters *shouldn't* be needed, but turns out to be needed after all.

The reason why you won't see that many collisions in the US is because lines are fairly straight and don't have nearly a tenth the amount of junctions you'll find in the European network. The denser and the more complex a network becomes, the more you'll need such safeguards.

Considering the Betuweroute is a relatively straight route without too many junctions, I can agree that in that case it's less important to have ATP in place. The same goes for the US: less junctions, less complexity = less need for ATP. But, like I said before, Europe is trying to go for a single ATP system on all international lines and therefore ERTMS got installed. Sure, it's more expensive than having no system, but I personally consider it an investment in extra safeguards. It does no harm unless you'd, understandably, look at "costing money" as a harm.

Greetings,
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #38
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A more appropriate question to ask would be how many of the crashes that have happened would have been prevented by ATP? A lot. How many would have been avoided by ATP and ETRMS? Apart from extra-system causes like trucks on the line, all of them. I can understand why from a purely economic standpoint it may seem an overly-costly approach, but where human loss-of-life is concerned I'm glad for it. Nonetheless it is also about future-proofing and creating a unified network, much like the USA already enjoys. There is little point developing a unified legacy system for all countries to deploy, that would be an expense for little benefit. By creating ETRMS allows a step change in performance and gives the countries a good reason to upgrade.
The question of unification here does not apply. Any locomotive, whatsoever, can run in a line without ATP. Provided, of course, that it is a 25kV under a 25kV catenary, etc, etc.

But the point here and which might be of interest for the original poster, is that we are going somehow deeply in the different philosophy approaches. In Europe things are done just for their own sake up to a point and counting with very minimal probabilities of an accident. In the US things are done having efficiency in mind. As long as accidents don't cause an innacceptable increase in insurance premiums, and that is far, far away from happening, it is quite ok to operate without ATP and, more than that, remove it from many places where it is installed, thus reducing the speed to 79mph. If that is enough, let's use it as efficiently as possible and refuse incurring in unnecessary costs. The savings which come from these things go towards offering a cheaper, thus more efficient, transport option.

You mentioned the interoperability which exists in the United States. That could lead us to how and why things are interoperable there and not in Europe. One relevant point is because all main aspects of organization and operation are codified into Federal Law rather than technical standards only. In Europe we are now going that way with the interoperability specifications.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #39
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You say it yourself: speed.
Europe works at higher speeds and as such we'll need extra protection and extra information (in-cab signalling) because working with just lights is a lot harder at those speeds. Having ATP is an additional security to prevent mistakes from turning into disasters *shouldn't* be needed, but turns out to be needed after all.
How many freight trains do you have in Europe operating at more than 79mph (roughly 126km/h)? And, of course, now we could go into asking about the efficiency of moving freight which does not have such time value at higher speeds.


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It does no harm unless you'd, understandably, look at "costing money" as a harm.
Well, "costing money" reduces the overall efficiency of the system. One thing here, one thing there, another small thing another place and you find the reasons why freight transport in Europe won't be as efficient as in the US anytime in the next decades.

Please don't forget that in the US the operation pays for itself plus the infrastructure and even gives a profit, all costs paid. In Europe train operation pays for itself but regarding the infrastructure it pays only the operation and current maintenance costs. It doesn't pay the initial investment and in most cases doesn't allow the constitution of reserves for subsequent renovations and investment.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:56 PM   #40
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How many freight trains do you have in Europe operating at more than 79mph (roughly 126km/h)?
Very few, but on the same tracks there are hundreds of faster passenger trains...
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