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NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019

The report, by consulting firm STV, highlights the complicated challenges that transit officials face in their effort to speed the subway commutes of 5.5 million New Yorkers a day.

Clayton Guse
October 16, 2019
New York Daily News
Oct. 14--A new MTA consultant report underscores why efforts to speed up subway trains worry the people who drive them.

Operators of 400-ton trains that might carry 1,000 people often can't see the speed limit signs posted along the tracks, can't trust the vintage technology that runs track signals, and can't even be sure if the brakes will work properly.

And faulty speedometers make unclear how fast the train is moving. "One minute it'll say I'm going 10, the next it'll say I'm going 60, and all while I know I'm going 20," said an operator who works on the No. 3 line.

Those are among the problems cited in the report distributed last week to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials. The report, by consulting firm STV, highlights the complicated challenges that transit officials face in their effort to speed the subway commutes of 5.5 million New Yorkers a day.

Among the issues highlighted in the study:

* The subway is full of faulty signal timers, which trip a train's emergency brakes when they move too fast or too close to the train ahead. The STV report shows that the technology that supports the timers requires trains to move slowly.

* The subways' ancient signal system -- much of which dates to the 1930s -- as well as the age of subway cars and problems with speedometers require operators to brake more slowly, hindering the MTA's efforts to speed up service.

* The MTA mechanically limited speeds on some subway cars after the 1995 Williamsburg Bridge crash, which killed a train operator and injured dozens of passengers. The mechanical speed limits have been applied to new subway cars, which without the limits would move faster than the signal system allows.

Train operators say they have good reason to fear running at higher speeds. "Sometimes I don't trust the brakes at all," said Yann Hicks, a veteran subway train operator who works on the N and Q lines.

Speedometers are especially a problem on older cars, the report says. It notes that "distrust of the speed indication" in subway car cabs "leads operators to take a very conservative approach to speed management."

MTA officials sent a memo to subway supervisors in June telling them to ease up on train operators whose slightly higher speeds make the faulty signals trip their trains' brakes.

But Hicks said he and his colleagues still face "plantation style discipline."

"What we were taught when I came up -- probably everyone is taught this unofficially -- you take the speed limit when you're coming into a time-controlled area and you divide it in half," said Hicks. "This way you stay out of trouble."

NYC Transit President Andy Byford last year launched a program called "Save Safe Seconds" aimed at fixing some of the subway's worst signal timers. Gov. Cuomo doubled down on that effort this summer by forming a "Train Speed and Safety Task Force," which produced the STV report.

MTA spokeswoman Abbey Collins asserted that the STV study was merely a "draft report," but conceded that it raises "a series of questions and issues to be further researched and developed" by Cuomo's task force.

STV spokeswoman Linda Rosenberg added that the firm "100% believes speeds can be increased in certain segments [of the subway]."

Speeding up service would require trains to operate farther apart, according to to the report.

To run trains closer together at faster speeds, the subway will need "communications-based train control," or CBTC. Currently the No. 7 and L lines are the only two in the system with the technology, and the MTA plans to add it to several busy lines over the next five years.

Subway speed limits would vary with a CBTC signaling system -- its computers would direct trains at whatever speed they determine to be safe given track conditions and spacing between trains.

But a CBTC system still has to account for worst possible scenarios, including tracks that are wet or covered in grease. Rails covered with leaves or grease sometimes force trains to stop 50% slower than they would on dry rails, the report says.

Even if the subways are fully automated, train operators insist they know better than any computer how fast trains can safely roll.

"They need humans running the trains," said a train operator with 20 years of experience. "The governor, the [MTA] chairman should ride the trains with us so they can see it from our point of view."

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

What is this about not trusting the brakes? That is a pretty serious accusation of malfeasance and shouldn't be made unless it has some backup.



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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Thu Nov 14 19:38:45 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019.

Not only that but after the fist 2 or 3 stops, any T/O worth his/her salt should know how the train is going to behave and be able to operate accordingly.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by sloth on Thu Nov 14 21:30:18 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019.

My experience with M3's is that you don't know what you have behind you until you're trying to make your first 80 mph station stop. Once in awhile it's not pretty. I don't know where you're getting malfeasance from. It's not easy to maintain elderly MU equipment that should probably be on the ocean floor by now. All I read in that statement is that some sets don't brake well. And he's 100% right.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Thu Nov 14 22:09:06 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by sloth on Thu Nov 14 21:30:18 2019.

Thatís true, but after the first 2 or 3 stops under those types of combat conditions, donít you pretty much know how the train will behave for the rest of the trip?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Mitch45 on Fri Nov 15 01:44:36 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

Iím worried about T/Oís fiddling with their phones while operating the train or chatting with someone in the cab.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Railman718 on Fri Nov 15 02:08:57 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

As a TO all i gotta say about this report is..

L
M
A
O

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Orange Blossom Special on Fri Nov 15 11:07:22 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

Reminds me of the articles I posted about NYC having the worst maintained system in the country, and parts of the world.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train Motormen -- and new report explains why

Posted by ChicagoMotorman on Fri Nov 15 13:40:37 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

Why? Aren't most of New York City motormen used to going fast?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Steamdriven on Fri Nov 15 17:51:52 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019.

this is a common modern reporter trick; have a line of BS you want to promote, then interview until you get someone who says it for you. The reporter may direct the convo so that the topic comes up framed as they want it, but they only report the juicy bit they were waiting for. Of course, the reporter will never do a ride-along with the M/M or operate a train on a test track.

btw, there -should- be a non-revenue stretch track, including at least one grade, one curve and one station for testing, school and other practical use. The same spots can and should be used for celebrity/politician/occasional railfan operation.

Yeah, seriously on the least one. A pol who has even 10 minutes of experience will be just as much of a jerk as before, but they'll have 1000% more subway knowledge than they started with. That will translate into more favorable budget, legislation and priorities. 2 minutes driving the train where it has 6" side clearance will lead to a positive response when asked to, say, close a section down completely for 96 hours. They will then understand what "keep the trains running and fix it somehow, they've done it before blahblahblah" really entails.

2. Celebutards have far too much influence, they're practically a branch of politics now. Scheduling a few of the to drive an a somewhat challenging stretch, during which they'll overshoot the stop, inadvertently go BIE, >insert hazard here< etc will give them some scrap of a clue what's involved. Better if they were assigned to track and 3rd rail maint for a day but that's too real, they won't do it.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Steamdriven on Fri Nov 15 17:57:16 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by sloth on Thu Nov 14 21:30:18 2019.

Yeah but the subway is lucky to average 18 mph, hitting 30-ish for a few moments. A horse could beat today's NYCT.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train Motormen -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Fri Nov 15 18:24:39 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train Motormen -- and new report explains why, posted by ChicagoMotorman on Fri Nov 15 13:40:37 2019.

Not as fast as you in Chicago. The GT signals are often severely undertimed. I once clocked a S/B F between PPK and Ft Hamilton Pky that was clearing the timers quite well and not unduly slow. The actual problem was that the timers were posted at 35 MPH yet the train was going at 29 MPH. NYCT trains on most line present the appearance of going a lot faster especially in the subway due to the passing support columns giving an illusion of speed. From what I have seen in Chicago, the tubular construction of both the State and Dearborn subways except in the downtown station areas doesnít seem to present that situation.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Michael549 on Sat Nov 16 00:30:52 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Railman718 on Fri Nov 15 02:08:57 2019.

With all due respect, why are you laughing your butt off?

Mike



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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Railman718 on Sat Nov 16 02:04:41 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Michael549 on Sat Nov 16 00:30:52 2019.

Because its a Joke of a report...

Talking to only a few of us don't define the masses as a whole.

I don't feel that way at all and i personally know a lot of TOs who think this is a joke of a article..

It got lots of laughs in the RTO groups on Facebook.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Train Dude on Sat Nov 16 07:11:08 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019.

The allegation comes from a "train operator" who works the lines using R68As. Every railfan has heard the old wives tale that the R68A brakes are slower than R68 brakes. It sounds like the operator is reciting that yarn and these guys are eating it up. While there may be slight response differences between 68s and 68As, BOTH car classes meet the standard braking criteria for all NYCT railcars. If he is a competent operator, this should not be an issue.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Joe V on Sat Nov 16 07:48:56 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Train Dude on Sat Nov 16 07:11:08 2019.

What is such a train like when they mix them ?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by zac on Sat Nov 16 08:39:16 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sat Nov 16 07:48:56 2019.

They don't, or at least they don't anymore. When new I think they tried and found they didn't work well together so they don't mix them. Only the B uses both R68 and R68A. (Maybe the N and W to the extent they have them.)

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Edwards! on Sat Nov 16 11:00:51 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by AlM on Thu Nov 14 18:09:11 2019.

Any trained Motorman KNOWS his/her equipment.

The 68/68a is a beast.
It's basically a 60ft car stretched out to 75ft, with the same characteristics.

These cars are Not the same cars delivered, however.
Concourse and Coney Island shops worked extremely hard to get these trains to work properly.
Friction Brakes were changed, from cast to composite., cutting down track fire steel dust,etc.
Propulsion systems,were changed...cars were unitized into linked sets with drawbars.
The 68s became the best running cars out there within the B division, consistently maintaining 100,000+ between breakdowns..
The only cars with a better record is the R160s.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Andrew Saucci on Sat Nov 16 11:12:55 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Steamdriven on Fri Nov 15 17:51:52 2019.

Not such a bad idea. The first in line should be Senator Schumer.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Joe V on Sat Nov 16 11:15:37 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by zac on Sat Nov 16 08:39:16 2019.

There were photos of a mixed consists on Subchat about a year ago.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by SUBWAYMAN on Sat Nov 16 15:01:13 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Andrew Saucci on Sat Nov 16 11:12:55 2019.

No.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by ftgreeneg on Sun Nov 17 05:18:29 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

The speedometer thing is absolutely true. Esp on 68, 68a's I'd about 50% of the speedometers don't work. A T/O will naturally approach timers more conservatively without working speedometers.

The timers are absolutely not designed to clear at their stated speeds.

The brake thing I dunno that seems to be an exaggeration overall. I will say on some older model trains I have operated a few with looong brakes(on a couple 42's, an infamous 46 out of JYD & a 46 in my experience) not often tho. Those I bang in but never braking bad enough I couldn't operate it. Of course there's the 68a's (less extent 68's) with their brake application delay but in all those cases I agree with Randyo any decent T/O gets adjusted in a stop or two just like a driver getting behind the wheel of a car rental.

I think many T/O's operate pretty quick but there's some who have likely with hit a signal or had close calls operate conservatively because challenging a timer and losing isn't worth the getting the 3rd degree and trouble from RCC and Superintendent like you murdered someone. Can't say I blame em honestly.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by BLE-NIMX on Sun Nov 17 08:17:12 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sat Nov 16 07:48:56 2019.

I took such a train out of service during the last RTO picks of West End B service before they switched. There was MORE than a slight response issue when they are mixed. Running from 2***s The rear half of the 5***s kicked after the dynamic was to be fading out under 10 MPH and replaced by Brake cylinders. The responding TSS chose to blame the defect on a compressor switch turned off when he discovered the mix up so to avoid getting a yardmaster or dispatcher blamed. The time delays in getting both sets to equalize for spotting stop markers was impossible for me to bother to learn for a 1:49 local trip so I called it off.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Train Dude on Sun Nov 17 08:34:05 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sat Nov 16 07:48:56 2019.

Everyone has their own opinion about that. My belief is that because the difference is in the brake valve piping, if you are operating from an R68A and pulling R68s, they will all respond like R68As. If you operate from the R68 end then the R68As should act like R68s.

Of course that is my opinion since I've never operated sure h a consist. I was never trained as a train operator. However, when one of my trains would be removed from service as a reported "poor braking train", my first action was to have the train operated by a TSS to get another opinion. Usually with the assessment that there was nothing wrong with the brakes.


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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Joe V on Sun Nov 17 09:29:27 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Train Dude on Sun Nov 17 08:34:05 2019.

Was there any problems mixing whatever Phase of R32 ran on the C with the R38's ?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by TransitChuckG on Sun Nov 17 09:47:16 2019, in response to NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Nov 14 16:44:39 2019.

Thanks, everybody. So this SVT firm's report is full of horsepucky?Or , did I miss something?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Stephen Bauman on Sun Nov 17 10:01:44 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by ftgreeneg on Sun Nov 17 05:18:29 2019.

I'd about 50% of the speedometers don't work.

Not relevant, if T/O's were as good as those on other systems.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Joe V on Sun Nov 17 10:03:55 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Stephen Bauman on Sun Nov 17 10:01:44 2019.

What did they TA do before there was such thing as speedometers in the cabs ?

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Stephen Bauman on Sun Nov 17 10:06:51 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by BLE-NIMX on Sun Nov 17 08:17:12 2019.

The responding TSS chose to blame the defect on a compressor switch turned off when he discovered the mix up so to avoid getting a yardmaster or dispatcher blamed.

This CYA attitude is a major reason why service is bad.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by JayZeeBMT on Sun Nov 17 10:17:41 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sun Nov 17 10:03:55 2019.

T/Os made educated guesses as to their train's speed.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Train Dude on Mon Nov 18 12:52:49 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sun Nov 17 09:29:27 2019.

None that I was aware of. Westinghouse ran fine with G.E. so long at the cars were properly rated.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Mon Nov 18 16:19:42 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Joe V on Sun Nov 17 09:29:27 2019.

There werealso mixed trains of Phase 1 and Phase 2 R-32s and I never heard about any problems with them. The IRTís redbirds also had cars with 2 different brake packages and they seemed to work OK.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by Joe V on Mon Nov 18 16:21:39 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by randyo on Mon Nov 18 16:19:42 2019.

Things really got mixed up with R32's between 9/12/01 and 10/26/01 when the E was extended to Euclid Avenue.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Mon Nov 18 16:41:23 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by Edwards! on Sat Nov 16 11:00:51 2019.

AFAIK, all NYCT equipment from the R-44s and up had composition brake shoes as original equipment.

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Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why

Posted by randyo on Mon Nov 18 17:10:17 2019, in response to Re: NY: Higher subway speeds worry NYC train operators -- and new report explains why, posted by JayZeeBMT on Sun Nov 17 10:17:41 2019.

Correct, and if you were relatively familiar with the line, you could guesstimate pretty closely how fast you could operate without overrunning a timer.

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