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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by Future Motorman on Mon Oct 16 03:59:17 2006

Next month I take a test for Block Operator for Metro-North Railroad. Aside, from what the MTA website says are the duties, I was wondering if anyone knows more. A block operators duties seems almost the same as a Rail-Traffic Controller, but just in a section (block), and in a Tower. I hope I pass and get hired, then I can leave the Department of Buses, and NYCTA for good. I want to work for the MTA, but in a different section, (Railroad). Right now I am a bus operator out of KB (1st good break). I also took and pass the O/C T/O exam in 2003 (2nd good break). If it were not for the promo list, I would of been called by now for T/O. Now I get a third break and was selected to take the Block Operators test. The great thing about this is there is a promotional path. They are to Rail-Traffic Controller, Assistant Conductor, Yard Dispatcher, and my favorite Locomotive Engineer. If everything goes well, and I pass, get hired, and do well as a Block Operator, I will go for promotion to Locomotive Engineer (the real name for Train Operators). Again, if anyone knows more than just what the MTA website says are the duties of Block Operator, I will greatly appreciate the info.

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by Atomsk on Mon Oct 16 06:47:31 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Future Motorman on Mon Oct 16 03:59:17 2006.

Here's an article about Conrail block operators on Trainweb.

...and here's a nice tutorial on the PRR history site.

For the most part, a railroad Block Operator is the same as a subway Tower Operator, in the days before Master Towers. Each is responsible for a section of the road, an uses various means to control the movement of trains on that section.

The Trainweb artcle illustrates a method called "manual block" operation, where each crew gets writen orders, authorizing them to move a train over a certain part of the line.

The PRR article shows how a block operator in a tower works with the signals and switches, to line trains for various routes.

More heavily traveled parts of the line use Centralized Traffic Control (CTC), instead of block operation. This allows a single operator to control a territory that would otherwize require dozens of individual blocks. Therefore, the CTC operator can line up trains far in advance of trouble spots or bottlenecks.

To extend your "rail traffic controller" metaphor, the block operator is like departure control, to the CTC operator's regional center controller.

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by Future Motorman on Mon Oct 16 14:46:03 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Atomsk on Mon Oct 16 06:47:31 2006.

That would explain why Rail-Traffic controllers for Metro-North, work inside Grand Central Terminal. They have to move all those trains out and into the terminal, and put them onto their main lines (New Haven, Harlem, and Hudson). So, I guess their area would be around the Bronx/Mount Vernon/Manhattan area, where the lines start to branch out onto their main lines. Huge task. Then block operators would control trains on the main lines in a particular section. This would explain why Rail-Traffic Controllers, have to communicate with Block Operators. Especially when trains are late, or being diverted. Thanks for simplifying this for me. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Again, I hope this works out for me. I will take that Promo Path to Locomotive Engineer. I'll change my handle to Future MNRR L/E if I get in.

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do


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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by RonInBayside on Mon Oct 16 15:02:11 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Atomsk on Mon Oct 16 06:47:31 2006.

Thank you. To extend the discussion a bit:

Does CSX still employ regional controllers? It was my understanding that CSX runs virtually its entire network from a high-tech control center in Jacksonville, Florida.

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by jimmymc25 on Mon Oct 16 16:06:06 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Future Motorman on Mon Oct 16 14:46:03 2006.

Go for it!!!

Just the fact that you're researching this out seems like you'll be verry good at it!!

Best of luck!!!!

Jimmymc25

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by Dutchrailnut on Mon Oct 16 21:49:29 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Future Motorman on Mon Oct 16 14:46:03 2006.

On MNCR Block operators only operate the Bridges, there are no towers on MNCR and all moves are done by signal indcation by RTC's in New York.

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by IRT Rules on Mon Oct 16 21:53:26 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by Dutchrailnut on Mon Oct 16 21:49:29 2006.

Hey Dutch, who controls the Interlocking at New Rochelle where Amtrack Branches off...Is that also RTC in Grand Central?

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Re: What does a Railroad block operator do

Posted by Dutchrailnut on Tue Oct 17 08:07:20 2006, in response to Re: What does a Railroad block operator do, posted by IRT Rules on Mon Oct 16 21:53:26 2006.

District E RTC at operations center in New York.

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