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There has been discussions in the past if a NWP locomotive could clear the platforms if needed. As to whom says they cant and cannot, I will not point out, but I always sided that they could if needed. This AM I came across this photo on FB:

Station With 2009

I think this literally clears things up...

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Great info.  Clears things up and finally settles the platform clearance question!  (Unless someone Photoshopped 2009 into that scene!)

I wish all those photos were posted here too.  Equipment cabinet is a total loss and some other weather related issue.  Wish those photos had a wider view.

Steve Atnip:  we're looking at you!  :)

I may be wrong, but I believe the "minimum vertical structure clearance" regulation is a California occupational safety regulation.  The rolling stock may clear the vertical structure, but if a crewmember is hanging off the side of a car and there isn't a minimum of four feet of clearance, it could get ugly.

I think SMART cleared it up with the saying "While freight service will never go by platforms, the system is dimensioned to emergency use of all tracks by both freight."

Nice shots!  Thanks for posting!


I didn't think I would once again see this issue come up on our w-site but as a historical NWP fan and the designated "Know It All", I can't avoid adding my 2 or maybe 3 cents to this string.

I value my privacy and therefore don't subscribe to F'book, but I really appreciate Michael your bringing this up and my thanks to ole JP Morgan for posting the 2009 picts on our w-site.  I'm very curious to know when those pictures were taken.  Steve Atnip are those your beautiful shots?  You were listed by Dave as one of the usual suspects.

But as a trained mechanical engineer and as the designated "know it all" (hello Jordan) I would have to say that the clearance between 2009 and the platform shown here in the pictures does not make me comfortable nor believe the issue is cleared up.  2009 is a relatively new loco and I would expect have almost new truck, wheel and pivot point FRA specified wear tolerances.  But what about older freight and other cars and stranded equipment, especially older NWP cars like the MoW one we all have seen so many times which was dragged out of the dirt by 1322 from the Windsor spur last year being brought thru smart platforms? 

The smart gauntlet track design I assume is supposed to eliminate any possibility of NWP or other freight equipment coming near the passenger platforms.  But doesn't that assume that PTC will ensure that freights are always switched to the outer track at a platform?  Rail history is riddled with cases where the controller as my father used to say, was "asleep at the switch".

And hey this platform in the picture does not have any sign of a gauntlet track option.  Where is this?  Also smart, in their package to this month's NCRA mtg, has asked NWP to provide two locos to perform PTC testing on the line.  Can we assume that these two locos will be well within the FRA specs for wear.  One would hope so.  

Looking at your fabulous photos JP, I'm still in question.

Brand hoping to ride the trains soon


This issue just won't die I guess.

1.  The photo demonstrates that a freight train could squeak by if necessary, but nobody said it was a comfortable fit.  Mike (above) states 'SMART cleared it up with the saying "While freight service will never go by platforms, the system is dimensioned (for) emergency use (by freight)."'

2.  I don't see it stated anywhere, but this looks like Santa Rosa station.  As a station north of Ignacio it must have gauntlets for regular freight passage.  The track on the other side of this platform provides this capability.

3.  Somewhere on this site a fellow railroader suggests that the primary reason for the gauntlet adjacent to platforms is to protect crewmen who may be hanging off of the side of a car or engine.  I think an OSHA regulation was mentioned.

4.  Concerning worn rolling stock reducing clearance margins (bearings, flat wheels, etc.), I would be more worried about the condition of the roadbed.  If the subgrade gave way (not an impossibility given other storm damage observed this year, or due to a broken underground utility pipe) and yielded to the weight of a train, there is a very high probability of a collision with the platform.  The concrete ties and CWR go a long way in preventing this, but if the earth subsides or cavitates near a station -- gravity wins.

5.  Eventually the CTC system will be controlling all switches, including gauntlet sections.  When a route has been setup and cleared for NWP freight operations (late at night?) the system should automatically drive the all gauntlet switches along this route to bypass platforms.  The CTC system's job is to manage routes and set signals that prevent train (and platform) collisions in a manner that maximizes facility utilization and efficiency.

6.  The PTC system will stop a train that runs a signal or exceeds the speed limit it had been granted.  Its job is to recover from a rule violation, usually due to human error.

7.  Finally, my beef is that for nearly the same cost I wish SMART put in full passing tracks at each platform instead of gauntlets.  Yes, it requires more RoW, but you get much more operational flexibility. 

The pictures show the "West" track of the double track from the 4th St. to W. Steele Ln crossing.  Freights run on the "East" track, or at least that's where I've seen them run the few trips they made up here.


Just catching up on emails now and having just read the smart GM's report, I now know from where you sourced the quote about "While freight service will never go by platforms,....".

But NO mention of when passenger service will start and none I could find on their w-site either.

Anybody know if the April date has been pushed?



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