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Comment by Richard C. Brand on November 4, 2016 at 9:10pm

I believe it is MIchael Harrison but as always, I could be wrong.

But Andrew who do you identify as "liberal media" supporting not-so-smart?  I've only seen the "lead with bleed" media covering the dark side.  At least the PD which I consider balanced does not seem in the pocket of smart.  

Richard B. as in Brand

Comment by Andrew Roth on November 4, 2016 at 8:25pm

All this talk of comments being erased does have me wondering: who actually moderates this forum? I've been on this forum for a few years and never once was told who the main moderator was. I wouldn't at all be surprised if smart officials on this page (yes there are some on here) are reading these comments and telling the moderator (whoever that may be) to erase any controversial material. 
After all, smart seems to have plenty of liberal media at their own free disposal. I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if smart were trying to cover up and hide all their faults to make themselves seem like a flawless railroad with no kinks whatsoever. But, perhaps I'm just thinking too much of it. 

Comment by Dave S. on November 4, 2016 at 3:15pm

Jordan:  love this detail!  Thanks for posting!

Comment by Jordan on November 4, 2016 at 2:55pm

The actual rule from the BNSF system special instructions, for those who care:


Shunting the Track

Commodities Insulating Track In CTC And ABS
Employees should be alert for insulating commodities such
as clay, chips, oil, etc., on top of rails. This condition could
possibly insulate the track and cause loss of train shunt. Such
conditions should be promptly reported and trains protected
per rules while in CTC and ABS territory.

Single Unit Light Engine
When a train sets out all cars en route and becomes a single
unit light engine within CTC, manual interlocking, or ABS
territory, the train dispatcher/control operator must be notified.

Movements Consisting of Less Than 12 Axles
Train, engine and other such movements consisting of less
than 12 axles must approach road crossings at grade equipped
with automatic crossing warning devices prepared to stop
until it is determined that the warning devices are operating

Comment by Dave S. on November 4, 2016 at 5:36am

Richard:  NipponSharyoFan is hiding in plain sight.  I will offer some thoughts, if that's ok:

I don't know the weight of the Nippon Sharyo units, but agree that they are probably significantly lighter than your typical road diesels.  And it was indeed very interesting to learn that the UP and BNSF rules specify that engineers must not assume grade crossing protection will work correctly when running a consist of less than 12 axles.

Concerning the question of DMU "compatibility" with the signal system in light of the UP and BNSF rules, I sincerely doubt there would be a problem at all if the railheads were shiny due to continued use.  If/when packed with passengers and in daily use, I'm betting the system will work fine.

Seriously, if SMART really wanted to solve this problem they could haul all those tankers out of Schellville up an down the line from San Rafael to Windsor repeatedly, using all passing tracks and even both sides of the gauntlet (passenger service hasn't started, so why couldn't they?) and that will clean up the rails and fix this problem.  OK, politically, moving an 80 car haz-mat train would be a media disaster.  So,  instead, bring in a 30 car grain train and run it up and down the line 20 times per day for a week.  That should do it.

If it is the grade crossing protection part of the signal system which is not working reliably, another thing they can do is shift to higher frequency track circuits.  That will require changing all the shunts, but this is not a terribly expensive or time-consuming job, since all the gear is in signal houses.  However, the whole system will require re-tuning.  Without getting into an electronics lecture, suffice it to say that higher frequency AC is going to offer more signal discrimination of an approaching train.  Because of the high quality of the rail installation, I feel they can afford to do this.

Not all the discussion on this topic disappeared.  See also:

Comment by Richard C. Brand on November 3, 2016 at 11:27pm


Haven't heard from you for some time but have a question re the NipponSharyo DMU's.  Do you know what the "tare" weight is of these units?  I've spent a lot of time riding JR (Japanese) trains and my experience with units like the smart selected DMU's are nowhere near the weight of our US Amtrak or Caltrain passenger trains.   

Before this string was censored by some demon(s), we were discussing the grade crossing faulty operation for the DMU's and our colleague Jordan made a very important post about UP and BNSF rules for trains of less than 12 axles.  These two RR's employ heavy locos.  The NS DMU's are less than 12 axles and look to me like the light weight passenger units used on the JR. 

Could it be that the NS DMU's are not compatible with US FRA certified blocked signalling systems most likely installed by FRA certified Herzog?


Comment by steven richard bell on November 2, 2016 at 10:02am

Well stated. Also well put. I sometimes look at what I have emailed and have to look away for a few minutes before I argue against what I have originally stated.

Comment by Chad Glover on November 2, 2016 at 8:29am

I have to agree with you Dave, very well put.  With so many members on here it's likely you won't agree with everything said.

Comment by Dave S. on November 2, 2016 at 6:19am

What happened to all the comments that were here?  Hopefully this isn't the result of someone's urge for censorship.

If, for any reason, one doesn't like what they are reading here, I would suggest that they turn away for awhile and come back in a week or a month.  Don't try to "fix" a discussion that you don't like.

Nobody really can stand in judgement of what is or isn't a worthy comment.  People have different views of what is or isn't interesting, relevant, accurate, or funny.  If something doesn't interest you or you don't like the writer for whatever reason, do not engage or otherwise inflame the situation -- that's just asking for more of what you don't like.  Instead, go out and shoot a nice photo and start a new discussion.  I challenge you to distract away from that other issue you find objectionable by igniting interest and a pleasurable, friendly discussion with a new topic.

Censorship is what they do in North Korea, Mainland China, Cuba, and elsewhere.  It is borne out of an insecurity/inferiority complex.  Express your superiority by ignoring or distracting away from a discussion you don't like with a fabulous photo, video, news clipping, or historical recollection, etc.  Challenge yourself to generate friendly banter for the members of this network who have a extremely wide range of interests which may not always overlap with yours.

With great appreciation to ALL contributors,

--Dave S.

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