GDLK Operations

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 12Bridge » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:07 am

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:06 pm

Supposedly according to crewmembers on 302 the train had just backed into Gearhart with front half of train to pick up rear half.


I am trying to understand....was 302 doubling its train? Back in the NS days, when 39J was making their Kalamazoo pickup, they wouldn't use the wye track - too much opportunity for something to go awry. Instead, they would be lined straight ahead down the EB main track past the tower....I saw them as far west as the Amtrak depot once. It's how I was able to get this photo when the only NS train that regularly went west of BO was B-1-G.

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Saturnalia » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:24 am

GP30M4216 wrote:It's how I was able to get this photo when the only NS train that regularly went west of BO was B-1-G.

B1G...the big train! :lol: :wink:
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:17 am

I know in the past NYC,PC,CONRAIL and NS the current wye was 8 mph max. Didn't 39J and others after making the move your photo shows then run their power around the train and leave to go south on the other wye that was removed around where Bells is now? The current layout is minus a lot of what crews had to work with in the past. Elk is doing the best they can within the remaining trackage and staying out of Amtraks way.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:09 am

Staying on the main when working from the west end of Botsford (Gerhart) dates back to the 80's after Conrail had some derailments on the curve. They derailed autoracks on the inside of the curve. If you look at the corner of the old Food processing Equipment building you can see where the corner of the building was repaired after being hit by one. After rolling the outside rail over on the curve Conrail forbade trains from using the curve when doubling back to their trains.

The old south to west curve through the Bell's property was long gone by the Conrail era, replaced by the current curve in 1969 I read.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby chapmaja » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:06 am

I am not familiar with the lines in the K'zoo area, so my view is from Google Maps / Sat view.

Does traffic from GR come into the yard in K'zoo, or does it go straight south to Elkhart?

I see two lines going north, but no wye from the Michigan line to the northbound tracks.

For the line to Parchment, does the train back out of the yard, around the sharp curve then take the switch off the curve and go north up this branch?

For northbound traffic out of the yard towards Grand Rapids, do they also back out of the yard, then go farther south backwards before reaching the switches to go north?

Was there are one time wye tracks to access these going north? I know there was a lot of changes in K'zoo in the 1960's - 1980's when the PC/NYC merged then the PC collapsed and Conrail was formed.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:14 am

You are correct on all comments. Grand Rapids traffin does not go straight through it backs in also.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby ~Z~ » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:19 am

TTzx84335 empty centerbeam has been at L&W supply in grand rapids for a couple of weeks now. Only the 2nd car delivered here. Let's hope they continue service.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:23 pm

chapmaja wrote:I am not familiar with the lines in the K'zoo area, so my view is from Google Maps / Sat view.

The tracks in Kalamazoo are a mess. There was a chance to fix them in the 1980s but the voters did not want to pay. As long as the Michigan Line gets Amtrak through the city there is no need for the state or Amtrak to pay for improvements. All of the "bad tracks" are the freight lines GDLK relies on. And they certainly do not have the capital needed (or political power) to make major improvements. The mess will continue.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:43 pm

I look at the aerial of Kzoo and wonder why the crossovers at BO aren't reversed from how they were built. It's as if the designer thought freight going into and out of the yard from the Michigan line was actually more important than Amtrak movements.

But on topic, it does make me wonder why they do back trains around the curve to double. I suspect the reason is that they would need an ITCS equipped engine to stay on the mainline. As far as I could find out, the ITCS starts just west of Edward St. and the crossovers.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:23 pm

chapmaja wrote:I am not familiar with the lines in the K'zoo area, so my view is from Google Maps / Sat view.

Does traffic from GR come into the yard in K'zoo, or does it go straight south to Elkhart?

I see two lines going north, but no wye from the Michigan line to the northbound tracks.

For the line to Parchment, does the train back out of the yard, around the sharp curve then take the switch off the curve and go north up this branch?

For northbound traffic out of the yard towards Grand Rapids, do they also back out of the yard, then go farther south backwards before reaching the switches to go north?

Was there are one time wye tracks to access these going north? I know there was a lot of changes in K'zoo in the 1960's - 1980's when the PC/NYC merged then the PC collapsed and Conrail was formed.


Traffic to and from GR nearly always goes into Gearhart. On rare occasion they have run run through but it's rare with 303.

You see two lines going north. The west most is former PRR track. There was once a wye west to north but it was disconnected in the 70's or early 80's. The next track east is former NYC trackage to GR which no ends on the north side of Kalamazoo. In the NYC days the connection was west to south. Penn Central switched it east to south. The GTW used to parrallel the NYC through downtown but it's long gone. Also not visible is the former CK&S which crossed east of BO Tower between Walbridge and Harrison streets. There used to be a west to north connection from the main to the CK&S.

Jobs going north either up the NYC or PRR trackage have to make reverse moves into and out of the yard.

DaveO wrote:I look at the aerial of Kzoo and wonder why the crossovers at BO aren't reversed from how they were built. It's as if the designer thought freight going into and out of the yard from the Michigan line was actually more important than Amtrak movements.

But on topic, it does make me wonder why they do back trains around the curve to double. I suspect the reason is that they would need an ITCS equipped engine to stay on the mainline. As far as I could find out, the ITCS starts just west of Edward St. and the crossovers.


Kalamazoo, Amtrak and GDLK missed a golden opportunity to reorganize the track in Kalamazoo. Flipping the positions of the cross overs adding a wye to the NYC behind BO and linking the NYC to the PRR south of Mosel would have eliminated a dozen grade crossings and half the road train traffic across Kalamazoo and Michigan Avenues.

GDLK's authority to operate on the main ends just east of Edwards St. I'd say it's administrative logistics. If they can run from Gerhart to BO without ITCS they can go another couple blocks but that isn't how the agreements are set up. The generation of railroaders who derailed in the 80's and knew reverse moves with heavy trains was a mistake are gone.

justalurker66 wrote:The tracks in Kalamazoo are a mess. There was a chance to fix them in the 1980s but the voters did not want to pay.


In the beginning there was support for the project which was a simple track relocation. As the scope ballooned so did the cost and in the end the tax payers balked. For example they rolled a new bridge over the Kalamazoo River into the project which was silly because the DOT was going to do it regardless. For the price of a few commercial properties they could have easily widened the curve and increased the speed limit.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:15 pm

DaveO wrote:But on topic, it does make me wonder why they do back trains around the curve to double. I suspect the reason is that they would need an ITCS equipped engine to stay on the mainline. As far as I could find out, the ITCS starts just west of Edward St. and the crossovers.


Found a reference that says ITCS begins/ends at 350, about 6 miles west of BO. So that can't be the reason to not use the mainline.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby MQT1223 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:30 pm

~Z~ wrote:TTzx84335 empty centerbeam has been at L&W supply in grand rapids for a couple of weeks now. Only the 2nd car delivered here. Let's hope they continue service.


As of June 27th, per my sources there are currently two cars enroute for L&W. One was on CSX and was sent to Virginia instead of Chicago (that sounds about right) and anothe released in Cincinnati. I will update this post once I obtain more relevant information.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:20 pm

DaveO wrote:
DaveO wrote:But on topic, it does make me wonder why they do back trains around the curve to double. I suspect the reason is that they would need an ITCS equipped engine to stay on the mainline. As far as I could find out, the ITCS starts just west of Edward St. and the crossovers.


Found a reference that says ITCS begins/ends at 350, about 6 miles west of BO. So that can't be the reason to not use the mainline.

How old of a reference? Has ITCS not been extended east with the track improvements?
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:11 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
DaveO wrote:
DaveO wrote:But on topic, it does make me wonder why they do back trains around the curve to double. I suspect the reason is that they would need an ITCS equipped engine to stay on the mainline. As far as I could find out, the ITCS starts just west of Edward St. and the crossovers.


Found a reference that says ITCS begins/ends at 350, about 6 miles west of BO. So that can't be the reason to not use the mainline.

How old of a reference? Has ITCS not been extended east with the track improvements?

That reference is several years old.
Keep in mind that ITCS equipment beings installed east of BO doesn't mean it has been tested AND accepted for service.
And it will be interesting to see if GDLK engines will need to have ITCS to operate over that short stretch of track into/out of the yard.
Maybe Amtrak/MDOT/FRA/God will grant them a waiver.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:17 pm

I haven't heard anything more in awhile, but an original hiccup was NS's online operations, which may not have been fully thought-through. NS supposedly wasn't ready to support the extension of ITCS since they didn't have enough equipment, and/or wanted compensation for doing so. Sounded like an oversight, which may have gotten tied up in the overall PTC extension - that is, it may not have been a problem if the original PTC mandate was followed, because in theory NS' PTC installs should make them interoperable on ITCS territories.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:29 am

Amtrak's comments on PTC (as filed with the FRA 2/23/2018):
"Michigan East (IETMS and ITCS) testing is in progress (270 route miles). A Back Office Server (BOS) has been installed in Chicago to support I-ETMS on the State owned portion of the Michigan Line. Chicago Union Terminal will be part of Michigan's BOS. This BOS will be migrated to the nation BOS in 2018."
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:48 am

Theres a meeting this week at Gearhart. Watco, MDOT, FRA. This along with last weeks tip-over is on the agenda.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:01 am

Because GDLK operates over the Michigan Line which is required to get PTC, they must also have engines equipped with PTC for that segment. There is an exception to that rule. If the owner of the line, the State of Michigan, grants GDLK permission to not use PTC while on the Michigan Line. Being owned by Michigan is probably helpful to the GDLK in this case.

It's good to see the parties will be meeting to discuss this issue and the doubling the train issue. Going around the wye if they don't have to isn't helping anyone out, including the people of Kalamazoo.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:56 am

I've asked why not run 303 to Park and avoid the backup move. 302 could pick 303s cars up there. Even if they doubled theres only 1 crossing involved, North Main St. Friday's cruise down W. Michigan still has the OmniSource gons on the rear end. I guess when NS brings them from Jackson that's where they always are. NS brings more cars in then 303 so doubling is not going away. The fact that NS Elkhart can't or won't pre block Elks trains is why Gearhart has a switch job to make up the 302s & 303s trains
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