GDLK Operations

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:41 pm

Jim_c wrote:Seems to me that the derailment issues could be solved by building a NB connector by the BO Tower to the LS&MS, and then cutting over to the GR&I somewhere north. There's an old factory just north of there that looks pretty decrepit, and could be removed. There's also a lot of open space around the old Checker facility on N. Pitcher St. My sympathy for the situation in Kalamazoo is limited. A number of years ago they had the opportunity to fix this, but they turned down the millage.

I'd say "a number of decades ago".

Someone with money and power needs to care enough to push through a change. On a good day the connection would save crew time when headed north - on a bad day it would save the cost of a derailment. Is there a dollar cost to blocking the downtown roads for the moves and occasional (not rare enough) derailment? While I like the idea of a NB connector I certainly don't have the money to pay for it.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NS3322 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:46 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
Jim_c wrote:Seems to me that the derailment issues could be solved by building a NB connector by the BO Tower to the LS&MS, and then cutting over to the GR&I somewhere north. There's an old factory just north of there that looks pretty decrepit, and could be removed. There's also a lot of open space around the old Checker facility on N. Pitcher St. My sympathy for the situation in Kalamazoo is limited. A number of years ago they had the opportunity to fix this, but they turned down the millage.

I'd say "a number of decades ago".

Someone with money and power needs to care enough to push through a change. On a good day the connection would save crew time when headed north - on a bad day it would save the cost of a derailment. Is there a dollar cost to blocking the downtown roads for the moves and occasional (not rare enough) derailment? While I like the idea of a NB connector I certainly don't have the money to pay for it.


Kalamazoo wants to throw a bunch of money to the construction of new multi purpose arena downtown! (Apparently Wings Stadium is not good enough anymore). They have the money! https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/in ... er_co.html

If I was running Kalamazoo, I would be worried more about how traffic flows through the city than adding new amenities. And stopped trains create traffic snarls that are all too familiar in Kalamazoo....
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NS3322 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:56 pm

I think there is only one solution to this mess (other than just building a brand new yard north of downtown), as illustrated in my crude drawing below.
I liked Jim_c's suggestion, however there is a nice (privately?) owned parking lot by BO Tower now.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Jim_c » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:16 pm

NS3322 wrote:I think there is only one solution to this mess (other than just building a brand new yard north of downtown), as illustrated in my crude drawing below.
I liked Jim_c's suggestion, however there is a nice (privately?) owned parking lot by BO Tower now.


That would take advantage of the existing switch, and wouldn't disturb the new lot. Are you thinking back out of the yard? Or pull out normally and run the power from one end of the train to the other?
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Jim_c » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:18 pm

At any rate, they must have things cleaned up. A short (16-17 cars) train with single loco (maybe 4125, didn't get a good look) was NB through Plainwell at 16:20.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NS3322 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:22 pm

Jim_c wrote:
NS3322 wrote:I think there is only one solution to this mess (other than just building a brand new yard north of downtown), as illustrated in my crude drawing below.
I liked Jim_c's suggestion, however there is a nice (privately?) owned parking lot by BO Tower now.


That would take advantage of the existing switch, and wouldn't disturb the new lot. Are you thinking back out of the yard? Or pull out normally and run the power from one end of the train to the other?


I was thinking back out of the yard. But I am not sure how the GDLK crews would like to do it.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:05 pm

NS3322 wrote:I was thinking back out of the yard. But I am not sure how the GDLK crews would like to do it.


They do it already with 303. Probably a poor practice that will be discontinued after one of the bar crawlers gets run over. The Elk wouldn't have a financing or the clout to swing a re-organization in Kalamazoo. They'd have to get the city, MDOT and Amtrak to participate. It isn't far fetched. To eliminate grade crossing on Kings Highway the county and MDOT put up most of the money for Conrail to put in the connection at PJ.

The connection north would eliminate 303's reverse moves and keep them off Kalamazoo and Michigan Ave. For the motorist eliminating four four movements a day across Kalamazoo/Michigan Ave and 10+/- grade crossings. Southward they need an easier curve. Swing off the mainline just east of Harrison St. Cut through the block where Ritsema Associates is, cut across Kalamazoo/Michigan Ave's and through Parl Place Storage. It's all commercial business who unlike home owners won't have a lot of emotion when the city wants their land. They only need the right price.

As for derailing on the curve Conrail did it a couple time before banning doubling moves on the curve. Mostly speculation but I bet you'll find some corners being cut doing air tests too.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:39 am

The derailment risk could be lessened by re-Engineering the curve, but that’s no excuse for these stringlike derailments. That can be solved with proper train building and handling. And really an emphasis on the building part. Handling has something to do with it but handling alone is hard-pressed to make it happen. Bad train building is just setting the engineers up for a wrong step to being disaster - and that shouldn’t be the case!
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:00 am

That was my point with the OmniSource gondolas always on the rear. Why they don't build the train with just backing on to those first then the rest of the train is beyond me. Any short cuts in air test, building the train correctly and handling and BOOM-THE CURVE WINS. Both these accidents were 302 southbounds which can be land barges in length. Until changes are made in culture with the curve handling characteristics, Corman might as well set up shop on Kings highway. Theres always an open yard track for NS B33 to bring their train in ( gondolas) so it shouldn't be so hard to build a train from those first and add everything else on the back.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:20 am

I am thinking that Amtrak wants each GDLK train off of the Michigan Line as quickly as possible. They tolerate GDLK's connection between BO and the yard ... I do not believe they would want a train to continue west of BO tower either for doubling or to use a new NW connection at the diamond. They may have the best leverage to end the problem by bluntly telling GDLK that the Michigan Line main line is not the GDLK's yard - no doubling.

Is the lead east of Gearhart normally occupied? That track is more than a half mile long and could be used to double a train on GDLK property. (For a northbound train build two segments on yard track with the tail on a track on the north side of the yard. Pull the head end east on to the lead then push back to the tail end. Make the connection and required tests then make one movement over the Michigan Line - no stops on the curve, no doubling on the main line. A southbound train would push the tail end east on the lead then push the head end east to connect to the tail and head out southbound - no stops on the curve, no doubling on the main line.)

Has it been confirmed that this train was doubling when it derailed or are we assuming that it was doubling because that caused previous derailments? I assume that the train could stop for other reasons (such as aligning the switch at Gibson).
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby dave989 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:12 pm

Back in my college days at Western in the early Conrail years I don't remember ever being a derailment in downtown Kzoo. It's time for these fools that run this railroad to get called out, run, fined whatever. This is happening way too often.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:34 pm

dave989 wrote:Back in my college days at Western in the early Conrail years I don't remember ever being a derailment in downtown Kzoo. It's time for these fools that run this railroad to get called out, run, fined whatever. This is happening way too often.


In their defense, back in the Conrail days, Conrail controlled both the Michigan and Elkhart lines.
I think how they're blocking the cars is an issue.
But NS might be telling them to send them to Elkhart like that.
But you can't keep dumping cars because sooner or later really bad stuff will happen.
I wonder what that meeting came up with in regards to mitigating the issue.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:33 am

A lot of non railroaders on here knowing how to run a railroad. :lol:
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:53 am

WWMT latest report is Watco acknowledge that it could be a weight issue with train make-up per P.J. Forbes, VP operations. Same mistake repeated twice. We learn from that and improve right.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:46 am

1TrackMind wrote:A lot of non railroaders on here knowing how to run a railroad. :lol:

You mean all of my experience detailing my Thomas trainset via stringlining when I was 3-10 years old, or derailing several more HO Scale landbarges in more recent times, doesn’t make me an authority on the stringlining topic??
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby AARR » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:09 am

I was thinking the same thing as Saturn :lol:
Saturnalia wrote:
1TrackMind wrote:A lot of non railroaders on here knowing how to run a railroad. :lol:

You mean all of my experience detailing my Thomas trainset via stringlining when I was 3-10 years old, or derailing several more HO Scale landbarges in more recent times, doesn’t make me an authority on the stringlining topic??
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby PatAzo » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:19 am

Well maybe not Thomas the Tank Engine since the wagons sometimes had minds of their own. But with an understanding of physics and root cause analysis techniques you begin to deduce what occurred. Statistically if you keep asking why you will reach the root cause within five questions. Two derailments with hoppers rolled to the inside of the curve.

Why did the cars derail? Possibilities are a car defect (wheel/axle failure),broken rail, a car derailed by another cause drug into the curve, sting lining. A derailed car can roll and roll the car coupled to it. It would have to have been drug far enough to make it off the end of the ties and the ballast would be churned up. In the July derailment there was no evidence of a derailed car being drug along and initiating the roll over. I was doubtful of string lining and went to look the following week. No gouging on the ties and the ballast was barely disturbed.

Why would the cars string line? Draw bar pull higher than the cars could resist.

Why was draw bar higher than the cars could resist? Train too heavy for conditions. Brakes not fully released.

From here you need information not readily available. Thousands of trains have rolled around the curve without incident. Grand Elk itself is coming up on 10 years of operation and now two similar derailments in five months. That would tell you something in the process has changed. Longer heavier trains? Trains are larger and heavier. Conrail ran it's own land barges and had its own derailments. But the cause of their derailments are lost to time. An increasing ratio of hoppers? Among GDLK's growth is agricultural products and transloading which both generate empty hoppers. Empty hoppers are known to have a high center of gravity relative to other car types. KCS was shoving them off curves in the 70's with mid-train helpers until they changed their train make up. Brakes not released? Possible but there is no data.

dave989 wrote:Back in my college days at Western in the early Conrail years I don't remember ever being a derailment in downtown Kzoo. It's time for these fools that run this railroad to get called out, run, fined whatever. This is happening way too often.


Late 70's-early 80's maybe? They rolled an autorack into the side of Food Processing Equipment. They knocked the dwarf signal off its base. A friend of mine salvaged the guts. As I think about their ban on doubling moves came after rolling the rail over on the curve. Not similar to what the Elk has going on.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:35 pm

4189 & 4124 sitting at Cowling. 1CH, 1 small empty contaner car, 13 covered steel coil cars and 4 box cars. Southbound but waiting for a crew.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:15 pm

For anyone interested:

Grand Elk appears to have installed a pair of brand new Safetran signals just south of Fairchild Road (MP 25.88) in Three Rivers. Wasn’t able to get a photo.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:37 pm

Was the hot-box defect detector still there? Use to be at MP 25.6.
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