GDLK Operations

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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:33 am

Under federal law GDLK would be permitted to operate up to four trains per day between BO and Gearhart (a turn would count as two trains - one in each direction). The federal limit is 20 miles of track. Crossing the diamonds do not count as movement on PTC track. Out and back from Elkhart and out and back to Grand Rapids would reach the limit for the exemption, although the FRA could exempt additional movements.

GDLK would also use an exemption for their use of CSX tracks in Grand Rapids and NS tracks in Elkhart.

The good news is that all three segments will be I-ETMS ... so if GDLK is required to install PTC equipment in their locomotives for these three short segments they will not need to install more than one system. Due to the sensitivity to PTC issues I expect that GDLK would not receive an exemption for more than the statutory four trains (four movements) between BO and Gearhart.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby DaveO » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:06 pm

justalurker66 wrote:Under federal law GDLK would be permitted to operate up to four trains per day between BO and Gearhart (a turn would count as two trains - one in each direction). The federal limit is 20 miles of track. Crossing the diamonds do not count as movement on PTC track. Out and back from Elkhart and out and back to Grand Rapids would reach the limit for the exemption, although the FRA could exempt additional movements.

GDLK would also use an exemption for their use of CSX tracks in Grand Rapids and NS tracks in Elkhart.

The good news is that all three segments will be I-ETMS ... so if GDLK is required to install PTC equipment in their locomotives for these three short segments they will not need to install more than one system. Due to the sensitivity to PTC issues I expect that GDLK would not receive an exemption for more than the statutory four trains (four movements) between BO and Gearhart.


The 20 mile exception is only available if the track owner allows for it. There is a "yard limits" type of exception but I don't think Elkhart, Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids meet the requirements for that. Guess that why there are attorneys. They get paid to have headaches :wink:
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby O Scale Railfanner » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:08 pm

Two loads for L&W Supply expected to go down the Hastings Lead around Lunch tomorrow. Keep your eyes and ears open!
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:20 pm

DaveO wrote:The 20 mile exception is only available if the track owner allows for it. There is a "yard limits" type of exception but I don't think Elkhart, Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids meet the requirements for that. Guess that why there are attorneys.

There are signed agreements between Amtrak and GDLK (and Amtrak and JAIL) to allow operations without PTC on the state owned portion of the Michigan line. The agreements appear to be written by Amtrak with the name of the tenant railroad changed on each document.

NS filed a redacted version of their PTC Implementation Plan which had the name of all the tenant Class II and Class III railroads removed.
The CSX filing is also a redacted version (I assume that the trackage rights issue in Grand Rapids has now been resolved?).
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:44 am

justalurker66 wrote:The CSX filing is also a redacted version (I assume that the trackage rights issue in Grand Rapids has now been resolved?).

Yes, that issue has been resolved. The STB made their decision and both GDLK and CSX filed with the STB that they had come to new contract terms.

As far as how to make Kalamazoo work, I think the latest wreck will perhaps begin to encourage more work towards some actual capital investment to rework some of the track in Kalamazoo sometime in the future. What they've got is GDLK stuck with running large trains on a patchwork of old track that was never designed for this sort of operation. The physical plant has not been updated to support today's operations, and so they are paying the price in delay and the occasional derailment.

I still say this is an issue that can only be solved if all stakeholders want it to be solved. Kalamazoo, MDOT, Amtrak and Watco have to all be willing to support planning, design and construction of updated physical plant. It'd be a fairly major project, but all four would see some real return on investment when it comes to their time in the future.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:00 am

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.

Upon further review I would agree with swapping the crossovers. Having the left hand crossover east of the GDLK connection would allow a westbound train from either main to head south around the curve or a northbound to head east on either track but when would that ever be needed? GDLK must be on the south track to enter their yard. Having the left hand crossover there and the right hand crossover to the west (by Edwards St) would allow Amtrak to route a train stopped at the station platform past a GDLK train on the curve without placing it on the north track. They could also cross a westbound train over to put it closer to the station, if desired.

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.

The last I saw there is a "Begin ITCS" sign one block east of Edward St (just east of Pitcher St).
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:20 am

Saturnalia wrote:What they've got is GDLK stuck with running large trains on a patchwork of old track that was never designed for this sort of operation. The physical plant has not been updated to support today's operations, and so they are paying the price in delay and the occasional derailment.

I still say this is an issue that can only be solved if all stakeholders want it to be solved. Kalamazoo, MDOT, Amtrak and Watco have to all be willing to support planning, design and construction of updated physical plant. It'd be a fairly major project, but all four would see some real return on investment when it comes to their time in the future.

The stakeholders would not mind a solution ... but I expect they all want someone else to pay for it.

There are some operational changes that could help and a NE corner curve to get to Grand Rapids would save backing up the train. But fixing the current curve would take property acquisition. A NW curve would probably be the cheapest solution - still requiring reverse moves but there are less buildings where the track would be rebuilt.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:56 am

Theres already a team track with bumper post in the NW quadrant with the ex-GR&I with a switch thats never used. Only clearance problem is an old loading dock ramp. Don't think 6 axle motors may negotiate it but no buildings in the way to improve it. Still a back-up move down Amtrak main to access GR so it'll never get approved. Back in NYC days there were flange lubricators on curves such as the wye at BO, i know of only one left at Wilbur Ellis in TR. They were all taken out as an unneeded expense. No one on this board has probably ever seen one.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:07 am

Super Chief wrote:Back in NYC days there were flange lubricators on curves such as the wye at BO, i know of only one left at Wilbur Ellis in TR. They were all taken out as an unneeded expense. No one on this board has probably ever seen one.

The modern version exists on other railroads. I believe there is still one in Elkhart serving the Kalamazoo Branch as it enters CP 421 but it may have been removed when the crossovers were upgraded last year.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby SD80MAC » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:48 am

Flange lubricators are everywhere....
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:52 pm

Best solution would be a 4-5 track yard built between park and cowling.
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Re: GDLK Operations

Unread postby 1TrackMind » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:58 pm

Super Chief wrote:Theres already a team track with bumper post in the NW quadrant with the ex-GR&I with a switch thats never used. Only clearance problem is an old loading dock ramp. Don't think 6 axle motors may negotiate it but no buildings in the way to improve it. Still a back-up move down Amtrak main to access GR so it'll never get approved. Back in NYC days there were flange lubricators on curves such as the wye at BO, i know of only one left at Wilbur Ellis in TR. They were all taken out as an unneeded expense. No one on this board has probably ever seen one.

That one has been removed. Theres still one in the curves at constantine.
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