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#20505 - 01/14/03 05:29 PM Train Talk
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Picking up on the Train stuff from Sizing Generators-12 KVA enough? which Virgil has asked for assistance in designing a Genset.


You are correct about the Relay Houses power systems being 12 VDC! I don't know what I was thinking when I typed 120 VDC!

Anyhow, please add any information you can!

I'll describe ATSF's Rule 251 later.

P.S. any suggestions where I can find tech documents or Manuals for the signals and control stuff??? If necessary, E-Mail this info to me.

P.S.S. This thread might be something for the Theory section. I'll see what evolves.

Scott s.e.t.
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
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Arc Flash Clothing, Gloves, KneePads, Tool Belts, Pouches, Tool Carriers, etc. etc....

#20506 - 01/15/03 03:30 AM Re: Train Talk
Trainwire Offline

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 364
Loc: Strasburg,PA,USA
Give me a bit, as I am on a tight schedule both at work and at home right now.

The branch line with the gates down, "for days". be sure of your facts, document them, and go to the local FRA office. There are rules regarding that kind of thing. I find it unusual that a broken bond wire would bring the gates down. Usually if vandals want to bring the gates down, you short out the rails, piece of metel, old jumper cable, piece of wire, anything that will conduct electricity. I'll put money on it being a "c" type circuit, which is what we use. You put a low current a/c source on the rail, ours is 6volt, send it down one rail, put a rectifier between the rails at the other end of the circuit, and send dc back to the relay cabinet, the dc holds a relay "on", the train, or something else, shorts out the rectifier, the relay turns off, and the gates go down. We use big relays, known in the business as "shelf" relays. You have a picture of some posted somewhere on this sight.

None of our locomotives use HEP. We have one "desiel", but it can only use the term "engine" loosely. A 1944 GE 44 tonner. Caterpillar has long given up on admitting that they designed the engines.

At this railroad we deal in "mature technology".

I'll root around a bit and see if I can come up with some of the information you want. It will just take some time.


#20507 - 01/25/03 10:00 PM Re: Train Talk
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Here is some poop on Santa Fe Railroad's Rule 251.
FYI: Text is pasted from a document I wrote previously. Graphic images were made by me using AutoCAD R14, then turned into Gifs with Paintshop Pro.
(I hope this post is interresting to everyone!)

ATSF Railroad's "Rule 251" Descriptions.

This describes the functions of Rule 251, which was in effect from 1920 until June 4th, 2001.
This was when the last portion of Main Line Trackage was changed over to CTC (Centralized Traffic Control).

The functions of Rule 251 are unique to ATSF, due to several reasons:

1: Traffic Control in a "Two-Track With Outside Sidings" area,
2: Signal Aspects on "Automatic Signals" which are "Absolute" (explained later),
3: Non-Automatic control of Turnouts,
4: Conductor of Train determined when to "Go Into The Hole",
5: Avoid delays to not just the "Priority" Traffic, but to all Traffic,
6: ATSF Used the "Left-Hand" Rule.


*Two-Track Mainlines with Outside Sidings:
Traffic moved on Two separate Main Tracks - Westward Traffic moved on the "South Track"
(with your Left arm facing West, the Track closest to you is the "South" Track),
and Eastward Traffic moved on the "North Track".
At certain intervals, each Mainline has a Passing Siding - termed "Outside Sidings".
When a Train takes a Siding, it "Goes Into The Hole"

*Automatic Signals:
Signals which work Automatically to describe the state of Traffic between Block Points.
These Signals may be "Passed While Red" with restrictions (Stop then Proceed at restricted speed, etc.)
Automatic Signals are not controlled by Dispatcher(s), instead they are controlled by the Absolute Block Signals and Traffic.

*Absolute Signals:
Signals which are Dispatcher Controlled. Absolute Signals may not be passed while Red (unless allowed to by Radio Contact to Dispatcher).
These Signals are found at Sidings, Crossovers, and other crucial points.

An additional Track of limited length (typically 6,000 to 9,000 feet), which connects to the Main Track via "turnouts" (Switch Tracks),
for the purpose of allowing one or more Trains to pass.
In most applications, the Turnouts at each end of the Siding are Automatically controlled by the Dispatcher, via Motorized Switch controls.
On Two-Track / Rule 251 Territory, the "Head-In" switch (Turnout which the Train enters the Siding) is Manually Thrown to allow the Train
to take the siding (done by that Train's crew), then relined to normal position once the Train's last car clears the switch.
The "Head-Out" switch (Turnout at the "Exit" side of the Siding), is a "Spring Switch" - a Turnout which operates via a spring,
so a Train may simply move through it without the need of Manually throwing it.
In 2-Track CTC Territory, there are no Outside Sidings - only "High Speed Crossovers" which are used to cross traffic from one Track to another
at speeds above the restricted 10 - 25 MPH of a Siding. CTC Crossovers are typically listed for 50 MPH.

*Left-Hand Rule:
According to the direction which the Traffic is flowing, the Signals or Sidings will be on the Left Hand side of the Train.
This was an "odd idea" in the days of Steam Locomotives - especially when the days of Locomotives with Large Boilers, like 4-8-4 Northerns,-
which made visibility of Signals to the Engineer difficult.
To address this problem, ATSF deployed all Absolute Block Signals on Towers, instead of on Masts.
2 flavors of Signal Towers were widely used by ATSF:
The "Bridge" type and the "Cantilever" type - both made by Illinois Steel, Inc.
ATSF loved the Cantilevers, and used them more than any other North American Railroad.
By 1940, the most common Signal used was the Union Switch & Signal "H-2" Searchlight Signal.
This was a Single Lens type Target Signal, with three colored gels on a rotary disk - Red, Yellow and Green.
Other types of Signals used were US&S 3-position upper quandrant Semiphores (Style "S" and "T-2"),
and US&S "Style L" 3-position color-light (one lens per color).

*Power For Trackside Signals - Three Basic Designs:
1: Primary: Where system power is supplied by Batteries Only-usually a bank of wet cells located at each Signal.
The drawback is the expense of Maintaining the Batteries, the advantage is low first cost.

2: Primary AC: Where system power comes from Commercial power lines.
Lamps, relays and Motors are powered by Line AC, stepped down by Transformers.
The drawbacks are if the AC power goes dead, the Signals do too! Advantage was no Battery maintenance.

3: AC Float: This combines both Batteries and Primary AC together.
Equipment is powered from the Batteries, and the Batteries are charged by the AC step-down Transformer (and Rectifier of course!).
During normal operation, this combination functions similar to an Automotive Charging System.
If the AC power is interrupted, the systems may continue working without interruption (like UPS systems).
This setup requires the most up front cost, and includes nominal Maintenance costs; but this is offset by it's ability to keep traffic safely moving.

(The following items are exerpts from the January 2003 edition of Trains Magazine, edited by me for this article)


In Santa Fe's Rule 251 territory, if one Train wanted to overtake another, it was done on an outside Siding.
Spaced about every 6 miles, they kept the railroad fluid and enabled 100MPH streamliners to co-exist with 40MPH freights.
Almost all had dwarf signals to protect the mainline, and spring switches at the outbout end.
("dwarf" signals are single lens signals which are mounted at Ground level - as opposed to mounting on masts or towers)

On the Santa Fe, all freights operated as "Extras" (they were not listed in the timetables).
To occupy the main in 251 territory, a freight conductor needed only a Clearance Card from the Dispatcher before departure.
The Extra could then run on signal indication (the Automatic and Absolute signals).
However, it was the conductor's responsibility to clear the main track to avoid delaying all "Superior" trains listed in the timetable.
Where specifically to clear was left to the conductor's judgement, an agressive conductor might naturally wait for the last possible siding to clear the main;
but delay to any first class train was not tolerated.
The only other time a conductor would clear the main was by train order issued by the dispatcher and delivered at an open office.
After the advent of Track Warrent Control (TWC), the operation was nearly identical, except the dispatcher issued the orders verbally (Radio).

The outside siding in Santa Fe 251 territory is now extinct, but before their removal (Last to go was signal 2492 on June 5th, 2001) it was possible to monitor movements by observing
a combination of the siding dwarf and main line signal.
Below is an illistration of a Westward movement at a typical outside siding; Adamana.


Below is a series of Graphical Descriptions of Rule 251:

Legend Of Symbols And Color Schemes

-continued on next posted message-
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#20508 - 01/25/03 10:01 PM Re: Train Talk
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Rule 251: continued;

Adamana has parallel east and west sidings, with the westward siding measuring 5687 feet.
The H-5 dwarf head-out signal governs the siding and protects movements onto the main track.
The Green signal # 2331, governs the westward main south track.
There are no westward trains in front or behind us.

Even though a train may be occupying the siding, the system is considered to be at rest: i.e. nothing is happening.

The head-out dwarf signal can only display two aspects: Red or Yellow. So what you seen here now is its least-restrictive aspect.
The inbound siding switch has no signal associated with it - there are no head-in signals on Santa Fe's outside sidings.
(now that the railroad is BNSF, all inbound switches have head-in signals)

Suddenly the dwarf flips to Red - a westward train is approaching.
The limits of Adamana's westward head-out signal extend three Blocks behind it to signal 2271, roughly 5.8 miles back.
Once a train passes 2271 (the front of the train "fouls" this block, or passes this signal), the dwarf on the siding goes red.
This prevents any trains from leaving the siding in front of a westward train. Note the dwarf signal has no number plate, making it an Absolute stop-and-stay when red,
even though it is an Automatic signal. Authority must be obtained from the dispatcher to pass an Absolute signal with a red display.
In the days before Radio, if the signal would not clear and all superior trains had passed, rule D-514 would apply: "... if the indication of such signal is 'stop' when train is ready to leave siding, main track switch should be opened and after waiting five minutes, train may proceed ..."

Here comes our train at speed (70MPH). signal 2311 is red, and signal 2331 at the head-out end of the siding is green, so the main line train passes through this Block at maximum speed.

As the front end of our train passes the head-out end of the siding, and also passes signal 2331. As it passes 2331, it "Knocks Down" 2331, turning it to red.

As our train clears signal 2331, the dwarf goes into Approach. It is now safe to enter the main track, as there are no westward trains approaching from the east; otherwise the dwarf would remain red.
The extremely short Block from the head-out to signal 2331 does not pose a safety isue because a train leaving the siding is restricted to 25MPH through the spring switch.

As our train clears signal 2351, then signal 2331 goes to Yellow. When it passes signal 2371, signal 2331 goes to FLASHING YELLOW, or Advance (also commonly referred to as Advance Approach).
On High Speed Districts - such as the one in our example (Albuquerque Division's 2nd District), most signals have this "Fourth" aspect - Flashing Yellow.

Our train is now at signal 2391, and the system at Adamana is at rest once again.
Just by observing Adamana's westward head-out dwarf signal and signal 2331, we have tracked the progress of westward trains within a 12 mile segment.


Scott35 S.E.T.
posted original 01.25.2003 @ 21:54:00 PST at ECN gen. area
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#20509 - 01/25/03 10:02 PM Re: Train Talk
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
this posted message not needed (hopefully!0

Scott35 S.E.T.

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 01-26-2003).]
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#20510 - 01/25/03 10:11 PM Re: Train Talk
Joe Tedesco Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Would the following be of any interest to the Train Talk people here?

NFPA 130
Standard for
Fixed Guideway Transit and Passenger Rail Systems
2000 Edition

1-1 Scope.
This standard shall cover fire protection requirements for passenger rail, underground, surface, and elevated fixed guideway transit systems including trainways, vehicles, fixed guideway transit stations, and vehicle maintenance and storage areas; and for life safety from fire in fixed guideway transit stations, trainways, vehicles, and outdoor vehicle maintenance and storage areas. Fixed guideway transit stations shall pertain to stations accommodating only passengers and employees of the fixed guideway transit and passenger rail systems and incidental occupancies in the stations. This standard establishes minimum requirements for each of the identified subsystems.
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

#20511 - 01/26/03 05:44 PM Re: Train Talk
harold endean Offline

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 2248
Loc: Boonton, NJ
Scott, TW and Joe,

Scott, do you work with any of the electric lines for overhead trains? If so, what is the volatge they use? I almost got a job on the railroad with my dad as a high voltage electrician. I went into res./com. electrical work instead. Also weren't they changing the signals for the whole country? A friend of mine is a conductor on the "Susie Q" line here in NJ. Their signals changed from the ones I knew on the E-L lie that my dad worked for.
TW, You don't have anything to do with high voltage with the strasburg rails do you? I have been to PA and seen/riden the old steam line. ( Of course I love the old steam. I just wish I liked it many years ago when I was a youngster.)
Joe, Does this have to do anything with subways or elevated railways?

#20512 - 02/08/03 05:04 PM Re: Train Talk
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA

I am only a "Railfan", not an Employee of any R.R. Company.

Have known a few Employees whom worked for the Class 1's around here.

The Signal control systems are really interesting to me (besides the rolling stock - such as Locomotives, etc.).
Amazing what these Locos can turn out as far as Brake HP / Torque / KW
And what they can do to objects - such as Cars and Shopping Carts!

BTW, Paul (PaulUK) is rather informed as to Electrified Railway Equipment.
Maybe he can add some info.???

Anyone have more to contribute? Fire away!!!

Scott35 S.E.T.

02.08.03 17:05:00
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#20513 - 02/09/03 06:27 PM Re: Train Talk
Trainwire Offline

Registered: 03/15/02
Posts: 364
Loc: Strasburg,PA,USA
Sorry guys. The schedules been wonky.

In answer to Harold's question, no we do not have any catenary here at the strasburg. We do however come close to it at our interchange with Amtrak. It's cool when the steam clouds go around the wire and you can see the aura kind of pulsing blue in the steam.

The cat is 11000 volts single phase at 25 hz. or at least it used to be. I have heard rumblings that is will be switched to 60 hz.

I have pictures that I will email to the moderator tomorrow to put into this post.


#20514 - 02/09/03 09:33 PM Re: Train Talk
frenchelectrican Offline


Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 938
Loc: Wi/ Paris France { France for ...
yeah i can understand it clear i used to work for csx railroad companine as engineer for short time and what you explain about ctc controls you are right but one more item that i will add on to it is we use raido commuation to verfiy some case we deal with " dark ctc" that mean you are pretty much on your own on the track that kinda of spooky i am member of railroad forms my name will show up pretty often and we do have pretty good debate with the ctc also.. hey joe yeah nfpa did metion with that code and somehow the railroad have slightly diffrent codes with that if need to know more details i can concat my frenid at the railroad companie he can give me and relay the info to you joe ; for the usa electricfied line the voltage kinda varies depend on which one most common is 15 kv ac and 600 v dc (kinda rare now) yeah most are on 25 hz but will phase in with 60 very soon i dont have the details about them yet but i can check on that soon for both usa and europeien version

merci marc
Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

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