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Eastern Railroad Discussion > AMTK catenary height


Date: 07/22/14 08:49
AMTK catenary height
Author: tp117

I'm re-asking a previous question using the question as the subject, hoping it might find more responses. What is AMTK's existing cateary height outside of stations and tunnels and specifically between Ragan, DE and Bayview, MD where most of NS's freight trains operate. Auto racks with ATR 19'1 do run under it, but nothing taller. And, if anyone knows, how close can the top of cars be to catenary without 'arcing' or creating an electrical hazard? Thanks.



Date: 07/22/14 09:13
Re: AMTK catenary height
Author: rhotond

minimum ht is about 16 ft. Max is on the order of 26



Date: 07/22/14 10:10
Re: AMTK catenary height
Author: ts1457

rhotond Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> minimum ht is about 16 ft. Max is on the order of
> 26

How much additional clearance do you have to allow to prevent arcing or is that included in the clearances given? I'm curious what the maximum height is for passenger cars on the Corridor.



Date: 07/22/14 10:23
Re: AMTK catenary height
Author: timz

As I recall the lowest clearance in the
Amtk timetable west of the Hudson River
tunnels is on track 4 between N Phila
and Zoo. The B&P tunnel may not be quite
that low, but the curve might similarly
limit an 85-ft car there.

Out in the open (not under a bridge)
the catenary's probably always 22+ feet?



Date: 07/22/14 11:00
Re: AMTK catenary height
Author: Out_Of_Service

there are locations that are below 16 feet ... stations and some low-lying bridges ... between North Philadelphia and Zoo PRR/PC/CR could only run their TV Trains on number 2 which had been undercut to allow enough clearance just for that purpose

Posted from Android



Date: 07/22/14 11:48
Re: Trailer trains
Author: timz

TV trains ran thru Philadelphia? To Washington?
The B&P gantlet allowed them?



Date: 07/22/14 12:08
Re: Trailer trains
Author: tp117

I really need a factual answer on the height between Ragan and Baltimore. I do not think it is 22 feet. If it was then NS would be running double stacks to Baltimore in competition to CSX, which cannot because they have not figured a way to clear the 1.4 mile Howard Street tunnel for stacked high cube cons which are 20'2 ATR and need another four inches bounce margin above that. Dundalk Marine Terminal is on the East side of Baltimore, and NS comes in from the East whereas CSX has to use Howard St.

See previous post subject 'Q for Out of Service'

Yes, PRR and PC and Conrail for a while did run TV23/24 on what is now AMTK's NEC. But they had to use special lower 89 foot flat cars and were trailers or single level containers only. The gauntlet track in the B&P tunnel was as much for not having 89 foot cars hit a retaining wall on the curve as for clearance. I tried to see if it was still there when I rode an AMTK train a month ago but could not tell. TV23/24 also handled open bi level auto racks, but tri's would not clear. About the biggest sized freight car that can get thru B&P tunnel is Tropicana's older reefer cars. The new ones would not fit.



Date: 07/22/14 12:29
Re: Trailer trains
Author: Out_Of_Service

timz Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TV trains ran thru Philadelphia? To Washington?
> The B&P gantlet allowed them?


yes TV-23/24 Kearney to Pot yard in Alexandria,Va ... another TV train ran the Main Line via Shore from Harrisburg-Kearney to deliver trailers to the Aramingo ramp and also deliver livestock (hogs & cows) to Cross Bros Meats at Front St



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/14 12:35 by Out_Of_Service.



Date: 07/22/14 12:41
Re: Trailer trains
Author: ts1457

tp117 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I really need a factual answer on the height
> between Ragan and Baltimore. I do not think it is
> 22 feet. If it was then NS would be running double
> stacks to Baltimore in competition to CSX, which
> cannot because they have not figured a way to
> clear the 1.4 mile Howard Street tunnel for
> stacked high cube cons ....

Why would NS want to encourage container lines to use Baltimore over Norfolk? Norfolk saves a day roundtrip steaming time over Baltimore and NS has clearance from Norfolk to handle double stacks to and from just about everywhere. CSX is still working toward a better solution for themselves at Hampton Roads, so NS does have the competitive advantage there.



Date: 07/22/14 13:02
Re: Trailer trains
Author: Lackawanna484

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> tp117 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I really need a factual answer on the height
> > between Ragan and Baltimore. I do not think it
> is
> > 22 feet. If it was then NS would be running
> double
> > stacks to Baltimore in competition to CSX,
> which
> > cannot because they have not figured a way to
> > clear the 1.4 mile Howard Street tunnel for
> > stacked high cube cons ....
>
> Why would NS want to encourage container lines to
> use Baltimore over Norfolk? Norfolk saves a day
> roundtrip steaming time over Baltimore and NS has
> clearance from Norfolk to handle double stacks to
> and from just about everywhere. CSX is still
> working toward a better solution for themselves at
> Hampton Roads, so NS does have the competitive
> advantage there.

Right, but if the Port of Wilmington is put in play as a major terminal, then the issue of clearance on that section of the NEC becomes very significant.

Maybe the former Octararo / Reading Company line into Elsmere Yard might become a key component of a new freight route?



Date: 07/22/14 13:17
Re: Trailer trains
Author: Tominde

Lackawanna484 says:

>>>Maybe the former Octararo / Reading Company line into Elsmere Yard might become a key component of a new freight route?

WOW! That would be interesting. What's the mean distance between curves???? About 3 car lengths. If the NIMBYs in Greenville read this they will work to shut down TrainOrders.



Date: 07/22/14 13:53
Re: Baltimore
Author: timz

> between Ragan and Baltimore. I do not think it is
> 22 feet. If it was then NS would be running double
> stacks to Baltimore

Everyone agrees it drops below 22 ft at
some unknown number of locations-- enough
locations that 20-2 stacks are out of the
question to Baltimore.

Amtrak's 2012 timetable allows Plate C not
exceeding 15 ft 6 in height on all mains
west of the west end of the Hudson tunnels--
except for track 4 betw N Phila and Zoo.
In other words, 15-6 is okay almost everywhere,
and higher than that is okay in many places.



Date: 07/22/14 14:05
Re: Trailer trains
Author: Out_Of_Service

below is a comparison of a 1965 image to a present day image of the area around the former PRR/PC/CR now West Yard ... you can see there's no direct headon connection from the B&O now CSX track to the port area ... any headon connection onto the NS Shellpot Sec for port access would have to be built UNDER the NEC which at the point where the CSX enters the area the NEC is at too low of a profile for a track to go under and with 95 there's no room for an overbuild ... there's presently construction being done in the vicinity on Amtrak between West Yard and Ragan for a 3rd track so any construction would be a total rebuild from a present rebuild ... i really don't see that happening

you'll have to zoom out because the HA linking is screwed up ... here's the HA 1965 image of the West Yard area showing former Reading and PRR trackage:

http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=4.56552084434667E-05&lat=39.7266233535854&lon=-75.5698912936696&year=1965

here's the present day image :

https://goo.gl/maps/t5RLj



Date: 07/22/14 17:17
Re: Trailer trains
Author: 3rd_Raton

tp117 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I really need a factual answer on the height
> between Ragan and Baltimore. I do not think it is
> 22 feet. If it was then NS would be running double
> stacks to Baltimore in competition to CSX, which
> cannot because they have not figured a way to
> clear the 1.4 mile Howard Street tunnel for
> stacked high cube cons which are 20'2 ATR and need
> another four inches bounce margin above that.
> Dundalk Marine Terminal is on the East side of
> Baltimore, and NS comes in from the East whereas
> CSX has to use Howard St.
>
> See previous post subject 'Q for Out of Service'
>
> Yes, PRR and PC and Conrail for a while did run
> TV23/24 on what is now AMTK's NEC. But they had to
> use special lower 89 foot flat cars and were
> trailers or single level containers only. The
> gauntlet track in the B&P tunnel was as much for
> not having 89 foot cars hit a retaining wall on
> the curve as for clearance. I tried to see if it
> was still there when I rode an AMTK train a month
> ago but could not tell. TV23/24 also handled open
> bi level auto racks, but tri's would not clear.
> About the biggest sized freight car that can get
> thru B&P tunnel is Tropicana's older reefer cars.
> The new ones would not fit.


The B&P tunnel gauntlet track as installed by the PRR/PC was the no.89 switch to us former B&P Jct tower operators. It was originally on No.3 track. When Amtrak rebuilt the tunnel with a concrete floor back in the 80's, the gauntlet track was moved to No.2 track. Sometime in the late 90's after I left Amtrak the no.89 switch was removed by Amtrak after CSXT indicated that it wouldn't operated TTX or bi-level auto racks between Baltimore and Washington.

As for catenary height, it varies through out the old PRR system. Generally it was between 19 and 21 feet but could be lower in stations and tunnels. Back in my Amtrak CETC days we had catenary plate and height charts that listed all the catenary sections and wire heights. I do remember Conrail running tri-level auto racks between Perryville and Davis (Newark, Delaware) for the Chrysler plant at Newark. I do seem to remember hearing that Conrail had paid Amtrak to raise the catenary height between Perryviille and Davis as well as at certain points between Perryville and "River" interlocking at the north-end of Baltimore's Bay View yard.

Double Stacks and electrification are something the railroads will have to address in the future as oil will only get more expensive.

3rd_Raton remembering his NEC daze ......



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/14 17:19 by 3rd_Raton.



Date: 07/22/14 19:22
Re: Trailer trains
Author: tp117

Thanks, many good answers from all of you the last few hours. I thank you all, and anything else you might add. I do not want our local politicians spending money for consultants and a project that may be marginal from both a railroad and marine standpoint.

Going from latest to earliest responses without mentioning handles I'll say this:

Yes, tri-level autoracks, and now enclosed multilevels of both, at 19'1 ATR do move on the NEC from Ragan to Perryville and also from Balto to Perryville. If CR paid for those improvements in the past I do not know, but that suggests catenary can be adjusted to higher levels on existing cat poles, which adds promise to the proposal. If most of the catenary between Ragan and Perryville is above 21'0 then doublestacks may be possible.

Yes, the present interchange between CSX and NS at West Yard in Wilmington is awkward. Two RR's, two crews, and even if that could be accommodated still two reverse moves of a train limited to single stack cons train length about 2000 feet. And still CSX cannot run double stacks east or west of here due to their own clearance restrictions.

The old OCTR and ESPN are not in play for this proposal now. ESPN goes SB into Wilsmere on a sharp curve. To go south to NS at West Yard is a CSX reverse move, and then you have to go thru the two reverse moves mentioned above. Due to this constraint, and no double stacks possible, I do not see it as an option, at least locally.

Finally, as port versus port, Norfolk will win over Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and any new port in the Wilmington area, for most ship lines. Some may alter their routes and come into play. Will it make a difference? I do not know. The C&D canal is restricted to Panamax vessels. 35' draft or less. They can serve anywhere on the Eastern Coast, and do. The mega ships from the Orient via the expanded Panama Canal will probably only call the ports nearest he open sea, Norfolk and northern New Jersey, and Halifax.



Date: 07/23/14 08:47
Re: Trailer trains
Author: knotch8

Thanks, tp117. It appears that FEC is planning on the new vessels calling at the Port of Miami, given its investment there, although the physical layout seems constrained.

Port Everglades? Savannah? Charleston? Are they candidates for the new class of vessels?



Date: 07/23/14 13:39
Re: Trailer trains
Author: tp117

Well, I'm no expert on this, but it seems to me the mega-ships will stop somewhere in the Southeast, but at only one port there. I do not know which is better, Port Everglades, Savannah or Charleston. But they all are close to the open sea and have good rail access. Then they will go to Norfolk and one of the several ports in North Jersey.

The whole idea behind the enlarged canal is to take Asian goods to the USA East Coast, or maybe Europe, cheaper. Maybe. But will it be faster? Time will tell but BNSF and UP do not seem too concerned about it. Especially not CN with their Prince Rupert terminal.

It's my guess that open sea sailing and big container trains move about the same speed, averaging 20-25 mph on a long journey. You have to add in one or two days for the ship to train transfer. So the total distance of the ship/train trip is critical. I think high value goods from Asia to as far East as Chicago and the Mississippi River cities will still move via West Coast ports to rail. The cheaper rated freight may come on the new big vessels to the East Coast but may not have to move very far inland, and may go truck (ugh).

I also think the new Panama Canal will be good for European trade from Asia, I'd have to check distances, but they do not have to deal with the Suez Canal and the terrible, never ending politics of the Middle East. Panama is their own country, runs the canals, and aligned with the West.

But all that is just my humble opinion, of an old man, at this time.



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