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Date: 07/11/19 06:49
NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: richs

Another problem with centralized dispatching from Georgia.  Why have a bridge operator with no authority?
Rich S  

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/cleveland-metro/iron-curtain-lift-bridge-issues-causing-congestion-frustration-for-cuyahoga-river-businesses



Date: 07/11/19 07:21
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: MattW

Seems to be all recreational ttaffic. If commercial traffic was being held up, that's one thing, but tons of goods moving in interstate commerce will always trump local recreation.

Posted from Android



Date: 07/11/19 07:39
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: richs

Trust me, the bridge holds up commercial traffic quite regularly.  Seen plenty of Great Lake freighters waiting on this link:

http://www.rockthelake.com/music-box-supper-club-bridge-cam/

MattW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seems to be all recreational ttaffic. If
> commercial traffic was being held up, that's one
> thing, but tons of goods moving in interstate
> commerce will always trump local recreation.
>
> Posted from Android



Date: 07/11/19 07:46
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: Typhoon

richs Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another problem with centralized dispatching from
> Georgia. 

Not really.  


> Why have a bridge operator with no
> authority?
> Rich S  

Because someone needs to be on hand to operate the bridge.



Date: 07/11/19 07:51
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: toledopatch

Typhoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> richs Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Another problem with centralized dispatching
> from
> > Georgia. 
>
> Not really.  
>
>
> > Why have a bridge operator with no
> > authority?
> > Rich S  
>
> Because someone needs to be on hand to operate the
> bridge.

The point is that the bridgetenders have to get a release from the train dispatcher before they can open the bridge for marine traffic.

The railroads have been terrible about this for a long time. I was on a freighter two decades ago that waited half an hour at the CSX bridge in Toledo for no apparent reason -- no trains crossed the bridge. And with dispatchers' territories being combined again, that's probably getting worse. I can't imagine overworked dispatchers have a lot of time to pay attention to bridgetenders' requests for boat openings, nor do I imagine AutoRouter gives a damn.

An argument could easily be made that the Coast Guard needs to crack down hard on railroads' violation of water traffic primacy in these situations, and perhaps even require local control for drawbridges over commercial waterways. Maybe the ship operators don't want to "rock the boat," but these are the sorts of situations that end up with ridiculous regulatory solutions such as the daily limit on the number of train movements allowed to cross Amtrak's Connecticut River bridge on the Northeast Corridor.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/19 08:14 by toledopatch.



Date: 07/11/19 09:15
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: jcoons

toledopatch Wrote:

> An argument could easily be made that the Coast
> Guard needs to crack down hard on railroads'
> violation of water traffic primacy in these
> situations...

Actually, no, water borne traffic does not have primacy. In this article (http://www.rockthelake.com/buzz/2017/10/norfolk-southern-railroad-bridge-boats-cuyahoga-river/) the following quote from a USCG officer provides clarity:

"It’s a common misconception that freighters and other commercial boat traffic have the right of way, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Marvin Kimmel."
 



Date: 07/11/19 09:33
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: Typhoon

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Typhoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > richs Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Another problem with centralized dispatching
> > from
> > > Georgia. 
> >
> > Not really.  
> >
> >
> > > Why have a bridge operator with no
> > > authority?
> > > Rich S  
> >
> > Because someone needs to be on hand to operate
> the
> > bridge.
>
> The point is that the bridgetenders have to get a
> release from the train dispatcher before they can
> open the bridge for marine traffic.
>

I understand the point.  The current process is the correct one.



Date: 07/11/19 10:48
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: justalurker66

Typhoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I understand the point.  The current process is the correct one.

There appears to be room for improvement in the process.
I agree, the dispatchers need to remain in control of the railroad.

But one thing to look at is how often river traffic is blocked and whether or not the blockages can be reduced.

Are dispatchers lining routes too early? It can be a problem to tear down cleared signals (waiting for time outs). If the was a lockout that required occupancy within X number of blocks to clear the bridge for train traffic it may prevent dispatchers from lining trains too early (if they are doing that).

Antidotal reports are not clear enough to second guess operations. More information is needed. A report of a boat waiting for half an hour with no train doesn't answer the question of when the train arrived. Is 30 minutes long enough to open and close the bridge and allow water traffic to pass? Had the bridge opened when the boat approached would it have been closed before delaying a train? Such decisions are as old as railroads. Even a local tower operator would need to figure out what they could do without causing bigger problems.

While dispatchers can be overworked they are also in a position to have a big picture view of the railroad. A bridge operator may be too focused on local conditions to see the big picture.



Date: 07/11/19 16:45
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: BCHellman

Didn't know drawbridge operations were regulated by Homeland Security since 2007. I guess this was when the Coast Guard was absorbed into Homeland Security?

Of interest to railroads is section 117.9

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2018-title33-vol1/xml/CFR-2018-title33-vol1-part117.xml#seqnum117.4



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/19 16:46 by BCHellman.



Date: 07/11/19 17:48
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: toledopatch

jcoons Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> toledopatch Wrote:
>
> > An argument could easily be made that the Coast
> > Guard needs to crack down hard on railroads'
> > violation of water traffic primacy in these
> > situations...
>
> Actually, no, water borne traffic does not have
> primacy. In this article
> (http://www.rockthelake.com/buzz/2017/10/norfolk-s
> outhern-railroad-bridge-boats-cuyahoga-river/) the
> following quote from a USCG officer provides
> clarity:
>
> "It’s a common misconception that freighters and
> other commercial boat traffic have the right of
> way, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Marvin Kimmel."

Whatever term you want to use, the railroads in northern Ohio habitually violate this provision of the CFR:

§ 117.5
        When the drawbridge must open.
        Except as otherwise authorized or required by this part, drawbridges must open promptly and fully for the passage of vessels when a request or signal to open is given in accordance with this subpart.



Date: 07/11/19 17:50
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: toledopatch

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Typhoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I understand the point.  The current process is
> the correct one.
>
> There appears to be room for improvement in the
> process.
> I agree, the dispatchers need to remain in control
> of the railroad.
>
> But one thing to look at is how often river
> traffic is blocked and whether or not the
> blockages can be reduced.
>
> Are dispatchers lining routes too early? It can be
> a problem to tear down cleared signals (waiting
> for time outs). If the was a lockout that required
> occupancy within X number of blocks to clear the
> bridge for train traffic it may prevent
> dispatchers from lining trains too early (if they
> are doing that).
>
> Antidotal reports are not clear enough to second
> guess operations. More information is needed. A
> report of a boat waiting for half an hour with no
> train doesn't answer the question of when the
> train arrived. Is 30 minutes long enough to open
> and close the bridge and allow water traffic to
> pass? Had the bridge opened when the boat
> approached would it have been closed before
> delaying a train? Such decisions are as old as
> railroads. Even a local tower operator would need
> to figure out what they could do without causing
> bigger problems.

In my particular anecdote, the 30-minute delay was not followed by the arrival of a train. After 30 minutes of no action, the bridge simply opened. (And I had a railroad scanner on me at the time, so I knew what was -- or wasn't - happening near the bridge.)



Date: 07/11/19 18:44
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: Lackawanna484

In Florida, things can be a little different.  Florida East Coast and BrightLine have had their ups and downs with the Coast Guard. congress members, VIP boat owners, commercial fisherpeople, and local residents.  I wrote about it last year in the context of Stuart Draw Bridge.  FEC bridges are unattended, there's a camera to scan the area, and the bridge operator 200 miles away in Jacksonville does the job for remote bridges.

For years, you could bet the farm on the FEC bridge process. 20 minutes before opening, the lights would illuminate.  15 minutes before, lights would flash on the bridge and a honking noise would happen.  Along with a BRIDGE CLOSING SOON repeated message. 10 minutes before, the brige would descend. Which turned rail signals green for the approach.

When BrightLine came on the scene, the south end bridges required more frequent attention. From the same operator. So, the Stuart bridge might descend 20 minutes before a train. Or even a half hour. Or descend, stay down 20 minutes, and ascend without a train. Or, go down for a train, and stay down for another half hour, awaiting another train. I saw that a few times.  Boaters went nuts.

The Coast Guard claimed to be powerless.  Very Important People who have even more Important People on speed dial, made calls from their yachts.  As did commercial fisherpeople, and party boat captains.  Commercial users.  That went nowhere, and the bridge continued to be down for long periods.

Eventually US rep Brian Mast (R- FL, 18) got involved and brokered a truce.  The bridge went back to its old ways, more or less.  The FEC was absolutely not a good neighbor in that situation.  The story was FEC assigned just one bridge tender for the entire route on some shifts, and this person was under orders not to inconvenience BrightLine or the even more important yacht and commercial owners in Fort Lauderdale, etc. On other shifts, there were two operators for the entire line.

BrightLine and FEC share owenrship of the dispatching company, I don't know if they share the cost of the bridge operators outside the BrightLine area.



Date: 07/11/19 19:53
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: glendale

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> justalurker66 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Typhoon Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > I understand the point.  The current process
> is
> > the correct one.
> >
> > There appears to be room for improvement in the
> > process.
> > I agree, the dispatchers need to remain in
> control
> > of the railroad.
> >
> > But one thing to look at is how often river
> > traffic is blocked and whether or not the
> > blockages can be reduced.
> >
> > Are dispatchers lining routes too early? It can
> be
> > a problem to tear down cleared signals (waiting
> > for time outs). If the was a lockout that
> required
> > occupancy within X number of blocks to clear
> the
> > bridge for train traffic it may prevent
> > dispatchers from lining trains too early (if
> they
> > are doing that).
> >
> > Antidotal reports are not clear enough to
> second
> > guess operations. More information is needed. A
> > report of a boat waiting for half an hour with
> no
> > train doesn't answer the question of when the
> > train arrived. Is 30 minutes long enough to
> open
> > and close the bridge and allow water traffic to
> > pass? Had the bridge opened when the boat
> > approached would it have been closed before
> > delaying a train? Such decisions are as old as
> > railroads. Even a local tower operator would
> need
> > to figure out what they could do without
> causing
> > bigger problems.
>
> In my particular anecdote, the 30-minute delay was
> not followed by the arrival of a train. After 30
> minutes of no action, the bridge simply opened.
> (And I had a railroad scanner on me at the time,
> so I knew what was -- or wasn't - happening near
> the bridge.)

Did you really know though? (hint: Remember not all forms of communication on the railroad can be detected by a scanner.)

 



Date: 07/11/19 20:14
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: toledopatch

glendale Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> toledopatch Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > justalurker66 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Typhoon Wrote:
> > >
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> >
> > > -----
> > > > I understand the point.  The current
> process
> > is
> > > the correct one.
> > >
> > > There appears to be room for improvement in
> the
> > > process.
> > > I agree, the dispatchers need to remain in
> > control
> > > of the railroad.
> > >
> > > But one thing to look at is how often river
> > > traffic is blocked and whether or not the
> > > blockages can be reduced.
> > >
> > > Are dispatchers lining routes too early? It
> can
> > be
> > > a problem to tear down cleared signals
> (waiting
> > > for time outs). If the was a lockout that
> > required
> > > occupancy within X number of blocks to clear
> > the
> > > bridge for train traffic it may prevent
> > > dispatchers from lining trains too early (if
> > they
> > > are doing that).
> > >
> > > Antidotal reports are not clear enough to
> > second
> > > guess operations. More information is needed.
> A
> > > report of a boat waiting for half an hour
> with
> > no
> > > train doesn't answer the question of when the
> > > train arrived. Is 30 minutes long enough to
> > open
> > > and close the bridge and allow water traffic
> to
> > > pass? Had the bridge opened when the boat
> > > approached would it have been closed before
> > > delaying a train? Such decisions are as old
> as
> > > railroads. Even a local tower operator would
> > need
> > > to figure out what they could do without
> > causing
> > > bigger problems.
> >
> > In my particular anecdote, the 30-minute delay
> was
> > not followed by the arrival of a train. After
> 30
> > minutes of no action, the bridge simply opened.
> > (And I had a railroad scanner on me at the
> time,
> > so I knew what was -- or wasn't - happening
> near
> > the bridge.)
>
> Did you really know though? (hint: Remember not
> all forms of communication on the railroad can be
> detected by a scanner.)
>
Twenty-odd years ago there was a lot less secret communication. And if there was a maintainer working on the bridge or something like that, the bridge tender could easily have explained that to the ship captain's satisfaction.

Again, my point is that the railroads being uncooperative with moveable bridges is not a new thing. They've been awful for generations.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/19 20:16 by toledopatch.



Date: 07/11/19 23:54
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: coach

Just the opposite out here in California on AMTRAK's CAPITOL CORRIDOR:  if a commercial is coming towards the Benecia bridge, that bridge goes UP early and stays up.  The trains pay the price, even AMTRAK trains.  The Coast Guard out here says those big ships have right of way.



Date: 07/12/19 14:00
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: glendale

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Twenty-odd years ago there was a lot less secret
> communication. And if there was a maintainer
> working on the bridge or something like that, the
> bridge tender could easily have explained that to
> the ship captain's satisfaction.

Railfans and  ship captains don’t have some kind of ‘right’ to be privy to all railroad communication.  



Date: 07/12/19 16:18
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: justalurker66

It is a bit pointless to second guess how the bridge was operated once 20 years ago.

Is this drawbridge captured on ATCS? If so, it would be interesting to do a data capture that showed how often the bridge was open and how far in advance of a train the bridge had signals lined across. The data would not show when river traffic made their requests, but it would add some real numbers to the question of how often the bridge opens.



Date: 07/12/19 18:36
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: TAW

toledopatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Again, my point is that the railroads being
> uncooperative with moveable bridges is not a new
> thing. They've been awful for generations.

In the 60-70s, PRR/PC had a dispatcher who demanded that the operator at the Calumet River (Chicago) not open for marine traffic without permission. BOCT and NYC would be sitting while PRR kept running trains.

TAW



Date: 07/12/19 19:33
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: willobi

NS is fast becoming a "we don't care who we inconvenience, we're the RAILROAD" type of operation. They don't care about the public, their customers, their vendors, and least of all, their employees. The college educated pencil pushers who call themselves management are interested in one thing only, and that is the bottom line. They are too ignorant to know, and too young to remember what the government did in years past when the railroads got too big and out of control. It is looking more and more like a little government regulation is going to be needed, but we all know it won't be coming anytime soon.



Date: 07/12/19 20:23
Re: NS causing frustration for Cleveland boaters
Author: halfmoonharold

There are other reasons besides trains that keep a bridge from opening or closing. A track circuit down, prox switch out of adjustment, derail that won't line. Hot weather especially plays havoc as it causes the rail to run, which can keep the bridge from seating properly when closing, or affect the operation of the derails. Then you have blocking for the maintenance workers of various departments who are trying to fix or prevent the above problems. Any of this may or may not be visible on your ATCS screen.



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