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Passenger Trains > California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtrak??


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Date: 10/08/19 22:55
California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtrak??
Author: Rover

PG&E estimates around 800,000 customers will lose power starting overnight on Tuesday, including approximately 50,000 customers in both Placer and El Dorado Counties, and 43,000 in Nevada County. It could take several days to restore power in some areas.

https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/10/08/pge-power-shutoffs-norcal/



Date: 10/08/19 23:47
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

Operationally, as in "keep the trains rolling?"

It's not just Amtrak.  It depends upon availability of electric power to operate lineside equipment.  In most cases, battery power is available as a backup to
keep systems running.  Some are recharged during daylight hours by solar panels, while others rely on commercial power.

If the shutdown affects signals, trains will only be permitted to operate at Restricted Speed between signals, subject to dispatcher clearance at each signal location.  If it affects the operation of grade crossing protection, trains must stop at each grade crossing and a crew member must detrain and flag the crossing.  If it affects power switches, trains will only be able to meet on single track or overtake on multiple track by manually throwing switches, again only by dispatcher clearance. 

There are other potential effects including electric power to continue operating stations and their equipment, though I don't think any staffed Amtrak stations are affected by the announced shutdown. 

Unlike freight trains which could be detoured around affected areas, Amtrak would be stuck to their routes.  At worst, they'd be better off cancelling trains.  The railroads could, with justification, decline to accept Amtrak on their rails for the duration.

Amtrak is not a particularly important aspect of the situation.  Tracks on which Amtrak operates which are directly affected include the UP routes east of Sacramento to around Colfax, and between Chico and Redding.  Segments of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit...SMART...are within or near the areas where power could be cut, and their dispatching radio site in Sonoma County definitely is.  Communications between dispatch centers and local railroad sites could be affected, however, if the power to microwave towers and communications relay sites is cut; those effects could be more widespread.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/19 08:52 by GenePoon.



Date: 10/09/19 01:18
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: coach

All of this is happening because PG&E failed to keep up its tree pruning, and instead rewarded executives bonuses most years.

The entier leadership of PG&E needs to be totally swept from office, and people put in who BELIEVE in running a utility as "critical infrastructure" vs. a profit machine.



Date: 10/09/19 06:11
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: andersonb109

So wait. They are cutting off power to paying customers before anything even happens? Sounds like Amtrak canceling trains at the slightest threat of a storm. 



Date: 10/09/19 07:41
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: mbrotzman

coach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> All of this is happening because PG&E failed to
> keep up its tree pruning, and instead rewarded
> executives bonuses most years.
>
> The entier leadership of PG&E needs to be totally
> swept from office, and people put in who BELIEVE
> in running a utility as "critical infrastructure"
> vs. a profit machine.

The problem is the state law that allows for liability of electric utilities without a showing of negligence.  The Paradise fire was caused because a cable hanger failed.  This isn't a tree issue as any amount of vegetation in or around power lines is enough to cause a brush fire these days because the climate is so dry.  Also, the liability risk is so severe that no tree trimming service will agree to do the work!  Instead of trying to put the risk of living in a fire zone on the people who choose to live in a fire zone, California tried to pin it on Big Power.  Well the power company went bankrupt and is shutting off the lights.  California needs to face the fact that "the corporations" aren't always to blame. 



Date: 10/09/19 09:59
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: trainjunkie

From a purely operational standpoint, I can tell you from experience that CTC will continue to operate on battery power for quite awhile. But PTC will not. I got caught on a freight in the last PG&E shutdown between Oroville and Marysville and while we had clear signals the whole way, PTC dropped into fault mode and made us move at restricted speed for miles. There is no way to maintain passenger train schedules if everything has to comply with 6.27. The best thing the carriers could do during these planned power outages would be to suspend PTC, assuming there is a provision in the regs to do it.



Date: 10/09/19 10:58
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: PHall

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So wait. They are cutting off power to paying
> customers before anything even happens? Sounds
> like Amtrak canceling trains at the slightest
> threat of a storm. 

The three big monster fires of the last couple of years have been traced back to power lines.
PG&E and So Cal Edison have and are paying billions for this.



Date: 10/09/19 11:01
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: PHall

Southern California Edison (SCE) is doing power shut offs too, but there seems to be none of the "sky is falling" thing like you're getting up north.



Date: 10/09/19 12:23
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

> The three big monster fires of the last couple of
> years have been traced back to power lines.
> PG&E and So Cal Edison have and are paying
> billions for this.

=========================

The 2017 fire that burned several neighborhoods in and around Santa Rosa CA (including on both sides of the SMART tracks) was officially attributed to privately-owned, non-PG&E equipment. This must have been tragic for the greedy, fire-truck-chasing trial lawyers to hear, but the shysters are pushing ahead with lawsuits against PG&E anyway.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/19 12:26 by GenePoon.



Date: 10/09/19 12:53
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

This is the "official" PG&E electrical outage map as of 1251, on 09OCT2019.

Yup.  It shows NO OUTAGES.  Actually, the area represented by approximately the middle 1/3 of the image is currently
without power.

PG&E has apparently cancelled the next phase of the Public Safety Power Shutdown, which had been scheduled
for approximately 1600...or so they have advised local law enforcement agencies.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/19 13:17 by GenePoon.




Date: 10/09/19 13:00
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: TiBike

I've checked the same map several times today. Sometimes it populates with outage data, sometimes it remains blank as you saw it. Sometimes you can't get through to the PG&E website at all. It looks like a server capacity issue – this is probably a record day for PG&E's website. It's a fixable problem.



Date: 10/09/19 13:33
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

Most, if not all of the "outage maps" posted by news media are improperly represented, showing
the projected outage areas on maps released by PG&E days ago, and not the actual, current
outages.  As an example, they show an area in my town as without power that is more than
three times as large as what is actually powerless.

Railroad-related: though these media-published maps show portions of SMART trackage as being affected,
none are, at present; and if what PG&E has advised local authorities is true, no further outages
are scheduled at this time; SMART's Sonoma-area radio communications tower is within
the power-down area, but it appears to be functioning normally using backup power, though their signals
cannot be interpreted using conventional, non-digital equipment.



Date: 10/09/19 13:33
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: trainjunkie

The PG&E site was down most of the day yesterday. Looks like it still isn't sorted out. What did they think was going to happen? Prepared, as usual.

https://www.ktvu.com/news/pacific-gas-and-electric-site-down-amid-high-volume-of-customers-seeking-power-shutoff-info



Date: 10/09/19 13:50
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: TiBike

This is what the map shows now, if you zoom in.




Date: 10/09/19 14:42
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: PHall

You won't get any planned outages until the winds arrive.
Doesn't take that long for the control center to flip the switch.



Date: 10/09/19 15:08
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: bobs

Not true.  The area around Rocklin, CA was shut down last night at midnight.  Wind conditions were, and still are, fairly calm with gusts no more than 15 mph forecast for tonight.

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You won't get any planned outages until the winds
> arrive.
> Doesn't take that long for the control center to
> flip the switch.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/19 20:37 by bobs.



Date: 10/09/19 16:23
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

The planned "next phase" outage in the Northern California area, scheduled for 1600 but
presumably cancelled (without public notice...they did notify police and fire agencies), 
did not happen at that time, but it could be like Amtrak...always late. 

The one that was to happen at 0000 this morning didn't happen for about another four hours.



Date: 10/09/19 18:52
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: atsf121

My parents power went off around midnight Tues/Wed and has been off all day Wed. No idea when it will come back on.

They have lived there for more than 45 years. By now I think they’ve seen it all. They had to evacuate 2 years ago when one of the Napa fires burned over the hills towards the valley they live in. And because of what happened in Santa Rosa, the authorities weren’t taking any chances. Think they were out for 5 days.

As was mentioned, California changed the liability rules and now PG&E is going to the extreme to show they are taking all preventative measures. It’s just nuts and seems like no one can come up with a reasonable, balanced solution. And no, I don’t think PG&E is blameless, not by a long shot!

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/09/19 18:54
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: GenePoon

I finally got back to the computer to try, multiple times, to access the PGE Outage Map...and was successful.

However, it appears that when it comes to the CAUSE of the outages, PG&E is lying...this one, east of Santa Rosa
CA, is one of many outages that occurred in the 345am-415am timeframe of the PG&E initiated shutdown.

UNKNOWN CAUSE?   PG&E will be assessing? 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/09/19 19:00 by GenePoon.




Date: 10/09/19 19:01
Re: California PG&E power shut offs -- How does that affect Amtra
Author: trainjunkie

atsf121 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And no, I don’t
> think PG&E is blameless, not by a long shot!

Depends on who and what you believe. Profits over maintenance? That theory seems to be gatering some steam.

https://www.salon.com/2019/10/09/after-choosing-profits-over-maintenance-california-utility-giant-forces-blackouts-on-customers/



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