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Passenger Trains > Impact of PSR on Amtrak


Date: 09/16/20 06:48
Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: RRTom

The AREMA conference is on this week - all virtual, whoopie.
One presentation yesterday was on the impact of PSR freight operations on Amtrak.  Conclusion???

Needs more study.



Date: 09/16/20 07:11
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: TAW

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The AREMA conference is on this week - all
> virtual, whoopie.
> One presentation yesterday was on the impact of
> PSR freight operations on Amtrak.  Conclusion???
>
> Needs more study.

That sounds like a consultant report. With a Schedule and Precision, there should be no problem Railroading correctly; shouldn't need study.

When I worked on BN scheduling, there were two competing efforts. One was scheduling and timetabling, as I have described in trainorders so often, by a team of train dispatchers. The other was led by McKinsey MBA consultants. Their method was called Precision Execution, a buzzword for changing the schedule every day to match whatever the trains were doing and calling them on time. I regularly complained about the existing chaos that they were prolonging instead of fixing (making it impossible for us to develop a workable timetable): To have Precision Execution, you have to have a Precision Plan. They don't have one.

TAW



Date: 09/16/20 07:36
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: joemvcnj

There's is no turning back as they have burned their bridges, literally. They have sold off thousands of locomotives, closed many yards, and many shops. 



Date: 09/16/20 08:08
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: RRTom

TAW Wrote:
>...The other was led by McKinsey MBA consultants... To have Precision Execution, you have
> to have a Precision Plan. They don't have one.
>
> TAW

There is a fatal flaw with McKinsey's approach and with a lot of software and AI-stuff that is being peddled today in all aspects of our lives:

A "problem statement" or "case statement" is written down,...OK, it's good to think of how to make something better.
But the sellers assume that the software can address the problem, even though humanity can never be fully imitated by a machine.  You don't even have to be religious: reason (experience and logic) alone says this is so.
The result is at best a degradation of performance compared to the old way ("Can you hear me now?"; lower train speeds,...) or at worst a complete failure to address the problem - which for some reason is very, very hard for the implementers to admit.



Date: 09/16/20 09:32
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: ironmtn

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> TAW Wrote:
> >...The other was led by McKinsey MBA
> consultants... To have Precision Execution, you
> have
> > to have a Precision Plan. They don't have one.
> >
> > TAW
>
> There is a fatal flaw with McKinsey's approach and
> with a lot of software and AI-stuff that is being
> peddled today in all aspects of our lives:
>
> A "problem statement" or "case statement" is
> written down,...OK, it's good to think of how to
> make something better.
> But the sellers assume that the software can
> address the problem, even though humanity can
> never be fully imitated by a machine.  You don't
> even have to be religious: reason (experience and
> logic) alone says this is so.
> The result is at best a degradation of performance
> compared to the old way ("Can you hear me now?";
> lower train speeds,...) or at worst a complete
> failure to address the problem - which for some
> reason is very, very hard for the implementers to
> admit.

Ex-system implementer here, now retired. My experience was entirely in other non-railroad industries, and in the pre-analytics environment -- what I sometimes called the "big accounting machine era.". Which to the millenials now tearing their way through the industry (with varying degrees of success and failure) is so far in the rear view mirror as to be almost prehistoric. It doesn't matter one iota to them that they stand every day on the foundations we laid for them.

Insert the word "some" in RRTom's quote above, changing the phrase "which for some reason is very, very hard for some implementers to admit." To that I would agree. I have seen (and fixed, with great effort and pain) some badly botched implementations. And most often the problems started with incorrect design and configuration at the core foundational levels. And that in turn can come from either not correctly understanding the business problems to be addressed, or arrogance in believing that the systems really could / would / should address those issues. When perhaps they really couldn't. Or shouldn't.

Yes, it can be very tough for someone who has invested themselves and lots of effort and pain to admit this. I was lucky to work with a team that did not oversell what we could do, and we asked deep and hard questions at the design stage. And yes, the sales guys passed on some jobs which were a bridge too far. It took courage to do that, but we came out the other end okay anyway. Maybe we just paid attention and learned well from the pain and sweat and tears of the jobs botched by others that we had to fix. Such experiences teach you well...if you pay attention. A point often made here on TO by a number of insightful members.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Date: 09/16/20 10:01
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: Molino

Pray that any impact on passenger rail won't be in the form of a catastrophic event that was attributed to PSR's creation... 
https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2020/09/15-ntsb-engineer-in-2019-csx-collision-in-ohio-was-intoxicated



Date: 09/16/20 10:31
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: joemvcnj

Nice to see official criticism of PSR, not from us amateurs, and NTSB had to admit PTC is not always a panacea.



Date: 09/16/20 10:38
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: TAW

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice to see official criticism of PSR, not from us
> amateurs, and NTSB had to admit PTC is not always
> a panacea.

How about ever?

TAW



Date: 09/16/20 11:16
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: NKP715

The parameters when restricted speed is in effect were known since day one.  PTC cannot monitor the "50% line-of-sight" portion of the rule.

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice to see official criticism of PSR, not from us
> amateurs, and NTSB had to admit PTC is not always
> a panacea.



Date: 09/16/20 11:20
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: rfdatalink

I can't say that I'm a big fan of the virtual delivery method for the AREMA conference.   
The AREMA presentations are always a wide swing from real world "this is what we did" to scholarly research that has very little link to the real world.     This particular presentation seemed to be more on the scholarly side.

Stephen



Date: 09/16/20 13:16
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: PHall

rfdatalink Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't say that I'm a big fan of the virtual
> delivery method for the AREMA conference.   
> The AREMA presentations are always a wide swing
> from real world "this is what we did" to scholarly
> research that has very little link to the real
> world.     This particular presentation seemed
> to be more on the scholarly side.
>
> Stephen

In this day and age, it's either virtual or nothing.



Date: 09/16/20 15:01
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: RRTom

PHall Wrote:
> In this day and age, it's either virtual or
> nothing.

You probably mean the AREMA conference, but there is lots going on that is not virtual.
For example, the multi-day project meeting that several people from different companies traveled to from out-of-state so we can sit together and hash things out.
Or the camping trip I'm going on with my boys and about 10 other dads and their boys this weekend.
Or going to church (where I live).
Or some bad stuff everyone has been allowed to do all over the USA without interruption in 2020 which I won't mention because doing so tends to get threads deleted.



Date: 09/16/20 16:28
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: choodude

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Or some bad stuff everyone has been allowed to do all over the USA without interruption in 2020 which I won't mention because doing so tends to get threads deleted.

It's been demonstrated that outdoor activities are far less likely to be the source of viral transmission especially when a large percentage of the participants are wearing masks.

It will be interesting to see how the recent Elephant Party indoor political rally plays out with new cases -- hardly a mask in sight.  You may recall a recent wedding in the state of Maine that has 7 deaths to its credit -- none of whom attended the wedding.

Brian



Date: 09/23/20 08:25
Re: Impact of PSR on Amtrak
Author: RRTom

I was referring to indoor stuff involving babies in the womb.



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