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ibebobo

Destination signs

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Has it ever been discussed to add some kind of destination signs?  I have recently started using the western avenue station   I never realized how many trains go through there!

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21 minutes ago, ibebobo said:

Has it ever been discussed to add some kind of destination signs?  I have recently started using the western avenue station   I never realized how many trains go through there!

Good question. The IC/ME had signs on the Pullmans and original Highliners, which made sense, since there were about 8 variants. They aren't on the Sumitomo-NS cars.

You didn't say which Western Ave. station. If you mean Milw/NCS, there is a branch situation similar to the ME.

On any of the lines, there is the stop variation problem. If you meant BNSF, they pretty much all go to Aurora, but some stop in Naperville and others in Lisle. but some also short turn at Fairland Ave.

The big track signs in the downtown stations don't do much good at the outlying ones. I wonder if anything can be done with the scrolling platform signs, or the Rail Tracker tablet computers in some agents' booths. Only kind of remote platform audio announcement I've heard was something like "Train 1273 is 6 minutes late; just departed Western Springs" or "Train 2136 will stop at Platform 1 instead of 2."

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1 hour ago, Busjack said:

Good question. The IC/ME had signs on the Pullmans and original Highliners, which made sense, since there were about 8 variants. They aren't on the Sumitomo-NS cars.

You didn't say which Western Ave. station. If you mean Milw/NCS, there is a branch situation similar to the ME.

On any of the lines, there is the stop variation problem. If you meant BNSF, they pretty much all go to Aurora, but some stop in Naperville and others in Lisle. but some also short turn at Fairland Ave.

The big track signs in the downtown stations don't do much good at the outlying ones. I wonder if anything can be done with the scrolling platform signs, or the Rail Tracker tablet computers in some agents' booths. Only kind of remote platform audio announcement I've heard was something like "Train 1273 is 6 minutes late; just departed Western Springs" or "Train 2136 will stop at Platform 1 instead of 2."

Signs make  perfect sense  on all routes.   I know  somebody who  was  new to the Union  Pacific  North  line.  Not being  familiar with the  left hand operation he boarded a train  headed for Kenosha  ( from  Waukegan) when  his  intent  was  to head downtown 

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17 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

Signs make  perfect sense  on all routes.   I know  somebody who  was  new to the Union  Pacific  North  line.  Not being  familiar with the  left hand operation he boarded a train  headed for Kenosha  ( from  Waukegan) when  his  intent  was  to head downtown 

That at least is covered by the signs on the platform that say "To Chicago" and "From Chicago." At least until the "Platform 2" announcement.

On signs and signboards, I was thinking more about the Western near Grand Ave. station situation of first there are MilwN, MilwW, and NCS trains, but p.m. rush hour on the MilwN (schedule), there are local trains to and from Deerfield, and trains to Fox Lake, but then various variants, such as

2123	To Deerfield, but does not stop at N. Glenview, Northbrook, or Lake Cook.
2125	To Fox Lake, express to Glenview and then all stops.
2129	To Fox Lake, express to Lake Cook.
2131	To Fox Lake, also stops at Healy and Morton Grove.
2137	To Deerfield, but skips Grayland, Mayfield, Forest Glen and Golf.
2139	To Fox Lake, also skips Western Ave.

Several local trains then miss N. Glenview
(I assume Metra is then catering to the reverse commuters from The Glen to Lake County).

My point is that even if the train had a sign that said "Fox Lake" or "Deerfield," it wouldn't do riders in zones D and E much good. Someone can see the sign at the gate in Union Station and ask "you mean this train doesn't stop in Northbrook?" but I don't see how they can convey that on a destination sign on a train car.

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1 hour ago, Busjack said:

That at least is covered by the signs on the platform that say "To Chicago" and "From Chicago." At least until the "Platform 2" announcement.

On signs and signboards, I was thinking more about the Western near Grand Ave. station situation of first there are MilwN, MilwW, and NCS trains, but p.m. rush hour on the MilwN (schedule), there are local trains to and from Deerfield, and trains to Fox Lake, but then various variants, such as


2123	To Deerfield, but does not stop at N. Glenview, Northbrook, or Lake Cook.
2125	To Fox Lake, express to Glenview and then all stops.
2129	To Fox Lake, express to Lake Cook.
2131	To Fox Lake, also stops at Healy and Morton Grove.
2137	To Deerfield, but skips Grayland, Mayfield, Forest Glen and Golf.
2139	To Fox Lake, also skips Western Ave.

Several local trains then miss N. Glenview
(I assume Metra is then catering to the reverse commuters from The Glen to Lake County).

My point is that even if the train had a sign that said "Fox Lake" or "Deerfield," it wouldn't do riders in zones D and E much good. Someone can see the sign at the gate in Union Station and ask "you mean this train doesn't stop in Northbrook?" but I don't see how they can convey that on a destination sign on a train car.

I guess that could be  solved by  posting  schedules  on station  platforms subject to  graffiti  taggers. 

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8 minutes ago, artthouwill said:

I guess that could be  solved by  posting  schedules  on station  platforms subject to  graffiti  taggers. 

Again, they are (at least on the stations of which I am aware). But essentially that's a 200% view of the print schedules. I don't know how good of a job they do on the ME or some in city stations that are essentially gravel next to the tracks.

I also wonder if people doubt whether the next train is the 5:32 p.m. on the schedule.

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Yes I was talking about the Milwaukee North line.  However I did take the North Central to Ohare last week which was in track 3 for that 5:10 run only. They could put up monitors that show the next train before it gets there and what stops it makes. Giving people time to get to the next track. Maybe even displaying the engine or coach number. At the least, how about a digital sign displaying the train run...similar to the cta?

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1 hour ago, ibebobo said:

Yes I was talking about the Milwaukee North line.  However I did take the North Central to Ohare last week which was in track 3 for that 5:10 run only. They could put up monitors that show the next train before it gets there and what stops it makes. Giving people time to get to the next track. Maybe even displaying the engine or coach number. At the least, how about a digital sign displaying the train run...similar to the cta?

As I mentioned, it is theoretically possible, as they do have Rail Tracker in some stations. From what you are saying, I take it that the scroll signs (essentially for Operation Lifesaver) are pretty useless.

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Are these what you're specifically referring to? 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

(here's a better one)

2010-12-06+08.52.33.jpg

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7 hours ago, MetroShadow said:

Are these what you're specifically referring to? 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

(here's a better one)

2010-12-06+08.52.33.jpg

That could work. It looks like the 101 is a train number, so it might be able to differentiate stopping patterns, sort of like what the Metra Electric does. 2123 to DEERFIELD would communicate more information than now, but not complete information, but I guess one has to use the schedule in LA, too.

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That would be great if there was one in each car.  But what about just an audio announcement such as the one on CTA buses when the door opens?  That would certainly be less expensive

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13 minutes ago, ibebobo said:

That would be great if there was one in each car.  But what about just an audio announcement such as the one on CTA buses when the door opens?  That would certainly be less expensive

They have it when they are about pull out of the downtown station (including with all stops) but not afterward. Again, since it is gps controlled,I don't see why not, again to the extent of "this train goes to Fox Lake."

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On 6/14/2017 at 6:18 PM, Busjack said:

They have it when they are about pull out of the downtown station (including with all stops) but not afterward. Again, since it is gps controlled,I don't see why not, again to the extent of "this train goes to Fox Lake."

They also have it on inbound trains just before they leave the originating station.

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42 minutes ago, busfan2847 said:

They also have it on inbound trains just before they leave the originating station.

Though from my experience on the UP-NW line you can't hear them because they play before you board. When I would board at Crystal Lake I would sometimes hear the last bit of the priority seating announcement that plays after the station listing. Could be different on other lines though.

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45 minutes ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

Though from my experience on the UP-NW line you can't hear them because they play before you board. When I would board at Crystal Lake I would sometimes hear the last bit of the priority seating announcement that plays after the station listing. Could be different on other lines though.

If a train is originating in Crystal Lake, does it stand in the station with the doors open for several minutes? Or does it lay over somewhere else and board passengers in the same amount of time as a mid route station stop? I would guess the latter. I board the train in Joliet and the announcement plays 1-2 minutes before departure. But most passengers are already on the train at that point because it has been there for 15 minutes. It sounds like the announcement in Crystal Lake plays before the doors are opened because it is on a timer based on the departure time. Are those announcements automatic or does the train crew have to trigger them (perhaps indirectly)?

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45 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

If a train is originating in Crystal Lake, does it stand in the station with the doors open for several minutes? Or does it lay over somewhere else and board passengers in the same amount of time as a mid route station stop? I would guess the latter. I board the train in Joliet and the announcement plays 1-2 minutes before departure. But most passengers are already on the train at that point because it has been there for 15 minutes. It sounds like the announcement in Crystal Lake plays before the doors are opened because it is on a timer based on the departure time. Are those announcements automatic or does the train crew have to trigger them (perhaps indirectly)?

You are correct, it's the latter. You board in the same time as an enroute station stop. There's a little storage area beyond the station where most trains are stored for the night, and daytime PM trains also seem to get put there before heading inbound.

As for the announcements, I don't know what triggers them other than the GPS Busjack mentioned above.

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48 minutes ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

You are correct, it's the latter. You board in the same time as an enroute station stop. There's a little storage area beyond the station where most trains are stored for the night, and daytime PM trains also seem to get put there before heading inbound.

As for the announcements, I don't know what triggers them other than the GPS Busjack mentioned above.

Thanks for the clarification about Crystal Lake station. I've been there a few times but I didn't remember it exactly.

GPS is certainly part of it, but it still has to be properly timed to play just before the train departs. It could simply be programmed to start 2 minutes before the scheduled departure, but that only works if it departs on time. What would trigger the announcement if there is a "late arrival of equipment" delay?

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11 minutes ago, Pace831 said:

Thanks for the clarification about Crystal Lake station. I've been there a few times but I didn't remember it exactly.

GPS is certainly part of it, but it still has to be properly timed to play just before the train departs. It could simply be programmed to start 2 minutes before the scheduled departure, but that only works if it departs on time. What would trigger the announcement if there is a "late arrival of equipment" delay?

IIRC, on the UP-N,  the full announcement  was made for inbound trains originating in  Waukegan, even though  there are trains that originate in Kenosha.  

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7 hours ago, artthouwill said:

IIRC, on the UP-N,  the full announcement  was made for inbound trains originating in  Waukegan, even though  there are trains that originate in Kenosha.  

Now that you mention it, Metra Electric trains leaving Blue Island don't play the announcement until the train is on the curve right before entering the main line. I would guess South Chicago trains do the same thing.

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1 hour ago, Pace831 said:

Now that you mention it, Metra Electric trains leaving Blue Island don't play the announcement until the train is on the curve right before entering the main line. I would guess South Chicago trains do the same thing.

Actually  the South Chicago  announcement  happens at 93rd St.  Go figure.

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10 hours ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

As for the announcements, I don't know what triggers them other than the GPS Busjack mentioned above.

I mentioned gps because there was a story once about why some enroute announcements played 3 times, and the answer was that 3 systems were open (in the locomotive and 2 cab cars in the consist), and when they each hit a certain coordinate, sounded.

9 hours ago, Pace831 said:

GPS is certainly part of it, but it still has to be properly timed to play just before the train departs. It could simply be programmed to start 2 minutes before the scheduled departure, but that only works if it departs on time. What would trigger the announcement if there is a "late arrival of equipment" delay?

I bet it also has something to do with the automated announcements on the train that "this train will be 12 minutes late arriving at Union Station," but I don't know if that is a result of the gps or comes from dispatch Or, as you indicate, maybe the engineer or conductor just pushes the button. @trainman8119 could explain.

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14 hours ago, Busjack said:

I bet it also has something to do with the automated announcements on the train that "this train will be 12 minutes late arriving at Union Station," but I don't know if that is a result of the gps or comes from dispatch Or, as you indicate, maybe the engineer or conductor just pushes the button. @trainman8119 could explain.

The automated announcements are a combination of both. The GPS will calculate the delay time, but dispatch needs to add the reason for the delay. I'm not sure those are connected to the pre-departure announcement though. For that to work there would have to be a way to predict dwell time at the terminal if the train is going to arrive and depart late.

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Ok, here it is....

 

The Metra GPS is a joke, pure and simple. The crew will program the info on the train when they set it up. The pre-departure announcements used to be 2 minutes prior to arrival, as long as the train is set up. Lately for some reason, it is closer to 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. This sometimes will have the train departing while the announcements are still going, depending on how many stops there are. As for the outer terminals, sometimes the crew won't set up the GPS until they "go back to work", like after the train departs. So in the Blue Island example, you could be 1/2 way to Burr Oak and have the pre-departure announcement be playing.

As for delays. The GPS center has absolutely no clue what is going on, EVER. They are looking at a computer screen that shows stuff, but they don't ever know what is going on....even times when they are told what is going on. If a crew doesn't call, they don't think to call a trainmaster or a dispatcher to see what a disruption may be. As for duplicate announcements, after the crew programs the GPS, if they can't track (which is quite often) they may program it themselves, which they don't realize creates annoying duplicate announcements.

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