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Monday, February 12, 2018

PTC Assimilates METRA Beverly and Fox Lake Branches

PTC is in the news after that CSX wreck and it came to my attention that, as one might expect, METRA's solution to some of more oddball signaling arrangements is replacement with bog standard CTC.  One of these quirky signaling setups is the Rock Island District's Beverly Branch, which, amazingly, still runs under time separation.  The 30 mph line with frequent stops and many level crossings basically gives all stops locals a 10 minute buffer behind them.  Following trains work under timetable and line of sight.  Well of course one could try and emulate this with some sort of moving block system...or just installed CTC, which is what METRA is doing.

The other casualty is the Fox Lake branch, that turns off the old MILW main line at Rondout and heads west to Fox Lake.  This single track line makes use of an interurban style Automatic Permissive Block system with meets taking place at Gray's Lake.  Again, there is nothing that would prevent a PTC system to just plug into the existing signals, even ones worked automatically, however once you have to test everything you might as well replace it.

I am going to laugh and laugh when someone markets a PTC solution based on computer vision with no wireless wayside components.  So much fire and fury, all for nothing.

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