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American Commuter Routes

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American Commuter Routes 10/05/2019 at 00:48 #118188
Jsun
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192 posts
Would something like Metro North, Penn Station Central Control or LIRR be considered? If so what information would be of use?
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American Commuter Routes 10/05/2019 at 01:10 #118189
GeoffM
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We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.

SimSig Boss
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American Commuter Routes 13/05/2019 at 05:48 #118252
BarryM
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2081 posts
GeoffM in post 118189 said:
We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.
I wonder where "Track Builder" (Signal Computer Consultants) got its data from?

Barry, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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American Commuter Routes 13/05/2019 at 17:09 #118256
GeoffM
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4503 posts
BarryM in post 118252 said:
GeoffM in post 118189 said:
We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.
I wonder where "Track Builder" (Signal Computer Consultants) got its data from?
The data therein was incredibly rudimentary. Granted it was really quite an old program and did well for its time, but ultimately was very basic in simulation terms. That did kind of lend itself to absolute beginners, enabling anybody with a pair of binoculars and old "employee timetables" from swapmeets/garage sales to knock up a simulation. The employee timetables contained no schedules, only line drawings and siding (passing loop ) lengths, rarely any mention of signals except aspects (which weren't simulated in TD).

SimSig Boss
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American Commuter Routes 13/05/2019 at 18:55 #118261
Jsun
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192 posts
GeoffM in post 118189 said:
We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.
Yes unfortunately that is interpreted as dangerous information to disseminate, although that is what the railroads lawyers threaten. No idea of the case law and whether or not that would actually land in court.

How did you guys obtain Chicago Loop data?

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American Commuter Routes 13/05/2019 at 19:07 #118262
GeoffM
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Jsun in post 118261 said:
GeoffM in post 118189 said:
We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.
Yes unfortunately that is interpreted as dangerous information to disseminate, although that is what the railroads lawyers threaten. No idea of the case law and whether or not that would actually land in court.
Not something I particularly wish to test! Of course, the type of information I need is hardly a "security" risk. If I was asking for the location of a specific interlocking, or pinout diagrams, or suchlike, then I could understand the reluctance. But whether a signal shows medium approach or whatever is not terribly useful to do nefarious things! Lawyers err on the side of caution/ignorance and even FoI requests can be quickly dismissed with a "it's a security thing" and there is very little ability to challenge such classifications - both US and UK.

That said, there is quite a bit of information available in various forms. Just not quite everything we would need.

Jsun in post 118261 said:
How did you guys obtain Chicago Loop data?
There were some cab ride videos on YouTube at the time, but not many. Through a wonderful coincidence, their MTA actually released a whole bunch of hi-def cab ride videos (so officially sanctioned, not just a "rogue" driver with a GoPro) while I was still developing the sim, again on YouTube. That and another, unrelated, video that had a number of internal shots of the big junction's signalbox and relay room, plus snippets of help from a couple of people who had a bit more insider knowledge.

It's not 100% though, a lot of educated guesses and research, hence why I didn't charge for it. Just a bit of fun.

SimSig Boss
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American Commuter Routes 13/05/2019 at 20:18 #118263
postal
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GeoffM in post 118262 said:
Through a wonderful coincidence, their MTA actually released a whole bunch of hi-def cab ride videos (so officially sanctioned, not just a "rogue" driver with a GoPro) while I was still developing the sim, again on YouTube.
All still available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0-sTc_CuqtXDvfQIx_Za5kG8nB4nz8FU.

"Always forgive your enemies -- nothing annoys them so much" - Oscar Wilde (16/10/1854 – 30/11/1900), Irish poet and playwright.
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American Commuter Routes 14/05/2019 at 00:05 #118270
Jsun
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192 posts
GeoffM in post 118262 said:
Jsun in post 118261 said:
GeoffM in post 118189 said:
We'd love to but the US is notoriously secretive about signalling information, unfortunately.

Track charts that are scaled, have speeds, signals, signal aspects, aspect sequences, and gradients would be a minimum. Interlocking control tables would be ideal - though I don't know if they would be called that, but basically "X locks Y and Z" kind of thing.
Yes unfortunately that is interpreted as dangerous information to disseminate, although that is what the railroads lawyers threaten. No idea of the case law and whether or not that would actually land in court.
Not something I particularly wish to test! Of course, the type of information I need is hardly a "security" risk. If I was asking for the location of a specific interlocking, or pinout diagrams, or suchlike, then I could understand the reluctance. But whether a signal shows medium approach or whatever is not terribly useful to do nefarious things! Lawyers err on the side of caution/ignorance and even FoI requests can be quickly dismissed with a "it's a security thing" and there is very little ability to challenge such classifications - both US and UK.

That said, there is quite a bit of information available in various forms. Just not quite everything we would need.

Jsun in post 118261 said:
How did you guys obtain Chicago Loop data?
There were some cab ride videos on YouTube at the time, but not many. Through a wonderful coincidence, their MTA actually released a whole bunch of hi-def cab ride videos (so officially sanctioned, not just a "rogue" driver with a GoPro) while I was still developing the sim, again on YouTube. That and another, unrelated, video that had a number of internal shots of the big junction's signalbox and relay room, plus snippets of help from a couple of people who had a bit more insider knowledge.

It's not 100% though, a lot of educated guesses and research, hence why I didn't charge for it. Just a bit of fun.
There's no rogue nature to it. It is perfectly legal to ride a train and film anything in view. The LIRR has nearly the entire territory on film from the M3 equipment. All the more reason why publishing a lot of basic information being "illegal" is silly.

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American Commuter Routes 14/05/2019 at 07:26 #118272
GeoffM
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4503 posts
Jsun in post 118270 said:
GeoffM in post 118262 said:
There were some cab ride videos on YouTube at the time, but not many. Through a wonderful coincidence, their MTA actually released a whole bunch of hi-def cab ride videos (so officially sanctioned, not just a "rogue" driver with a GoPro) while I was still developing the sim, again on YouTube. That and another, unrelated, video that had a number of internal shots of the big junction's signalbox and relay room, plus snippets of help from a couple of people who had a bit more insider knowledge.

It's not 100% though, a lot of educated guesses and research, hence why I didn't charge for it. Just a bit of fun.
There's no rogue nature to it. It is perfectly legal to ride a train and film anything in view. The LIRR has nearly the entire territory on film from the M3 equipment. All the more reason why publishing a lot of basic information being "illegal" is silly.
Unfortunately not all countries/rail companies see it that way, especially if the view is not one that the public can typically get. I'm aware of drivers that have been sanctioned in the past for doing such things. A bit like over zealous RR police getting nasty with rail photographers even when the host RR actively encourages it, as they know full well such photographers are free "extra eyes" for security. (Let's not mention the Flying Scotsman trespassers here).

Yep, it's silly, but that's what we have to live with unfortunately. I think I mentioned before about visiting a NS (or was it CSX?) facility in Indiana. Friendly enough to us certified railway signalling people on an official visit, but wouldn't let us get up close "in case we disturbed the dispatchers". Said dispatchers were often on their phones, or taking breaks outside between trains - not to say they were lazy; just not that busy. Yet on the other hand BNSF were incredibly accommodating to me sitting at dispatchers' desks and asking questions. Varies a lot.

SimSig Boss
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The following user said thank you: BarryM