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April 25
Oriole GO Station
You can see the markings as where the 2nd track is to go

They are installing the new walkway bridge near the south end of the original station platform and once in service, the original walkway will be remove to allow the rest of the off ramp to built over the tracks
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Kennedy GO Station
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Great pictures as always! Quick question about Oriole. Why add a second track? I know the 2019 Provincial Budget mentioned better using the RH line, is this part of that?
 
I *think* that they used Safetran components on the Weston Sub, but AnsaldoSTS in many places elsewhere on the Metrolinx network. I'm still waiting to get confirmation back from a friend of mine. Alstom and GETX have also been used in other installations of late, in specific locations.

As for which is better than the other....well...unfortunately that doesn't seem to really come into play. I think that it comes down to who wins the bidding/tender in the contract at the time. And all of the companies (and feel free to add Siemens to the mix as well) can be pretty aggressive in their pricing when the time comes for them to want to win a particular contract. At the end of the day, ultimately, all of the components are now plug-and-play (more or less), and ultimately they will play nicely with the others (again, more or less).

At this time, Metrolinx is using a couple of spare desks on CN's Siemens-derived CTC-II system to do their dispatching, before their own system goes live next year (it is hoped).



Lately? Wice hasn't worked properly/consistently since it went live in early 2015.

Dan
Hmm. That was a very interesting insight. And yeah that's what I figured in terms of coming down to the bid. I guess as an example, that's why the EU blocked Alstom and Siemens from merging last year due to fears of price gauging.

It would be interesting to see how Metrolinx further transforms their network as they proceed to enhanced train control and electrification. I wonder what are the compatibility issues with existing CTC equipment. For example I have seen that there may be conflicts with at grade crossing that use a DC coded track circuit since electrification requires a return DC through the rail. I'm not sure if this is applicable to the Metrolinx network.

I've been trying to research if most crossings, signals, and interlockings use a data radio to transmit information to each adjacent location. And ultimately to dispatch. So far I have found this is done through an ATCS radio but I'm not entirely sure.

I'm fairly new to this forum, and I'm loving the information that's available here!
 
I’m not a signals engineer nor a maintainer (and there may be one or two lurking), so I won’t comment on the relative technical merits of one versus the other. It is likely a Honda vs Toyota kind of thing... those who are hands-on will have their praises and gripes for each. And their personal preferences.
What I will offer is that pretty well all of the CTC infrastructure on all GO lines is either new build within the last decade or renewal within the last decade or so. Other than the USRC, there isn’t much really old stuff left out there. That’s a remarkable positive of the GO system and certainly is the envy of plenty of transit properties.... in terms of operability, reliability, and cost, GO has a good modern plant. USRC is where modernization is needed and that’s underway. When further new money is invested, it will be to add capability rather than to patch problems or coax more life out of past-end-of-life systems.
That’s a good position to be in - age and lack of maintenance are what drives cost and failuresa, rather than Brand A vs B.
One hears gripes now and then about “headache” spots on the system.....but that doesn’t imply that specific hardware is bad. It may be location, soil, a local oddity of track or operational challenges at that location, or whatever.

- Paul
That's interesting and good to hear that Metrolinx is not running off legacy infrastructure and technology (besides the USRC and specific problem areas). I've seen pictures within the USRC towers and I can't believe this technology from the 1930's is still around! It's amazing when you think about it.
 
It would be interesting to see how Metrolinx further transforms their network as they proceed to enhanced train control and electrification. I wonder what are the compatibility issues with existing CTC equipment. For example I have seen that there may be conflicts with at grade crossing that use a DC coded track circuit since electrification requires a return DC through the rail. I'm not sure if this is applicable to the Metrolinx network.

Some of ML's newer CTC installations (eg the Weston Sub) are reportedly electrification-ready, but I'm not aware of how far that extends or if there are gaps even on the supposedly "ready" lines.

I've been trying to research if most crossings, signals, and interlockings use a data radio to transmit information to each adjacent location. And ultimately to dispatch. So far I have found this is done through an ATCS radio but I'm not entirely sure.

If you go back through the materials from past ML Board meetings, you will see mention - especially in budget provisions for the future - and line items proposing funding for advanced traffic control. At the moment, most approved money is being consumed by the new control center project and by USRC. Like most things at ML, these future plans may have a long shelf life as proposals before anything gets done. Some form of PTC will likely emerge eventually. I don't believe GO is as far along as the freight railways in terms of data links to locomotives or cab cars.... freight locomotives now transmit an awful lot of data regarding their status in real time.

Most of the GO control points are radio-controlled using ATCS protocol, yes. ML has indicated a desire to move to fiber, but only the Weston Sub and some parts of the Oakville Sub around Hamilton have actually been put on fibre. These points retain radio control for backup redundancy. ML has moved the radio control for its owned trackage to its own radio frequency, separating it from CN's radio network, but the underlying data network and base towers appear to still be shared with CN. Other than interlockings and trackside detectors, I'm not aware of what (if any) data links exist between other devices such as grade crossing protection and the control center. There was a post recently indicating ML was tendering for enhanced video camera coverage in some locations. The bandwidth is likely there, but what's actually connected is a good question.

- Paul
 
Great pictures as always! Quick question about Oriole. Why add a second track? I know the 2019 Provincial Budget mentioned better using the RH line, is this part of that?
I will leave it to others as I have spent zero hours on this line, other than seeing a rendering of the station being double track at a new station at Sheppard, replacing this one.
 
Great pictures as always! Quick question about Oriole. Why add a second track? I know the 2019 Provincial Budget mentioned better using the RH line, is this part of that?

There are no plans at this point to add a second track at Oriole.

There may be a track shift necessary due to the construction overhead, but I also thought that they'd done away with that plan.

Hmm. That was a very interesting insight. And yeah that's what I figured in terms of coming down to the bid. I guess as an example, that's why the EU blocked Alstom and Siemens from merging last year due to fears of price gauging.

And the Siemens-Bombardier merger several years before that. Several years ago, merging any two of the "big three" would have been unthinkable.

That is, until the rise of a number of the smaller companies into more major organizations taking bigger pieces of the pie - Hitachi, Stadler and CAF in particular, although not exclusively. They're still nowhere as big as the big three, but all are gaining quickly.

(There is also the claim of wanting to ward off the monstrocity that is CRRC, but the reality is that they just have not really been a major player in Europe, or even outside of a very select key markets.)

It would be interesting to see how Metrolinx further transforms their network as they proceed to enhanced train control and electrification. I wonder what are the compatibility issues with existing CTC equipment. For example I have seen that there may be conflicts with at grade crossing that use a DC coded track circuit since electrification requires a return DC through the rail. I'm not sure if this is applicable to the Metrolinx network.

There are definitely concerns with the network as it stands today, although as crs1026 also correctly pointed out, a lot of it is in good shape. A substantial portion of the corridors that GO owns have had their signalling upgraded over the past 10+ years, and those that haven't yet are slated to soon.

Keep in mind too, that Metrolinx has a program to close off just about all of the corridors under their control, and eliminate as-many-to-all level crossings as it can. That will greatly simplify the signalling situation.

To be frank, though, one thing that I am most concerned about are some of the bright sparks within Metrolinx with zero outside experience with railways. CBTC keeps getting thrown around, but the fact of the matter is that there has simply been no installation in an operating environment such as GO's, and frankly the headways that are envisioned - even some distance into the future - are very possible with existing equipment and installations.

I've been trying to research if most crossings, signals, and interlockings use a data radio to transmit information to each adjacent location. And ultimately to dispatch. So far I have found this is done through an ATCS radio but I'm not entirely sure.

ATCS is the standard by which encoded radio signals are used, yes. And while it does have a lot of advantages regarding cost, it is also a bit of an antiquated technology in some regards, and so several of the recent installations have been via fibre. ATCS has been used in a number of locations as a temporary installation prior to the installation of the fibre and its interfaces.

(Apparently there is a bit of a latency with ATCS installations which can be concerning in a high-frequency corridor, but there really isn't anything in Toronto - yet - where that is a problem.)

There is a very good online group that crs1026 happens to be a part of (and dare I say, is one of the leaders of?) regarding ATCS installations around North America. While it is a former group, it does provide a lot of technical information as well. You may want to check it out.

Dan
 
There is a very good online group that crs1026 happens to be a part of (and dare I say, is one of the leaders of?) regarding ATCS installations around North America. While it is a former group, it does provide a lot of technical information as well. You may want to check it out.

Rumours of my demise..... ;-) The ATCS Monitor group moved from Yahoogroups to Groups.io a while back, but it's alive and well. There is a Facebook offshoot now also. And the original reference site at atcsmon.com is still on line.

For enthusiasts and spectators, trainmon5.com is the newest development. I haven't poked at it much, as I'm still back in atcsmon days.

For the gold standard, check out how the UK has put real time information about its entire network on line - realtimetrains.co.uk and especially https://www.opentraintimes.com/maps may be of interest. Railcam.uk also has a huge pile of real time track diagrams in its members' area, if you don't mind making a donation to become a member. Click on any train on the map and you are taken to a database with very detailed information about that train. I watch it a lot, mostly to spot where steam trains are running so I can watch on one of the UK's many railcams.

- Paul
 
April 27
Can't recall the last time I drove Hwy 7 from Georgetown to Kitchener, but want to see what work taking place along the line where I could.

Work was being done on a number of crossing and fencing install on both side of the track on both side of the road for a short distance.

Kitchener station has a pile of ties, rail and MoW equipment there. Even the yard in Guelph has a pile of ties.

Crossing, tracks and ties been done west of Dublin St in Guelph.

A switch has been cut in at Guelph Central Station with concrete ties being install. for the 2nd track and new south platform. By the looks of things, 2 dozen parking spots will be lost for the new Go platform on the south side. Grading taking place to the west for the 2nd track and it will be cut in just east of Dublin St. I am assuming the signal mast at Dublin is for the 2nd track

Shame to see the locomotive move from the location, but in the way of the new platform. It taken a beating since I last saw it a few years ago.

More photos up on site
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Ref CN 6167 located just over the fence at the Guelph Station. I know that the City of Guelph has set aside $ to move the loco to another location in the city sometime later this year. Not sure if the new location is inside or out, but an inside location would certainly go further to preserving this historic piece. It has been resting outside in this location for at least 30 years.
 

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