LIRR Seeks ‘Temporary Relief’ From FRA’s Hazard Detectors Requirements

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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LIRR Grand Central Madison alignment.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) on Oct. 14 petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver of compliance from a provision of safety regulations contained under Section CFR 236.100(c), Hazard Detectors.

LIRR petitioned for the waiver because one part of its Positive Train Control (PTC) system, the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System II (ACSES II) Tunnel Collision Avoidance (TCA) package, is “currently not integrated with, and does not enforce, LIRR’s hazard detector as Section 236.1005(c) otherwise requires.”

According to the petition for a waiver, LIRR says that ACSES II for its locomotives “will not be completed before LIRR’s commencement of its East Side Access (ESA) passenger service and the opening of the Grand Central Madison tunnels” and is therefore seeking a “temporary waiver” from the FRA’s requirements under Section 236.1005(c).

In the petition for a waiver, LIRR, which notes that is has existing hazard detection to protect against the misrouting of oversized trains within its cab signaling and automatic train control system, describes the exact measures the railroad will use during the period of its temporary waiver, if granted, “to ensure oversize trains are not routed to, and do not enter, the tunnels.”

According to the petition, LIRR also explains that “[a]s soon as the new ACSES software, which includes the TCA functionality can be deployed to the LIRR rolling stock fleet, [positive train stop (PTS)] enforcement at permissive aspects for oversized LIRR trains will be provided in the new ACSES TCA functionality (an enhancement to the enforcement provided by the cab signaling/ATC).” The current schedule for deployment of ACSES II is as follows:

LIRR’s petition for a waiver also includes a statement of no objection from Amtrak, its applicable tenant railroad.

“Amtrak does not take exception to the content of [of] LIRR’ waiver petition,” Amtrak Deputy Chief Engineer, C&S, Nicholas J. Croce III, PE, wrote in a letter to LIRR’s Andrew Arenth. “Note that Amtrak’s concurrence with LIRR’s waive petition is not an agreement for the TCA functionality in its ACSES II OBC software. Amtrak believer the protections described in the waiver provide sufficient protection from operations,” Croce added.

According to the FRA, interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data or comments. Communications received by Nov. 15 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered if practicable. Given the “urgent nature of this waiver request and the resulting abbreviated comment period,” FRA says it will be holding a virtual Q&A session on Nov. 7 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST. During this session, FRA says it will be available to answer technical questions relating to LIRR’s waiver petition.


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