UPRR Defect Detectors

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KVL3000

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Did some spotting today next to a UPRR defect detector (hotbox/dragging eqiupment sensors) but the detector did not transmit train length, wheel count... etc, only its mile post and railroad. Is this normal for UPRR? Chreokee sub MP 717.2

Also, Is it normal for track to move up and down 2-3" independent from the tie plate? I didn't think it was, but I have no clue who to call to report it
 

wa8pyr

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1. Defect detectors can vary in what they announce based on when and from whom they were purchased, with what options, and who programmed them. Around here, most of the detectors on CSX report the same stuff with occasional variances; the same is true on NS. On former Conrail lines they vary widely; some are old CR detectors which have been updated to say CSX or NS instead of Conrail and only give the place name and defect/no defect, while others are newer CSX or NS additions which give reports in different ways.

2. Some flex in the track is normal in order to help dissipate the stress placed on the track structure by the heavy train. If everything was solidly mounted the impact shock would cause the track to wear out more quickly and potentially cause broken rails (or broken trains).
 
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a417

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Around here, every crossing/gate has a gate ID and the responsible party's phone number to report issues with the gate/crossing hardware. I'll bet there's something similar down near you.
 

wa8pyr

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Around here, every crossing/gate has a gate ID and the responsible party's phone number to report issues with the gate/crossing hardware. I'll bet there's something similar down near you.

Not sure what you're getting at; the topic here is the lineside defect detectors which scan passing trains for problems, and report via the road radio channel what (if anything) was found; they can also report certain other information such as total number of axles and/or train length in feet/meters, outdoor temperature, and so on.

However, I have used the number you're referencing to contact the railroad and report a problem with a passing train such as dragging equipment (most recently a steel cargo strap which had broken loose and was flapping along beside the train; it probably wouldn't get noticed by a defect detector but would do a pretty good job decapitating someone).
 

kruser

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Did some spotting today next to a UPRR defect detector (hotbox/dragging eqiupment sensors) but the detector did not transmit train length, wheel count... etc, only its mile post and railroad. Is this normal for UPRR? Chreokee sub MP 717.2

Also, Is it normal for track to move up and down 2-3" independent from the tie plate? I didn't think it was, but I have no clue who to call to report it

UP has been noted recently for changing many of their defect detectors to only announce what you heard unless a real defect is detected.
The other info you used to hear has been removed. Supposedly to cause less distraction in the cab.
I'm not sure if this is a company wide change that is occurring or just done as old equipment is swapped out. All the UP detectors that are within my range only report "UP Detector Milepost XX.X Out" now unless a defect of some type is detected. I miss the old style.
 
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phask

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Around here, every crossing/gate has a gate ID and the responsible party's phone number to report issues with the gate/crossing hardware. I'll bet there's something similar down near you.


Every crossing should have an ID. It's a Federal requirement.
 

kruser

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Every crossing should have an ID. It's a Federal requirement.
Yep, the signs exists here as well along with an emergency contact number.
I've also seen new signage at crossings indicating the equipment running on the tracks my be remotely controlled equipment.
 

a417

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Also, Is it normal for track to move up and down 2-3" independent from the tie plate? I didn't think it was, but I have no clue who to call to report it
Not sure what you're getting at; the topic here is the lineside defect detectors which scan passing trains for problems,...

Apologies, I thought my comment about the phone number on gate/crossing signs was more obvious than it was.
 

6079smithw

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UP has been noted recently for changing many of their defect detectors to only announce what you heard unless a real defect is detected.
The other info you used to hear has been removed. Supposedly to cause less distraction in the cab.
I'm not sure if this is a company wide change that is occurring or just done as old equipment is swapped out. All the UP detectors that are within my range only report "UP Detector Milepost XX.X Out" now unless a defect of some type is detected. I miss the old style.
This appears to have happened here in Reno as well... I monitored UP along I80 last Monday while driving between Reno and Lovelock and heard 2 detectors with that same message.
 

KVL3000

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The only detector I could spot from google maps and go to says this "UP Detector, milepost 717.2" not very exciting :(
I need to go to another defect detector on the KCS line near me, but I dont know how often trains run for them
 

k6cpo

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Did some spotting today next to a UPRR defect detector (hotbox/dragging eqiupment sensors) but the detector did not transmit train length, wheel count... etc, only its mile post and railroad. Is this normal for UPRR? Chreokee sub MP 717.2

Also, Is it normal for track to move up and down 2-3" independent from the tie plate? I didn't think it was, but I have no clue who to call to report it

If the rail is moving independent of the tie plate, it needs to be fixed. It sounds like the spikes have pulled out of the tie. If it isn't corrected, it could lead to the track going out of gauge and a possibility of a derail.
 

RadioDitch

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Did some spotting today next to a UPRR defect detector (hotbox/dragging eqiupment sensors) but the detector did not transmit train length, wheel count... etc, only its mile post and railroad. Is this normal for UPRR? Chreokee sub MP 717.2

It's referred to as Exception Reporting Only. The detector announces the preamble to indicate it is in-service and working properly, but will state no further information unless a defect/exception is detected.
 

cbehr91

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It's pretty common on busier lines of BNSF and UP to have detectors that talk on defect only (a.k.a. exception reporting). In 2017 I followed a lot of UP main across Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming, and did not hear a detector between Missouri Valley, Iowa and Rawlins, Wyoming.

BNSF "silenced" many of the detectors on the Transcon around the turn of the century. Same with the high density coal lines in Nebraska and Wyoming.
 

PJH

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So more accurately, UP updated most of their TDD's officially to "Radio Transmitted Talk On Arrival and Defect Only". It was explained with more integration of PTC, removing hold blocks at absolute signals, this was needed. Not sure how, but that is the official reason.

They also upgraded many of them to detect hot wheels, and with some software upgrades and data, they can actually see trends and 95% of the time can figure out the root cause (sticking brakes, hand brake left on and other certain defects) based on historical data.

For the rail buffs, it makes it easier to hear where the trains are vs the talk on defect only option.
 

blueangel-eric

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UP changed the detectors on the UP Kansas sub and I think Topeka sub around Topeka. The detector east of Topeka never used to talk but it does now for headend only. like the NS detectors. Sadly it never comes back on for the rest of the reporting. heard a detector do the same west of Topeka on the UP Topeka sub. I'm getting discouraged with using my radios to watch trains as most detectors on BNSF transcon are silenced and there's not much radio chatter away from the cities and UP doesn't have much chatter on the KS sub since it's mostly directional running. and with the new double track going in, in the Flint Hills there will be less chatter there now since there won't be sidings anymore.
 
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