Author Topic: AMTP in Pithiviers, France  (Read 63080 times)

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #120 on: March 05, 2020, 09:17:47 AM »
Hello John. Given all those environmental issues I'm afraid coal is going to become  a rare thus an expensive commodity over the next decade. Within 20 years there will be a ban  from using it in Europe. That is why the AMTP  leadership has bought that German diesel locomotive before the price of the secondhand diesel engines rockets, dare I say it .

Benjamin Richards

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #121 on: March 05, 2020, 10:51:43 AM »
... I'm afraid coal is going to become  a rare thus an expensive commodity over the next decade.

Perhaps on the commodity market, yes. But I suspect fuel will continue to be available for steam heritage railroading for a long time, if only via alternate channels. Just as there are specialized service providers for many other aspects of heritage railroading (boilermaking, casting and machining, even costuming!), the supply changes to suit the demand. The markets for many of these other services have shifted from commodity-type operations (a shop on every corner) to boutique-type operations (a handful in the country), but they have certainly not disappeared entirely. True, the costs may have increased marginally owing to the loss of specialized skills and knowledge and the efficiencies of scale, but by and large the market has taken care of itself.

 
Within 20 years there will be a ban  from using it in Europe.

Do you have a link for this? I tried to search but turned up nothing.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #122 on: March 06, 2020, 09:57:18 AM »
Hello Benjamin . I  wish you were right as regards the market taking care of itself. As for the ban on coal within 20 years it's a mere guesswork although I've read in a paper about Germany putting a ban on coal within 2038. On the other hand it's true that tourist railways are an important economic factor as tourist attractions in a lot of countries such as U.K and even in France but I wonder if the people that are not railway enthousiasts would really object to their train being hauled by a diesel locomotive.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #123 on: March 10, 2020, 02:13:36 PM »
SAFETY FIRST  Part 6
Hello ! Let's finish with that troublesome steep incline (See part 5).
In 1994 safety instructions were written and added to the rulebook after I could not stop my train and nearly crash into a trailer truck at the grade crossing #1. Before leaving Pithiviers Station, if the engeener rekons that he will meet with difficulties to stop at the grade crossing given the lengh of the train , the power he drives and the condition of the rails he must take preventive measures like putting sand on the rails by hand, sanders are never dependable, or asking the conductor to walk down to the grade crossing to protect it if need be. Since then none incident has come about. I think that it's all due to the all down the line absence of accidents at that rail crossing  and the efficiency of the instructions issued in 1994 that have convinced the Transportation Administration that there was no need to ask the AMTP to fit the cars with any breaking system.
The mandated limit of the consist to 7 cars is  not an hindrance because a 7  passenger car consist , 4 enclosed cars plus 3 open cars, can accomodate 240 adult riders. On  regular Sundays 4 enclosed cars or 4 open cars ,weather permitting, fit the bill. Moreover  when the consist exceeds 5 cars the head of the train  is beyond the clearance point of the siding in Pithiviers Station.
I wish I knew how many adult riders you can  accomodate on a 3 car train when # 8, #3 and the excursion car #103 are in the consist. To be continued...

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #124 on: March 15, 2020, 09:23:49 AM »
SAFETY FIRST Part 7
Hello ! Grade crossings have always been a major rail concern. In France like in the USA and all over the world, I think ,road vehicules must yield right of way to the trains. The rule is simple but unfortunately it can't help lots of minor or terrible accidents. From Pithiviers to Bellébat ,the end station, there are 6 grade crossings. Three are located in Pithiviers surbubs very close to  each others, and they are, of course, the more hasardous. The three others are located in the countryside. Two of them go only to farms and the third one crosses a small country road without a lot of traffic especially sundays. As regadrs those three grade crossings, despite the excellent visibility the rulebook requires the engeener to blow the whistle and reduce the speed of the train if he can spot a vehicue nearing the grade crossing. Since 1966 there has not been any trouble at those country grade crossings. Next time I'll tell you about those located in Pithivers surbubs that are more troublesome especially the #1 grade crossing located at the foot of a steep grade. See part 5 and 6 above.Those intrested in this column can ask me questions and use that usefull Google maps  to give a look at those RR crossings.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #125 on: March 24, 2020, 12:22:26 PM »
SAFETY FIRST  Part 8
Hello ! Gradecrossing # 1 is the most hazardous since located right at the foot of a steep incline and at a busy crossroads almost weekdays.(See replies 5 and 6). Moreover the visibility is rather poor there. In the old days the conductor hopped off the train when it slowly came closer to the gradecrossing and he ran ahead of the train to signal for the motorists to stop by means of a red flag or a red lantern at night. In the eighteens, given the growing traffic, the intersection was fit with trafficlights.  From then on the westbound and eastbound trains had to stop to let the conductor turn a key in a electric lock to flip the four traffic lights to red, the train had 80 seconds to cross the street ,which was ample. That procedure was safe and practical. In the early 2000's at the request of the Transportation Administration in order to avoid the trains stopping at the gradecrossing  the traffic lights were fit with radars that were supposed to spot the oncoming trains and flip the lights to red.  Unfortunately that  expensive device, funded by the city of Pithivers, has never worked properly and the the trains have often to stop at the gradecrossing and the conductor go to secure it with his red flag like in the old days. Maybe some day an efficient system like a remote control operated by the conductor to flip the traffic lights to red will  displace the troublesome radars. To be soon continued.

Benjamin Richards

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #126 on: March 24, 2020, 04:49:48 PM »
This radar solution seems to be a case of "shooting a rabbit with an elephant gun". Is there any particular reason a standard track circuit was not used? That is proven technology, robust, and it can be connected to standard traffic signals as well as crossing gates/flashers.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #127 on: March 25, 2020, 11:22:27 AM »
Thank you so much Benjamin for being interested ny column about safety. You are quite right about using a track circuit  but back then everybody was fully satisfied with  the system using the key to flip the lights to red. In the early 2000's the Transportation Administration bureau of the Département du Loiret recently in charge of the safety of our tourist railway decided, without any discussion, to consider our line to be a streetcar line, I mean what I say, in so far as that bureau was also in charge of the operating safety of the brand new streetcar line of Orléans the Loiret capital city.  As the radars installed at every intersection with the streetcar line in downtown Orleans and in the surbubs worked fairly well , AMTP was asked to have radars put in. But it seems that a  small two-foot gauge locomotive less impresses a radar than a large standard gauge streetcar, you  can't definetly depend on them to secure the gradecrossing #1 despise the countless adjustments and repairs they have undergone for almost 15 years.  The traincrew is now used to applying  the procedure of the rulebook in case those useless gizmos don't operate.

Benjamin Richards

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #128 on: March 25, 2020, 11:34:07 AM »
Thanks for the history, Alain! A streetcar line, indeed! What an insult. ;)

Matter of fact, I experienced exactly the same problem using infrared beam detectors with my model trains; some locomotives/rolling stock are essentially invisible to the detector, which causes the crossing gates to behave poorly even with filtering and digital delay loops.


ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #129 on: April 01, 2020, 10:29:58 AM »
COVID-19 and AMTP
 In France everyboby has been under under a lockdown since March 17th. You can leave your home only for essential needs. Driving  over to Pithiviers to take part in a  work cession on a tourist railway is of course anything but  an essential need so everything stands now idle there like all  leisure activities . Easter egg hunting specials  are called off and the opening season day is postponed until the end of the stay at home measure. The  big Steam Festival planned for the 150th anniversary of the Schneider steam locomotive  in May is postponed until  2021.
Stay safe and healthy you all and keep your spirits up.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #130 on: April 13, 2020, 11:08:40 AM »
SAFETY FIRST ! Part # 9.
Hello! In order to definetly finish off the grade crossing issue let's talk about the two others located in Pithiviers surbubs.
Grade crossing #2 is located 500' farther away than #1. The visibility is not that good for the vehicules that come out of a narrow street so the conductor secures that grade crossing. Grade crossing #3 is 160'farther away and the visibility is good on both sides plus the road traffic is low even weekdays so the conductor does not normally secure it. Next time I'll speak about a major difference between our both tourist railways: coupling that is also a matter of safety.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #131 on: May 28, 2020, 09:38:44 AM »
 LINK AND PIN vs KNUCKLE COUPLER
Hello ! A major difference between WW&F and AMTP is the coupling system. In France the screw-tensionned three-links coupler along with  two buffers was wide spread on the standard gauge railroads,  the automatic coupler was limited to the suburban trains  until the birth of the High Speed Trains in the early 80th. Currently, automatic couplers become generalised because quite a lot of passengers trains are provided with electric or diesel railcars running in multiple unit. Sad to say but in France there are fewer and fewer  classic passenger tains hauled by an electric or diesel locomotive, soon, only freight trains will be hauled by a locomotive  still fit with the   screw coupler as well the freight cars of course. Threefooter locomotives and cars were  early fit with screw couplers but with only a central buffer and two safety chains. As regards twofooters that were mostly industrial railroads in France  the link and pin system coupler was the rule. That is why the link and pin couplers was used at the Tramway de Pithiviers à Toury TPT that carried mainly sugar beets and farm products and that is the reason why  it's still in use at the AMTP.
Needless to say that the link and pin system is downright unsafe and at the time of the TPT there were quite a lot of fingers and hands smashed between the two buffers that we call "tulipe", like the flower, because of its shape. At the AMTP using a stick to hold the link, when coupling,is an hard and fast rule and it's strongly advised to wear leather gloves to couple the heavy safety chains as well. For this purpose there are always several sticks on the power just in case the fireman or the conductor loses one of them. Fortunately there has been no accident for 54 years. Let's hope it goes on.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #132 on: May 28, 2020, 10:11:27 AM »
 SOME NEWS FROM THE AMTP
 Considering the government has lifted the stay- at- home order , work cessions resumed last week and quite a lot of things have been done by a young team led by the President. The diesel locomotive MTP #T11 is now up and running after a 18 month long general overhaul, with a new Voith gearbox and  reprofiled wheel tyres it's ready to power the trains this summer if evrything is OK. In waiting that hoped-for event only the museum will be open sundays in june  and to make sure everybody complies with  social distancing and the wearing of face mask  their will be only conducted tours. A museum is really a plus to a tourist railway, very few French tourist railways have one . I'm happy about WW&F having its own museum soon.

ALAIN DELASSUS

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #133 on: June 21, 2020, 05:59:16 AM »
READING OF THE DRAFT OF YOUR RULEBOOK AND SOME NEWS OF THE AMTP
Hello! I've found with delight the draft of the WW&F rule book and standards. I'mreading it carefuly, it's a very interesting and comprehensive document that  deserves  all the attention of a safety-conscious guy like me. I'll post my comments in the adequate section of this forum in a few days.
Good news the AMTP operating season starts today. Trains will be diesel powered because the harvest is coming soon but as of mid August steam hauled trains will be back on the main. Trains will run every sunday until New Year to attempt to make up partly for the loss of riders and the ensuing loss of money. An unheard-of schedule to confront an unheard-of situation. Let's hope it'll work out well.

John McNamara

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Re: AMTP in Pithiviers, France
« Reply #134 on: June 21, 2020, 11:20:37 AM »
"Trains will be diesel powered because the harvest is coming soon"

What are you harvesting? As a person from the US, I'm thinking you are harvesting grapes. I foresee tank cars of delicious French wines...