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 Post subject: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:19 am 
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Why is this so hard?

Can't they use something like today's automotive sensors to attach to every engine such that it somehow can sense objects on the track way ahead which might avoid them being closer than the distance for a safe stop.
Some kind of sonar or radar or infrared or whatever.
If it senses any large unmovable mass it puts on the brakes.

Why is this so hard?

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:47 am 
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Greetings to Peter and the Forum:

My understanding of the latest accident is that a switch was thrown the wrong way. A freight was sitting on a siding waiting for the Amtrak train to go by. The main line was clear. Unfortunately, when the Amtrak train got to the switch, it was diverted off the main line onto the siding and into a collision with the freight train.

There are already electronic controls and monitoring in place for switch positions.... we will have to wait for the NTSB investigation before we will know what steps can be taken, if any, to ameliorate the problem.

I suspect that it was human error... some dispatcher not looking at his board when he should have been. Pure speculation on my part, however.... as I said, we will have to wait and see.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:08 am 
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But an object sensor in each engine, looking forward, and automatically applying brakes would be a fail safe... no?

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:41 am 
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Location: Sun City, Arizona
There was a train wreck in Palo Verde Arizona in 1995 (I believe). There was at least one fatality. It was sabotage with even some notes left behind. I remember learning the tracks are part of an electrical circuit so if separated, for any reason, it would instantly be detected. In this act of sabotage the villains knew that so before they damaged the tracks they ran wires or something to keep that electrical circuit complete. I have never heard any news on the capture of the guilty. It often seems the bad guys find a way to do terrible things and sometimes get away with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Jthorusen wrote:
Greetings to Peter and the Forum:

My understanding of the latest accident is that a switch was thrown the wrong way. A freight was sitting on a siding waiting for the Amtrak train to go by. The main line was clear. Unfortunately, when the Amtrak train got to the switch, it was diverted off the main line onto the siding and into a collision with the freight train.

There are already electronic controls and monitoring in place for switch positions.... we will have to wait for the NTSB investigation before we will know what steps can be taken, if any, to ameliorate the problem.

I suspect that it was human error... some dispatcher not looking at his board when he should have been. Pure speculation on my part, however.... as I said, we will have to wait and see.

Regards,



If it was dark territory there would be no electronic controls or monitoring. If it was ABS type territory a switch lined the wrong way would have given the Amtrak different signals. If they did not comply with the signal then its their fault.

Todd


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 2:12 pm 
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Location: Jackson, TN
Should the train crew know that the switch setting is going to divert them to a siding?

Sound a little confusing, especially when the line splits into 3 tracks. Is these a sure fire indication whenever the train is switched off the main line?


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 2:28 pm 
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Pbpix wrote:
But an object sensor in each engine, looking forward, and automatically applying brakes would be a fail safe... no?


No,
There would not be enough stopping distance.

There would have been no way a radar/ sonar could have seen the switch thrown the wrong way.
If they ever get PTC fully up and running this might have been avoided.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 3:34 pm 
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A train requires a long distance to stop, probably much more distance than a practical radar system would provide,

"Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track.

“CSX had lined and padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision,” he said in a statement.

CSX did not address the comments by the Amtrak CEO but said it was working with federal investigators. Both Amtrak and CSX offered their condolences to the families of the two people who died.

Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Board, told a news conference the section of track was operated by CSX and there was a padlock on the switch that steered train traffic onto the siding."

Someone really screwed up here. I would think the route would show on a control board at the CSX headquarters in Jacksonville and the train crew would then be contacted by radio. If this wasn't working then at the very least the train should have been under a speed reduction order.

Very sad,

Steve Chambers


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 3:55 pm 
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Quote:
I would think the route would show on a control board at the CSX headquarters in Jacksonville and the train crew would then be contacted by radio.


If it was not a switch that was controllable by remote ie the dispatcher, then it will not show on their board.

Since it was locked locally, it sounds like it was a manual switch and not controllable.
crews do not normally lock controlled switches.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 4:47 pm 
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If it was not a switch that was controllable by remote ie the dispatcher, then it will not show on their board.

Since it was locked locally, it sounds like it was a manual switch and not controllable.
crews do not normally lock controlled switches.[/quote]

I suppose so.
Why is it even possible to lock a switch in such a way that would send a train from a main line to a siding?


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:09 pm 
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This switch was, as stated, lined and locked into the siding. It is pretty obvious that the crew who backed the train into that siding locked it in the wrong position. This switch is also seen by the dispatchers as to its position. The problem is that nobody knew because maintenance work was being done on the system and the signals were essentially not showing their status.
There are going to be a lot of heads rolling on this one, but the Amtrak crew nor Amtrak equipment can be blamed for this one. And the PTC they're trying to get in service probably wouldn't have worked in this case either because it would not have any information as to the status of the switch.

Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:11 pm 
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I really don't understand how things like this can happen will the technology that's available today. Even with human error, surely (control CTC + on-board) alarm systems can be implemented.
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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:14 pm 
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The reports I saw showed the train on the siding to be very close to the switch. The passenger train was going along, hit the switch, suddenly veered off and wham. If that was the case it's difficult to see how anything could have prevented it once the switch was set wrong.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:51 pm 
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Actually looking at the site from satilite images, the parked train was quite a distance away from the switch.
Also that siding was protected by a derail which in this case would not have helped, a derail only prevents slow moving cars from rolling onto the main. There is also no sign of any signals in that area and it does not look like it a dispatcher controlled switch. ( remote) which it would not show on their board which way it is lined.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 9:58 pm 
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I only saw some news feeds. How far was it?

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:00 pm 
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several hundred yards from the switch and slightly behind a blind curve. there was no way to stop going at 55mph, by the time they would have seen it it was too late.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:04 pm 
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Ok. That's not very far.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:07 pm 
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Retired Radio Man wrote:
Ok. That's not very far.

RRM



In the train world no, not that far but the parked train was not right at the switch

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 10:37 pm 
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From what I have read on Train Orders (lots of train men and hoggers on that forum) the dispatcher CAN see that switch and the position it is in. In an emergency they CAN switch it to the main, but not the other way. However, the whole system was down, out of service. That means it was dark territory and nobody knew what was what. The crew of the train in the siding screwed up big time. No two ways about it. And I am pretty sure that the new PTC would not have 'known' that the switch was not lined up for the main, mostly because the system was down.
One would think that with that being the case, one would think they would have been running at restricted speed through that block, or however far the system was out.

Mark D.


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 1:10 am 
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Mark D wrote:
From what I have read on Train Orders (lots of train men and hoggers on that forum) the dispatcher CAN see that switch and the position it is in. In an emergency they CAN switch it to the main, but not the other way. However, the whole system was down, out of service. That means it was dark territory and nobody knew what was what. The crew of the train in the siding screwed up big time. No two ways about it. And I am pretty sure that the new PTC would not have 'known' that the switch was not lined up for the main, mostly because the system was down.
One would think that with that being the case, one would think they would have been running at restricted speed through that block, or however far the system was out.

Mark D.
I was hearing on the news that PTC could have prevented the accident. The thing is, the system was down to prepare for putting in PTC. Now there's some irony for you.


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