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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 1:27 am 
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Funny (not really) how you have to specify "Yesterdays train wreck" Not the day before yesterdays train wreck or last weeks or the one a month ago... :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 4:21 am 
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Location: Hutchinson,Kansas
After reading the news story they said the signal system was down to install PTC. This is odd because when they put PTC in on our line they spent a year or more running cables and setting up towers as well as plotting out the tracks and various locations. They have not cut in the PTC into our ABS system yet but when they did a portion of CTC on our line it took them a day to test all circuits for miles with no trains running. The entire time the PTC stuff was being ran our ABS was working and never once shut down. I find it hard to believe they would just shut the signals off on this line if it was signaled territory. If it was standard ABS territory the dispatcher may or may not have been able to tell if a switch was lined but the switch would have put up various signal aspects for several blocks away and the Amtrak crew would have then complied with the signal indication and slowed and then stopped. If it was dark territory then the freight crew possibly forgot to line the switch back. They have to go thru a procedure with everyone notifying them that the switch was lined back. We had this happen on an area here where a newer crew member was confused as to what switch he needed to line back as there were other switches in the general area and he lined the wrong switch. We then had a main line train come into the siding and yard area and hit. Its a high stakes game working for the railroad. Bad stuff can happen very fast. It can also be very confusing when its in the middle of the night and dark. You are tired from poor sleep cycles from working on call.


I am going to take a guess here as to what happened. It was dark territory (for one reason or another) and the freight crew simply forgot to line the switch back. Its ez to walk right on by. Would PTC have stopped this? Yes it would have, but any of the various ABS signal systems out there (that have existed for a long time!) with a train crew that was awake and alert doing their job would have prevented this too!

Todd


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 4:24 am 
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
So, it's unfortunate that people died and were injured because of someone's carelessness or worse, ignorance. This is happening much too often on the railroad system recently.

Is there a way that everyone responsible for leaving that switch in the wrong position and manually locking it, which had to be done intentionally, can be criminally prosecuted for this? It's obviously NOT an accident and we don't want to attribute it to malice, but negligence is still a criminal matter if it results in injury or death.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 4:56 am 
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Joined: Nov Fri 04, 2011 3:12 am
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Location: New York
If I understand things correctly, Amtrak is operating under the local freight line's control. Amtrak doesn't own the trackage. Amtrak doesn't say the line is clear or open, it is the host railroad, in this case CSX. And CSX is embroiled in the late CEO's changes {he passed away lately}, where he felt he could eliminate much to improve operation and bottom line. Perhaps too much was cut? Or was this really simply human error?

The previous Amtrak accident was a garbage truck driving around the barriers preventing traffic from crossing the tracks. I read that the gates had not been working properly, but I had not yet tried to validate that story. Much of what you read is statements by those who really don't know the real deal, unfortunately. And honestly, people regularly think they can beat the train approaching with deadly results. Train collisions with people and vehicles occur almost daily across the U.S. . And almost always it is the fault of the people interfering with the trains. Specifically here, the train with the politicians was an extra, that is the train was added to the daily schedule and so travelled down the tracks when the people around would not have expected a train normally. That breeds carelessness by those who see the trains as intruding in their neighborhood.

Egg, we have a LOT of trackage that is under snow sheds and in deep cuts { hundreds of feet below hilltops } and in forests where satellite is not available much less reliable. Indeed, there are quite a few areas where vhf radio comms are not reliable either. Out of the thousands of miles of trackage, there are hundreds of miles where comms is extremely difficult or nonexistent.

I live in New York City. The MTA operates the Subways using radio. And there are hundreds of dead spots due to the tunnels over the hundreds of miles the MTA operates.

Peter, it is worth noting that train wheels have very little rail contact. I have consistently read that since the wheels and rails really do not deform like tires, that a complete train can have the friction contact area the size of several coins. It really is the weight of train that allows the locomotive to pull the train. A very careful look at many engines shows small pipes at the wheels. It is for SAND to be sprayed onto the tracks to help prevent the wheels slipping when trying to accelerate the train. Or should I say mass instead of weight? And try to stop a LOT of mass moving at a quick speed. Especially since American trains are so big to maximize efficiency.

And this blackout of train signalling was for the installation of PTC? Of course, Muppet Media will not mention that when PTC was first made the law, the technology didn't even exist that would control all American locomotives. YES, PTC control was a very good idea but the locomotives in operation did not have a handy socket for all these new controls to be plugged into. Locomotives in operation for the many different train lines often do not have a standard across the parent line. That is, you can have locomotives that are 70 years old performing yard switching running on a system with a freight locomotive that is several years old for the same company and has the latest tech installed. So they share a diesel engine and electrical generator layout, but NOTHING is physically similar between them.

Add to it, PTC was mandated but now the different systems had to install all sorts of tech across hundreds of miles of track. Track side tech and signalling back to central offices or dispatch towers, locomotive redesigns and then retrofits. {Apply the brakes? How many realize there are multiple systems in locomotives, a locomotive brake and a train brake which are separate? And now both systems have to magically react to some electronic signal? Which is also tied into a network?}

To just say PTC is the solution is to not realize it's limits, either. For example, a commuter train in New Jersey went into the end terminal station to discharge the passengers, and the driver accelerated the train in the station quickly leading to a crash and one passenger death when the station roof partially collapsed. Support columns were knocked out. PTC will NOT prevent such crashes.

It will take some time to reconstruct what went wrong. All I can say is this has no simple solution. Far too many variables.
John S.


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 5:50 am 
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Joined: Mar Wed 16, 2011 10:44 pm
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Location: Peekskill, NY
"If I understand things correctly, Amtrak is operating under the local freight line's control. Amtrak doesn't own the trackage."

Ah. So this is how it's done in the rest of the world, yes? Freight and passenger share the same tracks, and freight
has priority over the passenger service?

So the bullet trains in japan have to share with freight, and have multiple rail/highway crossings?

Bottom line: american passenger rail is an ongoing series of immenent disasters because their funding is basically
zero and they're at the mercy of freight operations. It might be time to bite the bullet and just shut down american
passenger rail service.

Complicated. TWO braking systems. Who could figure that one out. Where's the train, what's it's speed.
Might need a quantum computer for that problem eh. Noplace to plug in the instrumentation.

Let's move passengers around where there is zero information about who's on the track and where things
are going. Basically you have Ray Charles driving an 18 wheeler full of gasoline careening around in a blizzard, with
nothing but prayer to avert a crash.

If a non-employee had locked that switch out to collide those trains, he'd be in guantanamo in an orange
jumpsuit in about two hours. Time to jail some rail executives I would say.


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 1:56 pm 
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Location: Hutchinson,Kansas
Mr. Detrola wrote:
So, it's unfortunate that people died and were injured because of someone's carelessness or worse, ignorance. This is happening much too often on the railroad system recently.

Is there a way that everyone responsible for leaving that switch in the wrong position and manually locking it, which had to be done intentionally, can be criminally prosecuted for this? It's obviously NOT an accident and we don't want to attribute it to malice, but negligence is still a criminal matter if it results in injury or death.



Have you ever done something wrong at your job? Screwed up? Can we criminally prosecute you?

As for your comment about it happening on the railroad system too often may be correct! Your government cut the crews down from 5 man to 2 man crews. Talking about going to 1 man crews. The railroad industry as a whole has had a shortage of work force. They hire people. They usually don't hire the right people. They need to be politically correct so they hire people not suited to the job. They run them thru a training course that lacks a lot. They then pass their tests and are usually laid off right away or work a month or 2 and then get laid off. They may go for months or a year without working. Not knowing much to begin with they go back to work. They are on call 24/7. You can be called to work anytime day or night. Put being new, tired and no experience puts things all together for disaster. Sometimes guys get laid off from one terminal and have to go work in another terminal. Sometimes never working there. They usually are hassled for getting student trips to ride the line. Sometimes they only get 1-2 times of just riding the line to see where things are at and then they are put on the train as a conductor or engineer. Get both crew members not knowing the line and you got real troubles. They don't keep enough crews on the boards so you are always working on your rest which is 10hrs. Every 10 hours you are going to work. Day or night 3 am or 3pm.


Todd


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 4:53 pm 
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
If anyone does something negligent ( whether on their job or not) that results in death of another person, there is exposure to being prosecuted for it. I'm amazed that anyone would question that fact of law. I want to know why the people involved in these crashes have not been prosecuted. There is quite obviously more than one person responsible in each of the recent crashes.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 5:37 pm 
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Quote:
I want to know why the people involved in these crashes have not been prosecuted


How do we know they haven't?

The engineer in the Philadelphia wreck was prosecuted. However a judge threw out the case.

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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
I've read the posts above, have a few comments. I also have a few facts regarding this latest disaster at the bottom of the page.

The comment was made that since most (not all) passenger trains operate on host railroads and the two are not compatible we should get rid of all passenger trains.
Well, in actuality the railroad is obliged to give priority to the passenger train. Freights are supposed to go in the 'hole' and wait for the faster passenger train. It doesn't always work that way because sometimes there is no siding to take for many miles. Sometimes a dispatcher screws up, and most often the passenger train gets late all by itself from not leaving the station on time, having a breakdown (way too common) which not only delays the passenger train but ALL the trains on the track.
So, truly it isn't all roses in the railroading business. but most of the time all goes well. But in this latest case you can't blame the Amtrak train for being on the tracks. If it had been a freight train coming at the same point in time it would have been the same disaster, possibly worse depending on what that freight train is hauling and how much of it escapes its containers.

And, again, although this happened because PTS was being installed at that time (for whatever reason they had shut the system down) the same thing could have happened with PTS in place if that same manual switch were left lined into the siding. I understand that the switch aspect is normally available to the dispatch. But in this case all was shut down. But what if the system was up and operating? Dispatch probably would have seen the aspect of the switch and taken several actions. I have read that they can move the switch back to the main, which is all they really need to do. But still, you're betting the dispatcher notices it.
IF the system had been in operation the engineer on the train would have seen approach signals and would have known to stop even without the dispatcher. That would be the normal situation.
This whole thing was totally avoidable even if PTC had never invented yet.

There was discussion above about the issues of installing PTC on various locomotives. Right now we, at the Harrison Street locomotive shop are working on how to install PTC on our steam engine. It has to be done or we don't run.

Interesting but not necessarily crucial is what was going on in the cab of the Amtrak train during the last few seconds of life of the crew in the cab, A quote;

"From the train’s last stop, the maximum speed reached 57 mph. The track speed, under signal suspension rules, is 59 mph. About 7 seconds before the end of the recording, the train’s horn was activated for three seconds. Speed was 56 mph.

Two seconds later, the brake-pipe pressure began decreasing. The following second, the throttle transitioned from full throttle to idle, while the train was at 54 mph.

One second later, while the train was at 53 mph, emergency braking was initiated. The recording ended 2 seconds later. The train’s speed was 50 mph as the train’s air braking system was approaching max braking.

So that seems to settle the questions of whether signal suspension rules were in effect. They were."


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 7:17 pm 
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Location: Warren, Ohio, USA
Uh oh,

https://nypost.com/2018/02/06/amtrak-train-breaks-apart-at-125-mph/

Good thing no one was hurt!


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 19, 2011 5:28 pm
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Location: mid-Michigan
The "good thing" about rail "disasters" is that there are survivors; lots of survivors. By contrast, consider an air disaster; it's not uncommon to have no survivors. And, yeah, this latest Acela thing today; I haven't heard if there were any injuries. Rail travel in the USA could and should be done so much better. Maybe even as well as it was done 100 years ago!


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Tue 06, 2018 9:23 pm 
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Location: Mpls, Minnesota
Amtrak is a quasi-public corporation, you can't expect too much from them. Airplanes are much safer than trains and are private enterprises.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Yesterdays train wreck
PostPosted: Feb Wed 07, 2018 1:29 am 
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Location: Litchfield Minnesota USA
DocSlop wrote:
The "good thing" about rail "disasters" is that there are survivors; lots of survivors. By contrast, consider an air disaster; it's not uncommon to have no survivors. And, yeah, this latest Acela thing today; I haven't heard if there were any injuries. Rail travel in the USA could and should be done so much better. Maybe even as well as it was done 100 years ago!

Very true. As of now the airline annual passenger fatality rate is ZERO. Not sure how long that will stand, but that's what it is at this time.

I'm trying to figure out which has the lower fatality rate based on numbers of passengers vs miles traveled... Private auto or Amtrak.

Mark D.


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