ARM fall foliage wreck

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ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby CPSK » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:03 pm

Hi;
I just learned of the wreck involving an AM fall foliage train from Springdale to Van Buren. News feed says there was a mis-communication as to the location of the stalled passenger train.
For an accident like this one to happen, I would bet the line is "dark" and all movements are by dispatcher train order via radio.
Anyone know the specifics of this line, and any more info on what happened?

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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby mowingman » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:48 pm

Train stalled due to wet leaves on wet rails. Relief engine was sent to help pull train up the hill. Relief engine was going at least a little too fast, and came upon the stalled train possibly sooner than expected. Could not stop, and hit head on at about 20-25MPH. No signals on this line. The cause will most likely be, that engineer was exceeding speed limit, which did not give him time stop in the distance required by train operating rules.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby CPSK » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:15 pm

mowingman wrote:Train stalled due to wet leaves on wet rails. Relief engine was sent to help pull train up the hill. Relief engine was going at least a little too fast, and came upon the stalled train possibly sooner than expected. Could not stop, and hit head on at about 20-25MPH. No signals on this line. The cause will most likely be, that engineer was exceeding speed limit, which did not give him time stop in the distance required by train operating rules.

It is unfortunate that this type of accident happens, but humans will make mistakes. Ironic that, if the approaching loco also slipped on wet leaves - train crew should have been much more careful knowing that. But maybe they hadn't been told of the cause for the stall.
The way I see it, there should be changes to the way a railroad is run. If passengers are involved, then higher safety standards should be used. I can see this accident turning into a field day for PI lawyers. And honestly, if it happened the way it sounds like it did, I wouldn't fault anyone injured for suing.

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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby Dick H » Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:19 pm

This could have a major effect on insurance premiums for tourist lines and
mixed freight and tourist lines all across the country. Also, insurance
carriers may be reviewing individual railroad practices and regulations,
especially for those lines running passenger trains. The NTSB and the FRA
might also get involved...
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby Freddy » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:36 pm

Running restricted and a radio would've been the cure for the headaches they've got now. Elementary my dear Watson, simply elementary.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby CPSK » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:09 pm

Freddy wrote:Running restricted and a radio would've been the cure for the headaches they've got now. Elementary my dear Watson, simply elementary.

Absolutely - my thoughts exactly!
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:17 pm

There are rules of long standing covering precisely this sort of situation. Unfortunately rules aren't always followed (by train crews, dispatchers, and others), and a real problem is that it's possible to disregard a rule repeatedly for a long time without a mishap because other circumstances are favorable. Then one day the other circumstances aren't favorable, and the inevitable happens. (And comments above about insurance for tourist lines are probably right.) It should be interesting to see what the NTSB finds in regard to management practices.
Hey, it happened on Amtrak back in the 70's or 80's, between Philadelphia and Trenton. A passenger train died, and the rescue train ran into it because the stalled train wasn't where the rescue-train engineer thought it was. The signal told him to proceed at restricted speed.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby litz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:07 pm

This image :

http://www.arktimes.com/imager/freight- ... 3888_n.jpg

Would seem to indicate it was a read-end collision, instead of head-on ...

and this one :

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/5126453 ... 006-a4.jpg

Seems to show a fairly straight section of track.

Either way, typical "dark territory" joint block rules would require a trailing operation to operate at restricted speed.

That means you must always be able to stop within 1/2 the distance of anything in your way. On many railroads, this also includes a max speed limit of 15mph for the trailing operation.

the NTSB is investigating, so we'll get a full-fledged report out of this accident ... but to me, this just screams "too fast for conditions".
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:54 pm

Particularly with a slight curve and all those trees close to the track, visibility may not have been very good, making it all the more necessary to proceed prepared to stop within one-half sighting distance of an obstruction instead of where you think the stalled train is.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby litz » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:29 pm

Some NTSB notes ...

    1. Radio communication was spotty, and the train dispatcher was communicating with the trains with railroad-issued cell phones.
    2. The dispatcher told the rescue train to consider the track the passenger train occupied as out of service and there fore subject to restricted speed (a speed that will permit stopping within one-half the range of vision, but not exceeding 20 miles per hour).
    3. The rescue train was braking when it hit the passenger train, cutting its speed from 28 to 25 mph.
    4. The lead locomotive on the passenger train was uncoupled from the passenger cars when they were struck by the rescue locomotive.


The first two items are not surprising in the least. With remote location, and an unknown obstruction on the track, that's exactly how the rulebook should treat communications and traffic in that circumstance.

The third item is more than a bit troubling ... 28mph is 8mph over the max speed for restricted speed, and (IMHO) far higher a speed than should have been utilized on that slightly blind curve.

The fourth item is puzzling ... why on earth disconnect the power, unless they were planning on using the rescue engine to pull the passenger cars back the other way?

NTSB did confirm the rescue locomotive did impact the rear passenger car.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby talltim » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:55 am

From one of the pictures the two locos collided.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:32 pm

Lead locomotive, former LV 411, hit the passenger cars hard and the impact led to the following locomotive to push the lead unit up, hooking it's deck under the deck of the lead engine. Wouldn't be surprised if other engines did the same; the rescuse train had something like six engines pulling.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby litz » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:51 pm

It was a complete set of power off a nearby freight train (they cut off their train and ran light to rescue the passenger train), so very likely it was multiple units.

25mph will cause quite a forceful collision, particularly with several locomotives worth of kinetic energy behind it.
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby chrisf » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:07 pm

lvrr325 wrote:Lead locomotive, former LV 411, hit the passenger cars hard and the impact led to the following locomotive to push the lead unit up, hooking it's deck under the deck of the lead engine. Wouldn't be surprised if other engines did the same; the rescuse train had something like six engines pulling.


Interestingly, this is not the 411's first wreck. http://www.railpictures.net/photo/421779/
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Re: ARM fall foliage wreck

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:24 am

litz wrote:It was a complete set of power off a nearby freight train (they cut off their train and ran light to rescue the passenger train), so very likely it was multiple units.

25mph will cause quite a forceful collision, particularly with several locomotives worth of kinetic energy behind it.


In fact photos show it was six or eight locomotives.

Derailments on the LV were common enough it's a wonder all the locomotives made it to Conrail -
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