Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:21 am

Mr. Lurker, for what it be worth, it seems to me that post-RSIA08 enactment, incidents at which PTC could have avoided have been on the rise. This has resulted in my admittedly "flip-flop" on the need for PTC.

Of course there were some "horrifics" in days past. Within the Passenger class, Naperville, Rockville Center, Port Richmond, Woodbridge, Jenkins Curve, Newark Bay, all come immediately to mind - and all could have been avoided with active PTC. But while the collection noted occurring between 1946 and 1958 resulted in 400 some fatalities, it seems as if post-Chatsworth, PTC avoidable incidents have been on the rise. Coming to mind, freight and passenger, are Goodwell, Panhandle, Red Oak, Frankford Jct, Chester, and now DuPont. While collectively, these incidents have resulted in about 75 fatalities, the fact remains that somehow an arbitrary $295M "cap" for each incident prevails. You can be sure the likes of "Glen Lerner is the lawyer for you...call 222-2222" and others higher up on the feeding chain will be after that $295M.

I use to hold why PTC?; after all, you got a set of eyes up there costing $125K a year - that's your PTC. But now, I see it differently. Bring it on!!

Finally, here is a compilation of wrecks occurring on the Long Island R R:

https://www.newsday.com/long-island/tra ... 1.12938299
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby justalurker66 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:12 pm

The $295 million cap makes it easier on the actuaries to say the cost is not worth the risk.

There have been other improvements that have saved lives. Some of those old carriages involved in the fatal wrecks would not pass today's standards. Trying to make trains "idiot proof" has led to stuff the original designers didn't need to consider ... for example, thanks to the idiot that parked a flat bed truck with a steel coil on it across the NICTD/South Shore Line the FRA and NTSB now want lead passenger cars to withstand such an impact. (In that case the coil ended up rolling down the aisle stopping in the middle of the car, killing occupants.)
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Suburban Station » Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:14 am

So as it turns out the state had considered straightening the curve but cheaped out deeming it not necessary. I suspect that if this were a highway project that they would not have cheaped out on safety to build a tight turn.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Bostontoallpoints » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:26 pm

So as it turns out the state had considered straightening the curve but cheaped out deeming it not necessary. I suspect that if this were a highway project that they would not have cheaped out on safety to build a tight turn.


A 1/2 mile beyond the curve is a junction where the train would also need to slow down to 30 mph anyway. Straightening the curve would seem to have little impact on speed. It is also expected that highly trained engineers have a better handle on speed control then the car driving public.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:35 pm

If you go to http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/ and plug in Tacoma, it’s pretty plain to see that the NP line has included this crook in the alignment over I-5 since at least the 1962 map. Have there been derailments or incidents at this location in the past 55+ years, or is this the first overspeed-derailment reported there?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby ApproachMedium » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:22 pm

mtuandrew wrote:If you go to http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/ and plug in Tacoma, it’s pretty plain to see that the NP line has included this crook in the alignment over I-5 since at least the 1962 map. Have there been derailments or incidents at this location in the past 55+ years, or is this the first overspeed-derailment reported there?


The line previously was a low speed branch line so there was no way to have a high speed derailment there until the work was done to make the track high speed.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:32 pm

If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby CRail » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:07 pm

justalurker66 wrote:I saw on the news where a driver was killed when not wearing their seat belt. The seat belt was totally ineffective when not used so lets repeal all seatbelt use and installation laws since the presence of a seatbelt didn't save that life.

When PTC is disabled it's because the train would be disabled otherwise. If, for whatever reason, your seatbelt were to inhibit you from driving and so it had to be taken off to move the car, and during that time you were killed in a wreck in which the seatbelt would have saved you, the seatbelt would be responsible for your death for it would have saved you had it worked properly.

In Boston we had a subway train run away a couple years ago. The operator was in flagrant violation of procedure because he deactivated the Automactic Train Operation system with the controller pegged in a power position. However, if the ATO hadn't failed, the accident would not have occurred. This incident would not have been possible on the Blue Line on the same system because their positive stop system is far more primitive and if it ever needs bypassing, it's momentary and not a complete shut down with no back up protection. The same protections (wayside signals with trips) were removed from the Red and Orange line with the implementation of ATO. I equate this to climbing a ladder and braking off each rung once you've passed it, assuming you'll never need to step back. These things we fear.

I oppose PTC because it means companies can get away with reduced training and crew proficiency. It has come from enough sources to believe that crews were not properly qualified on the territory, and I do not see a system which hides such sins and makes that ok as a good thing. I oppose automobile lane assist and emergency braking because it's going to enable carelessness and create an even less safe culture among drivers.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby 8th Notch » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:14 am

Kudos to Amtrak and the NTSB for not releasing any of the engineers information this time, it’s about time they stopped doing that!
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby dowlingm » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:33 am

justalurker66 wrote:PTC can be the one entity in the cab that IS paying attention, whether there is one human in the cab with PTC or seven or seventeen. Turned off or intentionally disabled isn't PTC's fault so it would take a lot of bias for a person to blame PTC for an incident where PTC was intentionally disabled.
indeed. Same as blaming GPWS if two pilots decided to operate a flight with the system inoperative and then ploughing into a hill.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:47 am

DutchRailnut wrote:http://www.wsdot.com/Rail/questions-answers-derailment.htm


What is the status of onboard equipment on Amtrak Cascades Charger locomotives?
PTC hardware, Wabtec Railway Electronics, and sub components, have been installed in the eight new locomotives WSDOT purchased from Siemens, including the locomotive involved in Monday’s derailment. The major hardware components were part of the procurement of the locomotives and were in place when all eight locomotives were delivered to WSDOT over the last year. However, additional components are necessary to integrate the onboard equipment with the back office operations and host railroads’ (Sound Transit, BNSF and Union Pacific) wayside systems on the Amtrak Cascades corridor. When the wayside system is fully activated with all of the necessary data files and radios, the PTC hardware on the Siemens locomotives can be configured, tested and placed into operation.


In short, WSDOT's placing the blame on the host railroads for not getting PTC going. The Chargers have PTC, they just gotta get configured right, and that requires PTC to be fully set up on the line.

Any word on when all three host railroads are going to find that round tuit?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Railjunkie » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:11 am

dowlingm wrote:
justalurker66 wrote:PTC can be the one entity in the cab that IS paying attention, whether there is one human in the cab with PTC or seven or seventeen. Turned off or intentionally disabled isn't PTC's fault so it would take a lot of bias for a person to blame PTC for an incident where PTC was intentionally disabled.
indeed. Same as blaming GPWS if two pilots decided to operate a flight with the system inoperative and then ploughing into a hill.



First and foremost the PTC wasnt active. To intentionally disable a safety device on any RR in this country is reason for dismissal. Thats FRA regs.

A hypothetical question what if PTC WAS active and there was a failure and had to be cut out and the accident happened what then???
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby litz » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:58 pm

Railjunkie wrote:To intentionally disable a safety device on any RR in this country is reason for dismissal. Thats FRA regs.


Not just dismissal, it also makes the culprit liable to a fine, and usually a very very hefty one.

Railjunkie wrote:A hypothetical question what if PTC WAS active and there was a failure and had to be cut out and the accident happened what then???


When safety equipment like this has to be disabled/cut out (due to malfunction, etc), the train doesn't just continue on as if it was still enabled. Rules almost always require changes in operation ... e.g., multiple persons in operating cab, reduced speed, etc etc etc.

With those kinds of stipulations in place, the chances of that train hitting that curve at 80mph would be significantly reduced.

Rules exist for a reason.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby cobra30689 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:34 pm

litz wrote:When safety equipment like this has to be disabled/cut out (due to malfunction, etc), the train doesn't just continue on as if it was still enabled. Rules almost always require changes in operation ... e.g., multiple persons in operating cab, reduced speed, etc etc etc.

With those kinds of stipulations in place, the chances of that train hitting that curve at 80mph would be significantly reduced.

Rules exist for a reason.


Unfortunately most of us have not even seen these rules yet. The equipment I run is equipped with PTC....but the host railroads do not have it online yet. As of right now we have not even been trained on its use, have no idea what the screens even look like, know of its failure modes, nor have seen any documentation regarding operating rules. The only rules I know of that are published and in use anywhere near me are the ACSES rules on the NEC.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby 8th Notch » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:46 pm

Not to mention we can still run 110mph with ACSES cut out....
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