Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:01 pm

MTA NYC held an "Ideas Challenge" and awarded a group for saying "Put sensors on rail cars for speed/distance/etc control, not any wayside equipment:"

http://www.geniustransitchallenge.ny.go ... ge-winners (group 2)

What can we say about doing it on regular railcars?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby glennk419 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:47 pm

dowlingm wrote:
ApproachMedium wrote:Let me tell you from somebody whos qualified on hundreds of miles of railroad, it looks different during the day and the night. Completely. We are told to ride ONLY during the day, and those who have any sense will tell you that just once or twice you should ride at night and see the difference. it really wakes you up. But dong it in the dark is a very dangerous idea. There is a lot of detail to be missed. Landmarks that might not be able to be seen. the idea is you know where you are during the day and once the sun goes down you should be able to make out all of the silhouettes.
Approach, let's start by saying I'm not going to dispute your expertise on the railroad as it exists.

That said, we live in an age where passenger vehicles are being outfitted with GPS, LIDAR, ultrasonics, cameras and in some cases Heads Up Display assistance. The expectation is assistance to the driver in knowing exactly where they are at all times and in all weathers, in a far more complex and uncontrolled traffic environment than a rail line, if not outright automatic control over a mostly "dumb" environment. I don't think the average passenger has any idea how much people who operate locomotives lack all of these aids on-vehicle, relying on their wits and memory for landmarks and non-illuminated signs.


I believe Amtrak P42's and F59's have head's up displays. Are the Chargers not similarly equipped?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby dowlingm » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:21 pm

glennk419 wrote:I believe Amtrak P42's and F59's have head's up displays. Are the Chargers not similarly equipped?
MIT did a preliminary study for FRA last year
https://www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/17178
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby 8th Notch » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:46 pm

glennk419 wrote:
dowlingm wrote:
ApproachMedium wrote:Let me tell you from somebody whos qualified on hundreds of miles of railroad, it looks different during the day and the night. Completely. We are told to ride ONLY during the day, and those who have any sense will tell you that just once or twice you should ride at night and see the difference. it really wakes you up. But dong it in the dark is a very dangerous idea. There is a lot of detail to be missed. Landmarks that might not be able to be seen. the idea is you know where you are during the day and once the sun goes down you should be able to make out all of the silhouettes.
Approach, let's start by saying I'm not going to dispute your expertise on the railroad as it exists.

That said, we live in an age where passenger vehicles are being outfitted with GPS, LIDAR, ultrasonics, cameras and in some cases Heads Up Display assistance. The expectation is assistance to the driver in knowing exactly where they are at all times and in all weathers, in a far more complex and uncontrolled traffic environment than a rail line, if not outright automatic control over a mostly "dumb" environment. I don't think the average passenger has any idea how much people who operate locomotives lack all of these aids on-vehicle, relying on their wits and memory for landmarks and non-illuminated signs.



I believe Amtrak P42's and F59's have head's up displays. Are the Chargers not similarly equipped?


Heads up display? The only thing remotely close to a such thing is I-ETMS which just started being installed on the units within the past year or 2 and that is just a form of PTC.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby David Benton » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:01 pm

dowlingm wrote:
ApproachMedium wrote:Let me tell you from somebody whos qualified on hundreds of miles of railroad, it looks different during the day and the night. Completely. We are told to ride ONLY during the day, and those who have any sense will tell you that just once or twice you should ride at night and see the difference. it really wakes you up. But dong it in the dark is a very dangerous idea. There is a lot of detail to be missed. Landmarks that might not be able to be seen. the idea is you know where you are during the day and once the sun goes down you should be able to make out all of the silhouettes.
Approach, let's start by saying I'm not going to dispute your expertise on the railroad as it exists.

That said, we live in an age where passenger vehicles are being outfitted with GPS, LIDAR, ultrasonics, cameras and in some cases Heads Up Display assistance. The expectation is assistance to the driver in knowing exactly where they are at all times and in all weathers, in a far more complex and uncontrolled traffic environment than a rail line, if not outright automatic control over a mostly "dumb" environment. I don't think the average passenger has any idea how much people who operate locomotives lack all of these aids on-vehicle, relying on their wits and memory for landmarks and non-illuminated signs.

early British locomotives (up to 1960's?) had no speedometers , or headlights.They would not be expected to run at todays speeds with the "route knowledge", that is necessary to do that. i can't think of any other industry that relies on such a level of knowledge of the "route", as this . Is there some kind of stigma attached to providing better signs and route markers on US Railroads?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby MattW » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:23 pm

I am just a silly railfan, but I will say that virtually all information needed by an automobile is available within sight. Yes there's more variables, but they're all right there. If you're cruising down the highway, do you care what the traffic light two miles ahead is showing? An engineer is usually thinking 5+ miles out. Really the only way for a locomotive to be able to be able to know where it is enough to provider alerts and assistance to the engineer is through something like PTC...which we're already trying to implement.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby ApproachMedium » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:15 pm

Virtually everything we need to know as an engineer is in a book, must be studied and remembered. Why??? Why no signs you say? Well theres only so much of a sign you can be reading at 80, 90, 110, 125mph. 140? 165? Also, people steal signs. Theres a huge hobby for that. The only signs we get are some major speed change signs (hasnt stopped any of these wrecks) and we get station names, interlockings control points etc, and mile posts for the most part. If you look at any rule book signs are listed under the "signals" section. There are many more signals than there are signs.

As long as you know where you are, and you know what you need to do its not that hard. People drive cars all over the place on all different roads all of the time. An engineer typically runs the same or varying types of trains over the same territory every day. So once you know and are familiar with how to run, it becomes a second nature. I was trained by guys who could read a book or newspaper feet up on the console or heater and know exactly where to blow the horn for every crossing and put the brake on for every curve.

There is a reason we are called professionals, and theres a good reason we get paid what we do. Its a profession, not childs play. Something the big heads I dont think seem to understand.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby justalurker66 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:27 pm

dowlingm wrote:I don't think the average passenger has any idea how much people who operate locomotives lack all of these aids on-vehicle, relying on their wits and memory for landmarks and non-illuminated signs.

Those aids are coming soon in the form of PTC (which unlike common automotive GPS units will also act as an enforcer). Railroads continue to rely on crews to have detailed knowledge of their routes.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Wayside » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:34 pm

justalurker66 wrote:Those aids are coming soon in the form of PTC (which unlike common automotive GPS units will also act as an enforcer). Railroads continue to rely on crews to have detailed knowledge of their routes.


Quite true in that the graphic display for the PTC system provides real-time representation of where the train is located on the railroad, with mile posts, signals, and grade crossings, as well as speed restriction areas.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby John_Perkowski » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:42 pm

we are at the NTSB hearings. They don't appear to be going well for Amtrak. KING TV of Seattle is covering the story...

https://www.king5.com/mobile/article/ne ... -571994032

training, or lack of it, was also a major area for questioning. Amtrak’s Mike DeCataldo noting the federally-owned railroad company is upgrading its training to include at least four orientation trips behind the controls for engineers new to that line. The 55-year-old engineer of train 501 was qualified with just two round trips.

Citing interviews with the engineer, NTSB chairman Sumwalt says the engineer was well aware of the curve, but somehow missed the black and yellow warning sign two miles ahead of the curve warning that a slow zone was coming up.

As for the sixty seconds in the cab of the brand new Seimen’s Charger Locomotive, Sumwalt asked Amtrak’s representative: "Is that a normal expectation for an Amtrak engineer?" DeCataldo responded: "That is not a normal expectation."
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:01 pm

As for only 60 seconds in the cab of a new locomotive, there was a time when the controls in almost all Diesel locomotives were considered to be the same, and even more recent electric passenger locomotives copied that alleged standard.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:31 pm

Mr. Boylan, I must agree with Colonel Perkowski; that is simply not an excuse.

In the the recent wrecks resulting in passenger fatalities, Amtrak simply "owns 'em". That Amtrak allowed an Passenger Engineer unfamiliar with the territory to be at the controls of an Inaugural run was at least simply "reckless" and at worst "criminal". That Amtrak created a work environment in which an already fatigued Passenger Engineer at Frankford Jct. was required to operate, even if within the Law, a train under adverse conditions, is inexcusable.

The Amtrak safety culture is broken; Mr. Anderson. coming from a transportation industry in which such is exemplary, intends to "get there" with his new challenge.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby STrRedWolf » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:50 pm

"There are other ways this could have been prevented, PTC or not."

I have to agree. There's many things wrong going on here that we explored in this thread already:
  • Amtrak's training was "inadequate" (to be generous) on both track and engine.
  • The track layout itself had issues that were raised but ignored.
  • Signage is of a size that can be easily missed.
  • Track speed throughout the area can be easily overridden.

Want to bet what the recommendations will be?

I'm thinking: Fix Amtrak's training and safety culture. Audit the track itself for any way to "easily" (aka inexpensively) re-engineer a better layout. Change signage to be clearer, and incorporate off-the-shelf LIDAR technology for speed tracking ("SPEED LIMIT 30. YOUR SPEED: 80"). Get PTC on this track ASAP.
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby ThirdRail7 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:18 pm

dowlingm wrote:
ApproachMedium wrote:Let me tell you from somebody whos qualified on hundreds of miles of railroad, it looks different during the day and the night. Completely. We are told to ride ONLY during the day, and those who have any sense will tell you that just once or twice you should ride at night and see the difference. it really wakes you up. But dong it in the dark is a very dangerous idea. There is a lot of detail to be missed. Landmarks that might not be able to be seen. the idea is you know where you are during the day and once the sun goes down you should be able to make out all of the silhouettes.
Approach, let's start by saying I'm not going to dispute your expertise on the railroad as it exists.



Well, then allow me to dispute his expertise. You can always tell a crew member that is confined to the NEC. They often forget that a great deal of the system and crews operate ONLY AT NIGHT. If the train sees daylight, it is because of a disruption. While he was trained by people that could read a book and know their exact location (and even if you were one or two miles over without looking up,) those SAME people always advised you to RIDE and LEARN the railroad at night. Your eyes can't see everything at speed so don't trust them. FEEL the train. FEEL your location because you may not see that grade crossing (your division doesn't have them but most others do) or the landmarks leading up them due to visibility issues. Qualifying at night was a no brainer and let me tell you about instructors. Prior to marking, some of them used to actually restrict you visibility (cover your eyes, pull the shade down and turn on all of the interior lights so inhibit visibility) and you'd better be RIGHT ON THE MONEY.....or you were OUT. PERIOD. If you weren't OUT, you were knocked out, because this was before the iron clad "training agreement." Before the agreement, you'd have to hope someone had mercy and bother to let you operate their training and guess what? You rode at night and put up with whatever they said and if that meant they rolled up a newspaper and hit you, threw water or water bottles at you, wrapped their hands around the back of your neck and grabbed you (among other things) and told you to get it together,you did it. PERIOD...otherwise no one would train you.

For the record, I could see Approach Medium being one of the people that would throw something at you because while I disagree with his stance, I KNOW he's not into the entitlement that had permeated the industry these days. I also know he's into knowledge and training....which is a problem at the upper levels. As Approach Medium stated, there is a reason why you're supposed to be professionals. However, that comes from training and or experience. Both of them are lacking and that is because the people at the top are people with no experience. They think this is a game.

The funny thing is so do people on the board. I may forget the names of my children (hey um...um....you....The girl....come over here. {the girl comes over}! I meant the boy, whatever his name is....tell him over here) but there are very few things on the railroad I forget. One of them are these threads:

Amtrak Tow/Rescue Procedures for Eqpmt Failures

Stranded... on the CORRIDOR?...

While the latter thread was locked by the time I encountered this board, I was present for and participated in the first thread. In it, you can see the casual disregard for equipment familiarity from employees and board members alike....and now some of those employees (they'll figure it out) are in charge.

And now, everyone has the audacity to be surprised that someone, with little experience on the equipment and territory had yet another accident. Does anyone REALLY think 188 would have occurred with a diesel or an AEM-7? It might have been rough but that speed wouldn't have been achieved.

I can believe 60 seconds on a locomotive would be enough for some. If you read the posts in the above threads, a LOT of you would have been satisfied with less time. Just get on and go, right?
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Postby ThirdRail7 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:24 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
The Amtrak safety culture is broken; Mr. Anderson. coming from a transportation industry in which such is exemplary, intends to "get there" with his new challenge.



Let's see if he intends to put his money where his mouth is and pay for training. So far, it is just more rhetoric. Were are the tools (the budget allocation) for training at a time where the railroad is FLOODED from shore to shore with employees with less than two years experience....in ALL crafts and management.
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