Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Patrick Boylan » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:36 am

DutchRailnut wrote:a coupler pin falling out because keeper was not fastened is not a catastrophic failure, a maintenance fault at best.

I suspect that the passenger who might have fallen out because they were crossing between cars, which on Amtrak they're allowed to do even while train is in motion, would feel it was catastrophic.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:12 am

STrRedWolf wrote:Yes, PTC would solve/prevent 188, 501, and 91. It still wouldn't solve the GOP special (truck on the track) and 2150 (maintenance screwed up and didn't screw it back down again).


I have a fair bit of experience in that field, and I'll state bluntly that the airlines don't have anything approaching PTC in terms of electronic nanny systems other than the basic autopilots/warning systems in the aircraft, and that all aircraft control is managed by radio instructions and the honor system. Closed-loop communications are paramount, and despite the strength of the pilot's unions, the FAA still hangs like a regulatory axe over the throat of every individual finding themselves behind the yoke lest they find themselves to be in deviation from orders given by ATC or the FAA.

The key difference is the degree to which a culture of excellence and perfectionist professionalism permeates the aviation industry, from the line mechanics on up to the PiC's, and the draconian regulatory climate enforced by the FAA is accepted as simply being part of what's needed to provide safe, reliable service. It's pretty clear, from the various incidents that we've seen over the past few years, that the professional and safety cultures permeating American passenger rail operations still have a long, long way to go in that regard.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby BlendedBreak » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:10 am

DutchRailnut wrote:a coupler pin falling out because keeper was not fastened is not a catastrophic failure, a maintenance fault at best.


“Coupler-pin” is not a component in this system.
Also, when a critical mechanical component is destroyed without warning it can be considered a catastrophic-failure.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:23 am

This never would have happened if Amtrak had selected Jacobs bogies, as God himself intended.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby EuroStar » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:59 am

STrRedWolf wrote:Yes, PTC would solve/prevent 188, 501, and 91. It still wouldn't solve the GOP special (truck on the track) and 2150 (maintenance screwed up and didn't screw it back down again).


Do we know that someone did not properly reinstall the pin? Unless that is confirmed it could also be the pin breaking due to low cycle fatigue, especially if it had an internal manufacturing defect. While the pin breaking can also be called maintenance issue, it is a much much harder one to fix operationally.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby MCL1981 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:00 am

BlendedBreak wrote:Also, when a critical mechanical component is destroyed without warning it can be considered a catastrophic-failure.

Please cite the facts you are basing your proclamation on. Or, if you're simply making an assumption as to what happened based on personal bias, you should state that as such in your posts.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Ridgefielder » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:56 am

electricron wrote:
Bramdeisroberts wrote:In the past month, I've booked TWO round trips between the DC area and Boston on JetBlue for $100 a piece, with a 50 minute transit time that makes Acela look like a snail in comparison. I think Amtrak overestimates its utility here, and I say that as a dyed-in-the-wool closet foamer.

But when a private company operating a $75 million dollar pressurized aircraft so expensive/complex that it makes an Acela trainset look like a Doodlebug, that flies at over 500mph at 6 miles' altitude, requires a flight crew that costs you $400k in salary alone, with a cabin crew costing damn close to that as well, while burning $3.50/gallon by the thousands of gallons per hour in a pair of engines that cost $5 million apiece and have to be meticulously maintained by the most expensive kind of mechanics known to man with parts so exotic/expensive that they make a Ferrari's look like off-brand Honda parts STILL manages to provide a cheaper product than you do while eviscerating your safety record AND while turning a profit in the process, then it's time for you, as an industry, to do a little soul-searching.

You have made an excellent point, riding Acela between Boston and D.C. isn't really competitive with flying. Acela trains rarely go faster than 135 mph. To be really competitive with flying at that distance, high speed trains needs to reach higher speeds than 135 mph over much more of the corridor, and get there in less than 3 hours. Acela takes twice as long. The entire 457-mile (735 km) route from Boston to Washington takes between 6 hours, 38 minutes and 6 hours, 50 minutes, at an average of around 70.3 mph (113 km/h).

But to be fair, if you're traveling the shorter distances Boston to New York City, or New York City to D.C., Acela trains are competitive at their existing speeds.

I think that's the key point. Most people aren't taking the Acela from Boston all the way to Washington. They're taking it from Boston to New York, or New York to Washington. Or they're traveling between intermediate city pairs like Stamford CT and Wilmington DE (good luck finding a cheap flight between those two places).

None of this seems to have much to do with what caused 2150 to pull a drawbar at 0 dark 30 on Tuesday morning, by the way.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:58 am

BlendedBreak wrote:
DutchRailnut wrote:a coupler pin falling out because keeper was not fastened is not a catastrophic failure, a maintenance fault at best.


“Coupler-pin” is not a component in this system.
Also, when a critical mechanical component is destroyed without warning it can be considered a catastrophic-failure.


I think he may be referring to the pin that holds the drawbar to the carriages, rather than a traditional "pull the pin" on a janney coupler. But there is some sort of pin-like device that goes throug the hole at the other end of the drawbar, it's not pixie dust holding these cars together. We hope.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:02 am

Also in the news, the same thing happened at much lower speed in Leeds, England, yesterday. It's being treated as more of an inconvenience because the train was moving slowly through approach trackage.

https://twitter.com/mat12of10/status/961266708622258176
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby DutchRailnut » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:11 am

it happens a lot, usually attributed to mechanic not securing the keeper under the drawgear pin.
first keeper falls out then the pin.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... pler_d.jpg
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby BlendedBreak » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:13 am

MCL1981 wrote:
BlendedBreak wrote:Also, when a critical mechanical component is destroyed without warning it can be considered a catastrophic-failure.

Please cite the facts you are basing your proclamation on. Or, if you're simply making an assumption as to what happened based on personal bias, you should state that as such in your posts.


Here is an article for you:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/02/07/amtrak-two-acela-cars-came-apart-due-to-hardware-failure/?utm_term=.0aecc74279f5

Tadman wrote:Also in the news, the same thing happened at much lower speed in Leeds, England, yesterday. It's being treated as more of an inconvenience because the train was moving slowly through approach trackage.

https://twitter.com/mat12of10/status/961266708622258176




Thisbis not the first time this has happened in the last year at Amtrak. (Not exculsive to the HST or passenger service.)
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby BandA » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:46 pm

Happened on the MBTA. Never heard which part was ultimately responsible.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby Tadman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:23 pm

FRA prelim release on this issue: "Region 2 FRA MP&E inspector requested the [most recent] year of [documentation on] maintenance inspections for Amtrak coach cars 3215 and 3554". I'm very interested to see what they find.

http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/pas ... s-fra.html
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby David Benton » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:52 pm

From that report, the pin is pressed (and welded?, the temporary one was) into place, so this is does not seem to be a case of someone not putting the pin in , or securing it properly. Less clear is the role the securing disk plays, but it seems to me , the pin would remain in place if the securing disk is not installed correctly, in normal circumstances. I.e the drawbar has to be lifted up to separate the cars.
So I would not be so certain this is the fault of Amtrak Maintenance, though it certainly could be.
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Re: Amtrak Acela 2150 "Breaks Apart" on NEC in MD 2/6/2018

Postby BandA » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:01 am

So if they rarely make/split Acelas, I bet they rarely look at the couplers.
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