CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:22 am

Tad: would your friend have reason to know if it was Amtrak or if it was a sub? Amtrak still holds ultimate responsibility for the snafu, but could try to claw back some damages through the subcontractor’s insurance.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:07 am

Tadman wrote:I spoke to a local person in Chicago that has very good reason to know, and they confirmed the ladder story. That person also said the folks doing an upgrade mid-week were idiots for doing so.


mtuandrew wrote:Tad: would your friend have reason to know if it was Amtrak or if it was a sub? Amtrak still holds ultimate responsibility for the snafu, but could try to claw back some damages through the subcontractor’s insurance.


Certainly, the subcontractor presented a Certificate to Amtrak; care to bet that insurance was in force? Even if it was, consider it "blown".
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:17 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Certainly, the subcontractor presented a Certificate to Amtrak; care to bet that insurance was in force? Even if it was, consider it "blown".

If any sort of reputable contractor, and I don’t see why Amtrak would hire another, it certainly better have current proof of insurance! Amtrak’s claim might eat the entire (let’s assume) $1m liability, but the money should be there. (And Amtrak would in turn be on the hook for Metra.)
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby Tadman » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:39 pm

I didn’t get that far as to ascertain if it was a contractor or in-house person. We met to discuss other items not pertaining to the signal snafu.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby ryanov » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:44 am

This is my field too, and from experience working for public entities, no one wants to pay what it costs to do this stuff off hours, or to hire multiple shifts, or whatever.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:59 am

ryanov wrote:This is my field too, and from experience working for public entities, no one wants to pay what it costs to do this stuff off hours, or to hire multiple shifts, or whatever.


Odd...

I've had a few late night / weekenders over the years. Most fun was the one where the IT contractor was redoing the server rack at a sewer plant's admin building. Saturday project. I get called out to take down and bring up the SCADA server, which was in the rack they were moving and mucking with. They were under the impression I'd be there all day. They kinda felt silly when I showed up at 8am to hit 'shutdown' on the box, left, then came back at 4pm to turn it on, and leave again. I think I was there 10 minutes tops? Didn't even bill the customer for it.

It flew over everyone's head when I told them you could take a sledgehammer to the server and the plant would still take care of itself. Oh yeah, we'd lose process data while it's down, but that's not the end of the world.

I'm at a loss as to how the loss of a single server somewhere could take down a major transportation hub. That just screams bad system design - you mean to tell me there's no redundant machine, or if there is, it's not off site like it should be? I've done stupid two well / stripper tower / system pump treatment plants that are more robust than that.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby Tadman » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:11 pm

Nasadowsk wrote:
I'm at a loss as to how the loss of a single server somewhere could take down a major transportation hub. That just screams bad system design - you mean to tell me there's no redundant machine, or if there is, it's not off site like it should be?


Or why is the north concourse and south concourse on the same signal system when they are essentially two totally different stations? There are no run-through services offered at all. This kind of system was just waiting for such a problem to happen.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:12 pm

Tadman wrote:Or why is the north concourse and south concourse on the same signal system when they are essentially two totally different stations? There are no run-through services offered at all. This kind of system was just waiting for such a problem to happen.


Even if there were run through, fiber optics exist. Inter-PLC communications is a 70's technology (Ok, Modbus was from '79, still...). Granted, I'm not sure the industry is up to 70's levels yet, despite Siemens' efforts to sell Step 7 based signalling...
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby eolesen » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:23 pm

The story gets less believable.

"He tripped off the last step of the ladder, falling toward the equipment rack with a live wire in his hand," Chief Operating Officer Bruce Marcheschi said. "The live wire touched the metal rack of the equipment and shorted out the server system that controls the entire signal system."


What licensed electrician is on a ladder handling live wires?.....
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby troffey » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:25 pm

Illinois licenses trades at the local, rather than state, level. As far as I can tell, Chicago does not require each electrician working for a company to be licensed. However, licensed electricians handle live wire on ladders every day.

While it is ill-advised to require or allow live electrical work to be done during this upgrade, it isn't exactly unprecedented. It's often stipulated to keep separate equipment functioning, and we don't know what else may have been powered by the circuit that was on. If it came down to do the work live or not complete the project, its often a case of do what you have to do to get the job done. This obviously was a preventable situation, but the guy who actually had the live wire in his hand might not be the one who really deserves the blame.
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Re: CUS Amtrak/METRA Service Disruption February 28

Postby eolesen » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:06 am

All the more reason it should have been done on Saturday night.
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