21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spring

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: Robert Paniagua, therock

21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spring

Postby davinp » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:30 am

More than 20 years ago, a Chicago bound Amtrak train collided with a MARC commuter in Silver Spring, leaving 11 passengers dead.

http://wtop.com/media-galleries/2017/02 ... h/slide/1/
davinp
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Woodbridge, VA

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby mmi16 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:35 pm

davinp wrote:More than 20 years ago, a Chicago bound Amtrak train collided with a MARC commuter in Silver Spring, leaving 11 passengers dead.

http://wtop.com/media-galleries/2017/02 ... h/slide/1/


The MARC train ran the STOP signal on #2 track at Georgetown Jct and ran into the trailing part of the locomotive consist on the Capitol Limited that was crossing over from #2 track to #1 track through the Georgetown Jct control point - the resulting fire killed three crew and 8 passengers on the MARC train.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!
User avatar
mmi16
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby MCL1981 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:21 pm

Well it's not that they "ran the signal". When departing Kensington station, the engineer of the MARC train forgot he was under an approach signal and just went full track speed. Upon seeing the red signal at Georgetown Junction, and seeing the Amtrak train in the crossover, the MARC engineer did try to stop but it was too late. The train passed the red signal while braking and collided.
MCL1981
 
Posts: 577
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:23 am

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby Head-end View » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:29 pm

I believe this is the incident that led to the Delayed-In-Block rule, (DIB) to avoid a recurrence of this scenario. Strange that in so many years of railroading, this issue had apparently not come up before this incident.
Head-end View
 
Posts: 2335
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: The second row on a SEPTA Silverliner V

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:49 am

Indeed it is. It's also why the engineer is required to call every signal they pass on the radio, and the conductor is required to acknowledge and repeat it. They're also required to radio every station departure, and state DIB if the next signal isn't already in view.
MCL1981
 
Posts: 577
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:23 am

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:45 pm

Head-end View wrote:I believe this is the incident that led to the Delayed-In-Block rule, (DIB) to avoid a recurrence of this scenario. Strange that in so many years of railroading, this issue had apparently not come up before this incident.

Some railroads had a provision in effect for years requiring that whenever a train (any train) is delayed in a block it is required to approach the next signal prepared to stop. (Not always observed--I recall a sideswipe that occurred when a freight train, approaching a trailing junction under an Approach Medium, stopped to examine the train and then resumed speed, expecting Medium Clear at the next signal. Unfortunately the dispatcher had taken the signal away and lined the route for a train on the other line--precisely the situation for which the rule was in place--and the oblique collision at the junction resulted.) Of course under that rule a scheduled station stop at Kensington would not have been counted as a delay. Also, Georgetown Jct. didn't happen because of no DIB rule--it seems everybody on the head end simply forgot they had an Approach on the distant.
ExCon90
 
Posts: 3465
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby mmi16 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:03 pm

ExCon90 wrote:
Head-end View wrote:I believe this is the incident that led to the Delayed-In-Block rule, (DIB) to avoid a recurrence of this scenario. Strange that in so many years of railroading, this issue had apparently not come up before this incident.

Some railroads had a provision in effect for years requiring that whenever a train (any train) is delayed in a block it is required to approach the next signal prepared to stop. (Not always observed--I recall a sideswipe that occurred when a freight train, approaching a trailing junction under an Approach Medium, stopped to examine the train and then resumed speed, expecting Medium Clear at the next signal. Unfortunately the dispatcher had taken the signal away and lined the route for a train on the other line--precisely the situation for which the rule was in place--and the oblique collision at the junction resulted.) Of course under that rule a scheduled station stop at Kensington would not have been counted as a delay. Also, Georgetown Jct. didn't happen because of no DIB rule--it seems everybody on the head end simply forgot they had an Approach on the distant.


If my memory serves, and it may not, sometime not too long before this incident CSX respaced intermediate signals along the Metropolitan Sub and moved an intermediate that had been after the Kensington station to being before the Kensington station. Still doesn't excuse the MARC crew for their failure to operate in accordance with the Approach indication, but it most likely was a contributing cause.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!
User avatar
mmi16
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby Head-end View » Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:29 pm

mmi16, I believe you are correct about the signal having been relocated. I do recall reading about that having been a contributing factor years ago.
Head-end View
 
Posts: 2335
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: The second row on a SEPTA Silverliner V

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby SemperFidelis » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:36 am

The Amtrak train crew mentioned the removal of the signal between Kensington and Georgetown Junction in thier lawsuit against the companies involved.
SemperFidelis
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:49 pm
Location: Stupid Voterland

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:50 pm

I remember wondering at the time what possessed them to have a distant signal 3 miles (?) back of the home signal, even if they were only thinking about freight service; anything on the home signal less favorable than Clear would reduce a train's speed for that entire distance, using up track capacity to no purpose. (There were other dumb decisions that CSX made around that time.) Although as noted above that was no excuse for forgetting the Approach indication. Apparently there were at least 2 people in the cab at the time--would an additional person have made it safer?
ExCon90
 
Posts: 3465
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby Head-end View » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:33 pm

That kind of long signal spacing is an issue on SEPTA's West Trenton Branch too. In some areas commuter trains have to slow a couple of miles in advance of home signals because of the blocks being spaced for freight trains.
Head-end View
 
Posts: 2335
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:00 pm
Location: The second row on a SEPTA Silverliner V

Re: 21 years ago was the deadly MARC collision in Silver Spr

Postby mmi16 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:59 pm

21 years ago CSX was running 9000 foot trains - 9000 foot trains need the 3 mile signal spacing for stopping distance. 9000 foot freight trains don't "handle" with the same degree of nimbleness that passenger trains do.

Today's CSX freights are 14000 feet in length. In the future freight trains will only get longer and heavier - as they have ever since the 1st barrel of flour was moved from Ellicott's Mills to Baltimore back in the 1820's.

CSX is the OWNER of the Metropolitan Subdivision and will do what is necessary to benefit it's own operation of that trackage, as the owner should.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!
User avatar
mmi16
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: USA


Return to DC - Maryland - Virginia Area Passenger Rail: MTA(MARC), VRE, WMATA(Metro)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests