Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

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Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Bay Head Local » Sun May 21, 2006 5:41 pm

Iv'e heard about it,but I don't really know exactly when, or what happened, can some one please explain.
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Postby MNRR_RTC » Sun May 21, 2006 5:45 pm

66 went on the ground early Saturday morning. Both trks 3 and 1 should be back in service by Mondays A.M. rush.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sun May 21, 2006 6:15 pm

Wrong wreck RTC he means the wreck in 1988 were two MNCR deadheads rear end each other just north of CP212 on track 4
Last edited by DutchRailnut on Sun May 21, 2006 7:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby MNRR_RTC » Sun May 21, 2006 6:17 pm

Hey Dutch, sorry about that. I misread the question. BTW, don't ever call me PA Operator again :wink:
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sun May 21, 2006 6:21 pm

OOps sorry its corrected :-) :-) .

here is Quote from other post:
CapeCod, thanks for the leads. The FRA Safety Office site says 8840 and 8517 met their end at Mt Vernon in April 1988, picture in Trains Jul’88. Is the remarriage of their widows a funeral director’s variation on the shotgun/forced wedding?..Ghoulish. 8427 showed smoke arriving at Bridgeport yard in Jan 1999 but the damage was only listed as $250k. As Railpictures has a 2006 shot with its number in the caption has it maybe been repaired just now and returned to service?
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck

Postby Penn Central » Sun May 21, 2006 7:35 pm

Bay Head Local wrote:Iv'e heard about it,but I don't really know exactly when, or what happened, can some one please explain.


The accident was on the morning of April 6, 1988. At that time, there were cab signals on the New Haven Line, but not on the Harlem Line. Engineers were required to cut in the cab signals when they passed CP 212 (old VERN Interlocking). There were two deadheads heading east in the rock cut on track four. The first train had stopped when the second train hit it from behind. The engineer of the second train, Ray Hunter, was killed.

The FRA alleged that the engineer of the second train passed a stop signal at CP 212 and failed to cut in the cab signal mode switch. Because of the damage to the cab from the collission, this was never confirmed.

The cab signal mode switch has been removed from all Metro-North MU equipment but is still in use on push-pull trains that operate in manual block territory.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon May 22, 2006 10:03 am

From what I understand, this was the worst accident in Metro-North's history.

The pictures in Trains magazine from the time show the horrible remains of two trains telescoped together in the rock cut.

What happens if the cab signal switch was just cut in all the time? Why did it have to be switched on and off?

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Postby Clean Cab » Mon May 22, 2006 10:03 am

Actually, the NTSB came up with a different conclusion. They speculated that the cab signal display unit was showing a "Normal" (clear) just seconds before the crash. They did a forensic study of the actual cab signal board and determined that the last aspect lit was the "Normal" aspect.

It might explain why the engineer was doing between 45 and 60 mph when he rear ended the other train. To accept the FRA findings, the engineer would have had to pass not one, but two stop signals going at an insane speed and completely ingoring calls made to him on the radio to warn him of the first train being stopped ahead of him.

The only one who knows for sure is the dead engineer.
Last edited by Clean Cab on Mon May 22, 2006 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon May 22, 2006 10:07 am

You've jogged my memory. I've heard employees talk about this wreck, and they mentioned that initially, there was an issue with the way the cab signals were transmitted- something that if there was no code transmitted to the rails, it wouldn't affect the cab signal indicator. Now, if there is no code, then the signal aspect reads STOP. I'm sorry, I'm digging up a 15-year-old memory- does any of this make sense, or were the folks I spoke to then just speculating?

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Postby Clean Cab » Mon May 22, 2006 10:10 am

At the time of this accident, the Harlem Line did not yet have cab signals, but the New Haven Line did. As you came off the Harlem Line, an engineer had to put the cab signal switch into "Forward" mode. If you did not, you would be able to go as fast as you like (illegally!!) if there was no code in the rails. But if there was a code and you didn't cut in the cab signal, you'd get a penalty brake application.

As you can imagine, this horrific event put the installation of cab signals on all of MN (excpect Danbury and Waterbury branch lines and the upper Harlem) on a fast track.
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Postby Penn Central » Mon May 22, 2006 12:27 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:From what I understand, this was the worst accident in Metro-North's history.

The pictures in Trains magazine from the time show the horrible remains of two trains telescoped together in the rock cut.

What happens if the cab signal switch was just cut in all the time? Why did it have to be switched on and off?

If the cab signal (with automatic speed control) was left cut in, trains could not exceed restricted speed where there was no cab signal code in the rail. As Capecodloco has indicated, the switch in the cab is called a "mode switch", not a cut-out, because it selects the mode of operation. If the mode switch is in the reverse position for operation in uncoded territory (manual block or CTC with no cabs) it will cause a penalty brake application if a cab signal code is detected.

For a while, this safety feature was stopping trains at CP 1 when the engineer forgot to place the mode switch in normal before departure. A train that came down from Danbury would have the mode switch in reverse from its last point of operation. To fix the problem, the mode switch on Genesis engines is key activated (Bombardier cab control key). When placed in the reverse position, it locks the key in place. The location is just to the right of the brake handles, so it is hard (but not impossible) to forget when you get off the train in Danbury.

Not sure what the mode switch looks like on 800 series Genesis.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon May 22, 2006 8:44 pm

on the Amtrak Genesis its in same place but just a 3 position rotary switch, one position is not used, In and Out
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Postby Bay Head Local » Mon May 22, 2006 10:05 pm

its a good thing that these trains were OOS when this horrible accident took place, from what I hear this accident almost sounds as bad as the LIRR Kew Gardens 1950 wreck(Damage wise)....anyone have pictures?
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Postby checkthedoorlight » Tue May 23, 2006 2:23 am

here are two photos from the aftermath of the crash:

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Postby Clean Cab » Tue May 23, 2006 10:19 am

What a shocking picture!! Thankfully no passengers were on either train. It is indeed sad that an engineer lost his life, but can you imagine the body count if just one of these two trains was carrying passengers? Chilling!!
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