Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

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Postby Otto Vondrak » Tue May 23, 2006 12:01 pm

When I was a little kid, I would overhear crews talking about the incident in low voices, especially since an engineer lost his life. It affected a lot of people even though the trains were empty.
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Postby F23A4 » Tue May 23, 2006 12:33 pm

Very disturbing photos. :( For some reason, I do not recall the incident (though I recall the Chase, Md wreck vividly.) .
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Wreck scene photos

Postby Head-end View » Wed May 31, 2006 9:05 pm

Those photos don't even do justice to the accident scene. The first car of the rear train (in which the engineer was killed) ended up with its head-end up in the air at about a 35 degree angle in the wires. It was quite a scene.............Hard to believe it's been 18 years.
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Re: Mount Vernon head-on collision - 1988

Postby derailroaded » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:04 pm

I was on the scene that morning. Me and my partner were on Rush hour standby in Pike Tower when the collision occurred and arrived at the site less than a half hour later.As someone else described, the 8840 had literally mounted the 8517. The Collision Posts on the 8517 were bent back about 30 degrees and what was left of the cab of the 8840 was through the overhead wire almost at street level. A small trickle of Ray Hunters blood ran out of the airborne wreck. The residents of the block of apartments, still in their bathrobes were peering over fence into the cut. One of them said the buildings shook at the impact. It was the only time I ever saw the grizzled old wreckmaster Ed Whitney speechless. Thank goodness that as soon as Whitney's full crew arrived we were sent to do crowd control up the line where they were dumping thousands of commuters, who were now NOT getting into NYC. To top off the morning we had a pantograph rip-off in mamaroneck, so we spent the rest of the day there, off loading passengers across bridge plates to a rescue train, and then hacksawing the remains of the pantographs off. NOT a fun day.

One of the cars was cut up and dumpsterized on site, the other went to Stamford yard where we scavenged it for parts, that was then dumpsterized as well. The Cab Signal locker of Rays car was impounded and sent to New Haven. The remaining damaged cars 8516 and 8841 went through repair and rebuild at the Heavy Repair facility in Stamford, and were married.

Those are the basic facts as I remember them , but its what happened AFTER the accident that taught me the meaning of the phrase "Being Railroaded"

But you'll have to wait for my book for that story
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Jeff Smith » Sun Nov 27, 2011 2:00 pm

I'll look forward to that book. This also recalls the incident in the 70's, pre-MNRR, where a train was rear-ended at Mt. Vernon station.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Clean Cab » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:36 pm

I was there terrible day and it was and incredible sight to behold. The image of M2 #8840 sticking up in the air and the rear half of M2 #8517 totally destroyed was something I'll never forget. Since the FRA and the NTSB reached different conclusions, it will never be known exactly what happened.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:47 am

I remember one of the destroyed coaches sitting there for some time off to the side, near the Nereid Av overpass and alongside bullard avenue. Used to go to the Reserve Center in the old Farrand Optical building.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby CNJGeep » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:38 am

Isn't this the same area where a Conductor was killed by a tree coming it through the railfan window? This, I guess, would have been around the same time frame
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Clean Cab » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:45 am

No. That unfortunate conductor was crushed by a tree during Hurricane Bob (August 19. 1991) on the Harlem Line I think near Scarsdale.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Travelsonic » Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:27 pm

I feel really weird asking, but are there any photos available other than the one already posted, of the M2s that were involved? [If I had the time/cash, I'd hunt dow that 1988 issue of Trains]

It goes without saying that it is a good thing lessons were learned, and improvements were made following the crash to prevent something like this from happening again.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:43 pm

I'd check the archives of The New York Times; this was front-page news as you can imagine.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby MN-P32AC-DM-201-227 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:04 am

I found this article in the NY Times about the Engineer Mr. Hunter.



NY Times Engineer Cited in Metro-North Crash
By JAMES FERON
Published: April 14, 1988
"Railroad officials said yesterday that a commuter train crash in Mount Vernon, N.Y., last week was probably caused by the failure of an engineer to engage an automatic safety system or to heed outside signals telling him either to slow or stop.

The engineeer, 42-year-old Raymond C. Hunter, was killed when his train plowed into one that had stopped ahead of his. Both Metro-North Commuter Railroad trains had left Grand Central Terminal without passengers to pick up morning rush-hour riders on the New Haven line.

Metro-North's president, Peter E. Stangl, said that an investigation by the railroad and the Federal Railroad Administration had found that ''the equipment on both trains, as well as the track circuits, signals, cab signal current and more - all were working as intended.'' #2 Previous Violations Cited He said Mr. Hunter, of Stamford, Conn., had been involved in two previous moving violations. In 1985, while operating a work train in Devon, Conn., he went through a signal, and in 1986, in the Mount Vernon area, he failed to heed a stop sign held by a flagman to protect track workers, Mr. Stangl said."
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby MN-P32AC-DM-201-227 » Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:23 am

Here's some other Articles in the New York Times about the tragic accident



Metro-North Engineer Dies In Crash of 2 Empty Trains
By JAMES FERON, Special to the New York Times
Published: April 07, 1988

"An empty commuter train traveling north to pick up passengers smashed into a train stopped between stations here this morning, killing an engineer and shutting down train service from Connecticut and eastern Westchester County at the height of the rush hour.

The standing train, which also did not have passengers, was stopped on a curve because of an electrical problem when the second train, apparently traveling at or near full speed, rammed it at 7:59 A.M. The impact of the crash shook houses and sent flames and smoke into the air.

Officials of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad did not have an explanation for the crash tonight. Spokesmen said the railroad command center knew that the first train was stopped between stations, but they could not say whether the crew of the second train knew. All Switches in Working Order

The railroad spokesmen said that all switches and signal systems had been in working order and that if the control tower at the Woodlawn station, a half mile south of the crash, had signaled the second train to stop, an automatic system in the train's cab should have brought it to a halt even if its engineer disregarded the signals."





Failure in Communication Is Blamed for Rail Crash
By Kirk Johnson
Published: July 21, 1988

"The crash of two Metro-North Commuter Railroad trains that killed an engineer and injured five other workers in April was caused by failures of observation and communication between train and tower crews, a state investigative agency said yesterday. Five members of the crews later tested positive for drugs.

The agency, the Public Transportation Safety Board, said in its final report on the incident in Mount Vernon, N.Y., that the engineer who was killed, Raymond C. Hunter, was never notified that a train ahead of his had been stopped. The agency said Mr. Hunter's attention was diverted from track signals by instructions to observe the overhead electrical connector, or catenary wire, while he operated the train.

Mr. Hunter died instantly when his northbound train, moving at about 60 miles an hour, slammed into the rear of a train stopped near the Mount Vernon station just before 8 A.M. on April 6. Neither of the two trains was carrying any passengers at the time, but the accident disrupted commuter traffic for days while the damage was repaired.Mr. Hunter, who was 42 years old, was found to have traces of marijuana in his system. Four other employees, including all three tower operators and a dispatcher, had measurable levels of marijuana, amphetamines or barbiturates in their blood or urine. They were dismissed by the railroad, although an earlier investigation by Metro-North concluded that they were not directly implicated in the crash. Random Testing

Metro-North's president, Peter E. Stangl, said he agreed with the safety board's conclusions about the causes and also supported the board's call for random drug testing of employees involved in train operations.

He said other recommendations in the report - particularly changes in signaling equipment and procedures, such as an audible or ''active'' device in the train operator's cab that would notify an engineer of track signal changes - would need further study.

The Federal Railroad Administration, which already requires drug testing for rail workers involved in accidents, is considering a mandatory nationwide program of random testing for all railroad employees involved in operations affecting public safety. The Federal agency is expected to issue its conclusions this fall."
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby pbass » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:29 pm

i saved the article from the april 7,1988 ny daily news,they had the best photos of the wreckage.the cover photo showed some of the wreckage all tangled in the wires along with the rest of the scene of disaster.i knew ray hunter and the towermen that were dismissed.don't feel they should have been fired it was not their fault,but Metro North wanted to set an example of no drug use at any time.
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Re: Mount Vernon Wreck 4.6.88

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:52 pm

Today being the anniversary of the wreck, there is some discussion in the FB group, and this article was shared by Dutch:

I was not yet a regular commuter into Manhattan at this time, but IIRC the first train did not quite make the switchover to pantograph from third-rail, and stalled, just above the former Farrand Optical building on Nereid Avenue. The article seems to confirm that. One of the reasons the switch was moved to just south of Pelham.

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/07/nyreg ... rains.html

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y., April 6— An empty commuter train traveling north to pick up passengers smashed into a train stopped between stations here this morning, killing an engineer and shutting down train service from Connecticut and eastern Westchester County at the height of the rush hour.

The standing train, which also did not have passengers, was stopped on a curve because of an electrical problem when the second train, apparently traveling at or near full speed, rammed it at 7:59 A.M. The impact of the crash shook houses and sent flames and smoke into the air.

Officials of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad did not have an explanation for the crash tonight. Spokesmen said the railroad command center knew that the first train was stopped between stations, but they could not say whether the crew of the second train knew. All Switches in Working Order

The railroad spokesmen said that all switches and signal systems had been in working order and that if the control tower at the Woodlawn station, a half mile south of the crash, had signaled the second train to stop, an automatic system in the train's cab should have brought it to a halt even if its engineer disregarded the signals.
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