#3926 Derailment at NYP

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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby pumpers » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:20 pm

.. paraphrasing: Amtrak head Wick Moorman accepts responsibility for Penn Station derailment...

http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/201 ... river_home
Deteriorated wooden ties. They knew they were bad, but were waiting for the next maintenance cycle. Should be back 100% tomorrow.
JS
Last edited by pumpers on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby pumpers » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:23 pm

pumpers wrote:
.. paraphrasing: Amtrak head Wick Moorman accepts responsibility for Penn Station derailment...

http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/201 ... river_home
Deteriorated wooden ties. They knew they were bad, but were waiting for the next maintenance cycle. Should be back 100% tomorrow.
JS
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby JamesRR » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:31 pm

From Amtrak president Moorman at press conference today:

“We had a derailment on March 24 with an Acela train. That was a result of a mismatch between two pieces of rail and that allowed a wheel to climb one of the rails and derail,” he said, adding that Monday’s derailment was the result of “the gauge of the rails widening because there were weak timbers underneath it.”

In addition from NJ.com:

Moorman said officials were aware of the problem with the wooden ties, but that repair work was scheduled to be done during the regular maintenance cycle.


Very comforting. They knew of the issue but were waiting until the next maintenance cycle. Not surprising the very heavy multi-levels did the track in there.
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby EuroStar » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:58 am

JamesRR wrote:NJ Transit pays anywhere from 3 to 5 million dollars a month for usage rights on the NEC and PSNY, and also paid over $60 million last year to Amtrak for NEC upgrades. And our fares did in fact go up. So it's not a question of 'caring about safety until a ticket price goes up', it's a question of 'where is the money going?'


The money is going where it is indeed supposed to be going. The general public tends to underappreciate how much money is required for maintenance even for a short segment of the NEC such as Trenton-NYP. $60 million from NJT plus say another $60 million from Amtrak does not get you far in terms of maintaining 4 track railroad corridor 60 miles long. It is easy to point to an incident such as this one and ask 'where is the money going'? The answer is that it went to maintenance in other places and prevented many other, likely much worse, incidents and accidents from happening, but unless you work for the railroad and you are indeed involved in that maintenance, you would not even know that there were other things that were deemed more likely to cause accidents and that took priority in fixing first with the limited resources the railroad has.

A few examples -- while a piece of continuous welded rail is cheap by itself, the cost of a piece of CWR installed is quite high. My estimates are that it is more than $500k per mile if installed by a track laying machine and much more if installed by track laying gangs. Amtrak has been replacing ties by the miles on the corridor. While for the most part the tracks are straight, there are a few locations with curves where the wear is so high that the rail gets replaced every few years. The charred paper insulated cable they pulled out last year from the tunnels were original Pennsy. Do you think the new copper cable was cheap? Look up the price of copper and the thickness of that cable. The replacement was likely more than 25 dollars per foot and that is just the material without installation. This is a capital intensive business. And we all know how much capital money Amtrak has been receiving. As the CEO said, stopping the payments to Amtrak will not solve any problems. What he did not say is that it will make similar derailments or catenary issues more likely because without money Amtrak will have no choice but to delay some maintenance somewhere even further than it has been delayed so far.

Most of the $3-5 million per month is for electricity. Yes, some of it is probably for 'wear and tear', but the majority is for power -- pulling a train requires a lot of it.

JamesRR wrote:They knew of the issue but were waiting until the next maintenance cycle.

What Amtrak screwed up was the prioritization of the replacement of the ties, but realize that evaluating the condition of ties is inherently subjective and depends on experience. Whoever evaluated it likely thought it was less serious than it proved to be. And yes, unless a repair is designated as urgent it is usually assigned to be completed within the regular maintenance cycle. If they took care of every identified deficiency immediately there would be no day when they would be able to run regular schedule. There is a repair to be made somewhere at all times.

Disclaimer: I do not work in railroad procurement, so my estimates are based on generally available data (such as http://www.acwr.com/economic-developmen ... ding-costs) and I have tried to use reasonable lower bounds.
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby JamesRR » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:36 am

JamesRR wrote:They knew of the issue but were waiting until the next maintenance cycle.

What Amtrak screwed up was the prioritization of the replacement of the ties, but realize that evaluating the condition of ties is inherently subjective and depends on experience. Whoever evaluated it likely thought it was less serious than it proved to be. And yes, unless a repair is designated as urgent it is usually assigned to be completed within the regular maintenance cycle. If they took care of every identified deficiency immediately there would be no day when they would be able to run regular schedule. There is a repair to be made somewhere at all times.


Disclaimer: I do not work in railroad procurement, so my estimates are based on generally available data (such as http://www.acwr.com/economic-developmen ... ding-costs) and I have tried to use reasonable lower bounds.

Any way you slice it, there was a screw up here. A defect was not caught properly and resulted in a pretty significant derailment. My earlier response was to someone who said people don't like fare hikes but insist on safety. I responded that riders have endured fare hikes, NJT pays a hefty sum to use the infrastructure, and Amtrak is failing to keep it up.


It's a larger issue that can be debated endlessly (e.g. cutting Amtrak's funds, politicians unable to appropriate money, etc)
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby philipmartin » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:59 pm

Wide gauge!
Last edited by philipmartin on Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby Tadman » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:00 pm

If I'm inbound to NYP today, should I be ok or should I jump to MN at Croton?
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby SecaucusJunction » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:05 pm

You should make it. PATH and New York Waterway are also still cross honoring.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:12 pm

Tadman wrote:If I'm inbound to NYP today, should I be ok or should I jump to MN at Croton?


You're coming in at the other end via the East River Tunnels. You should be fine.
I ride the (MTA Maryland) Penn Line (between Odenton and Baltimore). I used to work for MTA Maryland's IT department, and out of professional courtesy my responses may be limited. Wikimapia is wonderful (for track/interlocking locations)!
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Re: #3926 Derailment at NYP

Postby pumpers » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:28 am

STrRedWolf wrote:
Tadman wrote:If I'm inbound to NYP today, should I be ok or should I jump to MN at Croton?


You're coming in at the other end via the East River Tunnels. You should be fine.

I think he meant the Hudson River Amtrak line, from Albany, which enters Penn station from the west.
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