Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

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Tadman
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by Tadman » Thu May 23, 2019 8:12 am

David Benton wrote:Yet in the last 3 or 4 major crashes , the fault has been operator error. People make mistakes , and you can never eliminate that entirely. ...
That was only an operator error because the operator was not trained properly. The man was given a few familiarization runs in the trailing cab after dark. You might as well hire a Walmart greeter and let him/her drive trains with no training.
David Benton wrote:Again , had PTC or some kind of speed enforcement been installed , we wouldn't be discussing this.
The Niles, Michigan, accident begs to differ. That was PTC equipped and the train rain off the main, into a siding, and narrowly missed a string of hoppers. One of these days we're going to see some PTC-related deaths, and I'm ever so curious to see what the solution is going to be then.

But nobody likes to talk about that Niles accident because it shows the emperor's new clothes.
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justalurker66
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by justalurker66 » Thu May 23, 2019 11:58 am

Tadman wrote:PTC is a “I don’t know how to do your job but my binder tells me you are doing it wrong” gesture. It already resulted in one spectacular accident in Niles and we’re so lucky nobody was hurt.
Is it fair to blame PTC for accidents that were caused by someone overriding the system? Signal maintainers have jumpered out crossing protection leading to fatal incidents and no one is calling for all crossing protection to be removed (since it is useless when disabled).

EuroStar
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by EuroStar » Thu May 23, 2019 12:41 pm

I want to see where WASDOT is going to find enough equipment to run the existing schedule without those sets. Most likely they will just reduce the number of trips, so that they could be covered with the rest of the existing equipment.

I also wish them good luck finding any tilting equipment before 2026 and that is assuming that they put out an RFI now. Correct me if I am wrong, but the only other tilting equipment this side of the Atlantic are the Acelas and their successors and those definitely are not making the trip to the northwest.

So whatever they do, it will be a cut in the schedule and increase in the running times. It is what is considered "progress" this side of the Atlantic.

frequentflyer
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by frequentflyer » Thu May 23, 2019 2:53 pm

From a financial standpoint, which is cheaper to run and maintain. An orphan Talgo fleet in the US, or Siemens coaches that will be used in most areas of the country going forward? I am sure Washington State has crunched the numbers too.
And Amtrak can kiss finding a customer for the two Talgo units sitting in Indiana unless they find a foreign buyer. But will it be worth it including logistics? Probably not, I guess they will be meeting the welder's torch soon.

rcthompson04
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by rcthompson04 » Thu May 23, 2019 3:53 pm

The Talgo VIIIs would seem to be the solution to the equipment shortfall as they have been sitting around for awhile.

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by John_Perkowski » Thu May 23, 2019 4:41 pm

rcthompson04 wrote:More on this issue. Are there really any cars out there to lease for such a service?
There’s plenty of Amtrak certified equipment right now...in fact, just quickly cruising the AAPRCO website I found four cars with 268 revenue seats.

Now, is Washington DOT willing to commit to a long term charter, including standards of maintenance, with the owners at their prices?
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David Benton
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by David Benton » Thu May 23, 2019 6:00 pm

Its 2019. The Talgos are faster, more fuel efficient(lighter) , and probably safer than the heavyweights.
I can see Washdots dilemma, They have been told the Talgos are not safe , By a NTSB who doesn't seem interested in Talgo's mods to make them safer. If another crash happens with Talgo equipment , they will cop a lot of flak , whether theTalgos fared worst than conventional equipment would of would not matter.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu May 23, 2019 6:27 pm

Here is, for ready reference, the previously submitted confirmation of my thoughts noted earlier in the topic.

There is an open production line building short distance cars to a proven European, and a "proving" US on Brightline, design, and many fewer layers of bureaucracy to wade through, it's no surprise this is where WSDOT wants to go.

Even though this incident, apparently named du Pont, was the result of Amtrak negligence, the equipment did not make a good showing of itself. That reportedly no work has been done to repair and return to service the set involved at Port Tacoma, and that no movment has been made to place the two Wisconsin sets into service, suggests a lack of confidence in the Talgo equipment.

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by mtuandrew » Thu May 23, 2019 6:28 pm

Washington has a few options, everything from Amtrak’s grab-bag backlot, to VIA trains SEA-VAN (with the FRA’s blessing), to private railcars, to commuter sets. I’d be most inclined to say if Amtrak can’t supply something, commuter equipment from Sounder will start looking very appealing; it’s push-pull capable (private cars probably aren’t), accessible, and self-contained. Pair it with an Amfleet or Horizon cafe-business car if so desired.

Tadman
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by Tadman » Thu May 23, 2019 9:01 pm

justalurker66 wrote:
Tadman wrote:PTC is a “I don’t know how to do your job but my binder tells me you are doing it wrong” gesture. It already resulted in one spectacular accident in Niles and we’re so lucky nobody was hurt.
Is it fair to blame PTC for accidents that were caused by someone overriding the system? Signal maintainers have jumpered out crossing protection leading to fatal incidents and no one is calling for all crossing protection to be removed (since it is useless when disabled).
I firmly believe it is fair blame. PTC was posited as the be-all end-all solution, and it’s just not. Further, the “P” in PTC is for “positive”. This is a term of art that means in the absence of 100% clear and safe conditions (whether an opposing train or a signal glitch), a more restricting operating scenario shall apply until either the opposing train clears up or the error in the system is corrected. In other words, if a maintainer is present, PTC shouldn’t just turn off, it should go into a limp mode downgrading all trains in that section to something like 30mph or perhaps proceed prepared to stop in half the distance to an obstruction.

What really irks me about the whole situation is this: in chatsworth, you had a crew member actively disregarding the regs and directly caused an accident. He knew better. He caused an accident and killed people by sheer arrogance. But if PTC has a glitch and just turns off for maintenance rather than going to most restricting, the engineer has no way of knowing this. He or she thinks they are relying on good information and are doing their best to be safe.

Why did we develop a halfass $15b system to guard against texting and driving, a malicious and arrogant unforced error as bad as drunk driving? Why did we develop this system to guard against poor training regimen, another unforced error as bad as driving blindfolded?
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justalurker66
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by justalurker66 » Thu May 23, 2019 9:28 pm

Tadman wrote:Why did we develop a halfass $15b system to guard against texting and driving, a malicious and arrogant unforced error as bad as drunk driving? Why did we develop this system to guard against poor training regimen, another unforced error as bad as driving blindfolded?
I have been saying it for years. If the industry does not want PTC, stop wrecking trains.

As for blaming PTC when it is off - we can agree to disagree on that. I'm not going to complain that the room is dark when I refuse to turn on the light. I'm not going to complain that the house is cold when I refuse to set the thermostat above 50 degrees for heating. There are times for testing when a system has to be bypassed but still connected. There are procedures for those times.

We live in a world where there are no guarantees.

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by David Benton » Thu May 23, 2019 10:26 pm

You think there's a remote possibility they may have learn't from the Niles incident , and changed the system to go to restrictive if turned off, or been maintained ? I'd agree it would be negligent if they haven't . But don't blame the system for poor human implementation.
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justalurker66
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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by justalurker66 » Thu May 23, 2019 10:54 pm

That would be the procedural part. The signal maintainer should have asked the dispatcher to take the track out of service (which would show up in PTC but not affect the signalling system).

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by MattW » Thu May 23, 2019 10:57 pm

The biggest problem I see with the US crash standards is the weight penalty, the more weight a train has, the more energy is has to deal with. The new alternative standards (Tier 1A is what they're called?) seem to walk this back a bit, but I believe the previous "allowance" for crash energy management systems was an overlay on top of the existing standards. Literally like trying to take an old car and give it crumple zones by sticking bubble wrap on it.

The problem with PTC is it's a sledgehammer for a thumbtack kind of a solution. I admit I don't have hard data to back this up, but if instead of PTC, the railroads implemented a cab signaling system with speed control, like the PRR was running underneath STEAM LOCOMOTIVES, then 90% of accidents, and 99% of fatalities would be prevented, at one fifth the cost. Chatsworth in particular wouldn't have happened, or not happened with nearly the fatality rate had even the basic 4-aspect PRR system been in place. The Metrolink wouldn't have gotten above 30, and been knocked down to 15 when it passed the signal. But I can even envision a modification where in front of the signal, a section of track is receiving no code which would knock the speed down to 15 before the signal itself. Heck, I can even see the system setup where no-code is absolute stop unless an override is enabled AFTER coming to a complete stop, and there's a slow speed code setup a certain distance into the approach block. And none of this would require overly-complex error-prone computers, or big chunks of radio spectrum, or trying to make GPS play nicely in weird environments, or any of the other "teething" issues we're seeing with PTC. For Dupont, do what Amtrak and MNRR did after Frankfort (or did they go straight to ACSES?) and Spuyten Duyvil respectively and add a ghost signal aspect out ahead of the curve. Even just a 45mph code a half mile ahead should provide plenty of safety for the light passenger trains on the Point Defiance Bypass, while still letting the engineer be an engineer and not be stuck following some ridiculous braking curve that assumes the rails turned into teflon after an oil-based rainstorm.

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Re: Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

Post by Tadman » Fri May 24, 2019 10:11 am

justalurker66 wrote:
Tadman wrote:Why did we develop a halfass $15b system to guard against texting and driving, a malicious and arrogant unforced error as bad as drunk driving? Why did we develop this system to guard against poor training regimen, another unforced error as bad as driving blindfolded?
I have been saying it for years. If the industry does not want PTC, stop wrecking trains.

As for blaming PTC when it is off - we can agree to disagree on that. I'm not going to complain that the room is dark when I refuse to turn on the light. I'm not going to complain that the house is cold when I refuse to set the thermostat above 50 degrees for heating. There are times for testing when a system has to be bypassed but still connected. There are procedures for those times.

We live in a world where there are no guarantees.
We can disagree on opinions if PTC is effective, but we can’t disagree in the fact that the system is not positive. That’s a fact. It was sold on being a positive system, and it’s not. It is a well-accepted legal concept under OSHA that if there was an accident, there is evidence of a hazard sufficient enough to write a citation for violation.

As to the “stop wrecking trains” position, it’s easy to say that. But now under PTC you have to worry that every engineer in the US has bad information, when prior to PTC, the worry was that a small percentage of bad apples were flaunting the rules. The probability of accidents statistically went up with PTC, because 100% of engineers now might have bad info without knowing it.
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