NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Post by Tommy Meehan » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:44 am

BobLI wrote:If the rail joint is broken wouldn't that trigger the signal system to a stop indication?
Railroader wrote:In theory yes, but in this case the joint like all joints was bonded around for traction return. So even though the joint broke the bond wires kept the circuit intack.
I saw on another list a discussion of this by two gentlemen who are both track engineers. They're thinking that the problem at Fairfield was with the way the two sections of rail were joined together. The way they were joined together would create a lot of stress and could potentially be an area that might very well fail under traffic. One of them also thinks that the way the rails were joined was faulty but no one -- not even the NTSB -- has seemed to pick up on that yet. That the failed joint had an "OUT LEFT" bar and a "GAGE RIGHT" bar and that is an incorrect application.

Freddy
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Re: NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Post by Freddy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:30 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:
BobLI wrote:If the rail joint is broken wouldn't that trigger the signal system to a stop indication?
Railroader wrote:In theory yes, but in this case the joint like all joints was bonded around for traction return. So even though the joint broke the bond wires kept the circuit intack.
I saw on another list a discussion of this by two gentlemen who are both track engineers. They're thinking that the problem at Fairfield was with the way the two sections of rail were joined together. The way they were joined together would create a lot of stress and could potentially be an area that might very well fail under traffic. One of them also thinks that the way the rails were joined was faulty but no one -- not even the NTSB -- has seemed to pick up on that yet. That the failed joint had an "OUT LEFT" bar and a "GAGE RIGHT" bar and that is an incorrect application.
What I'll bet happened was that they had a set of compromise bars on there but they weren't a matched pair. On the CSX you had different rail hole punching where you'd put joint bars.
If you were joining 132RA to 115RA you had to have a set of comp joints that were for RA punched rail and the same for RE punch. Sometimes you'd swear you had the right set of bars
but the hole punching would be off by a hair and you wouldn't be able to get your bolts through unless you beat on them and get them to bend. I met guys that were close to retirement
and still didn't know that comp joints, while they looked the same, wouldn't fit because the punching was off.

DutchRailnut
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Re: NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Post by DutchRailnut » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:06 am

It was not spotted by crews, just by camera.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Post by Tommy Meehan » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:24 am

Obviously if any of the engineers (or even other crew members) had seen a break in the rail they would've instantly reported it. The problem is the engineers only had a couple seconds to spot it. I think the Amtrak trains were moving 70 mph through there (like 1548 was). They only had an instant to spot it and then only if they just happened to be looking at the north rail. The engineer on 1548 said he did spot "something unusual" that caught his attention, something "that might have been a broken rail, and by the time I saw it, I was on top of it. It was definitely too late to stop or anything, and then the next thing that I know, the cars behind me were on the ground." That's on page 5 of the interview with him.

I'm certain if 1548 had made it safely across the engineer would've been on the radio alerting the RTC. Except 1548 didn't make it across. :(

pumpers
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Re: NTSB hearing to commence 11/6

Post by pumpers » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:04 pm

BenH wrote: .... Of particular interest are the interviews (on page 3 & 4 of the docket index) of the operating crew member members from each train:
http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitli ... XTSEARCHT=
I'm not a railroader, but I read about half a dozen of the interview transcripts, and found them fascinating, especially the ones with different levels of management. From my naive point of view, they are skilled at their jobs, work hard, and are to be trying to do a good job on safety, maintenance, etc, but are stretched amazingly thin in all kinds of ways and up against all kinds of obstacles - money, track time, staff size, loss of expertise and old time professionals (read the comments about welders in Exhibit C17 top of p. 48 (Ass't Director of Track) on the page linked above), cultures, etc. C18 (Chief Safety Officer) is another good one. I'm sure the insiders have their opinions, but to me it shows how hard it is to run a railroad in general, and especially these days. JS

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