Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

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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justalurker66
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by justalurker66 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:04 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:The sensor referred to is in the southwest corner of the intersection. Wouldn't that control eastbound traffic on Commerce Street?
Preemption #1 (per other documents filed) was an "ALL RED". The diagram (in both your and Dutch's links) shows that it DETECTS cars turning off of the parkway and on to Commerce Street toward the tracks. I have seen similar loops used to preempt green lights when traffic is backed up (for example, not allowing Commerce Street traffic to cross the parkway when there is no room for a vehicle between the parkway and the tracks).

In this case, a vehicle on the detector for 5 seconds would trigger "ALL RED" for a maximum of 45 seconds, then the normal cycle would return.

The normal cycle was at least 40 seconds of green on the parkway, staying green until a vehicle approached from Commerce St. Once a vehicle was detected the Commerce St signal would turn green for 6 to 25 seconds to allow traffic to enter or cross the parkway (minimum 6 seconds until no vehicle was detected - maximum 25 seconds if vehicles were still detected).

"Preemption #2 is activated by the railroad (See Figure 5) and provides green time for vehicles traveling eastbound on Commerce Street to clear the queue (cars). If the train preemption is activated the traffic signal will terminate the active green phase, run the corresponding yellow and red clearances, and turn green for vehicles traveling eastbound on Commerce Street only. This phase will remain green for a minimum of 2 seconds and a maximum of 10 seconds. Once the maximum of 10 seconds is reached the traffic signal will run the yellow and red clearance times and turn green on the Taconic State Parkway and cycle normally."

The timing was changed to 29 seconds of green then 4 seconds of yellow (enough for a semi on the wrong side of the tracks to clear the tracks and the area between the tracks and the parkway). 2-10 seconds was way too short. Enough to clear ONE car of of the track if everyone between the tracks and the parkway moved forward immediately - but not enough time if anyone had a slow reaction to the green. They also changed the priority of the railroad preemption but did not say what had higher priority in the past.

A good preemption will follow #2 above except with enough time for the drivers to react and the traffic to clear. If I were designing this intersection I'd probably hold Commerce Street approaching the tracks at red (do not cross the parkway) until the train passed, which would "solve" the problem of cars crossing the intersection without anywhere to go. (But obviously the railroad should always be #1 in priority ... in this case granting a green light to traffic exiting Commerce St toward the parkway when a train was present regardless of the presence of backed up traffic headed toward the tracks.)

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Tommy Meehan » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:36 am

Thanks that seems like a pretty good analysis.

Btw, I noticed that this Metro-North forum, which used to be very lively, has gone one week between posts. Hard to believe.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Ridgefielder » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:52 pm

Could it be there's simply not as much going on? No new equipment coming on property, no new service yet...

RearOfSignal
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by RearOfSignal » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:15 pm

Friend of mine says the Facebook railfan pages are pretty happening right now. I don't have Facebook, so I wouldn't know.
Hurry up and wait at the signal!

shlustig
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by shlustig » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:46 am

NTSB REPORT IS ON THE NTSB WEBSITE.

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scottychaos
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by scottychaos » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:40 am

RearOfSignal wrote:Friend of mine says the Facebook railfan pages are pretty happening right now. I don't have Facebook, so I wouldn't know.
I would estimate that Facebook groups have taken over 95% of railfan discussion.
the old "traditional" forums are really dying off. Not saying that's good or bad, "it just is"..

Here is a look at discussions for one just one railroad, Lehigh Valley:

Railroad.net LV forum: 5 threads with new posts, for the entire year of 2017 so far. No new posts at all since March.
Railfan.net LV forum: 10 active threads in all of 2017 so far.No new posts since August 5.

Those two forums used to contain *all* LV discussion..before Facebook.

One LV Facebook group: 17 active threads in the past week.

44 active thread for the month of August alone..
At that point, I stopped counting..
If we average 40 posts a month, thats 480 new threads a year in one Facebook group..compared to 5 to 10 threads per year on the "old" forums.

It's happening model railroad groups too..
Im a member of many G-scale groups, the two main "traditional" forums have really slowed down the last few years.
while G-scale facebook discussion is off the charts..

yep..it's the new state of things.

Scot
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Jeff Smith
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:55 am

I have some informed hunches and that's all I'll say other than it's unfortunate and I bear some of the blame. It is what it is.

Some of the thoughts posted earlier are relevant; just not much going on in MNRR right now. The FB group is very active, but a lot of it really wouldn't fit on here. We've still got plenty of activity overall, but this is in a lull right now.

I appreciate the input; let's get back to MNRR and Valhalla, though.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Jeff Smith » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:16 pm

Not sure if this article was posted, but it concerns crossing closings: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2017/07 ... 517836001/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Jeff Smith » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:44 pm

More on crossing closings: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/02/02/ ... -crossing/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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DutchRailnut
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by DutchRailnut » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:06 pm

So they make few people happy, and then the natives start complaining about the inconvenience.
There is no room at those crossings to put viaducts unless its without ramps to parkway.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Head-end View » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:08 pm

Instead of closing the crossings which would result in great public inconvenience as Dutch said, a better approach would be to make whatever engineering improvements could be made like widening the road and the crossing. Or maybe more signage, installation of bells (if not already done) or more flashing lights. Whatever would improve the situation. But closing through streets is not a good solution.

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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Backshophoss » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:17 pm

There's too much of a chance for history to repeat at those crossings,it's past time for them to be closed and blocked off!
The locals will B**** and Whine over the closings but will get use to the changes over time and cope.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Jeff Smith » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:55 am

Lawsuit update: PoughkeepsieJournal.com: Did Metro-North 'buy the silence' of engineer in deadly Valhalla crash? Attorneys think so

The lawyers keep getting richer:
Metro-North quietly settled a legal claim made by the engineer who was operating the train that slammed into a car at a Valhalla grade crossing in 2015, killing six in the deadliest accident in Metro-North’s history, The Poughkeepsie Journal/Journal News has learned.

But Metro-North refuses to reveal details of the settlement with its former engineer, Steven Smalls, setting up a legal challenge that has attorneys for injured passengers and the families of those who died accusing the railroad of trying to sway Smalls’ testimony in pending litigation.

“Metro-North settled with him to buy his silence,” said Steven Dorfman, an attorney who represents the estate of Walter Liedtke, 69, a curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
...
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by Head-end View » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:08 pm

Why is Mr. Smalls a former engineer? Did he retire or was he seriously injured or something else?

And why would the Railroad need to "buy his silence"? From all indications, the accident wasn't the Railroad's fault.

DutchRailnut
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Re: Major grade-crossing accident in Valhalla 2/3/15

Post by DutchRailnut » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:29 pm

Mr Smalls has PTSD and is no longer capable of running a train or be on one , so that would kind of hinder getting to work.

Mr.Smalls has had to give so many depositions, Police, FRA, NTSB , Company there is nothing to be silenced about.
no fault was found in any of his actions, in fact after crash his military training took over, and he went far beyond call of duty, helping to get people out .

it seems the shysters are just on phishing expedition as settlement is not public information.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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