• Los Angeles Metrolink - fatal derailment

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by Ron Newman
LATimes.com this morning has very detailed coverage of the crash, including maps, diagrams, photos, and interviews with survivors.

One of the articles discusses whether push-mode operation made the accident more serious than it would otherwise have been.
  by Cosmo
Regardless of the outcome of this individuals subsequent trial and sentencing, I am relieved to hear that this man was charged with (1 count x # of deaths) homicide. It is a no brainer to most of us here on this site, but the point MUST be made to the public in general that "Crossing safety" involves EVERYONE on the train, not just the driver.
Personaly, I don't think the man's state of mind should be given the least bit of concideration. The case itself should be tried on action + outcome alone.
The CMC on my first sub used to say "locks are to keep the honest man honest." The idea being that you will never prevent the most detirmined criminal from doing wrong, but make the average, otherwise "honest" citizen think twice before doing something foolish.
I hope this makes the proponents of such things as "whistle bans" realize that there is one-hell of a lot more to crossing safety than the life of one driver vs. the peace and quiet of the neiboring resident.
  by kevikens
If a locomotive had hit that vehicle there is a good chance the train would not have derailed ? I wonder if any studies have been done of what happens in a train -vehicle collision where the the locomotive rather than the cab car impacts the object. I would certainly think the train crew would fare better in a locomotive as opposed to the cab car but what of the integrity of the consist behind the leading car. Has any railroad or the FRA studied this ? I seem to remember other accidents where it made all the difference in the world as to the ultimate damage and casulty list as to what vehicle was in the lead. Perhaps it is time to revisit the subject. It may be time to consider putting locomotives at both ends of commuter trains to lessen the harm done to crews and passengers. Any commuter lines do that now ?

  by Cosmo
THAT is a REALLY good point! The New Haven RR reportedly ran thier RS-1's "long hood forward" to give the engine crew more protection from collision.

  by NellsChoo
This will be a tough one in court. Defence will say the man was suicidal and therefore not in his right mind. OK, well, he decided not to kill himself... but left the SUV there?? THAT is what will hopefully get him convicted. By leaving the vehicle on the tracks he intentionally set things up to cause an accident. If he wasn't mentally able to realize what might happen, he still shouldn't get off with no punishment.

Sure, it is too bad the man has mental issues. I'd never dispute that. But it isn't right to cause injury to others in your attempt to take your own life. It's like running across a highway to get killed by a car. That person doesn't care how the driver will feel for the rest of their life.

Also, how come all of a sudden there are so many bad railroad stories in the media? I hope this doesn't start causing negative effects to the industry.


  by TerryC
kevikens. The reason why pull/push operation exist is because of this. Having two locomotives cost more money. I do not known if there is the money or space to put a Y or turntable at the end of the route. If you have a gutted locomotive on one end and a powered locomotive on the other end like AMTRAK does with some of its trains it still costs money.
keep searching keep finding
http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/01/26/train. ... index.html
Last edited by TerryC on Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Ken W2KB
>>>If he wasn't mentally able to realize what might happen, he still shouldn't get off with no punishment. <<<

It's a common misconception that defendants who are found guilty by reason of insanity are not 'punished.' What in fact happens in the vast number of cases is that the person is sometimes not tried (if it is shown that the defendant would not know what is happening at a trial) and in other cases is tried but found not guilty by way of insanity. In either event, the defendant is typically committed to a mental institution indefinitely, rather than a specific sentence if found guilty. Often the person spends the rest of their life in the mental institution, rather than being parolled after a number of years as usually happens with convicted defendants.

  by RailBus63
In defense of push-pull operations, various railroads have operated this way for, what, 50 years, and this is the first time I can recall such a bad derailment caused by striking a motor vehicle at a grade crossing.


  by ANDY117
Now he's facing 11 counts of murder, plus damages from both UP and Metrolink. They still haven't reached parts of the cars that were so badly damaged, they need to be cut up to gain access into the interior.

  by Ron Newman
I'm not familiar with Metrolink and its track layout, but I know that MBTA commuter rail could not function the way it does without push-pull. Trains come into stub-end terminals, unload passengers, load new passengers, and go back out. There's simply no way to turn a train around or run the locomotive around to the opposite end.

  by Ron Newman
Were all of the fatalities on the inbound train, or were some also on the outbound train or the freight?
  by metrarider
kevikens wrote:If a locomotive had hit that vehicle there is a good chance the train would not have derailed ?
The loco vs cab car derailment likelyhood is not really an issue. If something is going to derail a cab car, it will also derail a locomotive, the weight difference being only a small factor, as the object causing the derailment only has to lift one wheel, bearing only a very small fraction of the vehicle weight.

There <b>may</b> be something about the metrolink cab car pilot though that makes it more likely to 'wedge' debris, but I don't know much about the bombarier coaches they use, so can't really say.

Besides, there are plenty of occurances where locos have derailed after hitting a vehicle on the tracks.

Let's not forget Push/Pull has been in use for 50 years or so, and has proven itself to be quite safe

  by Ron Newman
If the lead car had been a locomotive instead of a cab car, it would not have had passengers in it. That could have reduced the death toll.

That said, I don't see this accident alone as a good reason to abolish push-pull operation.

  by ST214
This accident makes me sick.

Read this guy's record. He should have been committed a LONG time ago.

Condolences to all involved. Hopefully the survivors will still be able to get on a train without flashbacks.

  by Ron Newman
from the latest AP article:

"Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said prosecutors filed charges for 10 counts of murder with special circumstances of committing murder through a train derailment, making Alvarez eligible for the death penalty. "