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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by NH2060
New information released by the NTSB Friday (with fair use quote):

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Tests show an engineer broke the speed limit multiple times in the week before a deadly Metro-North derailment in the Bronx, a federal agency says.

The National Transportation Safety Board released charts indicating that engineer William Rockefeller sped on four of the six runs tested, including going 24 miles per hour over the speed limit at one point.

http://7online.com/news/ntsb-engineer-s ... sh/337313/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by BenH
"The NTSB will hold a press conference [at 11 a.m. Tue. 10/28/2014 in Grand Central] to announce the probable causes of five accident investigations involving Metro North Railroad. Individual accident briefs detailing the specifics of each accident will also be released."

Here are the details:
  by Dick H
Scathing report on Metro-North accidents released at press conference.

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A federal safety agency reported Tuesday that operational blunders and lax policies at Metro-North were at least partly to blame for the series of crashes that killed two workers and four passengers — and injured 126 riders — last year and this spring.

The National Transportation Safety Board found other causes in each of the five accidents as well, but the theme of its investigative report is that much of the fault lies with the railroad and the management that was in place then.

It also put responsibility of the Federal Railroad Administration for failing to hold railroads to tougher standards that could've headed off some of the factors leading to the crashes. In several cases, relatively inexpensive preventive measures might have identified some of the risks, but the railroad didn't take them — and the FRA didn't require them.
There are at least a dozen other news reports. Google News - run Metro North report.

Mod Note: added fair use quote per site policy.
  by Jeff Smith

We haven't discussed this much lately. We know there have been lots of settlements, and one trial with a pre-verdict settlement by a conductor. This article examines the background leading up to the crash, the safety measures and/or lack thereof leading to the crash, and the fallout and changes. Some of it is fairly damning. The end of the article engages in a bit of conspiracy theory; I'm not sure about that.

I think what shocks me most, and I'm not sure if it's been mentioned here before, is that some of the older equipment, like the cab cars on the bomb trains, didn't have an alerter system.

And I believe Bottalico has left the union post.

Bronx crash: Union head says Metro-North knew dangers
Anthony Bottalico, the general chairman of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, says the railroad failed to address his union’s concern that the approach to the Spuyten Duyvil curve and others needed a system that automatically puts the brakes on a speeding train when an engineer is unresponsive.

“That had been raised for many, many years,” Bottalico told The Journal News. “Most accidents are human error.”
In a statement, MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg did not directly address Bottalico's claim but acknowledged that the commuter rail took a different view of its backup safety systems after the crash.

"Until the Spuyten Duyvil derailment two years ago, every railroad operator on the Hudson Line believed the most important speed protection at that curve was the experience and skill of the engineers operating trains through there," Lisberg said. "Our thinking changed quickly after the derailment, and we installed new signal protections to prevent overspeed operations through the curve."
Asked why he thought Metro-North chose not to make the safety changes, Bottalico said: “Money. It’s always the money.”

It’s unclear how high up in Metro-North’s command structure the union's concerns reached. Bottalico did not provide any written correspondence documenting the issue. The engineer who Bottalico says first voiced the concern could not be reached for comment. Two days after the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board prevented ACRE from participating in its crash investigation after Bottalico held a news conference and discussed how Rockefeller fell asleep at the controls.
Since the crash, Metro-North has remedied a number of other gaps in safety highlighted by the crash.

Among them:

Cab alerters, which force an engineer to acknowledge an audible signal, have been installed in all trains. If the engineer does not respond to the alerter, an ATC system will bring the train to a stop. Older-model trains like 8808 did not have cab alerters on both ends of the train. That meant that, on northbound runs, the cab alerters were in the front cab where the engineer sits. But on southbound runs, the front cab only had a “dead man’s pedal,” which requires continuous pressure from the engineer’s foot to propel the train forward.
  by truck6018
That article had nothing new to say.

Bottalico left because he retired. It had nothing to do with this or any other incident.
  by Jeff Smith
Came up in my FB memories today. Without comment: 2nd anniversary of SD wreck.
  by NH2060
William Rockefeller breaks his silence in an interview with WABC-TV:
The man who was behind the controls of a Metro-North train that derailed near Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx in 2013 is breaking his silence, speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News about how the devastating crash has changed his life and how he is incapable of moving past his role in the tragedy.

http://abc7ny.com/news/exclusive-engine ... p/1116284/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Tommy Meehan
A number of local news sources are reporting that William Rockefeller, the locomotive engineer involved in the high-speed Spuyten Duyvil derailment, is going to be pensioned. Rockefeller has not worked since the morning of the derailment on Dec. 1, 2013, twenty-seven months ago. He is going to be allowed to retire on a disability, the exact nature of which has not been disclosed.
William Rockefeller has been awarded a disability pension by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, the Westchester news site reports. Link
I think it's a good outcome. I never thought Metro-North would allow him to resume his job as a locomotive engineer. From a liability standpoint that wouldn't have been too smart. Former co-workers of Rockefeller whom I know, hoped he might be allowed to return to the GCT maintenance crew he formerly worked with. That might have been a good alternative but a pension and, maybe, a second career, is probably a better option. Rockefeller has said he has never really gotten over what happened that morning and thinks he probably never will. I just hope he doesn't blame himself too much. Anyone can make a mistake or screw up, it doesn't mean they're a bad person, just human.
  by Jeff Smith
I agree, Tommy. I'm glad to see this outcome. While what happened is a tragedy, sometimes, it's just not one person's fault, but a series of events that leads to a bad outcome. We can debate the lack of the speed limiting feature at that curve (as with Amtrak 188), and the safety culture at MNRR that existed at the time, and has certainly improved under new leadership. But I don't think any of this blames attaches to Mr. Rockefeller, who by all accounts is a good man. It's similar to falling asleep at the wheel IMHO. And thankfully the press and perhaps public opinion seems to be catching up.

I hope Mr. Rockefeller is heartened by the support he's received from his fellow employees and other interested members of the railroad community, including here on this site.
  by Head-end View
Good posts Jeff and Tom. I agree that a disability pension might be the best resolution. If you watched the TV interview, Mr. Rockefeller is obviously haunted by the experience. Who wouldn't be? He is as much a victim as the passengers on the train were. I hope his going public helped him deal with it in some way. It's regrettable that he isn't getting another job on Metro-North, something non-operational. Other than that, the disability pension is probably for the best.
  by NH2060
The engineer has filed a $10M lawsuit against the railroad:
Engineer William Rockefeller claims Metro-North should have equipped his train with a system that would have automatically applied the brakes when the train exceeded posted speed limits.

http://abc7ny.com/news/engineer-in-bron ... h/1634526/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hard to believe it's already been 3 years since the accident.
  by mark777
Suddenly, we are beginning to see the dangers of sleep apnea, and the dangers it poses on those who work with large machines such as trains and trucks. I feel for this guy as well as the engineer in the Hoboken crash. But if I were to blame anyone, I would blame the way that sleep apnea is treated or handled by doctors. It is a condition that is recognized considerably more nowadays, but still needs much more attention, and these accidents sadly will high light this. I experienced the effects of sleep apnea when I fell asleep driving once. didn't know I had sleep apnea. After being ping ponged from doctor to doctor, I finally (thanks to a friends recommendation), went to a sleep specialist. after a sleep study, surprise, I have sleep apnea. But when I look back now, I went probably for several years without knowing that I had this until one day I fall asleep while driving. I am certain that from here on, RRs will begin to focus on this considerably more, and testing for sleep apnea will go in hand with drug testing. Hoping that one day, Mr. Rockefeller will be at peace with himself and understand that what he suffered was a condition that wasn't treated properly that resulted in this horrifying accident. one side note: in reference to his lawsuit against MNR, one can figure that had he done this on an M-7, the non movement of the alerter stick while he was asleep would have placed the train into emergency. The dead man's pedal is obsolete. Combined with PTC, and you should have a safer outcome.
  by Head-end View
Alerters are useful, but aren't necessarily the panacea that we think they are. Some years back I read about a study of freight train engineers falling asleep while running trains. And the study found that acknowledging the alerter became such a reflex action, that engineers actually did it while dozing in the cabs of moving trains. So yes, they would need to work in tandem with PTC.
  • 1
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60