Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

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  by lensovet
 
i do have to wonder about how good his memory is; after all, this accident happened over 3 months ago.

one thing is clear, however. metrolink needs to make sure that all signals are being called out, instead of just non-green ones; their policy at the time was just bad as it doesn't let you differentiate between when the engineer is asleep/distracted and when the signal is actually green.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
I guess it's no surprise the conductor remembers the signal being green. If he'd thought it was red he would've pulled the air on the engineer, right?

I have enough respect for other people that I'm not going to say -- or even think privately -- that the conductor's lying. He may genuinely believe the signal was green. There's also that small chance it was green.

But I accept the fact he's in a position where he needs to say the signal was green. Twenty-five people died. To protect his family, to go on earning a living, he needs to say that signal was green. Whether or not that's why he's saying what he's saying, none of us can know. I'm just glad I have never been in the position this man is in (or anywheres close to it), no matter what he thinks he does or does not remember.

[edit for typo]
Last edited by Tommy Meehan on Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by Jtgshu
 
This is to satisfy my own curiousity, but does anyone know if these signals (the distant and home signal to CP Topanga) have regular, incandecent bulbs or are they the new, fancy LED lights?

Thanks!
  by jb9152
 
Does anyone know the setup there at the passenger station? Is the signal, about a mile distant, even visible from the platform with a train present? Normally, the conductor would have been detraining passengers, doing the whole "watch your step" thing, and I can't imagine that the signal, if it's on the right side of the ROW, would be visible.

There are simply too many things that would have had to have gone wrong in order to cause a false Clear, including the switch position. It has already been stated that traffic on the single track was established *against* the Metrolink train, and the switch at the end of double track was also lined reverse (which was confirmed by the fact that the switch was found run through). I have to agree with Mr. Meehan that the conductor may feel that he has no choice but to assert that the signal was displaying Clear. But for that to be so, a lot of things had to go wrong. The NTSB will be looking into the assertion, I'm sure.
  by AlanB
 
jb9152 wrote:Does anyone know the setup there at the passenger station? Is the signal, about a mile distant, even visible from the platform with a train present?
Well according to all reports that I've seen, the signal is at least visible from the platform. Whether it's visible to a conductor leaning out the door of the train I don't know and I'm not aware of any test having been conducted to prove or disprove that idea. However, such a test may well now be in the offing.

However, let's also not forget that a security guard, as well as two railfans standing on the platform, also reported that the signal showed green upon the train’s departure. The NTSB has interviewed those three people, but I don't believe that they've released any info regarding what they thought of the testimony.
  by Jtgshu
 
From what I remember in seeing in pics, the home signal is clearly visible from the station platform, its a straight track with very little vegetation that would block the view of the signal.

Jb, I know you arne't in the transportation side of things on the RR, but the Conductor's job is to multitask. He can, and it is his job to detrain passengers, aka doing the "watch your step thing" as you mentioned, but also to look for signals, etc that would affect his train, as the Conductor is responsible for the safe movement of his train.

I can't speak for Metrolink, but on my RR, there is a specific instruction that states that Conductors MUST NOT close the doors and give the engineer the signal to proceed at a station where a home signal displaying a stop signal is clearly visible.

That would require doing something in addition to the "watch your step thing".................
  by jb9152
 
Jtgshu wrote:From what I remember in seeing in pics, the home signal is clearly visible from the station platform, its a straight track with very little vegetation that would block the view of the signal.

Jb, I know you arne't in the transportation side of things on the RR, but the Conductor's job is to multitask. He can, and it is his job to detrain passengers, aka doing the "watch your step thing" as you mentioned, but also to look for signals, etc that would affect his train, as the Conductor is responsible for the safe movement of his train.

I can't speak for Metrolink, but on my RR, there is a specific instruction that states that Conductors MUST NOT close the doors and give the engineer the signal to proceed at a station where a home signal displaying a stop signal is clearly visible.

That would require doing something in addition to the "watch your step thing".................
Jt - actually I am in the transportation side of things (it would be more obvious if I revealed who I am, but I prefer anonymity so I can be more candid). I understand what a conductor's role is. What I'm asking is if the signal is visible from the station platform with a train stopped there. A mile distant, on straight track, I'm just having a hard time picturing how it would be visible while the conductor is doing his station work. The rule at NJT specifies a Stop signal that is "clearly visible". My question is whether a signal a mile down the track, on the traditional right side of the tracks, could be plainly seen by an employee standing on the platform with most of his view blocked by the standing train.
  by Jtgshu
 
jb9152 wrote:
Jtgshu wrote:From what I remember in seeing in pics, the home signal is clearly visible from the station platform, its a straight track with very little vegetation that would block the view of the signal.

Jb, I know you arne't in the transportation side of things on the RR, but the Conductor's job is to multitask. He can, and it is his job to detrain passengers, aka doing the "watch your step thing" as you mentioned, but also to look for signals, etc that would affect his train, as the Conductor is responsible for the safe movement of his train.

I can't speak for Metrolink, but on my RR, there is a specific instruction that states that Conductors MUST NOT close the doors and give the engineer the signal to proceed at a station where a home signal displaying a stop signal is clearly visible.

That would require doing something in addition to the "watch your step thing".................
Jt - actually I am in the transportation side of things (it would be more obvious if I revealed who I am, but I prefer anonymity so I can be more candid). I understand what a conductor's role is. What I'm asking is if the signal is visible from the station platform with a train stopped there. A mile distant, on straight track, I'm just having a hard time picturing how it would be visible while the conductor is doing his station work. The rule at NJT specifies a Stop signal that is "clearly visible". My question is whether a signal a mile down the track, on the traditional right side of the tracks, could be plainly seen by an employee standing on the platform with most of his view blocked by the standing train.
totally understood, my apologies JB - I was referring to train/engine service when I mentioned transportation, I guess I should have been clearer. And if you are train/engine, I guess I just misread/misunderstood your post as the "doing the watch your step thing" took me by surprise, coming from you in particular.

There was a pic on the LA Times website that was taken from the station platform showing the CP Topanga signal in the distance. I don't remember which photo series it was in, but there shouldn't have been any problem seeing the signal on the platform judging by that photo, even with a train in the station. I can't see how a lit signal wouldn't be visible from the platform, or seemingly lit.
  by jb9152
 
Jtgshu wrote:totally understood, my apologies JB - I was referring to train/engine service when I mentioned transportation, I guess I should have been clearer. And if you are train/engine, I guess I just misread/misunderstood your post as the "doing the watch your step thing" took me by surprise, coming from you in particular.

There was a pic on the LA Times website that was taken from the station platform showing the CP Topanga signal in the distance. I don't remember which photo series it was in, but there shouldn't have been any problem seeing the signal on the platform judging by that photo, even with a train in the station. I can't see how a lit signal wouldn't be visible from the platform, or seemingly lit.
OK, cool. But you can see why I'm asking, right? If you're standing right next to the first set of doors, say, and you're looking north along the train, it's not possible to see anything to the right of the tracks for some distance because the cars themselves and the loco block the view. The engineer would obviously have had a clear view - he's sitting on the head end. But, depending on sight lines/distance, it wouldn't have surprised me if the conductor didn't have an obstructed view. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he *couldn't*, unless he stepped to the other side of the platform, away from the train, and specifically looked for it.
  by Jtgshu
 
I see and understand whatcha mean, but from the pics I saw of the station, PERSONALLY I think that the signal is far enough down the track that it would be visible even with the train in the station. If it was closer to the station it might not be as the train might block the view, but because I think it is so far away, it would be visible to the cond standing on the platform.

Just my opinion of course. Is there anyone on these boards that is from the area or could verify if the signal would be visible from the station with or without a train there?
  by lensovet
 
i'll be down there next week so i might take a look. however, i will say that the signal is definitely far enough away that having the train block it shouldn't be a problem. i would be more concerned with whether the signal is visible at all i think.
  by Otto Vondrak
 
Looks like we're still round and round and no new info has been uncovered...?

PM me or email me if you want this thread reopened. Time to move on to some more productive discussion.

-otto-
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