South Carolina wreck

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erie2937
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South Carolina wreck

Post by erie2937 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:02 pm

If the incorrectly lined switch is the cause of the wreck than doesn't the root cause have to be human error, not signal failure or any mistake by a dispatcher? A hand throw switch would not be protected by a signal nor would a dispatcher see the alignment on his board or computer screen. Wouldn't someone have reported to the dispatcher that the switch was correctly lined and locked for the main line track? How could PTC have prevented this accident?

Backshophoss
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Backshophoss » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:24 pm

This debate is happening on the Amtrak wreck thread,the signal system was offline at that time,the switch has an electric lock on it.
the switch being unlocked should have set nearby signals to Restricting or Stop and Proceed.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

mmi16
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by mmi16 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:35 pm

Backshophoss wrote:This debate is happening on the Amtrak wreck thread,the signal system was offline at that time,the switch has an electric lock on it.
the switch being unlocked should have set nearby signals to Restricting or Stop and Proceed.
In Signal Suspensions, within the limits of the suspension - signals have no authority. That is why it is called a Signal Suspension.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!

Backshophoss
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Backshophoss » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:28 pm

The point is IF the signals were online,that's what should have happened!
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

Railjunkie
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Railjunkie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:31 pm

And IF Kennedy wasnt in Dallas he wouldnt have been shot.

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Wayside
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Wayside » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:54 am

Railjunkie wrote:And IF Kennedy wasnt in Dallas he wouldnt have been shot.
Not in Dallas that day, anyway.
We don't know what we don't know.

Gadfly
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Gadfly » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:50 pm

In the old days of timetable and train order, a work crew would have been assigned to that location. The order would've read, "Order # 405 (Four Naught Five) to Yard, Yardmaster, All Starting. Period. ). Approach Milepost 615 (Six One Five), prepared to stop short of signal and do not proceed until notified the way is clear by Maintenance of Way Foreman, or Signal Foreman, (or Flagman if so designated) Wayne Strom. Signed REP, Chief Dispatcher, JO (signature of operator).

The Rules meant that trains were to expect restricted signals and approach speeds according to standard rule book. They would have received a copy of this order at the previous Open Station. This notified the trains, crews, station agents the line ahead was being worked on.

I seem to recall that Southern/NS did not allow signals (sidings and switches) to be open, except in switching yards. On NS, if I'm not mistaken, if mainline switch was tampered with or opened, the Dispatcher would SEE it, and the signal would go Red. It was designed to prevent a wreck such as this. If I read the story correctly, the signals on CSX didn't work that way. I heard of :wink: signals being tampered with by outsiders, thinking they could "have some fun". More than once, I heard an engineer, "157 to dispatcher! What's happened? The signal just went RED in my face", making for a rather abrupt emergency stop. :( The same was true if a train is setting off cars and fouling the main. When the train occupied the block the signal went RED behind him in the block, and the previous block before that would go to "Approach". This provided "blocked in" protection, prevented headlight meets, and 'run-ins" where a following train caught up and ran the rear block signal. In the old flagging days, that's what happened to Casey Jones. They were doing something called a "Saw-by" where a long train that couldn't clear up fully could take siding, (or shove back thru the whole siding) and occupy the entire track. When the rear of the train cleared the main, the engine would be out at the opposite end of the siding, "sticking" out (fouling) main track. When the rear flagman signaled the superior train, he was to proceed slowly by. When his cab cleared the rear of the inferior train, the sided train would back back out onto the main, fouling that switch and clearing the head end. This would allow Casey's train to proceed past at restricted speed. That didn't happen, and Casey missed the flagman and plowed into the other train before it could clear the switch.

The trouble with this current system, and the reason for the "modern" way of doing things is reduction in force. Cutting jobs, Cutting overhead. In the old days, of which I was a part, there would be someone there to stop this from happening. Such rarely ever happened. Southern rarely had major derailments; they simply were positively anal about track maintenance and preventing accidents. :wink: We had more agents, more work crews, more operators who had direct contact with the train crews. Gradually people were cut off, retired, moved out. Less people, more profit, but less oversight, IMHO! Correct me if I'm wrong. It's been a long time since I cleared trains. (Over!) Shortly after I bid back in at the shops (Week DAYS & 7-3:30 shift--YAAAAAA!), they went to track warrants and Dispatcher-controlled operations.

In short, the passenger train that wrecked would have had a speed restriction in that area, or a RED signal. But they do it differently these days. I suppose it is "better", but they sure seem to have more wrecks!

GF
Last edited by Gadfly on Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gadfly
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Gadfly » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:43 am

"The same was true if a train is setting off cars and fouling the main. When the train occupied the block the signal went RED behind him in the block, and the previous block before that would go to "Approach". This provided "blocked in" protection, prevented headlight meets, and 'run-ins" where a following train caught up and ran the rear block signal". ((Quote)

I failed to mention that the signal in the other end of the block ahead would also go RED, and the block past that would also show "Approach". This way the occupying train was, indeed, "blocked in". With all those signal indications, it was unlikely an engineer would run a board. He'd have to be DRUNK as a skunk (Rule G) to do such a thing. And these rules were drilled into us so deeply we shoulda spouted water! :-) Also, in those days, crew would call signals to each other. If the engineer saw it first, he'd call, "BOARD CLEAR"! The others in the engine would call, "BOARD CLEAR. Or "APPROACH". Faulty signals, burned out aspects, imperfect display (all aspects flashing at once in an irregular pattern, flickering (not blinking-that's another legal signal) were to be regarded as the most restrictive signal up to and including having to stop according to the existing Rule for that stretch of track. Dispatcher would then clear train to proceed into the block as existing traffic permitted. The whole idea was to prevent collisions. I suppose all those Rules were written (as my Rules Examiner used to say) in somebody's blood.

D'youse guys think I worked on the railroad? :wink:

GF

ExCon90
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by ExCon90 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:52 pm

I think the point here is that the signals were all dark because of the cutover to PTC. There are well-established procedures for operating when signals are out; it's beginning to look like somebody reported a switch properly lined and locked when it wasn't, and the train was given authority to proceed. From what we know now it doesn't seem that the engine crew was at fault in any way, and signals really weren't involved.

Gadfly
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by Gadfly » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:28 pm

ExCon90 wrote:I think the point here is that the signals were all dark because of the cutover to PTC. There are well-established procedures for operating when signals are out; it's beginning to look like somebody reported a switch properly lined and locked when it wasn't, and the train was given authority to proceed. From what we know now it doesn't seem that the engine crew was at fault in any way, and signals really weren't involved.
If a signal suspension were in effect, then all concerned should know about it by all means. A dark aspect (light burned out) was to be assumed to have the most restrictive effect possible at that point up to and including stopping and coordinating with the dispatcher via radio before proceeding. That was under the old Train Order and Timetable operations. Most of the time it meant "proceeding thru the block at restricted speed". OR a written Slow Order.

I can't know what actually happened in this instant case, but one would assume that ANY train should have been notified of "dark territory"--which is what it, in effect was--and have been required to proceed at restricted speed until clear of that segment and signals were again working. This is just ME, but if I were faced with dark signals, I would STILL be wary. Its only speculation, but I fear that this is a case of someone failing to close the switch. Since there were NO signals, there was no way for the engineer to know, nor for the dispatcher to know. An awful tragedy ensued. Nothing to a railroader is more horrifying that a rear end collision or a "head light meet"! :(

GF

mmi16
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Re: South Carolina wreck

Post by mmi16 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:25 pm

Gadfly wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:I think the point here is that the signals were all dark because of the cutover to PTC. There are well-established procedures for operating when signals are out; it's beginning to look like somebody reported a switch properly lined and locked when it wasn't, and the train was given authority to proceed. From what we know now it doesn't seem that the engine crew was at fault in any way, and signals really weren't involved.
If a signal suspension were in effect, then all concerned should know about it by all means. A dark aspect (light burned out) was to be assumed to have the most restrictive effect possible at that point up to and including stopping and coordinating with the dispatcher via radio before proceeding. That was under the old Train Order and Timetable operations. Most of the time it meant "proceeding thru the block at restricted speed". OR a written Slow Order.

I can't know what actually happened in this instant case, but one would assume that ANY train should have been notified of "dark territory"--which is what it, in effect was--and have been required to proceed at restricted speed until clear of that segment and signals were again working. This is just ME, but if I were faced with dark signals, I would STILL be wary. Its only speculation, but I fear that this is a case of someone failing to close the switch. Since there were NO signals, there was no way for the engineer to know, nor for the dispatcher to know. An awful tragedy ensued. Nothing to a railroader is more horrifying that a rear end collision or a "head light meet"! :(

GF
Bulletins are issued several days in advance of Signal Suspension announcing the Suspension, the Start Time, the limits of the Suspension, the alternate means of traffic control within the limits of the Signal suspension. Signal suspensions are not a 'surprise' to any of the employees operating through the area of the Suspension. The alternate means of traffic control that gets implemented is Track Warrant Control - the same traffic control system that is currently in effect of thousands of miles of CSX trackage (as well as thousands of miles of EVERY Class 1 carrier's trackage). During Signal Suspension, signals within the limits of the suspension are to be DISREGARDED for ANY movement authority - Signals, as specified in the implementing bulletin, MAY be used to indicate switch position - but NOT movement authority. TWC operations require rules compliance of ALL employees involved - train crews, MofW Personnel (both Signals and Track), Train Dispatcher.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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