News Wire: Talgo train returns to Milwaukee for repairs

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Posted by Brian Schmidt on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:45 AM

SEATTLE — A convoy of trucks is on its way to Milwaukee, Wis., carrying all 14 pieces of a Talgo train damaged in a derailment this summer. The Mt. Jefferson derailed July 2 when Amtrak Cascades train 502 went through a derail after passing a ...

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/11/15-talgo-return

Brian Schmidt, Associate Editor Trains Magazine

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 12:07 PM

Does not seem to me this derailment was ever discussed here, even though we’ve had at least one Coast Starlight thread since then.  Was it covered before the News Wire topics started being posted on the forums?

It seems a little strange that the whole consist has sat this long with so little apparent damage, unless there were other discussions (like amenity upgrades perhaps) that affected how many cars were to be transported.

 I would wonder if some sort of ‘field’ repair of the standard coupler arrangement would be highly cost-effective over disassembling the whole consist, shipping by truck, then making the necessary arrangements ... not trivial with cars of this construction ... upon delivery.  The shock-absorbing feature only has to work when there are pax or crew on the consist, no?

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Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:03 PM

I remember discussing it at some point, but it might not've been here.

Before the schedule changes on December 18th, the seventh set was superfluous, and was rotated in and out for maintenence. The set in question (Mt. Jefferson) is considered the unlucky one of the lot among crews and railfans in the PNW. Of course, it will be needed in a month and won't be back yet, so other than a legal hold I'm not sure what took them so long. (Granted this is Amtrak Cascades, and the Point Defiance Bypass is six months late and the Chargers are still sitting alone in the Seattle coach yard, so...).

For a while they ran out of space so it was parked (tarped) in King Street Station on one of the extra tracks.

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:15 PM

Overmod

Does not seem to me this derailment was ever discussed here,

I think this is the derailment sust south of the drawbridge between Stillacoom and Point Defiance where the train ran thru a derail that protected the drawbridge. The derail worked as intended. I know I saw pix, but not sure if here or elsewhere, but was most likely here.

As to why take it all to WI, and why truck rather than rail, I know not. It is WASDOT remember. BNSF may not have wanted to mess with it and demanded special train rate. That is what I would have done if equioment was speed restricted.

Mac

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:42 PM

Considering the articulated nature of the Talgo train sets, if shipped by rail the equipment would have been loaded on flat cars.  They could have been shipped in manifest or special train service.

         

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, November 16, 2017 11:16 PM

How exactly do you run over a derail?   Aren't they painted bright yellow and usually have an accompanying sign?

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Friday, November 17, 2017 6:52 AM

CMStPnP

How exactly do you run over a derail?   Aren't they painted bright yellow and usually have an accompanying sign?

This was a main line derail that protects a bridge on a line with signals. Odds are 99.999% it was just beyond an Absolute Signal. Engineer failed to control his speed, ran by the signal and over the derail.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 17, 2017 9:14 AM

CMStPnP
How exactly do you run over a derail?   Aren't they painted bright yellow and usually have an accompanying sign?

When you run past a Absolute STOP signal and go through the open split rail derail that protects the drawbridge that is beyond the derail.

         

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Posted by pwkrueger on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:35 PM

Technically, ODOT owns this train.  Not WSDOT.

PNWRMNM

 

 
Overmod

Does not seem to me this derailment was ever discussed here,

 

 

I think this is the derailment sust south of the drawbridge between Stillacoom and Point Defiance where the train ran thru a derail that protected the drawbridge. The derail worked as intended. I know I saw pix, but not sure if here or elsewhere, but was most likely here.

As to why take it all to WI, and why truck rather than rail, I know not. It is WASDOT remember. BNSF may not have wanted to mess with it and demanded special train rate. That is what I would have done if equioment was speed restricted.

Mac

 

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 8:47 PM

PNWRMNM
BNSF may not have wanted to mess with it and demanded special train rate. That is what I would have done if equioment was speed restricted.

The thing is, in the story I think it clearly says the equipment is returning on its own wheels, and that the reason it is going east by truck us that the special adapter coupler and draft gear was so badly torqued.  I still think a lot of special drawgear fabrication could have been done with the extra handling and drayage involved in separating all the cars and providing separate trucks and drivers for them...

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 24, 2017 10:41 AM

Overmod
 
PNWRMNM
BNSF may not have wanted to mess with it and demanded special train rate. That is what I would have done if equioment was speed restricted. 

The thing is, in the story I think it clearly says the equipment is returning on its own wheels, and that the reason it is going east by truck us that the special adapter coupler and draft gear was so badly torqued.  I still think a lot of special drawgear fabrication could have been done with the extra handling and drayage involved in separating all the cars and providing separate trucks and drivers for them...

I suspect BNSF looks in asknce at any form of 'cobbled together on the fly' draft gear for any special move - especially if the move is not for the benefit of BNSF, and I can't blame them.  Should a failure happen in transit, a line it tied up until the failure is rectified and the movement - all at a cost to BNSF. 

Now why the equipment wasn't loaded on TTX flat car for the move instead of trucking the equipment - you will have to ask those that contracted for the movement. 

         

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 24, 2017 2:02 PM

My question is:    Would the equipment be this badly torn apart it it was Alstom or a trainset made by anyone but Talgo?     Probably not.    Yet another reason to avoid Talgo as a solution in the future.

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, November 24, 2017 3:59 PM

CMStPnP
My question is:  Would the equipment be this badly torn apart it it was Alstom or a trainset made by anyone but Talgo?  Probably not.    Yet another reason to avoid Talgo as a solution in the future.

One of the points explicitly made in the story is that there was little permanent damage to even the first car, the one that was visibly torqued in the post-accident pictures: when the torque was relieved, since the elastic limit of the car's materials had not been exceeded, the carbody returned to correct shape.  I am by no means sure that a more 'normal' trainset would survive that degree of deflection without structural damage that might not be economically correctable.

Now, the car would not have been torqued at all had the 'special coupling' at the front been arranged to handle the twist -- perhaps a rotary coupler shank could be retrofitted in the adapter construction? -- so there's a certain Talgo-specific concern, but again surely not one that calls either the Talgo design or construction into question as 'inferior' or to be avoided on objective safety grounds.

I would find it somewhat surprising that some of the inter-car links and suspension elements were not damaged in that accident, but the story and other posts on the subject are silent on whether this occurred.  I would expect there to be some additional rationale for separating the cars and transporting them separately if there were some concern the running gear had suffered possible damage or derangement sufficient to risk a breakdown in transport, as alluded to above.

I do not intend to second-guess the people who chose to truck the cars for repair vs. flatcar-load them, or to second-guess returning the consist on its wheels when done.  I see no reason not to assume sufficient competence to choose the best or at least best-cost alternatives.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, November 24, 2017 10:52 PM

To my non engineering mind - something is seriously wrong with the design of this equipment if it required 'fixing' of more than the car that got 'torqued'.

Could this 'extensive' damage be caused by the allowances the FRA granted for this equipment from the normal FRA standards.

         

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Saturday, November 25, 2017 8:15 AM

Balt,

That photo clearly shows what a minor derailment this was. Had it been freight cars, they would have been retrucked on site, taken 20 miles to Tacoma in a hospital train, had the wheels changed, and been back in service in a few days.

Had it been standard American passenger equipment, I am 99% confident same basic story would apply with work done at King Street Coach Yard in Seattle, 50 miles away.

I do not think the issue is Talgo per se, but light weight, meaning not very strong, equipment combined with one-off suspension components. This is one illustration of the trade offs one makes.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, November 25, 2017 8:53 AM

PNWRMNM
I do not think the issue is Talgo per se, but light weight, meaning not very strong, equipment combined with one-off suspension components. This is one illustration of the trade offs one makes

I think there is one "Talgo per se" issue, which is shared with other lightweight articulated trains (one example being Cripe's UA TurboTrain design): the connections between the cars involve significant structure that must be relatively lightweight and is difficult to design to resist out-of-normal-plane forces.  A derailment like this one which would involve little more than draft gear or coupler separation perhaps even with modern PRIIA-compliant single-level cars might result in strain, deformation or cracking to some of the mechanism, which in turn might require special attention and some disassembly to diagnose properly.

As a kind of fractured parallel, a severe pothole or curb strike that a Suburban or F150 would absorb with no trouble might cause significant damage to a Mercedes CLK55, even though  the Mercedes suspension and tire compliance is plenty strong and capable of 185mph operation on a continuous basis when acting in its designed axes of motion.

I am not sure that there is a 'perfect' relationship between lightweight-truck damage and FRA buff/draft carbody compliance; in fact I might expect more severe damage to 125-mph spec trucks from the heavier construction on compliant equipment.  Another consideration that might apply is whether this kind of accident would stress CEM elements in modern cars sufficiently to require some 'reconstruction' even if the main structure is FRA compliant and the incident appears to show low speed.  Even lightweight rail equipment has considerable momentum and inertia...

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Posted by aegrotatio on Monday, December 04, 2017 9:46 PM

BaltACD

To my non engineering mind - something is seriously wrong with the design of this equipment if it required 'fixing' of more than the car that got 'torqued'.

 
Yeah, articulated sets area pain in the ass when they're damaged.  It's clear why even Acela 1 wasn't articulated.
 
It will be fascinating to see how well Acela 2 works out.
 
 

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