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BNSF's Panhandle wreck.

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Posted by Reading467 on Thursday, March 9, 2023 10:14 AM

Overmod's comments in a more recent thread led me to look up the NTSB docket (DCA16FR008) on the Panhandle Collision. There were 82 files there. The best summary is the Party Submission- BLET file.  Other illuminating files include the Interview with the Dispatcher and the surviving engineer from Q-CHISBD6-27L.

Both trains were on Main 1.  There's a siding at Panhandle just north of Main 1. The dispatcher planned for a meet between westbound CHISBD and eastbound S-LACLPC1-26K, which had departed Amarillo about 0645 CDT.  CHI was lined for the siding and LAC was supposed to stop on Main 1 at signal 5261.  The DS said he did this in order to run a Z Train around LAC on Main 2 at Panhandle after the meet with CHI. He also said he contacted both CHI & LAC about 10 mins prior to inform them of the meet. CHI's engineer responded to the DS and acknowledged the meet details.  The DS said he thought he heard a reply from LAC, but it was garbled and unitelligible. 

CHI had a diverging signal and was slowing to 40 mph for the RH switch at 5261. The Engineer noted he thought that LAC had passed a road crossing that he knew to be to the West of signal 5621 and that once LAC had passed that point, he realized they were going to have a head-on collision.  He put his train in Emergency and told the Conductor they were going to have to jump.  They both left the cab of lead unit BNSF 5416 on the engineer's side &ran to the rear steps.  He saw the conductor behind him just before he jumped. That was the last he saw of her.  

He also stated he couldn't see any movement in the cab of LAC's leading unit, BNSF 5162.

LAC was travelling at 65 mph (east) and CHI was at 37 mph (west) for a closing speed of 102 mph.  Both lead locos were stripped to the frame as a result of the collision. 

 

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, August 1, 2016 6:39 PM

Buslist
so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

I really had no idea of what n012944's job was. I did not notice your posts on that thread.  Many railroaders do not identify what their experience is. "Tower Terry" as he was known in 1970 (met him through his late sister) is an old friend from Urbana/UofI days back then.  I tried contacting him about this on FB messaging (he's a friend there) but no response as of yet.  

I've admitted my error (something few ever do on here), but I guess that is insufficient in your book?

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Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:40 PM

schlimm

 

 
schlimm

 

 
main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

 

 

 

n012944:  Sorry, I was wrong.  I finally heard from the former CNW/UP dispatcher.    He said:

"There are NO WRONG tracks- in signaled territories it would be called Against the Current of Traffic, & dispatchers could reverse the current to enable the signals to work properly- from Proviso to Salt Lake City the UP had/has 2 main tracks, sometimes 3, & a few short areas of single track- it was a delight for dispatchers to have two (shooters we called those fast trains) side by side at 70mph speeding toward Geneva. Whichever went through Dekalb first would be crossed over & get to take the train into Proviso. In single track territory sometimes trains would be put in sidings to allow another to pass."

 

 

so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

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Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:15 PM

tree68

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

 

 

At that point the IC was 2 track ABS. So crossing over was indeed "wrong maining" it wasn't until you got to Gilman that it became bidirectional CTC. Southbound would rarely get orders as a new crew would get on at Champaign and get their orders while passing Champaign Tower ( with Dick Stair as first trick operator , the tower at Monticello named after him). 
 
Just south of the Rantoul along the base was a somewhat unique installation, a so called intermediate siding. This was between the 2 mains and could be used by both north and south bounds.
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Posted by tree68 on Monday, August 1, 2016 10:15 AM

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, August 1, 2016 9:51 AM

schlimm

 

 
n012944
schlimm:Why don't you do some research before making such a statement?    

n012944: I have, thanks.  But since you seem to be the expert, tell me how the IC ran 100 mph passenger and 60 mph freight on a 2 main ABS railroad, without running against the current?   Or are you just going to continue your pattern of redirecting questions instead of answering them?

 

Just wait.  I have never pretended to be an expert.  I am trying to get hold of an old friend who dispatched on the 2 main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

 

n012944:  Sorry, I was wrong.  I finally heard from the former CNW/UP dispatcher.    He said:

"There are NO WRONG tracks- in signaled territories it would be called Against the Current of Traffic, & dispatchers could reverse the current to enable the signals to work properly- from Proviso to Salt Lake City the UP had/has 2 main tracks, sometimes 3, & a few short areas of single track- it was a delight for dispatchers to have two (shooters we called those fast trains) side by side at 70mph speeding toward Geneva. Whichever went through Dekalb first would be crossed over & get to take the train into Proviso. In single track territory sometimes trains would be put in sidings to allow another to pass."

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:40 PM

jeffhergert

I get the impression that they thought they were in their equivalent of what we would call yard limits or restricted limits (GCOR).  Where YL or RL is in effect, you don't need authorization from the dispatcher to occupy the main track.

Jeff

All goes to knowing your job and how the rules apply to it as well as the physical characteristics of territory you are working on and how the rules apply to it.  They knew neither the job, the territory or the rules.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:18 PM

Overmod
 
BaltACD
Where are the weed weasels when they are needed? Making fireable mistakes!

 

Fascinating, but for more than just that amusing reason:

1) This report never quite seems to explain how the Three Stooges came to be on that train, looking at the wrong timetable.  It just got more and more comical as it invokes circadian rhythms, a fundamental conflict of sense between trainmasters indicating a route is clear and RTC enforcing "OCS" authority over a route established to be clear, and the unspoken taking the three off the train at the next available place after the stop.  Then we find out CP was consolidating the two subs anyway, but just hadn't quite finished doing that yet.

Someone explain to me what a 'service design specialist' is -- and where I sign up for this 'street-to-seat' program that lets people like that learn from their peers how to mistakenly run trains on an optimized schedule without all that cumbersome conductor prep.

As far as I can see, aside from fixing the wack procedures about OCS, this involves the guy in Fort Steele using the wrong language on the radio to give the crew the idea they had 'clear track' over the Cranbrook sub without explicitly receiving the clearance for that from the RTC.  There are two possibilities here:

1) there wasn't actually clear track, in which case the trainmaster involved should be carefully counseled NOT to use language that appears to authorize movement not formally acknowledged; or

2) there was clear track -- which seems to be the case -- and this is confusion not over 'situational awareness' but over correct bureaucratic procedure in train occupancy control.  That is a very different thing from a SPAD or violation of restricting order; it's easy to say "management people of all people ought to eat the dog food they are supposed to dish out" but I fail to see any particular actual safety hazard involved in this incident (that upbraiding the trainmaster doesn't effectively solve).

 

I get the impression that they thought they were in their equivalent of what we would call yard limits or restricted limits (GCOR).  Where YL or RL is in effect, you don't need authorization from the dispatcher to occupy the main track.

Jeff     

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, July 24, 2016 8:47 PM

I currently have authority on a specific stretch of track, which has been designated as "out of service" - Form D line 4.

This is for the sole purpose of allowing non-rules qualified contract personnel to work on the tracks.

For all intents and purposes, I am the dispatcher for that section of track.  If someone else wants in, they have to contact me, and I will weigh their needs against what they want and what I can provide.

As soon as the contractor is done, I'll give the track back to the dispatcher.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:23 PM

I don't know CP operating rules.

Everywhere else, the Train Dispatcher (RTC in Canadian) - is BOSS.  If the President of the Company wants on the track - he gets authority from the Train Dispatcher to OCCUPY it.  Trainmaster in the field has no authority to tell at train to OCCUPY a track, UNLESS SPECIFIC AUTHORITY has been granted to the Trainmaster by the Train Dispatcher to control operations in a narrowly defined area bounded by specific mileposts. ie. Train operates from A to D.  Trainmaster given authority to control movements between B and C account derailment or other similar type incident. Train MUST have Train Dispatchers authority to OCCUPY at least A to C, BEFORE they can accept Trainmasters instructions between B & C.  IF Train Dispatcher authorized train A to B, it cannot accept Trainmaster instructions between B & C - it must get Train Dispatchers authority to OCCUPY track between B & C and then operate in accordance with the Trainmasters instructions.

Rules are not something that can be played with 'fast and loose'.  If you don't know the rules - AND HOW THE APPLY - you are an accident waiting to happen.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:28 PM

BaltACD
Where are the weed weasels when they are needed? Making fireable mistakes!

Fascinating, but for more than just that amusing reason:

1) This report never quite seems to explain how the Three Stooges came to be on that train, looking at the wrong timetable.  It just got more and more comical as it invokes circadian rhythms, a fundamental conflict of sense between trainmasters indicating a route is clear and RTC enforcing "OCS" authority over a route established to be clear, and the unspoken taking the three off the train at the next available place after the stop.  Then we find out CP was consolidating the two subs anyway, but just hadn't quite finished doing that yet.

Someone explain to me what a 'service design specialist' is -- and where I sign up for this 'street-to-seat' program that lets people like that learn from their peers how to mistakenly run trains on an optimized schedule without all that cumbersome conductor prep.

As far as I can see, aside from fixing the wack procedures about OCS, this involves the guy in Fort Steele using the wrong language on the radio to give the crew the idea they had 'clear track' over the Cranbrook sub without explicitly receiving the clearance for that from the RTC.  There are two possibilities here:

1) there wasn't actually clear track, in which case the trainmaster involved should be carefully counseled NOT to use language that appears to authorize movement not formally acknowledged; or

2) there was clear track -- which seems to be the case -- and this is confusion not over 'situational awareness' but over correct bureaucratic procedure in train occupancy control.  That is a very different thing from a SPAD or violation of restricting order; it's easy to say "management people of all people ought to eat the dog food they are supposed to dish out" but I fail to see any particular actual safety hazard involved in this incident (that upbraiding the trainmaster doesn't effectively solve).

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, July 23, 2016 5:55 PM

NDG

The real salient point

Although they were qualified for their respective positions, the train crew of three CP management (non-unionized) employees were not familiar with the territory.

Where are the weed weasels when they are needed?  Making fireable mistakes!

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Posted by NDG on Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:56 PM
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 22, 2016 9:47 PM

To jump or not jump - that is the question, a question as old as time.

http://specialcollection.dotlibrary.dot.gov/Document?db=DOT-RAILROAD&query=(select+37)

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Posted by Norm48327 on Friday, July 22, 2016 4:45 PM

BaltACD
I seem to recall several years ago my carrier had a small plane fly into a cut of cars somewhere up in New York State - don't recall if it was an operating train or a parked cut of cars.

IIRC, that was a small plane landing at South Albany, NY. Landed a bit short in Selkirk Yard.

Norm


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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 22, 2016 4:23 PM

Sunnyland

Reading over the NTSB prelim report, it sounded like what my friend said, the one engineer ran a red signal and he was the one going faster.   That video was something to see, fast thinking and braking, ended up nose to nose but not hitting.  I asked my friend if he ever had to bale, no he did not.   But he was dive bombed by a small plane going over a bridge in IL, the guy pulled up at the last minute. He said try explaining that to dispatch-I hit a plane or a plane  hit me. 

I seem to recall several years ago my carrier had a small plane fly into a cut of cars somewhere up in New York State - don't recall if it was an operating train or a parked cut of cars.

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Posted by Sunnyland on Friday, July 22, 2016 3:13 PM

Reading over the NTSB prelim report, it sounded like what my friend said, the one engineer ran a red signal and he was the one going faster.   That video was something to see, fast thinking and braking, ended up nose to nose but not hitting.  I asked my friend if he ever had to bale, no he did not.   But he was dive bombed by a small plane going over a bridge in IL, the guy pulled up at the last minute. He said try explaining that to dispatch-I hit a plane or a plane  hit me.  

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 22, 2016 8:30 AM

BigJim
Then you weren't paying attention to what was going on!

Oh, I'm well aware of what was going on!  I was writing more or less rhetorically.

The only thing that saved that incident from severe collision was the combination of good braking on the passenger consist and the implicit bravery of the local crew in reversing quickly at as high a rate of acceleration as their (multiple engine) consist could produce.  Even at that, the two trains came within no more than a few feet of collision. 

It is easier to pick out -- in hindsight -- that the trains will not ultimately collide if we watch from the perspective of one train relative to the other, but it is not as easy to gauge using the fixed frame of outside reference, particularly with the way the camera is panned into the frame of the reversing units where the rate of deceleration/acceleration is difficult to assess nearly end-on.

I would point out that the person who was there, who probably had a better view of the impending incident than either of us did, chose to swing out, I think carefully watching, and judged to bail out completely while his train was still moving at considerable speed.  That indicated to me either that it wasn't really very obvious that there wouldn't be a collision, or that he found it really very obvious that his little fiberglass kiddie-car nose wouldn't afford him much protection...

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Posted by BigJim on Thursday, July 21, 2016 11:45 PM

Overmod
I still can't quite understand why that train didn't hit, and hit hard...

Then you weren't paying attention to what was going on! Go  back and look at it again. It's really very obvious. I easily picked it out the first time I saw that video some time back.

.

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Posted by Sunnyland on Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:49 PM

 To Norm48327 -As far as I know it is fact based.  This guy was an excellent engineer and still has a lot of friends at BNSF so I'm sure he got the facts from former co-workers.  He's not the type to start wild rumors.   I did read in news that the one train did run a red signal, one train was running 66 mph and the other was doing 25 mph.  

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:42 AM

Euclid
I would have never imagined that jumping from a motor vehicle to avoid being in a collision would have ever been seriously proposed. But if it was, I will take your word for it. I would like to see any references to the practice if possible.

My grandfather was an EENT in Kingston, PA.  Sometime in the 1940s he evidently took an interest in the evolving field of high-speed vehicle trauma and put together a file of articles and clippings on the subject, which I 'inherited' after he closed his office and sent all the furnishings down to be stored in our large, but flood-prone, basement in Englewood, NJ.  Much of what I know on the subject comes from early reading of that material, although where it is now, or how much of it has survived various catastrophes since, I don't know.  Some of that material was wondrous frightening in ways that just 'blood and guts' photography would not be.

At the risk of irritating folks in the community:

The problem with jumping is that you want to delay it until you are certain that a collision will take place, and be severe enough that jumping clear is your best bet. But there can be no certainty that jumping would be preferable to riding out the collision.

In the railroad context, there is an additional consideration, which is that the behavior of the consist during the accident also concerns safety, and involves high momentum and unpredictable dynamic behavior.  I am frankly amazed that anyone bailing out of the Panhandle collision could possibly survive, even if they joined the birds as soon as they recognized the other train was not stopping.

All the 'knowledgeable wisdom' I've ever seen in many years of looking at locomotive safety has been that it's better to try to ride it out in the cab than to jump out into the land of accordioning freight cars and remove all doubt.  That wouldn't apply to the LRC example, where you'd be about as safe in a collision as you'd be in a Boston rocker, holding a cafeteria tray in front of you, with a 251 strapped to the back.

 

When it comes to judging the likelihood of a train collision, at least one can quickly see the route conflict, and the certainty of where the train will inevitably travel in relation to the other train.

That sure wasn't true in the clip BaltACD provided!  In fact, aside from the red signal indications, I'd have thought clearly that the opposing train was stopped for 'my' train to take siding right up to the point I was diverging.  Part of that involves the deceptive relative speed of trains seen head-on,  which involves your next point.

 

Also, because trains take a long distance to stop, they offer longer warning of an impending collision.

I'm not sure whether this means there's more 'assurance' of the likelihood of a collision due to the known limits on braking, or whether railroad sight distances leave more time to make a decision on what to do because you know you can't stop in time.  I think you are right that many railroad crashes provide more seconds of 'decision time', but in all too many of those cases this is only more time to agonize over the virtual assurance of impending death or dismemberment.  There was certainly the assumption (in the secure-cab development work) that in most cases of very severe impending impact, there would be limited effect of braking or swerving forces to prohibit the crew reaching, accessing, and bolting down the 'armored refuge' as needed, and ample time to do so after assuring the train was correctly in full 'most effective braking'.  It will be interesting, in a kind of cold analytical way, to see whether the crew of the eastbound at Panhandle made any attempt to reach the 'refuge zone' in their cab before impact, but as I've already said, I don't think they did.

[EDIT: in the post you made while I was writing this, you bring up the situation where it is clear there will be a collsion between two trains, but only after a protracted time.  In that situation there are several variables, the idea probably being that if you can get sufficient 'way' off the train you're on, you want to get off it and away from the ROW by the time the actual collision and subsequent pileup occur.  In the Panhandle case it appears that the surviving engineer made the judgment that jumping at high speed was the only shot at survival; he shot the moon and seems to have won.]

I suspect there is a field of psychology that determines how people behave in impossible situations, like the people who jumped out of the World Trade Center knowing they wouldn't survive the fall.  This collision has strong potential similarity, and it would be interesting to see what someone like schlimm thinks about it.

 

In a vehicle crash, the time interval between realizing that a collision will occur, and its actual occurrence is much shorter.

You'd be surprised at just how long the subjective time can be, and how irritating it is that physics don't follow the heightened awareness ;-}

My wife was recently in one of the worst high-speed Interstate crashes I've ever seen, in which deflected traffic moving at over 70mph passed immediately both ahead of and behind her car and missed her only because she was steering, accelerating, and braking to miss them.  She said she was amazed at how much time there was to decide what to do about the vehicles coming at her; it helped that she was driving a car (CLK55 AMG) capable of executing strong control inputs reliably.  Interestingly, in that accident (which I witnessed from a following vehicle) there would have been no time whatsoever to physically release the belts and bail out of the vehicle, let alone avoided many of the other moving hazards including considerable following traffic.

 

And also, the conclusion that a crash will occur is much less certain because there is always a possibility of a last second dodge or near miss.

The situation in the Thirties and Forties was somewhat different.  Between the narrower tires, much more primitive suspensions, crude body construction and gas-tank placement, the steering column pointed like a spear at your chest, etc. it was well-recognized that being inside the car at all was to risk all manner of more-or-less assured death from any substantial impact, either with another vehicle or something at the end of the accident 'trajectory'.  That was probably not helped by the portrayal of accidents in popular media.  (As an amusing aside: the Chrysler corporation contributed vehicles to many TV series in the '60s for promotional purposes.  My eight-year-old conclusion, watching these series, was that I would never own a Chrysler product because they always rolled over in accidents and promptly and conclusively burst out into flame all over the chassis.  You can guess why that might not be quite a valid conclusion ... but I'll bet many other people watching the shows reached similar conclusions about how cars would behave in serious accidents...)

The moral, if there is one, is that people would be prepared to jump 'first', at the mere indication of impending crash, for a variety of good or at least rational 'reasons'.  Many of those have been intentionally or peripherally removed over the years by various kinds of safety construction or devices, and a considerable amount of danger from loss-of-control accidents that do not involve collision has been reduced by the lessening of mass over the years relative to body integrity.

 

So, it seems that with an impending vehicle crash, the resolve to bail out would not be available until just a split second prior to impact.

Depends on the opinion, and probably the nerve, of the people involved.  As noted, for railroad crashes, the decision might be made very early and not particularly 'rationally' in order to assure some combination of getting clear ahead of the 'pile-up zone' or being able to scramble further free, or to some form of shelter, by the time the accident propagated to where the person was.  As you noted, to the extent crashes might happen in 'slow motion' with the assumption that slow braking won't prevent trains from stopping in time, jumping early but not later might become the reflex.

Personally, in a motor-vehicle crash I've never even considered bailing out, as there is too much possibility of the unattended motor vehicle causing secondary collision or damage that I might have been able to prevent.  I cannot explain how I survived a couple of incidents involving long, high-speed loss of control, a couple of which were likely candidates for 'safer bailouts' (going straight backward in a Lincoln at 104mph, anyone, or a 1080-plus in the back seat of a Cadillac convertible around a blind Interstate curve?) but they all involved hunkering down and resisting g and impact forces rather than getting out.  After the crash stops -- that's another matter entirely!

 

I have seen a few train collisions around here where crewmembers jumped to avoid being in a collision. The results were mixed. In all cases, the crewmembers might have taken the opposite course if they did if they had it to do over again.

The question to ask -- of the survivors who jumped -- would be what they were thinking, and whether they would do it again in similar circumstances.  You didn't ask them, did you? -- because I'd be highly interested -- not in this thread, but another one with the specific topic -- to hear from railroaders who actually chose to bail or stay, and their reasonings.  And most if not all of this post should be moved there, and not kept here.  This thread is not a good place for analytical decisions or what-ifs; they cheapen the tragedy I think we should keep in mind while discussing the specific subject of this accident.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:24 AM

Overmod
 
Euclid
 Train collisions are often preceded by a large interval of time to jump off.

I am not sure what I would have done.  Don’t get me wrong.  I never meant to suggest that the decision was easy.  On the contrary, I think it would be one of the most difficult decisions a person would ever face.  In the case of head-on train collisions, there is often the clear appearance of each train to the other long before there is a clear indication that one is about to foul the other. 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 17, 2016 9:43 AM

Overmod
 
Euclid
Of course, you are being absurd in your remark about rules for jumping out of your car to avoid being in a collision.

 

Why so?  A number of the discussions (both technical and in the press) concerning high-speed motor vehicle lethality clearly cover 'when to jump' (and, at least in the late '40s, clearly indicate that jumping is preferable for many kinds of accident even though 'it is like being thrown from the Century at top speed', to paraphrase one article)  It's really only with the advent of belts, bags, safety steering columns, crumple zones, etc. that it's safer to stay in the car than bail out...

 

I would have never imagined that jumping from a motor vehicle to avoid being in a collision would have ever been seriously proposed.  But if it was, I will take your word for it.  I would like to see any references to the practice if possible. 

The problem with jumping is that you want to delay it until you are certain that a collision will take place, and be severe enough that jumping clear is your best bet.  But there can be no certainty that jumping would be preferable to riding out the collision. 

When it comes to judging the likelihood of a train collision, at least one can quickly see the route conflict, and the certainty of where the train will inevitably travel in relation to the other train. Also, because trains take a long distance to stop, they offer longer warning of an impending collision.   

In a vehicle crash, the time interval between realizing that a collision will occur, and its actual occurrence is much shorter.  And also, the conclusion that a crash will occur is much less certain because there is always a possibility of a last second dodge or near miss.  So, it seems that with an impending vehicle crash, the resolve to bail out would not be available until just a split second prior to impact. 

I have seen a few train collisions around here where crewmembers jumped to avoid being in a collision.  The results were mixed.  In all cases, the crewmembers might have taken the opposite course if they did if they had it to do over again. 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, July 16, 2016 11:27 AM

Deggesty
 
caldreamer

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

 

 

 

No, Ira, this has been noted on several threads that 2 (or more) main tracks means that each track is signaled for traffic in both directions. In an ETT, the usual representation is 2MT CTC. Some roads have had a diagram running alongside the station listing, showing the number of tracks, and using color coding to indicate the presence of CTC, ABS, or dark territory.

 

As I understand it, if you do not have CTC on a stretch with two tracks, you have a double track stretch that would have signals in one direction only for each track--whether it is ABS or better.

I also understand that if you do not have CTC, you operate under Track Warranty Control, with the dispatcher giving you authority to enter a particular stretch of road, whether it has block signals or is dark territory.

 

Where you have two tracks each signalled only in one direction/current of traffic, if GCOR rule 9.14 (equivalent to rule 251) is in effect, it allows trains to run on signal indication. 

All the two track areas I run are now CTC/2 main track.  When we had Double track/9.14 territory all we received was a track warrant to deliver track bulletins. It had the "other specific instructions" box checked and stated it was only to deliver track bulletins and did not convey authority to occupy the main track. (Even in CTC and TWC territory you get a track warrant to deliver bulletins only.) The authority to occupy the main track in 9.14 (and CTC) is either verbal authority to enter or a proceed indication from a controlled signal.  In TWC, the authority is a track warrant that authorizes a train/engine to proceed from/to or work between.

You can also have yard limits/restricted limits in effect on ABS or dark main tracks.  We have a section of two main track ABS/Yard Limits across Council Bluffs.  Both tracks are signalled for movement in either direction but use of them is governed by Yard Limits.

Jeff

PS. I believe the rule book Zug works with is still pretty much has the rules numbered close to the traditional rule numberings.  (I had links to most of the rule books currently in use on my old laptop. Sadly it died and I haven't tried finding those links yet.) GCOR started out that way, but the third edition (1995) renumbered them into chapters 1 thru 19, although 18 and 19 are reserved for future use.   

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Friday, July 15, 2016 4:06 PM

 Great Information!

 

Thank You!

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, July 15, 2016 2:02 PM

caldreamer

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

 

No, Ira, this has been noted on several threads that 2 (or more) main tracks means that each track is signaled for traffic in both directions. In an ETT, the usual representation is 2MT CTC. Some roads have had a diagram running alongside the station listing, showing the number of tracks, and using color coding to indicate the presence of CTC, ABS, or dark territory.

As I understand it, if you do not have CTC on a stretch with two tracks, you have a double track stretch that would have signals in one direction only for each track--whether it is ABS or better.

I also understand that if you do not have CTC, you operate under Track Warrant Control, with the dispatcher giving you authority to enter a particular stretch of road, whether it has block signals or is dark territory.

Johnny

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 15, 2016 1:28 PM

Euclid
Of course, you are being absurd in your remark about rules for jumping out of your car to avoid being in a collision.

Why so?  A number of the discussions (both technical and in the press) concerning high-speed motor vehicle lethality clearly cover 'when to jump' (and, at least in the late '40s, clearly indicate that jumping is preferable for many kinds of accident even though 'it is like being thrown from the Century at top speed', to paraphrase one article)  It's really only with the advent of belts, bags, safety steering columns, crumple zones, etc. that it's safer to stay in the car than bail out...

Train collisions are often preceded by a large interval of time to jump off.

In the immediately preceding video Balt provided: at exactly what point would you have concluded there might be a collision and you should get out?  Did that leave you enough reaction and judgment time to act, and then time enough to get out a door and off the engine?

That's not to say there are plenty of collisions that give you a bit more warning.  Take this one, for instance; about the likeliest one for 'bailing out' I have seen (crash stop from 93mph inside a fiberglass kiddie-car)

Typical Internet snarks laugh at the guy for bailing out as he did, accusing him of abandoning the ship and all that.  I find most of his actions to be common-sense (other than losing his footing as he dismounted).  I still can't quite understand why that train didn't hit, and hit hard...

 

The point is that collisions happen despite the fact that rules should be followed. I can't see someone deciding to ride out a collsion that they could safely avoid by jumping just because the collision is the result of a rule not being followed.

Just what "point" this is supposed to establish is unclear.  Whether you jump or not isn't a matter of you having 'broken a rule' or not; it's a matter of whether you think you'd be safer trying to get to the FRA 'armored refuge' (if you think that would do you any good at 100+mph closing speed) or bailing out into what will shortly be a sea of colliding metal jackstraws and shrapnel.  There's no GCOR or NORAC provision that can, or really should, govern a decision like that.

One of the haunting issues here is that the person at Panhandle who bailed out said Lara was 'right behind him'.  Did she freeze a bit, or just not have enough time to follow where he went before the forces caught her?  I suppose it doesn't really matter, and I'm as sad as anyone that there was no rule that would have helped her much.

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, July 15, 2016 12:44 PM

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 15, 2016 11:08 AM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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