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NS serious derailment late feb 3 ( ~2100 )

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Posted by Euclid on Friday, February 17, 2023 2:58 PM

tree68

 

 
MrLynn
a train-length cable

 

Just put it on the ECP line...

 

That is why there now a push to include extensive sensors with conversion to ECP.  But if you just had sensors alone, could they be made to recognize the sensors nearest to them, so the train would be smart enough to know the order of the cars and show which car was affected by malfunction?

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 17, 2023 3:18 PM

Euclid
That is why there now a push to include extensive sensors with conversion to ECP.  But if you just had sensors alone, could they be made to recognize the sensors nearest to them, so the train would be smart enough to know the order of the cars and show which car was affected by malfunction?

One approach comes from the protocols developed for the Internet of Things (cleverly abbreviated IoT and one of those great buzzword terms like AI or ML).  Each module at a journal box has its own IPv6 URL, they are assigned by car, which has a number that is assigned to the pair of trucks.  The manifest has the car numbers in order in the consist; any of the detectors associated with the URL is easily referenced to the train, location, etc. very simply, and multiple redundant 'modalities' can be used to transfer the data or relay them (probably via simple TCP/IP as for IoT).

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Posted by caldreamer on Friday, February 17, 2023 8:31 PM

Trains carrying certain hazerdous materials are furthur regulated. they are called "key trains" and are limited to how many hazardous materials cars can be on the train as well are restricted to a maximum speed of 35 MPH. For example any car carrying hazardous materials that are PIH or TIH (poison inhalation hazard or toxic inhalation hazard) substances makes the train a key train even if there is only 1 such car on the train..

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Posted by Convicted One on Friday, February 17, 2023 11:30 PM

mudchicken
Maybe now the newsworkers and other brainless wonders will back off enough to let FRA and NTSB get into their work without all the hysteria

 

Something tells me that those pesky videos arenot going to fall into the cracks?

USA TODAY videos

 

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, February 18, 2023 7:43 AM

I wonder how often engine crews turn around to check out their trains nowadays?  Maybe our resident engineers could tell us.  What with reduced crews, increased workload and all the lineside technology, I wonder if some crews are lax about it.  To that can be added that with today's train lengths, they can never see more than maybe 25% of their consist, maybe they just think "why bother".

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 18, 2023 8:58 AM
When the train derailed, flammable chemicals spilled out and were ignited by the derailment action.  These chemicals pooled on the ground and would have burned until the material was exhausted.  There were also tank cars that had not breached, and were being heated by the fire near them.  This heating of the un-breached cars created a risk of causing them to explode.
 
One news report said that fire hoses had been permanently trained on these un-breached cars near the fire to keep them cool enough to prevent an explosion.  The news said that this water cooling process had been ordered to be stopped, and they could not learn why that decision was made.
 
I gather that shortly afterward, a new decision was made and executed that was to use explosives to blow holes in the un-breached cars so their content could drain out and join the pooled and burning chemicals.  The point was to burn all of the material off in the open pools rather than take the risk of the un-breached cars of overheating and exploding.  While this decision did prevent a possible explosion, might the original plan of keeping the un-breached cars cool by pouring cold water on them also have prevented an explosion? 
 
If so, was the actual reason for the change of plan to speed up the process of extinguishing the fire so the line could be reopened quicker?  We all know that in any derailment, the railroad company is in a spectacular rush to get the line reopened at all costs.  We have heard the story of destroying 50 new Cadillacs to save time in reopening the line after a derailment. 
 
Was speeding up the line reopening the reason for changing the plan from water cooling the un-breached cars; to intentional breaching them to add their fuel to the fire?
 
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS. 
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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:07 AM

Euclid
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS. 

A lot of words for saying they flip-flopped.   

 

 

  

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, February 18, 2023 11:14 AM

Perhaps the reason they quit using the water-cooling method on the tank cars was the runoff getting all over the place, and including some of the contents of the cars. That might explain all the dead fish.

 

As far as prevention:

I do think the base system could be sensors on or above the trucks that simply trigger a braking of the train.  Using the train air line to stop the train.  Then "someone" gets to walk the train and deal with it.  A benefit of this is that you don't need it on every car for the concept to work.  IF it was only on that one car that failed, it still would have stopped the train.

I am a bit wary of systems that depend on aerial transmission and/or complicated paths for data transmission.  THOSE perhaps, could be overlaid over the one above.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, February 18, 2023 1:56 PM

7j43k
I am a bit wary of systems that depend on aerial transmission and/or complicated paths for data transmission.  THOSE perhaps, could be overlaid over the one above.

And there lies the rub, as they say.

There are already known issues with DPU comms in some cases, and those are going to be bigger, more robust systems with good antennae.  A milliwatt system isn't going to cut it.

Electrical power is still going to be an issue.  Yes, batteries and solar.  Yes, that will cost money to maintain.

As for applying the brakes from the car - you'd have to find an air flow that was enough to overcome the pressure maintaining mechanism in the airbrake system.  And do that without putting the train in emergency.

We need a cost/benefit analysis.  Pinto, anyone?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, February 18, 2023 3:25 PM

zugmann

 

 
Euclid
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS. 

 

A lot of words for saying they flip-flopped.   

 

 

 

Or they simply recognized that the NS personnel didn't have a clue 

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 18, 2023 3:38 PM
It seems obvious that railcars full of vinyl chloride are going to occasionally derail, breach, and burn.  When this happens, what is the effective means of dealing with it?  Is there any way to extinguish the fire?  If not, is there no possible concept for a means to extinguish the fire?  If there is a concept, is the the cost too high?
 
From what I understand, vinyl chloride is a potent carcinogen that has no safe level for human exposure.  What kind of response would have been made if the five cars of vinyl chloride were ripped open in the derailment?
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Posted by mvlandsw on Saturday, February 18, 2023 3:48 PM

Backshop

I wonder how often engine crews turn around to check out their trains nowadays?  Maybe our resident engineers could tell us.  What with reduced crews, increased workload and all the lineside technology, I wonder if some crews are lax about it.  To that can be added that with today's train lengths, they can never see more than maybe 25% of their consist, maybe they just think "why bother".

 

    I can't comment on current engineers but I used to set the rear view mirror so that I could glance back at the train at every right hand curve.  At night I would turn off all lights on any trailing units so that any light or spark would be easily visible and an indication of a problem. At places where conditions allowed a longer view I would turn around to give the train a more detailed inspection.

   I did have a hotbox burn off once causing a derailment of about 15 cars that destroyed an interlocking. The bad car was 25 cars and 3 units deep in the train but the 25 cars were all 89' auto racks. That was too far back to spot from the locomotive on the curving tree lined right of way, especially in daylight.

  This happened less than 20 miles after a defect detector had cleared the train with no defects.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 18, 2023 4:01 PM

Euclid
It seems obvious that railcars full of vinyl chloride are going to occasionally derail, breach, and burn.  When this happens, what is the effective means of dealing with it?  Is there any way to extinguish the fire?  If not, is there no possible concept for a means to extinguish the fire?  If there is a concept, is the the cost too high?
 
From what I understand, vinyl chloride is a potent carcinogen that has no safe level for human exposure.  What kind of response would have been made if the five cars of vinyl chloride were ripped open in the derailment?

 

 

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, February 18, 2023 4:31 PM

MVLANDSW--Thank you very much for your response.  That's exactly what I was looking for.

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Saturday, February 18, 2023 7:22 PM

Sooo here are my question: 

if vinyl chloride is so dangerous in that state, why does it need to be transported a thousand miles? As a whole, we really need to restidy our supply chains people. 

Two - sounds like people panicked and were more worried about the car exploding? Being at a derailments, I can say misinform and lack of direction flows fast. Feel bad for everyone on the front lines

Was the private tank car the one with the burning axle? Looked like a grain car or box car

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 18, 2023 7:31 PM

Outsailing86
Sooo here are my question: 

if vinyl chloride is so dangerous in that state, why does it need to be transported a thousand miles? As a whole, we really need to restidy our supply chains people. 

Two - sounds like people panicked and were more worried about the car exploding? Being at a derailments, I can say misinform and lack of direction flows fast. Feel bad for everyone on the front lines

Was the private tank car the one with the burning axle? Looked like a grain car or box car

As industry has built itself in the USA, the manufacturing centers and the chemical producing centers have gravitated to different areas of the country because of the various local benefits that make the areas where each exists desireable for what they are producing.  

The American economy has always been about transporting product between shippers and consignees for the beneift of both as well as the carrier that take part in the movement.

I believe the first shipmnet of product on the B&O was moving barrells of flour from Ellicott Mills where it was milled to Baltimore where it could be made into baked goods for the citizens of Baltimore.

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Posted by n012944 on Saturday, February 18, 2023 7:55 PM

charlie hebdo

 

 
zugmann

 

 
Euclid
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS. 

 

A lot of words for saying they flip-flopped.   

 

 

 

 

 

Or they simply recognized that the NS personnel didn't have a clue 

 

 

More likely they didn't like the backlash they received from the uneducated, and are worried about next elections votes.  

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Posted by NittanyLion on Saturday, February 18, 2023 8:13 PM

Outsailing86
why does it need to be transported a thousand miles? As a whole, we really need to restidy our supply chains people. 

Simple: few places have all of the resources needed to make something.  There will always be at least one component that has to travel. 

I see molten phenol come through my neighborhood all the time.  Pretty nasty stuff.  It is derived from petroleum, but it is used in such a wide variety of products that it is unlikely that you could locate all of the phenol using production to the oilfields.  They're so broad that you've got one company making fighter jet canopies, another making rope, and another making throat spray. 

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, February 18, 2023 8:29 PM

BaltACD
As industry has built itself in the USA, the manufacturing centers and the chemical producing centers have gravitated to different areas of the country because of the various local benefits that make the areas where each exists desireable for what they are producing. 

Royal Dutch Shell just opened (Nov. '22) its new "Ethane Cracker" just outside Pittsburgh. Anyone living along much of the former Pennsy main or other routes into the area should get used to having more cars of plastics and related chemicals passing through town.

https://pghindependent.com/royal-dutch-shells-massive-plastics-plant-in-beaver-county-95-complete/

A million tons per year of plastic pellets.

https://www.shell.us/about-us/projects-and-locations/shell-polymers.html

This plant is 22.8 miles away from the wreck site.

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by mvlandsw on Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:14 PM

Royal Dutch Shell's  new "Ethane Cracker" is located on an ex P&LE branch now owned by CSX. They will probably get most of the traffic.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, February 18, 2023 9:59 PM

MrLynn

 

 
NittanyLion
tree68
There is also the logistical problem of how to know which sensor is in alarm.  Somehow we'd have to have a way to reconcile the unique ID to a specific bearing. 

 This one seems pretty easy.  The bearing monitors report to a module on the car, which then transmits to the EOT or lineside that there's an overheat condition.  It just reports that TILX 342921 is overheated. Does it need to know which bearing is the problem?  Even if you do, the car already has an A and B end, so you have an A truck and B truck. You have an inboard and outboard axle.  There's a left and right side, using the B end as the "front" of the car.  So TILX 342921BIL is a unique identifier that requires no database management or anything outside of the actual module itself.

As for power, is there any reason that you couldn't just use one of the axles? You don't need a ton of power to run something like this.  If you can't draw power from axle rotations, a small solar panel (6x9 or so) and a long life battery could get it done.

 

 

This answers many of the objections to sensors on every truck on every car: a train-length cable and unique axle/bearing IDs; signal sent only when heat detected.  Sensors powered by small generators on the wheels, like I used to have on my bicycle, recharging a battery.  

"requires no database management"  Love it!

 

A signal sent only when heat is detected?  Like when the air brakes are applied?

When possible, we're supposed to refrain from setting air closely approaching or going over a detector.  It's possible to "spoof" a hotbox detector.  The detectors look for a large spike in heat, but also the overall temps of the whole train.  A small difference in heat from a car may not cause a defect alert, but it will send a notice to the "bearing desk" who will track a car over the next detectors.

A brake application could mask that one car is starting to overheat when going over a detector.  By the time it reaches the next detector it might be hot enough to have the large spike.  Or it might burn off before reaching the next detector.

Jeff

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 18, 2023 10:11 PM

charlie hebdo

 

 
zugmann

 

 
Euclid
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS. 

 

A lot of words for saying they flip-flopped.   

 

 

 

 

 

Or they simply recognized that the NS personnel didn't have a clue 

 

I would not call it a flip flop.  The way it was described, the two governors felt like they had been pressured and betrayed by NS into accepting a plan that they have since come to doubt that it was the right thing to do.  But I don't think the verdict is in on how dangerous it was.  There are probably more shoes to drop.  By the way the vinyl chloride is described, I assume that a lot of people were overexposed to it.  

Also, apparently the chemicals burning on the ground next to the vinyl chloride tanks cars were not vinyl chloride.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 18, 2023 10:42 PM

Euclid
 
charlie hebdo 
zugmann 
Euclid
The Governors of Ohio and Pennsylvania seem to have expressed the idea that they were pushed into this intentional breach plan by NS, after NS had conceived of the plan and pressed hard for it to be implemented.  Immediately afterward, both Governors expressed regret over approving the plan, and said they now believe it was the wrong thing to do.  These Governors immediately announced their intent to join together in filing a lawsuit against NS.  

A lot of words for saying they flip-flopped.    

Or they simply recognized that the NS personnel didn't have a clue  

I would not call it a flip flop.  The way it was described, the two governors felt like they had been pressured and betrayed by NS into accepting a plan that they have since come to doubt that it was the right thing to do.  But I don't think the verdict is in on how dangerous it was.  There are probably more shoes to drop.  By the way the vinyl chloride is described, I assume that a lot of people were overexposed to it.  

Also, apparently the chemicals burning on the ground next to the vinyl chloride tanks cars were not vinyl chloride.

Remember, in cases such as this, we will never know the results of the opposite of the decision that WAS made.  We don't know if the cars that were a part of the 'controlled burn' would have developed excessive internal pressures and then resulted in multiple BLEVE type uncontrolled explosions and what the results of those explosions would have been.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, February 19, 2023 7:38 AM

It seems like coverage fas now become nothing more than political posturing and futhering agendas by all sides.

All reasonable coverage seems to  have all  but ceased. Social media where hyperbole is worse than the regular media has turned a bad situation into a near apocalyptic incident. And now the regular media is following suit.

Meanwhile, politicians change their positions as the political winds change their direction.

It's too bad those Governors didn't let the cars BLEVE.  Tank cars rocketing through the air would've looked good on youtube and Facebook. 

Jeff 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, February 19, 2023 8:07 AM

BaltACD
Remember, in cases such as this, we will never know the results of the opposite of the decision that WAS made.  We don't know if the cars that were a part of the 'controlled burn' would have developed excessive internal pressures and then resulted in multiple BLEVE type uncontrolled explosions and what the results of those explosions would have been.

I agree.  I don’t expect to ever know anything for sure about most news, and especially this Palestine story.  Important unknowable points are:
 

1)   The toxicity and exposure danger of vinyl chloride in open air.  

2)   The gas/vapor state of the vinyl chloride when controlled explosive vented from the un-breached cars.

3)   Whether or not all vinyl chloride burned up and converted to its “ash” compounds as the smoke plume rose, resulting in zero vinyl chloride in the fallout back to the ground.

4)   The full description of the highest state-of-the art firefighting apparatus that is available for the best possible control and mitigation of fires of this nature.  This would include suppressing and extinguishing the fire as quickly as possible while preventing explosions. 

 
 
From what happened in Palestine, I conclude that these types of spills and fires are complete wild cards that have the clear potential to destroy cities and kill a large number of people. 
 
It seems clear to me that better methods and preventives are needed.  For one thing, hotboxes and sticking brakes give prolonged warning by a vivid display of sparks and fire.  But the success of the wayside detectors seems sketchy.  I expect this wreck will focus attention on improving detectors.
 
Also, spilled liquid chemicals are bound to leach/percolate into the ground unless it is frozen.  So the entire roadbed should be underlain with a liquid proof membrane that will catch any spilled liquid.  That way, when a liquid chemical spill occurs, it will flow down into this containment defined by the membrane.  Then special excavating and vacuum equipment will remove all track, ballast, and soils above the membrane.  In this way, every drop of the spilled chemical will be recovered and safely handled.
 
There will be none of this nonsense of spilled chemicals lost by leaching into creeks and other waterways to be carried and dispersed over miles into other states and towns; while leaving active residue all along the way.  This infallible containment needs to be a basic part of railroad infrastructure if it is expected to haul toxic liquids.    
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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, February 19, 2023 8:10 AM

Euclid
Also, spilled liquid chemicals are bound to leach/percolate into the ground unless it is frozen.  So the entire roadbed should be underlain with a liquid proof membrane that will catch any spilled liquid.  That way, when a liquid chemical spill occurs, it will flow down into this containment defined by the membrane.  Then special excavating and vacuum equipment will remove all track, ballast, and soils above the membrane.  In this way, every drop of the spilled chemical will be recovered and safely handled.

How would you deal with drainage of stuff like .... rain? 

 

And we thoguht ECP brakes would be complicated.  Whew. 

  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, February 19, 2023 8:35 AM

zugmann

 

 
Euclid
Also, spilled liquid chemicals are bound to leach/percolate into the ground unless it is frozen.  So the entire roadbed should be underlain with a liquid proof membrane that will catch any spilled liquid.  That way, when a liquid chemical spill occurs, it will flow down into this containment defined by the membrane.  Then special excavating and vacuum equipment will remove all track, ballast, and soils above the membrane.  In this way, every drop of the spilled chemical will be recovered and safely handled.

 

How would you deal with drainage of stuff like .... rain? 

 

 

 

With a pipeline. Lord knows people love pipelines.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, February 19, 2023 8:44 AM

The sad part is with all the political bickering (amazing how everyone is pro-environment this week) and conspiracy theories, the people affected by this will be pushed to the wayside and forgotten as soon as the photo ops are over and the next incident that becomes the media's darling shows up to grasp the 17-second attention span of the average Tiktok user. 

 

*looks in the sky for another balloon*. 

  

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Sunday, February 19, 2023 8:47 AM

We keep talking about how concerns over monopolistic pricing may cause Congress to re-regulate the railroad industry. The companies shipping these chemicals seem to be some of most vocal parties. Perhaps Congress should look at more regulations on the shipping of chemicals- whether it be buy train, truck or pipeline.                          
      If better safety practices meant higher shipping costs, I think a good case could be made that it is worth the investment.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, February 19, 2023 9:26 AM

Murphy Siding
We keep talking about how concerns over monopolistic pricing may cause Congress to re-regulate the railroad industry. The companies shipping these chemicals seem to be some of most vocal parties. Perhaps Congress should look at more regulations on the shipping of chemicals- whether it be buy train, truck or pipeline.                          

      If better safety practices meant higher shipping costs, I think a good case could be made that it is worth the investment.

The thing I find ironic in the companies that are complaining about railroads having pricing power with their customers, is that those same 'customers' have monopolistic pricing power over their own customers.

Pots don't like being heated no matter their size.

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