Trains.com

Amtrak 501 Derail in Washington State

71255 views
1887 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,917 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, December 22, 2017 12:32 PM

A little better article ..  

http://news.trust.org/item/20171222183022-nk8ix/

"About six seconds prior to the derailment, the engineer made a comment regarding an over speed condition," the board said.

"The engineer's actions were consistent with the application of the locomotive's brakes just before the recording ended. It did not appear the engineer placed the brake handle in emergency-braking mode," the board said.

 

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,375 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, December 22, 2017 12:54 PM

Thanks rdamon.  I will read that article.

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 2,591 posts
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Friday, December 22, 2017 1:09 PM

Euclid
I guess the engineer's mouth just opened, and out came the word, "speed".

Or some other word beginning with "S."

Still in training.


  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,375 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, December 22, 2017 1:12 PM

That indicates that the train was about 700 feet from the point of derailment when the engineer realized he was speeding.  However, he was not actually exceeding the speed limit at that point because he had not yet passed the 30 mph speed restriction sign at the curve.  So what he must have meant is that he was traveling too fast to get down to 30 in time.  So he apparently had forgotten where he was in relation to the 30 mph zone, and then either remembered by landmark or was reminded by the possible appearance of the 30 mph marker. 

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 1:28 PM

Euclid

That indicates that the train was about 700 feet from the point of derailment...So he apparently had forgotten where he was in relation to the 30 mph zone...

 

 

"The engineer then applied the brakes but apparently not the emergency brake, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said..."

 

Either the engineer:

 

was STILL forgetting where he was, since he applied a brake that would never slow the train in time to avert derailment--an inappropriate choice if he KNEW where he was

OR

DID suddenly figure out where he was, but was so poorly trained that he made the wrong choice in brake application--not that it would have solved the problem

 

Seems to me an engineer, suddenly made aware of his train's situation, would have regarded it as an EMERGENCY.  And hit the EMERGENCY brake.

Are there professional train handlers out there who see it differently?

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 1:42 PM

Oh, yes.

The maximum non-tipping speed for an F9 through a 7 degree curve is 68 MPH--a little faster with superelevation.

Perhaps the engineer thought he could shave 11 MPH off the speed before hitting the curve.  With non-emergency braking.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,375 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, December 22, 2017 2:18 PM

Some engineers hesitate to make an emergency application if they are not absolutely certain that it is necessary.  They make a mental calculation to weigh the necessity or benefit of the emergency application against the risk that the emergency application may derail their train. 

We have had a lengthy thread discussing this topic on the general forum about a year or so ago. 

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,917 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, December 22, 2017 2:31 PM

Is there an overspeed alarm in the SC-44?

If so would that be set to 79 mph?

Maybe the brake application was to take the speed back down below 79 mph.

Backing the theory of not knowing where you are at ..

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • From: I've been everywhere, man
  • 3,933 posts
Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, December 22, 2017 2:41 PM

Euclid

Some engineers hesitate to make an emergency application if they are not absolutely certain that it is necessary.  They make a mental calculation to weigh the necessity or benefit of the emergency application against the risk that the emergency application may derail their train. 

We have had a lengthy thread discussing this topic on the general forum about a year or so ago. 

That is not a concern on a short passenger train.  The threat of derailment comes from the mixed makeup and heavy tonnage of long freight trains, and the varied braking ability of each freight car.

We're I running a very short train, about the only time I would think twice about making an emergency brake application would be if I were about to hit a fuel truck at a crossing.  Stopping too quickly can leave the lead locomotive inside the fireball zone, while hitting the truck harder may punch it off the track and save the train crew instead.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 3:00 PM

I found such a lengthy thread.  And read part of it.  As you point out, it is lengthy.

OUR engineer made a choice.

He thought he MIGHT ride it out, and the choice he made implies that.  He was wrong.

If he thought the train was going to derail, I expect the right choice is emergency, so as to bring the train to the slowest possible speed before the event--thus possibly saving lives.

If he was not convinced of a derailment, massive controlled braking might be the better choice.  That would mean slowing from 81 MPH to 68 MPH, at least.  Can that be done in 700 feet?  That obviously was a wrong choice, since the train did NOT make the curve.

 

Whichever choice he made, the train was going over.  So, in a way, it didn't matter.  However, SLOWING the train would have helped.  And slowing it faster would have helped more.

It will also be interesting to consider his decision making abilities when combining this with his "decision" not to slow in the first place.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 3:07 PM

rdamon

Is there an overspeed alarm in the SC-44?

If so would that be set to 79 mph?

Maybe the brake application was to take the speed back down below 79 mph.

Backing the theory of not knowing where you are at ..

 

 

The engineer hit the brakes at 700 feet before the curve (if I recall properly).  It would appear the reason he did this was that he became aware of the curve ahead.  So why "take the speed back down below 79 mph"?  

THAT ain't gonna get you around that big irritant up ahead.

I agree that it is VERY likely the engineer did not know where he was.  Until he was 700 feet ahead of a dangerous curve.  He DIDN'T know where he was at 800 feet.  Or 1000 feet.  Or 1200 feet.  Because he would have started slowing then.

At 700 feet, he may not have known where he was either, except that there was a nasty looking piece of track just ahead.

Surprise!

 

Ed

  • Member since
    May 2015
  • 1,817 posts
Posted by 243129 on Friday, December 22, 2017 3:15 PM

7j43k

 

 
Euclid

That indicates that the train was about 700 feet from the point of derailment...So he apparently had forgotten where he was in relation to the 30 mph zone...

 

 

 

 

"The engineer then applied the brakes but apparently not the emergency brake, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said..."

 

Either the engineer:

 

was STILL forgetting where he was, since he applied a brake that would never slow the train in time to avert derailment--an inappropriate choice if he KNEW where he was

OR

DID suddenly figure out where he was, but was so poorly trained that he made the wrong choice in brake application--not that it would have solved the problem

 

Seems to me an engineer, suddenly made aware of his train's situation, would have regarded it as an EMERGENCY.  And hit the EMERGENCY brake.

Are there professional train handlers out there who see it differently?

 

 

Ed

 

"Poorly trained" yes you nailed it. The following was buried due to my posts having to be screened by a moderator for whatever reason. I have almost 100 previous posts. Below is a 'warning' which I had issued to management on numerous occasions to no avail.

 

Sadly this has become prophetic.

June 24, 2014
Amtrak: An accident waiting to happen.....again.

I am a recently retired locomotive engineer. My career in engine service spanned the years 1963-2014. I started with the New York, New Haven and Hartford R.R. and after a series of takeovers and mergers I ended my career with Amtrak in 2014. I have experienced many different forms of railroad management techniques from five entities and I must say that Amtrak tops the list as the very worst.
Amtrak is an accident waiting to happen. I loosely compare Amtrak's 1983 takeover of operations on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to Robert Mugabe's takeover of Rhodesia. Mugabe expelled the resident farmers and intellectuals who brought prosperity and technology to the country. Amtrak took over the NEC and installed their own management team eschewing input from the resident veterans. Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, continues to be in dire straits, their currency is worthless and their economy is a shambles. Amtrak is still employing the hit and miss, trial and error tactics it has utilized since inception accompanied by inept,wasteful managerial practices and to this day has still not achieved that which it is capable of. Until recently Amtrak has trundled along despite their inadequacies because their veteran workforce was there to 'bail them out'. That resource is now dwindling and it is showing in recent mishaps. That having been said it is time again to focus on Amtrak's hiring and training practices.
During the past eight months Amtrak has had two major incidents,the latest with fatalities, that are a result of their hiring and training procedures coupled with grossly unqualified supervision. Since 2011 I have implored Amtrak management to review their training and hiring practices and use the knowledge and input of their dwindling veteran workforce to no avail. I have written to Chairman of the Board Carper, President Boardman, Vice Presidents of Operations Geary and Stadtler, Vice President of Transportation Phelps, Congressmen John Mica, William Shuster, Senator Charles Grassley, Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post, Brian Ross of ABC, Bill O'Reilly and others pleading with them to have Amtrak review their hiring and training procedures and listen to their seasoned veteran workforce. With the exceptions of Phelps and Stadtler I have been ignored. Phelps answered my letter to Boardman after I sent the same letter three times via registered mail return receipt requested. Stadtler patronized me with a visit to Philadelphia with those responsible for the training program where they very politely nodded their heads in faux concern at my presentation. Sensing their disinterest in what I had to say I called an end to the meeting citing that I felt it was an exercise in futility and took the next train back to New Haven.
I have stated repeatedly to all who would listen, and those listed above who did not, that with the right combination of these recently trained individuals it could be a prescription for disaster, a 'perfect storm' if you will.
They have ignored all warning signs of impending disasters. There was the incident in November 2013 of an inexperienced and obviously poorly trained crew wandering six miles in the wrong direction on a foreign railroad. Still Amtrak did not review it's training and qualification regimens. Then came Frankford Jct.(added 2016)
As a rule I try to refrain to telling anyone that 'I told you so' but after Frankford Jct. I felt that it was appropriate to do so in an effort to demonstratively drive home the fact that Amtrak's training and hiring programs are abject failures and downright dangerous. The following is my email of May15 2015 to Vice President of Operations D.J. Stadtler who has absolutely no previous experience in railroad operations. It was ignored

Mr. Stadtler:
The recent tragic event in North Philadelphia will have once again brought to light the inadequacies of Amtrak's training and hiring procedures. There are folks out 'there'still who have no business operating trains. Your training and hiring procedures, for lack of a better analogy, have come back to bite you in the ass once again. I had previously attempted to effect change by stressing the value and input of your veteran but aging remaining workforce to no avail.
I no longer work for Amtrak , I retired in July 2014 after 51 years in the operating department. That being said I still retain the esprit de corps instilled in me by my employer 50 plus years ago and I feel that I would like to help restore the professionalism that existed before Amtrak and it's cadre of inexperienced managers eroded that attribute. I have a template for hiring and training. Should you be interested in seriously entertaining my ideas, this time, I would be happy to impart them, once again, to you.
I have attached the presentation I made to CTO Nichols in December 2013 and my correspondence to then Vice President of Operations Richard Phelps for your perusal.
In one of my missives I made reference to a prescription for disaster, a 'perfect storm'if you will, which sadly seems to have come to fruition.

This past week on my former home division there was another stop signal violation. The individual involved has an atrocious work record in his 3 year career as an engineer, it was the second stop signal violation in 13 months coupled with a forgotten passenger station stop (Mystic CT), overshooting others due to misjudgment, running over a derail on a track belonging to another railroad where he had no business being and sundry other miscues that were 'overlooked'. Where was supervision?
Amtrak has the unknowing teaching the unknowing. If one were to check the pedigree of these so called instructors one would find that they themselves have minimal experience. All of the technology such as Positive Train Control, speed control cab signal etc. cannot preclude proper training and experience because if those systems were to fail, and they do, 90% of the present operating workforce, including supervision, would not have a clue as how to operate.
I stand behind all I have stated here. I am supported by my fellow veteran railroad men. I can prove or qualify all that I have stated here and am prepared to do so. Hopefully this missive will find it's way to the proper authority and an oversight committee of experienced railroad operations employees can be established to set the proper guidelines for training personnel for railroad operations on Amtrak.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, December 22, 2017 3:18 PM

Deggesty

243129 asks, "Why does the media and some folks here refer to that bypass as a "high speed" line? 79 MPH speed limit does not qualify as high speed." The answer may be believing that saving ten minutes between Tacoma and the first scheduled stop must require high speed, and do not realize what is being avoided is a longer distance and track that does not allow fast movement. The media, apparently, are ignorant of what is now avoided.

 

I at last got around to looking at my BN ETT #24 for the Seattle-Portland Region (10/26/1980), and looked at the distance saved by using the bypass. Of course, this ETT does not have the connection to the bypass from near the new station (just where is this new station with respect to the current Amtrak station?)

From UP Jct. (0.3 mile west ((TT direction)) of the old NP station) via the cutoff to Nisqually, it was 19.6 miles; via Steilacoom, it was 23.1 miles--which gives a differenceof 3.5 miles. Thus high-speed is not necessary to save 10 minutes in the schedule. Again, I plead ignorance on the part of the Press and others in describing the route as "high-speed."

Johnny

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,375 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, December 22, 2017 3:30 PM

We know that the train could not negotiate the curve at 78 mph.  And the speed limit was known to all as being 30 mph.  Also, well known, would be minimum speed at which derailment or tip-over would be likely.  What would that speed be?

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Friday, December 22, 2017 4:02 PM

Euclid

We know that the train could not negotiate the curve at 78 mph.  And the speed limit was known to all as being 30 mph.  Also, well known, would be minimum speed at which derailment or tip-over would be likely.  What would that speed be?

Well, we now know eighty didn't work out so well.

Norm


  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 4:16 PM

Euclid

We know that the train could not negotiate the curve at 78 mph.  And the speed limit was known to all as being 30 mph.  Also, well known, would be minimum speed at which derailment or tip-over would be likely.  What would that speed be?

 

 

As I noted just a couple of posts ago, 68 MPH*, without superelevation.  That is using the height of center of gravity for an F9.

If someone knew the height of CG for the tipped loco, they could share it.  Also true of the superelevation.  I could get a more accurate number.

 

 

Ed

 

*That speed is the theoretical guaranteed tipping point.  That is, you MAY get through at a lower speed.  You WILL NOT get through at this speed.

  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Atlanta
  • 11,798 posts
Posted by oltmannd on Friday, December 22, 2017 4:29 PM

rdamon

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amtrak-derailment-dupont-washington-video-shows-crew-not-using-electronic-devices/

Federal investigators say video aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Washington state shows crews weren't using personal electronic devices and that the engineer remarked about the speed six seconds before the train went off the tracks south of Seattle, killing three people.

The National Transportation Safety Board also said Friday that the inward-facing video with audio showed it did not appear that the engineer placed the brake handle in the emergency braking mode. The train was recorded at 78 mph -- more than double the posted speed limit.

 

Wow.  This doesn't sound like loss of situational awareness.  This sounds like a complete absense of situational awareness. 

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 4:37 PM

I think it was noted the engineer started using the non-emergency brake, though.

He must not have been very enthusiastic about it, though; because I don't recall any of the survivors saying they were shoved into the seatback in front of them for 6 seconds BEFORE the derailment.

 

Don't mean it didn't happen, though.  Just that it was apparently not noteworthy.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 10,832 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, December 22, 2017 5:22 PM

What if anything played a part by the signal close to the derailment site ?

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,917 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, December 22, 2017 7:12 PM

7j43k

I think it was noted the engineer started using the non-emergency brake, though.

He must not have been very enthusiastic about it, though; because I don't recall any of the survivors saying they were shoved into the seatback in front of them for 6 seconds BEFORE the derailment.

 

Don't mean it didn't happen, though.  Just that it was apparently not noteworthy.

 

Ed

 

If you think the limit is 79, correcting from the low 80s is a bit different than if you see the curve and start talking like Redd Foxx and hit the brakes hard.

From the article

"The National Transportation Safety Board also said Friday that the inward-facing video with audio showed it did not appear that the engineer placed the brake handle in the emergency braking mode. The train was recorded at 78 mph -- more than double the posted speed limit."

It looks like the SC-44 showed a slower speed than the P42, but we are using information from the news outlets said the P42 was was at 81mph at the time.

Robert

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 7:26 PM

rdamon
 

 

If you think the limit is 79, correcting from the low 80s is a bit different than if you see the curve and start talking like Redd Foxx and hit the brakes hard.

 

Wow.  I think yer speculating that the engineer STILL had no idea the curve was coming up.  Just that he was a couple of MPH over the speed limit.  And was maybe correcting for that.  Only.

Right?

 

From the article

"The National Transportation Safety Board also said Friday that the inward-facing video with audio showed it did not appear that the engineer placed the brake handle in the emergency braking mode. The train was recorded at 78 mph -- more than double the posted speed limit."

It looks like the SC-44 showed a slower speed than the P42, but we are using information from the news outlets said the P42 was was at 81mph at the time.

Robert

 

I thought the 81 MPH was the speed of the train at 700 feet out.  And that 78 might be the speed it was at when it took to the air.  Thus the engineer slowed the train by 3 MPH.

 

Ed

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 1,917 posts
Posted by rdamon on Friday, December 22, 2017 8:46 PM
Granted I am just an armchair amateur, but you would think there would have been a more authoritative application of the brakes. The quotes in the article make it sounds as if he just cleared the overspeed. Euclid alluded to an earlier thread on not wanting to use emergency braking; this may have be the case here. I wonder how much of this information will be in the preliminary report.

 

The advance warning signs were missed by two people at 2mi out, so if the signal aspect was clear and the lighting was just right that the extension of I-5 made it appear that there was no curve…. I know lots of speculation … maybe too much egg nog. Geeked
Robert
  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,375 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, December 22, 2017 9:01 PM

7j43k
I thought the 81 MPH was the speed of the train at 700 feet out. And that 78 might be the speed it was at when it took to the air. Thus the engineer slowed the train by 3 MPH.

  That is true, but the point is that the engineer may have slowed 3 mph with only the intention of getting back down to the actual speed limit, which was 79 at that point.  He may not have realized that he was approaching that curve which required 30 mph.  He had passed the point where he should have begun slowing to 30, without doing so.  Therefore, it makes sense that he may still not have become aware of the curve by the time he commented about his speed being too high.

So considering that, I think it is possible that he only discovered his plight when he reached the curve.  This scenario might explain why he just used the independent brake rather than dumping the air at the point he commented about his speed.   

  • Member since
    May 2004
  • 7,362 posts
Posted by 7j43k on Friday, December 22, 2017 11:29 PM

So, the engineer is 700 feet away from a very big problem.  And he can't see it.  Well, as someone pointed out to me earlier, it was dark.

Yeah, it does all fit.  

 

 

 

Ed

  • Member since
    November 2016
  • 88 posts
Posted by RR Johnson on Saturday, December 23, 2017 1:34 AM

7j43k

So, the engineer is 700 feet away from a very big problem.  And he can't see it.  Well, as someone pointed out to me earlier, it was dark.

Yeah, it does all fit.  

 

 

 

Ed

 

It is more than obvious that Amtrak has a serious problem of a proper safety culture.  In order to replicate the commercial airlines zero tolerance policy of accidents it is necessary to among other things require multiple redundancy, both passive and mechanically active, in safety control systems, including but not necesssarily limited to installation of several advance warning signs at various distances from the restricted curve. Also, including installation of passive inert ATS inductors in advance of all severe curves and any other oncoming restrictions, such as draw-bridges, sudden mountain grades, etc. The BNSF still has these devices included into their old Santa Fe ATS systems located along the route of the Southwest Chief between Ft Madison, IA and San Bernardino, CA. Amtrak still has ATS equiped engines for this and any other ATS route it may be using. The passive inductors will automatically sound an alarm in the cab well in advance of these permanent restrictions. If the engineer does not respond to this alarm, the train will automatically stop. This could also include failing to respond to restrictive ABS/CTC signals, as is currently employed on ATS sections of the Chief route where speeds exceed 79mph. You could also invent a new speed signalling system to overlay the current CTC systems which could control the speeds around curves, although this would not automatically stop the train if ignored. You could also employ other far more expensive speed control systems in high traffic or higher speed areas (over 79mph), such as ATC or cab signals or both, that would have the automatic stop feature, but this would involve serious money, which at present, Amtrak does not have. I hear that some of the Class 1 railroads still do not fully trust the PTC system and have serious doubts about whether it will work anytime soon; and for instance, the BNSF, at least as of late last year, had instructed its crews to ignore PTC, and when it differs from trackside signals, the dispatcher shall be notified. And of course, we have the problem of Amtrak engines still not being equipped with PTC, west of the Northeast Corridor. As for the problem of obtaining sufficently intelligent trainees, good luck with that.  Have you, for instance, read the book: The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, copyright 2008. Its been almost 10 years since then and the problem keeps getting worse!!!..........Edward Johnson

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, December 23, 2017 4:42 AM

In this thread http://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/266914.aspx
the reasons for not straightening the 30 mph curve are discussed.

In one post is stated that the contractor who installed the PTC system had promised to have it ready when the bypass inaugurated. This didn't happen for a number of reasons.

So there would have been a system protecting against overspeed if everything had gone as planned. I don't see the need for an overlay speed control system. Thes are still manual not an automatic operated trains.

The was an advanced warning sign, the engineer has his timetable showing speed restriction and he has hopefully had knowledge of the territory.
Regards, Volker

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 8,813 posts
Posted by zugmann on Saturday, December 23, 2017 6:08 AM

RR Johnson
Have you, for instance, read the book: The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, copyright 2008. Its been almost 10 years since then and the problem keeps getting worse!!!..........Edward Johnson

Looked at the cover on amazon.  Looks liek it has Gundams on it.  That's cool.

 

But then read the back cover.  Is it any more interesting than some old fart complaining about kids playing their gamestations?

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of

my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 22,307 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, December 23, 2017 7:11 AM

RR Johnson
 
7j43k

So, the engineer is 700 feet away from a very big problem.  And he can't see it.  Well, as someone pointed out to me earlier, it was dark.

Yeah, it does all fit.   

Ed 

It is more than obvious that Amtrak has a serious problem of a proper safety culture.  In order to replicate the commercial airlines zero tolerance policy of accidents it is necessary to among other things require multiple redundancy, both passive and mechanically active, in safety control systems, including but not necesssarily limited to installation of several advance warning signs at various distances from the restricted curve. Also, including installation of passive inert ATS inductors in advance of all severe curves and any other oncoming restrictions, such as draw-bridges, sudden mountain grades, etc. The BNSF still has these devices included into their old Santa Fe ATS systems located along the route of the Southwest Chief between Ft Madison, IA and San Bernardino, CA. Amtrak still has ATS equiped engines for this and any other ATS route it may be using. The passive inductors will automatically sound an alarm in the cab well in advance of these permanent restrictions. If the engineer does not respond to this alarm, the train will automatically stop. This could also include failing to respond to restrictive ABS/CTC signals, as is currently employed on ATS sections of the Chief route where speeds exceed 79mph. You could also invent a new speed signalling system to overlay the current CTC systems which could control the speeds around curves, although this would not automatically stop the train if ignored. You could also employ other far more expensive speed control systems in high traffic or higher speed areas (over 79mph), such as ATC or cab signals or both, that would have the automatic stop feature, but this would involve serious money, which at present, Amtrak does not have. I hear that some of the Class 1 railroads still do not fully trust the PTC system and have serious doubts about whether it will work anytime soon; and for instance, the BNSF, at least as of late last year, had instructed its crews to ignore PTC, and when it differs from trackside signals, the dispatcher shall be notified. And of course, we have the problem of Amtrak engines still not being equipped with PTC, west of the Northeast Corridor. As for the problem of obtaining sufficently intelligent trainees, good luck with that.  Have you, for instance, read the book: The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein, copyright 2008. Its been almost 10 years since then and the problem keeps getting worse!!!..........Edward Johnson

Reliance on 'automated systems' has also been a bain to the air lines as when these systems fail, for whatever the reason (and having been made by man and maintained by man they WILL FAIL) a number of incidents have happened wherein the operating crews didn't know and/or practice the proper responses to these failures.  

If it is made by man it will fail.  If it is operated by man, the man will fail.  As long as we live in a human world human failure is always a option no matter how many rules, procedures and machines are devised to prevent it.  While this may sound fatalistic it is a acknowledgement that humans are in fact human.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: North Dakota
  • 9,060 posts
Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, December 23, 2017 7:12 AM

243129
Amtrak's hiring and training procedures are contributing factors to these disasters. I include a missive here that I have sent to numerous Amtrak officials, politicians and the news media to no avail. Sadly this warning was ignored and the prediction of a prescription for disaster has come to fruition...again. Below is a 'view from the trenches' if you will. June 24, 2014 Amtrak: An accident waiting to happen.....again...

 

I found your post to be very interesting, but you have failed to consider one important aspect, an over riding aspect of AMTK management.

 

AMTK is NOT a railroad, it is a GOVERNMENT PROGRAM and as suck it must comply with and respond to the political requirements of a leftist, socialist government program.

 

It is before all else a jobs program for the underclass. Skill, dedication and profesionalism are NOTX government requirements, gender and race are.

LION is NOT racist, him will hire lions, tigers, leopards and even bears, but he can do nothing to keep the aligators off of his railroad. Aligators have government rights too.

 

So the heck with professionalism, we will leave that to the private railroads, thank you, AMTK is a Socal Justice program and nothing more.

 

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Atlanta
  • 11,798 posts
Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, December 23, 2017 8:03 AM

rdamon

Is there an overspeed alarm in the SC-44?

If so would that be set to 79 mph?

Maybe the brake application was to take the speed back down below 79 mph.

Backing the theory of not knowing where you are at ..

 

Overspeed alarms usually have 3 mph cushion.  

LSL speed enforcement (Conrail/NS on NEC) has 3 mph cushion.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy