• Head-on collision in Amarillo, TX

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by Backshophoss
Believe the Clovis Sub(to Belen) has PTC up and running,When Amtrak detoured via Transconn after
the "Feed Truck" caused derailment on the Lajunta sub, needed BNSF power as Leaders.
  by RRspatch
JimBoylan wrote:Did these locomotives have cab cameras and microphones? Does the line have Positive train Control?
Just about every locomotive on BNSF has forward facing cameras. whether or not the recorders (hard drives) survived the impact remains to be seen.

Positive Train Control is not yet in service on the Panhandle subdivision. It is in service from Amarillo west all the way to LA (Hobart) and northern California (Port Chicago). I believe PTC on the Panhandle sub was supposed to be cut in this fall. From what I've heard, BNSF is furthest along on the PTC roll-out of any of the class 1's.

I can't post much more than that at this time.
  by Gilbert B Norman
I'm certain all here respect your privity, Mr.

Reiterating points I've made at other topics, I figured PTC was a "knee jerk" to Chatsworth and enacted during post election '08 by a lame duck Administration. It would never go anywhere within the private sector Class I industry.

But that was before Red Oak, Goodwell, Frankford Jct, and now Panhandle, as well as others not coming to mind.

I think in the not very distant future, we will learn of an incident that was avoided BECAUSE PTC was active. It likely will not make it to general circulation media because "it never happened", but I think within industry circles, there will be recogition it did.
  by ExCon90
Amid all the discussion about PTC, it's easy to overlook that if the cause was overrunning distant and stop signals, the Automatic Train Stop system that the ATSF had for decades, but not necessarily there, would have prevented the collision. Failure to acknowledge a restrictive signal would have caused a penalty brake application (unless the engineer had dozed off and reflexively acknowledged without waking up, which I believe has happened).
  by Rockingham Racer
But with two persons in the cab, both] would have to doze off for this scenario to obtain. Not a good thing. Points very much to the "inadequate rest" problem.
  by Backshophoss
When the SFO Chief was running,there was ATS on the Panhandle Sub,after "A"-day, it was pulled out,
it was the same for the Hereford and Clovis Subs,when it was known as the "Belen Cutoff".
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Backshop, lest we forget Santa Fe ATS was "rudimentary" when compared with the FRA promulgated requirements of PTC.

I had a ride on the "Super" during 1962; that train "had the railroad", and recovered 2.5HL owing to a freight derailment on my journey by the time it reached Chicago Dearborn.

Anyone care to see a road "give it to Amtrak" for such a recovery?
  by Backshophoss
Granted,but it did the job required at that time and still does now,for NMRX and BNSF.
  by litz
Echoing a question above - anyone find a NTSB link for the initial investigation?

for the NTSB to be dispatched, the accident has to be given a docket number/assignment ...
  by Gilbert B Norman
Unable to locate Docket at NTSB site using search criteria Texas/Rail/Accident/06/15/2016 to 07/05/16.

I would think the Preliminary will be available shortly.
  by slchub
Mr. Norman I was inquiring about same. Nothing as yet on the NTSB website. Most interesting.
  by Jeff Smith
A blogger's analysis: 'Cornfield Meet' Near Panhandle, Texas: How?
On June 28, PTC was not implemented in the section of tracks that run past the grain elevator near Panhandle.

So it was that the two trains that morning, each with a crew of two, met in a fiery head-on collision that is known in railroad circles as a "cornfield meet." One person managed to jump from the train before the collision. Two bodies were recovered after the accident, and as of July 10, the fourth person's body had not yet been found.
Many trains, including those involved in the wreck, are equipped with digital video cameras and recorders at the front and rear, but the National Traffic Safety Board spokesman in charge of the NTSB investigation said that some of these were heavily damaged. However, other data recorders on board the trains may have survived to help understand how this accident happened.

It will probably be some months before the NTSB has time to sift through the wreckage and other evidence that could show why, in 2016, it's still possible to have such an accident.
Trains are dispatched these days by means of centralized train-traffic control centers linked to the individual trains by microwave radio. One of the dispatch centers for trains in Texas is in Fort Worth, so investigators will probably be reviewing all communications between the controllers and the two trains involved.

Like air-traffic controllers, the dispatcher's word is law as far as the in-train operator is concerned. So if both trains were told they had a clear track ahead, and saw something that looked like a train in the distance, each might have thought the other one was on the other track instead of the same track.

With radio control, it's not clear to me how much significance the operators attach to block signals, which should have indicated a problem in this case soon enough to prevent the accident.
  by ExCon90
Regarding the above, could someone confirm whether my understanding is correct: that the "radio control" mentioned in the "blogger's analysis" above consists of nonverbal transmissions identifying train location, direction, speed, etc. which in turn provide wayside and in-cab indications of conditions ahead, not "roger, over, out" type verbal communication such as exists in air traffic control; i.e., signal (wayside and in-cab) indications are not superseded by verbal radio communications other than official orders in the event of signal failure authorizing the overriding of signal indications according to the rules. Regarding the last sentence, even under PTC, the [train] operators attach primary significance to block signals, which are driven by the radio transmissions referred to.
  by scoostraw
I would really like to know which train the surviving crew member was on. And if he/she was interviewed by the media (most likely not).
  by Backshophoss
The dispatcher controls signals at Control Points, that might be done via microwave signal commands.
As far as regular radio,the DS picks the closest repeater tower to the train to send verbal orders to the train crew.
The routine of a verbal order requires 1 of the crew repeat the order sent by the DS exactly the same as the DS said it.
If needed the order is repeated till the crew repeats it correctly.
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