Everyone: Fascinating subject here with good feedback...
I noticed that this discussion brought up the 1995 Williamsburg Bridge accident - this occurred on June 5,
1995 at 6:18 AM in which two trains rear-ended one another on the bridge approach - for some reason I
mistakenly thought that this accident occurred between two trains going down grade and not up grade
as I would later find out. The cause was the motorman of the second train running drowsy missing signals
or other indications that he was getting too close to the train ahead. Since he was the only fatality in this
wreck the actual cause may never be exactly known such as if there was a sleep apnea or a related issue.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1995_Will ... bway_crash
I remember from my subway rides over time across both the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges that there
was a routine that train operators would use in crossing the bridges which is to pull power on the upgrade to
get the train to the first bridge tower and then use just enough speed to get to the crest in the middle of the
main span and then use the downgrade momentum to coast down towards the tunnels on either end (or the
elevated structure eastbound off the Williamsburg Bridge) going along with the times signals depending on
how close the train ahead was.
I also learned that both the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges had problems with their main suspension
support cables that support the center bridge span and that they were supposed to "flex" somewhat with
the weight of a train going across - these had become too rigid over the years of low maintenance and
without there being "give" or otherwise slack in these cables that the bridge itself could fail. This problem supposedly was addressed when both bridges were rehabilitated.
From what I have seen the same protocol is used by train operators crossing both of
these bridges today - is to pull power on the upgrade; run slow and easy across the
main span and then finish up with a good downgrade coast after passing the second
tower off the main span. I took note to the signals and how they kept trains spaced
apart with a train running up ahead - they worked fine from what I remember.
With the Williamsburg Bridge crash how did the train operator of the second train not
get the brakes applied by the signal trippers? Was it that he was going too fast on the
upgrade pulling power for the tripper(s) to work correctly when the collision happened?
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS