• Conrail bridge issues and self governance

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by MedicSutton
 
As we look back at the Paulsboro Bridge collapse I seem to remember Conrail as stating that it performs its own inspections of its structures. One of those structures being the Delair Bridge. But they say that it's safe right? Should for profit organizations truly be trusted to govern themselves? Being a Paramedic For a transport service I would say unequivocally the answer should be No.. Maybe NJ Transit should be if not already keeping its eyes open....
  by Ken W2KB
 
MedicSutton wrote:As we look back at the Paulsboro Bridge collapse I seem to remember Conrail as stating that it performs its own inspections of its structures. One of those structures being the Delair Bridge. But they say that it's safe right? Should for profit organizations truly be trusted to govern themselves? Being a Paramedic For a transport service I would say unequivocally the answer should be No.. Maybe NJ Transit should be if not already keeping its eyes open....
Bridge safety is regulated by the UDSOT / FRA. Since the railroads are subject to federal regulations and oversight with penalties for non-compliance - the phrase is "trust but verify" - there should not be a concern unless the feds are not doing their job. Similar regulatory schemes are prevalent in many industries regulated at a federal level.

See: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c= ... 31&idno=49
  by ThirdRail7
 
MedicSutton wrote:As we look back at the Paulsboro Bridge collapse I seem to remember Conrail as stating that it performs its own inspections of its structures. One of those structures being the Delair Bridge. But they say that it's safe right? Should for profit organizations truly be trusted to govern themselves? Being a Paramedic For a transport service I would say unequivocally the answer should be No.. Maybe NJ Transit should be if not already keeping its eyes open....
Clearly, someone agrees with your statement:

Paulsboro train derailment: Congressman pitches law on rail oversight, emergency response
http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/ind ... ponse.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


Please allow a few, brief "fair use quotes:"

WASHINGTON — As federal hearings on the Paulsboro train derailment continued Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ 1st District) pitched his idea for a law aimed at avoiding the dangers and confusion last fall’s incident spawned.

In a teleconference from Capitol Hill, Andrews outlined the main goals of the prospective bill, now only in draft form.

The two overarching ideas, the congressman said, are to provide independent oversight of the rail industry (including tracks, bridges and other infrastructure) and to clarify a chain of command for emergency responders when mishaps occur.
According to Andrews, the shortfalls faced by responders and lack of oversight call for a new law.

“Self-policing by the railroads does not get the job done,” the congressman argued.

“The railroads self-inspect and report to the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration),” Andrews explained, adding that the agencies follow up “on rare occasions.”

He compared the idea to allowing drivers to perform their own inspections on their cars and reporting to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

“Then when an accident occurs, the (commission) follows up,” he said.
  by Ken W2KB
 
Of course, in NJ and many other states drivers are in fact responsible for the mechanical condition of their cars since there is only an emissions, and not a safety, inspection.

If DOT is not adequately fulfilling its audit role that sould be corrected. But that's all that is needed. The quotes statements are pure political pandering.
  by CNWMAN
 
I guess the first question in this might be, was the bridge incident directly related to a defect or condition that had not been detected or addressed by Conrail? I for one have not seen a summary report of what caused the incident to occur, although it may be out there for reference. When the I 35 bridge collapsed in Minnesota there were many calls for more government oversight of bridges and infrastructure, but the main reason the bridge fell was the fact that four out of the eight lanes were blocked off for construction, had dozens of concrete Jersey walls on them, and heavy construction equipment as well. During peak rush hour traffic when the bridge was full of cars, it fell down from excess loading of structural members. Some reports stated defects but the main reason was the loading conditions. Oversight of that situation would not be the right fix for that problem.

Why did the derailment occur? What were the causal factors? If they were for defects or conditions not managed effectively, that is one thing, but many incidents have other factors that oversight of physical assets may not address.

The government has had oversight in the rail industry for a long time. The National Boiler Inspection Codes and ASME standards for pressurized vessel (boilers, etc.) fabrication and repair were put in place in 1919 partly as a result of a negative trend in locomotive boiler explosions. It is a good thing if it solves a real deficiency in how the railroads manage their risks. I personally find it hard to believe that Conrail leadership would willfully neglect infrastructure, there is such a high risk of litigation, publicity etc.. Management not knowing that the infrastructure IS being neglected is another problem, oversight will certainly improve that situation.

Anyone know where the summary report for the incident might be on the web? If the root causes have been determined, we might have a better idea of what the right solution is, oversight being one of them.
  by umtrr-author
 
Paulsboro train derailment: Congressman pitches law on rail oversight, emergency response
http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/ind ... ponse.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Has the distinguished representative from my home state been emulating the Senior Senator from New York?
:-D