• Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Railjunkie
 
rohr turbo wrote:
ryanov wrote: There is no comparable situation on a roadway...everyone who's operated a car knows what I'm talking about.
Actually I disagree. Car drivers have to watch 4-8 nearby cars (on an interstate in traffic) that can swerve or brake at any moment and then immediate evasive action is necessary. Car drivers often don't have pre-knowledge of the road they're driving, but must still do so safely. Cars have to merge with others, judge whether they can stop at a yellow, look out for bikers/pedestrians, negotiate puddles/ice, etc. I'd think unexpected obstructions/debris are more common on a roadway than railway.

Cars have steering wheels -- locomotives don't!

Yes NEC locomotives go faster and engineer must memorize the route. But with no other vehicles to consider, that shouldn't be such a difficult tradeoff.

If I'm wrong, please explain.

Philadelphia accident was caused by a human's confusion of location and speed limit. This is why I argue that more automation would assist human, fallible engineers. (Eventually automation will replace the humans in such tasks, IMO.)

The rules that govern the use of PTC on Amtrak state that you cannot allow the system to operate the train, you must be qualified on the territory and equipment. There is no Ill let the computer take care of that. Let me say the system does work. I understand the loss of life is not acceptable if it could be prevented, however the amount of $$$$$$$ that went into this system is crazy when all that was needed was a simple cab drop. Engineers know not to speed and go by those pretty red thingys but * happens. Its called the loss of situational awareness, Crew Resource Mangement is something we all are taught and give refreshers on every year in rules class. The program was developed by the airline industry as humans are not perfect.

Now Ill ask a simple question of some of the luminarys in this thread. What happens when the system fails and it will. What happens if there is an incident with the PTC up and running? How does one operate with the system cut out do to failure? Ill wait for your answer.

Wall-E
  by JimBoylan
 
Continuing on the question in the last post, what do you do when the automation is violating the Rules that you were taught? A Washington subway crash was partly because the automation allowed a 75 m.p.h. speed limit on wet rail, as the train had already passed the point where the central Controller could manually impose a 55 m.p.h. speed limit. When the operator started to complain, the Controller told her to obey the displayed speed limit, not knowing that his reduced speed instruction hadn't been received.
  by JimBoylan
 
When the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built in 1939, its Commission explained why it deviated from the route of the South Penn RR in some places. One example was sharp curves. The Turnpike was made with gentle curves before sharp ones, so the drivers would be encouraged to slow down. The railroad builders intended to have written instructions to slow the trains.
  by east point
 
ExCon90 wrote:
east point wrote:Why can't the management responsible for not installing a $40,000 ATC restriction be held personally responsible including jail time ?
Because management can only spend the money it has. Amtrak was in the process of installing civil-speed restrictions in ACSES over the entire corridor, starting with the most urgent; the speed reduction westbound was 110 to 50--eastbound 80 to 50, so the westbound was done first. I believe they were going to do all the reductions from 110 first, and then those from lower speeds. Also, there are only so many people with the necessary knowledge and training to do the installation and testing, and they can't be everywhere at once.

That was only the cost for ACSES activation. How long would it have taken a signal pperson to add approach 60 to the 4 northbound tracks at Frankford ?-
  by ExCon90
 
I don't know--it would have to be balanced against the cost of first equipping the more drastic speed drops, such as those from 110 mph, how many qualified signal persons were available in the territory, and what other things had to be done in that time frame.
  by Silverliner II
 
DutchRailnut wrote:since that automation is designed and build by humans its just as easy to fail , be it by design or by failure of a component.
And THAT has been demonstrated in more than one crash already. DC Metro at Fort Totten is a perfect example of a component failure of an automated system that caused a fatal crash between two trains.
  by east point
 
some one needs to find out how quickly Amtrak fixed all the speed trap follies to prevent another Frankford ?. Believe it was not very long. It is not right to excuse Amtrak management. This is not just a management problem at Amtrak. When management at any company fouls up it is always a lowling blamed not the high ups who approved or dictated the procedure.
  by ryanov
 
rohr turbo wrote:Actually I disagree. Car drivers have to watch 4-8 nearby cars (on an interstate in traffic) that can swerve or brake at any moment and then immediate evasive action is necessary. Car drivers often don't have pre-knowledge of the road they're driving, but must still do so safely. Cars have to merge with others, judge whether they can stop at a yellow, look out for bikers/pedestrians, negotiate puddles/ice, etc. I'd think unexpected obstructions/debris are more common on a roadway than railway.
Where in a car do you have to take action a full mile and a half before the incident that requires it? What roadway doesn't have signage for practically every sort of thing that can happen? Where do you drive 125mph? There are probably half a dozen other things I'm not thinking from (most people also don't have a railroader's schedule). I don't understand why someone would make a comparison.
  by justalurker66
 
ryanov wrote:I don't understand why someone would make a comparison.
No one is saying driving a train is EXACTLY like driving a car. If they were then you would need only one difference, not an entire angry tirade.

The comparisons to driving are to help those who have never driven a train understand the challenges. We (society) try to find common ground. Instead of taking an arrogant stance of "Have you ever driven a train? No? Then you will never ever understand and will remain ignorant until you have driven a train." we (society) find something that the person we are talking to has done. A common experience that the person can relate to. If one is seeking UNDERSTANDING finding common experiences is a good conversational tool.

I miss the "good old days" where railroaders could be relied on to know their territories and did not need constant reminders similar to what we see on highways. One could blame the railroads for not training their crews better. But in recent years wayside signs to remind crews of their responsibility have become more common. While it does improve safety, I don't like seeing "Curve 30" signs on railroads. But (as with PTC) engineers wrecked too many trains and changes had to be made.

PTC will become the in-cab version of the roadside signs "reminding" the crew of the physical characteristics and signalling aspects. PTC will also enforce behavior. A "back seat conductor".
  by gp80mac
 
justalurker66 wrote:While it does improve safety, I don't like seeing "Curve 30" signs on railroads. But (as with PTC) engineers wrecked too many trains and changes had to be made.

There have always been landmarks train crews used. Speed signs are just official ones that hopefully won't be removed (unlike that tree...). So there have ALWAYS been reminders.

And no, driving a car is nothing like operating a train. I do both. Promoting a false equivalence does nothing to help anyone.
  by east point
 
One item. Back in the good old days crews only had to traverse maybe one 100 mile district with some exceptions maybe 2 or 3 ?. Now maybe qualified on 2 or 3 - 250 mile districts with exceptions ?
  by justalurker66
 
gp80mac wrote:Promoting a false equivalence does nothing to help anyone.
Not equivalence, compared as a reference. Just keep the references common.
  by ryanov
 
justalurker66 wrote:The comparisons to driving are to help those who have never driven a train understand the challenges. We (society) try to find common ground. Instead of taking an arrogant stance of "Have you ever driven a train? No? Then you will never ever understand and will remain ignorant until you have driven a train." we (society) find something that the person we are talking to has done. A common experience that the person can relate to. If one is seeking UNDERSTANDING finding common experiences is a good conversational tool.
That's very specifically not what I'm saying. I'm not sure if you have operated trains, but I have not. I still know that trains have a stopping distance of over a mile in some cases, and I don't try to use car analogies because they simply don't make any sense for a variety of reasons. And if I didn't know anything about the challenges of running a train, I would look into them before saying "people drive everyday without being familiar with the territory," or making any other sort of comments out of ignorance. Though now come to think of it, it's really easy to say "yeah, and they kill an awful lot of people doing it" about those conditions on the road.
justalurker66 wrote:Not equivalence, compared as a reference. Just keep the references common.
OK, then a driving analogy is "imagine having to brake for a curve so far away that you can't even see that there's a curve coming, and if you brake late, you'll go off the road." You driven on a road like that before, have you?
  by gp80mac
 
justalurker66 wrote:Not equivalence, compared as a reference. Just keep the references common.
There is no comparison - they are two different things. It's really not arrogance; just the truth. I know people like to think they could do something better than those that do it for a living, but let's be real here. Why do we even need a common reference? Maybe that's why we have the problems we do. Those on the outside trivialize the responsibilities those on the inside face every day*.

* not unique to railroading. See law enforcement, politics, healthcare, teaching, etc.
  by justalurker66
 
You only need a common reference if you are seeking understanding. If you don't mind people not understanding the experience don't worry about the issue. Hopefully someone else will take on the task.

There are a lot of things I have not done (for example fly in space and drive a NASCAR) that I can understand at some level because someone was willing to explain it using common references.

BTW: This isn't about skewed figures more people dying on roads than rails each year or skewed statistics showing less federal support for rail than air told by people giving half (or less) of the equation. Nor is it intended to minimize or demean anyone. This is about trying to communicate and get people to understand.

Have you ever dozed off slightly while driving or forgotten where you were while driving because of a distraction or something else on your mind? I believe most drivers have. The scale is different on roads (less weight, shorter stopping distances) but if one starts with the similarities one can work toward the differences.
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