• Cascade Wreck 18 December 17

  • 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 Nasadowsk
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Nasadowsk wrote:I wouldn't be surprised if Talgo just up and leaves the US market in the near future.
Agreed, Mr. Nas; "send 'em back where they came from". Maybe RENFE can find something to do with them. One ride, Bilbao to Madrid during '90, was enough for me in this life.

With the "broken" safety culture, Mr. Anderson "inherited" and having come from an industry (despite some recent "missteps") in which safety is paramount, I don't think Talgo equipment has much further "life expectancy" on US rails.
I've not been on the Talgos yet (no reason to go anywhere where they run). It's always been a novel and controversial design. I think Talgo will up and leave more to avoid the headaches of the US market, given their only customer's put their product into a ditch a few times already.
Until new equipment is ordered and placed in service, I think the Horizons, as they are released from Midwest service, will make the Northwest their "retirement comminity".
Ugh. A crappy box from the 60's that should have been put to pasture ages ago.
Oh, and lest we note, the lawyers are looking at a "profit opportunity"; for by the time its over, there will be more suits in court than Men's Wearhouse has on the racks.
Which is why Talgo's gonna leave, IMHO. Amtrak's pockets are limited, Talgo's aren't. Amtrak's shown they have no clue how to run a railroad, repeatedly (and this in the US, which is the Special Olympics of passenger rail).
  by Nasadowsk
 
Tadman wrote:. Now we have PTC. $15b later, we haven't put a dent in railroad related deaths but we keep making new rules. I FEEL SO MUCH SAFER.
We have PTC because the industry resisted basically ANY attempt to do anything better than a non-redundant, unreliable control system. Even after being prodded by the government, they reduced speeds instead of getting the message. THis has been a decades long thing.

I fail to see why a simpler system couldn't have been deployed, but I'm sure the industry could come up with a few 'reasons' why.

They didn't want to do it. They didn't want to do anything. Then a crash happened in the wrong district, and PTC became the law. Too bad so sad.
  by David Benton
 
PTC would have prevented this accident. No 2 ways about it . If there is a lawsuit , Surely that will be the prime target , I.e why wasn't it installed before the new service started.
  by justalurker66
 
lstone19 wrote:I agree with Tadman. NTSB recommendations tend go very deep along the lines of since this first thing was screwed up, as well as the second and third thing, that left this fourth thing as a factor. Had any of the first, second, and third things not gone wrong, the fourth thing that they recommend should be fixed would never have been a factor.
To be fair, the NTSB wants all factors to be addressed, not just the crashworthyness, but the training issues, signing issues and lack of PTC. PTC would be the easiest to address since the solution was already being installed prior to the incident. Better signage to help engineers know where they are probably won't be needed with PTC, but is another issue that can be solved reasonably easy. The culture change of providing adequate training and familiarization is a harder issue to solve. And redesigning the train sets so they meet FRA standards (no waivers) will probably be prohibitively expensive. But the issues are independent and can be done in any order.
  by Tadman
 
PTC is a joke, it’s like TSA. in a text book, PTC would prevent all kinds of onboard casualties resulting from crew errors. But in a text book, Amtrak would run on time, Gennies wouldn’t catch on fire*, trees wouldn’t fall across the main*, crazy old men wouldn’t shoot conductors*, ice wouldn’t foul switches* or freeze up viewliner*s, birds wouldn’t make nests in signal boxes*, cars wouldn’t stop mid-crossing*, trespassers wouldn’t walk down the middle of the tracks* etc....

PTC is a “I don’t know how to do your job but my binder tells me you are doing it wrong” gesture. It already resulted in one spectacular accident in Niles and we’re so lucky nobody was hurt. It doesn’t address any of the problems above with a *. If there’s one thing the railroaders around here will tell you, it’s that the railroad does not and will never work like the text book says it will.

Watch this space here for a big accident that PTC didn’t prevent. It’s going to happen.

For what it’s worth, in two weeks I’m addressing a conference of steel mill executives and managers and telling them not to let their people rely on PTC-like tools in crane operation because they only lead to complacency and ultimately to accidents.
  by dowlingm
 
I don’t think we can really hang a “look at aircraft/airlines” sign up when we are still mired in the 737 Max fiasco (and not long off the 787 battery fiasco)

As for signalling/protection systems, the US and Canada could have signed on to the EU’s work on ETCS/ERTMS andbut instead are frozen in the headlights of industry lobbyists, resulting in among other things a fragmentation of the Amtrak locomotive fleet between ACSES, ICTS, I-ETMS etc.
  by gokeefe
 
rcthompson04 wrote:I don't care if the trains are ran perfectly. They still need to be crashworthy for the network they run on as accidents happen. This does not even seem like a "North American" crashworthiness issue though. This sounds like a design flaw.
That is not the standard that the rest of the world uses at all. Only North American car construction standards attempt to mitigate danger after the fact. The rest of the developed world basically assumes that failure is never an option, hence the high fatality rate at Eschede.
  by Nasadowsk
 
dowlingm wrote:As for signalling/protection systems, the US and Canada could have signed on to the EU’s work on ETCS/ERTMS andbut instead are frozen in the headlights of industry lobbyists, resulting in among other things a fragmentation of the Amtrak locomotive fleet between ACSES, ICTS, I-ETMS etc.
I think the best comment I ever read about that was something to the effect of "If the 'E' in ETCS stood for anything...ANYTHING...but 'European'....US RRs would have adopted it in a heartbeat."

For that matter, I don't get why everyone in the US was so quick to re-invent the wheel when LZB has been around for a few decades.
rcthompson04 wrote:I don't care if the trains are ran perfectly. They still need to be crashworthy for the network they run on as accidents happen
Japanese mainline equipment is built lighter than even European stuff. They have by far the best safety record of any passenger operation in the world. Their attitude is quite simply 'There will be no accidents', and they're good at doing that.

It's a cultural thing.
  by John_Perkowski
 
I agree with Tad on safety. The first line of defense is the operator, the second his supervisor, the third the site lead. Computer sensors are the last line of defense.
  by David Benton
 
Yet in the last 3 or 4 major crashes , the fault has been operator error. People make mistakes , and you can never eliminate that entirely.
For 19 years I worked on large battery and power systems , and never had a serious accident or mishap. In the last year , I've had 2 potentially fatal incidents, both my fault, after you take out distractions etc , I still made a mistake. I read accident reports where experienced linesmen make mistakes that cost them their lives , and you can see how they failed to make a simple check, or did it wrong, and paid the price. Seems so easy to judge, sitting in a armchair reading a report based on all that hindsight.
I don't think it is acceptable to have 200-300 passengers relying on a single person to not make a mistake , when there is technology to virtually eliminate that possibility.
Again , had PTC or some kind of speed enforcement been installed , we wouldn't be discussing this.
  by NorthWest
 
Guys, the Jefferson set has been back in service... for months.

The Talgo 6s were due to be replaced about 2025. WASDOT saying they'll be "removed from service as soon as possible" whatever that means. Will be at least Memorial Day.
  by rr503
 
I’m a bit disappointed by the focus on the Talgo cars in this accident. Yeah, they didn’t help, but I’ve gotta ask how well a train car can do when coming off the rails at 80mph — is it worthwhile to whip up a fury about that exemption? For whatever it’s worth, the Amfleets (built to American standards) in the other major accidents of the last few years shredded/broke/buckled, and NTSB isn’t kicking up a storm about that.

Generally, I think the American focus on rolling stock design in accidents goes too far. Of course we should have standards, but asking railroads to put Sherman tanks (rather than some more lightweight European design, say) on the rails doesn’t do all that much for safety, especially given that almost all of your risk is incurred in having an accident in the first place. It’s preventing accident scenarios that really needs to happen here — the airlines have largely perfected the art of CRM and supportive automation; with PTC finally coming online, it seems time for the railroads to take a look.
  by Suburban Station
 
so who did the calculation that not straightening the curve to save $200 million was worth it and how do they feel about that decision now?
  by Tadman
 
David Benton wrote:Yet in the last 3 or 4 major crashes , the fault has been operator error. People make mistakes , and you can never eliminate that entirely. ...
That was only an operator error because the operator was not trained properly. The man was given a few familiarization runs in the trailing cab after dark. You might as well hire a Walmart greeter and let him/her drive trains with no training.
David Benton wrote:Again , had PTC or some kind of speed enforcement been installed , we wouldn't be discussing this.
The Niles, Michigan, accident begs to differ. That was PTC equipped and the train rain off the main, into a siding, and narrowly missed a string of hoppers. One of these days we're going to see some PTC-related deaths, and I'm ever so curious to see what the solution is going to be then.

But nobody likes to talk about that Niles accident because it shows the emperor's new clothes.
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