Tadman wrote:I don't like this, it's government grandstanding. Meanwhile, we're going to have another tragic accident in a few years because we didn't address the root cause. Reminds me of the PTC mandate. Crash caused by texting? Mandate a billion dollar technology that doesn't exist! God forbid we address the root cause and ban texting/cell usage and enforce the rules like we enforce rules about operating under the influence.
The root cause for MetroLink was "trains are not prevented from crashing into one another." Cell phones are not the root cause, they are just one means of distraction. As proven by this incident, there are many different ways to be distracted, and PTC would have prevented all of them if it works as demanded. In fact, they even address the root cause here by saying "fix your signaling system to prevent this, and use a second set of eyes in the meantime at these locations." So government grandstanding? You haven't provided any evidence of that whatsoever. Maybe it's overkill for the amount of risk, but there's no question that it will save lives if properly implemented.
Tadman wrote: Reminds me of the PTC mandate. Crash caused by texting? Mandate a billion dollar technology that doesn't exist! God forbid we address the root cause and ban texting/cell usage and enforce the rules like we enforce rules about operating under the influence.
The root cause is you have an unreliable single point of failure, and no redundant backup. PTC is going to be that redundant backup. The railroads had decades to implement their own redundant backup. They didn't. Then a crash happened in the wrong congressional district. Now this has happened. The industry can't police itself and feels it's cheaper to pay out lawsuits. That answer is no longer acceptable to congress, or the general public. They don't care that this'll shave a few cents off the dividend for the next few years. They don't care that it'll cost the local transit agency a hundred million or two (hell - MN just blew 370 million on the Port Jervis line, whose ridership is close to being a rounding error for the system as a whole).
For that matter - in water cooler conversation all this week, the one thing that kept coming up is "why isn't there a system in place to prevent this???" Try explaining that in a way that doesn't outrage the average commuter.
Metro-North has a new nickname among a few folks I know, now. It's not pretty, either.
This is a knee jerk reaction for the reasons Mr Patrick Boylan mentioned in another thread: It only applies to Metro North. Sure, you can argue that Metro North had the incident and other railroads didn't. However, if you're REALLY concerned about this incident repeating itself, why haven't you restricted other railroads? I also find it hypocritical that they are advocating a second set of eyes on the head when the same agency ALLOWED the railroad operators to ELIMINATE the second set of eyes. There is an FRA inspector that made it his personal mission to mandate another person on the NEC. He feels the alertor isn't enough since a train can travel almost 2 miles by the time a penalty occurs. He has been unsuccessful. Now, there's outrage. Menawhile, the FRA complained about too many people on the head end when the Amtrak train hitched a ride on the back of the freight train out west. It is not good policy to pick your poison based upon which way the wind is blowing.
Additionally, the speed limit is random. Where did they pluck 20 MPH from? There is no explaination as to how they picked that number. Why not 10? Why not 30? Why not 25? Truth be told, 20mph won't really make or break your train. If it does, there is something dramatically wrong . As for PTC, those in the industry KNOW for a FACT that it can not only fail, it can actually create more damage and even injure people. Will it kill someone? That's possible too (and I can think of the scenario where it can occur.)
I mentioned this in another thread (somewhere.) Railroading is the ultimate in cause and effect. Everything boils down to timing. What will everyone say when (notice I didn't say "if") PTC improperly initiates a penalty on a freight train causing the lading to shifts and spills into a path of another train? That scenario is far from unrealistic.
Don't worry ladies and gentleman. The FRA is on the case, boldly stepping into the fracas and playing Monday morning quarterback even though they added to the chaos by failing to address the situation on Saturday.
Silence implies consent.