Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

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  by lirr42
 
Head-end View wrote:The mid-day news today announced that Metro-North has reduced the cab-signal code on the approach to the Spuyten Duyvil curve. My question is: if it was so simple to do, that they did it in just a few days, why wasn't it set up this way originally to enforce the radical speed reduction at this location?
A lot of people have erroneously arrived at that conclusion. The signal system was updated as they had the track ripped out and reinstalled. Updating the remaining locations without having a derailing Maxi-Bomb tare the tracks to shreds takes a bit more time.
  by Patrick Boylan
 
That was my guess as well, that they were able to update signals at this curve because the tracks were out of service, and at least some of them needed accident caused repair anyway.
  by RearOfSignal
 
lirr42 wrote:
Head-end View wrote:The mid-day news today announced that Metro-North has reduced the cab-signal code on the approach to the Spuyten Duyvil curve. My question is: if it was so simple to do, that they did it in just a few days, why wasn't it set up this way originally to enforce the radical speed reduction at this location?
A lot of people have erroneously arrived at that conclusion. The signal system was updated as they had the track ripped out and reinstalled. Updating the remaining locations without having a derailing Maxi-Bomb tare the tracks to shreds takes a bit more time.
The wayside portions of the cab signaling system is not in the tracks so it did not matter if the tracks were damaged in order to change the pulse code generators and logic. When the track is destroyed as in this case the track circuits themselves must be repaired and tested. If you look at the pictures here... http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/sets/72157638485865565 you'll notice that they're working in the CIL house not on the tracks themselves.
  by Tadman
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:The public is asking, "Why isn't there a system in place to prevent railroad accidents?" Seriously? :-)
...
It's like when there's an airline crash. People forget. When you fly you're most at risk on the drive to or from the airport. I'd bet the same thing is true for Metro-North riders. We're most at risk on the drive to or from the station. I'm talking about keeping things in perspective.
Tommy, I couldn't agree with you more. Every year, we lose 30,000 Americans to car accidents. That's analogous to the daily ridership of the Hudson Line. According to CDC, we lose 400,000 to smoking related deaths. That's 130% of the daily ridership of the entire Metro North. If we want to do anything other than fool ourselves, why don't we have automated cars? Why don't we ban smoking tomorrow? The annual deaths and injuries from public transit don't begin to touch motorists and smokers.
  by ryanov
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:
ryanov wrote:Read the comments on almost any article about the accident. "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" will eventually appear in every one of them. And it's a good question.
That question, "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" doesn't appear in every comment. And these comments are coming via the Internet, correct?
Not every comment. Every article. Sorry my "articles" were not clearer up there.

Have you not talked to people about this in person? People are not "up in arms" but, in general, people can't believe that by this time, that kind of accident is still possible.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
ryanov wrote:Have you not talked to people about this in person? People are not "up in arms" but, in general, people can't believe that by this time, that kind of accident is still possible.
Are you talking about railfans? Most of the ones I know personally don't want to talk about it. We know what happened. We knew curve restrictions weren't coded into the cabs. We knew fatigue has played a part in many tragic accidents. We know PTC is coming. My family members (most in Yonkers and only five miles away from Spuyten Duyvil), the guys at work, they don't talk about it because they're not that interested. They think it was terrible. They feel sorry for the families of the victims and they feel sorry for the engineer. They all say the same thing: Now he has to live with this for the rest of his life.

How many loaded gasoline tanker trucks are out there right now? Tonight in the New York City area the roads are wet, too. What protection does the public have from gasoline tankers going around a curve too fast? No protection, right?

Is that sensible? I don't know, there don't seem to be many accidents.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Metro-North's cab signal system needs to be upgraded to display more restrive indications than it presently does. MAS down to 45 MPH is safe but not efficient, an intermediate indication of maybe 60 would help followed by 45 then 30 and maybe an additional between 30 and 15. Changing the cab signal codes in the rail should not take months to do, it is not that big of a job, they probably should do it at most curve locations. My biggest issue is the lack of an alertor on all equipment whether it is a locomotive, cab car or MU car, an operative alertor would most likely have prevent this unfortunate incident. The alertor whistle would have required an action on the part of the engineer and moving at 80 MPH the alertor would have gone off much more frequently than at a slower speed. As a back up to this, I would think the Feds would impose an immediate speed restriction on all equipment not equipped with an alertor until the equipment involved is so equipped. Another thing just because the engineer was off duty and home does not necessarily mean that he/she was properly rested, more than once I have laid down to sleep and was unable to go to sleep for some time, I can not push a button to sleep and no bureaucrat can do that either. Nobody who is not an engineer can appreciate what it is like to run a train while very tired, I know, I have done it as has all the other engineers everywhere whether they will admit it or not. The alertor was one of the very best devices ever installed on a locomotive and it is hard to believe that Metro-North did not see fit to install these life saving devices on their cab cars when they were built.
On another subject the union of operating employees on Metro-North was removed form the panel investigating this accident, here is a link to the Federal order.

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2013/131203b.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Noel Weaver
  by ryanov
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:
ryanov wrote:Have you not talked to people about this in person? People are not "up in arms" but, in general, people can't believe that by this time, that kind of accident is still possible.
Are you talking about railfans? Most of the ones I know personally don't want to talk about it.
Railfans know why. These are water cooler folks.
Noel Weaver wrote:Another thing just because the engineer was off duty and home does not necessarily mean that he/she was properly rested, more than once I have laid down to sleep and was unable to go to sleep for some time, I can not push a button to sleep and no bureaucrat can do that either. Nobody who is not an engineer can appreciate what it is like to run a train while very tired, I know, I have done it as has all the other engineers everywhere whether they will admit it or not.
This is a great point. I sometimes call out sick when I simply can't fall asleep and know I will be miserable at work. Not all people would feel comfortable doing though, however, and in some professions there is more pressure than others. What if you're having trouble with sleep for weeks for whatever reason? The employment climate in the US in general, these days, does not allow for much humanity. Death in the family, divorce... run-of-the-mill stress for one reason or another? This stuff happens to people, but I can't think of that many jobs where they'd cheerfully mark you off with pay while it got sorted out. And that's a shame, as we are all human and have these kinds of things happen to us now and again.

How many people honestly would feel comfortable calling out sick because they slept poorly the night before?
  by lirr42
 
[[withdrawn—silly duplicate posts!]]
Last edited by lirr42 on Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by lirr42
 
ryanov wrote:How many people honestly would feel comfortable calling out sick because they slept poorly the night before?
It depends on one's line of work. Personally, in my occupation being half asleep is not the greatest thing in the world, but I have gotten good enough at my job over the last couple years to not really miss anything if I stayed up past my bedtime the night before. But for some other areas of employment, where you being awake and functioning properly influences the safety of others, then maybe one should think about that question a little further.
  by spidey3
 
ryanov wrote:Read the comments on almost any article about the accident. "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" will eventually appear in every one of them. And it's a good question.
How come there isn't something in place to stop a car, bus, or truck that is going too fast?
  by Trainer
 
spidey3 wrote:
ryanov wrote:Read the comments on almost any article about the accident. "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" will eventually appear in every one of them. And it's a good question.
How come there isn't something in place to stop a car, bus, or truck that is going too fast?
There is. Many cars (including my own) has an onboard computer that beeps and flashes lights if I exceed programmed speed limits. So does my GPS. So do Greyhound buses. Even rental cars have computers that relay back to the company when drivers exceeed speed limits. And besides all that, there's something in place that has been known for decades to stop speeding drivers - most truckers refer to him as "Smokey".

Enough with the apologists who are trying to deflect responsibility by making silly comparisons. There was a pattern of issues and screwups at MN before the Spuyten Devyil accident, and the deaths of customers makes it impossible to keep ignoring. It could be that the one common element that binds these problems together is this groupthink "we can do no wrong" attitude - exactly what resulted in the Challenger space shuttle disaster.

It's a good railroad. Make it better. Stop whining, acknowledge there are problems, work to address and solve them, or you'll lose the public trust that you've worked so hard to earn all these years.
  by spidey3
 
Trainer wrote:
spidey3 wrote:
ryanov wrote:Read the comments on almost any article about the accident. "How come there isn't something in place to stop a train that is going too fast?" will eventually appear in every one of them. And it's a good question.
How come there isn't something in place to stop a car, bus, or truck that is going too fast?
[...]

Enough with the apologists who are trying to deflect responsibility by making silly comparisons. There was a pattern of issues and screwups at MN before the Spuyten Devyil accident, and the deaths of customers makes it impossible to keep ignoring. It could be that the one common element that binds these problems together is this groupthink "we can do no wrong" attitude - exactly what resulted in the Challenger space shuttle disaster.
I agree with you entirely.

My point is merely that there is a double standard. Can you imagine the hue and cry if FHA proposed requiring cars to be physically limited to 55 MPH?
  by Clean Cab
 
From what I've head, the imposed restrictions aren't going to be that numerous. I think it will cover the curve south of Yonkers on the Hudson, the curve south of White Plains on the Harlem and on the New Haven line it would only be the curve east of Port Chester, Jenkin's Curve and the drawbridges.
  by lirr42
 
Clean Cab wrote:From what I've head, the imposed restrictions aren't going to be that numerous. I think it will cover the curve south of Yonkers on the Hudson, the curve south of White Plains on the Harlem and on the New Haven line it would only be the curve east of Port Chester, Jenkin's Curve and the drawbridges.
That's what the MTA's press release that was linked on the previous pages said. It also said that MAS would be lowered in 26 different locations.
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