by F-line to Dudley via Park
dnelson wrote:Two immediate questions come to mind: if this train was led by a typical locomotive or some sort of passenger-less spacer instead of MU cars with passengers sitting beginning directly behind the cab, would any passengers have died? If this train wasn't powered via third rail which ignited the fire, would any passengers have died? I'm not actively criticizing third rail powered MUs, but this is a horrifying number of deaths for what appears to be an otherwise typical grade crossing accident.The third rail pierced right through the carbody underside like a Ginsu knife through a tomato can and set off an explosion. I don't think there's anything a locomotive-hauled train could've done that wouldn't have resulted in equally firey mess and put lives at risk in the crew cabin and with the standees at the vestibule door in the first Shoreliner. A P32 goes up like a Roman candle all the same in that perfect storm of bad luck...and there you have to worry about a breach of the fuel tanks too from the live Ginsu third rail. And if Car #2 is the one that gets sliced by a 700 V DC firestarter instead of the front car it's moot anyway. People are gonna die in a trailing Shoreliner if they draw the random-chance bad luck instead.
There's always reinforced cab cars. . .
Doesn't even have to be as dramatic a 'faux-nose' as that Metrolink example, which was surely the purchasing result of the continuing fallout from the Chatsworth wreck. Amtrak's new Superliner-derived corridor cars under order have slightly more rounded ends with better protection while still allowing pass-through from car to car. It's an appeal to the FRA's old-school buff strength hysteria that a hulking mass protruding far ahead of the cab provides X units of extra safety for every X unit of 'nose' length. You can make a push-pull cab and double-ended EMU married pair with tougher end protection without it needing to be a veritable locomotive nose on every end. It doesn't take a knee-jerk overreaction to get that. If tougher ends become a puchase priority going forward for all commuter railroads, you'll see it work into the designs of every push-pull cab and EMU evolutionarily with modular rounded 'caps' on the ends. Nobody's asked for it so far except for the skittish California operators, so no manufacturers have bothered to serve up such a carbody as a regular offering. Now they'll all start asking for it like Amtrak has with the new Superliner generations. You'll see MLV's, MLV EMU's like NJT's Arrow replacements, M9/10/11's, Bombardier BiLevels, Metra-style gallery cars all come with the reinforced caps on every end car's body pressed at the factory instead of one single carbody prefabbed for every purpose. That's not onerous or a cost-bloater at the scale that comes with it being a standard purchase for every RR. It's only a burdensome expensive when it's one super-custom order for one paranoid railroad. And I suspect that'll no longer be the case when the reverberations from this accident leave their mark.
Last edited by F-line to Dudley via Park on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.