• NJT HOBOKEN TERMINAL ACCIDENT THREAD

  • Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.
Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

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  by CLamb
 
JimBoylan wrote:Even if the throttle movement and acceleration was caused by some defect or someone in the locomotive cab at the rear of the train, why did the engineer wait so long to do anything?
We only know the time until the emergency stop was activated. He could've been trying to use other malfunctioning controls in the meantime.
  by 8th Notch
 
If the train went into emergency when induced by the engr then that pretty much eliminates the idea of half the controls malfunctioioning. The train was being pushed by a diesel so I do not find it odd that he took power coming into the terminal, I don't think I would have went into 4th notch however I still see quite a few engineers running PP power braking into the bunter at or around 4th notch as well. Did he nod off or have a medical condition, or other distraction are the biggest unknowns yet to be determined in my book.
  by justalurker66
 
CLamb wrote:We only know the time until the emergency stop was activated. He could've been trying to use other malfunctioning controls in the meantime.
According to the NTSB:
"The event recorder indicated that about 38 seconds before the collision, throttle increased from idle to the #4 position while the train was traveling about 8 mph. Train speed began to increase and reached a maximum of about 21 mph while the brake pipe pressure remained unchanged."
"Just prior to the collision, the event recorder indicated that the throttle position went from #4 to idle. Engineer-induced emergency braking occured less than 1 second before the collision with the bumping post."

There is no evidence that the controls were changed between the throttle increase and the throttle decrease and emergency braking. No problems were found with the cab event recorder.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
I think it's pretty clear the NTSB (and NJ Transit for that matter) don't believe or even suspect that some unexplained equipment malfunction had anything to do with this incident. A malfunction that caused the engineer to lose control of the train if even briefly. I think that's clear because if there was any question about the equipment I would expect NTSB (or FRA) to issue a warning and for the equipment to possibly be taken out of service until the problem was determined and fixed. I'm pretty sure that's something the NTSB would look at right away. Apparently they don't think there is any issue with the equipment and I accept that as probably true.
  by MCL1981
 
There will always be people who will draw at every last straw to insist it could be a failure of something, anything, other than the engineer. Even in the beginning when everything is on the table and nothing is off the table, they will weight everything else heavier than engineer error. And in many cases, not even permit the thought of engineer error. As if refusing to discuss the possibilities actually alters reality. Then when the evidence starts to come together, it will start ruling out most of non human error scenarios. They will still insist it might have been a secret hidden unknown mystical mechanical failure that nobody anywhere has ever seen or heard of. Sometimes I think even if the engineer got on national TV and said "I fell asleep and crashed the train. I'm so sorry.", the same people would insist it's a cover-up and that it must have been a brake failure.
  by Hamhock
 
There are two reasons for that, and both of them come from the better parts of human nature.

1) It's better to give the benefit of the doubt to a person than to reflexively blame a person.

2) There's no easy fix for human error, nor is there psychological peace of mind about it. Mechanical systems, safety systems, computers, etc. can all be rationalized as "things break; fix them and make them better and they won't break next time". A guy falling asleep is much harder to feel secure about.
Last edited by Hamhock on Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by MCL1981
 
Absolutely. It's human nature to do it. Especially when it is your own profession or coworkers.
  by litz
 
8th Notch wrote:I believe I saw somewhere that the NTSB already performed an air test with the accident set and found everything to be working correct on the mechanical side. I feel like this will be another unsolved mystery.
Pretty sure I read they tested it from the locomotive end, but could not test from the cab car end due to equipment damage ...
  by Steampowered
 
Hamhock wrote:There's two reasons for that, and both of them come from the better parts of human nature.

1) It's better to give the benefit of the doubt to a person than to reflexively blame a person.

2) There's no easy fix for human error, nor is there psychological peace of mind about it. Mechanical systems, safety systems, computers, etc. can all be rationalized as "things break; fix them and make them better and they won't break next time". A guy falling asleep is much harder to feel secure about.
I agree with you on this, but even a simple trip on the tracks that detects a speeding train, and set off the emergency stop without the conductor could have been done many years ago.
  by justalurker66
 
The will to do something about the problem is the biggest challenge.

We have already discussed how PTC could operate and could have prevented the collision ... but the caveat is that PTC is not required to operate in the discussed manner or be active at all in the terminal area. Systems do not work well when disabled or not fully implemented.

The change that has been made (if I recall correctly) is having a second man in the cab while entering terminals on cab car trains. And while there have been plenty of accidents with multiple employees in the cab, I agree with having a second person step in for the final approach to the bumper.
  by MCL1981
 
Steampowered wrote:I agree with you on this, but even a simple trip on the tracks that detects a speeding train, and set off the emergency stop without the conductor could have been done many years ago.
The train wasn't speeding when it entered the terminal. It accelerated after it entered the terminal. So again, adding a bunch things to stop .000005% of trains entering the terminal would do nothing.
  by mmi16
 
8th Notch wrote:The problem is it's not "simple."
It is never 'simple' to figure out what a individual was doing in 38 seconds of improper attention.
  by F40
 
Any "failure" of the brakes may come from any input failing to heed to the engineer's control (I am not sure how likely that is), not from the fail-safe mechanical mechanism of the brakes itself. If you have little to no pressure in the brake pipe or if the compressor was not making enough air and it drops below the threshold, this is akin to putting the train in emergency, and you will simply not go anywhere. Unless something miraculously caused the brakes to fall off from all the axles of the train, it will be generally very hard to blame it on the brakes. They should be tested as part of the thorough investigation, but I would not say it is such a "hot spot" to look for when listing possible causes of mechanical failure.
  by glennk419
 
Are Tracks 5 & 6 still OOS?
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