• 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 mtuandrew
 
electricron wrote:And I believe you will also see data showing highways cause far more injuries than railways. As long as we have a Congress that passes laws based on "feelings", on what is technically possible instead of what is practical, we'll continue to see over-stepping laws and regulations. Welcome to the club!
Exactly, that’s why I think there will eventually be an automotive Positive Traffic Control requirement in some municipalities and states, and then in Federal funding legislation. It may not be right now and it may not be mandatory for all roads, but it’ll happen.

Of course the opposite may happen depending on who is in charge, and portions of railroad PTC may be allowed to go dark or shifted to a less-failsafe mode that’s more effective at traffic dispatch. We shall see.
  by Tadman
 
electricron wrote: PTC was implemented on freight lines too, where there are no fare paying passengers. Why? There is more to PTC than just saving the lives of passengers and crews on the trains. There could be thousands of citizens in the nearby neighborhood that could be injured by two freight trains crashing head on into each other - depending upon the freight being carried on the train. It's more than just about deaths, it is also about injuries.
Right but that hasn't happened, either. At least not with any frequency. Sherbrooke was a bad thing, but how often does that happen? Once every 20 years?
electricron wrote: And I believe you will also see data showing highways cause far more injuries than railways. As long as we have a Congress that passes laws based on "feelings", on what is technically possible instead of what is practical, we'll continue to see over-stepping laws and regulations. Welcome to the club!
Agreed. What's worse is the regulators that don't have to be reelected.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Tadman wrote:Sherbrooke was a bad thing, but how often does that happen? Once every 20 years?
Mr. Dunville, I presume we are addressing Megantic vice Sherbrooke?
  by ApproachMedium
 
While airbags seatbelts and other car safety improvements have for sure saved lives, they have added complacency among drivers coupled with newer cars being better handling, more responsive etc. ABS, stability control, there are a lot less consequences for driving a car wrecklessly these days than there used to be. You can easily wreck a car and survive it. You can easily do some wild maneuvers and not wreck the car. Just ask one of your grandparents or your parents how cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s handled and responded. Drivers today are so used to a car being able to stop on a dime from disc brake, when those disc brakes or ABS fails they are lost, they wreck. But thanks to energy absorbing zones, air bags, better seat support and seatbelts they can walk away unscratched.

Similar things will fall into the rail industry with these electronic systems in the same manner thru different channels. But my point is here, no matter how safe or how great you make something accident proof or preventative, there will still be accidents. Car accidents havent ended, neither will rail accidents or flight accidents. If there is a margin for error it will be met at some point. Air travel was doing great until the 737 MAX. Rail travel was doing great until Chatsworth and 188. Seems like after 188 we suddenly had a spike in passenger rail accidents.
  by mtuandrew
 
The overarching issue is that drivers and engineers are being asked to do more with less - gradually of course. Drivers have much more congestion than (say) the 1949s at higher speeds, with more distractions. Some help would be welcome; some regulation may be imposed. For railroads, tonnage is pretty far above anything the old days saw, and there’s far less double and triple track per ton-mile with fewer crew than ever.
  by dowlingm
 
Aircraft have INS, GPWS, TCAS, ILS. Their pilots can operate one off charters with charts loaded on an iPad and without familiarization flights except for the trickier spots. They can be located in three dimensions anywhere in the world if equipped with ADS-B and have subscription to the satellite services. But install speed control on a locomotive and suddenly you're letting the human off the hook?

Trains should be smarter, able to survive most things a dumb operator does and virtually everything a competent one does, and if the worst happens, Company should know what and where seconds after those on board do.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Pre-Chatsworth, I held that "you're paying a guy $125K a year to be your PTC". The subsequent incidents in both classes of service showed that is no longer enough. With all the distractions we have brought on ourselves, it is no wonder that more of us have attention, or "focus", disorders.
  by ApproachMedium
 
dowlingm wrote:Aircraft have INS, GPWS, TCAS, ILS. Their pilots can operate one off charters with charts loaded on an iPad and without familiarization flights except for the trickier spots. They can be located in three dimensions anywhere in the world if equipped with ADS-B and have subscription to the satellite services. But install speed control on a locomotive and suddenly you're letting the human off the hook?

Trains should be smarter, able to survive most things a dumb operator does and virtually everything a competent one does, and if the worst happens, Company should know what and where seconds after those on board do.
But ask any pilot whos become an engineer what is harder to learn and operate planes or trains. They will all hands down tell you trains. I have never had a pilot tell me that a becoming an engineer was cake.
  by justalurker66
 
dowlingm wrote: Thu May 30, 2019 11:48 pmAircraft have INS, GPWS, TCAS, ILS. Their pilots can operate one off charters with charts loaded on an iPad ...
iPad training didn't work too well for the 737 Max. (Training for flying the new version of the plane, not the route, but still expecting pilots to pick up intricate details that could save their flights from an iPad app.)
dowlingm wrote: Thu May 30, 2019 11:48 pmTrains should be smarter, able to survive most things a dumb operator does and virtually everything a competent one does, and if the worst happens, Company should know what and where seconds after those on board do.
When PTC is fully operative they will be a step closer. But when (not if) PTC fails the operators (engineers, conductors) will need to be smarter than the technology that can never replace them. As crews rely more on PTC the door opens for them to become "dumb". If the computer runs the train and the engineer becomes a system monitor ("safety driver" in autonomous car terms) they will lose the experience to operate without the computers.

Technology has its limits ... There are people in the chair, whether it be in a pilot's seat or the engineer's chair, who need to be properly trained and supported for those times where the technology lets them down. When a system decides a course of action that will crash a plane or wreck a train. In the Cascade wreck the engineer did not receive proper training on the equipment nor the route and didn't have PTC to watch his back. He was set up to fail.

(And yes, I understand that the role of PTC is more of an electronic conductor, receiving and keeping track of dispatcher instructions, special instructions, physical characteristics, etc. not as an electronic engineer operating the train. But the usage can grow. Even at the electronic conductor level, it leaves the door open for a failure where a lightly "qualified" engineer is expected to operate hoping that PTC protects them and not in a good position if PTC fails.)
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:32 pm
dowlingm wrote: Thu May 30, 2019 11:48 pmAircraft have INS, GPWS, TCAS, ILS. Their pilots can operate one off charters with charts loaded on an iPad ...
iPad training didn't work too well for the 737 Max. (Training for flying the new version of the plane, not the route, but still expecting pilots to pick up intricate details that could save their flights from an iPad app.)
There is a big difference between familiarization training on equipment and using an electronic chart.
  by farecard
 
The NTSB has been successful at reducing aviation fatalities because they grasp several truths.

One of those is "people make inexplicable mistakes." We've been talking about some of those in this thread.
Thanks to their work for decades they can say every accident takes multiple factors.

PTC will reduce the number of those factors.
  by David Benton
 
farecard wrote: Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:21 am The NTSB has been successful at reducing aviation fatalities because they grasp several truths.

One of those is "people make inexplicable mistakes." We've been talking about some of those in this thread.
Thanks to their work for decades they can say every accident takes multiple factors.

PTC will reduce the number of those factors.
Exactly rught . And my contention is more highly trained operators( of any transport/ equipment ) will have "brain farts", simply because our brains are more overloaded with information than they have ever been . ditto the rise in early Dementia etc .
A turning point was the Airbus crash in Indonesia . An engine caught fire and the pilot moved to shut it down quickly . He turned the wrong engine off. Now there is a procedure where the pilot points to the engine he will turn off , confirms with the copilot he is going to turn it off and it is the correct one , before turning it off.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote: Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:33 amThere is a big difference between familiarization training on equipment and using an electronic chart.
In the railroad world, handing the crew an electronic chart isn't enough to qualify them for that journey. Maybe it will be in the future when PTC is in place and trusted. But for now there are rules in place for familiarizing crew to their equipment and their territories. The railroads just have to learn to follow their rules.
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