• Spanish train derails, killing dozens, injuring many more

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by 25Hz
Pretty terrible stuff. :\

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23442018" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
All 13 carriages of the train, which was travelling from Madrid to Ferrol, came off the tracks near the city of Santiago de Compostela.

Images from the scene showed bodies strewn near ruined carriages, and emergency crews searching the wreckage.
  by 25Hz
I'm very concerned that 2 people I know could have been aboard that train. Still no word. Stomach in knots worried about them. I'm actually on a train myself right now, so that's not helping.
  by jstolberg
The BBC says at least 35 killed among 218 passengers on 13 carriages. The Guardian puts the passenger total at 240. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/ju ... CMP=twt_gu" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It appears that not only did the train derail, it also hit a concrete retaining wall. Its never good when that happens. My prayers go out for the families of the passengers killed and injured. No doubt many of them came from Galicia. The train size is about the same as the current Cascades trains in the US with what looks like tilting Talgo equipment. High temperature in Santiago de Compostela Wednesday was 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so heat was not a factor. The curve is quite tight, so speed might be. Structural engineers will want to look at the wreckage.
  by 25Hz
New photos and content were added to the originally linked BBC news page.

From the first hand accounts it seems to me it may have been going too fast entering the curve.
  by 25Hz
The equipment involved was a RENFE class 130. High speed trainset capable of 160 mph, variable gauge technology, 2 electric power cars and 11 talgo passive tilt coaches.

  by jstolberg
Video of the derailment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ltax00L ... r_embedded" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Investigators are looking at excess speed on a tight curve as a possible cause of Wednesday's train derailment that killed at least 77 and injured 140 in Spain's worst train tragedy in some four decades, government officials said.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... TopStories#" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by lpetrich
Santiago de Compostela train disaster: the crash site | World news | guardian.co.uk - has some maps. The train was coming off of a new high-speed line into a old and rather curvy line.

EL PAÍS in English

“I hope there are no deaths - they would weigh heavily on my conscience” | In English | EL PAÍS
Train driver caught in wreckage of crash tells colleagues he was travelling twice the permitted speed
Death toll rises to 78 in Santiago de Compostela train crash | In English | EL PAÍS
The track had been adapted for the AVE high-speed trains, but the signaling system had not. An engineer from the Adif state rail infrastructure company, who admitted he was unaware of the exact circumstances of the accident, explained on Wednesday that it would be very difficult for a train to derail simply due to excess speed, and that another factor – involving either the track or the train itself – must have come into play.
Trains can go up to 250 km/h (155 mph) on the high-speed line, and the driver is described as admitting that he was traveling at about 190 km/h (120 mph). The speed limit for that curve is 80 km/h (50 mph).

I have a problem with the Adif engineer's theory. Centrifugal force goes up as (velocity)^2, and twice the speed means four times the force. So it looks to me that the speed could do it.
  by mtuandrew
I hope your friends are alright, 25Hz. Thank you for reporting this tragedy here, and my thoughts go out to the victims and families.

All: let's keep the speculation to a simmer before the Spanish and/or EU authorities come back with a verdict. I'll be very interested to see how the Talgo cars held up for the most part too, since that could influence their use on our side of the Atlantic.
  by AEM7AC920
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone dealing with this tragedy! The picture where the car went up over the embankment just shows how fast this thing was really moving when it derailed. I'm not going to speculate any further then speed was a major factor here, as a railroader just makes me anxious to know what the engineer was doing/ thinking and why?
  by RearOfSignal
Heard on my local news that the train was estimated doing 118mph and the speed on the track was half that. News stated that the engineer said he was speeding because the train was late. That it just absolutely insane! Engineer should be charged with homicide if that is true.
  by Nasadowsk
The numbers being tossed around in the news is 190km/h in an 80km/h zone. I'm not sure if 80 is for Talgo equipment or conventional, which would be lower. Still, from the video, he was going way too fast.
  by electricron
Map by BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/panel ... 753836.jpg

This map shows the curve where the accident occurred. It's where the HSR joins the existing rail corridor, with the HSR tracks exiting a tunnel, but still using the new HSR tracks. There was no points, switches, or turnouts at the crash locale. I don't know what was the specific cause of the accident, but I'm sure an investigation will find out. Having a 50 mph max speed curve immediately upon rejoining an existing slower speed corridor might be too low, considering the train had been going 150 mph just a few kilometers earlier. One would think they would design joining and exiting existing rail corridor points on straights instead of 50 mph sharp curves. One would also think the HSR train would be automatically slowed down without train engineer input at these points as well. Maybe that's the lesson to be learned here?
  by lpetrich
Spain rail crash: why was train travelling so fast on bend? | World news | guardian.co.uk
An estimate by Associated Press of the speed at the moment of impact using the time stamp of the video and the estimated distance between two pylons gives a range of 89mph to 119mph. Another estimate calculated on the basis of the typical distance between railroad ties gives a range of 96mph to 112mph.

The speed limit on that section of track is 50mph, and locals said that trains often creep through, as the station is just a short way down the tracks.