N1120A
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 6:49 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 45):
. How do I know that the toll I pay on the Bay Bridge does not go to Orange County freeways?

FasTrak is a system of toll collection. The toll you pay through it is paid to the local authority where the toll is paid.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 45):
Beyond that, why can't BNSF or UP start passenger service to compete with Amtrak? Is there a law against it?

They don't want to. They are the ones that made Amtrak to start with.

Quoting opethfan (Reply 48):
But is FasTrak a private firm that is also responsible for maintaining the roadways? Or is it a branding for the government toll collection?

Actually, it's the name for a system of toll collection developed by Caltrans.

Oh, and let's not go into the absolute nightmare that is privatized toll collection on publically-built infrastructure in Ontario. The crime that is the 427 is still a melodrama.
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opethfan
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 7:41 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 50):
Oh, and let's not go into the absolute nightmare that is privatized toll collection on publically-built infrastructure in Ontario. The crime that is the 427 is still a melodrama.

I know I'm sending this thread far off topic, but I guess it's a nice diversion while we're waiting for more (tragic) details.

So it turns out that while one of the toll bridges in Vancouver is handled by a gov't-owned corporation, the other one is handled by the maligned transit agency, whose mandate apparently includes aspects of the roadways as well as trains and busses. They were built within a couple years of each other and cross the same river.

One government hand not knowing what the other is doing...
 
ltbewr
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 10:36 am

As with many airline accidents where we are quick to blame the pilot, there is clearly a quick blaming of he engineer. This was a very new locomotive with I presume significant amount of computerized controls. What if there had been a software glitch that continued the acceleration of the train that the engineer was not able to cut off or override. That the train was well over the 70 MPH speed limit on the tracks before the curve, raises serious questions.
A statement of the lawyer for the engineer has just said his client 'doesn't recall what happened', raising issues of mental or physical health of him, but that may have been from shock or panic from the crash.
The lack of 'positive controls' on the train has been raised by many, but as others have noted, it is expensive and with ever tightening subsidies, and keeping up high pay for workers (which is another set of issues) the need to operate routes with minimal demand and very high losses due to political pressures, all just add to the lack of such systems on this train.
 
Flighty
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 11:35 am

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 52):
ack of 'positive controls' on the train has been raised by many, but as others have noted, it is expensive and with ever tightening subsidies, and keeping up high pay for workers

I took a road trip with a Garmin unit over the winter. It knows the speed limits and can alert you anytime you exceed it.

It's Commercial Off The Shelf and costs $100. Amtrak can't do something similar for their small network? There are cars that integrate this technology.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 52):
What if there had been a software glitch that continued the acceleration of the train that the engineer was not able to cut off or override.

What if the engineer has cardiac event before such a curve? Is there no failsafe of any kind??
 
S75752
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 12:13 pm

This eerily reminds me of the movie Unbreakable.
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 12:53 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):

What if the engineer has cardiac event before such a curve? Is there no failsafe of any kind??

Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the system, brakes are automatically applied to bring the train to a stop.
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N1120A
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 2:22 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):

What if the engineer has cardiac event before such a curve? Is there no failsafe of any kind??
Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 55):
Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the system, brakes are automatically applied to bring the train to a stop.

You are correct, and I believe all Amtrak cabs have this.
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Okie
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 2:35 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):
It's Commercial Off The Shelf and costs $100. Amtrak can't do something similar for their small network? There are cars that integrate this technology

That is why I question the estimated $2B costs according to Amtrak.
The freight lines have installed similar equipment or used other methods for costs that do not approach that threshold.

I think we are going to find that from the recorder that the train engineer was speeding on the entire route trying to make up time from a delayed departure.
The real question would be is that is of his own doing, pressure from management or authorized by management staff.

Okie
 
ANITIX87
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 2:48 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
How does Amtrak handle signaling?
How does amtrak handle curves and ATC?

Amtrak uses cab and wayside signaling. On the northeast corridor, much of it is Positive Train Control (PTC, which will force the train to follow all speed commands, taking traffic and civil layout into consideration), but not in the accident area. Essentially, this segment of the corridor uses coded frequencies to display the speed to the engineer. It allows a clear signal for maximum speed if there is sufficient unoccupied track ahead of the train. Then it's up to the engineer to follow (and know) wayside speed limits. If the area ahead is occupied (or there is a diverging move or a station), then the cab will show a lower allowable speed and the train will hold the engineer to that limit, but this train was proceeding at 9:30PM - nothing in front to yield a lower speed command. Basically, if you have maximum speed code you can go as fast as you want and have to follow the posted limits next to the tracks. This applies for straight track or curved track.

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 17):
In the 21st century why is it even possible for a train to go to fast into a curve without a fail safe kicking in earlier down the tracks?

Because of a lack of PTC, as described above.

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 55):
Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the system, brakes are automatically applied to bring the train to a stop.

Yes, all locomotives have this. However, the engineer acknowledging the switch and ignoring speed limits are two different things. This engineer was awake and likely didn't follow wayside speed signs. Ironically, if this engineer had fallen asleep, this accident likely would not have happened.

DISCLAIMER: I am a rail signaling engineer in NYC, with years of industry experience. However, I am operating on the same information any member of the public can acquire. Any statements about the cause of yesterday's accident are speculatory at this time, based on the limited information coming out from the media and the agencies involved. Only official NTSB reports should be considered accurate and final.

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zanl188
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 3:20 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 53):

A Garmin doesn't have to stop all the cars & trucks around it, or know where the end of your 4000ft car is. PTC is a considerably different technology than your average car GPS.
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seb146
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 3:22 pm

Quoting Okie (Reply 57):
That is why I question the estimated $2B costs according to Amtrak.
The freight lines have installed similar equipment or used other methods for costs that do not approach that threshold.

I have lived in three different areas where commuter rail has been installed while I lived there. Sounder, in the Seattle area, did not need much upgrade because Amtrak was already using most of those tracks for Cascades service. Station improvements and building stations along the line and a new trestle in South Tacoma was all they really had to do.

WES in Washington County, Oregon, and SMART here in the North Bay both needed full upgrades. DOT sets standards for passenger rail safety with switches, warning lights, and even ties, IIRC. I would imagine that freight rail gets a waiver from DOT for lines where Amtrak runs long distance trains.

I don't think freight companies would be interested in long distance train service, but I would think they could make money on corridor service. Short term, it would probably cost them, but, in the long run, it would be paid for.
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 5:26 pm

Quoting opethfan (Reply 48):
But is FasTrak a private firm that is also responsible for maintaining the roadways? Or is it a branding for the government toll collection?

FasTrak is the branding of the electronic toll collection system developed, owned, and operated by CalTrans.
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D L X
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 9:14 pm

This thread got real political, didn't it?
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 9:31 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 62):

This thread got real political, didn't it?

My poli sci degree isn't much use for anything except sidetracking online discussion threads.
 
PHLBOS
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 9:38 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
Twitter accounts reporting at least 5 dead. Injuries number unknown

The death toll has now been reported to 8.

Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 1):
One more thing - most news agencies are reporting the incident as "North of Philadelphia." The location is north of downtown Philadelphia, but still within the City of Philadelphia.

Most of the local Philly stations were referring to the site of the crash as the Port Richmond part of the city.

Aerial map of the area. The curved tracks are located just west of the I-95/Betsy Ross Bridge/Aramingo Ave. interchange.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 5):
It happened near the 'Frankford Junction' a site of a deadly train cash in 1947 where dozens of people were killed.

Actually, that crash occurred on Sept. 6, 1943 (Labor Day Weekend) and killed 79 people and injured 117.

Wiki account of the 1943 Philadelphia Train Wreck
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 11:18 pm

Its been mandated the safety mechanism be in place by the end of the year. Most of the NE corridor line has it. This 12 mile stretch doesn't because it's a complicated area and was last on the list for implementation. So if an accident like this was going to happen, it was going to happen here because it couldn't happen in most other places.

That said how does the onboard system even allow this non Acela train above 80 in the first place? He was apparently driving 106 in an 80 zone and didn't brake early enough to slow to anywhere near 50.
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seb146
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Thu May 14, 2015 11:27 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 62):
This thread got real political, didn't it?

It partly is political.

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 65):
Its been mandated the safety mechanism be in place by the end of the year. Most of the NE corridor line has it.

But, because a tea people controlled Republican party just cuts and cuts and cuts until something fails. Like the Postal Service or IRS or Amtrak. If the true Republicans were not so worried about the tea faction, Amtrak, and infrastructure in general, would get more funding.
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 1:53 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 66):

Quoting D L X (Reply 62):
This thread got real political, didn't it?

It partly is political.


It's a train crash. It's not political.
 
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Pellegrine
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 2:03 am

I literally went up from DC to NYC on the Acela Friday morning fro business, shopping, and fun; coming back Sunday afternoon. I feel so lucky..   
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 5:19 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 56):
You are correct, and I believe all Amtrak cabs have this.

The ACS-64 is equipped with this.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 2:02 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 67):
It's a train crash. It's not political.

You would think so. But the White House is blaming Republicans for the crash.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/white...ce=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
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IADCA
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 2:07 pm

Quoting D L X (Reply 67):
It's a train crash. It's not political.

Start with 2015, where absolutely everything negative must be blamed on one or the other political party. Add to that the fact that anything involving Amtrak is political. Bake for three hours at 300. Result: this mess of a thread.
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 3:08 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 55):
Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the system

Isn't it more often than just every few minutes, something like twenty seconds?
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 3:36 pm

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 55):
Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern
locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an
alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the
system, brakes are automatically applied to bring the train to a stop.

I think different locomotives have different systems. In Sweden I think many
locomotives have a pedal which the train driver needs to have his/hers foot on
to prevent to locomotive/train from stopping.

[Edited 2015-05-15 08:38:04]
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seb146
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 4:03 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 70):
You would think so. But the White House is blaming Republicans for the crash.

And which party continually slashes funding for Amtrak?

Every day there seems to be new video of the crash. I think it is interesting, in this day of social media and everything being recorded at all times.
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 4:12 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 74):
And which party continually slashes funding for Amtrak?

Federal funding for Amtrak should be slashed - indeed it should be cut entirely. It's beneficiaries are almost entirely in one region of the country. It should go away, along with federal subsidies for tiny airports etc.

I love rail transportation. I spent much of my life in Switzerland - where we had one of the best rail networks in the world. But that works because of the high population density, which you simply do not have in the US.
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D L X
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 5:24 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 70):
You would think so. But the White House is blaming Republicans for the crash.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/white...uffer

And we all know that you do whatever the White House says, right?
 
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Boeing717200
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 5:28 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 74):
And which party continually slashes funding for Amtrak?Every day there seems to be new video of the crash. I think it is interesting, in this day of social media and everything being recorded at all times.

1. Federal funding had nothing to do with this accident. In fact if you look at the rail bed, that segment of track has the new concrete ties that aren't even soiled with oil from the trains yet.
2. Amtrak was given money for positive train control, even the sensors were in place. Buying frequency spectrum was a problem, and it was an issue of availability not cost. Never mind the decision on how to implement PTC was made in the 1990's.

So why should we give Amtrak more money?
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N1120A
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 5:53 pm

Quoting Okie (Reply 57):

That is why I question the estimated $2B costs according to Amtrak.

Do you realize all that is involved?

Quoting Okie (Reply 57):
The freight lines have installed similar equipment or used other methods for costs that do not approach that threshold.

Freight runs at significantly lower speeds with significantly less need to operate comfortably for those onboard.

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 65):
That said how does the onboard system even allow this non Acela train above 80 in the first place?

What makes you think non-Acela trains don't go above 80 mph. Trains have run faster than that on the NEC since 1969. Even Toasters and AmCans can and do regularly go 125 mph.

Quoting D L X (Reply 67):
It's a train crash. It's not political.

Except that the causes are.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 75):
But that works because of the high population density, which you simply do not have in the US.

Hmm, really? Where is the population density greater? Switzerland or Southern California?

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 75):
I love rail transportation. I spent much of my life in Switzerland - where we had one of the best rail networks in the world.

I'm going to assume you know what the acronyms SBB CFF FFS mean. Schweizerische Bundesbahnen Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses Ferrovie federali svizzere. All of those mean Swiss FEDERAL Railways. As in, owned by the Confederation and the Cantons. And funded by them.

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 77):
So why should we give Amtrak more money?

Because it provides a substantial public service and is hamstrung with high fixed costs that other modes aren't.
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D L X
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 6:09 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 78):
Except that the causes are.

We don't know what caused this yet.

I'm all for speculation on this site, as I have said many times over the years. But declaring that we know the answer when we don't, and then politicizing it when they haven't even cleared the wreckage is distasteful, imo.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 9:29 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 78):
Hmm, really? Where is the population density greater? Switzerland or Southern California?

According to Wikipedia, the population density in Southern California is just under 400/sq mi (vs 85 for the entire country). Switzerland is just under 500/sq mi, but that includes all the uninhabitable regions (rocks, boulders, ice, snow fields and unproductive vegetation above the treeline), so the area needed to be covered by railways is more like 650-700/sq mile.

Also remember that the vast majority of the Swiss population live within walking distance, or maybe a short bus ride away from a train station, and where they work will similarly be very accessible. Can you say the same in Southern California? I don't think so.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 78):
I'm going to assume you know what the acronyms SBB CFF FFS mean. Schweizerische Bundesbahnen Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses Ferrovie federali svizzere. All of those mean Swiss FEDERAL Railways. As in, owned by the Confederation and the Cantons. And funded by them.

So what? The SBB benefits the entire country. Why should the taxpayers in Kentucky pay taxes to support a rail system that they get no benefit from? The Interstate highway system, I can understand, because it is nation-wide. But rail in the US is far too limited in its possibilities for such application.

If Southern California wants to have a rail system (which I think would probably be a good idea), let them pay for it themselves - NO federal money.

And while I think Southern California would benefit from a rail system, the current HSR project is a monstrous scam - and they got federal dollars for it that makes it even worse.

[Edited 2015-05-15 15:00:21]
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SpaceshipDC10
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 10:58 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 78):
I'm going to assume you know what the acronyms SBB CFF FFS mean. Schweizerische Bundesbahnen Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses Ferrovie federali svizzere. All of those mean Swiss FEDERAL Railways. As in, owned by the Confederation and the Cantons. And funded by them.

SBB CFF FFS titles were chosen back in 1902 when several separate private rail companies were bought by Swiss authorities and merged under that acronym and its meaning and transformed into some sort of state-owned service/institution. Since 1999, the SBB are basically a corporation, owned by the Federal state, that has to balance it's budget without any direct subsidies for its long distances passenger train network or it's cargo division, and also to achieve the goals given by the Federal council. For the regional services, the Cantons ask the SBB or any others to tender offers for their detailed needs and for a set number of years, and then the Cantons, after choosing which company will provide the service, take in charge part of the costs of said service provided.
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Fri May 15, 2015 11:13 pm

Quoting N1120A (Reply 78):
Because it provides a substantial public service and is hamstrung with high fixed costs that other modes aren't.

If its substantial, then the people who use it should be willing to pay what it actually costs to use it. They charge less than gas money on a lot of routes and it takes less time to drive. That's nuts.

[Edited 2015-05-15 16:17:18]
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910A
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 1:44 am

New Twist:
One of three conductors aboard the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia this week told investigators she heard the locomotive's engineer say the train had been struck by an object, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said Friday.

The locomotive's windshield was shattered in the derailment. But Sumwalt said there is "particular damage" to the lower portion of the windshield that the FBI will examine. He described it as a "circular pattern that emanates out just a bit."

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/15/us/phi...amtrak-train-derailment/index.html
 
Cadet985
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 3:11 am

I'm giving the engineer the benefit of the doubt until and if it's proven he was at fault.

There are those who are throwing him under the bus, so to speak, but almost everyone I've spoken to about this seems to share my view on this issue.

Marc
 
D L X
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 6:28 am

Quoting 910A (Reply 83):
The locomotive's windshield was shattered in the derailment. But Sumwalt said there is "particular damage" to the lower portion of the windshield that the FBI will examine. He described it as a "circular pattern that emanates out just a bit."

Like, a gunshot?

Or, like the train hit a bird?

Is this a criminal investigation now?
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 6:42 am

Quoting thunderboltdrgn (Reply 73):
I think different locomotives have different systems. In Sweden I think many
locomotives have a pedal which the train driver needs to have his/hers foot on
to prevent to locomotive/train from stopping.

Photo of the ACS-64 that shows the floor buttons:




AMTRAK ACS-64 Cab
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seb146
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 6:46 am

Quoting D L X (Reply 85):
Like, a gunshot?

Or, like the train hit a bird?

Is this a criminal investigation now?

I think it is strange that the train sped up while being reported the cab was hit with something.
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Cadet985
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 7:43 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 87):
I think it is strange that the train sped up while being reported the cab was hit with something.

Cab could have been hit with something that knocked the engineer out, and he fell on the throttle, coming to before hitting the emergency brake, albeit too late.

Think of a car...if the driver goes unconscious with their foot still on the gas, the car will keep accelerating.

Marc
 
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 8:16 am

Quoting garnetpalmetto (Reply 55):
Correct me if I'm wrong, somebody, but most modern locomotives have a deadman's switch in the form of an alerter - every few minutes an alarm goes off and if the engineer doesn't push a button on his console to reset the system, brakes are automatically applied to bring the train to a stop.

A lot can happen in a few minutes with a train going >100mph, especially in this country.

Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 84):

I'm giving the engineer the benefit of the doubt until and if it's proven he was at fault.

He was going 106. That was the cause of the accident. Maybe he was incapacitated by bullet 5 minutes before the crash, pushing his hand to the throttle. I think we will see he manually and positively oversped.

Otherwise, let's see the bullet wound.
 
PHX787
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 8:34 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 2):
Are you kidding? First, Amtrak IS a private company. They are extremely accountable for safety as well. What on earth makes you think that a private company would make things safer?
Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 3):
They do receive significant federal funding though, and in some states (California, for one), they're contracted to run commuter trains.

^ That is my definition of not private. Amtrak is a congressional act. Not a corporation.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 2):
Depends. On the NE Corridor, they use in-cab signaling.

That's what they use on the Shinkansen so I'm hoping that was functioning properly.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 2):
How do you mean?

Is there anything in place to slow the train down when it passes over a sensor or a certain area within reach of a radio wave? Further news articles have touched on this and we are discussing it so no need to answer this question.

Quoting IADCA (Reply 9):
What gives you the notion that private companies, when left to their own devices, prioritize safety ahead of profits?

Japan for an example- if you have something that is not safe whatsoever, people will no use it.

I feel America would react the same way.

Plus, if youre so worried so much, have the governments enact safety legislation.
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ltbewr
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 11:11 am

Is there cab video or audio recorders, as on an airplane ? I suspect not, so it makes it difficult to verify the engineer's actions.
There is some evidence that the left-front windshield of the locomotive was hit by an object. Apparently there were several hits on trains by rocks, etc. operating on these tracks north and south of the location of the crash with at least 2 reports incidents breaking passenger car windows near the time of the crash. As others have noted, there was communication by SEPTA conductors and Amtrak conductors of being hit by objects and windows damaged. One terrible theory a few have brought up is that the engineer intentionally speeded to cause a crash to point out serious problems with rail safety. Apparently he was someone who from comments of friends was very interested in safety, especially as to speed of trains or even when riding in a car.
There has been the abuse of this crash by politicians on both sides of the aisle as to the funding of Amtrak. For years, some politicians have extorted service be continued in some parts of the USA despite the huge losses it incurs, rather than concentrate on the NE and West Coast corridors where it makes the most sense to operate trains. In the days following the crash, the government subsidy was cut again, in part by politicians who were looking for easy to target cuts, rather than make really necessary cuts in particular with military spending.
 
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Boeing717200
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 1:33 pm

Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 88):


Cab could have been hit with something that knocked the engineer out, and he fell on the throttle, coming to before hitting the emergency brake, albeit too late.

Think of a car...if the driver goes unconscious with their foot still on the gas, the car will keep accelerating.

Marc

If that were the case, then how did the conductors allegedly hear him say the train was hit by a rock or something? He's either conscious and can state what happened or he's unconscious and cannot. Distracted is more likely. Rock or whatever hits cab, distracts him, fails to decelerate.

[Edited 2015-05-16 06:34:19]
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Quoting Boeing717200 (Reply 92):
If that were the case, then how did the conductors allegedly hear him say the train was hit by a rock or something? He's either conscious and can state what happened or he's unconscious and cannot. Distracted is more likely. Rock or whatever hits cab, distracts him, fails to decelerate.

Slowing a train from 100+ to 50 mph (or accelerating from 50 to 100+) takes quite a bit of time. Much less than a minute would probably be uncomfortable for the passengers. I've had my windshield broken by debris at high speed several times - you are disoriented for a second or two, but then you get back to the business of driving. A rock hitting the locomotive's windshield does not sound like a very plausible reason why the engineer "forgot" to slow down.
Democrats haven't been this angry since we took away their slaves.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 3:11 pm

I see this thinking a lot with Republicans but I side with Obama on this one big time. The Positive Train or Track Control device has long been installed elsewhere yet in the US they were given 7 years to install it because they didn't want to spend money faster to speed up installations. There is no technological wizardry here.
Joe Biden is the VP and rode Amtrak to and from the Senate 5 days a week for 25+ years. The lack of funding is strictly a Republican issue.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 70):
You would think so. But the White House is blaming Republicans for the crash. http://www.nationaljournal.com/white...uffer
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 75):
Federal funding for Amtrak should be slashed - indeed it should be cut entirely. It's beneficiaries are almost entirely in one region of the country. It should go away, along with federal subsidies for tiny airports etc.I love rail transportation. I spent much of my life in Switzerland - where we had one of the best rail networks in the world. But that works because of the high population density, which you simply do not have in the US.

Totally false statement, again based on ignorance and lack of knowledge of Rail. There are several facts you and the red states apparently don't know or choose to ignore:

1) Amtrak shares rail with Commercial operators such as CSX. Failure to subsidize rail, maintain efficiencies and ensure safety hurts interstate commerce and international commerce for goods traveling to/from port.
2) Inefficient, unreliable rails leads to cargo being sent on Truck increasing the cost of exporting goods and hurting the entire US economy as well as creating highway congestion. Same issue for people movers, more people will drive if adequate rail is not provided.
3) Funding separate passenger rails will increase throughput and speed on commercial rail while increasing Amtrak's speed, safety and reliability
4) #2 leads to more gasoline use and imports of oil from "baddies" like Muslim countries & Venezuela. CSX uses 1 Gallon of diesel to move 1 ton of freight 225 miles. Trucks and cars don't even come close to that metric.
5) The constitution clearly gives the Federal Government purview over interstate commerce via the Commerce Clause. There is nothing, literally nothing more intrinsically more related to interstate commerce than America's rails. Republicans have totally abdicated the explicit role given to the Feds in the constitution

Just look at CSX's rail map. Its basically the same as Amtraks on the East Coast: http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers/maps/csx-system-map/

We all know the Federal Government subsidizes the Roads, Ports and Airport and Bridges. There is 0 reason whatsoever for them not to subsidize a safe, less polluting, more reliable mode of transportation.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 5:04 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 94):
Totally false statement, again based on ignorance and lack of knowledge of Rail. There are several facts you and the red states apparently don't know or choose to ignore:

Totally condescending statement which misses the point entirely due to your arrogance and lack of respect. Your bullet points do not address the core issue - the propriety of the Federal government permanently swallowing the operating losses (plus subsidizing the capital expenditures) of a corporation, whose beneficiaries are only a a few densely packed regions. We aren't talking about freight, we are talking about Amtrak.

If it were proposed that the federal government build and manage the railway network itself (the tracks and infrastructure - NOT the rolling stock), I could possibly support it. That would be similar to the Interstate Highway system, and private companies wanting to use the rails to roll their trains on them would pay an access fee (per axle/mile, for example). In that case, your bullet points make sense. But it isn't the case, and they don't. Railway lines are owned by private corporations in the US.

But Amtrak is different. It is a pork-barrel. Have you read one of their results releases, prepared by their management? Their expenses consistently are far more than their revenues, and they think that's just dandy - don't worry, the taxpayers fund our losses. In fact they seem actually proud of what they do. Would you support a government-owned airline? You think service on Delta sucks, just wait until you have to buy a ticket from the Fed.
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solarflyer22
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 9:37 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 95):
But Amtrak is different. It is a pork-barrel. Have you read one of their results releases, prepared by their management? Their expenses consistently are far more than their revenues, and they think that's just dandy - don't worry, the taxpayers fund our losses. In fact they seem actually proud of what they do. Would you support a government-owned airline?

The positive train control that would have saved lives in this incident requires a track based beacon and a component in each cab and the Feds should have paid for at least the track portion. Does FedEx have to pay for extra guard rails or weigh stations for trucks on the highway? No. Why should Amtrak?

Amtrak and Commercial Rail are intrinsically intertwined. Their rail networks are 95% the same. Look at the CSX map. You cannot decouple them unless the Federal government pays for a private rail line.

And your statement on population density in the NEC is completely incorrect. You do realize that Swizterland has a TOTAL population of 8 million and when they started their current rail system it was probably 6 million. The NEC is nearly 50 million people.

Why should the rails even be privatized? The commerce clause gives the power to regulate interstate commerce to the Feds so that its not a goat rodeo between factionalized states. What we have now is a goat rodeo of Amtrak and private corps. Every other nation in the world has figured this out except America.

As for AMTRAK expenses, do they have anything extravagant? I doubt it and the fares are not cheap as is. Is there any rail system in America that runs at a profit? NYC Subway, MARTA, BART etc? No, because its utility. Airlines don't have to pay for the sky (mostly), Amtrak can't ride CSX rail lines for free.

I'm condescending because its always the same 10% of the population holding the other 280 million back. Whether its climate change, the Iraq war or rail...it's always the same group.

The real reason Republicans don't fund it because they are selfish and don't use and don't want to chip in for.
 
windy95
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 10:20 pm

Latest reports on the Telly say that the FBI has been called in to investigate. Supposedly now three trains had been hit in the same area within twenty minutes of each other. Two trains being hit on the windshield and one passenger window. The one engineer called in believing that his window had been shot at from the impact.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
always the same 10% of the population holding the other 280 million back

A majority in Congress an the Senate would be more than 10%.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
The real reason Republicans don't fund it because they are selfish and don't use and don't want to chip in for.

let the people that use it "Chip in" for it...

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 94):
The constitution clearly gives the Federal Government purview over interstate commerce via the Commerce Clause

Regulate yes, To fund no....
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 10:30 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
The positive train control that would have saved lives in this incident requires a track based beacon and a component in each cab and the Feds should have paid for at least the track portion. Does FedEx have to pay for extra guard rails or weigh stations for trucks on the highway? No. Why should Amtrak?

You are making my argument for me.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
Amtrak and Commercial Rail are intrinsically intertwined. Their rail networks are 95% the same. Look at the CSX map. You cannot decouple them unless the Federal government pays for a private rail line.

Again, you are making my argument for me. What's your point?

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
And your statement on population density in the NEC is completely incorrect. You do realize that Swizterland has a TOTAL population of 8 million and when they started their current rail system it was probably 6 million. The NEC is nearly 50 million people.

When did I even mention the NEC's population? I was asked about Southern California. And Switzerland's population "when they started their current rail system" was around 3.3 million - but the network was much smaller too.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
Why should the rails even be privatized? The commerce clause gives the power to regulate interstate commerce to the Feds so that its not a goat rodeo between factionalized states. What we have now is a goat rodeo of Amtrak and private corps. Every other nation in the world has figured this out except America.

Did I say a word about privatization? If anything I said I could support nationalizing the rail network (the tracks, not the rolling stock) and managing it along the principles of the Interstate Highway System.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
As for AMTRAK expenses, do they have anything extravagant? I doubt it and the fares are not cheap as is. Is there any rail system in America that runs at a profit? NYC Subway, MARTA, BART etc? No, because its utility. Airlines don't have to pay for the sky (mostly), Amtrak can't ride CSX rail lines for free.

The fares should reflect the cost of operation. On average for 2014, each Amtrak ticket costs $105, but their expenses were around $160 per passenger. I grant that it is unlikely that they can raise their prices by 50% without a loss of ridership, so I suggest that there is something wrong with their business model, and that should be fixed - not just subsidized forever.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
I'm condescending because its always the same 10% of the population holding the other 280 million back. Whether its climate change, the Iraq war or rail...it's always the same group.

The real reason Republicans don't fund it because they are selfish and don't use and don't want to chip in for.

You have no right to be condescending when you go on an emotional tirade where it is evident that you did not even bother to understand the issue or what the other person was talking about. Your "because they are selfish" argument shows a very, VERY superficial and emotionally-driven mindset, regretfully common nowadays. To such people, reason and debate cannot overcome their emotion-driven convictions.
Democrats haven't been this angry since we took away their slaves.
 
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Aaron747
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RE: 5+ Killed In Philly Amtrak Derailment

Sat May 16, 2015 10:57 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
Why should the rails even be privatized? The commerce clause gives the power to regulate.

Most places where rail systems run at high efficiency have seen full privatization. It is the best model for high performance operation, bar none.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
Is there any rail system in America that runs at a profit? NYC Subway, MARTA, BART etc? No, because its utility.

Is that really the reason they don't run at a profit? Perhaps they are poorly managed, and/or have infrastructure deficiencies that were let go so long the maintenance requirements now have dramatic budget impact. This is certainly the case with BART, I can't speak well for MARTA or NYMTA.

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 96):
You do realize that Swizterland has a TOTAL population of 8 million and when they started their current rail system it was probably 6 million. The NEC is nearly 50 million people.

There are close to 70 million people in the Taiheiyo corridor between Osaka and Tokyo, and despite high ridership, the average fare from Osaka to Tokyo runs around $130 each way. The cost is high due to a high standards for infrastructure, maintenance and facility improvements. Major station renovations to enhance service occur every 15-20 years. Passengers generally accept the fare levels due to the highly competitive frequency and reliability of the service, and exemplary safety on the high speed lines.

While it is true there was major government investment in JR network when it was a public company, the steps taken since privatization have ensured the entire rail operation changed from labor to infrastructure and everything externally related. It is a good case for US authorities to learn from, and perhaps yourself.

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