RailForum.com
TrainWeb.com

RAILforum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Cascades Derailment (Page 0)

  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Cascades Derailment
Jerome Nicholson
Full Member
Member # 3116

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jerome Nicholson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The lead engine was one of the new locomotives just put into service. The Philadelphia derailment was also pulled by a brand new engine. Is it possible the engineers have a problem with new equipment?
Posts: 488 | From: Richmond VA USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Nicholson, I'd LIKE to think that the necessary qualifying runs were made over this new territory. But if they weren't, and records were falsified, somebody will, and should, be looking at the bars.

Best case; situational awareness.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Seattle Times reports that two of the three fatalities were enthusiasts and strong passenger train advocates:

Fair Use:
  • Zack Willhoite and Jim Hamre, two longtime rail advocates, were among those killed in the Monday derailment of an Amtrak train near Olympia.

    The duo had been riding on Amtrak’s new Seattle-to-Portland service along a rebuilt inland track.

    Willhoite was identified by his employer, Pierce Transit, as a victim in the crash. He worked as a customer-service specialist and had been employed there since 2008.

    "He has always been deeply appreciated and admired by his colleagues, and played an important role at our agency,” according to a notice from Pierce Transit.

    Willhoite was a member of the enthusiasts’ group All Aboard Washington, and he was riding the Amtrak Cascades 501 with Jim Hamre, a fellow member. Willhoite also enjoyed traveling the state by long-distance bus.

    Lloyd Flem, a friend for 35 years and vice president of the group, said Willhoite and Hamre were also interested in rail policy — to promote rail, ferries and buses as alternatives to single-occupancy cars.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ocala Mike
Full Member
Member # 4657

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Ocala Mike     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reports from NARP (or RPA) that they were members of that organization.
Posts: 1509 | From: Ocala, FL | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jerome Nicholson:
According to NBC News, there was no PTC on that section of track.
And since this was the first day of service on this track, is it possible the engineer was not used to such an extreme curve at that point?

Having been there on more than one location i can say this: Before there is a formal "first run" there have normally been several runs without publicity and without the public on the train over the line before hand so that there will be no surprises. Since this is a short link put in mid stream so to speak in an existing line, who knows.
Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There were many test runs on the tracks before the first passenger train operated. But adding 2 new roundtrips required expanding the roster of engineers and conductors and it appears that the engineer on this train lost situational awareness and derailed the train. The NTSB can check training records and determine if more time should have been spent on the territory or if there is enough signage to warn engineers about "Dead Man's Curve". The accident occurred before sunrise in rainy conditions. How much training was done in those conditions?

PTC is scheduled to be activated on the line sometime in mid-2018. I don't think any of the Cascades tracks currently have PTC.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Vincent's Local ABC outlet has posted a photo gallery of the "Hulcher Vultures" salvaging the equipment:

http://www.kiro7.com/news/photos-massive-locomotive-moved-after-train-derailment/666679669

I know first hand that those folk are good at what they do (safe to say the MILW had their share of spills), but OMG [Eek!] ; what a Black Eye."

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Try your best to ignore the political slings and arrows as well as the foul language, but this is a first hand account from a railfan passenger who was seriously injured:

https://transitsleuth.com

As Mr. Vincent noted at another topic, this incident has got to be Amtrak's "Titanic". That it occurred so visibly and disrupted so many had two sides; one that so many observed it with the media as good as there is one, but the good side is that so many first responders could get to the scene "on the pronto".

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This New York Post article says that the 30 mph curve should not have been there:

https://is.gd/cIVoTe

But, it was there. Still the question of why the train engineer didn't put the train into emergency slow down, or slow the train well before the curve.

Richard

Posts: 1832 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Richard, every time I drive by this massive highway flyover, I think why must rail infrastructure be starved while the highwaymen just get whatever they want:

https://goo.gl/maps/7tP8tK8aJxN2

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The deadly curve at the Mounts Road overpass would have been eliminated for 110 mph tracks, but for 79 mph trains the curve wasn't eliminated.

I know Amtrak trains handle 79 mph to 30 mph transitions every day without incident. So, why did this accident happen? I suspect that the newness of the alignment combined with the lack of experienced "old hands" will be a significant factor in the crash. In most businesses there usually is a certain amount of "institutional knowledge" about procedures that is passed along to newbies regarding successful best practices. But in this case there wasn't any institutional knowledge to be handed down because nobody had any real experience on the territory. We humans usually learn more from our mistakes than from our textbooks (or timetables). And, unfortunately, this mistake turned into tragedy.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Olympian newspaper has an article about the emergency response to the December 18th Talgo derailment near Mounts Road.
quote:
Christopher Barnard Sr., assistant chief of operations for Joint Base Lewis-McChord fire and emergency services, arrived at work near DuPont at 7:30 a.m. Monday when the shift was changing.
Nothing serious had happened overnight, so Barnard was about to send out a message to his crew, essentially telling them to have a good day.
Then at 7:38 a.m. an emergency call came in, requesting engine after engine after engine to respond, punctuated finally by “This is not a drill.” And that sent Barnard off and running, racing to the scene of an Amtrak train that had derailed on an Interstate 5 overpass, south of DuPont at Mounts Road.

The emergency response teams did an excellent job handling the wreck. It takes a lot of planning to be ready for unexpected disasters and the local and state emergency disaster response teams were in action almost immediately. Quite a way to start a Monday morning.

Overall I was impressed by the local media coverage of the accident, too. There were a few wild rumors and misinformation that circulated briefly but most of the local coverage relied on verified facts and focused on the human angle. One station had a reporter/photographer team that had been on the train between Seattle and Tacoma. They were the first media team to arrive at the wreck and did a great job of telling the story with the added perspective of having de-trained just 15 minutes before the accident. Another station relied on a reporter who rides Amtrak every weekend to take care of her elderly mother in Portland. In these times the media regularly takes a beating, but in this case, the media, along with the emergency responders, did a great job of handling the accident response.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The over reaction of the response of almost all is beyond comprehension. The trains should have been back on this line as soon as they could get the track cleared and repaired. To take the track out of service for an indefinite period of time and resurrect the old schedule and frequency is simply rediculous. No one, and I mean no one operating a train over this line will forget about this curve anytime in the near future.

Why there was no emergency brake application before the break in train line is inexplicible and may never be explained, as quite commonly anyone suffering the trauma those in the cab obviously did may never recover their memories of the last few minutes preceeding the event.

To pontificate about how the track should have been realigned to remove this curve simply ignores financial reality. The screams that would have occurred at the cost of rebuilding approximately 2 miles of track on new alignment that would include new grade separations over I-5 would have been deafening. Just think: Wild guess: $30 million plus, and maybe a big plus, to make a change that would save between 1 and 2 minutes time. Even if it would have seemed reasonable, the money was simply not there. Reality says you try to get the biggest bang you can for the bucks you get, and this change was probably not part of it.

Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The estimated cost of straightening the curve at Dupont was $230 million in 2006 dollars. If the state had spent the money to straighten the curve many other projects would not have happened. WSDOT chose to spend money on improvements that increased reliability and decreased the total trip time.

from the linked Seattle Times article:
quote:
Lloyd Flem, executive director of the rail supporters group All Aboard Washington, lost two friends in the crash. But he said last week keeping the curve was the correct, fiscally conservative move. “I’ll roll through a curve at 30 mph to save the taxpayers $200 million,” he said.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
See I grossly low balled my guess. Still agree to leave the curve as is was the correct decision. Money is not infinite. There is always a need to determine what is "the biggest bang for your buck", and this was not it, despite all the arm waving and Monday morning quaterbacking.
quote:
Originally posted by Vincent206:
The estimated cost of straightening the curve at Dupont was $230 million in 2006 dollars. If the state had spent the money to straighten the -many other projects would not have happened.

[/QUOTE]
Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The NTSB's preliminary report was released today. There's not much new information about the wreck except for the Amtrak work histories of the engineer and conductor who were in the lead loco.

quote:
The 55-year-old engineer had been working for Amtrak since May 2004 and had been promoted to engineer in August 2013. The other crewmember in the cab of the locomotive was a 48-year-old “qualifying” conductor who was being familiarized with the territory. This conductor had been working for Amtrak since June 2010 and had been promoted to conductor in November 2011. As of the date of this report, the NTSB has not yet been able to interview either operating crewmember of the lead locomotive due to their injuries sustained in the accident.
Seems like a fairly experienced crew. Nevertheless, they somehow failed observe the speed board 2 miles before the curve and failed to slow the train down in time.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is a YouTube video that I'm sure all concerned parties involved with the incident would like to suppress. But it's high quality and taken from public property:

https://youtu.be/xM77QLL1A4U

Somewhere I read the salvage is being taken to McChord AFB.

But how many who witnessed or learned of that move are going to conclude that rail travel is unsafe and "you'll never catch me riding that". Adding fuel to that fire is when they learn the incident (in almost certain likelihood; the NTSB report isn't out yet) arose from employee negligence.

And how will that perception be enhanced when they learn there was not a single air transport fatality last year - and none on US soil since 2013 (Asiana @ SFO).

What an embarrassment; must wonder why the various logos could not have been covered prior to the move.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:

What an embarrassment; must wonder why the various logos could not have been covered prior to the move.

What's the point? "Everybody" already knows whose it is. I know this sort of thing has been done in the past and is done by quite a few agencies / companies, but it really serves no purpose than make it look like you are ashamed of yourself or look like you are trying to hide something, thereby raising suspicion.
Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No doubt about it, Amtrak needs to instill a culture of safety in their operations. But I think it is possible to win back the confidence of the casual and occasional rider by making safety a genuine and prominent feature of the train riding experience.

Public transportation industries should always have 3 paramount priorities: 1. Safety, 2. Service and 3. Schedule. It's the job of management to train the workforce to understand their jobs functions and how they prioritize the 3S hierarchy.

Traffic congestion in the Portland and Seattle urban areas is some of the worst in the nation and the problems are spreading faster than new lanes can be built on I-5. In the Cascades corridor Amtrak faces competition ranging from high fare airline shuttle service to cheap-o curbside bus companies. The 501 accident is a blow to Amtrak's reputation, but I think the damage can be overcome once PTC is installed.

The need for dramatic improvements in Safety and Service are pretty clear. If Amtrak, WSDOT and ODOT can coordinate and deliver genuine results, a significant portion of the the public who currently ride on I-5 for trips between Seattle and Portland will consider switching to Amtrak.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Former Amtrak employee talks about Amtrak and safety:

https://is.gd/LUaKco

Richard

Posts: 1832 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The NTSB issued an update on January 25th.

Some of the most interesting bullet points:

a) In the five weeks preceding the derailment, the engineer had qualified on the Point Defiance Bypass section of track following the completion of seven to 10 observational trips in the locomotive as well as three trips operating the equipment, two northbound and one southbound.
b) The engineer told investigators that he was aware that the curve with the 30 mph speed restriction was at milepost 19.8, and that he had planned to initiate braking about one mile prior to the curve.
c) The engineer said that he saw mileposts 16 and 17 but didn’t recall seeing milepost 18 or the 30 mph advance speed sign, which was posted two miles ahead of the speed-restricted curve.

So, how did the engineer miss the speed restriction sign 2 miles before the curve and then also miss the MP 18 sign? Lack of attention or lack of training? I imagine the NTSB will find fault with both Amtrak and the individual engineer.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yes, I think it all boils down to your last paragraph, Vincent.

If there was a lack of attention, how do you remedy that problem? There does seem to be a number of reports pointing to a lack of adequate training for Amtrak engineers and crew members:

https://is.gd/4BQwa3

Richard

Posts: 1832 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Today I observed a Wisconsin Talgo near MP 18 being moved Westward at about 2PM. Heading it were two P-42's and a SC-44. On the rear was "Duckbill Platypus". There are reports at other sites that the move is now on former ATSF rails, so it would appear off to Pueblo.

Will next stop be Cascade revenue service?

This Letter from Amtrak to the FRA suggests that both Wisconsin sets will enter Cascade revenue service.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
daniel3197
Full Member
Member # 27

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for daniel3197     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Today I observed a Wisconsin Talgo near MP 18 being moved Westward at about 2PM. Heading it were two P-42's and a SC-44. On the rear was "Duckbill Platypus". There are reports at other sites that the move is now on former ATSF rails, so it would appear off to Pueblo.

Will next stop be Cascade revenue service?

This Letter from Amtrak to the FRA suggests that both Wisconsin sets will enter Cascade revenue service.

Gil,
Reliable sources report that THe Talgo extra AMtrak train 963 that you saw today (weds 31 Jan 2018) in INdeed enroute to the Pac Northwest after testing is complete at PUeblo CO. This talgo set WILL be a replacement for the crashed talgo that was destroyed on Dec 18, 2017.

I must says it was very interesting to follow this via Railcam today.

This special trian departed Chicago MH Twer at 1334 CT --Passed Galesburg amtrak dpot at 412 PM CT or 1612 CT and passed La Plata MO at 1957 CT--or 757pm CT. This special Talgo extra was held at Ft Madison, IA for Amtrak trian 3 of 31 to overtake it.
Those are the timepoints that I saw it pass various Live Railcams.
---Daniel

Posts: 283 | From: Palo Alto,CA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jerome Nicholson
Full Member
Member # 3116

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jerome Nicholson     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
HLN says some of the trainees were seated facing backwards on the training trips. This might account for the engineer's lack of awareness.
Posts: 488 | From: Richmond VA USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some updates regarding restarting service on the Bypass:

Testing is scheduled to start sometime "in the coming months" on the Bypass route.
quote:
In the coming months, please expect to see periodic Sounder and/or other test trains operating on the Lakewood Subdivision tracks adjacent to I-5 between Lakewood and DuPont as part of ongoing implementation of positive train control systems.
OregonBusiness.com has an interview with an ODOT official, Hal Gard, who gives a progress report on restoring service on the Bypass route.

quote:
OB: What is the status of implementation?
HG: Per Class I freight railroads that use PTC for their systems and equipment, it is up and running. And for the Point Nisqually bypass [the site of the derailment], the trackside sensors are there; it’s ready to go. Essentially all the major pieces for the WSDOT locomotives are ready to go. All of Amtrak's locomotives have hardware installed. We are in the process of having two Oregon train sets retrofitted; that should be done by this spring.The tall pole in the tent are the back office servers for Amtrak that make parts talk.

Adding up the 2 interviews, it seems that the PTC technology is ready to go but Amtrak is working on its back office servers and building its safety culture. Until those boxes are checked off, the Cascades trains will stay on the Point Defiance route.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bloomberg reports that the Preliminary Report from the NTSB has now been released. There is interesting reading regarding the Talgo equipment.

Fair Use:
  • The passenger rail cars on an Amtrak train that derailed near Seattle last December, killing three people, were allowed by federal regulators to stay in service even though they didn’t meet current crash-protection standards, federal investigators said Tuesday......The NTSB is conducting a two-day hearing . As part of the hearing, it released preliminary reports on the Dec. 18 accident in DuPont, WA...The three people who died had been traveling in one of the rail cars that was severely disfigured by the crash impact, NTSB said. Two of them were thrown from the car. A total of 74 people were injured, including 57 passengers on the train.....The car’s floor buckled, its roof collapsed and most of the seats were crushed, the NTSB said
Mr. Anderson has deemed, and I'd dare say with much foundation, that the Amtrak safety culture - passenger and employee - is broken. Even if the incident is clearly laid at the feet of employee negligence, Anderson was never in his past life persuading the FAA to allow flying of aircraft that did not meet prevailing safety standards.

While I doubt if the Talgos will be withdrawn from service, I would not expect to see any further orders for such.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
"The passenger rail cars on an Amtrak train that derailed near Seattle last December, killing three people, were allowed by federal regulators to stay in service even though they didn’t meet current crash-protection standards, federal investigators said Tuesday..."

Anderson was never in his past life persuading the FAA to allow flying of aircraft that did not meet prevailing safety standards.

While I doubt if the Talgos will be withdrawn from service, I would not expect to see any further orders for such.

Actually Amtrak's management had very little to do with the realities for the use of the Talgo trainsets. This was one of the outcomes of "The way they do it in Europe has got to be the way to go" mindsets. It was known from the get-go that these things did not and could not be made to meet FRA safety standards. But, but: They meet the Spanish (and probably also UIC) safety standards so they got to be good. Therefore they were ordered and put into service. Given that these trains consist of a string of these Talgo cars sandwiched between US diesels on each end, I have felt since I first saw them that this was a string of soft drink cans with a brick on each end of the string.

If you want to really understand how good the Euro standards are, look up information on the Eschede derailment in Germany. Aside from it being used as an example of the "cascade of events" in a disaster, in at least one of the pictures you can see where in the collision with the bridge at least one of the cars unzipped along the welds between sides and roof and sides and floor, so rather than protect the occupants it probably either ejected or crushed them. There were several conditions in this equipment and features of this location and structures that simply would not be allowed in the USA.

Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you had to be a passenger at either, which would you choose?

Chase v. Eschede

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I watched a good bit of the hearing tonight. The NTSB panel seemed to be focused most directly on the plan (or lack of plan) for ensuring that the 30mph curve was handled safely. There also were quite a few questions about the training program for the engineers and conductors prior to the start date. A few questions were asked about the grandfathering of the Talgo equipment. Amtrak and WSDOT didn't have a lot of good answers for the panelist's questions. At one point an NTSB panelist asked who was responsible for the overall safety coordination of the project and none of the reps could answer the question.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
WSDOT is planning to return to the Pt. Defiance bypass route "In spring 2019". No firm date or month was announced because WSDOT is waiting for the NTSB to finish its investigation and issue recommendations before switching service back to the bypass route.

WSDOT also expects PTC to be fully implemented on the Cascades route by the December 31, 2018 deadline.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We've now reached the one year anniversary of the deadly derailment. Cascades trains will remain on the water route until the NTSB final report is released and Amtrak and WSDOT have a chance to address all the concerns raised by the Board. WSDOT expects the move back to the Bypass will occur sometime next spring. Positive Train Control is activated and currently is being used by all Cascades, Sounder, BNSF and UP trains operating on the Cascades Corridor. Meanwhile, over 35 lawsuits stemming from the crash are working their way through the legal system.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The NTSB will announce the "probable cause" of the DuPont wreck at its board meeting on May 21, 2019. WSDOT has said that they are waiting for the NTSB final report before the trains are switched back to the Bypass route. PTC has been tested and it's operational. I'm sure the NTSB will recommend some advanced training for the train crews before service resumes.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The NTSB has released their report on the December 18, 2017 derailment near Dupont WA that killed 3 passengers. The headline for me is the statement regarding the crashworthiness of the Talgo VI trainsets, which are not fully compliant with current federal safety standards, but are operated with a waiver from the FRA. The NTSB says:
quote:
Grandfathering is not in the public interest or consistent with railroad safety
The main issues cited by the NTSB are ineffectiveness of the passenger compartments to remain structurally intact during a crash and lack of securement of the train seats that are designed to rotate at the end of each trip. It appears that the fatalities were linked to the failure of one of the post and wheel devices that connects the cars together. It failed during the accident and separated from the cars which compromised the structural integrity of the railcars. The rotating seats also didn't hold in place during the accident which led to several injuries. The NTSB recommends that WSDOT:
quote:
Discontinue the use of the Talgo Series VI trainsets as soon as possible and replace them with passenger railroad equipment that meet all current United States safety requirements.
Fault is also placed on Sound Transit for not identifying, mitigating and resolving the problems created by the 30 mph curve. Amtrak is faulted for inadequate crew familiarization and safety oversight procedures. The FRA is faulted for failing to properly oversee the train operations and allowing new service on tracks that don't have operating PTC. There are over 30 recommendations in the report, too many to list in detail.

I don't remember if the new Talgo trainsets are compliant with the latest safety standards, but it looks like we'll soon be saying good-bye to the older Talgos. I've enjoyed riding on them, but I can't see how they could be allowed to continue for much longer given the findings of the NTSB.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Vincent, with the "broken" safety culture, Mr. Anderson "inherited" and having come from an industry (despite some recent "missteps") in which safety is paramount, I don't think Talgo equipment has much further "life expectancy" on US rails.

Until new equipment is ordered and placed in service, I think the Horizons, as they are released from Midwest service, will make the Northwest their "retirement comminity".

Talgos? "Send 'em back where they came from". Maybe RENFE can find something to do with them. One ride, Bilbao to Madrid during '90, was enough for me.

The lawyers are looking at a "profit opportunity"; for by the time its over, there will be more suits in court than Men's Wearhouse has on the racks.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here is the confirmation of my thoughts immediately noted.

There is an open production line building short distance cars to a proven European, and a "proving" US on Brightline, design, and many fewer layers of bureaucracy to wade through, it's no surprise this is where WSDOT wants to go.

Even though this incident, apparently named du Pont, was the result of Amtrak negligence, the equipment did not make a good showing of itself. That reportedly no work has been done to repair and return to service the set involved at Port Tacoma, and that no movment has been made to place the two Wisconsin sets into service, suggests a lack of confidence in the equipment.

Posts: 9567 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PullmanCo
Full Member
Member # 1138

Icon 1 posted      Profile for PullmanCo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I read the reports. Amtrak tried to pin the tail on the engineer. NTSB flat out rejected that one.

Amtrak will be paying full tariff freight on the wrongful death suits.

--------------------
The City of Saint Louis (UP, 1967) is still my standard for passenger operations

Posts: 1401 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The NTSB's final accident report was released today. There are more details in this report but the main narrative remains the same. This was the engineer's first trip over the territory with a revenue passenger load; he was in a locomotive that he was unfamiliar with; he saw the 2 mile marker but somehow missed the 1 mile marker; about 30 seconds before the train approached the 30 mph restricted curve an overspeed alarm sounded that distracted the driver until it was too late to slow down the train. The train entered the curve at 78 mph and derailed. Three passengers were killed and dozens were injured.

The most significant addition I noticed was the risk analysis chart prepared for the 30 mph curve by Sound Transit. ST clearly understood the danger the curve posed. Their risk analysis rated the danger as "Unacceptable" but their mitigation plan was wholly inadequate, particularly without active PTC on the line. The mitigation plan also failed to include any input from the engineers.

Another point of failure was the placement of the 2 mile warning sign. Amtrak's foreman of engines told the NTSB:
quote:
“An advanced speed board doesn’t really have any effect on their operation because it’s just too far out…to be of any use to them for braking for a curve 2 miles away.”
A 2 mile warning might be useful for an engineer with a heavy freight train but for a light weight passenger train, 2 miles is too far out to be helpful. Unfortunately, the markings at 1 mile out were too inconspicuous to be noticed by either the engineer or the qualifying conductor who was riding in the lead locomotive.

Like so many accidents, this was a combination of several lapses that individually wouldn't lead to disaster, but the unforeseen consequences of one mistake combining with another mistake led to a disaster that no one would have predicted.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The first jury verdicts have been returned in damage suits against Amtrak following the Dupont crash in 2017. Three people have been awarded almost $17 million in compensation for their injuries and losses. Amtrak admitted in testimony that it made mistakes before the crash.

I wonder if Amtrak will settle the rest of the cases out of court. Jury deliberations in this case took a full week.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is the link to the accident report. Note, the report number: RAR1901.
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RAR1901.pdf
It is the typical NTSB fine toothed comb discussion, and as usual followed by an over the top list of suggestions. After reading quite a few of these over the years, it should be clearly understood the wisdom in giving the NTSB no regulatory powers.

Among the highest overreaction was to cease to use this line until all proposed signal work was done. It should have been put back in service as soon as repaired. You can be sure that any railroad man likely to be on a train through this subdivision would be well aware of this curve.

When going through this report, note on page 74 of the pdf, which is page 60 on the page numbering, the item labeled as "Utility Hammer AMTK 7422". This hammer's sole real purpose is to break the windows in case of the need to use them as exits. This is a European normal. Zip strips they do not use. My opinion of this is that it is truly nuts. You want to give the people broken glass to climb over to get out of your train??

Incidentally, when I first saw anything about one of these trains, an American Diesel on each end and a string of Tallgo cars between was, this is a string of soda cans with a brick on each end.

Posts: 2714 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Home Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2




Copyright © 2007-2016 TrainWeb, Inc. Top of Page|TrainWeb|About Us|Advertise With Us|Contact Us