It isn't necessary to look deep into this forum's archives to know that Amtrak has a terrible safety record. We've heard that the Anderson management team has made safety a priority, but it's been hard to determine whether the safety focus is talk, talk, talk or if there's some actual, real change taking place at Amtrak. Progressive Railroading published an article last month that explains what is happening and how Amtrak is going about implementing its Safety Management System.
First, Amtrak created an Executive Vice-President/Chief Safety Officer position and named Kenneth Hylander, to oversee this extremely challenging position. Hylander previously worked at Delta Airlines overseeing the safety and security programs there.
from the linked article:
quote:Even before Kenneth Hylander arrived at Amtrak in January 2018 to start his new job as executive vice president and chief safety officer (CSO), he knew his work was cut out for him. He had done his research on the railroad's poor safety record, one that included train accidents, derailments and other incidents that killed 11 passengers and nine employees — and injured hundreds of others — just since fiscal-year 2013.
At the news conference in November 2017 following the release of the NTSB report about the accident in Chester PA that killed 2 Amtrak MOW workers, NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt predicted that Amtrak would continue to have safety problems:
quote:"Amtrak’s safety culture is failing, and is primed to fail again, until and unless Amtrak changes the way it practices safety management".
One month later, AmtrakCascades train 501 went off the tracks in Dupont WA, killing 3 passengers during the inaugural trip on the new Point Defiance Bypass route.
It's encouraging that Hylander seems to be getting some buy-in from the Amtrak workforce:
quote: "The history of Amtrak accidents since 2015 has been a shock for the people who work here," says Hylander. "And they wanted some help to try to understand how to get through it. That's why I'm here. That's what I'm trying to do."
I may not agree with everything the Anderson team is doing with Amtrak, but getting the safety culture right is a priority that will get my full support.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011
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My philosophy on many things, including this one, is do it and then talk about it. Not sure how much airline safety and railroad safety relate,but would suspect not much.
I also consider the response to the train 501 rediculous. There are a tremendous number of large changes in speed limits on the railroads in this country, so because one was missed you take the line out of service? Downright silly. What was the speed allowed on the turnout back into the main around the peninsula? Even if the curve had been realigned as part of the line upgrade there would still be the need to slow for the turnout. The normal largest currently used turnout is the no. 20, which is normally given a speed limit of 45 mph. The AREMA portfolio now has a No. 24 frog, and a turnout built with that one could probably allow 55 mph or so, but it would also need to be given a longer switch than the 39 foot shown in the book. If not the speed would be limited by the switch, not the closure radius and frog. I would be thinking likely a 60 foot switch with 3 drive points, but many times both the accountants and signal guys choke on a longer switch with an additional drive point, not realizing that without the longer and lower entry angle switch the full benefits of the larger frog cannot be realized. (The 39 foot point has 2 drive points.)
Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002
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