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Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

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capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
334
Location
Chicago, IL
This CNN article states that this was Amtrak's 9th derailment this year? Did I miss some of them? A quick wikipedia search reveals only the Halifax, NC derailment where an idiot truck driver got in the way. Amtrak would be running out of equipment if there were that many wrecks.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/13/us/philadelphia-amtrak-train-derailment/index.html
But...FOX NEWS!

As far as infrastructure goes, iirc, there was a trillion dollars of shovel-ready projects spent about 6 years ago.

How'd that work out?
You recall incorrectly. There has never been a trillion dollars spent on Amtrak or passenger rail in the united states. Period.
 

printman2000

Conductor
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Messages
3,753
Location
Amarillo, Texas
NTSB has released their "B-roll" on-the-ground video of crash site https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHveDL-BX24&feature=youtu.be

Might fuel more speculation before Member Sumwalt does the first official press briefing in an hour or so
There are some big scuff marks on the side of the loco. Looks like it may have scraped the side of one of the catenary towers first. Perhaps then getting between the loco and first car disconnecting them and causing the horrific damage.
 

afigg

Conductor
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
5,896
Location
Virginia
The maximum permissible speed at any location between 30th Street Station and the Frankford Junction curve (accident scene) is 80mph. Even for tangent running prior to the curve, the train was in excess of 20mph overspeed.
That is what I find really bizarre about the incident. If #188 was really running well above 80 mph, this is more than just an engineer neglecting to slow down from a higher permissible speed approaching the curve. The train was apparently already above permitted speed.

BTW, with regards to the cable network coverage, CNN really, really needs to expand their pool of go to "experts" when a transportation accident or incident occurs. They rely way too much on a small pool of (mostly) aviation "experts" for their around the clock coverage approach. Who are out of their depth when it comes to railroads, transit, ships, whatever CNN is covering. Have a couple of (real) railroad experts on the call list, CNN.
 

PRR 60

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
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Messages
8,355
This is beginning to sound like a gross lack of situational awareness by the engineer. In english, the engineer may have lost track of where he or she was. If he mistook the 2nd Street curve at MP 81 (prior to the accident scene) for the second Frankford Junction curve at MP 84, he may have thought he had cleared the speed-restricted area and was entering the 110mph territory. The two curves are similar in geometry, and it was night. If that happened, he may have accelerated off the MP 81 curve to nearly 110mph only have Frankford Junction appear by surprise three miles later. I can't think of another scenario which would have a train come into Frankford Junction at over 100mph other than the engineer thinking he was in 110mph territory.

Impossible? I would have thought it was impossible for a trained NEC crew to take a train with passengers up the wrong railroad for two miles, and then upon reaching the end of the track, call the dispatcher to say they were lost. It happened.
 
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NAVYBLUE

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
328
Location
North Las Vegas, NV
Not looking good for Amtrak or the engineer; he's refusing to speak with authorities -- http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ebc621a9cd1b4abd9f2bf2b50fa12d05/latest-amtrak-crash-ntsb-crew-heads-derailment
I thought this is exactly what they are trained to do. Even elsewhere in the industry we are always instructed not to talk to anyone in the absence of counsel. So in normal course of things I would expect them to not talk to "authorities" without having properly trained counsel present.
Incidentally there are other reports that indicate that both the Engineer and the Conductor have spoken to NTSB in the presence of counsel. Maybe it is just a case of the poor chaps at Philadelphia Police being a bit miffed that they refused to talk to their little investigation in the absence of counsel and want to get a bit of mileage out of it. ;)
Exactly. Me and "the boys" have been instructed by our attorney.

Never speak to anyone in the media. Never, ever.

Never speak to the police. Never, ever.

Never speak to anyone wearing a badge. Never, ever.

Never speak to anyone in authority. Never, ever.

Until she gets there

What you say WILL be held against you.
 
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saxman

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
2,457
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DFW
Lots of talk about infrastructure spending on MSNBC. Right after the House committee voted to slash Amtrak funding just a few hours ago.
 
G

Guess Guest

Guest
Don’t get me wrong. I am opposed to decreased funding for Amtrak. However, these sorts of discussions remind me of Emmanuel’s “Never let a crisis go to waste” mentality.

How would increased infrastructure spending have prevented this tragedy?
 

NAVYBLUE

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
328
Location
North Las Vegas, NV
Bieng a former reporter, I am LIVID at the reporting going on right now on the Fox News web site. Here's a sample of the headlines...

  • "Is America's national railroad a disaster waiting to happen?"
  • "Amtrak's history checkered by crashes, warnings"
  • "questions mount over concerns that have dogged the service for years -- from its contentious relationship with the federal government and its annual plea for funding to its history of deadly accidents."
What a load of steaming BS....
My sentiments exactly. Maybe it has been fixed but the article also said that 2 people on board the CONO that hit the flatbed pickup truck were killed. To use this tragedy to flog Amtrak is pitiful.
Eh, if it bleeds, it leads. If you can gin up fake outrage, it gets viewers. (FOX seems especially big with the "let's try to make people outraged" stories/way of reporting them. Lately CNN seems to be Plane Crash Central. I've become very cynical about the news. I generally prefer to read it on the Internet but anymore, many of the big sites make you watch their video.

Thoughts and prayers for the families of those who lost people or who are injured. That's what's mainly important here. Blame can be figured out later on.
They are ALL bad. They are all owned by 7 major conglomerates. If i want to find the truth, I am not listening to US news organizations. I read Canada Free Press, Dailynail.co.uk, Der Spiegel, Jerusalem Post and others without the U.S. conglomerate filter.
 
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G

Guest

Guest
I don't get how his train crash could have happened at all. It isn't hard nor expensive to have protocols in place to prevent against such incidents with multiple different ways.

With that being said I agree with the republicans on their approach towards Amtrak.
 

NAVYBLUE

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
328
Location
North Las Vegas, NV
This is beginning to sound like a gross lack of situational awareness by the engineer. In english, the engineer may have lost track of where he or she was. If he mistook the 2nd Street curve at MP 81 (prior to the accident scene) for the second Frankford Junction curve at MP 84, he may have thought he had cleared the speed-restricted area and was entering the 110mph territory. The two curves are similar in geometry, and it was night. If that happened, he may have accelerated off the MP 81 curve to nearly 110mph only have Frankford Junction appear by surprise three miles later. I can't think of another scenario which would have a train come into Frankford Junction at over 100mph other than the engineer thinking he was in 110mph territory.

Impossible? I would have thought it was impossible for a trained NEC crew to take a train with passengers up the wrong railroad for two miles, and then upon reaching the end of the track, call the dispatcher to say they were lost. It happened.
Very good hypothesis. I read a neurology study about what "may" happen when you go to get something from another room and by the time you get there you have forgotten what you were going there for. It seems that the moment you reach the entrance to room B(where the object is) that your brain puts the memory from room A (what the object is) in to permanent memory. Your brain then starts receiving optical cues about room(B) you are going into. Is their a threat there, what room is this, do I need to turn the light on. They said as you approach room B start saying out loud what you are there to get until you get it as your auditory cue will override the visual cues. I tried it and it works.

Now imagine you are an AMTRAK engineer, going at the stated speed for your locomotive and location at NIGHT going from "room" A, B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,etc at 80 MPH. I could see you getting disoriented especially if you have undiagnosed night vision or neurolgy problems or have side effects from prescription meds or just plain confusion. I think your scenario has merit.
 
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G

Guest

Guest
The NTSB photo set is an embarrassment. It would have taken just one additional person to monitor speed on the Sprinter in various different settings, yet they show photos with loads of personnel all over the place. Wasted governmet bureaucracy.

The NTSB is a mixed bag when it comes to transportation accidents.
 

mlhughes0522

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 9, 2014
Messages
73
Hey there is reports that this train was 107mph in the curve

From what I know amtrak train #188 made station stop PHI ar 9:06 dp 9:10 on time

How far is the wreck site from the PHI station?
 
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G

Guest

Guest
This is beginning to sound like a gross lack of situational awareness by the engineer. In english, the engineer may have lost track of where he or she was. If he mistook the 2nd Street curve at MP 81 (prior to the accident scene) for the second Frankford Junction curve at MP 84, he may have thought he had cleared the speed-restricted area and was entering the 110mph territory. The two curves are similar in geometry, and it was night. If that happened, he may have accelerated off the MP 81 curve to nearly 110mph only have Frankford Junction appear by surprise three miles later. I can't think of another scenario which would have a train come into Frankford Junction at over 100mph other than the engineer thinking he was in 110mph territory.

Impossible? I would have thought it was impossible for a trained NEC crew to take a train with passengers up the wrong railroad for two miles, and then upon reaching the end of the track, call the dispatcher to say they were lost. It happened.
Very good hypothesis. I read a neurology study about what "may" happen when you go to get something from another room and by the time you get there you have forgotten what you were going there for. It seems that the moment you reach the entrance to room B(where the object is) that your brain puts the memory from room A (what the object is) in to permanent memory. Your brain then starts receiving optical cues about room(B) you are going into. Is their a threat there, what room is this, do I need to turn the light on. They said as you approach room B start saying out loud what you are there to get until you get it as your auditory cue will override the visual cues. I tried it and it works.
Now imagine you are an AMTRAK engineer, going at the stated speed for your locomotive and location at NIGHT going from "room" A, B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,etc at 80 MPH. I could see you getting disoriented especially if you have undiagnosed night vision or neurolgy problems or have side effects from prescription meds or just plain confusion. I think you scenario has merit.
Piloting a new modern jet had loads of visuals and safety record is impeccible. This was not even an older locomotive, it was the first Sprinter placed into service but it was anything but old and should have had state of the art safety features. I am wondering if this Sprinter perhaps did not have appropriate software upgrades or had other limitations as opposed to the newer models. In aviation or rail, newer models tend to work out safety glitches which do occur but they get weeded out rather quickly.
 
S

Sbburkett

Guest
First, sympathies to anyone involved directly or indirectly with this accident--I am very sorry this is something we are even having to discuss.

Now that it seems like the NTSB is verifying the train was going well beyond the speed limits, it does bring some curious things to mind.

For one, what would motivate an engineer to speed to begin with? If the engineer is to follow the rules, I can't imagine he would bear any kind of blame or responsibility if a train is "late", and it's not like he or she would be "in a hurry" for their own person agenda--like someone might be in traffic, so what personal motivation would exist for an engineer to speed?

This makes me wonder if what someone said earlier is quite plausible--that the engineer lost his bearings, thinking he was somewhere else where speed was allowed. It also explains why he would have applied the emergency brake--because there must not have been an intentional purpose to do this, otherwise why bother to apply any brake at all?

Very interesting to see how all of this will end up...

And again, sympathies for the injuries and losses involved with this.
 

George K

Conductor
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
1,185
Location
The Chicago Burbs
This is beginning to sound like a gross lack of situational awareness by the engineer. In english, the engineer may have lost track of where he or she was. If he mistook the 2nd Street curve at MP 81 (prior to the accident scene) for the second Frankford Junction curve at MP 84, he may have thought he had cleared the speed-restricted area and was entering the 110mph territory. The two curves are similar in geometry, and it was night. If that happened, he may have accelerated off the MP 81 curve to nearly 110mph only have Frankford Junction appear by surprise three miles later. I can't think of another scenario which would have a train come into Frankford Junction at over 100mph other than the engineer thinking he was in 110mph territory.

Impossible? I would have thought it was impossible for a trained NEC crew to take a train with passengers up the wrong railroad for two miles, and then upon reaching the end of the track, call the dispatcher to say they were lost. It happened.
I don't know the geography of the area, and your scenario makes sense. However, from what NTSB just said, the train had stopped at a station 11 minutes before the accident. The engineer was clearly situationally aware enough to stop and depart from the station - would it be that easy to get disoriented that quickly?
 

PerRock

Conductor
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
1,865
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
The NTSB photo set is an embarrassment. It would have taken just one additional person to monitor speed on the Sprinter in various different settings, yet they show photos with loads of personnel all over the place. Wasted governmet bureaucracy.

The NTSB is a mixed bag when it comes to transportation accidents.
The NTSB photo gallery is really more geared towards press agencies which might not have access to pictures otherwise. Last I checked the Washington Post Wire story (for instance) didn't have any photos with it. And yes I know the WPO story on their public website did. A lot of government agencies are switching to Flikr for their press photos.

peter
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,033
Location
OTN
I'm going to be that guy and play coy here.

I've heard a story that takes the fault off of the engineer and a picture that seems to back the story up.

I don't want to be a rumor monger, so I'm not going to repeat it, but I'd suggest a healthy dose of "don't jump to conclusions".
 

rrdude

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,693
Location
Baltimore/DC Area
Listening to NPR, recorded at a news conference, it DOES look very, very, likely that the speed was indeed WAY over. (as many have speculated, and as Ryan deduced from the CCTC video) Amtrak's TRAIN TRACKER was also, in this case, apparently accurate.

Damn that's fast, I too, would like to know "how can that happen" on the NEC. PTC would have prevented this, (in theory) "Yes"?
 
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