Quantcast

Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,947
Location
Delaware
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?
George, read the last paragraph about the train, which also had just left a station, that went 2 miles w/o apparently realizing s/he was on the wrong tracks. So, yes, it's possible.
 

NW cannonball

Conductor
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
1,556
Location
Minnesota
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.
Unfortunately, for us humans, sometimes our brains fill in the perceptual gaps totally wrong.

I know that I, once, put the dish soap in my coffee cup and the cream in the dishwasher.

Programmed (by humans) algorithms can help, but --.

Positive Train Control might have helped with this situation.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld talking about unknown unknowns. Fortunately death toll was minimal and it could have been much worse.

All wreckage is easily identifiable and shown and yes there were two trains before which had damage, not that much earlier and by this accident. It also seems odd that the engineer is refusing to talk according to news reports since even if it was an accident I would want my story on the record but instead the engineer is not talking.
 

George K

Conductor
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
1,185
Location
The Chicago Burbs
Completely understand why he wouldn't talk to anyone without lawyering up. And that's not intended to be a criticism. In the heat of the moment, people speak without thinking about what they say.

Did you know that "inadvertent" means "careless" as well as "unintentional"? Never, ever, say inadvertent. It means you weren't paying attention - you were careless.

Barciur, thanks for the reference to the awareness post.
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,357
whats the report that trains in the area were targeted with bricks?
A SEPTA train passing through the area just before this had a window broken out by a "projectile".

edit: link http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/05/13/septa-says-commuter-train-hit-by-projectile-just-before-amtrak-train-derailed/
The projectile incident was about 3 1/2 miles from the derailment. That's a world away in terms of a big city like Philadelphia.

It's hard to see how those two things would be linked. But weird, yes.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,033
Location
OTN
The SEPTA train was traveling the opposite direction, they were stopped 3.5 miles apart.
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,357
The SEPTA train was traveling the opposite direction, they were stopped 3.5 miles apart.
The article you posted described it as a "Trenton-bound commuter train" which would put it in the same direction as the Amtrak train

and that the projectile broke the window "near SEPTA’s North Philadelphia station" which is indeed about 3.5 miles from the crash site.
 

Slayer Essence

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
19
How much responsibility or "blame" does the conductor share in a speeding incident like this?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,033
Location
OTN
The SEPTA train was traveling the opposite direction, they were stopped 3.5 miles apart.
The article you posted described it as a "Trenton-bound commuter train" which would put it in the same direction as the Amtrak train

and that the projectile broke the window "near SEPTA’s North Philadelphia station" which is indeed about 3.5 miles from the crash site.
My bad, I was thinking of this story:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150514_SEPTA_train_hit_by_projectile_before_Amtrak_crash.html

Both a northbound SEPTA train and a southbound Acela were damaged just prior to the derailment.
 

mgl1978

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Messages
46
I dug up my old 1978 track chart. It was created for the FRA northeast corriddor improvement project in July 1978. It shows some 70mph sections before the frandfurt junction. The curve is show as a 50 mph - 4 degree curve. I know it's old. I also don't know why it shows 2 really short stretches of 90/100 mph on either side of the curve.

SCAN0001_1.JPG
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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 your scenario has merit.
Unfortunately, for us humans, sometimes our brains fill in the perceptual gaps totally wrong.

I know that I, once, put the dish soap in my coffee cup and the cream in the dishwasher.

Programmed (by humans) algorithms can help, but --.

Positive Train Control might have helped with this situation.
No one else here, ever arrived at work, without any memory of how you got there? Yea, you could surmise that you drove, because your car is there too, and you must have done such safely, because you and your car are in good condition.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,947
Location
Delaware
No one else here, ever arrived at work, without any memory of how you got there? Yea, you could surmise that you drove, because your car is there too, and you must have done such safely, because you and your car are in good condition.
*raises hand*

I do a summer theater each year and sometimes wonder how I got home late at night. I figure my car has autopilot and knows it's way home. Yes, I'm aware of traffic, curves, etc.
 

PerRock

Conductor
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
1,865
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
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"?
Yes, PTC would have in theory stopped it, however PTC hadn't been installed into that section yet.

peter
 
G

Glenn

Guest
I find the reaction to this on this site to be remarkably different from the usual callous posts that follow and train/pedestrian/vehicle collision which are invariably remarked upon with snarky/condescending/insulting posts. I have no idea why this train was operating at 106 in a 50 mph section and we should wait to find out. Maybe those quick to make jokes about people killed by trains should take that approach in the future.

That the engineer has "lawyered up" is predictable, but distressing. There's going to be weeks of information about track, equipment, blah, blah. But, the bottom line is that 106 around this curve is the issue and why this guy was going that fast may never be known.
 
G

Guest

Guest
There was also a crazy man shot dead by cops as he attacked them near Penn Station who has had previous trouble with the law.

But alas unrelated to this case. As far as projectile in the same vicinity, perhaps the infrastructure in this section was problematic to begin with but projectiles are not fault of the train operators. The speeding and usage of the emergency break at high speed would cause a crash in any incident.

I am curious, if he didn't use emergency break and was still over the speed limit, would the outcome have been better? Seems odd he sped then just rammed the emergency brakes.
 
G

guest

Guest
Guest Glenn: Your first paragraph makes an excellent point. There are always some very callous posts when pedestrians or vehicles are involved. Fatal accidents are always tragic imo.

CNN still pushing the "Are trains more dangerous now?" type stuff. Engineer's name is Brandon Bostian, 4 years as an engineer.

Mayor Nutter earlier declared him "reckless" and without any excuse, but NTSB, as is the norm for them, are not jumping to any conclusions as to the cause of the excessive speed.

CNN also mistaken about Mobile accident, saying bridge collapsed to cause the accident. I don't understand all the Fox bashing.

All involved with the accident remain in my thoughts and prayers.
 

capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
334
Location
Chicago, IL
Guest Glenn: Your first paragraph makes an excellent point. There are always some very callous posts when pedestrians or vehicles are involved. Fatal accidents are always tragic imo.

CNN still pushing the "Are trains more dangerous now?" type stuff. Engineer's name is Brandon Bostian, 4 years as an engineer.

Mayor Nutter earlier declared him "reckless" and without any excuse, but NTSB, as is the norm for them, are not jumping to any conclusions as to the cause of the excessive speed.

CNN also mistaken about Mobile accident, saying bridge collapsed to cause the accident. I don't understand all the Fox bashing.

All involved with the accident remain in my thoughts and prayers.
I've been watching MSNBC, and usually their coverage is pretty good.. but for some reason they've been just abysmal. Maybe it's just my knowledge on this topic that makes it more apparent. I think the problem with Fox is that their "journalism" has extended far beyond the accident and begun persecuting Amtrak for everything that has happened since May 1 '71 and blaming them for being broke without really talking about the problem.
 

PRR 60

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Feb 18, 2003
Messages
8,355
Where's Joe Boardman? Not one statement, not one appearance, not at the site, not visiting the victims. No, he can't change what happened, but he should be out front just as he is when accepting new cars or playing the political game. Is he just a fair weather CEO, or is he someone who should be the face of Amtrak in good times and bad?

I'm checking the milk in our fridge. I'm betting Boardman's photo is on the side of the carton.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Rover

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
660
Location
N. Texas
The PBS Newhour May 13th speaks with NTSB's Robert Sumwalt

https://youtu.be/73hB_aOREEI

and

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/derailed-train-going-twice-speed-limit-says-ntsb/

and

Amtrak Engineer of Derailed Train Identified as Brandon Bostian

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said that their go-team have not yet met with the engineer, but they "plan to."

"This person has gone through a very traumatic event and we want to give him the opportunity to convalesce for a day or so before we interview him," Sumwalt said.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/GMABig/amtrak-engineer-derailed-train-identified-brandon-bostian/story?id=31023810
 
Last edited by a moderator:

eblkheart

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Messages
124
PPR: I was wondering the same myself. I haven't seen anything from Amtrak, except press releases and advisories.
 
Top