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Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

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NW cannonball

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jis--on the other hand, you and PRR 60 had the company of a lot of other intelligent people thinking exactly what you both were thinking. It makes more sense than anything else, unless he had a seizure or something else medical (but the doctors at the hospital should have been able to determine that).
Unfortunatlely, doctors might not be able to figure that. Expecting doctors to figure the mental state, and even physical state, of someone who's been through a crash like that, when you see them an hour or three (or even a few minutes later) -- extremely difficult.

Drugs, likely they could tell. Seizure -- few ways to tell without a documented history of such.
 
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NW cannonball

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I have read somewhere, in some French railroad journal, that the operators of the TGV Atlantique trains operating into Gare Montparnasse have had an ongoing competition to see who can cut off power the farthest from the bumper post and drift into the station using only brakes as necessary, while meeting all speed restrictions and schedule. You see there is generally a shallow downgrade into Montparnasse from way outside Paris. Since then I have heard various rumors that people have managed to do this from 186mph a little past Rouvray outside Paris, which seems incredible to me, and is testimony to the incredibly low resistance of steel wheel on steel rail. Don't know the truth or falsehood of this, but the whole idea seems quite interesting and a way to test how efficiently one can operate the train energy consumption-wise, while keeping to schedule.
Your comment brings up the question -

What are train engineers rewarded for -

On some of the freight roads, I think, guess, have some evidence - save fuel, but make your meet without slowing traffic.

On the NEC - I've no clue what the pressures are on the train drivers (engineers) to make their time, to clear their meet, to clear their track for priority (Like Acela, or whatever) movements?

Especially if some tracks up the line are out of service, and not making the meet will cause the dispatcher problems?

I expect the NTSB is condsidering these types of issues also. Probably.

And what about the "Six days on the road and I gonna meet my baby tonight" factor ? Huh?

Lots to consider.
 
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Ryan

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In other words the blind will spend a lot of collective time to try to pretend to provide guidance to the deaf? :p
Congressional hearings will be slightly less useful. :D
 

Chucktin

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Maybe somebody should arrange for a natural gas collection in the hearing room.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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And with out the congress we would not have PTC mandate. Which would of prevent this and other accidents like this.
 

NW cannonball

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And, the final report will be extremely detailed and include everything from the state of the rails (with metallurgical consults) and signals (with on-site recordings ) and the railcar structure, and history and physical of the operator, and dispatcher, and comparative results on the local emergency response (which was by all reports, very rapid and effective), and and and.

The final report will be extremely thorough.

Thanks NTSB, I'm glad to pay taxes for what you all do, and do well.
 
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afigg

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News on the legal front with regards to the many lawsuits being files. NY Times: Amtrak Will Not Fight Suits Filed in Wreck. Start of the article:

WASHINGTON — Amtrak said in a court filing on Friday that the railway would not contest lawsuits seeking compensation for damages caused by the May 12 derailment of its passenger train that crashed shortly after leaving 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, killing eight and injuring more than 200.

The railroad company also admitted that the train was “traveling in excess of the allowable speed” when it derailed. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said the train was going 106 miles per hour on a curve where the speed limit is 50.

The admissions were part of a filing in the United States District Court in Philadelphia in connection with the first two passenger cases against the passenger rail company. The claims are among nearly two dozen that have been filed against Amtrak in connection with the fatal crash.
Amtrak's legal liability limit is $200 million total, so the payout to the claimants may be allocated by a judge. The articles discusses the competing bills in Congress to raise the legal liability limit which would have an effect on the net cost of insurance for Amtrak.
 

neroden

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Typically they'll take a year to issue their final report.
Actually, looking at it, it's more like two or three years in most cases. They are generally *very* thorough.

I check every so often because I've been looking for the report regarding the Amtrak employee who was killed by the train I was on. But it looks like the delay from incident to final report in railroad cases is typically over two years, and often more than three.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Typically they'll take a year to issue their final report.
Actually, looking at it, it's more like two or three years in most cases. They are generally *very* thorough. I check every so often because I've been looking for the report regarding the Amtrak employee who was killed by the train I was on. But it looks like the delay from incident to final report in railroad cases is typically over two years, and often more than three.
A duration of one year is roughly the minimum you'll see for a relatively simple case. If the investigation results in complicating factors or competing theories the NTSB is likely to take two or even three years to complete their investigation. If the investigation has failed to find the culprit after three years of research the NTSB may release the report as-is even if it is unable to clearly identify the primary cause. At that time the investigation will go cold unless and until new evidence is discovered or new testing techniques are developed that the NTSB feels may warrant reopening the case. Such a reopening is usually in response to another similar incident that provides more information and/or better preserved evidence that results in an investigatory breakthrough. And sometimes the root cause is simply never identified.
 
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Crescent ATN & TCL

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I'm still baffeled by the cause myself, indications would point to driver error but knowing the driver's history as an avid rail safety activist along with his military precision in operating his trains.... Honestly from his background I seriously hope he is cleared of wrong doing.... I would honestly want him driving my train from what I've read....
 

Mokita

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Amtrak's inexperienced supervision, poor training and hiring practices will certainly come in to play in the investigation. This tragedy coupled with the 'wrong way' debacle, also in Philadelphia, which clearly denoted that the crew had no idea where they were qualifies my initial statement. If Amtrak does not revamp their hiring and training practices there will be more accidents. In some instances personnel with less than two years service have been enlisted to train others.

There is another 'perfect storm' brewing. With the right combination of ill trained inexperienced operations personnel (of which there are many) it is the prescription for another disaster.

Amtrak needs to WAKE UP!
 

jis

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Amtrak's inexperienced supervision, poor training and hiring practices will certainly come in to play in the investigation. This tragedy coupled with the 'wrong way' debacle, also in Philadelphia, which clearly denoted that the crew had no idea where they were qualifies my initial statement. If Amtrak does not revamp their hiring and training practices there will be more accidents. In some instances personnel with less than two years service have been enlisted to train others.

There is another 'perfect storm' brewing. With the right combination of ill trained inexperienced operations personnel (of which there are many) it is the prescription for another disaster.

Amtrak needs to WAKE UP!
You know? I have read some facsimile of this rant after each accident for the last thirty years, and am still waiting for the so called perfect storm ;)
 

dlagrua

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Unless some martians came down to sabotage the train; I choose to believe that the engineer was distracted, not paying attention and made a fatal error. Based on evidence, its a logical conclusion, and I'll stick to it. Anyone wish to take a wager for lunch?
 

Ryan

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I choose to believe that we should wait until the NTSB finished their investigation before jumping to conclusions, but I'm crazy like that.
 

Thirdrail7

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Amtrak's inexperienced supervision, poor training and hiring practices will certainly come in to play in the investigation. This tragedy coupled with the 'wrong way' debacle, also in Philadelphia, which clearly denoted that the crew had no idea where they were qualifies my initial statement. If Amtrak does not revamp their hiring and training practices there will be more accidents. In some instances personnel with less than two years service have been enlisted to train others.

There is another 'perfect storm' brewing. With the right combination of ill trained inexperienced operations personnel (of which there are many) it is the prescription for another disaster.

Amtrak needs to WAKE UP!
You know? I have read some facsimile of this rant after each accident for the last thirty years, and am still waiting for the so called perfect storm ;)
Would you actually know it if you saw it? Perhaps you've actually already seen a "perfect storm" situation and you weren't aware of it because it didn't evolve into a full fledged tsunami.
 

Mokita

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I cannot get the quote feature to work so I am addressing jis and third rail.

jis you want evidence of perfect storm? Have you checked Amtrak's history of fatal accidents which were caused by human error?

The makings are there for more of them. Let me ask you this. If the engineer was distracted why did not the conductor apply the emergency brake? Surely he could have detected by train movement that the engineer was exceeding the speed before the curve. There is a big difference in sensation between 70 mph, the speed approaching thecurve, and 106 plus mph. Obviously the conductor was a victim of poor supervision, poor training and inexperience also as was the engineer who had only three weeks of experience on that division.

Third rail I've seen and been aware of many perfect storm situations over the years and many of them have not come to fruition thankfully. There are folks out there who should not be operating trains and that is directly due to Amtrak's hiring and inadequate training procedures.
 
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