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Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

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andersone

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Theses things remind me of how fragile a life we lead.

They call them accidents not on purposes

Let us pray it is not the latter
 

cassie225

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Thank God there were no more tragedies than there were, but could be more as they start to clean up the wreckage. Any report of any AU's onboard? So sad.Looks like if he hit that curve going to fast,something like this was bound to happen,just like what happens in a car when you hit a curve going too fast,you're going to come off the road. Not an expert,don't claim to be just an observation.
 
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Does anyone know who owns and manages the track in this area?

Thanks,

Leonard
 

Ziv

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When I saw the picture of the shredded #1 car my eyes refused to recognize what it was. I thought it was a burst cylinder of some sort. Good lord! The Santiago de Compostela tragedy came to mind when I saw the corner, but it is looking nowhere near that bad. Hopefully we don't see too many more fatalities in the hours to come.

Best wishes to all involved!
 

MARC Rider

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Oh my God, what horrible news to see first thing in the morning. I was wondering about the TV vans in front of both Baltimore Penn and Washington Union stations. What's really chilling for me was that I was riding 188 last night. (I got off at Baltimore.) We left Washington about 10 minutes late, they told us that the equipment was delayed. Also, the consist seemed to be 7 cars instead of the usual 8. Other than that, the ride from Washington to Baltimore was unremarkable. Hope no more deaths are reported, and that NTSB figures out what happened quickly and corrective action can be taken so this sort of thing doesn't happen again.
 

Ryan

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Once the train gets tangled up in the catenary, it'll pull the supports down.

jb
That's what I was thinking. It's amazing to me that the catenary has the tensile strength to pull a pole over like that. Those are some pretty stout I beams.

Comparing the picture to the overhead imagery, it looks like one support is totally missing (which is probably what destroyed the one car that's in real bad shape).

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 8.20.36 AM.png

Counting back from the pedestrian bridge, you can see the two undamaged poles (green), the missing pole (red) and the bent over one (yellow).
 
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Tracktwentynine

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First daylight picture I've seen. The leftmost catenary support looks bent over, particularly on the left side, with no obvious (to me) cause...

ImageUploadedByAmtrak Forum1431512538.342756.jpg
I would guess that that leftmost catenary support was hit by the locomotive or one of the leading cars when it initially derailed. The last two cars, which are in line with the track, derailed but they'd been slowed by the impact and so stayed roughly on the line of the track past the initial point of derailment.
 

Ryan

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That was my first thought, but it's the inside of the curve that leans over further, which didn't make sense for a collision to knock it over. The catenary pulling it down makes more sense, if it has the strength to do so.
 
C

claire

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Is there anyone who's questioning the safety of the train with no seatbelts? Six have died so far today in a derailment in Philadelphia. Many traumatic injuries. How are trains exempt from seatbelt requirement?
 

jis

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Do not discount the effect of the stout crossbeams that connect the left and right posts in each pair. If the right post gets knocked out the left post will be deformed significantly by the connecting crossbeam.
 

jis

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Does anyone know who owns and manages the track in this area?

Thanks,

Leonard
There are many tracks in the area. The North East Corridor on which the train was running is owned and managed by Amtrak. The yard where the locomotive is sitting is owned and managed by Conrail Shared Asset as is the Delair Bridge Line which passes over the yard after branching off from the NEC at Shore interlocking.
 

Ryan

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Do not discount the effect of the stout crossbeams that connect the left and right posts in each pair. If the right post gets knocked out the left post will be deformed significantly by the connecting crossbeam.
Good point.

Here's a zoomed in view - it looks to me like the left (inside the curve) post is significantly further from vertical than the right (outside the curve) post.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 8.39.02 AM.png

I should really just take my own advice and shut up until there's more info though. :D
 

cpamtfan

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Is there anyone who's questioning the safety of the train with no seatbelts? Six have died so far today in a derailment in Philadelphia. Many traumatic injuries. How are trains exempt from seatbelt requirement?
Not at all, because once that can of worms is open it can't be turned back.
 

Bierboy

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Comparing past accidents that have been investigated by officials and ongoing accident scenes is like comparing apples to apple seeds. You can't draw any meaningful conclusions that way...

I will say that bad as this looks (and no doubt will get as the night winds on) it could have been much worse. Amtrak's worst accident in at least 15 years and over 90% survived, less than half seriously injured. Oftentimes transportation accidents result with 100% casualties.

edit for clarity, jis.
Please check the definition of the word "casualty"....it is NOT limited to deaths only...it also means injuries. It has been misused all night and all morning long by the news media and other.
 
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dlagrua

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Hillsborough, NJ
After reading through this long thread, I would like to offer my prayers for those injured and my sincerest condolences to the families that lost loved ones. IMO, much of the news coverage can be described as a largely inaccurate media circus that offers little.

No one so far knows what caused this accident. My guess is that the derailment was caused by excessive speed running on older tracks. We should have an official statement by the NTSB later today.

While this is a terrible tragic event; it should be noted that accidents of this type on Amtrak are extremely rare. If anything good is to come of this; it may serve to send a message to those in Washington that Amtrak cannot be ignored or treated like a necessary evil or afterthought. It appears that the Washington-New York service will be down for a while and perhaps this will open the eyes of skeptics as to the importance of passenger rail to the American people.
 
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Just came through TRE on my morning commute, and the NJT cross-honoring of Amtrak tickets seemed to be working well for anyone who was able to find another way as far as Trenton. There were customer assistance people (not usual at TRE), and, except for one NJT train cancelled because of equipment failure, the regular NJT commuter trains between Trenton and New York were running on time. (I was there between 7:30 and 8:00.)

The southbound side was completely empty, except for a SEPTA train that was not going to go anywhere. It was a stark reminder (as in dlagrua's post above) of what it would be like with no passenger rail.

Heartfelt and healing thoughts to everyone affected by this.
 

PRR 60

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Do not discount the effect of the stout crossbeams that connect the left and right posts in each pair. If the right post gets knocked out the left post will be deformed significantly by the connecting crossbeam.
Good point.

Here's a zoomed in view - it looks to me like the left (inside the curve) post is significantly further from vertical than the right (outside the curve) post.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 8.39.02 AM.png

I should really just take my own advice and shut up until there's more info though. :D
The near side (south) catenary support was sheared off at the base by the impact. It was displaced east multiple feet. Although it is closer to vertical, it is simply sitting on the ground, not its foundation. The north support was pulled over by the force coming through the frame from the south-side impact. It is still attached to the foundation although the pole, and likely the foundation as well, are badly rotated and deflected. Although the aerial makes it look like the north pole is more severely damaged, the south pole actually took the worst of it and brought the north pole along for the ride.

Were I still working, I likely would have been out there on the scene, probably all night. We have a 230kV line through the accident location, including overbuilt on the damaged catenary structure. This is one of those instances where we used to say the wires are holding the pole up.
 

Ryan

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Thanks, Bill. That makes perfect sense. I considered that as well, but rejected it because I thought I could see the concrete footing at the bottom of the pole. Makes sense that it would have sheared off at ground level and was taken along for the ride.
 
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