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Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

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Sorry but I take that route weekly and have done so for over 10 years. I have not memorized how fast each train goes in each stretch of track.
 

Ryan

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I posted the video and the math that support my 90 MPH estimate on the last page, you're welcome to poke holes in it.
 

rrdude

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the theory of this train flying through there at 106 mph is absurd.

amtrak does NOT go fast through this area, at all.

nooooo, im not a train "expert" or employee, just a passenger.

recently took long distance trip and at 80 mph It Was Noticable! we couldnt help but remark "wow!!! we are flyyyying!" and asked our attendant to confirm our speed,

so, i mean, seriously.... people who take this train everyday would Certainly notice if they were rocketing through there at 106.

logic people. logic
Well Mr./Mrs. "Guest_Tracy", very few LD trains hit 106mph, and that's pretty much restricted to the NEC, that is a fact.

Track speed on the North East Corridor (NEC) however, between DC and Boston (sorry Richmond!) has certain sections (very few, and very short) that I believe is rated at 150mph (Acela only, not the Regionals, like # 188)

It is not uncommon however, for Amtrak's Regionals to reach a top speed of 125mph. I have traveled between Baltimore and NY Penn dozens of times, and 106mph, while "fast" seems slow when you decelerate from 125mph.

Let's also be clear that the "106mph speed" is pure conjecture at this point. (tho my bets on the reason are 1. Excessive Speed 2. Wheel Issue. or 3. Rail Issue. Pretty much covered it all, didn't I?)

Now, I have ZERO knowledge of the track speed for a Regional at the point of the crash, (others will no doubt chime in, please)
 
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PerRock

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the theory of this train flying through there at 106 mph is absurd.

amtrak does NOT go fast through this area, at all.

nooooo, im not a train "expert" or employee, just a passenger.

recently took long distance trip and at 80 mph It Was Noticable! we couldnt help but remark "wow!!! we are flyyyying!" and asked our attendant to confirm our speed,

so, i mean, seriously.... people who take this train everyday would Certainly notice if they were rocketing through there at 106.

logic people. logic
Just because the posted speed is lower & most trains go that speed, doesn't mean the train can't go faster. Your car has the capacity to go well above the speed limit on the road it's traveling.

There are now a couple different sources quoting a high speed of around 100mph. The corner's speed limit is only 50-60mph (I've seen conflicting reports).

As for people noticing, it's late at night, people are tired. the NEC trains do travel well in excess of 100mph in certain areas. And really most people don't really care enough to notice if the train seems a little faster out of the window. Oh and there are other distractions on board. Case in point. One of the Associate Press's managers was on board the train at the time of the crash; he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, because he was watching Netflix at the time.

peter
 

PerRock

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Let's also be clear that the "106mph speed" is pure conjecture at this point. (tho my bets on the reason are 1. Excessive Speed 2. Wheel Issue. or 3. Rail Issue. Pretty much covered it all, didn't I?)
4. Terrorism/Sabotage hasn't been fully ruled out. It's just pretty unlikely according to the FBI.

peter
 
T

tracy

Guest
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.
AMEN to that. i dont think anyone can argue with this. its a disgrace, the state of our passenger train service in this country. personally, makes me sad. i mean, who doesnt love trains? its just such a shame how we have neglected our national rail service. how do we remedy this?
i love amtrak & i have to say, i noticed what appeared to be a lack of morale among the attendants & some ticket counter, baggage folks. they looked over-worked & tired. our room attendant told many passengers of the budget funding issues and predicted the days if the midwest long distance train are numbered.

THAT is SHOCKING and heartbreaking.
 
G

Guest

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Conductor was a terrorist? Or software speed controls were manipulated?

I never handled a Sprinter before and am not familiar with the controls and safety features. Guess Amtrak has to rebuild the damaged track area and rebuild or even place new car orders. Considering it was a North east regional, perhaps they could swap an acela train set when new ones come in and run additional acela service. Not sure if the sprinter can be repaired.
 

chrsjrcj

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I read on TrainOrders that speed control was only for westbound trains not eastbound trains on that curve. The cost to add speed control for eastbound trains would've been minimal to none. I'm assuming this is coming from someone who works on the line.

I did read an article that said the NTSB confirmed not PTC for that curve.
 
J

Jon Parker

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Post no. 205 is EXACTLY the kind of mindless, uninformed speculation I was talking about.

The truth hurts, don't it?

Tom
This guest has been making outrageous assumptions from the get go. Just 10 hours ago he/she KNEW that it was sabotage based on the pictures. Now they KNOW that the engineer was incompetent and distracted in the cab. Its better to just ignore. This person knows nothing more than any other layperson at this point.
 

PRR 60

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Post no. 205 is EXACTLY the kind of mindless, uninformed speculation I was talking about.

The truth hurts, don't it?

Tom
Note that since some guest posts have been removed, current Post 205 is not the post Tom saw as "Post 205."
 
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Long Train Runnin'

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Conductor was a terrorist? Or software speed controls were manipulated?

I never handled a Sprinter before and am not familiar with the controls and safety features. Guess Amtrak has to rebuild the damaged track area and rebuild or even place new car orders. Considering it was a North east regional, perhaps they could swap an acela train set when new ones come in and run additional acela service. Not sure if the sprinter can be repaired.
The conductor would be nowhere near the controls of the locomotive. The job title of the person sitting at the controls in Engineer. Please stick around and read some of our other threads here you can learn quite a bit.
 

Ryan

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Post no. 205 is EXACTLY the kind of mindless, uninformed speculation I was talking about.

The truth hurts, don't it?

Tom
Note that since some guest posts have been removed, current Post 205 is not the post Tom saw as "Post 205."
Your dedication to keeping that kind of crap out of this discussion is commendable.
 
I

I_can_name_names

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I was just watching a news report, that was interviewing a spokes woman from Amtrak.

She was pointing out that they have no way to know who was on the train. That Amtrak simply sells tickets, and doesn't know who actually uses them or not.

That doesn't seem quite correct to me. I would think that even on the Regionals, the conductor scans or collects tickets. From those, Amtrak should be able to get a good idea of who was on this train. True, there might be a couple of passengers who just boarded the train, and the conductor didn't get to them yet, but ticket sales should be even able to isolate it down to those who purchased tickets to board from that very last station. I guess I am saying that while such a manifest might not be 100%, Amtrak should be able to name the passengers to within 95% accuracy or better, with the remaining 5% being a list of possible passengers.
 

StriderGDM

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I was just watching a news report, that was interviewing a spokes woman from Amtrak.

She was pointing out that they have no way to know who was on the train. That Amtrak simply sells tickets, and doesn't know who actually uses them or not.

That doesn't seem quite correct to me. I would think that even on the Regionals, the conductor scans or collects tickets. From those, Amtrak should be able to get a good idea of who was on this train. True, there might be a couple of passengers who just boarded the train, and the conductor didn't get to them yet, but ticket sales should be even able to isolate it down to those who purchased tickets to board from that very last station. I guess I am saying that while such a manifest might not be 100%, Amtrak should be able to name the passengers to within 95% accuracy or better, with the remaining 5% being a list of possible passengers.
People can also get off early.

Amtrak and the authorities are probably going through the passenger manifest, checking with hospital lists and calling any names that aren't matching up.

One thing that they'll do as part of the procedure is make attempts to contact any families/missing passengers before releasing such names to the media.
 

jis

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Well Mr./Mrs. "Guest_Tracy", not a single LD train currently approaches 106mph, that is a fact.
Actually all LD trains (Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Cardinal, Crescent, Palmetto) that run on the NEC get upto 110mph. In addition to that the Lake Shore Limited hits upto 110mph between Stuyvesant and Albany-Rensselaer.
 

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.
Often, we* are told to not even speak to the media, and let the chief handle all media communication. Some of their required training/classroom work is specifically how to interact with the media. I don't think I've ever heard our chief staff use "casualty" - they clearly use death/injury verbiage.

*we - I am a firefighter with derailment & mass casualty training and experience.
Excellent information...thank you. I'm a former reporter, so I get hung up on correct terminology. Unfortunately, the word "casualty" has been used fast and loose in this tragedy.
 

rrdude

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Well Mr./Mrs. "Guest_Tracy", not a single LD train currently approaches 106mph, that is a fact.
Actually all LD trains (Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Cardinal, Crescent, Palmetto) that run on the NEC get upto 110mph. In addition to that the Lake Shore Limited hits upto 110mph between Stuyvesant and Albany-Rensselaer.
I am corrected! When I think "LD Train" I only think of those out west, my bad, thanks JIS.
 

Bob Dylan

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Awaiting a NTSB presser, the talking heads on the 24/7 "News" outlets are interviewing each other, showing old clips, asking the usual inane questions of various hired "experts" etc.

Thankfully the confirmed dead seem to be holding @ 6 and the engineer and crew are all alive and being interviewed!

Speculation on the cause seems to be centered on Signal problems, bad rails and the old " human error"!

According to Amtrak and Philly Mayor Nutter ( he seems well informed and is a very impressive leader)the "Black Box" is already @ Wilmington for analysis and the NTSB and Amtrak have heavy presence working the scene!

This will be an important and closely watched investigaton, we can make a silk purse out of a pigs ear as the old saying goes if it's handled right!

Prayers and condolences to those involved and kuddos to Phillys Finest, they seem to have it together!
 
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George K

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Surveillence video where you can barely see the train just before the crash.

http://6abc.com/news/6-dead-dozens-hospitalized-in-amtrak-train-derailment/718111/

Looks like it took 5 seconds for the train to pass.

7 amfleets @ 85' = 595'

1 ACS-64 @ 70'

Total train length ~665'

665/5=133 feet per second is 90 MPH

Conclusive? Hardly. Anyone see where I could have screwed up?
The Wall Street Journal joins the the speed speculation:

An Amtrak train involved in a fatal crash here appears to have been traveling at more than 100 miles an hour as it entered a sharp curve where it derailed Tuesday night, killing at least six people, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

The speed limit in that section of track drops to 50 miles per hour, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Investigators are focusing on the possibility that excessive speed was a factor in the derailment, one of these people said. The locomotive and all seven passenger cars of the train went off the tracks at a tight curve at Frankford Junction, north of Philadelphia city center. Multiple cars overturned, severely injuring some passengers and pinning others. Six people were killed and more than 200 were injured, including eight who were in critical condition.

Amtrak officials notified some employees on a Wednesday conference call that excessive speed was believed to have contributed to the crash, said one of these people, who was briefed on the contents of the call.
 

printman2000

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Just heard (CBS News) another victim was found so now 7 dead.

Has anyone heard the condition of the engineer? If this was a speed issue, I would assume Amtrak already knows it.
 

Bierboy

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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.
Yes, and if you re-read my post you will find I used it correctly. I said 100% causality not 100% fatality.
This was not directed specifically to you; I was merely pointing out that the term is widely misdefined....
 

rtabern

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I am good friends with the engineer who appear to be doing okay... please keep him in your prayers. I just sent a text to him wishing our best... he used to be from the Midwest and I have known him for 10 years now since he worked on the Lincoln Service.
 

PRR 60

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Just heard (CBS News) another victim was found so now 7 dead.

Has anyone heard the condition of the engineer? If this was a speed issue, I would assume Amtrak already knows it.
Reports are that the NTSB interviewed both the engineer and conductor today (5/13). I suspect Amtrak already knows the speed of the train approaching and entering the curve.
 

rtabern

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Just heard (CBS News) another victim was found so now 7 dead.

Has anyone heard the condition of the engineer? If this was a speed issue, I would assume Amtrak already knows it.
It turns out I am very good friends with the engineer involved. I am not putting his name out there right now, but he used to work in the Midwest and on the Lincoln Service. He is doing ok... was taken to the hospital but has since been released. Keep praying for him though... a good guy... I have hung out with him many times.
 
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