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Amtrak crash in Philadelphia


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And he's not talking to investigators.

 

There's been animosity between locomotive engineers and police for decades. 

 

It has to do with incompetent cops wanting to cite/arrest/detain for accidents whereby the locomotive engineer is not at fault.  The police doesn't understand and jumps to conclusions and there's nobody else present to set them straight.

 

That may be the case here. 

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Some info you won't hear from the news media:

 

- There are no electronics that enforce speed restrictions on this stretch of track.  Compliance is dependent on an attentive and competent locomotive engineer.

 

- Per the NTSB, the engineer induced an emergency brake application at 106 MPH and the data ends at 102 MPH when the train derailed.  This suggests very strongly the engineer was unable to slow the train (unlikely) or not paying attention (very likely) until the final seconds.  He was not incapacitated if he was able to move the brake valve to emergency. 

 

- The media is obsessing over the fact he derailed at "twice the speed of the curve".  Yes, that's true, but only part of the story.  Leaving Philadelphia (the previous station stop), there is NO track good for speeds faster than 80 MPH.  The train was doing 106 MPH in the 80 MPH zone before derailing on the 50 MPH curve.  This actually points to two problems:  Failure to reduce the throttle to keep the speed at or below 80 MPH, and failure to reduce it further and apply the brakes for the 50 MPH curve. 

 

- Positive Train Control has long been advocated by the NTSB and Congress mandated the same requirement in 2008.  Amtrak's PTC system is called ACSES (Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System) and is active on parts of the Northeast Corridor, but nowhere near Philadelphia yet.  Had it been installed and functioning properly, the derailment would have been preventable. 

 

- The locomotive was very new, manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento, CA.  It is all electric and gets its energy from an overhead catenary line. 

 

- There are unconfirmed reports that 10 minutes before the derailment, ANOTHER commuter train operated by SEPTA had to be stopped a few miles down the line after the engineer's windshield was struck with rocks or bullets.  Post-derailment photos of the Amtrak locomotive show what appear to be three bullet-type bullseyes on the engineer's windshield. 

 

If indeed the Amtrak train was struck with rocks or bullets, that would explain the Amtrak engineer's brief inattentiveness. 

 

601_Philly.jpg

Edited by mp170.6
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It's odd to me that we hear of Amtrack/Passenger train derailments every so often, but rarely do we hear of those cargo/shipping trains that can be 100+ cars long derailing.

the male reporter in the video said "all 243 are not accounted for." so how many are missing? and why can't newspeople be more clear in how they say things?

Reporters are pompous douchebags and the more incorrect or confusing information they spout the better for them, because it sensationalizes the story and keeps eyes glued to the screen.

I wouldn't believe anything a reporter says, at the very least take it with a grain of salt until a more credible source reveals the numbers.

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It's odd to me that we hear of Amtrack/Passenger train derailments every so often, but rarely do we hear of those cargo/shipping trains that can be 100+ cars long derailing.

 

The media barely covers freight train derailments unless there is a hazmat spill.  That's because a hazmat spill makes for sensationalized fear mongering.

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mp, how hard is it to keep a train at a desired speed? I am no engineer, but I gotta believe in this day and age it probably isn't very difficult to monitor train speed and keep it at a certain number. Where am I wrong on this?

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Now he can't remember what happened. Absolutely nothing. How convenient.

 

Going 106 mph approaching a 50 mph turn. That should never happen.

 

 

He can't remember anything because he suffered a concussion and needed to have his head stapled back together. 

 

The news media is botching something they don't understand and making the "acceleration" out to sound nefarious or unusual. 

1.9 miles before the train derailed was a 65 MPH curve which the engineer properly slowed for.  The track was then good for 80 MPH for the next 1.9 miles until the 50 MPH curve where the train derailed. 

 

The storyline should not be that he was accelerating, it is that he kept accelerating and failed to reduce to throttle and use air brakes to slow to 50 MPH. 

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In the minute or so before the crash, the train sped up from 70 mph until it reached more than 100 mph at a sharp bend where the maximum speed is supposed to be 50 mph, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said. 

 

 

NTSB member doesn't know what he's talking about?

 

And please explain to me how that is not nefarious or unusual?  He was going 70 a few minutes before a curve that is rated at 50.  Not nefarious or unusual may be if he kept it at that 70 on that turn.  But instead of slowing down, he increased his speed to over 100.  That sounds very nefarious and unusual.

 

 

Investigators have found no problems with the track, signals or locomotive. 

 

 

So again, why shouldn't the blame go on the driver?  Where is the media jumping the shark and not understanding?  

 

Sorry, but maybe I'm being stupid.  But this is like not blaming the Germanwings pilot for the crash because the plane lost altitude.

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mp, how hard is it to keep a train at a desired speed? I am no engineer, but I gotta believe in this day and age it probably isn't very difficult to monitor train speed and keep it at a certain number. Where am I wrong on this?

 

I found a video of the same locomotive involved in the derailment while undergoing testing in 2013.  The Amtrak engineer was looking at the same computer display.

 

The video shows a test run at full throttle.

 

1:15 -- speed 65 MPH

1:31 -- speed 80 MPH

2:09 -- speed 106 MPH

 

The throttle would have been reduced at about 1:28 to remain at 80 MPH.  That never happened in Philadelphia, it remained at full throttle just like the video.  So, roughly speaking, the engineer in Philadelphia had to have lost focus for about 41 seconds (from 1:28 to 2:09) until placing the train into emergency at 106 MPH. 

 

If rumors about the train possibly being struck by rocks is correct, you can see where the engineer could lose his focus after having the shit scared out of him. 

 

Edited by mp170.6
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NTSB member doesn't know what he's talking about?

 

And please explain to me how that is not nefarious or unusual?  He was going 70 a few minutes before a curve that is rated at 50.  Not nefarious or unusual may be if he kept it at that 70 on that turn.  But instead of slowing down, he increased his speed to over 100.  That sounds very nefarious and unusual.

 

 

So again, why shouldn't the blame go on the driver?  Where is the media jumping the shark and not understanding?  

 

Sorry, but maybe I'm being stupid.  But this is like not blaming the Germanwings pilot for the crash because the plane lost altitude.

 

The NTSB spokesperson does not have a railroad background.  I'd say 90% of what he says is right on the money.  Sometimes he makes minor mistakes. 

 

Every train going that direction leaving the 65 MPH curve is accelerating.  That acceleration should cease at 80 MPH.  Braking effort to slow for the 50 MPH curve should begin 40-50 seconds after reaching 80 MPH.  The news media is making it sound like the acceleration was a separate, intentional act.  All I'm saying is the acceleration never stopped like it should have.  

 

Absent some sort of mechanical failure nobody is talking about, then yes, the locomotive engineer is to blame.  I keep hearing references to rocks or bullets though, so that might explain his loss of focus.  Time will tell.

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Hard to believe that the locomotive was out of control, they must have some sort of panic button they can hit to bring the whole thing to a stop.

 

I'm sure MP can give you all the details of what is required to bring a commuter train down from 105 miles per hour to 50 and how much real estate goes by before it can do it safely.

 

For example try a high speed emergency stop towing a trailer and see how much carnage ensues. Now imagine multiple tons of passenger cars instead of a 5th wheel.

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I'm sure MP can give you all the details of what is required to bring a commuter train down from 105 miles per hour to 50 and how much real estate goes by before it can do it safely.

 

For example try a high speed emergency stop towing a trailer and see how much carnage ensues. Now imagine multiple tons of passenger cars instead of a 5th wheel.

 

The train should never reach 106 mph.  He was supposed to be doing something like 70, and then 50 through the curve correct?  He's accelerating up to 70 and then it just keeps accelerating even though he has the throttle back?  He shuts it down.

 

I can see how it might take a considerable distance to slow a train from 106 to 50 mph.

 

Speculation of course.

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The train should never reach 106 mph.  He was supposed to be doing something like 70, and then 50 through the curve correct?  He's accelerating up to 70 and then it just keeps accelerating even though he has the throttle back?  He shuts it down.

 

I can see how it might take a considerable distance to slow a train from 106 to 50 mph.

 

Speculation of course.

 

Yes, see my earlier posts on this topic.  He kept accelerating presumably because he lost his focus. 

 

The only thing I would add to this is locomotive engineers are NOT required to keep their eyes on the controls and track ahead of them at all times.  There's about 20 pounds of paper rulebooks to lug around to refer to while on-duty.  That, and the current day's Track Bulletins which change from day to day. Time is afforded when going on-duty to review these documents, but it's impossible to memorize everything. 

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