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 Post subject: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 1:10 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:45 pm
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Location: Boyertown, PA
In lieu of the days events, I was just wondering what circumstances there were that would cause a wreck of such magnitude to occur, other than simply out of human error. Also I think we have probably just found the first ACS-64 to be taken out service. What are the chances? Same section of track as the congressional Limited wreck of 1943.

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 5:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
We shall find out once the NTSB has completed the initial investigation and establishes the facts surrounding the incident. I understand that the curve that the wreck occurred on has a speed restriction (50 mph?).

Just on the appearance of the published photographs, it appears that speed was the direct cause. The questions will probably focus on why the train entered the curve at excessive speed. It appears that the speed that the train entered the curve at exceeded the overturning speed or that the rail turned over due to the forces produced by the train (possible but unlikely).

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 5:41 pm 

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:27 am
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Location: Switching the Coach Yard
It has a striking resemblance to the Southern Crescent wreck in Elma, VA in 1979. Both attributed to excess speed on a curve.

ETA


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 8:04 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Reports I am hearing say speed in curve 106-107 mph (!) in almost the same spot as the 1943 wreck. Interestingly enough this speed was reached from a standing start (at 30th St.) less than 3.5 miles away.

I suspect this topic will be moved over to 'railfanning', where it strictly belongs. But in the meantime, respect for the dead and sympathy for the injured.

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 9:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Location: Back in NE Ohio
I'm hearing from my sources that the engineer was a recent transfer to the Northeast Corridor from the West Coast. So, forgot where he was on the railroad until the last moment is a significant possibility. That would explain the last second emergency brake application - the "Oh, S*** moment". He left the police station with his attorney, so he's already "lawyered up".

If you are reading this before Midnight on Wednesday, if you can, you should either watch or record the Midnight re-broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show, and her 15 minute rant in the first half of the show called "This is Fixable". She goes through the history of recent human factor, preventable fatal passenger rail wrecks, issues with PTC, including industry objections, Amtrak funding issues and Congressional politics. It was truly amazing, and possibly the most knowledgeable mainstream media commentary on anything having to do with rail in a long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 220
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
The topic is probably directly relevant to this group. The news and pundits (including Maddow) are putting a lot of emphasis on the idea that if PTC had been available in that area that the accident would have been prevented. The situation is likely to make the regulators and congress even less flexible in respect to PTC for heritage steam operations.


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 10:12 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:25 am
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Location: Across the river from Baldwin's on the Naugy
Unfortunately, sad events like this will turn our rail system into an expensive
"horizontal elevator".


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 11:10 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 521
Reading T1 2124 wrote:
In lieu of the days events, I was just wondering what circumstances there were that would cause a wreck of such magnitude to occur, other than simply out of human error. Also I think we have probably just found the first ACS-64 to be taken out service. What are the chances? Same section of track as the congressional Limited wreck of 1943.


To keep this thread historic, here's some TV coverage about the 1943 wreck that came to us via the Lancaster Chapter, NRHS

see

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/0 ... ain-wreck/

caveat, I don't know how long this will be 'up'

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 11:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 537
Location: St. Louis, MO
Can someone let us know if the PRR had the Automatic Train Stop signaling system in this area in the past? If I understand it correctly this would have prevented the wreck if the engineer had to pass a signal at the proper speed before entering the curve. And if the PRR did have it, when was it removed or taken out of service?

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 12:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 726
Location: Tucson, Arizona
ATC/ATS of the time was signal activated. It merely indicated the condition of the next signal and would stop the train unless forestalled by the engineman. It did not govern speed. This case is very similar to the NYC Gulf Curve derailment, which was related to excessive speed due to human error.

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 1:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1806
Slight topic drift.

Quote:
Same section of track as the Congressional Limited wreck of 1943.


We had a similar situation in Washington DC between the tragic Terra Cotta wreck on the B&O in the early 1900s and the WMATA crash just a few years ago in nearly the same location just inside the DC line.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 5:32 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:33 am
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Location: Wash D.C.
Never in a million years did I ever think that a Train Orders thread would be a reference point in the New York Times.

The article is: For Amtrak Engineer Brandon Bostian, Childhood Passion Became a Career

Quote:
On the online forums of trainorders.com, a writer who signed many of his posts as “Brandon” routinely criticized railroad companies for not doing more to prevent accidents. Details strongly suggest the posts were by Mr. Bostian — the subjects and locations of the posts correspond to the places he lived and the jobs he has had at Amtrak. In a cached version of a deleted topic page, other members of the site identified Mr. Bostian by name and his online handle, saying he was the conductor of the train that derailed.

Quote:
In a March 2011 trainorders.com discussion of a train collision, the writer laid out how technology had been in place since the 1920s to stop trains if engineers failed to obey stop signals, how technology improved in the 1950s until, by the 1980s, a pilot “positive train control” system was up and running. But, he noted, railroad companies never adopted the safety measures.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/15/us/am ... -news&_r=0

Just something interesting to read.

/Andrew


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 5:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Southern Californians may be "flashing back" on the 1956 derailment of Santa Fe's two RDC units at Redondo Jct. (a few miles south of Los Angeles Union Station). This disaster was also attributed to excessive speed on a curve. The "preservation angle" of the story is that one of the RDCs still exists, and is preserved by the Pacific Railroad Society.

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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 12:56 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
PaulWWoodring wrote:
I'm hearing from my sources that the engineer was a recent transfer to the Northeast Corridor from the West Coast. So, forgot where he was on the railroad until the last moment is a significant possibility. That would explain the last second emergency brake application - the "Oh, S*** moment". He left the police station with his attorney, so he's already "lawyered up".

If you are reading this before Midnight on Wednesday, if you can, you should either watch or record the Midnight re-broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show, and her 15 minute rant in the first half of the show called "This is Fixable". She goes through the history of recent human factor, preventable fatal passenger rail wrecks, issues with PTC, including industry objections, Amtrak funding issues and Congressional politics. It was truly amazing, and possibly the most knowledgeable mainstream media commentary on anything having to do with rail in a long time.


I haven't seen the Maddow segment, but it's apparently getting some attention from other people:

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show ... _fb_maddow

[Edited]

It also looks like MSNBC has archived the segment:

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watc ... 5160003931


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 Post subject: Re: Philadelphia/ Port Richmond Wreck
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 1:31 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3032
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Here's a question for the signal people here:

The Pennsylvania Railroad had a coded signal system with cab signals and automatic train stop that dated back to at least the 1930s. It is still used, in a modernized form, on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. It's a mature technology with no unpleasant surprises.

Why don't we just reinstall all that stuff, and expand it? Why do we have to reinvent the wheel, relying on computers and wireless communications that are potentially disruptable? Is there a cost problem, one greater than the modern PTC solution?


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