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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:40 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:35 pm
Posts: 351
Location: Pacific Northwest
I was sitting at my desk in the same building as Lee very near the tracks. I remember the train going by the office very fast - must faster then anything I remember before. I also recall that I never heard the train whistle for the previous crossing north (Steilacoom Road). Soon the sirens started and the I-5 freeway became full of emergency vehicles, state police, and stranded commuters. It was definitely dark.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:53 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Posts: 23
co614 wrote:
My bias as a fellow locomotive engineer is to try to support Mr. Brown. I have read the reports and must say that Mr. Brown owns a substantial percentage of the blame for this tragic event.

Once you accept the responsibility of taking those controls in your hands you own it plain & simple. It was his responsibility to make sure he was trained sufficiently on the physical characteristics of that route to know where he was AT ALL TIMES. No excuses.

IMHO his failure to execute his role responsibly has earned him a lifetime ban on being an FRA carrier licensed locomotive engineer.

Sad to say. Ross Rowland

Brown was set up to fail by WSDOT, Amtrak and Amtrak Supervision. And FAIL he did.

When you are 'trained' to fail, failing is the result. The 'machine' that placed Brown at the control stand of the train failed and Brown just carried the failure to it logical conclusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:11 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2164
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
Sorry MMI but that's pure nonsense and reflects the syndrome that is rampant throughout our society today.

That syndrome is to avoid taking personal responsibility for ones actions.

No one held a gun to his head and forced him to take the controls of that train. He did it totally of his free will and now owns the results. Pure & simple.

It ain't complicated. IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:29 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1540
The NTSB said that the engineer was “set up to fail.” They go on to blame dozens of facets of the management structure for not doing everything possible to make the operation as safe as possible, including the potential to have equipped the train with a system that would have known the location and taken over with braking if the engineer failed to do so.

Yet the precautions in place were all that were legally necessary. So what NTSB is doing is promoting as many new safety features as possible. This seems to go beyond just conducting an objective investigation into the cause of the accident. It may even cloud the objectivity of the investigation as it finds cause in the lack of devices or systems that could have prevented the accident.

But then they take another step that I believe to be just wrong. That is their proclamation that the engineer was “set up to fail.” To my perception, this amounts to exonerating the engineer for his failure to avoid the disaster. Saying the engineer was “set up” means he had no free will to do otherwise. So all the blame then goes to those managers who set up the engineer to fail. This makes the engineer just one more innocent victim.

I believe that no matter how culpable the managers were in matters such as insufficient route training, the engineer is at least equally culpable for accepting the run while fully knowing about the dangerous curve; and knowing that he intended to rely on an insufficient method of knowing his location in the territory.

The engineer said he knew about the curve and its 30 mph speed limit. However, he did not know the line well enough to know where the curve was until it was in sight. By then, it was too late to slow down.

So he did not know the territory. Instead, he used a method of locating the curve that depended only on spotting mile makers. Would using such a method comply with the rule that requires an engineer to know the territory? Knowing the territory means knowing where you are by route features at all times. In other words, you constantly recognize your location by the entire view from the cab. Relying on mile markers without knowing the territory means you are running blind between mile markers. The engineer knew he was relying only on mile makers.

It seems to me that the engineer was not qualified to accept this work assignment, and that it was his responsibility to know this and refuse the assignment.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 459
15 interminable pages on a topic that has nothing whatsoever to do with RR preservation. Unbelievable. And it keeps going on, and on, and on. Why is this discussion being carried out on RYPN?


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:05 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
Posts: 1523
Location: Back in NE Ohio
Topfuel wrote:
15 interminable pages on a topic that has nothing whatsoever to do with RR preservation. Unbelievable. And it keeps going on, and on, and on. Why is this discussion being carried out on RYPN?


Well, it's not like participants on this board are forced to read every posting from every topic here. I'm not following "Post WWII Reading Paint Colors" or whatever. There are enough of us who were or are active T&E workers that this discussion is a valid part of the forum, and once something happens on the railroad it is part of railroad history. Near as I can tell, this wreck directly led to an official decision not to allow the preservation of any of the equipment that was part of the service involved in the wreck, so there's that as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1617
Generally, saying "you should" or "this shouldn't" is a manipulative way of expressing "I want" or "I don't want". You aren't being forced to read this thread. I have found a lot of recent topics here to be tedious, I just don't read them, and I'm sure others find them interesting.

Safety culture is certainly as relevant to museum operations as it is to Amtrak, specifically the way in which financial constraints, deadlines and pressure to please the patrons coerce people charged with safety to do things they know are unsafe. All we need to do is go back to the Gettysburg debacle to understand.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 11:52 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 836
Location: Warren, PA
Another relevant issue here that applies equally to any rail project - transit, museum, or freight - is the pressure exerted by funding deadlines. I have to admit that I was rather disappointed that this was not one of the contributing factors expressed in the NTSB report, even in an indirect manner.

The 'heat was on' to get that route operational as the funding was expiring.

https://seattletransitblog.com/2017/12/ ... ce-bypass/

"President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package gave the bypass the boost it needed, providing much of the funding for the $181 million project and accelerating the completion date from 2019 to 2017 (a deadline mandated by the federal grant)."

That was 12/31/17 and the derailment on the inaugural run was December 18.

It's rear-view mirror driving at this point for sure, but anytime a funding deadline coming from congressional or administrative action that pushes the safety envelope is an issue that, in my opinion, got swept under the rug. Not sure if it was a lesson learned or not here, may have been. But it could just as equally be applied to any funding deadline we see in the preservation world that results in pressure to complete. The political desires (regardless of party) to show 'results' before the next cycle can have consequences as well.

In this case that deadline certainly appeared to have really compressed the timeline to put it in operation when it did.

I'm not sure I've seen anything hit the same pressure scale since, which is good, more irritation that 'things are not finished - yet' - which in this environment is OK.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2728
Topfuel wrote:
15 interminable pages on a topic that has nothing whatsoever to do with RR preservation. Unbelievable. And it keeps going on, and on, and on. Why is this discussion being carried out on RYPN?


Since most of us believe the subjects of proper crew training and crew safety ARE very relevant to RR Preservation. Just because this happened on a Class 1 doesn't mean you can't learn from it.

If you don't agree, simply go to the next topic.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:43 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 am
Posts: 50
Bobharbison wrote:
Just because this happened on a Class 1 doesn't mean you can't learn from it.


Class 1? I'm puzzled by your statement - which Class 1 was involved?

The Point Defiance Bypass track is owned by Sound Transit:
Quote:
Sound Transit, Amtrak, WSDOT and FRA continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis to track progress towards return to the Point Defiance Bypass. Our hope is that service will be returning to the Bypass this summer or fall. The next step is Amtrak crew qualification, which will occur over a two- to three-month period. Sound Transit, as owner of the Bypass, is currently reviewing all documentation prior to giving approval to start crew qualification runs.

https://wsdot.wa.gov/projects/rail/pnwr ... iance/home


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 3:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2728
Rader Sidetrack wrote:
Bobharbison wrote:
Just because this happened on a Class 1 doesn't mean you can't learn from it.


Class 1? I'm puzzled by your statement - which Class 1 was involved?


I was thinking of Amtrak, but technically they are not categorized as a class 1. That said, they're not railway preservation either, which is what the original gripe was about. It doesn't change the fact we can learn something from the many failings involved in this incident.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:09 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:26 pm
Posts: 144
People that are involved in maintenance are naturally curious and look at a failure and want to troubleshoot a simple machine breakdown to avoid the same breakdown again. When a failure involves safety and large systems such as boilers or train operation or airline accidents we are looking for the chain of events that led to the failure and how that chain could have been interrupted. To learn from others' unfortunate failure to identify and stop that chain of events.

Tom Hamilton


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:26 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:12 am
Posts: 15
Stationary Engineer wrote:
People that are involved in maintenance are naturally curious and look at a failure and want to troubleshoot a simple machine breakdown to avoid the same breakdown again. When a failure involves safety and large systems such as boilers or train operation or airline accidents we are looking for the chain of events that led to the failure and how that chain could have been interrupted. To learn from others' unfortunate failure to identify and stop that chain of events.

Tom Hamilton


Right on the mark! A "railroad" is not just the hardware, it is the "software"; all the people who operate(d) it and all the ways they came up with to do it, even all they created in paperwork and other items to further their ends. What is the use of preserving a piece of equipment if you have no clue how to maintain it or anything to do with it? Without a relevant way to carry that forward to generations at risk of having no connection to it?

Further still it involves the community around it and all their connections to it. So all the discussions of women and people of color; all the old timers telling their story and so on are right on - they keep the connections going.

I am not a member of the railroad industry but of its broader community. If what is preserved has no relevance out here it all dies with the last person to whom it had meaning.

Though I live at a distance from this incident and the railroad on which it occurred, I am regularly at its location, and in contact with some peripherally involved, even talked with a first responder.

It seems to me it hits all the contact points; a piece of trackage going through many hands at risk of abandonment ultimately preserved and even upgraded to Amtrak service. A tragic incident grabbing the attention of most of us in the state. A public look at how that incident occurred and how to prevent another and disagreeing with each other all along the way and arguing about it.

If you were only interested in preserving equipment, maybe not much to grab. If you want things to grab the attention of the next generations of preservers (some of who were and are running this operation); it's all there.

I'm glad to see the equipment posts go long. Some of them are quite fascinating! But that this one's gone 15 pages? That tells me this site is alive and well and doing its job.

Timothy


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2382
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Bobharbison wrote:
Topfuel wrote:
15 interminable pages on a topic that has nothing whatsoever to do with RR preservation. Unbelievable. And it keeps going on, and on, and on. Why is this discussion being carried out on RYPN?


Since most of us believe the subjects of proper crew training and crew safety ARE very relevant to RR Preservation. Just because this happened on a Class 1 doesn't mean you can't learn from it.
Agreed. "Go fever," as NASA calls it, can affect everyone. The state was under pressure to get that line going and the NTSB report clearly states how little familiarity the crews got for a line with one of the craziest curves on the entire Amtrak system (something the state was advised by engineers that should have been completely rebuilt but they balked at the cost).
When you think more about getting the train going than the safety you should be taking, you get events like the Gettysburg incident.
If someone can't learn anything from this lesson, maybe they shouldn't be involved in running trains.

_________________
Lee Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:29 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1540
Here is one point that ties this topic to this forum. The engineer said that he had planned to work until he retired, and then possibly seek further employment as an engineer for a tourist railroad.


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