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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2021 11:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10310
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
What we are seeing here is a classic, centuries-old battle between labor and management, the same one that precipitated the launch of labor unions in the first place. Labor blames their employers--usually with good cause, as they demand labor assume risks they would never take themselves. Management blames the rank and file--also with good cause--for trying to avoid responsibility, risk, or even actual effort.

The investigation found plenty to blame on BOTH the engineer and Amtrak--not because they were being wishy-washy, but because the problems were both individual and systemic.

And to hear Mr. Rowland dismiss as "nonsense" completely believable examples from the "real world," presented by individuals that I and others here know HAVE this first-hand, real-world exposure to railroading in the year 2021, invalidates him and his blathering opinions from any further commentary or discussion on this subject.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2021 11:15 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 2157
Location: Sackets Harbor, NY
More nonsense....from a reliable source for same.

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:38 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1540
mmi16 wrote:
Ron Travis wrote:
Regarding the suggestion that the engineer was intimidated by his employer to either accept the first run of the train despite his worry about not knowing where the curve was —or— be subject to punishment:

While that is always possible, there is no reason to believe it happened in this case. As it turns out, the engineer was punished in the form of being fired, and being banned from further employment as an engineer. Since then, the engineer has spoken extensively about his experience and feelings about the disaster. Do you really think that if his employer had intimidated him into accepting the first run against his better judgement, that he would not be telling the world about that intimidation? He would have every reason to do so. It would take the blame off of him and place it on his employer.

Perceived punishment prior to an act and actual punishment after an act are apples and kumquats. Even when you don't feel fully qualified, one never envisions that they will actually screw up in the manner that the engineer did in this instance.


I don’t follow what you are saying. I am not comparing perceived punishment before the act to actual punishment after the act. I am referring to the implications of a threat of actual punishment of the engineer by management if he refused to take the first run on the basis that he felt unqualified for not knowing the territory. Such implications seem to have been made in some of the preceding posts here. I have no doubt that such things happen, but I don’t think it happened in the case of this wreck.

What I am saying is that if there was a threat by management of punishing the engineer if the engineer refused the run, I believe the engineer would have said so after the disaster. Why wouldn’t he have said so? Saying so after the disaster would have vindicated him and put the blame on the managers.

Since he did not claim that he was threatened to take the run against his own better judgment, I assume that no such threat took place. Incidentally, I also don’t think the engineer felt he was unqualified even though he clearly was unqualified. The engineer took the run while knowing that he did not know the territory. He chose to rely on a sketchy method of navigation, and refused to even slow down when he had a general idea that the curve was coming up without his full awareness of exactly when and where that would occur. He also got a warning from the locomotive that he was running too fast. He did not understand what that warning was related to, but still he refused to significantly slow down.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2021 9:24 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:35 pm
Posts: 4
I think that David Schanoes of Railway Age summed up pretty well what actually happened back then and it had more to do with politics.

https://www.railwayage.com/news/remember-that/?RAchannel=home


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 1:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Philadelphia, PA
This accident was very similar to a PRR derailment Feb 6, 1951, at Woodbridge NJ on the PA&W Branch.

In the PRR accident, according to ICC Ex Parte 173, The Broker, Train 733 Eng 2445 (K4s), 10 coaches and 1 club car (all P70's) was running from Jersey City to Bay Head NJ. 733 had left Jersey City at 5.10 PM; Sunset was 5.10 PM and the train passed "UNION" (Rahway) at 5.36 PM, entering the PA&W Branch connecting the PRR NY-Phila Main Line with the CNJ and eventually the NY&LB.

Just past Woodbridge Station PRR had installed a temporary shoo-fly that day on No 2 track for NJ Turnpike construction. A PRR General Order placed a 25 mph speed limit on the shoo-fly versus 65 mph track speed. On PRR at that time, General Orders did not require a Speed Limit sign or a yellow lantern as would be the case with a Train Order.

This would be the engineer's first trip over the shoo-fly. The PA&W Branch had automatic block signals and cab signals. Engine 2445 had cab signal whistle and acnowledger, but not speed control.

The ICC estimated Train 733 entered the shoo-fly at between 50 and 60 mph. The tender and eight cars derailed and there were 83 fatalities.

The ICC recommended PRR install an automatic train control system.

PRR did install speed control on all its passenger electrics and diesels (and the E44's) but not all passenger steam locomotives before they were retired in 1957.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2021 6:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:46 pm
Posts: 72
The funding deadline was for construction, not operation. So no, it isn't relevant.

Randy Gustafson wrote:
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: Mon Jul 05, 2021 9:27 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:05 pm
Posts: 23
pwkrueger wrote:
The funding deadline was for construction, not operation. So no, it isn't relevant.

Randy Gustafson wrote:
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.

WSDOT's pressure to put the route into operation was the prime factor as they did not allot Amtrak sufficient time for crew training. Amtrak is also complicit in that they did not challenge WSDOT on the amount of time and conditions in place for crew training.


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10310
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
As we've seen here before, people in high places tend to blatantly deny the existence of such deadlines, no matter how patently obvious the behavior is insinuating such deadlines are/were in place.............


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:24 pm
Posts: 72
As someone who spent quite a bit of time in the 21st century working for a class 1, there is a culture of intimidation and threats to get jobs done no matter what. I often had to balance the feelings of management, coworkers and my personal safety. For example when working in a section of track with MoW I was told to got 600 ft past the 707 limits to get Hy rail equipment on and off the track with out additional protection. I refused and got an EC1, much to the consternation of MoW and their managers, my manager was ambivalent at best. I also had a similar situation about activating tunnel ventilation, that boiled down to a good faith challenge, which I was correct in my opinion and industrial hygiene had the fans turned on, and in turn, my manager scrutinized every form I turned in, questioned everything on my truck gps report, and cell phone usage for months.

Class 1 management says safety but means just get it done, Amtrak is very similar, I worked often jointly with them.

While the engineer should have made his misgivings known, I feel that the brunt of the railroad management intimidation confounded him into making an unsafe decision.

I was involved with NTSB investigations, I met the board on several occasions, not just the field responders but the board. Those who haven't felt the intimidation probably have not been 21 st century class 1 railroaders


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 Post subject: Re: Amtrak Derailment in Washington State
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2021 12:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10310
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Bobulltech wrote:
I was involved with NTSB investigations, I met the board on several occasions, not just the field responders but the board. Those who haven't felt the intimidation probably have not been 21 st century class 1 railroaders.


That would certainly apply to the various folks sputtering "nonsense" at every example of tension/conflict between rank-and-file and management being given as "real-world" examples.


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