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Discussion in 'International Transport' started by swills, 13 May 2015.
News coming in of a derailment in the USA....
Two fatal Amtrak accidents in three days, whats more disturbing the North East Corridor which only carries around 11m people a year is averaging a fatal crash every year killing half a dozen.
Very sad news. Thoughts go out to all passengers, staff, and families affected by this tragedy, and I wish the injured parties a swift recovery. Sad to see some politicians seemingly using it to get media attention.
I certainly do not wish to jump to conclusions here (I haven't read anything about the cause of this derailment), but I'd agree with "WatcherZero" that the railways in America do appear to have a patchy safety record, and considering the relatively low numbers of passengers carried, the number of incidents and fatalities would seem to be high.
The crash on sunday was yet another grade crossing crash with no fatalities on the train. All too common on US Railways where crossings are poorly ptotected and infrequent train services mean people neglect the risks.
This seems to be an actual train crash - the train was a North East Regional, Train 188. Reports that the driver seemed to hit the emergency brake before the incident which took place on a bend. Might therefore be excessive speed or debris on the line that caused it.
Yes the safety record of Amtrak as a whole strikes me as pretty poor, as their passenger numbers must be low compared to European railways with much better accident statistics. Outside the Corridor this might be explained by the prevalence of grade crossings with little protection, and by other factors that don't really apply in Europe. However the Corridor probably has more in common with European than with other American operations.
There seems to be an acceptance with Amtrak that collisions will occur on a not infrequent basis by the insistence of Locomotives and integrated trains such as the Acela haveing maximum strength to survive collisions, - more in the sense of a battering ram than the Eu led mandate of designed controlled crumple zones. This may be as a result of the ambivalence that road vehicle drivers seem to have for grade crossings and in the NE corridor, the inconsistent nature of track maintenance standards.
Apparently there is a 60 mph speed restriction on the curve where the crash occurred (100 mph territory on either side), but the NE corridor is equipped with Amtrak's ACSES cab-signalling/speed enforcement system and the locomotive involved is an almost new ACS64 electric. It'll be interesting to find the cause - track fault or something on the track ?
Between Washington DC and New Haven i know of 0 grade crossings. At New London station there is one, but further they are difficult to find.
The general location is Frankford Junction - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place...0x89c6b63aa6623c9b:0x27eec6cb7866b29c!6m1!1e1
The train was travelling from west to north-east on the map.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/us/amtrak-train-derails-crash-philadelphia.html has a good map of where the train ended up.
The funding of Amtrak is below standard; it does not make a profit and the Republican are ready to kill it if they can. > http://www.citylab.com/politics/201...ceo-on-the-state-of-us-passenger-rail/381538/
It's been like that for the past 44 years - Amtrak's survival over that time is a fairly remarkable story in itself (and it was actually the Republicans who created it in the first place, although they probably intended it to be a temporary, politically expedient way of letting passenger services die off slowly).
Latest reports suggest that the train was travelling in excess of 100mph
Going to cite any?
All based on a single tweet from somebody screenshotting the amtrak train tracker.
Somehow, I don't think its accurate at all.
There is a bit of a debate on the Trains magazine forum about whether ACSES (speed enforcement system) is actually installed/operational on that part of the NE corridor - which does open up excessive speed as a possible cause....
The (deadly) curve is at 16:40.
From the Guardian
The NTSB has stated the train was at 106 mph going into the curve at Frankford Jct.
The speed restriction is 50 mph on track #1.
Shades of that crash in Spain a couple of years ago where train entered a curve at more than twice the permitted speed.
Train Black Box has confirmed it was going in excess of 100mph at time of derailment.
Fatality count has risen to 7 and hospital treated injuries to 200.
Meanwhile funding for Amtrak is cut by the Republicans.
FWIW the BBC reported the same on this morning's breakfast.
Latest reports state that driver had applied emergency brake, but only very shortly before the accident, and that the speed was still over 100 MPH at the point of derailment. (source is BBC news online)
It appears that there is speed enforcement for westbound trains approaching the curve after a long stretch of 100mph+ running, but not for eastbounds, which approach it on an 80 mph stretch of track, after stopping at Philadelphia station only 3.5 miles before the curve.
Reading that article makes you think that what a mess the most powerful country in the world is in.The infrastructure for all modes of travel are in a mess. It will cost billions to put right but there has to be a will. The obsession with tax cutting causes these problems and the lack of infrastructural investment must cost their economy billions. It's all about politics . Sorry state of affairs
Yes, it surprises me that the train could even be up to 100mph-plus by this point. Out of Philadelphia station there's a long curve round, almost a U-turn, through multiple junctions and over the river bridge, then just a couple of miles before this curve. I'm surprised that a single Bo-Bo locomotive could accelerate a full-sized train up to such speeds in the distance available. Having said that, it is apparent from the considerable distance the wreckage has travelled from the tracks, right across intervening land to the converging old main line, which is nowadays principally sidings, that it derailed at a substantial speed.
It was a 7 car train with a modern 8600 hp (short term rating) AC-drive locomotive, about 450 tonnes total train weight => 19 hp/tonne, so would have had pretty good acceleration on full power....
Braking from 106 to 102 mph.
Drivers saying he has amnesia of the instant of the crash and aftermath and refusing to be interviewed by police, though Police and governor saying what their interested in isn't the crash but why he was going so fast before it. His lawyer is being praised by police as being more co-operative than the driver himself.
I read an article this morning (which, irritatingly, I can't find again now) that said that whilst there are speed enforcement systems in-place on sections of the line, this was not one of them.