Track quality may be an issue but not always. Mostly I think the problem is that North American railroads are pushing the railway technology to the limits, in terms of weight, length, axle loads, etc, with no room for recovery if anything goes wrong. So the slightest incident ends up in a disaster. They also have, I think, too little consideration for the human factors - anyone having seen the pile of crap that surrounds an American driving seat understands what I mean. And finally their attitude regarding maintenance is also telling a lot.They do seem quite common. Any reason why - track quality?
That would be quite normal for the US - all kinds of bodies there are far too reluctant to ever consider the experience of other countries.A couple of updates gleaned from Iowa based sites. Firstly the damaged bridge visible in some images was damaged by the accident and not the cause of it. Secondly the report of ammonium nitrate as part of the load was incorrect, rather one tank car had carried the substance in liquid form on its previous run. More concerning for the emergency crews was the presence of both hydrochloric acid and potassium hydroxide in some of the cars.
More generally regarding the somewhat patchy safety record of US railroads I have recently come across suggestions that perhaps the NTSB is part of problem. Allegedly said body is somewhat reluctant to consider the possibility that safety systems and procedures used in other countries might be better than some of those currently prevalent in the US.
That's a problem in many countries, particularly the ones with large economies which they seek to protect from foreign competition. IMHO it's misguided, but that's global politics and nationalism for you...That would be quite normal for the US - all kinds of bodies there are far too reluctant to ever consider the experience of other countries.
It's basically mandatory on routes carrying above a specified annual tonnage, or hazardous materials, or regular passenger trains. The effect of those rules is that the routes that carry the vast majority of freight and passenger traffic have to be equipped with PTC.What's the deal with positive train control, is that on all lines or just certain locations? I would guess its not going to help is the lines are being hammered mind
During the course of their evolution, the modern 'wide cab' freight locos moved to a more European style 'desktop' control layout. The problem was the crews didn't like them i.e. they found 'desktop controls' less ergonomic than the old 'control stand' setup. So GE and EMD re-invented the control stand layout in a form compatible with it housing LCD screens instead of lots of gauges, dials and switches - which is where the situation sits today, AFAIK.They also have, I think, too little consideration for the human factors - anyone having seen the pile of crap that surrounds an American driving seat understands what I mean.
This sets aside that you still have to go between the freight cars to couple the air hoses ...In the other direction, I note that European countries - UK included - still don't generally use automatic centre couplers for freight - something that the US made mandatory on safety grounds over a 100 years ago...if that's not sticking your head in the (safety and efficiency) sand I don't know what is...
Yes, I'm well aware of that - but it's still easier & safer than having to do the same thing plus ducking under a side buffer along the way...This sets aside that you still have to go between the freight cars to couple the air hoses ...
That's principally due, I'm afraid to say, to union insistence on this so those with "the seniority" get first dibs at operations.Yes, the exhausting fatigue from being on-call 24/7 for traincrew - but then get the blame for any mess-ups they make due to being 'less than 100% mentally switched on.'
Yes, the exhausting fatigue from being on-call 24/7 for traincrew - but then get the blame for any mess-ups they make due to being 'less than 100% mentally switched on.'
The engineer of the wrecked inaugural run of the Cascades in Washington a few years ago had bid for the prestige run on seniority, and had never operated over the new line in the dark before, or indeed at all apart from a couple of observational runs in daylight. But that was "how we do it".
That is definitely major issue, has been for many years, and gets investigated, researched and commented on by the NTSB and FRA periodically. But I'm not convinced that it's taken as seriously as it should be.Yes, the exhausting fatigue from being on-call 24/7 for traincrew
From the video of the wreckage I've seen it looks more like a straightforward derailment to me.Whilst all this stuff about human factors in US rail safety is very interesting, is there any evidence that the recent pile-up was due to such factors (rather than a defective wagon, broken rail, washout or whatever)?
Going between vehicles without side buffers means that there is an easy escape route. With side buffers you have to duck down to get underneath - not so easy during a 'brown trouser' moment. Having shunted forThis sets aside that you still have to go between the freight cars to couple the air hoses ...
The real safety issue with old-style US couplers, of the link & pin type, was that you actually had to get between the cars and drop the pin in at just the right moment, far more hazardous for injuries than standing aside with a shunting pole.