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Thread: Happening NOW - Amtrak Cascades NEW Service Derailment

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhyams View Post
    Definitely odd that the rear loco stayed on the tracks and didn't travel too far. That train is only about 500 feet long or so, right? There's no way a P42 could slow from 80 mph to a stop in that distance, even in emergency. Thoughts?
    Firstly thanks for the Charger pics Jim & Geepster. I only saw the loco from above and the back.

    A few years back a sad individual decided to commit suicide by parking his car on a level crossing here in the UK. It was hit by a HST125 train which derailed. The cab looked undamaged but rocks and earth forced their way up through the floor and killed the driver

    Considering the leap/fall that Challenger has had it looks incredibly "together". As I understand it the driver has survived? If so that would be remarkable having survived such a violent derail?

    It does seem to me that IF the train had really derailed at nearly three times the speed limit it would have faired far worse? If you go to You Tube and type RENFE Talgo crash you can see what happened to that train. It was of course a high speed train so the impacts were far greater, as was the awful death toll . However we can see that quite a few of the coaches here remain coupled? Even the one hanging over the bridge.

    My guess would be late braking with wet rails? Even though the RENFE crash was at a much higher speed I can't believe what we're looking at happened at 80m.p.h.

    Of course we're not party to the extent of injuries to surviving passengers but I feel that there would be many more fatalities if this had happened at that speed.
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  2. #22
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    I'm guessing of course but I would think the worst injuries were in the car that landed upside down on the hiway. Reports say the engineer survived.
    Jim

  3. #23

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    I suspect once a moving train hits the ties/ballast/ground/mud, you're going to lose a lot of momentum, so that in connection with brakes dumping into emergency, slowing down in that short of a distance doesn't seem that unusual.

    This was also an articulated set which is probably the only reason there wasn't any telescoping...

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by eolesen View Post
    I suspect once a moving train hits the ties/ballast/ground/mud, you're going to lose a lot of momentum, so that in connection with brakes dumping into emergency, slowing down in that short of a distance doesn't seem that unusual.

    This was also an articulated set which is probably the only reason there wasn't any telescoping...
    Yes the latter point is why I referenced the RENFE crash. At high speed that doesn't count for much (as is sadly seen in the CCTV) but at lower speeds this must really help deceleration?

    IF they had that effect from 80m.p.h. that's truly remarkable? Amtrak should be ordering more of these sets in that case?

    My gut feeling (based on the pictures we've seen) is that they got it wrong (for WHATEVER REASON) by just that "knife edge" of error that turned a lucky escape into a disaster?

    I say this because the accidents I referred to above where massive destruction was caused were WAY beyond any such "grey area". They were definitely speeding, and the loss of life was far greater. In Croydon the speed limits were MUCH lower ...but the curve was MUCH, MUCH tighter. The result was equally, if not more, devastating to the stock involved ....and of course tragically to those aboard.

    Obviously we'll have to see the NTSB report but in view of the circumstances one has to feel for ALL involved?
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  5. #25
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    The Cascades service in general is fairly well patronized, though <100 passengers even at 0600 is a light load for a 14-car (even the short Talgo cars) train. Nowhere near the level of patronage in the California regional trains (3 of the top 5 corridors in the system), but pretty good within the Amtrak system overall.

    Conventional wisdom is that trains can be competitive for runs of <400 miles that complete in 3-4 hours for the majority of passengers. That's because of the security theater at the airport - the flight between LA and SF areas (multiple airports in both places) takes about an hour, but you have to be at the airport 2 hours beforehand (plus local travel time) then get to where you're going from the airport (another hour or more, plus getting your checked luggage if any). So say 4 hours minimum for the trip. HSR is supposed to do it in 2:40 (probably closer to 3ish) downtown to downtown (arguable: which downtown?), you can drive it in 6-8 hours (depending on traffic and adherence to the speed limit), current Amtrak (part bus in most cases) is 8-10 hours, and current bus is 10+ hours. When I do a LA run, it takes about 50 minutes flight time to Burbank, but 3:30 or more overall even squeezing arrival times with carryon luggage or going just for the day. Return is longer mainly due to the flights usually being late in the afternoon & evening.

    Regarding this one: transitdocs.com was quoted by some newsies a having the train at 81mph 1/4 mile from the curve; that's not a really reliable source (based on Amtrak GPS location pings, not direct speed measurements), but it would seem difficult for any train to take off 50mph in 1/4 mile. So there probably was an overspeed component. Agree from the pics that 80 at the curve seems like it should produce worse damage than is visible in the pics, though it's bad enough. The usual gripe will occur about lack of Positive Train Control and how it would have prevented this (which it would have, if overspeed is the issue), but it's not Amtrak's railroad so even if the train itself is suitably equipped (I think the Chargers are, but no way to confirm that) the railroad line has to have the equipment too -- and most won't have it until next year if not later.

  6. #26

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    Looks like the problem is that the drivers (I don't like the term engineer - an engineer is someone with a university degree who designs and constructs machinery etc., not a locomotive driver) of fast modern locomotives and highspeed trains think they are driving the railroad equivalent of a Porsche or Ferrari. But really they are driving 1960s era muscle cars at best ... fast in a straight line, but not cornering much faster than a gravel train. This is just simple physics ... a train cannot build up sideways g-forces like a car can. Hence you see derailments due to overspeed in bends more and more ... like the TGV accident about a year or two ago, I forgot. Same there - overspeed in a bend.

    MSTS simmers know that this leads to certain derailment and a trainwreck site looking much like the actual footage we have seen from this accident. It really isa testament to MSTS' realism. If train drivers were trained with MSTS they would know this.

    ----------------------------------

    A day after Amtrak Train 501 derailed yesterday during its first trip on a new high-speed rail line, authorities are releasing more information about what Amtrak and the NTSB can do to prevent future accidents.

    Last night, authorities revealed that – contrary to initial reports that an object on the tracks might’ve caused the accident – Train 501 had been traveling 80 mph around a bend where the recommended speed was 30 mph. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the engineer was distracted by another employee.

    The excess speed is shown in this animated simulation released by ABC...

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-1...rain-derailing
    Last edited by GoGoran; 12-20-2017 at 12:11 AM.
    https://www.trainsim.com/vbts/signaturepics/sigpic164208_1.gif

  7. #27

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    Sounds to me like the drivers had no clue of where they were along the route. I believe Amtrak should take steps to explain to the drivers that it's a new route and that they need to run carefully. Almost 3 times over the posted speed limit! This starts to sound like the MSTS "crash competitions."

    I don't like the term engineer - an engineer is someone with a university degree who designs and constructs machinery etc., not a locomotive driver.
    I agree.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by markyisri View Post
    Sounds to me like the drivers had no clue of where they were along the route. I believe Amtrak should take steps to explain to the drivers that it's a new route and that they need to run carefully. Almost 3 times over the posted speed limit! This starts to sound like the MSTS "crash competitions."



    I agree.
    Then read this.... https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/u...ashington.html
    Geoff
    Dorset - near The Swanage Railway.
    UK

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by haverfordwest View Post
    I take it most of the comments in this thread are made by people never employed in the railway industry.

    Online speculation and rubbernecking at it's worst.
    A professional train driver could not make any more educated guesses about this accident as we or the investigators of it do, and I suppose the investigators got enough expertise.

    Apart from that:

    The posted speed limit in the bend is 30 mph, that is just a fact.

    And the train was travelling at 80 mph. That is another fact.
    https://www.trainsim.com/vbts/signaturepics/sigpic164208_1.gif

  10. #30
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    I have to agree that the circumstances are now pointing clearly at overspeed. Much like in the RENFE and the Amtrak Philadelphia wrecks. I refuse to speculate further, however, on WHY the overspeed happened at this time; that has to develop from the investigation.

    BTW, in the U.S., transit rail (light rail, subway) has drivers, while Real Railroad trains have engineers. That's because originally, like stationary engineers and marine engineers, they had to run and fix Engines and related mechanical gear. To some extent, they still do, but modern electronics have removed the need to do much with the locomotive machinery on the road. However, some states (notably Oregon in the western U.S.) have laws that define engineers the way GoGoran does, and they have prosecuted people using the term in relation to other things (notably, software engineers); have they ever gone after use of the term in relation to operating trains?
    Last edited by mikeebb; 12-20-2017 at 12:53 PM. Reason: clarify which poster referred to

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