I just hope none of my friends from that area were on that train. Ribbon cutting on this line was Friday first train today and it DE-railed
My daughter lives about a mile from there and she heard the noises and sirens. Now the traffic is a mess because they are using her 2 lane road for a detour. They say the highway will be closed indefinately. This is between Olympia and Tacoma. Near the town of Lacy.
The latest word from Amtrac is that the curve was posted at 30 mph and the train was going nearly 80mph. Seems the engineer was trying to make up about 10 minutes on the schedule.
This particular train had the engine in the rear pushing and the front engine was a dummy. So it seems the rear engine just pushed the cars off the track due to it very high speed.
I have driven down that stretch of I-5 many many times under that RR bridge. It was a horrible accident that may have been preventable, such a tragic loss of life.
Most of the passengers were RR enthusiasts taking a 1st ride on the just complete 180 million dollar
may those that died rest in peace.
This is a new line made for high speed trains to get around some of the heavy traffic ares in Tacoma. There were 3 people killed, none on I5. Train was it's maiden run to Eugene Or. It's been on the news all evening.
I wish these news people could get their stories straight. Yesterday, the were saying he was 2 mph over the speed limit, 81 in a 79. This morning they say 80 in a 30. Same news channel.
Well that's just part of the "yellow journalism" a.k.a. "fake news" that pops out of the gate ASAP in order to grab ratings and audience. Then 12 hours later after the dust settles the truth comes out. I hope Mark's post of "only" 3 fatalities is correct news, because yesterday evening I heard it was 6. Either way, too many.
Re the speed limit..Amtrak trains are limited to a max of 79 mph. Not sure even why they are dubbing this new line a "high speed line". But apparently the curved area had a reduced speed limit of 30 mph, for obvious reasons. I'm not sure of the logic behind pushing a bunch of rail cars at ANY speed quite frankly. The momentum is just trying to knock them off the rails. Very stupid of them.
Like all news the Journalist will put the microphone in anyone's face that will talk! The maximum speed in that stretch of rail is 79 MPH and is reduced in the curve to 30 MPH but none of the people flapping their gums knew about that! The engineer should face criminal charges, his or her victims will still get my prayers.
sad loss of life.
The route only saves 10 minutes travel time! Was that worth several lives and millions in damages and recovery?
This is not the time to go thru that section of the tragedy though.But once the smoke clears,somebody needs and deserves raking over the coals and being behind the old steel bars.
Yellow journalism or fake news is put out with the intent to lie or deceive, misinformation is just that, they were given X information in a bad situation and that's what was reported. Most of the news shown here is from local reporters (Portland Or) not national reporters and was from on the site.
Was also shown the mayor of the town close to the accident talking about this curve and his worry that something like this might happen a year ago.
Tim, there is only one source of fake news, he happens to be the inventor of the term. Thank god for the free press in the USA.
This accident is about people not politics.
Arnold are you sure?? Several crashes might have been avoided if congress would do it's job? There is more to making railroads more safe than greasing the rails for the rich! Bud.
Ken, if you are referring to the tax deal, "greasing the rails for the rich!". I agree.
Arnold from Biden land, You mean the FAKE not free press, you know the ones with a liberal pony in the race.
Why are you politicizing this event? Where is the concern for the grief of the families who have lost or injured oved ones?
This accident is about people not politics.
Lets keep that in mind, esp the people on the train and on the freeway. Right now this is about them not politics. I can't even began to imagine what was going thru their minds both on the road and in the train as this happened! I wish everyone a speedy recovery and all the help they need to get past this.
I am referring to the ones that say they have alternate facts.
The railroad company owns the track and signals, however the land under the tracks is sometimes owned by the railroad itself, sometimes on a long term lease from another company.
To be honest I am not aware of the government owning any RR property, it may be true but I am not aware of it.
You're right. I heard 6 fatalities yesterday, as well. I hope 3 is the number. Be nice to know there were none and even the 3 number was wrong. I was listening to the news on my way home from out of town yesterday. They had "An eyewitness to the crash" and they proceeded to ask him how it happened. It didn't take long to tell he didn't see it happen. He just happened to be stuck in traffic and wanted to get his voice on the air. And then there was the reporter interviewing some official asking where the worst injuries were likely to have occurred. Really? Really? Man, did Don Henley nail it or what?
Are these engineers blind? Asleep? Hungover? What the he** is going on with these people? WAY too many high speed related accidents lately on turns or actually driving into the stop at the end of the line. It's beyond belief and the only thing that's being done is the elected morons bloviating about automatic safety controls. Would they work? Probably but the jerk in the cab needs to have the common sense of a 2X4 too.
He's baaaaakk! And in typical fashion, too.
While the engineer will certainly bear some of the responsibility, it's the Conductor who "owns" the train. The engineer only follows the conductor's orders.
If the conductor says go, you go. If he says stop, you stop. He's the boss when it concerns that train. Thus, he's the one who should be put in jail IF he made the mistake.
And where would you suggest the reporters go, other than the seen of the crash?
It would seem to me that some type warning device should be installed along the route as the train approaches the curve just in case the engineer happens to be distracted. This device could either sound an alarm or even better automatically slow the train. Only problem with the automatic slow down would be in case of failure, the engineer would be depending on the device. Perhaps it should only alert the engineer if the engineer had not already slowed down.
"...other than the seen of the crash?"
I dunno, Arnold, perhaps the heard of the crash.
I am certain that in this day and age, when we have dash cams and black boxes that we will find out exactly what happened. The speed at the time, a video of the train in motion and maybe a video of the conductor at the time of the accident, even what the status of every wheel on that train is possible. This was not a Model T going down a dirt road.
Dick, the job of the reporter is to report what he finds, not edit the information or opinion-ize it. That is exactly what he did. That is not fake news!
Some might suggest a place YOU can go.
Dick, THAT was hilarious! Think it went right over his head, though.
"crash scene",It didn't go over my head. I have been reading the President's twitter too much and I am copying his style. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School graduate. Now that's fake news.
And so it goes...
You know? I can't help but draw correlations to the Titanic here. Maiden voyage. Trying to make up lost time. And, while the jury is still out, looks like blatant disregard for safety, and dare I say "Common sense". Time will tell, and I hate to crucify anyone before the whole story is known, but it's sure looking that way, at present.
Good morning Norman,
There is a system such as you describe. It is called Positive Train Control (PTC) it is being installed now on major rail line across the US now. It was mandated by Congress. Because of the high cost and technology curve there has been several extentions granted to the original 2015 completion date.
I'm curious why PTC was disengaged.
They mentioned on the "News" this morning that the system was new and was not working yet. I assume that meant for THAT train, not the entire system. But again, given the conflicting stories I keep hearing, that may be total BS.
The PTC installation has not been completed in this area. It's close to being ready to use but not quite.
Quote,"-- PTC was installed in the segment of tracks where the derailment happened, but wasn't operational yet. The target date to have it working was the spring quarter of 2018, said Geoff Patrick, the spokesman for Sound Transit -- which owns tracks where the train derailed.
I do not know how trains are configured in the US, but in Europe it is quite common to have trains configured with a "steering wagon" in front and the engine in the end pushing the train. It makes it quick to revert the train at the end station as just the engineer have to walk to the other end of the train to go back.
Again with the PTC. Why was it going too fast for the curve in the first place? Engineer or conductor who cares... Why was it speeding?
No one knows what happened in this incident. It may not have been going to fast.
cotter pin ??
The whole idea of "pushing a train" kinda puts me in mind of pushing a rusted chain,it would work for a while but something is going to give and when it does,oops.
It is a terrible accident that like most can be analyzed to death. Speed and pushing into a curve are the 2 problems that lead to it.
Also,could the conductor or other be terrorist linked? I have not heard much news about it because of yard work and such today.
Arnold, the corner was a 30 mph corner, the train was going 80 mph, that kinda indicates the train was going too fast.
Mack, The UP has been using rear engines, in conjunction with front and mid train engines. It works well and is not really anything link pushing a chain as being pulled will not keep a car on a track any better than being pushed, I would wager that the engineer was in the front engine though.
A recent update is posted here:
This is the same channel that reported extensively on the Lake Oroville spillway failure earlier this year.
Which car left the track first ? sounds like the engineer was distracted, Driving a train is a little like driving a Model T ? you haft to anticipate the road conditions ahead, since neither one can stop very fast and both have a high center of gravity. A old Model t man recently told me, "Don't pick your nose while driving" it takes your total concentration or bad things will happen.
Jim..IF one can trust the news report, it was said that this engine was a "pusher"...the front engine was not doing the work. So there's yet another recipe for disaster...how in the hell can the engineer/conductor really know when to throttle down when he's THIRTEEN cars behind the front of the train? But, I only heard it once that it was pushing the train, so.....
Hal, funny you mentioned the Titanic. In my first post I was thinking the same thing but failed to mention it. And get this, this entire line was designed (again, according to the take it with a grain of salt news) to save a whopping TEN MINUTES off the regular trip. Big price to pay for a lousy ten minutes.
the engineer does not sit in the rear engine when being pushed. It is controlled from one location and motive power is applied from another, as in pushed or pushed/pulled.
It's an interesting issue, where for instance in mountains, a front unit or units may still be pulling down the grade while rear is pushing and at some point, the rear engine begins pulling/braking even while going up the grade, to keep slack out of couplers and avoid breaking them when the bulk of the train is over the hill and tries to close up forward couplers and pull out rearmost couplers.
The rail roads have very detailed route guides which tell the engineer what the speed limit is at all points along the route and probably when to start slowing too, many trains I understand have talking computers telling the engineer what to do and when to do it, I don't know how long it takes a short commuter train going 80 mph to stop but it takes a long freight train over a mile to stop at 50 Mph, I don't see it making much difference which end of the train was calling the shots at 80 mpg, By the time the Engineer realized this was a "OS" moment it was way too late to do anything.
TYPO 80 Mph, not 80 mpg.
The engineer is always in the front locomotive. If there is more that one locomotive hooked together, they are connected with a "MU" (multiple unit) cable and controlled from the front unit. If there is a locomotive or locomotives back in, or behind, the rest of the train, they are controlled by radio transmission from the locomotive the engineer is in. There may or may not be another engineer in the trailing locomotives.
Again, the engineer works FOR the Conductor. The Conductor is the man who decides what, where, and when things happen on his train. The engineer just follows the Conductor's orders. It's the Conductor who has to answer to the railroad company.
Everybody always blames the engineer as he is the one who is "driving". Actually, he's just following orders.
Back the train up please.Your telling us it's not the engineer who has to keep responding to the dead man switch? Is it not the engineer who see's the speedlimit markings and responds? Where is/was the conductor? It is a very calm sea and the weather is clear,so if there are any icebergs we will see them and respond!! Bud.
Because the engineer has to respond to the dead man switch timer, does not mean he has supervisory control of the train.
If your boss tells you to drive at 35 mph or you'll get fired. You'll drive at 35 mph if you want to keep your job. This is all fine and dandy when the speed limit is 35 mph or more, but what if it is LESS? Do you tell to boss NO or will you keep your job?
I will totally agree with any person that will ignore the boss when there is a serious SAFETY concern. When your job means less than the safety of the passengers, train, or employees.
What would you do if you didn't know the route but your boss is supposed to, he tells you to make 80 mph, to make up time, or your fired? Remember, the railroad runs a very tight schedule. Sometime minutes between trains. Thus, punctuality is a paramount practice.
I blame the railroad FIRST, as they obviously did not familiarize their employees with the line, and possibly the train structure (most AMTRAK style trains have only puller locomotives and no pushers. When there is a locomotive on the rear end, it's usually dead stick and just being pulled as another car in the consist, then being used to pull the train on the return trip with the original puller now dead stick.)
I blame the Conductor SECOND, as it's his train and ultimately, he is responsible for all aspects of that trip.
I blame the Engineer THIRD, as there is NO job more valuable than the safety of your passengers and crew.
I blame the Fireman/Brakeman (if this crew had one) LASTLY. It's part of his responsibility to be safety minded and make appropriate input as to unsafe acts or conditions.
To answer your last question: "Where is/was the conductor?" Hanging from the nearest tree might be appropriate, but I have no idea where he was, maybe schmoozing with big wigs on the ride.
He should have been in contact with the engineer about the route safety hazards.
I hope this will answer your questions about my input. I'm sure it will NOT answer any questions about the accident.
Good Luck to you ALL,
From what they said on the "news" awhile ago,no one has talked to the engineer yet? Why? did he take vacation leave to the Bahamas? All the authoritative figures on that train that were not in a coma should be in front of investigators hours if not minutes after the accident.
Most likely, the railroad does not want the employees making statements without a lawyer present. Also, they may want them to talk to NTSB or whoever is cognizant of that railroad before talking to the news people.
I think Mack was saying the NTSB hasn't spoken with the engineer. That is what was being reported early this morning. I'd think that would be top priority in the investigation, but what do I know? I got my law degree from the Jack McCoy school of law.
Terry - I'm usually too "wordy" on the forum, however in this case, I think I know how I would explain what you are trying to say:
The conductor is "the boss" and is ultimately responsible for the operation of the train and the entire train crew. This includes the fact that he is responsible for the engineer to the point that he must be certain that the engineer is operating the locomotive properly.
Mack - The first thing that should have been done regarding the head end members of the train crew would have been to separate them and interview them "SEPARATELY". That would apply to anyone and everyone that was in the cab of the locomotive. I'm not clear at this time who or how many were in the cab besides the engineer.
I'll tell you this though,...you can bet that that was done, but neither the public or any reporters would have heard about it! At least not yet!
Retired Railroad Sr. Special Agent
You have a great way with words. Thank you for explaining, better, what I was saying.
Mack was saying the NTSB hasn't interviewed the engineer as yet. At least NOT that the NTSB has admitted to. The investigation will take a long time. Much longer than the victims and their families would like. Emotions are very high right now. Time will allow things to settle down and get a good investigative result.
Thanks Again, Harold. You know exactly what I am talking about.
Best Wishes for All Involved.
Several of you have talked about the Conductor being the "boss" of the train, and the Engineer merely taking orders, such as speed.
I don't question your knowledge of the rules, but my experience is different.
For several years I was a Park Ranger, working the "Trails and Rails" complement on the 'City Of New Orleans' train, from New Orleans to Greenwood, Mississippi. We would depart the train in Greenwood, about 90 minutes south of Memphis, along with the Conductor and Assistant Conductor, and spend the night in motel rooms courtesy of Amtrak. Then we'd catch the southbound at 9:00 the next morning, and do it all again but in reverse.
While the "Train Crew" was changed in Greenwood, the Engineer was changed quite a bit south of there, and again in Memphis.
I also rode that train all the way from New Orleans to Chicago and back probably 30 times, again always with my scanner listening to the Crew's conversations among themselves and with the Dispatcher.
If there were no passengers interested in our explanations about the passing scenery, or when it would get too dark to see, we Trails And Rails folks would hang out in the Crew quarters with the Conductor and Assistant Conductor. Over time, I spent a lot of time with them, and we became friendly. After all, we slept in the same Motel and ate Supper at the same restaurant.
I say all that to tell you that in all my time on the train, where by the way I carried a Scanner and could hear all the conversations between the Crew, I never once heard a Conductor giving the Engineer any kind of orders or commands about the speed or other operation of the train.
I often heard the Engineer talking to the Dispatcher, and there would be notices of speed restrictions due to track work or some other problems.
But never did I hear the Conductor telling the Engineer anything of the sort.
Again, I don't question the legality of the Conductor being in control of the train, but I never heard any kind of directions given to the Engineer.
Just my personal observations, for what it's worth.
I'M NOT ALLOWED TO RUN THE TRAIN
THE WHISTLE I CAN'T BLOW
I'M NOT ALLOWED TO SAY HOW FAR THE RAILROAD TRAIN CAN GO
I'M NOT ALLOWED TO BLOW OFF STEAM
OR EVEN RING THE BELL
BUT LET THE DAMNED THING JUMP THE TRACK
AND SEE WHO CATCHES HELL
(:^) ( ; ^ )
G.R. Cheshire - Please understand, not to make light of this thread you started, short of the families, friends and loved ones of the injured and deceased of this terrible disaster, there's no one feels more compassion than me,.....harold
Harold forgot the title of his ditty, it's "Conductor's Lament"
I just read where the two deaths on board the train were major folks in the Rail Passenger Association; a national group that promotes rail travel.
I didn't forget the title David,....I was hoping that someone else would remember the title and write about it. I thought that if I included the title when I quoted that famous little RR poem, somebody would think that I just made it up to fit the subtle point that I was trying to make with that verse! You sort of "played right into my hands" David,.......heh,heh,heh,.......thanks for the help,......harold
P.S. I grew up in a railroad family in the Chicago area and I learned "The Conductor's Lament" from my Dad (an I.H.B. switchman) when I was a little kid! And Grandpa was a $ooLine engineer so I guess it's no wonder I ended up spending 34 years on the railroad!
The Amtrak engineer might have been “ distracted “ by an employee - in - training present with him at the time of the crash.
Another forum thread that shows a lot of “true colors”...
Seems to be quite a few authorities on a subject they know very little about...
In today's world, you, most likely, will never hear a verbal command from the conductor to the engineer unless it's an emergency or conditions change drastically. It's all written on paper with plenty of copies available. All the legal disputes about he said/she said are avoided. So the conductor presents the engineer with a written "order of the day" so to speak.
Today, the engineer usually has more latitude in the operation, but that is also based on the individual conductor and railroad.
Peter, Your post brought this song from Arlo Guthrie to mind.
The City Of New Orleans
Strange: the news reports now say the person in the locomotive that may have distracted the engineer was wait for it .....The Conductor!
Maybe he was distracted by the Conductor passing him a note that said "Slow the @#$% down!"
I am LMAO right now...
This thread has been quite entertaining.
"The train engineer involved in the Amtrak crash near Seattle remarked six seconds before the derailment that the train was going too fast and then appeared to apply brakes, federal investigators said Friday."