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Derailment of Cascades #501, DuPont WA, 2017-12-18

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Mark your calendar.

 

NTSB slates two-day hearing on fatal Amtrak crashes

 

 

 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold an investigative hearing July 10-11 on two recent Amtrak crashes.

The public hearing will explore issues involved in the Amtrak Cascades derailment in DuPont, Washington, on Dec. 18, 2017; and an Amtrak collision with a freight train on Feb. 4 near Cayce, South Carolina, NTSB officials said in a press release.

The hearing will include testimony from the Federal Railroad Administration; the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; the Brotherhood of Locomotives Engineers and Trainmen; the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; CSX; Sound Transit; Amtrak; the Washington State Department of Transportation; and the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission.

The hearing will be held in Washington, D.C., and may be watched live via webcast.

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Here's a new wrinkle. Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect

 

Attorney says an electrical failure was discovered before the train departed Seattle

 

Please allow a brief fair use quote:

Wetzel filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court, alleging Amtrak was negligent in sending the train on its route that morning.

His isn't the first lawsuit filed against Amtrak, but it makes a couple new claims: that Amtrak knowingly went ahead with the trip despite an electrical system failure detected the day of the crash, and that the rear locomotive was not properly electronically linked to the front, disabling its braking abilities.

"Amtrak knew that train was not fit for service that day," attorney Jim Vucinovich said, calling it a "conscious decision" to run the train despite its alleged deficiencies.'Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect
Other allegations have been leveled at Amtrak, involving the quality of the track, the training of the operators, the lack of the positive train control (PTC) system that could have slowed the train automatically.

The train was believed to be traveling about 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. The PTC system was installed on the train, but not yet enabled.


But the revelations about the electrical failure and the rear locomotive were surfaced by a whistleblower, Vucinovich said. The lack of braking on the rear locomotive could have served to be dead weight at the back of the train and possibly contributed to the accordion effect the train cars took when they derailed.

 

I'm not sure this aspect will work out. Even if they aren't linked electrically, they can still run them as long as they are linked pneumatically.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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Here's a new wrinkle. Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect

 

Attorney says an electrical failure was discovered before the train departed Seattle

 

Please allow a brief fair use quote:

Wetzel filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court, alleging Amtrak was negligent in sending the train on its route that morning.

His isn't the first lawsuit filed against Amtrak, but it makes a couple new claims: that Amtrak knowingly went ahead with the trip despite an electrical system failure detected the day of the crash, and that the rear locomotive was not properly electronically linked to the front, disabling its braking abilities."Amtrak knew that train was not fit for service that day," attorney Jim Vucinovich said, calling it a "conscious decision" to run the train despite its alleged deficiencies.'Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect

Other allegations have been leveled at Amtrak, involving the quality of the track, the training of the operators, the lack of the positive train control (PTC) system that could have slowed the train automatically.

The train was believed to be traveling about 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. The PTC system was installed on the train, but not yet enabled.

 

But the revelations about the electrical failure and the rear locomotive were surfaced by a whistleblower, Vucinovich said. The lack of braking on the rear locomotive could have served to be dead weight at the back of the train and possibly contributed to the accordion effect the train cars took when they derailed.

I'm not sure this aspect will work out. Even if they aren't linked electrically, they can still run them as long as they are linked pneumatically.

The courts will allow it because let's face it they don't understand railroading.

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Here's a new wrinkle. Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect

 

Attorney says an electrical failure was discovered before the train departed Seattle

 

Please allow a brief fair use quote:

Wetzel filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court, alleging Amtrak was negligent in sending the train on its route that morning.

His isn't the first lawsuit filed against Amtrak, but it makes a couple new claims: that Amtrak knowingly went ahead with the trip despite an electrical system failure detected the day of the crash, and that the rear locomotive was not properly electronically linked to the front, disabling its braking abilities.

"Amtrak knew that train was not fit for service that day," attorney Jim Vucinovich said, calling it a "conscious decision" to run the train despite its alleged deficiencies.'Horrific': Amtrak derailment victim sues, alleging neglect

Other allegations have been leveled at Amtrak, involving the quality of the track, the training of the operators, the lack of the positive train control (PTC) system that could have slowed the train automatically.

The train was believed to be traveling about 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. The PTC system was installed on the train, but not yet enabled.

But the revelations about the electrical failure and the rear locomotive were surfaced by a whistleblower, Vucinovich said. The lack of braking on the rear locomotive could have served to be dead weight at the back of the train and possibly contributed to the accordion effect the train cars took when they derailed.

 

I'm not sure this aspect will work out. Even if they aren't linked electrically, they can still run them as long as they are linked pneumatically.

With the rear unit disabled, wouldn't only its air brakes have been operable and not the dynamic brakes? I don't think it would have made much of a difference though considering braking began only about five seconds before the derailment. As for the part about the "accordion effect", the allegation he seems to be making is that jumper cables, when connected, act to arrest the forward motion of a locomotive or railroad car in the event of a sudden deceleration, and that therefore it was negligent to operate the train without the rear unit being connected by jumper cable to the car in front of it, rather than leaving the rear unit behind at the origin station, as this contributed to the rear unit impacting the car in front of it. Is there any truth to that assertion?

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With the rear unit disabled, wouldn't only its air brakes have been operable and not the dynamic brakes? I don't think it would have made much of a difference though considering braking began only about five seconds before the derailment. As for the part about the "accordion effect", the allegation he seems to be making is that jumper cables, when connected, act to arrest the forward motion of a locomotive or railroad car in the event of a sudden deceleration, and that therefore it was negligent to operate the train without the rear unit being connected by jumper cable to the car in front of it, rather than leaving the rear unit behind at the origin station, as this contributed to the rear unit impacting the car in front of it. Is there any truth to that assertion?

No.

 

Two sets of wires that run to and from the engine. Hotel power and multi-unit control. The MU control wires not working will in result in engine not been able to supply traction power to the train. The Hotel power wires not working means the unit can not provide the 480 volt power to the railcars. (HVAC, lights, and power to plugs)

 

The brakes are control by air lines. There two on most Amtrak trains. One smaller supply line, one for braking.

 

Now about the impacting the car in front of it. Well it a fact that a engine weights more than a railcar. Its also a fact the locomotive by themselves have worse braking distance at speed than locomotive with railcars behind it. So technically having a locomotive top and tail may of caused more damage in this event. However its a non issue for anyone other than the lawyer.

 

If we lived in a flood zone and I build my house higher than yours and use dirt to angle my yard up to the house. Will I cause your house more damage in a flood? Yes technically it would.

 

In this case your talking a few feet difference. The problem was a overspeed event and a sharp curve. The lawyer is just fishing.

 

.

Edited by Just-Thinking-51

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With the rear unit disabled, wouldn't only its air brakes have been operable and not the dynamic brakes? I don't think it would have made much of a difference though considering braking began only about five seconds before the derailment. As for the part about the "accordion effect", the allegation he seems to be making is that jumper cables, when connected, act to arrest the forward motion of a locomotive or railroad car in the event of a sudden deceleration, and that therefore it was negligent to operate the train without the rear unit being connected by jumper cable to the car in front of it, rather than leaving the rear unit behind at the origin station, as this contributed to the rear unit impacting the car in front of it. Is there any truth to that assertion?

No.

 

Two sets of wires that run to and from the engine. Hotel power and multi-unit control. The MU control wires not working will in result in engine not been able to supply traction power to the train. The Hotel power wires not working means the unit can not provide the 480 volt power to the railcars. (HVAC, lights, and power to plugs)

 

The brakes are control by air lines. There two on most Amtrak trains. One smaller supply line, one for braking.

 

Now about the impacting the car in front of it. Well it a fact that a engine weights more than a railcar. Its also a fact the locomotive by themselves have worse braking distance at speed than locomotive with railcars behind it. So technically having a locomotive top and tail may of caused more damage in this event. However its a non issue for anyone other than the lawyer.

 

If we lived in a flood zone and I build my house higher than yours and use dirt to angle my yard up to the house. Will I cause your house more damage in a flood? Yes technically it would.

 

In this case your talking a few feet difference. The problem was a overspeed event and a sharp curve. The lawyer is just fishing.

 

.

 

Just to clarify, even the locomotive's dynamic brakes, and not just the train air brakes, are controlled by train line? Also I realize I was very verbose in my question, and I could have phrased it in a less confusing manner. I also meant to include a link that I neglected to. If you look at the actual complaint filed, which I have included a link to at the end of this post, in paragraph 3.11, plaintiff's counsel apparently alleges specifically, unless I am misinterpreting, that the fact that the jumper cable had to be disconnected from the rear unit, and not simply the rear unit's position in the consist increased the severity of the accident. What I was trying to ask is if jumper cable acts in any to arrest forward motion during a rapid deceleration event. I realize this has not been very concise, so if I am misinterpreting you or the complaint, or if we are saying the same thing and talking past each other, I apologize. https://www.scribd.com/document/381290262/Rudolf-D-Wetzel-vs-Amtrak-complaint-for-personal-injuries

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If the locomotive was deadheading powered off where was the dynamic braking going to come from? Would anyone complain if there were three passenger cars instead of a locomotive behind the train providing about the same amount of energy to dissipate through standard air braking?

These are cases of throw everything you can think of up onto the wall and see if anything sticks

 

This is akin to what is done in patent applications. The claims are structured more generic to specific and often there are hundreds of them in the application. The patent office usually strikes out a bunch but one is still left with a whole pile of them, some of them still patently absurd and obvious or too vague. Then if it is ever litigated, sometimes a few will be found to be invalid, but still a few will hopefully survive. Sometimes one is not so lucky and the whole things gets thrown out. That is the way these legal things work. In case of patents of course, more often than not they are used in packages to trade than to actually litigate.

Edited by jis

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No simple answer.

 

The short answer is No its irrelevant.

The long answer is Technically Yes, but still irrelevant.

 

Your deep in the woods. So many questions to be ask before you get to the final results, and then its going to be irrelevant to the accident.

 

Did the engineer apply the dynamic brakes?

Does the locomotive automatic apply the dynamic brakes when the train is stopping?

What is the set-up time for the dynamic brakes to apply?

Does the locomotive transmit the dynamic brakes order to the following unit automatic in a braking application?

What is the set-up time on a P42 dynamic brakes?

(Older technology)

 

So in short did the dynamic brakes get applied at all?

 

Then you can test and see how much the dynamic brakes would of slow the train down. Then rerun the test after the brakes have cool down with the rear unit off line. Measure the distance. Note the difference (if any). Determined the point of brake application from the derailment to the point of that the train stop. See if the dynamic brakes would have the time to apply. Then you can argue why this is important in the case to the Judge.

 

The attorney is fishing.

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No simple answer.

 

The short answer is No its irrelevant.

The long answer is Technically Yes, but still irrelevant.

 

Your deep in the woods. So many questions to be ask before you get to the final results, and then its going to be irrelevant to the accident.

 

Did the engineer apply the dynamic brakes?

Does the locomotive automatic apply the dynamic brakes when the train is stopping?

What is the set-up time for the dynamic brakes to apply?

Does the locomotive transmit the dynamic brakes order to the following unit automatic in a braking application?

What is the set-up time on a P42 dynamic brakes?

(Older technology)

 

So in short did the dynamic brakes get applied at all?

 

Then you can test and see how much the dynamic brakes would of slow the train down. Then rerun the test after the brakes have cool down with the rear unit off line. Measure the distance. Note the difference (if any). Determined the point of brake application from the derailment to the point of that the train stop. See if the dynamic brakes would have the time to apply. Then you can argue why this is important in the case to the Judge.

 

The attorney is fishing.

 

I figured as much.

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Well, we'll see how this plays out ...

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/engineer-in-deadly-amtrak-crash-had-no-experience-on-new-locomotive/281-571994032

 

 

MODERATOR NOTE: The topic "Engineer in deadly Amtrak crash had no experience on new locomotive" has been merged into this main thread.

Edited by pennyk

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While that may have contributed somewhat to the list of causes, I don't think it was a major cause. If anything, he should have been even more cautious then normal, operating a new piece of equipment, on a new route...

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