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Goodbye to the Talgos?

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Amtrak's Cascades service is known for their use of the Talgo equipment. However, is it time to say goodbye to those unique cars?

 

According to an article published by Bloomberg, the Talgo sets used by Amtrak do not conform to safety standards set in 1999. While federal regulators were comfortable with the cars at speeds not in excess of 50 MPH, they had concerns at speeds above 50, yet grandfathered the cars in any way because the FRA felt that the main goal of the safety standards had been met.

 

The FRA has also released its preliminary report on the 501 accident. Both operating crew members (the engineer and qualifying conductor) still have not been interviewed due to their injuries.

 

 

 

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/RRD18MR001-prelim.aspx

 

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/2018/07/10/amtrak-rail-cars-in-fatal-crash-didn-t-meet-current-standards

 

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How would the Talgos not conform to safety standards? Don't all equipment have to conform to the standards set by the FRA?

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How would the Talgos not conform to safety standards? Don't all equipment have to conform to the standards set by the FRA?

 

Talgos had a waiver.

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THe original Talgos do not, they received a waiver from the FRA to run, under certain circumstances... The two restrictions I know of are that they have to have a compliant car on each end & can not exceed a certain speed (50), but there are more.

 

The new Talgos do meet the standards.

 

peter

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Read the transcript of the NTSB hearing from yesterday (7/10). I watched most of it, and it sounded like the Talgos were retrofitted to meet appropriate standards. I suspect that the NTSB members (most of whom have aviation backgrounds) were pretty disconcerted by the events leading up to the Amtrak 501 incident, and there will be more than enough blame to go around.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/everybody-hated-that-curve-amtrak-engineer-told-of-worries-before-december-crash-south-of-tacoma/

https://www.heraldnet.com/northwest/ntsb-quizzes-officials-on-deadly-train-wreck-near-dupont/

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

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Read the transcript of the NTSB hearing from yesterday (7/10). I watched most of it, and it sounded like the Talgos were retrofitted to meet appropriate standards. I suspect that the NTSB members (most of whom have aviation backgrounds) were pretty disconcerted by the events leading up to the Amtrak 501 incident, and there will be more than enough blame to go around.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/everybody-hated-that-curve-amtrak-engineer-told-of-worries-before-december-crash-south-of-tacoma/

https://www.heraldnet.com/northwest/ntsb-quizzes-officials-on-deadly-train-wreck-near-dupont/

I’d imagine that Amtrak will definitely shoulder a good chunk of the blame. Quite frankly, I’m not sure why they went along with night training. Any idiot knows that you aren’t going to see landmarks as well at night than during the day. Couple that with seven people in the cab and it was a disaster waiting to happen.

 

I’m happy to see middle management wasn’t totally complacent, considering at least the road foreman had issues with the curve. However, they should’ve been aware about the issues with too many people in the cab for qualifying runs. If the reason behind the night runs and mass training is because BNSF wanted to be picky, then I hope they shoulder some of the blame too.

 

What I find interesting is that the papers report that the NTSB spoke to the engineer, whereas the preliminary NTSB report on the NTSB site says they haven’t been able to speak with either the engineer or qualifying conductor due to their injuries.

 

 

As for the Talgos, according the the Bloomberg article, despite the modifications made, the cars still didn’t meet the 1999 standards and were operating on a waiver.

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

 

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

 

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

 

Thanks. When 501 derailed, was it using those Talgos or the new ones?

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What I find interesting is that the papers report that the NTSB spoke to the engineer, whereas the preliminary NTSB report on the NTSB site says they haven’t been able to speak with either the engineer or qualifying conductor due to their injuries.

 

The preliminary report that's linked above is dated 4 January 2018 -- it's old news. No reason to think the NTSB hasn't been able to interview the two since then.

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

 

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

 

Thanks. When 501 derailed, was it using those Talgos or the new ones?

 

 

The set in the 501 accident was the Las Vegas, an older Series 6 set requiring the FRA waiver.

 

OTOL Trainset Roster

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Talgo is still in business.

Talgo maintains the equipment themselves.

The parts are made by Talgo itself. Subsystem may and are subcontracted out, but Talgo specs.

 

Might be a niche here in the US, but a multiple country player.

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

Thanks. When 501 derailed, was it using those Talgos or the new ones?

The set in the 501 accident was the Las Vegas, an older Series 6 set requiring the FRA waiver.

 

OTOL Trainset Roster

Las Vegas...? I don't know who screwed with that site, but it was the Mt Adams... All the trainsets are named after mountains in the region. Edited by Triley

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Talgo is still in business.

Talgo maintains the equipment themselves.

The parts are made by Talgo itself. Subsystem may and are subcontracted out, but Talgo specs.

 

Might be a niche here in the US, but a multiple country player.

Maintenance is done by both companies, depending on what needs work. And trust me, Talgo needs to go. Critical items are definitely taken care of, but other than that....it's like roulette.

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What I find interesting is that the papers report that the NTSB spoke to the engineer, whereas the preliminary NTSB report on the NTSB site says they haven’t been able to speak with either the engineer or qualifying conductor due to their injuries.

The preliminary report that's linked above is dated 4 January 2018 -- it's old news. No reason to think the NTSB hasn't been able to interview the two since then.

Oh I completely misread the date. My apologies!

 

I wonder how much blame the crew will get. Yes, the engineer was over speed, but at the same time, the apparatus that was supposed to train him on the route failed him.

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

Thanks. When 501 derailed, was it using those Talgos or the new ones?

The set in the 501 accident was the Las Vegas, an older Series 6 set requiring the FRA waiver.

 

OTOL Trainset Roster

Las Vegas...? I don't know who screwed with that site, but it was the Mt Adams... All the trainsets are named after mountains in the region.

 

 

It was originally the "Las Vegas." Washington state renamed it the Mount Adams after purchasing it from Amtrak in 2004.

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It came out today that the Engineer in question had no experiment on the new "Charger" locomotive. If that means he or she wasn't trained on running it, or had run it to qualify on the equipment and it was his or her first time running it solo, I don't know. But the current equipment that is being made eg ACS-64's and the Charger units are substantially different then the previous generations such as the P42's and F59PHI's etc. These units accelerate very very quickly. When I was doing qualifying runs on the NEC and Keystone Corridors the newer ACS units accelerate much more faster then the older AEM-7's. I asked an engineer how hard it was to adapt to the newer units acceleration rate compared to the older equipment and that engineer said that for him it was a huge difference at first and it took him a few runs to get adapted.

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The way I see it, 501 was from human error. Had PTC been in place, of course it wouldn't have happened, but ultimately it came down to human error. Considering the older Talgos have been brought up to FRA standards and that the new ones have always me those standards, why are people still pinning this on the equipment?

While the older Talgos were strengthened, they do not meet 1999 FRA standards and still require a waiver for operation.

 

Bloomberg

Thanks. When 501 derailed, was it using those Talgos or the new ones?

The set in the 501 accident was the Las Vegas, an older Series 6 set requiring the FRA waiver.

 

OTOL Trainset Roster

Las Vegas...? I don't know who screwed with that site, but it was the Mt Adams... All the trainsets are named after mountains in the region.

 

 

It was originally the "Las Vegas." Washington state renamed it the Mount Adams after purchasing it from Amtrak in 2004.

 

Wasn't it also originally ordered for the LAUS to LAS service that never happened? I think I remember reading that somewhere.

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Talgo is still in business.

Talgo maintains the equipment themselves.

The parts are made by Talgo itself. Subsystem may and are subcontracted out, but Talgo specs.

 

Might be a niche here in the US, but a multiple country player.

 

But wouldn't Buy America requirements possibly prevent those parts being sourced from somewhere like Spain.

 

Or does that only apply to new stuff?

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The Las Vegas Talgo was ordered and built for a planned service that never made it across the finish line. It was intended to go LAX-LAS but for some reason didn't get added. I'm surprised there would only be one talgo set for it. I would have expected two.

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I thought that these were the Type 8 cars but according to that link above they are Series 6 cars. In that case I think they performed very well considering the damage. Compare this to the 80 killed in the similar Spanish wreck at Santiago de Compostela in 2013.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_de_Compostela_derailment

 

Now maybe there is a case to bring in the Wisconsin sets that do meet FRA requirements?

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