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Train Wreck in Philadelphia
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KingCoal
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Posts: 1362
Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« on: May 13th, 2015, 9:14am »
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Amtrak train #188 derailed last night as it entered a curve at Frankford Junction in the city's  
Port Richmond section. The train had just made a station stop at thirtieth street station in Philadelphia and was reentering the northeast corridor when the accident occurred around 9 PM. Six confirmed dead, six in critical conditioned in area hospitals. This is in the same area  
where the Congressional Limited derailed in 1943 killing seventy one.


« Last Edit: May 13th, 2015, 12:33pm by KingCoal » Logged

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KingCoal
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #1 on: May 13th, 2015, 12:34pm »
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A Philadelphia commuter train was hit by a projectile about 20 minutes before an Amtrak train derailed a few miles up the track.
A spokeswoman for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority says there’s no indication that the incident is related to the derailment.
SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams says they don’t know what the projectile was. It broke the engineer’s window around 9:25 p.m. Tuesday near SEPTA’s North Philadelphia station. No injuries were reported.
Williams says the Trenton-bound commuter train was stopped and the incident was being investigated when the Amtrak derailment happened about 3½ miles away.
Williams says Amtrak dispatches SEPTA’s Trenton line and was aware of the incident.
NOTE: this from CBS 3 Philsdelphia


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Les_Shepherd
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #2 on: May 13th, 2015, 2:12pm »
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This is a terrible event. I am currently travelling in Europe and have been seeing the pictures on BBC World TV.
 
As usual, the reporters are into uneducated guesses, and this does not help anyone. They have picked up on the point about the 1943 accident. I am amazed at the view of the carriage which has been broken into several pieces, twisted to odd shapes and opened like a can of beans.
 
As I continue my travels I will continue to watch events.


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3444
Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #3 on: May 13th, 2015, 3:58pm »
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King Coal - Les - Lodge Members -
 
A dreadful event! Latest reports in, we may make our own inferences and conjectures.
From the photos, it painfully apparent... (Your writer just learned, a bit around 1430 HR
ET of an alleged 107 MPH going into that stretch of track.)
 
Now, and it is only hours ex post facto, we have politicians and lawyers on the media.  
They are acting more like buzzards and vultures?
 
For all the money thrown at AMTK over the ages, it appears they overlooked spending  
some of it on true Positive Train Control systems? That's circa 1935 technology here,
folks! Yes, we had a very advanced society back in those times...
 
.............................Vern.............................


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KingCoal
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #4 on: May 13th, 2015, 6:40pm »
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Hi Vern,
Yes, it is a tragedy, and an ironic one at that. You are correct about the report of excessive speed entering the curve (around 107 MPH) and the engineer reportedly refused to give a statement to the police and has retained a lawyer. I was going to try and get to the scene today but the local roads on both sides of the tracks are closed. I live about fifteen miles away.
Jim H


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NYC_Subway_Fan
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #5 on: May 13th, 2015, 9:21pm »
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on May 13th, 2015, 3:58pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)

For all the money thrown at AMTK over the ages, it appears they overlooked spending  
some of it on true Positive Train Control systems? That's circa 1935 technology here,
folks! Yes, we had a very advanced society back in those times...
 
.............................Vern.............................

 
Vern,
 
Actually Amtrak has been steadily working on installing ACSES, it's version of PTC.
 
Unfortunately that area is one section of track where ACSES has not yet been implemented.  


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George_Harris
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Posts: 3828
Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #6 on: May 14th, 2015, 1:30pm »
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The engineer not talking and retaining a lawyer?  he had better.  Anything he says can and will be used against him, and immediately after the accident he is probably semi incoherent anyway.
 
I remember the first time I saw the, at that time Penn Central line north out of DC, and compared it to the railroad operations I knew about.  My thought, "Wow, suddenly its 1935"  Their technology clock seemed to have stopped with the GG1.  Manned towers every few miles, lots of manual labor, etc.
 
Hope it is better, but not likely as it is now for all practical purposes a govenment bureacracy, but in my early enginnering days I got involved in a small job for them on the northeast, and got somewhat drawn into a turf war over some work done for one group having some incidental benefit to another, to the extent that a more expensive solution was used to be sure that the group paying for it did not acidentially provide some benefit to others.
 
Raising the issue of the 1943 accident is simply rediculous.  Given how sloppy most reporting has gotten when it comes to basic facts, who even found out about this one?
 
I still tend to regard the Northeast Corridor as a sinkhole for money, not that it has to be, it is simply that it is.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #7 on: May 14th, 2015, 1:38pm »
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Alan - Lodge Members -  
 
Thanks! Here ex post facto it hardly a comfort. It is simply astounding that, over the years, the urgency of the upgrade projects  
clearly not assigned highest priority. For ages, the realities are that of running an intensely busy line of track. Recall, both  
Washington METRO and San Francisco BART running ATC for ages...
 
Your writer suspects that our Congress has not fully appreciated the NEC concept remains a very expensive line of railroad.  
The former PRR and NYNH&H knew all about it...
 
Side note. Morning following the present disaster. Heard on the radio that AMTK down North of Philly. First thought that the  
catenary with an incident where it torn down thru the night. Not so! Several morning TV programs gave this a great deal of  
cover, which reported the horrific wreck...
 
..............................Vern..............................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #8 on: May 15th, 2015, 10:44pm »
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NTSB has, of course, tergiservated about how this could have been prevented by PTC (to which i say - maybe; PTC is a mechanical gadget and all such are subject to failure - or being misused by somebody with access to the system, as was shown in the German Wings crash), as they have been doing for  lot things the past few years. The news reports I have seen indicate that the equipment is in place and being tested for proper installation and reliability as we watch the destruction, with AMTRAK's president announcing they will have it operational on NEC by the current (12/31/15) Congressional deadline. I suspect urgency level has been dialed up at this point.
 
Heard the engineer is on record (on a Facebook page taken down post-accident) ranting about management. He seems to have felt he has been mis-treated, perhaps because he wants special treatment because of his problematic sexual orientation (an Oscar Wilde type it seems). He also seems to have been injured in the accident, with a concussion (maybe) and 16 stitches worth of lacerations to the head. Now saying "I cannot remember" and speaking through counsel. In the days i packed a Bar Card, I'd have told him to take that position if he'd been my client. Especially if it was true.


« Last Edit: May 15th, 2015, 10:44pm by ClydeDET » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #9 on: May 16th, 2015, 11:42am »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
"Washington Merry Go Round" (Drew Pearson) all over again?
 
The current flap about PTC/ ATC solutions? Maybe to do a bumper sticker?
Trains Don't Kill People! Excuses Do!
 
.............................Vern.........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #10 on: May 16th, 2015, 4:05pm »
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on May 16th, 2015, 11:42am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
"Washington Merry Go Round" (Drew Pearson) all over again?
 
The current flap about PTC/ ATC solutions? Maybe to do a bumper sticker?
Trains Don't Kill People! Excuses Do!
 
.............................Vern.........................

 
Or maybe "emotionally impaired and disgruntled employees" instead of "excuses"...


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TAB
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #11 on: May 18th, 2015, 2:27pm »
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.....I had been wondering if dumping the air and putting the train into emergency breaking could have had the effect of making the train less able to roll through curve thereby contributing to the derailment event....Tom

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ClydeDET
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #12 on: May 18th, 2015, 7:08pm »
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on May 18th, 2015, 2:27pm, TAB wrote:       (Click here for original message)
.....I had been wondering if dumping the air and putting the train into emergency breaking could have had the effect of making the train less able to roll through curve thereby contributing to the derailment event....Tom

 
 
Need a train/track dynamics engineer to get an answer there. But hitting a curve at double the established limit is the sort of thing that is likely to have bad results with conventional equipment.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #13 on: May 20th, 2015, 10:43am »
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TAB - Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
Your writer doesn't have the Engineering degree to back up any of this, but... This wreck
a case of being on the bad side with Laws Of Physics, which are non-negotiable. Dumping
the brakes may/ could (who knows?) have locked up wheel sets, so they would simply
slide.
 
Considering the fact situation, here to suggest nothing would have done much good?
In some sillier TV coverage, one of the networks found a guy who insisted in declaring
this had too much similarity to the years back, "Ricky Gates" disaster at Chase, MD. No!
No way it anyone near the same, IMHO...
 
Should one note how badly the first Car - a Budd - torn apart, it explains the forces in play
here. It was very bad...
 
 
..........................Vern..........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #14 on: May 20th, 2015, 4:39pm »
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Fall out is nationwide, it appears. Have a friend who drives coal trains for UP out west. Says they pulled into Antelope with a load of empties and eased to a stop by the paved dismount area, to discover lots of brass. Was given an "attaboy" for stopping right where he was supposed to and not rolling in early (which would have meant he was running fast). Cautioned about the need to comply with all speed limits, etc.. Says there has been a push to keep down to 50 for some time because of wanting to save fuel. Etc..
 
Explicitly told FRA was gonna be watching trains for speed infractions and enforcement for them would be - harsh.


« Last Edit: May 20th, 2015, 4:40pm by ClydeDET » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #15 on: May 20th, 2015, 5:04pm »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
Some dark humor here? Isn't it amazing, now several have died that... Suddenly, there will be PTC/ ATC packages installed to  
the NB Track, North Phila to Trenton!
 
Oddly (and I know one of our Members has remarked on the archaic PENNA Main Line practices), the "...Standard Railroad Of
The World..." ran a safe Main Line. Your writer of belief the troubles started when "...best and brightest..." new hands started to  
mess with a system they did not understand. (The MARC/ B&O disaster at/ near Germantown, MD comes to mind. So does  
the Chase, MD disaster.)
 
......................................Vern.................................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #16 on: May 21st, 2015, 8:08pm »
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on May 20th, 2015, 5:04pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
Some dark humor here? Isn't it amazing, now several have died that... Suddenly, there will be PTC/ ATC packages installed to  
the NB Track, North Phila to Trenton!
 
Oddly (and I know one of our Members has remarked on the archaic PENNA Main Line practices), the "...Standard Railroad Of
The World..." ran a safe Main Line. Your writer of belief the troubles started when "...best and brightest..." new hands started to  
mess with a system they did not understand. (The MARC/ B&O disaster at/ near Germantown, MD comes to mind. So does  
the Chase, MD disaster.)
 
......................................Vern.................................

 
Actually, IF (and a heck of an IF that is) I understood AMTRAK's president, the PTC IS installed, just being tested and tuned and verified as ready to turn on along that stretch before turned on and made operational. Will happen earlier (that turned on) than might otherwise have been the case now, of course.
 
Feebs apparently think something busted the windshield, but are sure it wasn't a bullet. Before the wreck. And can't find any messages from the engineer about something hitting the train, despite an assistant conductor who said she thought she heard a radio call to that effect.
 
 
I don't think there is really going to be an answer as to why it happened other than the engineer lost situational awareness and cranked up the juice jack he was driving. And realized he was running too fast too late to slow down enough to stay on the rails. Maybe it was a German Wings scenario, maybe just an F-U. Those do happen.
 
I have a British book written a few years ago about train wrecks there called WHY TRAINS CRASH. It deals with a number of wrecks in stretches with all sorts of things like Automatic Train Control, where such shouldn't be able to happen. PTC ain't magic and it will sometimes fail.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #17 on: May 22nd, 2015, 8:30am »
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Clyde - Lodge Members -
 
Thanks! Concur. There are no infallible Train Control Systems. Sometimes, they are an aid. But, no accounting for human behaviors...
 
What hasn't been said, as it insensitive and rude, the stretch of Main, between North Philly and Trenton is something of a war zone.  
Note three Trains were on the piece of line, and all  suffered "incoming" from local populace. Still haven't seen the damage to the  
Acela. Heard of some bad damage to a Coach window. No film clips...
 
..........................Vern......................


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Overmod
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #18 on: May 22nd, 2015, 2:24pm »
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The issue with PTC appears to be related to the political allocation of the radio 'spectrum' to make it work.  Amtrak early on chose frequencies for its system that were 'as close as possible' to those freight railroads would use.  In the Northeast those were assigned for use for certain marine services, with corresponding restrictions and regulations that did not apply to use for PTC.  The original request for 'variance' from those requirements (filed in 2011) was held up for various reasons, which were addressed in December of last year, and the necessary permissions granted only recently.  It is possible to use 20/20 hindsight to say this should have been even more quickly ramped up ... but who would expect a train coming out of North Philadelphia to accelerate to that speed into a known restriction?
 
I happen to think that the same sort of train dynamics in the Gulf Summit accident in 1940 applied here -- the train ran in against the blended dynamic application on the locomotive and initiated the derailment and then a high rate of 'buckling' and rotation (this partly accounts for how thoroughly the cat-pole contact opened up that car).  I was a bit surprised to read that Amfleet brakes were delivered with electrical proportional control which was then at least partially disabled.  
 
I would agree that it is likely the train would have derailed at some point 'anyway' at the reported speed, with perhaps much the same consequences.  
 
I found the innuendo about the engineer's 'orientation' to be irrelevant and an attempt either to smear or demonize him, similar perhaps to what appeared to be an organized attempt to portray him as unwilling to talk to the police or the NTSB and promptly retaining a lawyer (we all know that the guilty 'lawyer up' right away and 'take the Fifth', right?).  Now they are trying to get people to think he was texting or on his cell phone during the accident ... when there is utterly no evidence of any kind that this was true.  I'm beginning to wonder severely why there seems to be such a 'fix in' here to "sell papers" at Bostian's expense.
 
 Now, try as I might, I haven't been able to 'read' this as anything other than 'pilot error' -- as noted, situational awareness, as with the N&W derailment at Tug Fork in the '50s, where the engineer probably got distracted and thought he was one curve removed from where he actually was.
 
If there is a bright side -- at least we now have a good example of an actual wreck that could have been prevented with PTC.  That it could have been prevented just as well with tone-modulated automatic train stop from the Thirties is a bit of a red herring -- any of the ATC systems developed under the Esch Act provisions that had speed restrictions or aspect restrictions would have worked, too.  
 
The saddest thing I see coming is the politics over the (inevitable, imho) extension of the PTC mandate beyond the end of this year.


« Last Edit: May 22nd, 2015, 3:51pm by Overmod » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Train Wreck in Philadelphia
 
« Reply #19 on: May 22nd, 2015, 2:54pm »
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Overmod - Lodge Members -  
 
Many Thanks! For your insights and observations. Your writer tends to favor the "...situational awareness... scenario. The mind can be a  
strange place. Odds tell us that is exactly what happened. North Philly - Trenton apparently a daily battle ground. That is why we had  
the external "cages" to protect the front ends of the AMTK power on the line.
 
The personal quirks of the "Engineer" neither here nor there. Sounds more like a basic, primal survival skill to just get out of the mess  
which happened at the time?
 
None of us were there. Let us see what NTSB thinks on this...
 
...............................Vern.........................


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