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Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
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   Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
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ehbowen
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Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« on: Nov 16th, 2012, 7:44am »
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There has been a terrible grade-crossing accident in Midland, Texas; two parade floats (converted 18-wheeler flatbeds) carrying wounded veterans and their families to a banquet attempted to cross Union Pacific's railroad tracks ahead of an oncoming train. The first made it across, but the second (whose progress was blocked by the first) was hit by the train. The train's engineer stated that the crossing signals were operating, the gate arms were down, and the train's horn was sounded. Many of the passengers on the back of the float jumped clear, but four were killed and 17 injured, ten of them critically.
 
Quote:
MIDLAND, Texas -
 
A freight train slammed into a parade float carrying wounded veterans on Thursday, killing four people and injuring 17 others as the float tried to get through a West Texas railroad crossing on its way to an honorary banquet, authorities said.
 
4 dead, 17 hurt when train hits Texas vets parade

 
Quote:
Four people were killed and 16 were injured Thursday night after a train struck a Show of Support parade float en route to banquet at the Horseshoe.
 
Two people were killed at the scene; two died at Midland Memorial Hospital.
 
Story from My West Texas . com


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ClydeDET
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #1 on: Nov 16th, 2012, 6:32pm »
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We will, of course, get a full investigtive report from NTSB in due time - but i doubt that the driver knew there was a train in close proximity when they started across the tracks.
 
A tragic, tragic incident.
 
I find myself wondering just why the first float stopped - and if it stopped after the second got on the tracks. Or if the second driver violated the second  principal of railroad crossings: Don't enter until you have space on the other side to clear the tracks. First principle, of course, is to not try to beat a train if one is in sight and approaching.


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Les_Shepherd
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #2 on: Nov 17th, 2012, 5:02am »
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This is a terrible tragedy. More so because it involves veterans who have already suffered considerable trauma.
 
One must however be objective. This situation appears to be similar to one which happened here several years ago when The Ghan struck a school bus on a grade crossing in suburban Adelaide. Like the Midland situation there was a queue of traffic ahead and the vehicle had stopped across the tracks. The general road rule is not to block intersections, driveways or similar access places when traffic is halted. This also applies to grade crossings.
 
The reason the first float stopped is immaterial. The following vehicles should have stopped clear of the boom gate. It didn't and neither did the bus in Adelaide, both with the same inevitable result.
 
Some time after the Adelaide event while on a visit I inspected the crossing. In addition to the standard crossing warnings there had been installed standard road traffic 3 colour lights.  
 
It has been my view of some time that additonal facilities should be installed a grade crossings in the form of standard road traffic lights. Drivers do take notice of them whereas they are contemptuous of rail crossing lights.
 
This new tragedy is most sad and one extends sympathy to survivung family members.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #3 on: Nov 17th, 2012, 4:43pm »
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Contemptuous not only of crossing lights but crossing gates. Have seen (in real time, not just videos) more than one driver go around gates after they go down. If wasn't for the impact on train crews, i'd cheer for fools who do that if they got hit and prperly Darwined...

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ClydeDET
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #4 on: Nov 17th, 2012, 9:17pm »
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Have looked at the  pres briefings on the NTSB site for this wreck. The two on site don;t say a lot except "We are here. We are collecting onformation. We get facts, then analyze them. Final report may be a year out". In tht regard, the foinal report from th Nevada incident where a truck ran into the Cal Zephyr is about fourteen or fifteen months ago and no final report yet, but I expect soon from what is on the site.  In any case, on this one it is looking to me as if the second float driver just made a mistake. A deadly one.
 
Facts: lights started flashing at the crossing 20 seconds before the collission, and the traffic light at the first street to the south (parade route was south crossing treacks oriented east-west and train was east-bound) turned green (it is linked to the crossing signals so folks won't be trapped by a red ahead of them) at about the same time. Lead parade float truck's rear was on the south rail at that time.
 
Arms start coming down at 13 seconds prior to collission (about 7 seconds after the lights and bells start). It hit flag poles on the second parade float at about 7 seconds prior to collission. The second parade float truck tractor (the one hit) apparently was on the NORTH rail of the crossing shortly before the arms started down but after the lights and bells started, at 12 seconds before he accident (8 seconds AFTER the lighs and bells activated). Engineer sounded horns 9 seconds before accident, and went into emergency 5 seconds before impact. The train came to a stop 75 seconds after initial brake application.
 
Rail Speed limit was 70 mph, and train was running at 62 mph. Three units up front, one booster at the back. A bit over 7000 feet long, didn't catch the number of cars. or tonnage. Bound for Shreveport, out of of Los Angeles
 
To me the conclusion is inescapable that the driver failed to heed the warning (and there is a Federal and state requirement to STOP short of the tracks if there is an on-comng train in sight OR the crossing signals are active) and entered the crossing with too little time to cler it and got people killed and hurt. So sad. NOTE: NTSB is NOT saying ANYTHING about conclusions. Facts only so far, and they aren't through with that, yet. But I predict that, however it gets dressed up and whatever else they may find, it is going to come down to the driver failed to heed the warning signals and the results were deadly.
 
Oh - they have video from the engine and from the dash cam in the police car that was following the float.


« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2012, 9:34pm by ClydeDET » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #5 on: Nov 18th, 2012, 11:17am »
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Clyde - All -
 
Thanks! A tragic and needless event! Among many of us, who in responsible operations jobs, always preached Safety, and then, more Safety,  
the plan to assure everyone came out all right, every day.
 
This one reinforces the point about all of it (I am reluctant to label any as, "...an accident...")! That is, one thoughtless or inattentive moment can  
prompt a disaster and calamity! The catch is? The responsible person has no alert about exactly which moment it will happen on a work shift!
 
I'll suppose, when one charged with mentoring of the "...young uns..." to the business, always, always beat on them about Safety! The rest  
of daily work has a way of taking care of itself...
 
..............................Vern.....................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Tragedy in Midland, TX; four killed, 17 injured
 
« Reply #6 on: Dec 7th, 2013, 7:23pm »
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NTSB report is now out. It is somewhat more nuanced than might be expected, with some mitigation for the driver.
 
Report at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2013/HAR1302.pdf. It is interesting. Not least because of all the failure points identified.


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