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Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
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   Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
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   Author  Topic: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)  (Read 153 times)
George_Harris
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Posts: 3819
Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« on: Jan 13th, 2015, 1:10am »
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Today January 12, 2015 one train on the WMATA system at L'Enfant station and L'Enfant station itself filled with smoke.  Source unknown.  Best information seen so far:
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dr-gridlock/wp/2015/01/12/lenfant-plaza-station-evacuated-for-smoke/?hpid=z2
 
Article has pictures.  There may be other sources.  Smoke filled one train and L'Enfant Station.  Apparently started about 2:00 or sometime thereafter.  The station was out of service the rest of the day.  People were kept on the train for some time before evacuation.  Source of smoke not given.
 
More information appreciated.


« Last Edit: Jan 13th, 2015, 1:12am by George_Harris » Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3438
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #1 on: Jan 13th, 2015, 8:18am »
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George - Lodge Members -  
 
Guess the venerable WAPO will continue on this story...
 
Local (BAL) Radio News as of this a.m. TU 13 reports one fatality. Also, present thinking of investigation suspects electrical  
equipment fire. Indeed! It is known smoke from electrical sources can be deadly...
 
Let's also guess will we hear the complaints this is now an old system. Has all that time just passed all so quickly? (Your  
writer with aches and pains, and suspects getting quite seasoned. Shoot! Rode last of Roy Chalk's  DCTS PCC Cars!)
 
............................Vern.........................


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Inlet-Longport
Railfan
Posts: 116
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #2 on: Jan 13th, 2015, 8:43am »
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Apparently the rescue efforts were not well coordinated and it took 40 minutes to get people out which resulted in one fatality during the fiasco.  
 
This writer, who has also been around long enough to have travelled aboard Roy Chalk's PCC cars, recalls that when the system was being sold to the public it was touted as the epitome of safety but yesterday's incident presents some doubts.  


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3438
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #3 on: Jan 13th, 2015, 9:08am »
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George - Inlet' - Lodge Members -
 
All... FYI Thoughts coming to your writer this morning...
 
There is always a possibility that, for all these years, not enough time
on "what if" scenarios? That being; "what if" a major electrical center
blows at points on Subway segments of the system?
 
In fact, anyone with an active interest in reliable electric power to one's
own residence has some appreciation of the issues. Loss of service
when a pole mounted, area distribution transformer blows. (It is quite
dramatic when it happens!)
 
Also, bear in mind the changes in METRO, and increased rider
levels. Age of electrical equipment. Maybe running high end of any
design limits? We'll see... (PRIN ELEC ENGR, Prof. G. F. Nixon)
 
Latest. Report of arcing between third rail and supply cable matrix.
 
........................Vern.....................


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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #4 on: Jan 13th, 2015, 11:34pm »
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Vern - Thanks for your email.
 
Ah yes, the old and overloaded reasoning.
 
Been around a long time?  I started my working life in this rapid transit stuff working for the contractor building the pitifully small coach yard for the Washington Terminal so their old coach yard could become WMATA's major repair yard.  Heard all this "It cost too much"  "It takes too long to build!" and "No one is ever going to ride it!" for WMATA.  Been though one of the shrink the system analyses.  Now where are we today?  All the originally planned 25 mile system then the yes, we are extending it to an ultimate 98 mile system is running plus a couple of dotted line extensions and now a major extension is under way.  Now the region is in "How can we live without it?" mode.
 
I am refraining from speculation on the cause and issues with handling of the aftermath.  I am just a little too close to the industry.


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3438
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #5 on: Jan 14th, 2015, 9:19am »
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George - Lodge Members -  
 
Thanks! Wise choice. Your writer has no appetite for conjecture and speculation about this event. Better to see a Report from NTSB...
 
Seems a bit odd that here we have this event, at a vital station just adjacent NTSB offices. They declare it may take up to a year to  
figure it? Makes one wonder...
 
WMATA observations? What happened here was the endless, and rapid, growth of FED structure in DC. Used to be, prior to METRO,  
the existing transit system carried folks for fairly short, length of average haul. After that, the FED complex simply grew and grew.  
So that, current METRO with little relationship to the years back modes. METRO more resembles a longer haul interurban (of sorts).  
So many more folks to get to and from work!
 
..........................Vern.......................


« Last Edit: Jan 14th, 2015, 9:54am by HwyHaulier » Logged

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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3819
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #6 on: Jan 21st, 2015, 9:12pm »
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Update:
 
Preliminary from the NTSB:
http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/DCA15FR004_preliminary.aspx
 
This report includes a couple of pictures. To explain some of what you see in the pictures:
 
The tunnel is constructed from steel segment plates bolted together.
 
In the top picture what you are seeing, from left to right: A man's feet (obviously), the running rail, with two track fasteners showing. These are an early version, with bolted rail clips, next the burned and partly melted third rail coverboard, finally the tunnel wall segments. The third rail itself cannot be seen.
 
The bottom picture, going from bottom up: Running rail across the lower part of the picture, with four fasteners in view. Above it the conductor rail (commonly called third rail). Two supports seen in the picture. There appear to be the fiberglass version. The apparent taper in left to right indicates that this is an end approach, that is a section tapering in elevation of the top to a lower elevation below that of a contact shoe at its unsupported height. The likely purpose here is a side to side change in the third rail position. Above the third rail is seen the coverboard, with the obviously burned section at mid-picture. The two "L" shaped devices above the coverboard are connectors between electrical cables to the left that attach to the conductor rail, four of them seen in the picture, and the electrical cables that go into conduits to pass under the track or to a power source or breaker box. In this location, I suspect these to be going under the track.  
 
WMATA power is 750VDC. These cables are 1000 MCM copper. The conductor rail is steel 150 lb/yd NMC. What NMC stands for I do not know.  


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George_Harris
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Posts: 3819
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #7 on: Mar 26th, 2016, 1:00am »
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In the hopes of seeing the final NTSB report on this event (I will not call it an accident) I went to the NTSB web  site, but nothing yet.  The most was update on June 8, 2015 press release which included a reference to this document:  
 
http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-recs/RecLetters/R-15-025.pdf
 
This is a 10 page letter with some interesting pictures of the damaged and burned cable junctions and what was supposed to be there as a cover and probably was not.
 
A few highlights from the press release:
 
Quote:
Investigators found that some electrical connections associated with the power supply to the third rail were improperly constructed and installed, which can allow moisture and contaminants to enter the components. Such conditions can create the potential for electrical short circuiting, which could result in fire and smoke events in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system.
 
The safety issue was further substantiated during the investigation of the February 11 smoke event in the tunnel near the Court House station. Investigators found that cable connectors were missing “sealing sleeves” designed to keep moisture and contaminants away from the high-voltage conductors.
 
Further, investigators have found instances in other locations in the Metro system where the cable connector assemblies were missing the sleeves. The NTSB has learned that WMATA does not have a program to ensure that the sleeves, which are in its design specifications, are used and installed properly.
. . . .
 
Because so much of the evidence in the January 12 L’Enfant Plaza accident was thermally damaged or consumed in the electrical short circuiting event, investigators have so far not been able to determine whether the cable connector assembly was protected by sealing sleeves. The investigation into this accident is ongoing; the findings, safety recommendations and probable cause will be issued when the investigation is completed.


« Last Edit: Mar 26th, 2016, 11:12pm by George_Harris » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3438
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #8 on: Mar 26th, 2016, 11:38am »
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George - Lodge Members -
 
Perhaps the whole, sorry reality that paybacks can be rough? From what published so far, seems to be same old, same old?  
What comes of possible apparent skimping on usual ongoing upkeep and repair of plant and assets? This is hardly a peculiar  
practice not only of this line of railroad.  
 
Example, see any local news about not so old schools and other buildings. Years of neglectful adherence to usual, ongoing  
upkeep and repair. Result? Scrap the old structure and build a new one.There is a current set of problems plaguing a local  
store of a large national grocer chain. It had an event of a roof collapse account a local snow storm. Now into rebuild, much  
more damage than first thought. Likely it traces to "quick and dirty" initial build? Present owner can't be happy?
 
.................................Vern.........................


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IndependentSubway
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Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #9 on: Apr 8th, 2016, 7:27am »
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on Jan 21st, 2015, 9:12pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)
WMATA power is 750VDC. These cables are 1000 MCM copper. The conductor rail is steel 150 lb/yd NMC. What NMC stands for I do not know.  

I can answer that.  That section of third rail was developed back in the 1910's by the New York Municipal Railway Corporation, an operating subsidiary of the old BRT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company) that administered the underground routes that were built as part of the Dual Contracts, and indeed was for use in their subway as well as some parts of their els.  Various publications of the time, including Electric Railway Journal, referred to that third rail section as either "New York Municipal" or "NYM."  The adoption of the "NMC" moniker would have occurred after the 1923 reorganization of the BRT as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the resulting merger of New York Municipal and another operating subsidiary, New York Consolidated Railway Corporation (which operated elevated routes built under the Dual Contracts) into a singular entity known as the New York Rapid Transit Corporation.


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George_Harris
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Posts: 3819
Re: Smoke in WMATA L'Enfant Station & train  (Jan 12, 2015)
 
« Reply #10 on: Apr 9th, 2016, 7:47pm »
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My question:  "What NMC stands for, I do not know."
 
on Apr 8th, 2016, 7:27am, IndependentSubway wrote:       (Click here for original message)

I can answer that.  That section of third rail was developed back in the 1910's by the New York Municipal Railway Corporation, an operating subsidiary of the old BRT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company) that administered the underground routes that were built as part of the Dual Contracts, and indeed was for use in their subway as well as some parts of their els.  Various publications of the time, including Electric Railway Journal, referred to that third rail section as either "New York Municipal" or "NYM."  The adoption of the "NMC" moniker would have occurred after the 1923 reorganization of the BRT as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the resulting merger of New York Municipal and another operating subsidiary, New York Consolidated Railway Corporation (which operated elevated routes built under the Dual Contracts) into a singular entity known as the New York Rapid Transit Corporation.

 
Thank you, thank you.  You have solved a question I have had floating around for 45 years.  Yes, 44 years, since 1972.
 
If I could figure out how to post a picture, I would post a view of a typical section of this stuff.  It is "150" because it weighs 150 pounds per yard.  The overall dimensions are 4 1/16 inch high, 4 7/8 inch wide base, 4 1/8 inch wide head, and 2 3/4 inch thick web.  Yes, a lot of metal, but the idea was a large cross section to minimize electrical resistance.


« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2016, 12:25am by George_Harris » Logged
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