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Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
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penn_senseless
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Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« on: Feb 27th, 2012, 11:05am »
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. Ive ridden the train between niagara and toronto quite a few times. was always impressed by the good track. this is an odd occurrance. I wonder if canadian equipment is required to have tight lock couplers. cars tipped over. loco hit a building and killed the crew. sad
 
Train was switching tracks when it derailed: Via 0    
QMI Agency
 
 
Monday, February 27, 2012 10:22 AM EST  
   
 
Black box' holds clues to deadly derailment
 Via Rail derailment
 
  Train derails in Ontario, injuries reported
 
  BURLINGTON, Ont. - The train that derailed Sunday was switching tracks when the accident happened, investigators said Monday morning.
 
The Transportation Safety Board said the train's black box has been found and removed from the wreckage. Investigators are now attempting to use it to uncover the history of the crash and understand what exactly happened to cause the passenger train heading to Toronto to fly off the tracks, killing three Via Rail employees.
 
The box is expected to provide the answers as to Train 92's speed, the throttle's status and any system problems.
 
"Weather was not a factor," and there "was no radio call" from the locomotive, which was rebuilt with the latest technology "early last year," VIA Rail chief operating officer John Marginson said Sunday.
 
Marginson said both engineers plus a trainee died and 45 people were hurt when the train jumped tracks beside an industrial area north of residential streets and east of King Road and Plains Road around 3:30 p.m., then hit two industrial buildings.
 
The dead were identified Monday morning as Peter Snarr, 52, of Etobicoke, Ken Simmonds, 56, of Toronto, and trainee Patrick Robinson, 40, of Cornwall.
 
"There is no question it is very tragic," Marginson said.
 
VIA said 45 passengers were injured and admitted to local hospitals, and of those eight remained hospitalized Monday morning in stable condition.
 
"The train veered to the right, then to the left," before derailing, said one survivor, who was wrapped in a blanket brought by Red Cross volunteers, before rejoining others aboard a Burlington Transit bus that provided warmth and refuge, where Halton Regional Police victim impact staff were offering help.
 
Marginson said two of the Niagara Falls, Ont.-to Toronto-bound coaches tipped over, one landing on its side, the other left at a 45-degree angle.
 
Despite injuries, which included one survivor suffering a heart attack before or after the mishap, another with back injuries and one with a broken leg, passengers plus a nearby autobody shop employee were calmly helping people out of the cars when firefighters arrived.
 
The Ontario Provincial Police closed nearby Hwy. 403 to allow two ORNGE air ambulance helicopters to land and evacuate the four most seriously hurt. Paramedics treated or drove the 32 others to local hospitals.
 
GO Transit provided buses to take anyone wishing to go to Toronto and resume their trips.
 
Several passengers and John Saunders, Ontario disaster management director for the Canadian Red Cross, expressed amazement at the calmness and orderliness of most survivors.
 
"It's not like you see in the movies," Saunders said.
 
"It's always amazing to see, in a tragedy like this, how people dust themselves off," he said. "A lot of them expressed gratitude."
 
Saunders said Red Cross volunteers focused on helping, "to make sure they didn't go into shock, to keep them warm and have water, blankets."
 
Marginson predicted the investigation by VIA, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and police, "is going to take some time.
 
"It is too premature to speculate on what happened," he said, adding one track on the well-travelled line was expected to be cleared by Monday morning, "but our first concern was for the passengers.
 
"I've been in the railway business for 40 years and I haven't seen many of these ... thank God," Marginson said.
 
In February 2008, 20 cars on a CN freight train derailed, including five carrying chemicals, but no one was hurt.
 
- With files from Ian Robertson


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Eric Gisin
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #1 on: Feb 28th, 2012, 6:11pm »
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More from National Post.
 
Graphic: How the Burlington derailment happened
  http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/27/burlington-via-rail-train-crash-how-the-derailment-happened/
Photos: Three killed in Via Rail train derailment in Burlington, Ont. http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/26/photos-three-killed-in-via-rail-train-derailment-in-burlington-ont/
 
What do they mean in the graphic by "locomotive ... jumped its bogie". I thought they were linked with heavy chains?


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Eric Gisin
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #2 on: Mar 1st, 2012, 11:08am »
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Train didn't slow down for track switch.
 
Via Rail train in fatal Burlington derailment was going four times faster than allowed http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/01/via-rail-train-in-fatal-burlington-derailment-was-going-four-time-faster-than-allowed/


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #3 on: Mar 1st, 2012, 5:15pm »
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Rnning thru a switch at higher than permitted (for mechanical reasons) speeds can be - expensive. Looks like it was this time.

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Mimico
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #4 on: Jun 12th, 2013, 8:31am »
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TSB Report published 10 June 2013.

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George_Harris
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #5 on: Jun 13th, 2013, 5:44pm »
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on Jun 12th, 2013, 8:31am, Mimico wrote:       (Click here for original message)
TSB Report published 10 June 2013.

 
Link to report.
http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/2012/R12T0038/R12T0038.asp
 
Basic facts:   Quote:
On 26 February 2012, VIA Rail Canada Inc. passenger train No. 92 (VIA 92) was proceeding eastward from Niagara Falls to Toronto, Ontario, on track 2 of the Canadian National Oakville Subdivision near Burlington, Ontario. VIA 92, which was operated by 2 locomotive engineers and a locomotive engineer trainee, was carrying 70 passengers and a VIA service manager. After a stop at the station at Aldershot, Ontario (Mile 34.30), the train departed on track 2. The track switches were lined to route the train from track 2 to track 3, through crossover No. 5 at Mile 33.23, which had an authorized speed of 15 mph. At 1525:43 Eastern Standard Time, VIA 92 entered crossover No. 5 while travelling at about 67 mph. Subsequently, the locomotive and all 5 coaches derailed. The locomotive rolled onto its side and struck the foundation of a building adjacent to the track. The operating crew was fatally injured and 45 people (44 passengers and the service manager) sustained various injuries. The locomotive fuel tank was punctured and approximately 4300 litres of diesel fuel was released.

One of my thought is that they could have simply been so familiar with the area that they were mentally running on autopilot without realizing that things were happening differently this time.
 
Comment on the track and turnout:  A speed limit of 15 mph over a No.12 turnout with 22 foot straight points is very conservative. With long curved points as described in the report, that was extremely conservative. 20 mph would be more usual on this size turnout with straight points. 25 mph would be beyond the norm with straight points, but would be OK with the long curved switch points. A speed of 30 mph through this turnout with the long curved point would be a step too far in my mind, but not because of safety.  It would be well within the limit of safety, but because of the wear rate on the rail and the ride quality jerk rate. To give some scale to this, 15 mph speeds through No. 8 turnouts are the usual unless the overall track condition is poor. The old "rule of thumb" was that the speed through a turnout could be up to twice the frog number, in other words, 24 mph through a No. 12.  


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #6 on: Jun 13th, 2013, 9:16pm »
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on Jun 13th, 2013, 5:44pm, George_Harris wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
Link to report.
http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/2012/R12T0038/R12T0038.asp
 
Basic facts:  
One of my thought is that they could have simply been so familiar with the area that they were mentally running on autopilot without realizing that things were happening differently this time.
 
Comment on the track and turnout:  A speed limit of 15 mph over a No.12 turnout with 22 foot straight points is very conservative. With long curved points as described in the report, that was extremely conservative. 20 mph would be more usual on this size turnout with straight points. 25 mph would be beyond the norm with straight points, but would be OK with the long curved switch points. A speed of 30 mph through this turnout with the long curved point would be a step too far in my mind, but not because of safety.  It would be well within the limit of safety, but because of the wear rate on the rail and the ride quality jerk rate. To give some scale to this, 15 mph speeds through No. 8 turnouts are the usual unless the overall track condition is poor. The old "rule of thumb" was that the speed through a turnout could be up to twice the frog number, in other words, 24 mph through a No. 12.  

 
 
George, apparently that turnout is primarily used by freights, which would probably explain the rather low speed - and looks like the railroad didn't bother to establish a different speed limit for passenger trains that would seldom use it anyhow.
 
I get the feeling that the crew thought they were gonna blow right through with no change of track from the way they treated the signal crew and the speed they were running. Sad - well, they don;t have to stand in front of the Board and explain.


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Mimico
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #7 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 12:13pm »
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Yes, I'm sure you're right. These guys had done this so often, that they could do it on 'autopilot' and, sadly, that's pretty much what they did. I read that in 2,000 VIA trips, only 13 had used this turnout. A 7 minute stop, so plenty of time to forget the previous signals, then a work crew on the track that they always used, and a work crew which didn't get out of the way, so providing a distraction. It's the system that's at the root of the problem, though. Trying to run fast, quick acceleration, passenger trains on a vamped-up freight railway is not fit for purpose in the 21st century. 60+signal indications to learn, observe and 'interpret', with no technological help for the engineer who makes a mistake (and ALL humans are fallible) is unforgivable. The system needs investment to give:
Segregated running by direction, with high-speed turnouts.
Signalling which tells you WHERE you're going and when to go, and includes stations within the signalling arrangements, with NO other instruction. Direction 'feathers' (a row of white lights attached to the signal head) would have alerted the crew to their error. Train speed should be the engineer's prerogative, using his route knowledge.
At the very least, it should be obligatory for the RTC to advise crews by radio of significant diversions such as this, immediately before the train approaches.  
Canada needs to invest heavily in a new, safety-orientated operating system if more and faster trains are to run in the corridor.
The requirement for voice recorders and video cameras means that the authorities expect (and even need for) another accident to take place. Otherwise these features are worthless. Safety measures, they are not, and they shouldn't be put forward as such.
In the meantime, train safety rests too much on the skill and experience of the engineer and these guys proved that, sometimes, experience can actually work against you.


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George_Harris
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #8 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 9:09pm »
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on Jul 1st, 2013, 12:13pm, Mimico wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In the meantime, train safety rests too much on the skill and experience of the engineer and these guys proved that, sometimes, experience can actually work against you.

The fallacy with this thought is that in virtually all forms of transportation safety rests first and foremost on the skill, experience, and attentiveness of the driver/pilot or whatever title you wish to give to the guy in charge of the movement of the vehicle.  
 
We get on a bus and fully expect the driver to do what he is supposed to and be prepared for those around him that do not without even a second thought, adn that in a far less controlled environment than you have on the tracks.  We get on a plane and fully expect the pilot to do what he is supposed to get us safely between points, and that with a vehicle that can be moveing in three dimensions, not just two and where the penalty for not doing right is seldom just bumps, bruises and broken bones.  
 
Why then do we expect/demand imposition of additional controls and oversight on the form of transportation that already has more controls and oversight than anything that moves on the road or water, as much or more as that which moves in the air, and in which the results of something going wrong is seldom as severe for those involved.
 
And, by the way, railroads are already the safest form of transportation.


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Mimico
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #9 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 6:03am »
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Because there are ways of improving safety. None of the modes which you mention have rejected moves towards making them safer. Certainly aviation, with fly-by-wire, autopilots and blind landing systems - for instance.
Technology exists to make railway operation safer and to simplify the driver's job - why one Earth should it not be used. Human beings are fallible - but if we can prevent that fallibility from costing lives, surely we should do so.  
Corridor rail operations are going to require more and faster trains in coming years.  By implication, with the present arrangements, that will mean more accidents.


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George_Harris
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #10 on: Jul 3rd, 2013, 9:38pm »
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on Jul 3rd, 2013, 6:03am, Mimico wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Because there are ways of improving safety. None of the modes which you mention have rejected moves towards making them safer. Certainly aviation, with fly-by-wire, autopilots and blind landing systems - for instance.

Not something that either one of us can state as a fact, as we do not know all that has been developed and presented for adoption but not adopted.
Quote:
Technology exists to make railway operation safer and to simplify the driver's job - why on Earth should it not be used. Human beings are fallible - but if we can prevent that fallibility from costing lives, surely we should do so.

There is this thing called diminishing returns.  Also, there is the process of economic analysis.  It is simply not possible to take care of everything all the time everywhere.  To use an example:  A highway agency has $1,000,000 to spend for improvements that will result in reduction in accidents.  There are 5 projects totaling $6,000,000 they would like to build.  Which ones do they build, or do they include some partial work on some.  That is the reality that is faced by every public works agency everywhere.  The answer is this thing called economic analysis.  Also called getting the biggest bang for your buck.  You look at each one in terms of a cost/benefit ratio.  For this purpose a value must be placed on a human life.  This may sound cold, but if you use infinity as the value of a life, then all accidents that have fatalities are equal.  This means all accidents with fatalities are equal whether there is one or 20.  That should obviously not be reasonable.   For the specific issue:  If the required added safety features raise the cost of operating the railroad to the point that it is shut down or rates go up to the point that people and freight to go on the road either by choice or necessity, which is a much less contained and controlled environment with accident rates and fatality rates significantly higher than moving the same quantities of people and freight on rails.  Thus your added safety features have resulted in reduced safety in transport when you look at the whole picture, not just a small part of it.
Quote:
Corridor rail operations are going to require more and faster trains in coming years.  By implication, with the present arrangements, that will mean more accidents.

That statement is simply not true.  


« Last Edit: Jul 4th, 2013, 8:11pm by George_Harris » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #11 on: Jul 4th, 2013, 11:25am »
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George - All -  
 
Good to see your seasoned and pragmatic views of what it takes to address safety, risk management and insurance concerns.  
It becomes quite plain, and learned a long ways back: All possible risks can't be anticipated. Even if they could, there is not  
enough money to put into it...
 
..........................Vern....................
 


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Mimico
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #12 on: Jul 10th, 2013, 9:35am »
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"That statement is simply not true"
 
Leaving aside that its actually not a statement and cannot therefore be truth or a lie, I certainly hope you're right but wouldn't want to put money on it.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via 92 picks switch, 3 crew dead
 
« Reply #13 on: Jul 12th, 2013, 7:50pm »
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on Jul 10th, 2013, 9:35am, Mimico wrote:       (Click here for original message)
"That statement is simply not true"
 
Leaving aside that its actually not a statement and cannot therefore be truth or a lie, I certainly hope you're right but wouldn't want to put money on it.

 
Looked like a statement to me. And if so - demonstrably untrue, I would say.
 
oh - it looks like reliance on an automatic system (aviation) intended to improve safety - was involved in a a fatal crash at San Francisco. Right now, looks like the auto-throttle either failed or wasn't actually engaged. And nobody noticed. until too late... At least it was only two killed (so far - would be no surprise if some of the more seriously injured don't make it). Driver failure once again, eh? In the end.


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