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14 hours ago, dbdb said:

Best to wait for some information from the NTSB.  If I were to judge from the wreckage, I'd guess the lead jumped the rail, went down the hill and stopped just beyond the bottom at which point the remaining cars started coming off the other side of the bridge.  I'm less inclined to jump to the conclusion of speeding on the curve.  My first instinct was to compare to the Philadelphia incident but in this case, I'm wondering if the new Charger locomotive is a significant factor.  It wouldn't be the first time Amtrak has had a derailment problem with a new locomotive.  In the 70's the new (then) SDP40F had a series of derailments initially thought to be a design flaw in the locomotive which actually turned out to be a combination of the locomotive and baggage cars.  Perhaps there's an issue with Chargers and Talgo sets.

The GE E60 suffered from the same issues of the SDP40F, since no other route runs the Talgo's it could be the same reason of the SDP40F/E60's downfall. 

Another possible incline was the fact that PTC was not available, however, the rails were brand new for operation, so either the infastructure corporation or AMTRAK were cutting corners.

The loss of two brand new SC-44's and a full Talgo consist could have major implication's.

we'll have to wait what the NTSB says.

in this case the route should be run like The Hoosier State was, selling off to a freight railroad and have them run it.

Sad to hear the accident took a CPTDB member, I never knew him personally, but his families will be in my prayers.

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Sad to hear about the people who lost their lives... :( 

According to the NTSB, it was going 80 mph right before the 30 zone: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/us/amtrak-derailment-washington/index.html 

1 hour ago, Dexter249 said:

The GE E60 suffered from the same issues of the SDP40F, since no other route runs the Talgo's it could be the same reason of the SDP40F/E60's downfall. 

Another possible incline was the fact that PTC was not available, however, the rails were brand new for operation, so either the infastructure corporation or AMTRAK were cutting corners.

The loss of two brand new SC-44's and a full Talgo consist could have major implication's.

we'll have to wait what the NTSB says.

in this case the route should be run like The Hoosier State was, selling off to a freight railroad and have them run it.

 

I see no indications of the equipment being at fault. If you're going into a curve at over twice the speed limit, a derailment is almost inevitable. As for the PTC, its complicated. Amtrak isn't the only one who uses this track, so I assume there has to be some coordination between them and Sound Transit (I'm not sure if there was any other traffic on route).  

Why would you want a freight RR to run passenger service? The Hoosier State experiment was no great success, and many freight carriers wouldn't want to be in that business anyway. Besides the class 1s have been slow to invest in PTC. 

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This truly is an unfortunate and tragic event, and I extend my full condolences to everyone affected which sadly includes some members of this board. It is certainly never easy when something like this hits such a tightly knit community. 

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3 hours ago, Dexter249 said:

The GE E60 suffered from the same issues of the SDP40F, since no other route runs the Talgo's it could be the same reason of the SDP40F/E60's downfall.

The issues with the E60s had nothing to do whatsoever with the issues of the SDP40Fs.

 

The E60s had bad hunting issues, especially on the less-than-stellar quality track Amtrak inherited in the early-to-mid 1970s. They were limited to 90mph pretty quickly after introduction, but did well enough after that to solder on until the early 2000s, when they were replaced with HHP8s.

 

The SDP40F's issues stemmed not from hunting, but a combination of a high-mounted water tank with inadequate baffling and physics - the first unit would make it around a curve okay, but if there was a second unit and the first car behind it was an empty baggage car, the forces from the sloshing water would be enough to overcome the restraining forces of the rail and the trailing truck would come off of the track. This was a much harder problem to fix, and that, in concert with other issues in the design led it to be retired and traded in en masse relatively shortly after its introduction.


Dan

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In a way, it's good there was a quickly discovered obvious cause, speeding rather than some quirky mechanical issue.  It's terribly unfortunate that it was entirely preventable.

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To follow up on two of the fatal casualties, specifically, our friend here on the forum, Zack (busdude.com) here are some articles and random photos of both Zack and his friend Jim from local media in the Seattle area for those interested:

Best friends who loved trains killed in catastrophic derailment

Zack Willhoite: Lifelong rail, transit enthusiast killed in train derailment

Pierce Transit employee, rail advocate identified as two Amtrak victims

Rail enthusiasts killed in Amtrak derailment were excited for ride

Duo killed in Amtrak train derailment were longtime rail advocates eager for trip

Close friends who loved trains among those killed in Amtrak train derailment in Washington state

 

My heart is broken.  I'm just devastated over this as Zack and I at one time had some banter in PMs and emails and didn't always see eye-to-eye but I could tell how passionate he was about buses and trains.  

My thoughts are with all of Zack's friends and family  ...and Jim's too.  

 

 

Also, we now know that there was a trainee on board at the time of the accident along with the engineer, conductor, and two (?) dining car employees.

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15 hours ago, WMATAC40LF said:

Sad to hear about the people who lost their lives... :( 

According to the NTSB, it was going 80 mph right before the 30 zone: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/us/amtrak-derailment-washington/index.html 

I see no indications of the equipment being at fault. If you're going into a curve at over twice the speed limit, a derailment is almost inevitable. As for the PTC, its complicated. Amtrak isn't the only one who uses this track, so I assume there has to be some coordination between them and Sound Transit (I'm not sure if there was any other traffic on route).  

Why would you want a freight RR to run passenger service? The Hoosier State experiment was no great success, and many freight carriers wouldn't want to be in that business anyway. Besides the class 1s have been slow to invest in PTC. 

BNSF Railways initially operates the Nisqually River bridge which lacked a positive train controller particularly because the BNSF trains usually move slow unlike Amtrak's freight carriers used on the Point Defiance Bypass... I suggest that Amtrak didn't have enough money to make positive train control on that bridge when it was about to be finished in 2017... this is what happens when Trump and his administration refuses to spend more on public transportation, with the money used to focus on the issues concerning the Middle East... if only did the Democratic Party in the United States were to survive last year's elections, then the aforementioned train control should've been placed on the bridge in which those two rail and transit enthusiasts would've been saved and the opening of that bypass could've been delayed to 2018 or so.

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I saw one article yesterday that had the NTSB stating the line was equipped for PTC but the locomotive had not yet been fitted with PTC equipment.  A number of articles I read had officials saying PTC was currently being tested on that line and was to be in use in early 2018.

I don't think we can blame the federal politicians beyond extending the original PTC deadline from 2015 to 2018.  This is entirely on Amtrak and state officials who chose to accept the risk pressing the brand new line into service before PTC was ready or not accelerate PTC roll-out on the line to have it ready for the launch of the new route.  Undoubtedly the NTSB will call out Amtrak and the state for this while the state and Amtrak will pin the blame entirely on the locomotive crew.

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1 hour ago, dbdb said:

I saw one article yesterday that had the NTSB stating the line was equipped for PTC but the locomotive had not yet been fitted with PTC equipment.  A number of articles I read had officials saying PTC was currently being tested on that line and was to be in use in early 2018.

I don't think we can blame the federal politicians beyond extending the original PTC deadline from 2015 to 2018.  This is entirely on Amtrak and state officials who chose to accept the risk pressing the brand new line into service before PTC was ready or not accelerate PTC roll-out on the line to have it ready for the launch of the new route.  Undoubtedly the NTSB will call out Amtrak and the state for this while the state and Amtrak will pin the blame entirely on the locomotive crew.

Well hold on here, the crew is not blameless in all this.

 

The operator had completed his route familiarization and was cleared to operate on the route. Signage was intact and visible. Equipment was reportedly in good shape.


So why did the operator of the train miss his queue that a sharp curve was coming up ahead?

 

Dan

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21 hours ago, OCTD 2039 said:

BNSF Railways initially operates the Nisqually River bridge which lacked a positive train controller particularly because the BNSF trains usually move slow unlike Amtrak's freight carriers used on the Point Defiance Bypass... I suggest that Amtrak didn't have enough money to make positive train control on that bridge when it was about to be finished in 2017... this is what happens when Trump and his administration refuses to spend more on public transportation, with the money used to focus on the issues concerning the Middle East... if only did the Democratic Party in the United States were to survive last year's elections, then the aforementioned train control should've been placed on the bridge in which those two rail and transit enthusiasts would've been saved and the opening of that bypass could've been delayed to 2018 or so.

So if Hillary had won, this wouldn't have happened? I'm a little confused and hope you're not being serious. I don't think any of the recent political changes that have occurred in the US would have influenced this at all. Their plan all along was to have PTC online in 2018. In the end of the day PTC is a very complex matter that takes time to implement. Many railways have  invested a lot in it, and are testing it, but it takes a while to install and work out the bugs.

 

6 hours ago, dbdb said:

I saw one article yesterday that had the NTSB stating the line was equipped for PTC but the locomotive had not yet been fitted with PTC equipment.  A number of articles I read had officials saying PTC was currently being tested on that line and was to be in use in early 2018.

I don't think we can blame the federal politicians beyond extending the original PTC deadline from 2015 to 2018.  This is entirely on Amtrak and state officials who chose to accept the risk pressing the brand new line into service before PTC was ready or not accelerate PTC roll-out on the line to have it ready for the launch of the new route.  Undoubtedly the NTSB will call out Amtrak and the state for this while the state and Amtrak will pin the blame entirely on the locomotive crew.

I believe the SC-44 locomotive was equipped with PTC (as most new locos are these days), but PTC was not operational on this particular line.

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15 hours ago, WMATAC40LF said:

Their plan all along was to have PTC online in 2018. In the end of the day PTC is a very complex matter that takes time to implement. Many railways have  invested a lot in it, and are testing it, but it takes a while to install and work out the bugs.

 

I believe the SC-44 locomotive was equipped with PTC (as most new locos are these days), but PTC was not operational on this particular line.

You wouldn't know what period of 2018 they were hoping to have it in by would you?

I think it would have been better to have waited out for the PTC, considering they had that nasty incident in Philadelphia which could have been prevented by PTC. Additionally, as this section of track was upgraded for somewhat higher speeds, it only helps the argument to have waited til PTC was operational.

On top of this, a small cut of 10 minutes off the trip time can wait til 2018 in my opinion, especially as it is well known that Amtrak isn't good at holding on to a schedule. 

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1 hour ago, MiWay0310 said:

On top of this, a small cut of 10 minutes off the trip time can wait til 2018 in my opinion, especially as it is well known that Amtrak isn't good at holding on to a schedule. 

10 minutes hardly seems worth it to me. I can see implementing a new route to save an hour or so, but ten minutes ?!?!?! That being said, alternative routes are good to have if a route gets really busy, or something goes wrong with one of the routes (for example - track blockage, washout, avalanche).

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29 minutes ago, captaintrolley said:

10 minutes hardly seems worth it to me. I can see implementing a new route to save an hour or so, but ten minutes ?!?!?! That being said, alternative routes are good to have if a route gets really busy, or something goes wrong with one of the routes (for example - track blockage, washout, avalanche).

The new route also allows Amtrak and Sounder to get off of the BNSF line, which also includes a number of single-track bottlenecks. And honest, that's really the biggest gain by using the cut-off. The 10 minute savings are gravy on top of it.


Dan

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It’s also part of a larger 25 minute savings that hasn’t been fully realized yet for a few reasons. 

 

PTC for June 2018 to answer what someone was asking above. 

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Is this situation similar to the VIA derailment at Aldersot? 

That Train had another crew member training and they missed the signal that they would be changing tracks causing the train to derail. 

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8 hours ago, Shaun said:

Is this situation similar to the VIA derailment at Aldersot? 

That Train had another crew member training and they missed the signal that they would be changing tracks causing the train to derail. 

Its too early to say; however, in the Philly incident, the cause was deemed to be loss of situational awareness, so its not out of the realm of possibility that the operator was distracted for a moment and perhaps missed a sign.

I found this recording from the Philadelphia crash:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV4julsxpVo

 

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Is there a reason why MPI's locomotives are only purchased for commuter rail operators? Why did Amatrak and other long haul passenger rail agencies purchase the charger or EMD products? Is there something about them that makes them less attractive for long haul routes? 

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47 minutes ago, Shaun said:

Is there a reason why MPI's locomotives are only purchased for commuter rail operators? Why did Amatrak and other long haul passenger rail agencies purchase the charger or EMD products? Is there something about them that makes them less attractive for long haul routes? 

Amtrak hasn't bought any new long-haul locomotives since the P42s. The MPXpress locomotives were introduced several years after Amtrak had taken delivery of its last Genesis. Besides they're designed for commuter use. It might be difficult to run them everywhere on Amtrak's network because they are much taller and heavier than the P42 or a Charger. This weight can actually have benefits when accelerating commuter trains from frequent stops, but if you're not stopping that often its unnecessary. Amtrak doesn't seem to want separate HEP, and other modifications would have to be made to the MPXpress to make it suited for LD service (such as a larger fuel tank). 

The state corridor loco contract that Siemens won a few years ago also received bids from EMD (the F125), and MPI (an unknown model that would have been powered by a Tier 4 compliant GEVO engine). MPI also proposed a six axle passenger unit powered by a Tier 4 GEVO engine in response to a request for information on third-rail dual-mode locomotives put out by the New York State Department of Transportation. I doubt they'll get any orders for these concepts though, especially after the HSP46 fiasco...

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