Freight, commuter trains collide in Los Angeles

SecretWeapon Sep 13, 2008

  1. Paul McGuffin

    Paul McGuffin TrainBoard Member

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    Posted By Pastoolio
    I personally feel that he had something happen to incapacitate him, but no matter the outcome, we all know it was "text messaging" since that is what the media and the state of CA are forcing down our throats.

    Yes..your're 100% correct, IMO. They, Metrolink, FRA, NTSB are all looking for an easy answer....Cell Phone Text Messaging fits the bill perfectly. He could have well been text messaging, but there was more in play here, IMO.
    PM
     
  2. Paul McGuffin

    Paul McGuffin TrainBoard Member

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    Posted By Doug
    No problem. Lest we forget it is you who chose to address my comments one page back.

    No problem Doug....you're on the green and I'll be in the sand trap.
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  3. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Understood...btw...you may want BBQ sauce with crow (foul) and save the A-1 for steak (meat) :tb-wink: * just trying to lighten the 'discussion' a bit. We dont need to be at each others throats at all *



    I will now await 'further developments' before commenting on the accident further. :thumbs_up:
     
  4. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    Society is hypocritical, hypocrites are society...


    As far as train meets... We print working boards and train lineups... This tells us who we have to meet, but where we meet them is mostly speculation. We can approximate based on "on duty" and "run" times and are usually pretty close. The dispatchers will usually only tell us how many we will meet, and where we will meet them, not what trains we will meet. This notification usually comes after we see signals indicating we will be "heading in." Sometimes there are surprises, like when UP trains go by, track inspectors, etc... Some people call the dispatcher every time they stop to ask "how many." Personally, I just wait for the signal to change....

    Cell phone usage while on duty... GCOR 1.10, BNSF's version permits usage of cell phones and laptop computers while the train is stopped. A lot of people have the rule books on either a computer of "palm pilot" etc... Perfectly acceptable, BNSF's website has downloadable updates, you just have to be stopped to use it. There are many times when the trainmasters/dispatchers will tell you to call them on the phone. Perfectly acceptable, as long as the train is stopped and it will not interfere with required duties.

    This rule has been in place for quite a while. The new CA state "law" or "emergency order" or whatever it is, is nearly identical to the rule used by BNSF. Now instead of an operations test failure, you get a criminal record. Nice..........

    Off my soapbox for now...
     
  5. Newman

    Newman TrainBoard Member

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    Joe, it's worse than that....the rule has been updated....so pass this on.....from now on, if they even SEE a cell phone on or about you, on the console, regardless of whether it is on or off, you are DONE, bro. Pull you out of service right there on the spot, relieve and dismiss you. Do what we amtrak guys are doing, turn it off, leave it in your overnight grip. Even managers are being required to not talk on phones, they too have to wait until stopped, or in our case, leave the cabcar and head back into the train...as far as train meets, Trudy takes care of everyone and lets us all know what we have going on up the road...so does Gilbert...take care bro...and have a SAFE TRIP HOME...
     
  6. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    Oh my! Guess I'd better go buy a watch... Thanks for the heads up. Trudy and Gilbert are good, the one I miss is Rich. Dealt with all of them switching Mopeco, Crome and Lonestar:tb-wink:
     
  7. RFE

    RFE TrainBoard Member

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    I do not know about the METRO locomotives but most mordern locomotives have a crew alerter devise of some kind, since this is a passenger train I'm assuming it has one. If so then we didn't pass out or the train would have stopped with a penalty brake application plus what about the picture of the automatic in emergency ?
     
  8. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    Addressed in posts 82 and 108...

    The alerter.... interesting device.... the interval in which is wants attention varies on speed, inactivity, etc... higher speeds, the thing goes off every 20-30 seconds, low speeds have about the same interval. Lower to moderate(15-50+/-) it may not go off for over a minute. Once the light starts to flash, or screen shows the countdown, you have 20-30 seconds to "deactivate" the warning before a penalty application occurs.

    This being said, say a train moving at 40 mph, alerter goes off , Engineer resets, then passes out... the alerter may not activate again for over one minute, then add 30 seconds before the penalty application, time for braking to take effect, and stop train... This could be a total of 3 minutes or more.

    Not sure of the validity of this, but I've heard the cab car tapes show the train increasing speed to 52 MPH, then slowing prior to the curve to a speed of 42 MPH at the moment of impact.

    This still leads me to believe that a "false clear" was involved. As stated before, mechanical tests of the signals may not show evidence of a false indication.
     
  9. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

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    In reading news articles about this terrible accident, while I have seen it written that there were no radio communications between the conductor and the engineer as they passed the last two signals before the collision, I have seen no explanation of the significance of this (except for here on trainboard). But I'll bet the conductor fully understands this, and he must feel terrible - if he is alert enough to be interviewed by the NTSB in his hospital bed, I would think he is alert enough to have replayed this accident in his mind hundreds of times.

    Just to be clear, I am not trying to dump on the conductor - to me, the Metrolink policy of relying on a lone conductor in a train to echo signal readings to the engineer, on a train having no assistant conductors or brakemen, just doesn't sound that good. (disclaimer: I admit I am not expert on this, and have never worked on a railroad).
     
  10. Sten

    Sten TrainBoard Member

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    life in the new millenium sux hey, over here in Sydney Aust, the Roads and Traffic Authority banned mobile phone use while driving a motor vehicle not long after at was blamed for the first fatality - carries a HUGE fine.

    Railcorp (my employer) who owns CityRail and CountryLink banned it not long after the RTA did for drivers and for guards when they are performing station duties. I guess luckily for me they haven't banned it for signallers, but then again no radios, televisions etc etc etc are allowed in the control rooms. I guess the only reason why they haven't actually said mobile phones is because no signaller has blamed an error on one yet
     
  11. Sten

    Sten TrainBoard Member

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    In Sydney Australia, all Cityrail trains have the driver up the front and the Guard (that's Conductor in American speak) in the middle. the driver isn't required to tell the guard the signal indications in fact the intercom isn't considered effective communication in the rules, all communications between driver and guard can be done by bell signals - 16 all up.
    but saying that though, the entire Metro network has ATS so if the driver SPADs then the train will trip and dump the air. In which case the guards requirement is the open the brake tap to ensure the driver doesn't attempt to build up until he/she has spoken to the signaller. If the train is authorised beforehand to pass a failed signal, the there is a bell code (2 shorts and a long) swapped between the driver and the guard and recorded in permanent form
    ie "1742hrs pass I15.11 1st home Down Illawarra Main Sutherland under NSG608"

    It is still the guards roadknowledge to know if that signal can be passed per that rule though, if the signal was a Home starting signal protecting entry into a bi-di area then the trains movement would be under a Special Procced Authority (SPA) - a piece of paper issued by train control to signallers to drivers. or Pilot Staff working - lots of paper and a few bits of metal (in a nutshell)
     
  12. Newman

    Newman TrainBoard Member

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    LOL Joe, you haven't met the 2052 yet.....alerter goes off so much, halfway through the trip I start to feel like Pavlovs dog.....;)
     
  13. sp4009

    sp4009 TrainBoard Member

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    LOL, I've had a few of those myself:tb-wacky:
     
  14. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    The following is posted on today's (10/1/08) Trains News Wire.......


    NTSB: Metrolink engineer sent text seconds before crash

    October 1, 2008

    LOS ANGELES - The engineer of a Metrolink train that crashed head-on with a Union Pacific freight Sept. 12 sent a text message approximately 22 seconds before the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board reported. The information comes from cell phone records released by the engineer's provider.

    The information, gleaned from records released by engineer Robert Sanchez's provider, corroborates statements that teenage railfans made. They say they'd been trading text messages with Sanchez prior to the crash.

    The records also show Sanchez received 21 text messages and sent 24 during the period of time he was on duty that morning as part of a split shift. During his afternoon shift, he received seven text messages and sent five.

    An event recorder mounted on one of the UP locomotives involved in the crash indicates the accident happened
     
  15. cajon

    cajon TrainBoard Member

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    Remember folks this is still an ongoing investigation and a long way from any final decision on the cause"s" of this accident.
     
  16. Stourbridge Lion

    Stourbridge Lion TrainBoard Supporter

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    :tb-sad: :tb-sad: :tb-sad: :tb-sad:
     
  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Although ongoing...the investigation has proven the engineer WAS texting while operating the train.

    "The engineer was responsible for the operation of Metrolink train 111 from
    3:03 pm until the time of the accident. During this time
    period, the engineer's cellphone received 7 text messages
    and sent 5 text messages. According to the time on the cell
    phone provider's records, the last text message received by
    the engineer's phone before the accident was at 4:21:03 pm,
    and the last text message sent from the engineer's cell
    phone was 4:22:01 pm.

    A preliminary estimate for the time of the accident,
    according to the Union Pacific train's onboard recorders, is
    4:22:23 pm. "

    It is possible more evidence will be found that contributed to this sad accident...however...the engineer texting while operating his train IS a contributing factor. Once again I will not get on any soapbox at this time about the hazards of texting or even cellphone usage in general. ty
    :tb-sad:
     
  18. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    This is what happens when you do the same run everyday for a long time. Same people, same times,same signals. You get in a routine. Maybe that day the U.P. got the signal 1st & he never even looked,because he had the clear everytime before that day. Thats happened to me in the past. I was lucky to catch it.
     
  19. CarlH

    CarlH TrainBoard Member

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    SecretWeapon,
    Do you know if NJ Transit ever staffs any of its commuter trains with only a single conductor (and no assistant conductor or brakemen on that train)?

    If the answer to the above is "yes", does NJ Transit have only this single conductor assigned on routes where it is necessary to have the engineer and conductor repeat the signal indications to each other via the radio?
     

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