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'D.C. SUBWAY CRASH KILLS 6'

 
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject: 'D.C. SUBWAY CRASH KILLS 6' Reply with quote

'D.C. METRO SUBWAY TRAIN SMASHES INTO ANOTHER'


By BRETT ZONGKER and MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, Associated Press 06/22/09.

WASHINGTON One Metro transit train smashed into the rear of another at the height of the capital city's Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as the front end of the trailing train jackknifed violently into the air and fell atop the first.

Cars of both trains were ripped open and smashed together in the worst accident in the Metrorail system's 33-year history. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews had to cut some people out of what he described as a "mass casualty event." Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help the injured scramble to safety. Seats from the smashed cars spilled out onto the track.

Survivors pulled from the striking train have said that there was no forewarning of the crash.

NTSB inspectors arrived at the scene and will conduct a full scale investigation immediately after rescuers complete their search for further victims.

COMMENT

This incident is eerily similar to that of a Long Island Rail Road wreck that took place on Thanksgiving eve in 1950 in Richmond Hill, New York.

A Jamaica bound commuter train running the local track of the Suunyside/Jamaica main line stopped on signal about one thousand feet south of the Kew Gardens Station and was hit in the rear by another train killing well over one hundred passengers and injuring many more.

Because the motorman of the striking train was also killed, no determination could ever be made as to why he never stopped.

Photo credits; Upper (2); AP, Lower (2); Richmond Hill Historic Society.

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY




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Dieseljim
Deceased



Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 548
Location: Perry, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:33 am    Post subject: DC Tragedy-Robots Do NOT belong on the Railroad Reply with quote

This tragic accident, which if proven the one train was on automatic, to me is proof that robots do NOT belong in any kind of railroading, be it commuter, rapid transit, or freight, yet railroads have the nerve to implement remote controlled switch engines and the next thing they will be pushing for is UNMANNED FREIGHT TRAINS ON THE MAIN LINES, which would be unnacceptable. Given the poor track record (no pun intended) of remote control switchers, New York City's attempt to convert their subway system to driverless operation, it seems to me that riders are headed for big trouble if robots are allowed to get in on an act best performed by humans. As these automatic systems demonstrate their frailties, things are going to get a lot more expensive by replacing humans with robots on the railroad and this accident, tragic as it is, should serve as a wakeup call.
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 932
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dieseljim -

For me, at least, this tragic incident (fairly) nearby, tho I never, ever go to the point...

Watch the news reports as they occur. There are quite a few, way too obvious causes, which I already have in my mental
Preliminary Report and Order...

NTSB, BTW, is on record with a whine (which is unusual and notable), the second train not loaded with recording and reporting
instrumentation. That wouldn't have stopped this tragic event, IMHO. (Who don't know that no one listens to NTSB? Must be
a frustrating place to work!)... I think we all know the possible culprits. (See the file on the Metrolink disaster of January)...

.....................Vern...............


Last edited by HwyHaulier on Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee



Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071
Location: BRENTWOOD, CA. - WOODMERE, N.Y.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope the D.C. motorperson who was operating the striking train, and who lost his/her life in the crash, wasn't 'text messaging' just as the motorperson was doing last September in the Chatsworth (CA) Metrolink smashup!

If this turns out to be the case, then I'm afraid we are going to have to look more closely at automation.

These cellular devices, in whatever form they now take, are becoming more addictive and dangerous than any street drug.

Personally, I curse the one that came up with this new method of communication!

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY
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Hart Bus



Age: 68
Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 1122

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: DC Tragedy-Robots Do NOT belong on the Railroad Reply with quote

Dieseljim wrote:
This tragic accident, which if proven the one train was on automatic, to me is proof that robots do NOT belong in any kind of railroading, be it commuter, rapid transit, or freight, yet railroads have the nerve to implement remote controlled switch engines and the next thing they will be pushing for is UNMANNED FREIGHT TRAINS ON THE MAIN LINES, which would be unnacceptable. Given the poor track record (no pun intended) of remote control switchers, New York City's attempt to convert their subway system to driverless operation, it seems to me that riders are headed for big trouble if robots are allowed to get in on an act best performed by humans. As these automatic systems demonstrate their frailties, things are going to get a lot more expensive by replacing humans with robots on the railroad and this accident, tragic as it is, should serve as a wakeup call.


I wonder if you are correct. Look at Mr. LInsky's picture of the LIRR wreck and those trains weren't automated. Also the "texting" accident in LA recently wasn't caused by automation. While there are failures in computers and the software, I think that they are probably safer if they have the proper programs in place.
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Bill D




Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 331
Location: Waterbury, CT

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One concern that I have is if having a computer run the train gives the human operator a false sense of security and allows them to become complacent in their duties? The evidence in this crash indicates that the operator did attempt to stop the train manually by going into emergency, but I have to wonder if she would have reacted differently, or attempted to stop sooner if she had complete control of the train.

Bill
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 932
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill D -

Indeed! The "automatic control" can contribute to hazardous complacency. To your question whether any effective mitigating action could have been
done in aversion of the current disaster? By this past Tuesday night, my own belief, "No!". I posted remarks, below, to a local forum; I stand by them,
and newer developments are tending to supportive...

...............Vern.............

Note the most current AP report (via Yahoo!) dated 9:37 pm. In this update, statements about possible difficulties with controlling computer program.
Such being the case, the operator ran right into a "sucker play" where she unknowingly had to have been running blind!

Pull up a map (Yahoo! or other), use the Satellite view for New Hampshire Ave NE & Oglethorpe St NE, Fort Slocum Park area. Reports state a train
standing at Fort Totten Station. Another train, standing up the line, and awaiting departure of the Fort Totten schedule. It is the, in fact, third train (in
news reports as second of the two in the ensuing wreck) moving into immediate disaster.

The Map view indicates a curve to the right, about fifteen (15) degrees of more, running under New Hampshire Ave. The curvature is seen, too, in the
AP photo, a view of the rear of the last train.

So the fated last train was running in, the bridge just ahead carrying New Hampshire Ave. over the Metro (also same r/o/w as CSX). Because of the
sight lines, it would have been most unlikely the operator could have possibly seen the train stopped just ahead past the bridge. /30/
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RailBus63
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 1063

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea that a computer-controlled signal system could give false-positive signals is mind-boggling to me and poses serious questions about the ongoing computerization of such systems. Traditional railroad signal systems are based on several important concepts - electric currents through the rails that are interrupted when a train occupies the block; junctions are mechanically interlocked so that a safe routing for one train locks out all other routings and sets their signals to red; a burned out or nonfunctioning signal is treated as an absolute stop just like a red signal. I worry that the designers of modern computer-based signal systems are being too cute and are getting away from such practical but 'old fashioned' ideas and are relying on data to know where trains are and to set signals appropriately. A computer should know where a train physically is, not just 'remember' in its memory that it went by a few minutes ago.
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HwyHaulier




Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 932
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RailBus63 -

Read it right here! I had independently arrived at this "theory of the case" by early evening, TU 23 JUN. Today, METRO held a press event,
where they declared the now lost operator a hero!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/25/AR2009062501073.html?hpid=moreheadlines


.....................Vern................
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5258
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also strongly believe that rapid transit lines are getting far too advanced and far too sophisticated with all this hi-tech, "Star Wars" technology. That, coupled with the disturbing, rising trend of incompetent operators yacking on cell phones or texting while at the controls....well....let's just say it's a recipe for disaster. I'm all for the good old "tried and true" stuff that's been safely keeping a watchful eye over many systems for over a centrury now. Recall the glory days of the NYC elevateds; it was not uncommon for trains to be operating on 90 second headways during the peak years!! And...it was done TOTALLY WITHOUT any "hi-tech" gizmos whatsoever!! Plus, motormen weren't distracted by cells or texting..... Confused Just my two cents worth...... Very Happy
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