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kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.0 - Posts: 3936)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:08 PM

TRAIN WRECK IN WASHINGTON

Sorry, fans of political posts, this isn't on such a subject.

I thank those of you who PMed, IMed, emailed, or even phoned me to make sure I'm ok. I am, thank you. But since one among you asked for further details of how the crash could have happened, here's what I know.

First of all, the accident occurred on the Washington Metro Red Line. The Red Line is basically a U-shaped line. It starts in the Maryland suburbs north of the city, heads south into downtown Washington, cuts west from Union Station (near the Capitol), heads down the K Street corridor, and then shoots northwest back into Maryland and the northwest suburbs. http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm has a map of the system.

All I know is I got onto a Red Line Train at Union Station at about 4:35 PM, heading west, for a ride to the Grosvenor station that would normally take 30 minutes. At this point, the Red Line is in peak PM rush mode, and it's sending a train through the city every 4 or so minutes.

But in 30 minutes, I had gone only 3 or 4 stations, being somewhere around Metro Center or Farragut West. Those downtown stations are just a few blocks from one another, and I was griping that I could have walked there that quickly. What had happened was, from what I heard, that a train had run into mechanical difficulties further up the line, blocking its track, so both inbound and outbound trains had to share the same track through that area. And while westbound trains were waiting for clearance to move through that area, trains were piling up behind them. I have little doubt that that stack-up extended all the way back past Fort Totten by 5 PM.

And what they say happened is that an inbound train was stopped on the tracks between Takoma and Fort Totten when another train traveling the same way plowed into it. Why it did not stop is not known at this point. Was there a signal to stop? Did a distracted driver fail to heed such a signal? Unfortunately, we will not know, for the operator of that second train is among the six dead.

I do not know what kind of black-box telemetry those trains might carry, and what can be gleaned from what was observed in the system's control rooms, but I'm sure more facts will come out over time.

kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.0 - Posts: 3936)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:09 PM

Correction. Farragut West should read Farragut North. It's been a long day.

koota
Koota  (Level: 181.9 - Posts: 2104)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:17 PM

I'm so glad that you're OK, Ken.

Mwah!

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:35 PM


Double ditto, Ken! Thank God that you and the missus are okay!

Prayers and positive thoughts are going out to all of those who were not so fortunate. God bless!

pepperdoc
Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:40 PM

Thanks for the update, Ken. Glad you're alright.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Mon, 22nd Jun '09 11:46 PM

Yes, thanks for letting us know you're ok. So how long did it take you to finally get home?

kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.0 - Posts: 3936)
Tue, 23rd Jun '09 5:43 AM

I got off the train maybe 50 minutes after I would have normally. I exited at the first station above ground, and while the operator spoke of an incident at the other end of the line, we knew no details until waiting for my final station to get clear, another passenger cell-phoned someone and heard what was going on.

There were also some bad accidents that rush hour on some major commuter routes, but none that affected my area.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Tue, 23rd Jun '09 5:58 AM

Wow, geez Ken that hits really close to home, glad you are okay.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 104.9 - Posts: 9952)
Tue, 23rd Jun '09 6:01 AM

Sounds like the failure of the control system that should always prevent such from happening. Even an operator who is overriding the signals should only be able to move his train closer to another at very slow speeds, not fast enough to create a deadly impact.

bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Tue, 23rd Jun '09 10:15 PM

I'm so glad you're okay.

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.1 - Posts: 3779)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 12:30 PM

Thanks, Ken. I knew you were a Red Liner out of downtown. I feel bad for the 9 who died and the scores of injured. But, I am glad you were only inconvenienced.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 12:34 PM

Yes, glad you are okay, Ken. Think it a shame that the woman running the train was the focus of the investigation. Maybe it was her fault maybe not but seems the train was on computer not manual control Right now think this falls into the category of the French Airliner-we don't know-Linda

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 12:53 PM

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought you meant over here. In Washington.

Glad to hear you are fine.

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.1 - Posts: 3779)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:05 PM

Linda, you are correct. This is typical corporate thinking...focusing first on the who, then, if they cannot find a plausible way to blame the operator, the why. Having worked for several years in Health & Safety for a major corporation, I can write a book about blind eyes/deaf ears, the "Well, our policy (which we routinely ignore until something happens) is", acceptable risks, risk management vs. risk eliminations. I feel sorry for the family of the deceased operator. It will take a long time to remove the shadow of doubt cast on the deceased by our guilty until proven innocent society.

The investigators will no doubt start with an autopsy of the deceased operator to look for drugs and/or alcohol. They will look for heart attacks and other medical possibilities such as treatment for depression, or family problems. They will get cellphone records to see if the deceased was talking or texting. Failing to find any, they will redouble their search for policy violations, no matter how minor or obscure. We are fortunate they were able to tell the train was linked to the computer, and not on manual. If they fail to pin it on the deceased, they will then focus on the train for mechanical problems they can first pin on the maintenance department, then the manufacturer. Failing again, they will finally throw their hands up in the air without considering possiblities that could implicate them, such as the failure to replace outdated equipment in a timely manner, and declare it unknown.

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:23 PM

So right, and so depressing.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 104.9 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:36 PM

I don't think so, Steve.

This accident appears to be a failure of the automatic train control systems in use on numerous high speed rapid transit lines. I think it is pretty hard for an operator to game the system to produce such a violent impact when the system is working correctly.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:43 PM

I thought that was what Steve just said in reply to my not liking first blame being put on the head of the traiun operator

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:45 PM

that's what I thought too, Linda.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 104.9 - Posts: 9952)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:47 PM

I took Steve to say they would go after the operator first.

Sorry, drugs, alcohol or whatever this looks like a train control problem all the way.

FYI I once worked in mass transit.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 1:52 PM

That IS the FIRST angle everyone approached. Like Steve pointed out many folks lose interest in a story soon and will only remember the initial hint of blame which was on her. It could somehow have been due to her lack of skill but because the train was being controlled by computer-not the initial report which said being manually run-most likely not. Her family and her memory will get the "LOOKS"!

kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.0 - Posts: 3936)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 6:37 PM

The NTSB is looking at things and it sounds like what they're coming up with is this:

- A faulty component in the signaling system near the site of the crash. Testing will take place tonight.
- The operator did in fact try in vain to stop the train manually.
- The lead car was overdue for brake work and safety maintenance.
- Funding cuts influenced the decision to let the above happen.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Wed, 24th Jun '09 6:50 PM

this is the further explanation of what Ken talked about http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,528661,00.html

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.1 - Posts: 3779)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 11:51 AM

It is good to see that the NTSB is involved. I wasn't certain if they would be. They will look for really causes. This is the difference between having laws and regulations, and having self-investigation and lower entities searching. The NTSB does not have a vested interested to protect, unlike a business. That is why I believe in the government setting rules and regulations, unlike so many Conservatives who want to deregulate everything...I mean it worked so well with Wall St., the big banks and insurance companies, etal.


caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 12:36 PM

Thanks for sharing this personal side, Ken. For someone who decries interjecting politics into thread that are not, Steve, your remark about Conservatives and deregulation sure sounded both political and snide but you would not be guilty of that

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.1 - Posts: 3779)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 8:00 PM

Take it how you may. It is a statement of fact, not snide...unless you don't like the truth.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 8:34 PM

My point was you "hijacked" this thread with something political and snide whether you think it fact or not. Looks very much like if someone doesn't agree with your politics and they post something "political and snide" on a nonpolitical thread it is a 'hijack" but you and those who agree with you can get the snipes in whenever and wherever.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 8:37 PM

Steve, if you want to make a ploitical point may I suggest you start a thread about the topic as you advised me to do (via pm) after I posted on something I thought should not have been buried in the MJ thread?

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 134.1 - Posts: 3779)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 8:56 PM

Wouldn't hijacking involve it being taken off in another direction, which it has not. We are at an apparent impasse, since you are trying to create something that has not occurred. And I am not going to follow along until it does.

Thanks Ken. Please keep us up to date.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 9:03 PM

My post in the other thread was every bit as pertinet as yours in this one as someone believe Martin had turned that thread saying he was wonderig what the Republicans and Democrats were doing that was getting buried in thee MJ thing. You are correct though, Steve, we are going nowhere with this and suggest that when either of us have something that concerns politics even remotely we start a thread and warm folks. Yes, Ken, thanks for the update

domester
Domester  (Level: 98.6 - Posts: 59)
Sun, 28th Jun '09 9:13 PM

Ken, at the risk of putting this thread back on track, could I ask that you update us when more is learned, or other articles like that one are published.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 104.9 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 29th Jun '09 3:46 AM

Steve, your point does not apply here. It's apparent that the control systems that prevent such high speed collisions failed. The fact that the lead car was overdue for brake maintenance does not mean that the brakes failed.

As to your point, it was the liberals who set in motion the subprime fiasco - and Barney Frank is at it again today.

garrybl
Garrybl  (Level: 280.2 - Posts: 6643)
Mon, 29th Jun '09 5:17 AM

Talk about train wreck. Who takes the guilt for hijacking this thread and wrecking it?

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21603)
Mon, 29th Jun '09 6:50 AM

Anyone who interjects a political barb in a nonpolitical thread is the original hijacker and automotatically turns the thread and what was not political becomes political-because the barb was an opinion and a "snide" one at that and that was my point . Just was pointing out the hypocrisy in naming one side or one personas hijacking or being snide. Now this thread has a life of its own and if Ken wants to give updates, he will most likely have to start a new thread

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 104.9 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 29th Jun '09 7:48 AM

No need for a new thread IMO


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