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DC Metrorail Accident

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marknewton

I don't have access to the operation manuals online anymore. Since 9/11 detailed documentation and technical information are sorta on the list of "Do Not Distribute" anymore. Here's a blog entry you may find to be of soem help, though I will note some of his fact are off a bit. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=2695

 

I've been pretty active these last few days on the blogs discussing some of the finer aspects of the operations which has drawn some attention and a subsequent conversation with some folks I'd rather not go through again this week.

 

Thanks for that link, Shasinka, it's answered my questions - even though, as you say, some of his facts are clearly wonky.

 

When you allude to drawing attention and conversations you'd rather not  have again, I hear you loud and clear. My railway has a strict "Code of Conduct", and one of the things they really don't like is employees making public comment on any topic, particularly operational matters. Sounds like the mob you work for have the same policies. Keep your head down and don't give them the satisfaction of pinging you, eh?  :thumbsup:

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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marknewton

Mark, I think they use a combination of ATC and ATO (I use the Japanese designations- American terms are different)- which system is used depends on the track segment traversed by the train.  Apparently the accident occured on a stretch governed by ATO operation (automatic operation- driver does not control throttle or breaking-except in emergencies). Shashinka likely can give you the definitive answer.

 

Thanks, bb. You can use either Japanese or US terminology, here in Australia we're multilingual! :cheesy

 

Seriously though, we're in the middle of an ATP trial at the moment, using equipment from a variety of vendors. Otherwise we run our trains under the control of drivers and guards, using a system of safeworking we call "Rail Vehicle Detection", which is simply automatic signals controlled by track circuits, and backed up by train stops. Interlockings and signals within yard limits are controlled by a signaller. It's basic, but it works most of the time.

 

The other thing that has me puzzled about the coverage of this collision is the many references to "texting" and "cell phones", by which I assume they mean mobiles. What's that all about, why is it considered so significant?

 

All the best,

 

Mark.

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bikkuri bahn

Regarding use of mobiles and texting, apparently in the Los Angeles Metrolink accident in Chatworth last year, the driver was texting to a group of young railfans only a few seconds before the crash.  Also, a more recent incident on the Boston system (fortunately non-fatal), the driver was texting his girlfriend when his LRV rear-ended another Green Line unit. 

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Guest ___

The other thing that has me puzzled about the coverage of this collision is the many references to "texting" and "cell phones", by which I assume they mean mobiles. What's that all about, why is it considered so significant?

 

The media was denied access to the scene. As a result many call phone cameras and Twitter accounts were used for the base of news gathering. It was really unusual the level of press denial that was taking place. At one point the press including CNN, FOX News, The Washington Post, AP and so forth were pushed back nearly ten blocks from the scene. FBI entered the scene deemed it a crime scene. I watched a camera man get arrested because he snuck down to the tracks. A lot of the still we saw were taken from the Michigan Ave bridge before EMS set up their command center there and ran everyone off.

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Guest ___

Regarding use of mobiles and texting, apparently in the Los Angeles Metrolink accident in Chatworth last year, the driver was texting to a group of young railfans only a few seconds before the crash.  Also, a more recent incident on the Boston system (fortunately non-fatal), the driver was texting his girlfriend when his LRV rear-ended another Green Line unit.  [/quote

 

I want to make a majority correctional to this, because the rest of the media decided to completely ignore the final results of the NTSB investigation on this.

 

It was later determined by the NTSB that the texting had not been the cause of the accident and that there were confirmed reports from nearly a dozen passengers on the platform who confirmed that the signal was green and that the offending metrolink train had authority to enter the block. The signal was found to be in defect.

 

There was such an uproar about that texting aspect, and when the fact fro mthe final NTSB investigation came out, not barely a whimper on the fact that the texting was not found to be the cause of the accident, not operator inattention.

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Tenorikuma

The other thing that has me puzzled about the coverage of this collision is the many references to "texting" and "cell phones", by which I assume they mean mobiles. What's that all about, why is it considered so significant?

 

The media was denied access to the scene. As a result many call phone cameras and Twitter accounts were used for the base of news gathering. It was really unusual the level of press denial that was taking place. At one point the press including CNN, FOX News, The Washington Post, AP and so forth were pushed back nearly ten blocks from the scene. FBI entered the scene deemed it a crime scene. I watched a camera man get arrested because he snuck down to the tracks. A lot of the still we saw were taken from the Michigan Ave bridge before EMS set up their command center there and ran everyone off.

 

This is a growing trend the legacy (mainstream) media is waking up to; they and the government give you the official story, while the real story gets reported within minutes by people on the scene using mobile phones and SMS or Twitter.

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bikkuri bahn

Shashinka, could you point me toward where I can find the final NTSB report on the Chatsworth accident?  (though rail accident reports are posted online only up to 2007- this may be the reason)  All I can find on the NTSB website is the Feb. 27 announcement of the opening of a docket:

 

http://www.ntsb.gov/pressrel/2009/090227.html

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Guest ___

The most recent NTSB report was posted to the BRE website.

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scott
NTSB ISSUES UPDATE ON INVESTIGATION INTO COLLISION OF TWO METRORAIL TRAINS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board continues to make progress in its investigation of the June 22, 2009, accident involving the collision of two Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) trains on the Red Line in Washington, D.C. The Board has developed the following factual information:

 

Investigators found metal to metal compression streak marks on both rails of the track for about 125 feet ending near the approximate point of impact, consistent with heavy braking.

 

Investigators conducted tests at the accident site last night with a similar train and found that when the train was stopped at the same location as the stopped struck train, the train control system lost detection of the test train.

 

The train control system is complex and will require a thorough investigation of all components. Investigators are continuing to examine trackside circuits and train control system data to understand how the train control system functioned on the day of the accident.

 

Investigators have collected recorder data from the struck train. Data was recovered from eight of the nine recorders on the struck train. Data could not be downloaded from one recorder. Two of the eight recorders did not contain data related to the accident; data collection ended before the accident for undetermined reasons. The accident data is now being examined by investigators in the Safety Board's laboratory. The striking train did not have any onboard accident data recorders.

 

The operator of the struck train was interviewed earlier today. He said that he operated his train in manual mode during his entire shift that afternoon. He said that he saw a train in front of him and stopped to wait for the train to clear. While stopped, he said that he felt a hard push from behind.

 

Investigators are continuing to document evidence at the accident site and intend to conduct sight distance tests, using similar trains to those involved in the accident. Parties to the NTSB investigation include WMATA, the Federal Transit Administration, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Tri-State Oversight Committee.

 

http://ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2009/090625.html

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Guest ___

The irony in all this is that train operators are not suppose to even be able to take their trains out of ATC without they system being released by Metro Center. This was one of the NTSB mandates after the Woodley Park accident in 06. Was expecting ATU to join the party.

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Guest ___

NTSB officially has a gag order on WMATA on further press releases or information to the press.

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Mudkip Orange

NTSB officially has a gag order on WMATA on further press releases or information to the press.

Holy crap.

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scott

In today's Post:

 

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said there are no plans to sideline those cars, known as the 1000 series. Purchased from Rohr Industries between 1974 and 1978, the 290 oldest cars make up more than 25 percent of Metro's 1,128-car fleet.

 

"As I communicated last week, we have no evidence that these 1000 series cars contributed to the cause of the accident," Catoe said.

 

Of course, nobody said they were the *cause* of the accident. The problem is what happens as an *effect* of an accident--the cars fail structurally. Since somebody in his position must understand the difference, I can't figure out why he mentions "cause" in his justification for not pulling the cars. (I'm not saying they *should* pull the cars; I'm not qualified to judge. But the public explanations need to make basic sense.)

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Guest ___

The media spin on the incident is clearly blaming the Rohr cars. While they are not the structurally best rail cars in a collision they did meet the standards when built. the real cause of the accident no matter what the NTSB's final cop out will be is the fact that metro is underfunded, it's infrastructure is deteriorating at a rate much greater than it's ability to be repaired. An incident like this could have easily occurred with the Breda, CAF or Alstom cars. And while maybe the 2000-6000 series would not have telescoped, that does not mean that the force of the impact or where the cars when on collision would have not resulted in the same number of fatalities.

 

The argument could be made had the Rohr car in the incident been a Breada and not have rode up on the stopped train, the impact could have knocked one or both trains off the tracks, roll and or crush in on itself resulting in the same resulting casualties. The Rohr car's telescoping issue is a diversion to take attention away from the actual cause of the accident really were. Had the incident been between two Breda cars and the impact and force resulted in deaths the same people would be going on, well the Rohr cars collapse in absorbing the impact hence less people would have died. It's one of those, catch twenty-twos.

 

The 1000's were slated for decommission and had exceed the scheduled service life, but when they came up for retirement, there was a massive car shortage which still exists thanks to the issues with the 5000-series CAF cars being worthless what they are. The WMATA car engineers deemed that the structure and frames of the cars fared much better than ever expected so they were kept in service. Then after the Woodly Park/Zoo incident in 96 the NTSB said to pull them for telescoping but at that time the issue of the 5000's was in full swing. Even now the 1000's are the backbone of the Red Line. Between the pending lawsuits, the NTSB gag order and the situation with the union, there's not much John is really allowed to say as a result of WMATA's legal dept.

 

Now, I'll shut my mouth before I get anymore calls from DIRAUX or visits from Sector.

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Mudkip Orange

Nice vid.

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scott

@$#%@#$%!@.  When did that happen?

 

I wouldn't think twerps like that would get much support from management *or* the union.

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Guest ___

Within the past two weeks.

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marknewton

Geez, that inpsires confidence.  :sad:

 

Mark.

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disturbman

I just read, on a french rail forum, that the Washington accident was certainly caused by an electronic/electric failure due to a human error, and lack of supervision and test afterwards, during the last period of work on the track. Nothing to do with the rolling stock.

 

It's said that this accident could be something like the one that happened in Clapham Junction, UK, in 1988.

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Guest ___

It's still devolving. The NTSB is looking at the circuit that failed. The thought is that it had been replaced recently and that perhaps the installation was fouled, but it's not official yet.

 

The frederick News-Post under a FOIA ascertained data of the track switch prior to the track work and sensor replacement showing that the sensor had failed prior to the track work.

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Mudkip Orange
Nothing to do with the rolling stock.

 

The rolling stock shizzle is political kabuki theater, nothing more. Something failed in the signaling/ATS system, period.

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Guest ___
Nothing to do with the rolling stock.

 

The rolling stock shizzle is political kabuki theater, nothing more. Something failed in the signaling/ATS system, period.

 

The media and NTSB has turned away from blaming the Rohr cars, though they do deserve some critisim. However, after the Cleveland Park incident the NTSB strongly recommended withdrawing the 1000-series, placing them to the middle of the train, or reinforcing the cab ends, to prevent telescoping; none of which did WMATA do. However, hindsight is 20/20 and had it been a 2000 series Breda there's nothing saying the train would have rolled over upside down and would have killed as many people.

 

So far the 1000's are not being blamed so much as the issue of the track system and follow up tests showing critical failures of the ATS system. These failures are not just occurring where the accident occurred but during tests system wide.

 

Now, the big thing is that the failures that occurred on the ATS that happened here, our sister system the BART in SanFran detected the same problem with their ATS years ago and devolved a backup redundant system in case ATS failed. The NTSB is trying to determine why BART engineers discovered this, and created a redundant system, yet WMATA did not even though BART engineers have presented this data to WAMATA years ago.

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Mudkip Orange

The NTSB is trying to determine why BART engineers discovered this, and created a redundant system, yet WMATA did not even though BART engineers have presented this data to WAMATA years ago.

 

NIH = Not Invented Here

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Guest ___

Among different federal departments, that's typcially true, but between transit agencies that's seldom the case. A great example was the flat wheels and worn driveline systems among Pittsburgh's SD400/U3 LRV cars. Lessons learned from the problems of climbing a 12% grade with turning radius designed for PCC's really did a number of our LRV's. The data Pgh collected was forwarded to St. Louis which went in to play for their SD400 upgrades.

 

Same thing between lessons learned between Boston and SanFran with the Boeing LRV's. Lord knows how often this transpires among the bus divisions. Typically transit agencies do talk and lessons to each other.

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