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Thread: VIA Rail Derailment in Toronto

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    Default VIA Rail Derailment in Toronto

    Sad day in the Railroad. 3 VIA Rail engineers have been reported dead in the accident. Cause unknown so far.

    VIA Trains are among the most senior assignments in the railroad, RIP to the crew.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2350323/
    Originally posted by HeavyD
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    Jesus. RIP to the crew, my condolences to the families.

    Will be following to see what the cause was.
    Last edited by btimbit; 02-26-2012 at 11:26 PM.

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    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    Is it possible that all 3 didn't know or forgot they were going to be switching tracks?
    ---

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    Forgot? unlikely. Didn't know? Rail signals indicate not only what that signal is indicating, but also what the next signal down the line is indicating, and the signals are MILES apart.

    I will leave my personal thoughts on what happened out of it except to say that a similar rail disaster happened in 2008 in California where a MetroLink train blew through a red signal and collided head on with a loaded coal train a few miles down the track with a closing speed of 80mph. During the investigation it was discoverd that the engineer driving the train was texting while driving.

    Passenger trains are USED to getting the high green at every signal, it was a matter of complacency in the MetroLink case, the engineer wasn't looking at the signal because he assumed they would all be green.

    I have some great pictures from the reconstruction of the metrolink accident where they drove two trains at each other to see the sightlines and everything that the people involved would have seen through the course of the accident, and realistically? there was no excuses.

    What happened in this case? who knows, it's way to early to say for sure, but I would say this will become another case that the government uses to support PTC, a new method of locomotive control that would give engineers a chance to acknowledge the signals, and if they don't would apply the brakes to insure the signal was accepted properly.
    Originally posted by HeavyD
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    Originally posted by Go4Long


    What happened in this case? who knows, it's way to early to say for sure, but I would say this will become another case that the government uses to support PTC, a new method of locomotive control that would give engineers a chance to acknowledge the signals, and if they don't would apply the brakes to insure the signal was accepted properly.
    ahem...

    OTTAWA The federal NDP is calling for reforms to rail safety in this country after investigators on Thursday blamed the deadly train derailment in southern Ontario over the weekend on excessive speed.

    "How many more tragedies does it take for the Harper government to take action?" NDP transportation critic Olivia Chow said in a statement.

    She called for the Safer Railways Act, Bill S-4, to be made into law. She also called for compulsory positive train control systems a system that's been mandatory in the U.S. since 2008 and for voice recorders to be included in train event recorder



    Read more: http://www.canada.com/news/Rail+cras...#ixzz1ntyBwqha

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    Not to detract from the crack reporting squad, but it STILL isn't mandatory in the States yet. It's mandated that it be in place by 2015...christ, what, do they block Wikipedia on the reporters computers in the off chance they could get some good information from it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_train_control
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    Apparently they were doing 4 times the allowable speed limit for that section of track. They were doing 67mph at the time of the accident.
    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side"

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    Yup, posted a link to that article a couple posts up. It wasn't for the section of track, the speed limit for that section of track is faster than 67 mph, the speed limit they were exceeding was for the turnout (the switch from one track to the other)
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    Wait a sec... I thought trains were limited to 80km/h, or is that just freight trains?

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    No, even freight trains are not limited to 55mph (even in canada we measure in miles) most track is 55mph or slower, but there are sections that are faster, and passenger trains are usually allowed 10mph faster, but that varies by area too.
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    ^ Thats what I should have said; for that section of track they were doing 4 times the speed limit. I dont know what the actual track max speed was.

    In Canada its only 55mph for freighters? wow, I've driven beside trains when I was doing 120 on the highway and they were keeping up almost on par.

    Interesting.
    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side"

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    Like I said, most places. I could pull out a time table and list some specifics, but I just got off work and don't have em at home.
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    Originally posted by Go4Long
    Like I said, most places. I could pull out a time table and list some specifics, but I just got off work and don't have em at home.
    what do you do for the railway? Locomotive Engineer?

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    Nope, I'm an office lacky I won't go in to specifics as I don't want to give the impression I'm representing the railway in any way, because I'm not. There's a few railway employees on beyond.
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    Where exactly was the switch? I couldn't see it in the overhead pics. Seems like the switch is located awhile back and train jumped the tracks approx. 2 minutes prior to the crash (as that's when passengers heard something unusual), which according to speed at time of crash, would mean one or more bogies were off track for approx. 2 miles and obviously no one noticed as no brakes were applied. Possibly? Or is my theory wrong...

    So for this to happen, the engineer would've completely missed the signal before the switch, correct? (as they indicated all signals were working). Sounds like they also weren't made aware of the detour, so they just coasted along/business as usual. But regardless, this will almost definitely result in a conclusion of driver error due to ignoring a signal. It'll be interesting to hear what they find out.
    You have a couple of photos that are great... you must be very good at photoshop!

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    The switch was somewhere behind the wreckage. A train can't "jump the tracks" and carry on for 2 minutes, the ballast is gravel and the ties are wood. The bump people felt "2 minutes prior to the crash" was probably just a normal bump that they've felt before, or the 2 minutes is an exaggeration due to the stress of the situation. As soon as it came off the rails it crashed.

    Railway signals are nothing like traffic lights for a lot of reasons, as I mentioned before, they tell you what the next signal is going to be as well. High green means the block ahead of you is clear and the next signal is also indicating clear. Signals also indicate if you're going to be changing tracks at the next location. Basically, you'd get a clear to limited (not sure on the exact signal term), which would tell you that this block is clear, but the next signal is indicating something limiting, and then the intermediate signals would progressively tell you what was going on until you got to the next controlled location which would be a diverging to clear (indicating you're changing tracks, and then the block is clear).

    Railway signals also don't work on timers like traffic lights. There's someone in an office controlling the signal indication. So it's not like you'd get a clear signal, then by the time you got to the next signal it was at stop, that would be very bad in train terms...keep in mind a loaded coal/grain train can take over 2 miles to stop.

    Also, not to split hairs, but they weren't "detouring" they were changing tracks. there's 4 tracks there, all going in the same direction, no idea why they were changing tracks, I work for CP and those are CN tracks, so I have no idea what was going on. Should they been advised of the approaching track change? By rule there's no reason that they had to be told directly by a person that they were switching tracks, the signals told them everything they needed to know.
    Last edited by Go4Long; 03-02-2012 at 01:22 PM.
    Originally posted by HeavyD
    you know you are making the right decision if Toma opposes it.

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    In cab signalling might have helped (not required in Canada, but widely used in Europe).

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    Originally posted by Go4Long
    Railway signals also don't work on timers like traffic lights. There's someone in an office controlling the signal indication. So it's not like you'd get a clear signal, then by the time you got to the next signal it was at stop, that would be very bad in train terms...keep in mind a loaded coal/grain train can take over 2 miles to stop.
    Interesting.. Is this the same for say, the CTrain? From what I can observe easily going down Crowchild beside the tracks, I always thought the blocks worked on a timer - i.e. would change color (yellow then green) after a certain amount of time after the last train vacates the block, and that only the switches were operated remotely.

    I always thought in-cab signaling was only necessary on high speed rail and requires something like a wire running down the track to pick up the signal. I think most conventional trains do not use in-cab signaling do they?
    You have a couple of photos that are great... you must be very good at photoshop!

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    No, the C-Train is essentially a large ABS (automated block signal) interlocking, the signals work on their own, automatically protecting one block ahead and two blocks behind. They change based on how far the train travels from it as opposed to a time. And I could be wrong, but I believe their switches are radio controlled, so they dial into the switch to get it to change.

    The trains from red deer to edmonton work on a similar system signals wise, but with a written clearance as well, it's hard to explain the specifics, but on a main line desk like Calgary to Field the signals are set up by someone in an office and you can tell where the trains are fairly easily, the method of train control is called CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) ignore the pictures since from what I can tell from my phone it looks like a VERY old panel. It's all done on computer monitors now.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centr...raffic_control

    There's also a lot of OCS (occupany control system) track around alberta, which has no signals at all, a Rail Traffic Controller issues written authorities over the radio advising a train that they have permission to proceed from point a to point b. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
    Last edited by Go4Long; 03-02-2012 at 03:41 PM.

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