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Author Topic: Los Angles Metrolink Train Wreck.  (Read 5947 times)
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2008, 11:09:40 AM »

Reportedly, the engineer was sending text messages immediately before the crash.
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JerryB

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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2008, 12:54:51 PM »

To Santa Fe Buff:

On edit: Thanks!!

Woody, All:

It seems that it is now popular for the texting geeks to claim there was texting going on before every disaster. This morning's Santa Rosa CA Press Democrat newspaper reads:

"Text rumor unconfirmed
A Los Angeles radio station reported Saturday that several teenage train aficionados said they had received a text message from the engineer shortly before the crash. But the NTSB said it was treating the report with caution, noting that similar accounts had circulated after a crash in Boston but were found to be inaccurate.

"We've heard reports to that effect, but we have nothing to confirm" said NTSB board member Kitty Higgins."

Happier RRing,

Jerry
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 11:07:18 PM by JerryB » Logged

Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
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Guilford Guy


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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2008, 03:26:14 PM »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/26680935#26680935
 Sad
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Alex

Santa Fe buff

N&W


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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2008, 07:19:09 PM »

I've updated my post.

I feel so sad, it's up to 25 dead now.... Sad It has been declared the worst Commuter Train Wreck in 15 years. Plus too trained engineers, I hope something good comes of this, like some sort of law, upgrade, or improvement. Undecided

Quote
LOS ANGELES (AP) Federal investigators on Sunday combed railroad tracks and crushed wreckage looking for evidence to explain the nation's deadliest rail disaster in 15 years and made plans to interview dispatchers.

At the same time, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman played down a report that the engineer of the Metrolink commuter train had sent a text message shortly before Friday's accident, in which 25 people were killed and 135 were injured.

The train slammed into an oncoming Union Pacific freight engine on the same track at 40 mph.

Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell had said the commuter train's engineer was at fault because he failed to stop at a red light on the tracks but NTSB members cautioned that they had not completed their investigation.

Eleven NTSB investigators were working on the accident, said agency spokesman Terry Williams.

Men wearing green and orange safety vests walked up and down the tracks in an early morning fog, while others snapped pictures and climbed inside the wrecked shell of the front passenger car.

Williams said he couldn't confirm reports that the engineer was text messaging shortly before the crash, but said investigators would consider that.

"We're going to look into that, anything that can help us find the cause of this accident," he said.

Dr. Marc Eckstein, medical director for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said survivors' injuries included partially severed limbs and legs flayed to the bone. At least two survivors had to be extricated from underneath dead bodies and six victims were discovered under the train Saturday, he said.

"There were bodies cut in half, and I could see torsos sticking out. It was pretty horrific," Eckstein said. "The bodies were entwined with the wreckage. "

Eckstein said all rescue personnel were required to check in with a staff psychologist before leaving the scene but many, including himself, preferred to deal privately with what they saw.

"All you can do is go home and hug your wife and kids, I guess," he said. "These people were regular working people like you and I and headed home looking forward to a weekend with their families and they're dead in an instant."

Rescue crews recovered two data recorders Saturday from the Metrolink train and one data recorder and one video recorder from the freight train. The video has pictures from forward-looking cameras and the data recorders have information on speed, braking patterns and whether the horn was used.

Families of victims struggled with their loss after the coroner's office released a partial list of the names of the dead. Among them was a Los Angeles police officer and a city employee who was believed to work in the general services office, said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Spree Desha, 35, had worked for the Police Department for seven years and spent much of her career training new officers. She had been honored 34 times for performance and professional qualities.

"She sat in the first train (car) as a matter of practice, in uniform, so if someone came on the train and made trouble, she was ready to help out," Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said. "That was just the way she did business."

Larry Remata, 58, said he was in Hawaii visiting his 100-year-old mother and rushed home when he got news that his wife, Donna, was among the dead.

"Right now, I am grieving. It is starting to hit me a little bit. Especially seeing her name in the newspaper it hurt me more," he said.

There were no new reports of fatalities from hospitals Sunday, and the scene was cleared of bodies, said Lt. Cheryl MacWillie of the county coroner's office.

The collision occurred on a horseshoe-shaped section of track in Chatsworth at the west end of the San Fernando Valley, near a 500-foot-long tunnel underneath Stoney Point Park. There is a siding at one end of the tunnel where one train can wait for another to pass, Tyrrell said.

At a news conference late Saturday, the NTSB's Kitty Higgins said it was too early to determine what caused the crash but noted that a pair of switches that control whether a train goes onto the siding were open. One of them should have been closed, Higgins said.

"The indication is that it was forced open," possibly by the Metrolink train, Higgins said.

The commuter train, heading from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to Ventura County, was carrying 220 passengers, one engineer and one conductor when it collided with the Union Pacific freight, which had a crew of three. The impact rammed the Metrolink engine backward, jamming it deep into the first passenger car.

It was the deadliest passenger train crash since Sept. 22, 1993, when Amtrak's Sunset Limited plunged off a trestle into a bayou near Mobile, Ala., moments after the trestle was damaged by a towboat; 47 people were killed.

Associated Press writers Thomas Watkins, Amy Taxin, Daisy Nguyen, Christina Hoag, Greg Risling, Justin Pritchard, James Beltran, John Rogers and Michael R. Blood contributed to this report.

Man, it's the worst one since the Sunset Limited Disaster... Man. I just thought to give you all a more updated news report. I hate disasters... Thanks for the video GG.
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- Joshua Bauer
RAM

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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2008, 10:36:31 PM »

I thought that passenger trains had to have two crew members in the cab.  I guess this is not a passenger train , just a commuter train that hauls passengers.
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Conrail Quality


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« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2008, 11:02:09 PM »

I'm not aware that there's any federal regulation that requires there be two crew members in the locomotive. Usually, it's an individual railroad rule because the railroad unions forced it back in the 40's when the railroads wanted to eliminate the fireman position entirely because of dieselization.

Timothy
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 11:03:43 PM by Conrail Quality » Logged

Timothy

Still waiting for an E33 in N-scale
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2008, 07:10:53 AM »

Jerry - only passing on a report that I heard on CNN.
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JerryB

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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2008, 12:13:13 PM »

Jerry - only passing on a report that I heard on CNN.
Woody:

I wasn't at all challenging your report. Just filling in (yesterday's) blanks.

This morning's front page headline reads:

"Was train engineer texting in crash?"

Then the article goes on to say that the NTSB is subpoenaing the engineer's cell phone records and seeking to ". . . question the young men who told KCBS-TV that they had taken part in an exchange of text messages just before the crash."

Death toll now stands at 25, with numerous still in critical condition. I sincerely hope for peace for the bereaved families and friends, and for speedy recovery for the injured.

I really do hope that the engineer wasn't doing something as stupid as texting, with the distraction contributing to the crash. I see stupid, inconsiderate people texting while driving down the highway at the speed limit or more. Not caring about one's own life is stupid, but deliberately putting others at risk is criminal.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
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Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
Woody Elmore

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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2008, 12:57:28 PM »

Did the engineer survive the crash? Usually in train wrecks or airplane crashes, when the operator is dead, the operator gets the blame-guilty or not. I sure hope he wasn't texting.

On my last foray into the bowels of the NYC subway system I noticed a conductor (that's the person who opens the doors) as well as platform workers wearing Ipods. With the racket that the NYC trains make, those things must have been cranked up to the max.
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pdlethbridge
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2008, 02:08:25 PM »

If he was, he paid the ultimate price
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Santa Fe buff

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« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2008, 07:12:25 PM »

Such a waste, all that college, training, employment, and work.

Woody,
iPods with the maximum volume is very hearing damaging if your wearing the headphone buds that come with the system... But a New York City subway wreck would be 10 times worse, for these reasons:

-2X more crowded.
-It's underground, therefore harder for rescuers to reach.
-Stations are always jammed with crowds
-Traffic in the city will slow emergency vehicles
-Single track tunnels mostly, therefore more force given to the critical walls and the train carriages.

Here's the latest on the investigation:

Quote
NTSB tests visibility at site of LA train crash
By DAISY NGUYEN 1 day ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) Investigators on Tuesday conducted a test to determine when the engineers of two trains were able to see each other in the moments before the head-on crash that killed 25 people.

The visibility test involving stand-in engines was part of the ongoing investigation into the crash that the Metrolink commuter rail service has blamed on the failure of its engineer to stop for a red signal.

Just before Friday's collision in the Chatsworth section of Los Angeles, a Union Pacific freight train had emerged from a tunnel and the commuter train was rounding a horseshoe bend.

"When did one come into view with the other?" Kitty Higgins, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said before the test. "What will that tell us?"

The agency did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment about the results of the test. The NTSB planned to hold a news conference Tuesday night.

NTSB officials said it would be the final test conducted at the crash site. Officials hoped to open the newly repaired tracks to freight and commuter service later in the day Tuesday.

It was the deadliest rail disaster in the U.S. in 15 years.

Tuesday's test at the wreck site was watched by Lilly Varghese, a friend of 57-year-old victim Beverly Mosley.

"I came here to pay respect to where I lost her," Varghese said. "She lost her soul here."

Varghese said she and Mosley worked together as nurses in the prenatal unit of a hospital. Mosley had two adult daughters and had become a grandmother about seven months ago.

In Washington, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation Tuesday requiring the installation of technology to prevent train crashes and warned that there would be more disasters without it.

The California Democrat hopes to nudge Congress to pass her requirement for so-called positive train control before recessing at the end of next week. The House and Senate have already passed separate legislation to implement the technology but time is running out to reconcile the differing versions.

The technology can engage the brakes if a train misses a signal or gets off track. It has been installed on a fraction of U.S. rail tracks but not on the one where Friday's crash occurred.

Feinstein blamed "a resistance in the railroad community in America" to the price tag of installing the systems.

Failure to act now, she said, amounts to "negligence, and I'll even go as far to say I believe it's criminal negligence not to do so."

The Association of American Railroads, the lobbying arm for the freight railroads, has said it does not oppose the legislation but is concerned that the technology has not been perfected.

Meanwhile, federal investigators were continuing to look into whether the engineer of the Metrolink commuter train was text messaging on a cell phone before Friday's deadly wreck. The engineer, Robert Sanchez, was killed in the collision.

Investigators with the NTSB did not find a cell phone belonging to Sanchez in the wreckage, but two teenage train buffs who befriended him told KCBS-TV that they received a text message from him a minute before the crash.

NTSB board member Kitty Higgins said her agency issued a subpoena to get the engineer's cell phone records. She said Verizon Wireless had five days to respond to the demand.

Higgins also said tests at the crash site showed the red and yellow signals were working properly, and there were no obstructions that may have prevented the engineer from seeing the red light.

"The question is, did he see it as red?" Higgins said. "Did he see it as something else? Did he see it at all?"

Jerry Romero, who normally takes Metrolink 111 home but skipped it Friday to pick up a bicycle, said he was upset by reports that the engineer may have been texting.

"That would be pretty disturbing in respect to what we're going through as a society, this fascination we have with gizmos," he said.

The state's top rail safety regulator is seeking an emergency order banning train operators from using cell phones.

"Some railroad operators may have policies prohibiting the personal use of such devices, but they're widely ignored," Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said Monday.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the order Thursday.

Metrolink prohibits rail workers from using cell phones on the job, but federal regulations do not address the issue, Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Steven Kulm said.

In 2003, the NTSB recommended that the FRA regulate the use of cell phones by railroad employees on duty after finding that a coal train engineer's phone use contributed to a May 2002 accident in which two freight trains collided head-on in Texas. The coal train engineer was killed and the conductor and engineer of the other train were critically injured.

Associated Press writers Erica Werner in Washington and Jeff Wilson, Christina Hoag and John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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- Joshua Bauer
pdlethbridge
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« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2008, 11:41:57 PM »

The NTSB just reported that the engineer WAS text messaging 20 seconds before the crash. They collided at a combined speed of about 80 mph and had only 4-5 seconds to react to the collision. The freight train did apply emergency brakes 2 seconds before impact but the passenger train didn't.
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Santa Fe buff

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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2008, 09:02:25 AM »

Another case closed. With 80mph combined speed, dude, pretty rough. I do study forces at work, as well as disasters. Well as I posted earlier, something good always comes out of a disaster, and we just figured it out, as well as the reason for it. No more texting allowed, and that will likely stop any future disasters from occurring.

But as always, it's a shame that it took a train wreck for it to be done...
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JerryB

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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2008, 12:09:03 PM »

<snip> No more texting allowed, and that will likely stop any future disasters from occurring.
SFBuff, All:
We can always hope.

They just instituted a ban on holding a cellphone while driving here in California. Many TV and newspaper articles show that many or perhaps even most people are simply ignoring the ban. The traffic enforcement officers are simply too overwhelmed to stop every one seen violating the law.

Hopefully, paid public transportation employees have enough sense of duty and common sense to follow any ban that is in place, but you would also think an experienced engineer would have enough brain power to not engage in an activity that would kill 25 of his passengers, regardless of the rules.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
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Sequoia Pacific RR in 1:20 / 70.6mm
Boonville Light & Power Co. in 1:20 / 45mm
Navarro Engineering & Construction Co. in 1:20 / 32mm
NMRA Life Member #3370
Member: Bay Area Electric Railway Association
Member: Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources
Guilford Guy


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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2008, 03:50:13 PM »

The poor kid who got the text. People all over youtube have been blaming him and calling him a murderer, so much so that he has deleted his membership and all his videos.
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Alex

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