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Thread: 4 Dead in Metro-North Train Derailment in the Bronx

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post

    And the main thing that the conductors on seem to do (on the commuter lines) is checking tickets, and opening an closing doors. Are you telling me this couldn't be automated? And I bet the savings from the job cuts would pay for it all, plus.
    The only way to do this would be to install turnstiles, which is unheard of in the US on mainline (but exists in some other countries). The roll-out would be expensive, but there would be huge labor savings. I am not sure, though, if a mainline passenger train without any human railway employees on board exists anywhere in the world. That would be quiet a leap.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    We have a situation here (and in other train wrecks over the years) where human error (or at least human factors, like the motorman falling asleep) have caused fatalities. Now assuming it can be shown that an automated system can eliminate this problems, without introducing problems of the same or greater magnitude of it's own (I know this could be argued, but for the sake of this discussion, go with it), should the job not be automated, or people be kept unnecessarily in the loop, simply to keep people employed? Consider this especially in light of the deficits the MTA has been running.
    An upgraded Signal system would have prevented this problem....so why the push for full driverless trains? Its a Knee-Jerk reaction to a rare preventable event.....the Europes learn from their mistakes , they also don't purpose ridiculous ideas like full automation of the regional rail. Only Metros are moving in that direction , Major Rail Networks are not. No one really pushing that either , rather New Signal upgrades which the US should do. When a Computer Fails and they have in the past with automated trains , the results are just as deadly....it doesn't really eliminate errors.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastMillinocket View Post
    The only way to do this would be to install turnstiles, which is unheard of in the US on mainline (but exists in some other countries). The roll-out would be expensive, but there would be huge labor savings. I am not sure, though, if a mainline passenger train without any human railway employees on board exists anywhere in the world. That would be quiet a leap.
    Japan and Europe have done that in Urban areas , but theres still a train driving and a Conductor for Safety reasons. In Britain they have Train guards which are like Conductors , they make sure everyone has a ticket , and they keep the peace... The Labor savings wouldn't be all that much , when you factor in the cost of maintaining all those turnstiles and new automation equipment , its one of the reasons why outside Urban areas the push for Automation and turnstiles hasn't gained traction...its too expensive. SEPTA is considering turnstiles on its Regional Rail , but so far its been a costly nightmare with multiple delays as Stations need to be reconfigured. I think there going to dump that Plan , but they do plan on getting rid of conductors once they upgrade there Rail Network.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    You don't think they could put sensors on the trains that could detect incursions at grade crossings? I bet you could come up with something that would work at longer range, with higher reliability and faster response times, than a motorman.

    Train driving would seem to be one of the easiest vehicle control jobs to automate. There's no directional control. It's speed up, slow down, stop. If Google can make an automated car, I can't see how hard (in a relative sense) and automated train would be. And, remember, the automation doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be safer and more reliable than the human motormen. Given what we've been seeing, I think this is eminently doable.

    And the main thing that the conductors on seem to do (on the commuter lines) is checking tickets, and opening an closing doors. Are you telling me this couldn't be automated? And I bet the savings from the job cuts would pay for it all, plus.
    Thats only a tiny amount of what a Conductor does....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conductor_(transportation)

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    If Google can make an automated car, I can't see how hard (in a relative sense) and automated train would be.
    Silly comparison.

    A train is a much more substantial piece of equipment than a car, with the potential to do devastating damage. I think that having a couple of humans aboard is worth the minimal expense.

    Given what we've been seeing, I think this is eminently doable.
    Do you ever fact-find? Exactly what have we been seeing?

    http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/ri...ble_02_01.html

  6. #36

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    Actually, it a very appropriate comparison. Driving a car is a much more complicated operation. Driving a train is so simple, having the motormen keep focus is a big issue (as reported on the TV news in the fallout of his accident.) In point of fact, going to something an order of magnitude or greater more complex, flying commercial aircraft has become almost completely automated. The have two pilots in front, who, for most of the trip, don't do more than just keep an eye on what the autopilot is doing. The planes can even land themselves now.

    So, yes, compared to this, automating the driving of a train would be trivial.

    As far as the death toll, yes, it's done down. It could go down more. The question is, in which paradigm it would be less. I'd bet on the automated one, given that the many of these accidents are caused by human error.

    And

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Silly comparison.

    A train is a much more substantial piece of equipment than a car, with the potential to do devastating damage. I think that having a couple of humans aboard is worth the minimal expense.

    Do you ever fact-find? Exactly what have we been seeing?

    http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/ri...ble_02_01.html

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    Actually, it a very appropriate comparison.
    I wasn't referring to the difficulty of operation, rather 2 tons vs 300 tons running free. Can't you think of situations where you might want personnel aboard?

    Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done.

    In point of fact, going to something an order of magnitude or greater more complex, flying commercial aircraft has become almost completely automated.
    Refer back to the car vs train. Would you want a ride in plane with no trained personnel aboard, even if they have nothing to do?

    As far as the death toll, yes, it's done down. It could go down more.
    That's not an explanation to your "given what we've been seeing lately." From the data, I don't see much.

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
    Read this Blog post , from some inside the industry...

    http://www.thelirrtoday.com/2013/12/...tro-north.html
    I took a look at this. Was a waste of my time. The gist was that "nobody should jump to conclusions, except possibly me, because I know more about trains than you do." Then a weird discussion of the Amagasaki train crash which arose partially out of railroads docking' motormens' pay for late trains. A lot of irrelevant hogwash.

  9. #39

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    Caught the tail end of an item on either News12 or Ch 7, and it almost was mentioned as an aside, that safety devices are in place on Metro North trains, but happened to not be in place on the engine where Rockefeller was, it was in the engine on the back end. I'll try to find it but it wasn't the crux of that item so who knows where it ended up.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastMillinocket View Post
    I took a look at this. Was a waste of my time. The gist was that "nobody should jump to conclusions, except possibly me, because I know more about trains than you do." Then a weird discussion of the Amagasaki train crash which arose partially out of railroads docking' motormens' pay for late trains. A lot of irrelevant hogwash.
    The Japanese crash debate was in the comment section..... He's a Industry insider so of course he knows about trains more then you or the general public. You seem pretty ignorant of the facts and seem to inject your lack of knowledge on how a railroad works into the Convo... Its a Complex system , every look at the end of the platform at any of the Major stations....thats only half of the complex inner workers of an Railroad...its not as simple as you make it sound or the General public thinks.

  11. #41

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    Please reconcile the two highlighted phrases. Kthx. (This is from the blog entry, not the comments)

    Consider this, on many other rail systems in the world (not necessarily in the United States), timekeeping is paramount. Trains in Japan are timed to the quarter minute and being even slightly late can bring various repercussions on the members of the train crew. I remember there was one incident back in April 2005 of a fatal accident on a rail system in Amagasaki, Japan. The reason for the accident was the fact that the operator had been traveling overspeed. Reports indicated that the train was something like 90 seconds behind schedule, which is considered a big delay in Japan, so the engineer had been speeding in the moments leading up to the crash in an attempt to get back on schedule.

    In that case, which entity would be considered more at fault? The operator for exceeding the speed limit in an attempt to get back on schedule or the rail company which has inbred a severe impression of how important timekeeping is paramount (so much so that arriving on-time would be considered more important than arriving there safely.) Clearly in this case both entities are at fault. In thei end, the operator was the one who exceeded the safe operating speed and caused the collision, but would the culture that has been inbred on the operator by the company have had any influence on the circumstances in the event? It certainly seems so.

    There is no denying that the MTA has placed a good bit of emphasis on it's On-Time Performance numbers recently, especially in this final stretch of the year as the railroads try to meet their year-end goals. Could this have played a role in the circumstances leading up to the derailment? It certainly adds to the layer of doubt here and reinforces the fact that there will be far more to this investigation then simply reading the event recorders and putting the report out by the end of the week. It is unwise to make any assumptions until everyone has told their story and every last card is out on the table.

    It does not appear that the train was behind schedule at the time it derailed, so the above analogy shouldn't be directly applied to this situation, but hopefully you catch the general idea. The same ideology can be applied to many other things, like, I don't know, say, drowsiness in the cab. Hypothetically speaking, if the engineer was feeling drowsy while he was operating the train would that be solely nobody's fault but his own or would the railroad that works their engineers and train crew members to death also share some of the blame? Like I said above, things are not always cut and dry when it comes to incidents and working policies on railroads. Perhaps Metro-North is not necessarily like this, but there are many a freight carrier that work their crews to death finding and exploiting every little loophole in the FRA's Hours of Service laws in order to keep the bottom line looking nicely. I am not saying that this is what Metro-North does, but it could very well be a factor that many are overlooking.



    It's clear that the analogy does not work; why does this so-called "industry insider" spend so much time discussing it? Obviously this dude is biased against MTA management.

  12. #42

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    OK, when is Rockefeller being cleared to return to work?

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastMillinocket View Post
    OK, when is Rockefeller being cleared to return to work?
    I don't think he'll return to work even if allowed....

  14. #44

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    Good. But they'll be paying more to ride the dangerous rails.

    http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/plannin...emJan2014.html

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastMillinocket View Post
    Good. But they'll be paying more to ride the dangerous rails.

    http://www.mta.info/mnr/html/plannin...emJan2014.html
    Thats to cover Connecticut's Rail car replacement project and Misc Upgrades. It was approved back in 2008....you should do more research.

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