BNSF, UP train wreck in MO

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From the pictures I saw this morning, it looks like the UP train torpedoed the BNSF. It was the UP engines in a pile. Wonder how this happens in these modern times?
 

OldGuy

Member
From the pictures I saw this morning, it looks like the UP train torpedoed the BNSF. It was the UP engines in a pile. Wonder how this happens in these modern times?
I heard from a guy who lives in the area, and this wasn't the first time this has happened. There have been 3 of these T-boning incidents in the last 4 months. And oh, two of the people hurt were to have been bridesmaids at his son's wedding that day.
 

FCL2117

Member
I noticed all the birds in the video, they must have been nesting underneath the overpass.




Sent from my Vic20 using Java Moose
 

John P

Member
3 of these T-boning incidents in the last 4 months???

Do these railroads not have signals, and operators who look at them? This seems like a location where there ought to be automatic train stop hardware, like on subway systems.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
3 of these T-boning incidents in the last 4 months???

Do these railroads not have signals, and operators who look at them? This seems like a location where there ought to be automatic train stop hardware, like on subway systems.
Someone from a DCC retailer should sell them some occupancy detectors.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
3 of these T-boning incidents in the last 4 months???

Do these railroads not have signals, and operators who look at them? This seems like a location where there ought to be automatic train stop hardware, like on subway systems.
This particular crossing is an Automatic interlocking, which means there is no operator.

Automatic train stop or Positive Train Control is already the law of the land for US railroads. The system is extremely expensive and relies on equipment installed in both the locomotives and the signal system to work. Since the installation of this equipment is an ongoing process, it will have to be phased in and made operational on the most critical routes first, then to less critical routes later. I'm not sure when it will actually go live.
 

John P

Member
Well, they call it expensive and it undoubtedly is, but what do accidents like this cost? It seems basic enough to say two trains shouldn't be in the same location, or "there is another train approaching the crossing that's 2 miles in front of you".

I understand that this crossing has no local operator, but surely there are signals--with occupancy detectors.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Well, they call it expensive and it undoubtedly is, but what do accidents like this cost? It seems basic enough to say two trains shouldn't be in the same location, or "there is another train approaching the crossing that's 2 miles in front of you".

I understand that this crossing has no local operator, but surely there are signals--with occupancy detectors.
To explain how an automatic interlocking works, let's imagine two routes cross each other. One is a north-south route and the other is an east-west route. There are signals on all four sides of the diamond and a signal in each direction (usually no more than 2 miles) away from the diamond.

The section of track between the signals at the diamond is called interlocking limits and these four signals at the diamond are called interlocking signals. The signals farther away are called approach signals, but if there is no signal system on the route other than the signals at this interlocking, the approach signals would be called distant signals. There are five blocks here: one that includes the diamond (interlocking limits) and one in each direction (north, south, east and west approach blocks).

These eight signals are all connected electrically and work in the following way. Say a southbound train is approaching the interlocking and passes the southbound approach signal. As long as there are no other trains in any of the other four blocks, the signals for the southbound train's route show proceed indications while the approach signals for the opposing northbound, eastbound and westbound trains show yellow and the interlocking signals for northbound, eastbound and westbound trains show red.

If there is already a train passing through the interlocking or another train has entered one of the approach blocks first, the second train will see a yellow signal at the approach block and a red signal at the interlocking.

Just as you have suggested, these interlocking and approach/distant signals are controlled by what you and I think of as occupancy detectors. It's basically a first-come, first-serve system. If one train is there first, the other one sees a yellow signal at the approach block. By the rules governing this particular UP interlocking, the train seeing the yellow signal must approach the next signal prepared to stop and if exceeding 30 MPH, it must reduce speed below 30 MPH. If the train passed the approach signal at 25 MPH or less, or after passing the approach signal speed was reduced below 25 MPH, the train must approach the interlocking prepared to stop.

If a train is approaching an automatic interlocking and the signal system is functioning properly, and the train crew is following the rules, there shouldn't be any problems. I prefer manual interlockings, where a human controls the signals, but as long as the rules are followed, automatic interlockings work fine.
 
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John P

Member
To explain how an automatic interlocking works [let's cut to the important stuff]...
as long as the rules are followed, automatic interlockings work fine.
We know there are only two scenarios that are likely here. The equipment failed, or the train operators didn't obey the signals (and if it was that second possibility, the signals could have been manual, or automatic, or operated by the hand of God, and the crew could still have ignored them). I suppose it's conceivable that the signals were working but were obscured for some reason, but that probably wasn't it. There's sure to be an investigation, and we'll hear what the cause was.

But if the same accident has happened before at the same place, what has the problem been in the past?
 
I don't want to dispute anyone's word, but there have not been any t-bone collisions at this intersection. There have been 3 derailments since January counting this one. Two of those were UP and one BNSF if i'm not mistaken. The first was a double-stack train being blown over just west of this intersection by straight-line winds in January. Then in April on the BNSF a few covered hoppers derailed and then of course this incident. All three are listed below. Once again, not trying to make a fuss, but wanted to make sure the facts are accurate. I live about 40 minutes from this spot.

1. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1936407.html
2. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1961936.html
3. http://www.dailystatesman.com/story/1972964.html
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
I don't want to dispute anyone's word, but there have not been any t-bone collisions at this intersection. There have been 3 derailments since January counting this one. Two of those were UP and one BNSF if i'm not mistaken. The first was a double-stack train being blown over just west of this intersection by straight-line winds in January. Then in April on the BNSF a few covered hoppers derailed and then of course this incident. All three are listed below. Once again, not trying to make a fuss, but wanted to make sure the facts are accurate. I live about 40 minutes from this spot.

1. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1936407.html
2. http://www.semissourian.com/story/1961936.html
3. http://www.dailystatesman.com/story/1972964.html
Not trying to start a fight, but, story number three clearly states that the UP train hit the BNSF train .....
Sure sounds sort of maybe like a collision to me?
 
That was suppose to include 'other than this one'. The original post said there was 3 t-bones in the last several months. The first two were derailments not related to the diamond at all. Glad you are awake though. My mistake on leaving that part out :)
 

bigB

Active Member
The NTSB has had Positve Train Control on its 10 Most Wanted Safety List for several years now. Many recent accidents could have been prevented by use of this technology. Unfortunately, RRs deal in the same environment as aviation, one that I am extremely familiar with, and that is "Tombstone Regulation." That is, enough people have to die in order for Railroads and Congress to have the willpower to open their wallets to make PTC a reality. This is horrible to say, but the truth--when only 2 or 4 people (engineers & conductors of both trains) die, the blood spilt is "mininmal." Try telling that to the families of their survivors esp when the technology to save them existed but just wasnt installed. Accidents like the CSX one in Mineral Springs, NC, the BNSF coal/work train collision in Iowa, the UP collision in Goodwell,OK, and the NS accident in Graniteville,SC could all have been prevented if PTC were a reality. Unfortunately there will probably have to be a large accident with a high number of fatalities in a populated area to fast track this PTC's implementation. Sad, unfortunate, but true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGnFgDEOWSQ
 

doct0rnic

Member
No matter how many accidents there are or have been I dont believe positive train control is the answer, the same with auto pilot, that crash of an air france jet that plummeted in the Atlantic was due to the pilot not knowing how to control his plane in severe turbulence, a pilot twenty years ago could have easily gotten out of it. Same with trains, GE and EMD may try to make programs like the GE trip optimizer or the EMD Leader to drive the train all by it self but it still doesn't know how to control a train like a real person who runs the same stretch of track every day for a whole career. This accident was indeed caused by human error but one thing I have seen a lot recently is a lot of new conductors are getting promoted to engineer almost right after they were promoted conductor, I passed up the engine program because I have only been a conductor for three years and that is not enough experience for me to go right into driving trains. Also with so many of these young engineers getting promoted, a lot of them are always in a hurry and never expect the worst, my guess here is that the signal indication was not complied with, if the signal was red or not functioning than the train was supposed to proceed at restricted speed preparing to stop with in the half of range of vision short of TERMS D and not exceeding 20 mph, the problem is a lot of young engineers is they think that if your train is at restricted speed they can automatically think they can go 20 mph even though they can only see ten cars ahead of them, by rule if you can only see 10 cars of distance ahead of you, your supposed to go at a speed so you can stop with in 5 cars.
 




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