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Passenger Trains > NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident


Date: 03/15/19 07:43
NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident
Author: PC1974

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Thursday its intention to hold a board meeting May 21, 2019, 1 p.m. (ET), to determine the probable cause of the Dec. 18, 2017, Amtrak accident near DuPont, Washington.

https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/ma20190414.aspx



Date: 03/15/19 08:45
Re: NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident
Author: MattW

I think we pretty much know they'll pin 100% of the blame on the lack of PTC, and maybe half-heartedly mention the training wasn't the best. If they say otherwise, I'll be shocked.



Date: 03/15/19 13:00
Re: NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident
Author: knotch8

Agreed.  NTSB seems to have moved away from personal responsibility and decided that everything can be prevented by technology.

I keep trying to think of how many hundreds of thousands of trains successfully made it around the curve at Frankford Junction, PA, in northeast Philadelphia between the time it was built as the Junction Railroad in 1867 and the night of Train 188's derailment in 2015.  There was one derailment on the curve but it was the result of a burned-off journal, not speed.  There were 148 years of heavy main-line traffic, both freight and passenger, around that curve, and there wasn't a single speed-caused derailment until 2015.  

The NTSB says PTC would have prevented Train 188's derailment.  Probably would have.  It would have prevented the DuPont, WA, derailment, too. But PTC is costing roughly $20 billion to install and will cost millions each year to maintain.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 102 people died in highway accidents each and every day in 2016, but we're not spending $20 billion to prevent that carnage.  



Date: 03/15/19 14:02
Re: NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident
Author: jst3751

knotch8 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Agreed.  NTSB seems to have moved away from
> personal responsibility and decided that
> everything can be prevented by technology.

What some people don't get or refuse to accept is that it is not the way of the NTSB, or this agency or that agency. It is the way we as a society are being led to by the legal system. Most people do not have deep pockets, but corporations and government does. (per se') So a lawyer goes after the system saying well if this software was in place of if that fence was there or yadda yadda, then Mr Jones would not have been able to do something to get himself killed.

It is just like the lawsuit filed in Orange County CA. A wife is suing Metrolink because the train did not stop before hitting and killing her husband. Never mind the fact they were trespassing and crossing the tracks illegally.



Date: 03/15/19 17:08
Re: NTSB News Release - DuPont Accident
Author: justalurker66

knotch8 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Agreed.  NTSB seems to have moved away from personal
> responsibility and decided that everything can be prevented
> by technology.

Not really. When a cause can be found they will name it - but their focus is on prevention. PTC is a decent (not foolproof, but decent) preventative tool.

Why did 188 accelerate into that curve? We will never know. But what we do know that if the existing train control system would have been working in both directions the accident would not have happened. And if PTC was working the accident would not happened.

We have a fairly good indication of what caused the accident at DuPont. I expect plenty of blame will be placed on people. But we also know that working PTC would have prevented the accident.

Cayce will be an interesting report. The accident occurred during work being done to install PTC. Would working PTC have prevented Cayce? Technically, yes. But when one factors in the element of "what happens when PTC isn't working". Once PTC is ubiquitous in a couple of years we will have further accidents and the emphasis will move from "why has PTC not been installed?" to "why did PTC not prevent this?". In the case of Cayce, PTC was not functional - Why PTC was not function is an easy question to answer. The NTSB will need to focus on what to do when PTC is not functioning. And continue to make recommendations on how to prevent recurrence.



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