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Thread: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tom_Turner's Avatar
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    Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    This is an interesting story....

    http://cbs2.com/local/Metrolink.Enginee ... 17045.html

    Apparently the engineer of the passenger train sent a text message to teenage rail fans just prior to a deadly collision with a freight train.

    Metrolink is now claiming the engineer ran a red signal.

    The inference, all but explicitly stated, appears to be the engineer may have been sending a text message to rail fans *while* he ran the red signal, leading to the disaster.

    I hope the circumstances are somewhat different than what is suggested here, but if not, its a real black eye to the hobby, albeit undeserved in the larger picture.

    Tom
    "Keep 'em Flying"

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    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Sad if that's the case, but we'll see. The most amazing part of this to me is how quick Metrolink threw all the blame onto this guy, basically admitting they are completely liable before any detailed investigation could be done.
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by GothamSpotter
    Sad if that's the case, but we'll see. The most amazing part of this to me is how quick Metrolink threw all the blame onto this guy, basically admitting they are completely liable before any detailed investigation could be done.
    Like any aviation crash is always "pilot error".

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    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    I don't think the trainspotting aspect of this crash is important. The problem is just that he was texting in general. It doesn't matter to who it was.

    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    >[quote="Phil D."]I don't think the trainspotting aspect of this crash is important. The problem is just that he was texting in general. It doesn't matter to who it was.<

    Wasnt there a train crash in Boston recently and possibly the engineer was also txting?
    A friend of my youngest son, only 17, was killed last spring up on Glen Cove Road when his car collided with a truck. Reportedly he was texting at the time.

  6. #6
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Texting is more dangerous than a phone call when driving because you are taking your eyes off the road. I like buttons I can feel so I can type without looking though.
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    I was surprised to here on a replay of a Press conferance that a Metrolink spokesperson said the Engineer was not an employee but a contractor who worked for another company. Unless that other company was the railroad, (I assume Union Pacific) Who's track Metrolink was operating on then I have serious concerns about this. I have lot of friends who are with the LIRR and a few at Metronorth and I know they would never contract out a job that important. The training the above mentioned local Railroads requires to become an Engineer, Conductor, and Block Operator for example rival's and reminds me the training to be an airline pilot or FAA controller. I just could not imagine contracting that poistion out. I have also read reports the train crew was 2 people. I would think there would be 2 in the cab of the Diesel locomotive and at least 2 conductors in the three bi-level coaches. The eight car Metronorth trains I ride a few days a week usually have 3 or 4 conductors plus one engineer, as these don't have an actual locomotive. A crew of only two seems like cutting corners big time.

    As this was the second fatal accident in only a few years at Metrolink I would not be surprised when the dust settles as there are not required changes in their procedures.

    RIP to those lost in this tragedy.

    LGA777

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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Did a little more reseach, this is the actualy huge French company Metrolink's train crews work for

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veolia_Transportation

    And the two previous fatal accidents killed two in 2002 with 22 injuries, also a head on with a freight train and a very serious one in Jan 2005 killing 11 and injuring over 100.

    By comparison I cannot recall or find record of accidents in the last 10-20 years on either Metronorth or the LIRR, but If I am wrong please correct me?

    LGA777

  9. #9
    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by LGA777
    I was surprised to here on a replay of a Press conferance that a Metrolink spokesperson said the Engineer was not an employee but a contractor who worked for another company. Unless that other company was the railroad, (I assume Union Pacific) Who's track Metrolink was operating on then I have serious concerns about this. I have lot of friends who are with the LIRR and a few at Metronorth and I know they would never contract out a job that important. The training the above mentioned local Railroads requires to become an Engineer, Conductor, and Block Operator for example rival's and reminds me the training to be an airline pilot or FAA controller. I just could not imagine contracting that poistion out.
    It is similar to being a pilot in that you do need a Federal license to operate a train anywhere in the National Rail Network, so I'm not sure training really comes into play here even if he was a subcontractor. After all, all of the nation's freight trains are run by private companies big and small. Unfortunately training and experience do not teach common sense, as we saw with the Staten Island Ferry wreck


    As this was the second fatal accident in only a few years at Metrolink I would not be surprised when the dust settles as there are not required changes in their procedures.
    The last one was because of that psychopath who parked his truck on the tracks to kill himself and then changed his mind without moving the truck. He was actually sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms just a couple of weeks ago.
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by GothamSpotter
    Sad if that's the case, but we'll see. The most amazing part of this to me is how quick Metrolink threw all the blame onto this guy, basically admitting they are completely liable before any detailed investigation could be done.
    Just as amazing is how quickly the train spotting buddies all threw this engineer onto the tracks, pun intended, saying he texted them and yet saying he's not at fault.


    A terrible event.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

  11. #11
    Senior Member Planesntrains's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    A railfanning topic! Something I can get into. Basically in the trackside community we're griping on two completely different soapboxes.

    Number one...the kids are freaking morons. It was in fact the teenage railfans who went to the press about the engineer's activity at the time of the incident. It's bad enough they threw him under the train, somewhat literally, but what makes it worse is the guy died in it all. They basically bought tickets to you know what on the poor guy's grave before he was even buried. What are friends for...right? :roll:

    However, secondly...the engineer was indeed at fault. The Federal Railroad Administration has made it clear, the signal system was working properly, as were the trainline (air brakes), emergency systems, and radio. It was simply human error. He was distracted, failed to see a stop signal, and caused a disaster. In railroading...there is no higher cardinal sin.

    Long story short, the kids need to keep their mouths shut, and the crew their eyes on the rails.

    Oh, and yes. Metrolink crews do not work for Metrolink or the host railroads. They work for Bombardier Rail Services. GO Transit in Toronto recently began the same. They've been nothing but problems all around.
    Cheers,
    Matt, W2MJR

    Rookie Planespotter/Veteran Railfan
    "The movie should have been called Planes, Trains, & More Planes and Trains! Danged stupid automobiles!" -Anonymous

  12. #12
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    On the NYC subways, if a train goes through the red signal, the brakes automatically lock. And I mean LOCK. What are the emergency functions on the other trains?
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil D.
    On the NYC subways, if a train goes through the red signal, the brakes automatically lock. And I mean LOCK. What are the emergency functions on the other trains?
    I saw on the news this morning that the Acela trains have this feature. To put it on most commuter trains, it would cost something like $50 billion. So they said the cost outweighed the benefit.

  14. #14
    Administrator PhilDernerJr's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    Isn't that cost split up among the many many train companies that are out there?

    $50 billion is definitely more important than saving lives and preventing what seems like regular light-running anyway, right?
    Email me anytime at [email protected].

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    Moderator Matt Molnar's Avatar
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    Re: Trainspotting leads to Rail Disaster?

    [quote=flyboy 28]
    Quote Originally Posted by "Phil D.":qrgxfo4p
    On the NYC subways, if a train goes through the red signal, the brakes automatically lock. And I mean LOCK. What are the emergency functions on the other trains?
    I saw on the news this morning that the Acela trains have this feature. To put it on most commuter trains, it would cost something like $50 billion. So they said the cost outweighed the benefit.[/quote:qrgxfo4p]
    Yep, most commuter and long-distance trains, including LIRR and MNRR, have nothing.
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem.
    All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control.
    I trust you are not in too much distress. —Captain Eric Moody, British Airways Flight 9

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