Karl`s PC Help Forums

Another Amtrak Train Incident, This Time 2 Passenger Cars Separated
JackInCT - 8-2-2018 at 01:33

This occurred Tuesday 02/06/18

(ABC News) — Two cars on an Amtrak train carrying dozens of passengers from Washington, D.C., to Boston separated Tuesday morning, the railroad corporation said in a statement.

Acela Express train No. 2150 experienced a “mechanical issue,” which caused two of the train’s cars to separate, according to Amtrak.

None of the 52 passengers, nor any of the crew, were injured during the incident, Amtrak said.

Katzy - 8-2-2018 at 12:42

Don't they do "Belt and braces" couplings? Even if a train does split, here, all the brakes go on and go on HARD.

Some of what I've seen, with regard to your railways, seems rather kinda third world, to me. I wonder why that should be...

JackInCT - 8-2-2018 at 15:22

Originally posted by Katzy
Some of what I've seen, with regard to your railways, seems rather kinda third world, to me. I wonder why that should be...

You're right and that was very likely what happened; the news article was either written by an amateur journalist (1st choice), or the author of the press release which the AP journalist basically c & p'ed, & didn't know, and didn't care to find out (2nd choice).

The pix for the non-RR railfans on this site shows a "broken knuckle" that occurred in transit at track speed. Not a common occurrence but not unheard of either.

Hard to believe something that massive can fail!

Note the brown area on the remaining part of the coupler on the car; that shows that there was already a crack, and a sizeable one, but perhaps hairline in width, but it was wide enough to allow rust conditions to occur. There's no way of telling just how long this problem had been existence and I don't know of any 'early warning' preventative maintenance that would have spotted it.

At the level of a complete guess I don't think that when the part is manufactured there is an x-ray/ultra sound done to detect flaws; ditto re the rail manufacturing process. Rail is subject to expansion and contraction issues that can result in a very sizeable separation of the two broken sections; there a handful of pixs on railpictures of a freight train proceeding at a very slow speed over a KNOWN section of track where the rail has cracked & separated--what could go wrong????

scholar - 8-2-2018 at 22:41

Originally posted by Katzy
Some of what I've seen, with regard to your railways, seems rather kinda third world, to me. I wonder why that should be...

The long-distance U.S. transportation system is patchwork. Most of it is highway traffic, funded by taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, and throw in some toll roads. Buses are the cheapest transportation for those who don't own cars.

Air transportation is widely used by people who want to get somewhere quickly, for business or for vacations--who wants to use up much of their vacation time just covering miles to get there? It is tricky to make a profit when planes and jet fuel are so expensive and weather problems can mess you up. Some airlines have gone bankrupt. But, at least they are not on direct money subsidy from the government.

Amtrak is the U.S. government-subsidized passenger train system. It operates at a loss, but we keep pouring money into it. It does not have economy of scale. Over-the-road and through-the-air are each beating it, in terms of economics, based on the factor of what people are willing to pay for which transportation product.

I don't think there are great numbers of people and investors working to improve long-distance passenger rail service in the U.S., in a way that will make it economically viable.

Perhaps Jack has some knowledge in this area, too, to share.

LSemmens - 8-2-2018 at 23:38

Rail for bulk freight over long distances is still economical, however, the handling, to and from the railhead is where costs blow out making it "cheaper" to use dedicated trucks for the entire journey.

scholar - 9-2-2018 at 01:40

In the U.S., freight trains are commonly more economical than trucks for long hauls. I think the exceptions include smaller loads (you need a lot of product to fill a train, not so much for a truck) and perishable foods.

Katzy - 9-2-2018 at 10:56

Heck. Those couplings haven't been used, here, for ages, if they're the old "Buckeye" ones, as that pic suggests.

However, even if we still had those, if a train split, the brake hoses would separate, making the brakes come on.