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Old 18 December 2017, 03:35 PM
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Ambulance Amtrak Train Derails Onto I5 in Washington State

Developing story here.


Apparently this just happened, despite the fact that the accompanying photo shows nighttime.
I'm sure the sun is up in Washington State by now.
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  #2  
Old 18 December 2017, 04:16 PM
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Since its a developing story, this is just a guess, but its probably train 501 (The Cascades). If it left on time this morning, it would have left Seattle at 6:00 AM. The story indicates it traveled about 50 miles.

I'm not certain what the track speed on that particular stretch is, but assuming its around 40 MPH and the train wasn't speeding, it seems likely the sun would have just been just starting to come up at the time of the accident.

Another report indicated casualties. I hope they were few in number.

~Psihala

Edit: Just took a look at the pictures in the tweet. It is the Cascades train. It uses equipment made by Talgo. Those cars are shorter than a standard passenger car, much lighter, are single level, and are 'tilt-technology' -- i.e. they lean into the corners regardless of the presence of super-elevated track. It appears at least one of the cars is laying on the roadway.

Last edited by Psihala; 18 December 2017 at 04:25 PM.
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  #3  
Old 18 December 2017, 04:27 PM
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And there are confirmed fatalities. 'Multiple fatalities' after Amtrak train derails near Olympia
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Old 18 December 2017, 04:30 PM
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Yikes.

Several rail lines pass through my hometown. A mile or two of one line runs along what used to be a canal towpath, back when part of the Cuyahoga River served as part of the Ohio Canal system. The river passes through a narrow ravine in the middle of town, and the former towpath is essentially a ledge that runs along the east side of the ravine, maybe 1/3 of the way down.

When I was kid, a train on that track derailed, and multiple RR cars fell into the river, including several auto carriers filled with brand new cars. I remember going down to the river's edge and watching cranes lift cars (RR cars and autos) out of the river.
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  #5  
Old 18 December 2017, 06:38 PM
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Yes, it is the 501.

The Sheriff's department has not released any data concerning fatalities, so I'm not sure where the AP is getting its information. I'm following King 5 on twitter, and there have been no confirmed mentions of fatalities (I'm not saying there weren't any, just that none have been officially announced).

The Donald tweeted about this. Gov. Inslee has declared an emergency.

And the frosting on the cake? On I-5 northbound, at the entrance to the express lanes in Seattle, a Semi hit a post, killing the driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
I'm not certain what the track speed on that particular stretch is,
The train is estimated to have been going 81 MPH. It was the first run on the new route.

Quote:
Another report indicated casualties. I hope they were few in number.
From numbers given in tweets as being taken to the hospital, at least 55 people injured.

Seaboe
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  #6  
Old 19 December 2017, 02:03 PM
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Sounds like the train was flying! Those poor passengers! It's bad enough when a train derails, but to see a car (any type of car) hanging over a bridge is especially scary. Once wrong move and the whole thing could fall.
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  #7  
Old 19 December 2017, 02:12 PM
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News from this morning.

NTSB confirmed train speed. The speed limit at that corner is 30 mph. I-5 is still closed. Number of dead seems to be 3 (all from the train; no one on the ground was killed).

Seaboe
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Old 19 December 2017, 03:57 PM
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For reference, the highest permitted speed on the new route is 79mph. But, as Seaboe says, that curve has a 30mph limit. I heard on the radio, I think, that there are warning signs before the curve as well.

We will be hearing a lot more about positive train control and driver error for a while. (They have not ruled out mechanical issues, but I suspect that will not be the media focus.)
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Old 19 December 2017, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
For reference, the highest permitted speed on the new route is 79mph. But, as Seaboe says, that curve has a 30mph limit. I heard on the radio, I think, that there are warning signs before the curve as well.

We will be hearing a lot more about positive train control and driver error for a while. (They have not ruled out mechanical issues, but I suspect that will not be the media focus.)
Seems like a fair possibility. It would be interesting to know, for example, if they had been accustomed to making that turn at "full speed" when it was a 40 mph route and that fell within the safety margin for the turn. Old habits and all that...
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  #10  
Old 19 December 2017, 06:54 PM
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One of the early statements noted (by Amtrak, IIRC) that a control which would automatically slow the train down was not engaged. Whether it hadn't yet been turned on or deliberately turned off was not specified. ETA: I just read an article that noted that the system is part of the tracks, not the train.

I-5 is still closed and projected to be so through tomorrow morning (according to WSDOT's twitter feed).

86 people on the train; 3 known dead, 72 injured (some of those were on the ground).

ETA: They keep talking about Lakeview warning this was an accident waiting to happen--however, if you read about the City's reservations, they concerned level crossings within the city.

ASL, the tracks belong to a local system. Except for high speed tests, Amtrak had not run this route before.

Seabpe
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  #11  
Old 20 December 2017, 05:14 PM
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It came out yesterday that one of those killed was part of the local sf fannish community - he attended and worked on tech at Norwescon, and was a member of the SCA - in addition to being a big train & transit buff. He'd worked for Pierce Transit in Tacoma for years in their IT department. This inaugural trip was undoubtedly a thrill for him and his buddy (who'd been best man at his wedding), who sadly was also killed. I did not know either of them personally, but many of my friends did and are grieving this loss.
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