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Old 13 April 2015, 08:02 PM
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WildaBeast WildaBeast is online now
 
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Default 20 Years Later, Sabotage Of Amtrak's Sunset Limited Still A Mystery

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The mystery goes back 20 years.
It was an ordinary, cross-country train trip back in 1995: Amtrak's Sunset Limited passenger train, bound for Los Angeles from Miami.
The train never reached its destination: It was sabotaged, derailed in the Arizona desert.
http://www.npr.org/2015/04/12/399159...till-a-mystery
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Old 13 April 2015, 10:24 PM
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Kallah Kallah is offline
 
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Oh wow, I hadn't even heard of the 1995 derailment, despite having looked pretty deeply into the 1993 crash in Alabama. Such destruction and loss of life three years apart, that's just a damn shame.
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Old 13 April 2015, 10:36 PM
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Psihala Psihala is offline
 
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It would have been nice if someone who knew anything about how trains work had written the article - or at least checked it for accuracy.

Quote:
Passenger Neal Hallford was jolted awake by a horrific sound: the train's brakes screaming up ahead.
The brakes, when applied, are applied on every wheel set in the consist. He would have heard the brakes throughout the car as they would have been applied to both trucks at the same moment.

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Along with the notes, railroad spikes had been removed and left by the track. Whoever did this overrode the railroad's safety system so the train conductor had no idea what was coming.
Two things:

- The signal system isn't going to detect an out of alignment rail, or the fact that spikes have been pulled. A broken rail or separated rail would trigger the signals if no other action is taken to compensate for the break. Turning the rail over won't necessarily break the wire that provides continuity for the track circuits.

- On a passenger train, the conductor rides in the cars. He or she can't see the track ahead in any event. Only the engineer and forward brakeman would have seen anything amiss if there was anything to see, and such a thing would be difficult to detect from a locomotive cab at 1:30 in the morning in the middle of the desert.

Quote:
"They had tampered with the tracks. And it was done in such a way that someone knew how to derail a train."
If what he was trying to say was that whoever did it, knew what they were doing (as in "knew how railroad systems worked"), maybe, maybe not.

Maybe whoever it was took their inspiration from another unsolved deliberate act of sabotage from 1939: the derailment of the City of San Francisco of August 12.

~Psihala

Last edited by Psihala; 13 April 2015 at 10:51 PM.
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