Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Insights Amtrak Train No. 188 Accident.

Noted transportation reporter, Don Phillips, in the September 2015 issue of Trains magazine shared some thoughts about engineer Brandon Bostian. Basically, it is a mystery as to what happened to have provoked Bostian's acctions on May 12, 2015. Phillips  writes that Mr. Bostian has the respect of the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. He is a "by-the-book railroader." He has cooperated fully.

The frustrating thing is that Mr. Bostian has had memory loos. He is unable to provide the whole picture.

The memory loss could have resulted from the trauma of the accident. There has been speculation by some that an undiagnosed medical condition might have been contributory. Petit mal seizure? A difficult to diagnose epileptic event? It is speculation.

The investigators, Phillips reports, have determined no problems with the track or roadbed. Bostian applied the brakes before the derailment.

Bostian's cell phone was not sending or receiving  a signal at or near the time of the accident.

Phillips wrote that the hole in the windshield was determined by the FBI to not have been a result of bullet. The investigation continues as to the cause of the windshield hole. It did not exist when the train left 30th Street Station.

Further speculation has developed around the throttle in the locomotive operated by Bostian. His previous run during his workday was in a locomotive with the throttle that was a reverse configuration.  Was there an impact to the windshield of sufficient impact to have startle and frightened Bostian to have moved the throttle the wrong direction causing him to accelerate. The capability of the locomotive's acceleration is remarkable. So, might it be determined that sequence of events was windshield damage, acceleration, temporary confusion of judgement, brake application, derailment ending with Bostian's reaction to use his cellphone to call for aid?