Monday, June 13, 2016

AMTRAK 188 NTSB Criticism by Railway Age Magazine Columnist Schanoes

Reiterating: The reason Amtrak 188 derailed is that the Northeast Corridor is a Pennsylvania Railroad line based upon 19th century civil engineering. The curve at Frankford Junction should  be reduced to one percent allowing for 90 mile per hour operation. IF it were built to 90 mile per hour standard then a 106 mile per hour mistake is not likely to cause anything more than passenger discomfort.

The Northeast Corridor is obsolete and overburdened with multiple tasks: Amtrak, transit and freight.                                                                                                                                                            
The NTSB speculates that operator distraction to a radio communication by a SEPTA crew member about being subjected to rock throwing vandalism might have contributed to the Amtrak engineer's distraction. That might be the case. It is official speculation. But, as accident investigations are much like the expression, "For the want of nail a shoe was lost, a horse was lost, a battle was lost, a kingdom was lost,"  speculation is not an investigation finding.
IF SEPTA was not sharing the railroad then there would not have been the distraction leading to over speed through a needlessly sharp curve?                                                                                       

Why is the Northeast Corridor so lacking in security that a rock throwing vandal can hit a SEPTA or any other train? That kind of vandalism has been happening for decades.

Curvature on the Northeast Corridor must be eased throughout its length.

The Northeast Corridor right of way must be secured in order to prevent vandalism,  let alone potential sabotage / terrorism.

Looking at the exchange between a columnist with the trade journal, Railway Age Magazine, one can see valid criticism of the NTSB and its Amtrak 188 investigation findings beyond this writers basic and fundamental contentions. Columnist David Schanoes has a wealth  of railroad operations and engineering knowledge. Check it out at