Metrolink tragedy

September 16, 2008 at 3:55 am Leave a comment

Last Friday’s head-on collision between a Metrolink train and a Union Pacific freight train shows that we are still a 3rd world country when comes to our railroads.

Generally, a lot of people think heavier is better. In the previous Metrolink collision three years ago in Glendale, a cab car was leading the train. As a result of that tragedy, there has been attempts by some people to ban the use of cab cars, with the belief that the accident would be less severe if a heavier locomotive were leading that train. However, this accident shows that, due to the strength and the weight of the locomotives, the locomotives would essentially transfer the energy to the next railcar rather than to absorb it. That next car was where most fatality occurred when it was pushed into the Metrolink locomotive by its momentum.

Also, this collision appears to be preventable. For a head on collision to happen, or for any collision between trains on the same track, someone must have ignored signals. Unlike driving an automobile, train signals (like regular traffic lights by the tracks) determine how fast trains should go. Train signals are to be observed strictly. More advanced railroads (including the Northeast Corridor) deploy an automatic system where the train would stop if the engineer violates a train signal. As a part of the electrification program, Caltrain is currently investigating some form of positive train control that would be built on top of the current system. Such system would prevent train to train collisions.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

New Caltrain cars Caltrain safety awareness continued

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This site is created for Caltrain riders, fans and advocates. It not affiliated with Caltrain.
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