Monday, December 18, 2017

About today's Amtrak derailment in Washington State

[Update: The trains were not assembled in Wisconsin. Back to the important issues - - passenger rail safety, slow progress on installation of automated control systems, no federal infrastructure program promised by Trump.]

There's speculation about whether the Amtrak Cascades line train that derailed with injuries and fatalities leaving Seattle today was one of the Talgo sets 
assembled in Milwaukee but later banished for ideological reasons to the Northwest by Gov. Walker

Leading to substantial financial, development and transportation service losses to Wisconsin taxpayers.

Whether the train was assembled in Wisconsin is an interesting question, but not as important as why the train, on its first regular run on an amended route opposed for safety considerations by local governments, left the tracks:

Leaders warned of danger from new route before Amtrak derailment in Washington
The city of Lakewood sued Amtrak to stop the rerouting, and Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and some residents in the area have long voiced their concerns about the danger.
At a city meeting on Dec. 5, Anderson said he believed the trains were too close to traffic and pedestrians.
“Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,”Anderson said at the city meeting. 
We'll see if the train and the rail had the automatic, speed, braking and control systems which the government and operators have been slow to install.

Also stalled - - actually, never introduced or funded - - Trump's trillion-dollar infrastructure promised program, and after the US reasury loses money when the big tax cuts go into effect, where is that trillion dollars coming from?

I also remember from my days reporting on aviation safety and other transportation accidents that initial assumptions about causes are usually wrong, or incomplete, as these events usually begin in one area of operation and involve others before the tragedy - - the so-called 'cascading events' which would be sadly ironic on a crash involving the historic Cascades rail line.

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