Investigators probing last week's Los Angeles train crash, which saw a Metrolink commuter train crash headlong into a Union Pacific freight locomotive, killing 25 and injuring 135, are probing the possibility that the commuter train driver may have been "distracted by text messaging moments before the crash". The Metrolink train …
An investigation may be needed ,,,
... but it would probably be more productive to investigate WHY the operating company had failed to implement elementary safety precautions.
If a driver goes through a red light, it should be detected and the train stopped safely, using means that does NOT depend on the driver.
Such a system is implemented on numerous other railways, and is therefore presumably both generally available, tried and trusted.
Trainspotting is hazardous to health: official
" usually stops to wait for the freight train to pass it on a side rail"
Regardless of what the light says or the driver is doing, surely he must have thought "hey, the freighter has passed yet"
Jesus wept, do people not think for themselves anymore?
Killer mobile phones
I expect they will find that the conductor failed to call the engineer (who was busy texting), because he was busy perusing iPr0n on his iPh0ne.
I hate those tiny screens meself. Microscopic images and low resolution, a lose-lose proposition.
@ Harry - ATP - Automatic Train Protection
ATP is probably what your thinking of (at least in the UK). It is implemented in various places, but a lot of the UK (I can't say how much as I haven't looked at this for a few years) doesn't have it because it's very expensive. It is often available as part of wider signalling systems.
In the UK the terminology for trains passing red lights is a SPAD incident - "Signal Passed at Danger".
It is unfortunate in the extreme but not surprising that ATP does not seem to have been fitted in this case (or at least it wasn't working). (Reason for sad face).
Professional freight trainmen, at least here in the US, are scared of the commuter train guys - for this very reason. Their just not as safe as the freight guys.
ATP isn't the only solution
ATP is expensive, yes, but it looks like either AWS (introduced in 1950s and prototyped on GWR even before that) or TPWS (introduced much more recently, as a cheap stop-gap before ATP) could have prevented this accident.
Based on the evidence presently available, of course.
Personally, I think ATP is overkill except for very fast express trains. AWS combined with TPWS is much cheaper, and more than sufficient for typical US line speeds.
So what if driver has a heart attack...
Somehow I think a system that can't handle such an eventuality without taking out dozens of people needs rethinking...
'fraid not - Darwin Award rules state "Killing others: The death of innocent bystanders absolutely rules out a Darwin Award."
@ATP isn't the only solution By Jonathan Morton
I, for once, welcome our new acronym wielding overlords....
Re:So what if driver has a heart attack...
If memory serves (and the information is fairly old) I vaguely remember that the SNCF (the french railways) has/had a simple buzzer system :- buzzer sounds at irregular intervals, engineer has to press a flashing button. If the button is not pressed in a pre-determined time, the power is cut and the emergency brakes automatically applied.
I feel astonished that in the 21st century we haven't got more efficient safety systems than relying on a person to see a red light and take action. Or am I being naive?
human error or lack of spending...
maybe we should go back to the old stye signal with arms on, and when at red make it swing very low with a big water filled ballon, right in front of the cab window, that may get the drivers attention....
Sorry but I cant see how *any* rail network can be allowed to operate where passenger safety is dependent on a guy pressing the brakes at a red light, simple electronics can be fitted to do this to ever train for less than a thousand dollars easily, and more like 200 dollars if done on the cheap.
all it needs is for the red light to power a pulsing IR source like as simple as a remote control for the TV, chipset cost $1, recevier chipset on front of train, $1, electronics, $5, big motor to press on brake pedal or relay to shut off power, $10...............
Better still have it connected to the orange/green, and put emitters every mile, no signal no movement. unless an overide button is pressed every 30 seconds.
Am I missing something here or what..........