Posts Tagged ‘DuPont derailment’

Amtrak To Test, Train on Point Defiance Route

December 7, 2018

Amtrak will be conducting training and testing this month on the Point Defiance Bypass in Washington State.

The runs will be conducted during both daytime and nighttime hours at speeds of up to 79 p.m. on Dec. 8 and between Dec. 15 and 16.

The route extends between Tacoma and DuPont and passes through Lakewood.

Amtrak plans to begin scheduled service on the route next spring.

The passenger carrier had started service over the Point Defiance Bypass in late 2017, but on Dec. 18, the first day of service, Cascades Service train 501 derailed on a curve near DuPont.

Investigators have said the train was traveling too fast at the time of the derailment, which left three dead.

Attorney Says Cascade Trainset Was Defective

June 8, 2018

An attorney representing a passenger injured in the December 2017 derailment of an Amtrak Cascades Service train is claiming that the trainset involved in the crash had electrical problems that prevented it from braking properly.

Attorney Jim Vucinovik said he learned of the problem from a whistleblower.

“Amtrak knew that there was an electrical failure of that trainset before it was put into service that morning,” Vuconovik said. “There was a shutdown between the head-end locomotive and the rear locomotive, which are normally linked electronically. Rather than fix that, or get to the root cause of that problem, they de-linked that rear unit which then meant that the rear locomotive unit was not available for braking and/or throttle effect.”

Three passengers were killed in the derailment near DuPont, Washington, and more than 60 others were injured.

A preliminary findings of the National Transportation Safety Board was that the train was traveling at more than twice the posted speed limit just before reaching the curve where it derailed.

Amtrak Employees Say Training Was Inadequate

January 30, 2018

Cable news channel CNN has reported that some Amtrak engineers and conductors raised concerns about the lack of adequate training before the passenger carrier launched revenue service on a new route in Washington state last month.

The report said that during practice runs some trainees rode backward, which prevented them from seeing landmarks that they could use to identify locations where they would need to reduce speed.

The training runs were also conducted at night, the employees said, because construction workers were rushing to finish work on the Point Defiance bypass during the day.

The news broke in the wake of a Dec. 18 derailment near DePont, Washington, of a Portland-bound Cascades train in which three passengers were killed.

The derailment occurred on the first day of revenue service on the Point Defiance bypass via Tacoma, Washington.

A preliminary National Transportation Board report has indicated that the train was traveling twice the speed limit that it should have been going into a 30-mph curve.

Other news outlets also have reported that some Amtrak employees have said the carrier lacks a good safety culture and that they did not receive enough training on the new route.

A former Amtrak conductor described the safety culture as virtually non-existent.

“If you talk about safety to your manager you’re punished,” said Michael Callanan, who worked at Amtrak for nine years and is now a railroad safety consultant. He said the lack of training at Amtrak has been going on for as long as he can remember.

Callanan said conductors should do at least three to five roundtrip runs of the route to become familiar with it and those trips need to be done during daylight hours.

The NTSB has said that the engineer of the train that derailed did not feel that he had enough training on the new route. The agency has said it will examine the training that Amtrak employees received as part of its investigation.

Amtrak has not responded to new media requests to comment on its training and safety programs.