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Metro-North Engineer Was Dozing Just Before Train Derailment, Sources Say
dnainfo ^ | December 3, 2013 | By Murray Weiss

Posted on 12/03/2013 9:09:57 AM PST by Hojczyk

MANHATTAN — Investigators believe the motorman at the controls in the deadly Metro-North Railroad derailment in the Bronx Sunday dozed off for a few fateful moments and woke up too late to stop the speeding train from hurtling off the tracks, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Veteran engineer William Rockefeller all but admitted he was falling asleep as the train came roaring to a curved section of track north of Spuyten Duyvil in statements made shortly after four people were killed and dozens were injured in the wreck, sources said.

He apparently woke up just as the train, traveling at 82 mph, was heading into a precarious curve that called for the train's speed to be reduced to just 30 mph.

As the train entered the curve, sources said, Rockefeller was jolted from his sleep and hit the brake, but not in time. The cars derailed, and several careened onto their sides before grinding to a halt on the edge of the Harlem River. Four people were killed, three of whom were thrown out of the cars, and more than 60 others were injured.

(Excerpt) Read more at dnainfo.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mta; rail; trainwreck

1 posted on 12/03/2013 9:09:57 AM PST by Hojczyk
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To: Hojczyk

If memory serves, this is similar to the Statin Island Ferry crash when the motorman was ‘dozing’. From alcohol I think.

Good they did the blood test just to be sure...


2 posted on 12/03/2013 9:11:40 AM PST by Paulie
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To: Hojczyk
I read that the Metro-North trains are supposedly equipped with Automatic Train Control.

Maybe the line's maintenance isn't so good?

3 posted on 12/03/2013 9:13:06 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Hojczyk

The problem with trains is you don’t have to steer.
Steering helps keep you awake in a road vehicle.
This is not a new problem.

I will say it was enjoyable watching yesterday’s presser that as soon as Shuck Chumer grabbed the mike, Fox went back to studio.


4 posted on 12/03/2013 9:13:12 AM PST by nascarnation (Wish everyone see a "Gay Kwanzaa")
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To: Hojczyk

The lawyers who will be filing the wrongful death lawsuits just love to hear stuff like this.


5 posted on 12/03/2013 9:13:36 AM PST by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Farmer Dean

It’s lawyers’ fault that government employees sleep on the job?


6 posted on 12/03/2013 9:16:02 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Hojczyk

Waiting for the union to claim over worked / under paid engineers as the cause in 5...4...3...2...


7 posted on 12/03/2013 9:16:51 AM PST by llevrok (Obama 2008 : "If you vote for me, aaaaaa, you can keep your country")
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To: Hojczyk

I read he was doing 82 mph going into a 30 mph turn.

“Ridin’ that train, high on cocaine,
Casey Jones, you’d better watch your speed!”


8 posted on 12/03/2013 9:17:39 AM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Paulie

If I don’t get enough sleep and then have to get up early, the time from about 7 to 8:30 AM is the absolute toughest for me to stay away and be functional.


9 posted on 12/03/2013 9:20:28 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Farmer Dean

With all the tech available there should be a way to limit the speeds especially around corners.


10 posted on 12/03/2013 9:24:17 AM PST by refermech
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To: nascarnation

>>>The problem with trains is you don’t have to steer.
Steering helps keep you awake in a road vehicle.
This is not a new problem.<<<

We should be able to trust the ridiculously overpaid union members to stay awake.

But since we can’t, they ought to put some sort of system in where the enigneer is required to push some sort of button or combination of numbers every 30 seconds or so, just to prove he is awake and at the controls, or an extremely loud alarm goes off, while a video of him sleeping is recorded, to be used at his termination hearing.


11 posted on 12/03/2013 9:26:16 AM PST by Above My Pay Grade (The people have the right to tell government what guns it may possess, not the other way around.)
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To: nascarnation

They need rumble strips on those tracks to wake them up!


12 posted on 12/03/2013 9:26:58 AM PST by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; me = independent conservative)
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To: Mr. Lucky
I think you misunderstood me.Admissions of negligence by the engineer make the lawyer's job a cakewalk.
13 posted on 12/03/2013 9:28:57 AM PST by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Above My Pay Grade

Apparently the good people of New York did not see fit to install the simple systems that would prevent such disasters.


14 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:13 AM PST by nascarnation (Wish everyone see a "Gay Kwanzaa")
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To: Hojczyk
In the 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash (that killed 11 and injured 71), the ferry pilot had been taking a painkiller that made him drowsy:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg promptly announced that the crash was an accident, allaying fears of a public still stunned by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed a large number of Staten Island residents.

A co-worker claimed to have seen the pilot asleep on duty, slumped over the controls. Two witnesses said the boat seemed to speed up just before the crash. The ferry's pilot, Richard Smith, attempted suicide by slitting his left wrist while still on the boat. He then slipped away so suddenly that he left his house keys. He was found shortly afterwards at home, having apparently broken in. Smith had again tried to kill himself, this time by shooting himself twice in the chest with a pellet gun, but survived this second suicide attempt.

It was later determined that Smith had lost consciousness while at the ship's controls. He had taken the painkillers tramadol and Tylenol PM, both of which can cause drowsiness as a side effect. The city rules required two pilots to be present during docking, but this rule had not been enforced by the management of the ferry service, and Smith had been alone in the pilot house. On August 4, 2004, Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on January 10, 2006. New York's former city ferry director, Patrick Ryan, who had also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was sentenced to a year and a day on similar charges.

The accident resulted in scores of lawsuits against the city. As of September 2008, the city had paid $54.3 million to the victims and their families, with other lawsuits pending.


15 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:18 AM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: nascarnation

Schumer is available for funerals and pool closings!


16 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:19 AM PST by Dr. Ursus
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To: nascarnation

Schumer is available for funerals and pool closings!


17 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:22 AM PST by Dr. Ursus
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To: Above My Pay Grade
From wiki

In most modern locomotives, an "alerter" is used. This system, based on vigilance control works by alerting the engineer with a buzz or bell every few minutes or so. If the engineer does not push a button on the driver's console, the "alerter" system will automatically put the train into a penalty brake application (a full service application). To acknowledge the alert and thus prevent penalty brake application, the engineer reaches down to press the button and reset the system. Most major railroads in the United States and abroad use this system both in their freight and passenger operations. Older locomotives produced before 1995 do not carry this feature, but given the modular nature of the system it is not uncommon to find them retrofitted.

18 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:22 AM PST by Roccus
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To: nascarnation

Schumer is available for funerals and pool closings!


19 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:23 AM PST by Dr. Ursus
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To: refermech
"...With all the tech available there should be a way to limit the speeds especially around corners..."

But...but...what about the union jobs? Let's see, life saving automation which might impact human jobs, or...Human jobs.

Hmmm. Difficult decision.

20 posted on 12/03/2013 9:29:23 AM PST by rlmorel ("A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral." A. Hamilton)
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To: refermech

as he alone in the cab?I thought there were always two operators in a locomotive.


21 posted on 12/03/2013 9:30:16 AM PST by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Farmer Dean
as he alone in the cab?I thought there were always two operators in a locomotive.

I used to ride these trains (New Haven Line into Metro North 1974 - 1981). These cars came into service about 1975. They are more like subway cars than locomotive and cars.

22 posted on 12/03/2013 9:33:33 AM PST by llevrok (Obama 2008 : "If you vote for me, aaaaaa, you can keep your country")
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To: nascarnation

>>>Apparently the good people of New York did not see fit to install the simple systems that would prevent such disasters.<<<

Probably can’t afford them, when they pay conductors (tiket takers) $150,000 to $200,000 or more per year for a job far less demanding than the French Fry station at McDonald’s.

Until they were recently busted, over 90% of those same overpaid ticket takers were retiring fraudulently on “disability” and getting a big increase in retirement benefits.


23 posted on 12/03/2013 9:35:53 AM PST by Above My Pay Grade (The people have the right to tell government what guns it may possess, not the other way around.)
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To: Paladin2
“I read that the Metro-North trains are supposedly equipped with Automatic Train Control.
Maybe the line's maintenance isn't so good? “

I would think that train engineers, at this point in time, should be the second-level of safety and control - not the first. There should be no way that that train should be capable of getting anywhere near that curve at that speed. There should be sensors along the track that monitor speed, and an auto-feedback that adjusts speed if inappropriate for that section of track.

24 posted on 12/03/2013 9:51:32 AM PST by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: Hojczyk

“Dozing” hung over?
“Dozing” high?
Help me out here.


25 posted on 12/03/2013 9:55:11 AM PST by servo1969
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To: Hojczyk

The Washington Metro trains are run by computer with human operators essentially as backup. A good idea, considering the quality of the human train operators.


26 posted on 12/03/2013 9:57:55 AM PST by jumpingcholla34
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To: pieceofthepuzzle
"There should be sensors along the track that monitor speed, and an auto-feedback that adjusts speed if inappropriate for that section of track. "

My understanding is that is roughly what ATC is supposed to do.

27 posted on 12/03/2013 10:33:32 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Hojczyk

For what other reason than the fact that the train operator is a union member and democrat voter do we even have human operators on trains anymore?


28 posted on 12/03/2013 10:37:30 AM PST by IamConservative (The soul of my lifes journey is Liberty!)
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To: refermech
With all the tech available there should be a way to limit the speeds especially around corners.

There are: it's called Positive Train Control and the railroads are investing hundreds of millions in it, and the FRA has required it to be in place in 2015 (doubt coverage will be more than about 20% by then) but it's a slow and challenging process to roll out.

29 posted on 12/03/2013 10:41:27 AM PST by JenB
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To: Farmer Dean
sorry
30 posted on 12/03/2013 10:46:33 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Hojczyk

Four people were killed, three of whom were thrown out of the cars...

Ya’ll are missing the point, they should have been wearing
seatbelts, the train should not have started until everyone
was buckled up.

See, it’s easy to think like a liberal, but it
hurts my brain.


31 posted on 12/03/2013 10:47:46 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: tet68

No air bags either....darn...


32 posted on 12/03/2013 10:51:11 AM PST by nascarnation (Wish everyone see a "Gay Kwanzaa")
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To: Hojczyk

How is it they don’t have some version of a deadman-switch on there? I can’t see the families of those who died, or were injured, being relieved with this excuse, particularly when he survived it.


33 posted on 12/03/2013 1:27:49 PM PST by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: Hojczyk
"a Metro-North spokeswoman said ATC wasn't set up to provide alerts at the derailment site."

Well, that's a real problem now.

34 posted on 12/03/2013 3:09:01 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Mr. Lucky
It’s lawyers’ fault that government employees sleep on the job?

Whose fault is it when private employees sleep on the job?

35 posted on 12/03/2013 5:33:19 PM PST by Route797
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To: Route797

The man’s, of course.


36 posted on 12/04/2013 6:07:59 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: 9YearLurker
the time from about 7 to 8:30 AM

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, twice a year I'd drive nonstop overnight MA to FL. The overnight was fine for staying awake. I agree with you about that "tired" window. For me it's an hour or so just before sunrise.

The news said the engineer had recently switched from night hours to days that started at 5AM. I could see the internal clock being messed up, especially this time of year with the shortest days.

The answer would be so simple. Why not just have an engineer and an assistant engineer on each train? Instead they'll spend billions nationwide on equipment to prevent this, and more on workers to maintain the equipment than a second person would cost.

Another example of running on stupid.

37 posted on 12/04/2013 6:15:38 AM PST by grania
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To: grania

I think I saw that they had three conductors on this not-nearly-peak train.

For what they pay these union guys you would think they could substitute another engineer for one of the conductors and have him serve conducting duty at times if necessary.

At least for the very early and very late trains.


38 posted on 12/04/2013 6:53:07 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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