I recall once seeing a YouTube Cab Ride video of the express passenger line north from Washington but unlike Warren Buffet’s 60 Mph max wild west Great ( Oil Train ) Smashem & Cheetam Railway it has more in common with the French TGV. As usual the safety authorities are already attempting to portray that the cause was driver error and how he was ” Speeding ” around a curve !
However, I can’t help speculating that the said ” accident ” was the result of deliberate sabotage as sponsored by Wall Street in an attempt to get Americans back flying again after the collateral damage done by my Alps Crash article and subsequent comments being tweeted Worldwide and especially in the USA ?
I own a copy of the Britiish Railway safety history Bible Red For Danger plus an angle on other angles on railway derailments from my fairly extensive collection of railway engineering history books. Examining the possibilities the said US accident could be due to the following.
1. A signalling computer malfunction as in former GWR main line into London Paddington ” accidents ” at first Southall and then not that long after Ladbroke Grove.
The Southall crash occured after an empty westbound aggregate train was put out across the main line when a late running High Speed Train was speeding towards Paddington in an attempt to make up lost time to meet the then punctuality targets and avoid fines. The excuse for letting out the freight train was also punctuality targets but it would appear that the HST driver was met by a red signal at the last minute giving him just enough time to abandon the cab and seek some protection in the engine compartment. The blame was pinned on the fact that the Automatic Warning System in east facing power was inoperative despite the fact that AWS was originally developed for use in Fog yet it was clear that day. In any case the 4 aspect ( on all UK high speed lines ) signalling system gives you ample warming of a red signal ahead, first double amber ( Slow Down ) then single amber ( Next signal may be RED ). Furthermore the driver of the HST was approaching retirement with long experience of the line and the HST yet the media almost immediately pinned the blame on him despite the fact it was obviously due to a computer malfunction if you examined the evidence in depth. The key factor being that the computer would automatically puts all signals in the area to red in the event of a malfunction after a conflicting movement was detected by the track circuiting !
Almost immediately the media and Unions started a campaign to Automatic Train Protection fitted on all UK trains at great expense to passengers and the HST driver suffered a nervous breakdown after Plod charged him with manslaughter so the truth never got a chance to come out in court as he was deemed unfit to stand trial !
Not that long after Ladbroke Grove occurred again with an eastbound HST approaching Paddington but this time a westbound a local train crossing the main line in conflict. There were reports of drivers complaining about signalling anomalies conflicting with the AWS earlier that day but no action was taken. From the news footage it was clear that the road was partially set for the westbound local train to cross the main lines yet the blame was pinned on its inexperienced dead driver. Much was made about the positioning of the crucial signal and how the morning sun would stop you seeing it even though I have never had any problems reading temporary traffic lights on the road with the strong sun directly behind. Once again the media cracked up with demands for network wide ATP despite the fact that EU mainland trains so fitted were involved in several serious accidents around and after that time. The old BR guys came up with Train Protection & Warning system as a cheap and just as effective alternative and since that was adopted the accidents are almost eliminated. TPWS can also be used on Steam hauled excursions using a battery pack but are suspended at the moment due to a signal passed at danger, and perhaps the cause was a TPWS malfunction caused by a green tech battery short like the Alps air crash ?
2. Getting back to my original sabotage theory and it would appear that there are parallels between Philadelphia and UK Potters Bar where a faulty set of points ( switches ) derailed the back half on a fast through train not stopping at the said station. The cause was found to be lose nuts on the stretcher bar between the facing point blades, despite the fact that all facing points on UK passenger lines incorporate locks to prevent them being moved by mistake under a train. When enthusiast specials use freight lines if they have to use facing points they are always ” clipped ans scotched ” and padlocked before the train is allowed to traverse them. Point locks were introduced in Victorian times after an LNWR derailment at Wigan as amply described in the chapter on H. A. Ivatt in Master Builders of Steam.
As usual I digress but the BBC were showing footage of a sharp curve to the right of the main New York line so the train must have passed over a facing junction and RT footage shows wreckage going straight on so the cause of the crash must have been a faulty switch. The concrete sleeper main line looks well maintained, but perhaps it would be dead easy to recreate a Potters Bar scenario if you could lubricate one of the track maintenance guys with the promise of riches for the rest of his life even if he was sacked. I expect that the US rail unions are in on the deal as well as their bosses fat cat pensions must rely on ever increasing asset prices on Wall Street plus they are probably smarting about the US government cutting $250 million from the Amtrak subsidy. Perhaps the same principle also applied to the RMT at Potters Bar which precipitated track maintenance being taken back in house by Network Rail thus allowing the National Strike they are currently using in pay talks ?