Philadelphia Amtrak 188 Train — Should “Business Class” Car Have Been Right Behind Locomotive?

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
by Anura Guruge

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Click to ENLARGE and view here. From the “New York Times”. Use link below to access original — which I have also quoted in earlier posts.

Sad and ironic that the rail car that suffered the most damage — unimaginable in its devastation — was the ‘Business Class‘ car, which happened to be the ‘first car‘, right behind the locomotive. I assume that most of the fatalities and serious injuries that resulted happened to passengers in this car. Seems sad. They pay the most and end up suffering the most.

But, this is the same argument about First and Business class on airplanes. They are always at the front. I know. I have, over my 62 years, flown 2.5 million miles (with a Lifetime Gold Card from AA to commemorate my million miles just with them) and at least 60% of this was in the front of planes. One of my earlier wives used to always quip, “Anu has no idea that planes have seats with seat numbers that are greater than ‘6’”.

And then there is this very famous and profound adage that goes: “Have you ever heard of a plane flying into a mountain backwards?”

On planes ONE of the reasons that First/Business class is at the front has to do with engine noise — plane engines either being in the middle or back of the plane. 

Not sure why you would put the Business Class car right behind the engine? Not sure if that is always the case either. It is possible that the logic is that the locomotive, in front, provides the MOST ‘cushioning’ — though in a front impact it also means that that carriage is closer to the impact.

I do not, and never have, travelled Amtrak that much. The last time was about 4 years ago. The trip to Philadelphia, that got disrupted by this Brandon Bostian recklessness, was unusual. I typically fly or drive. I will have to do some research as to what would be the optimum positioning for a Business Class car KNOWING that each and every train accident has its own dynamics. Just the stuff that rattle around my brain.

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