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by Anura Guruge
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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.
.by Anura Guruge
I don’t have the time to go into this in detail BUT I have been a train buff all my life — more so at times than others.
I have even driven actual passenger trains pulled by Canadian diesel engines!
That I have a fairly large collection of train books will attest to this interest because I only collect books on fields that I follow …
Push-Pull commuter trains is a peculiar, COST CUTTING U.S. operational mode.
When I first saw it in the U.S. I was horrified. Aghast!
It is basic intuitive physics. Try it.
Why do we invariably PULL heavy things. The stability.
This train that derailed would have had a BETTER CHANCE of staying upright if it was being pulled.
Why do they do it. COST SAVINGS.
Commuter trains. Go from A to B and back to A again.
Ideally you have a double track system with switching so that the engine can be moved from front-to-back so to speak so that on the way back it is also still pulling.
Or, as they do in other countries you use TWO power units (locomotives) — one at the front, one at the back. Then you always have one unit PULLING the train.
In the U.S., with the mania for cost savings, they don’t do either.
They PULL the train one way and they PUSH it the way back.
Then you get derailments like this.
Mark my words. I do know about this stuff.
NTSB, aware of the economic impact, will FUDGE their report.
They know that they can’t ban this type of operation.
A few deaths, every few years, is worth it per their calculations.
.by Anura Guruge
I used to think that trains were in my blood. But, now I realize that that is unlikely since I was adopted. But, on my adopted mother’s side there was a lot of railway blood — my adopted mother’s father was a station master and her brother was a engine driver. So, given these connections, I have actually driven, i.e., hands on throttle, two diesel passenger trains and worked as a fireman on a steam train. I have lots of model train stuff — some that work some that don’t. I will always stop and look at a train. I read books about trains and have a fairly large collection of large books on trains. Yes, I am a confirmed train buff. Love trains.
So when I happened to see this program ‘Railroad Alaska‘ on the DirecTV electronic program guide I had to ‘DVR’ it to see what it was all about. We have watched Alaska-related programs during our 6 – 7 pm Family TV time. So I recorded this for family TV. During the first few minutes Teischan, who does like to watch Fast n’Loud & Northwoods Law, was not impressed. Then she was hooked. We watched a second episode yesterday.
It is fairly compelling. The scenery is breathtaking. Yes, I have been to Alaska — albeit just to Anchorage, on business! I would prefer to see more about the trains and technical details as opposed to the ‘human angle’. But, I appreciate that I am in the minority when it comes to that.
So, if you get ‘Destination America’ and you like trains or Alaska try and watch an episode or two.
.by Anura Guruge
This is was quick shot. We had to stop at Bank of America in Concord. We were on the way to Concord Hospital for an appointment. So Deanna wouldn’t let me run up to the train to get a proper picture.
What cracked me up was that the engine was sandwiched between concrete freight cars to the front and back. It works. It was cute. It was just doing shunting stuff.