.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 …
A train being PUSHED from the back, especially when negotiating a sharp bend,
is NEVER as stable, and as such safe,
as a train being PULLED from the front.
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.