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Old 06-25-2009, 10:54 AM   #46
glatt
 
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I think it's much different in her situation. This is nothing like driving a car and seeing something in the road ahead that you need to avoid.

The train is computer controlled. She is not supposed to take control of the train unless there is an emergency. Her job is to announce the upcoming stations, and close the doors when it's time to pull away from that station. She would get in trouble if she took control and there was no emergency. If she slams on the brakes, she's committing to an action that is going to disrupt the red line during rush hour. She's got these competing directives in her brain. Keep the train going on time. Don't do anything to slow it down and mess up rush hour. Her experience (which was limited by the way - she'd only been a train operator for 6 months) is that the train has always slowed down on its own in the past.

So she needs to make a judgment call about whether it really is an emergency. After a few seconds it was clear to her that it was an emergency, and she hit the panic button.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:20 AM   #47
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Plus, I wonder how well even the most dedicated person would do on that website if it took hours or even days for the trigger to occur.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:22 AM   #48
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Plus, I wonder how well even the most dedicated person would do on that website if it took hours or even days for the trigger to occur.
let alone six months, as in her case.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:27 AM   #49
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It makes me wonder about the wisdom of having the trains run by computer and the drivers just there as a back-up. The computers ensure that accidents virtually never happen, but when they do, the driver isn't at 100% attention, so they don't always catch it right away. On the other hand, if the drivers were in complete control all the time so that they were paying attention, human error would eventually creep in, and there would probably be more accidents.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:57 PM   #50
tw
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Originally Posted by glatt View Post
It makes me wonder about the wisdom of having the trains run by computer and the drivers just there as a back-up.
So that humans can perform their job, roads must be (but not always) designed so that the human can see beyond what is required to stop (which is also why superior cars use orange - not red - rear turn signals). Trains don't do that. Trains are dependent on a signaling system. Therefore the train operator could not stop the train. Train was traveling too fast around a blind corner for the operator to do anything. This is normal on most every railroad.

Blind turns are typically not a problem. Reason why this crash is reported: because train crashes are so close to zero as to be virtually zero. The system works.

And so again, the questions. Why did backup systems fail? For example, one backup system is maintenance people who are empowered to do their job. Why was this train's computer not instructed by track sensors (as latest reports suggest)?

Again, I am going right back to the reason for such failures. How often do you also use the parking brake? Exact same attitude with equal consequences. Deaths and injury created by not applying the parking brake are rarely reported, in part, because it happens.

About six months ago in a nearby town, she got out of the car to get the mail. Car in park started rolling down the driveway. She ran to jump into the car just as the car door hit a tree. She remained there for 45 minutes until someone bothered to look closer. Death directly traceable to someone who did not routinely implement (enable) a backup system. And simply too common to get equal attention.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:26 PM   #51
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85% of all problems are directly traceable to top management. This crash is a perfect example of management in denial - without any grasp of the problem - without sufficient knowledge to address the problem with all due action - without sufficient attitude to listen to what the employees knew all along. Now the question - what is the education of all top managers in the Washington Metro? They did not even know how bad the system's signalling was?

From the Washington Post of 21 Jul 2009: D.C. Metro Circuit Failures May Be Widespread, Officials Say

Any attempt to selectively quote the more important points would only subvert the entire message in that news report.

Last edited by tw; 07-21-2009 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:29 PM   #52
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Okay, did somebody hack tw's account? I can't read these sentences with a straight face.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:47 PM   #53
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Okay, did somebody hack tw's account? I can't read these sentences with a straight face.
So you loved it when seven Challenger astronauts will murdered for the same reason. So you loved it when so many were murdered on the Washington subway as management knew Metro signalling was failing everywhere in the system? In many cases, the solution was to turn off the safety system. Often what empolyees do when management does not provide the necessary support, attitude, and knowledge. So that the safety system did not cause a crash, the solution was to turn off safety devices - when management refused to address the problem.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:47 PM   #54
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without sufficient attitude to listen to what the employees knew all along
what, specifically, are you talking about here? There is no mention in the article you cited that any employees knew of a problem.

Other news reports have mentioned that warnings came from other transit agencies in the country that they were having similar problems with the same kind of track sensors. But I've seen nothing that says employee warnings went unheeded.

It's true that they don't know what the problem with the one sensor that caused the crash is. They could replace it and move on, but they want to figure it out first. I'm not impressed that it's taken weeks and they still don't know.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:10 AM   #55
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Well, the problem with Metro circuits is widespread.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...072301575.html

"According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the track circuit at the crash site has functioned irregularly since December 2007. Its performance deteriorated further five days before the June 22 crash, when it apparently failed to detect the presence of a train outside the Fort Totten Station, permitting another to plow into it. Nine people were killed, and 80 were injured.

The new information from the NTSB suggests that as long as 18 months ago, Metro officials could have found defects in the track circuitry where the accident occurred. Metro officials said Thursday that they did not know the circuit had been intermittently malfunctioning because they did not conduct tests that would reveal that specific problem.

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. likened the different level of analysis to a blood test. "When you have blood drawn, you can ask for test A through 25," he said. "We were only doing test one." "

In other words, we could have found it if we had looked. I am not impressed.

"Federal investigators found that the circuit began "fluttering," or intermittently malfunctioning, after Metro crews installed a device known as an impedance bond, also called a Wee-Z bond, at the circuit in December 2007, according to a safety board advisory issued Thursday. Metro has been installing new bonds across the 106-mile railroad as part of a project to boost power so the agency can run more eight-car trains, which consume more electricity than shorter trains. Each track circuit has two Wee-Z bonds.

The fluttering indicated a problem with the circuit, according to the data examined by the NTSB. After Metro crews replaced the second Wee-Z bond in the same circuit June 17, the circuit deteriorated to the most dangerous stage: It intermittently failed to detect the presence of a train. Five days later, a train idling in that circuit outside the Fort Totten Station was hit from behind by another train. "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...072203524.html

"In addition, a source with knowledge about Metro's repairs said Wednesday that 11 track circuits on the Orange Line, from Minnesota Avenue to Deanwood and up to New Carrollton, were recently found to have problems detecting the presence of trains. One was disabled Monday night and put back into service Tuesday, said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. "

Which says to me that now that they are looking at stuff they are seeing a lot of problems previously ignored. I think that we were very lucky to go as long as we did without an accident.

I am glad I do not ride the Metro. And I do not think that important information should have to be given out anonymously, "for fear of retaliation".
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:15 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMercenary View Post
The average emergency reaction time is something like 0.25seconds, or something to that effect as I recall. See event, process, take action.

This is an online test where you test your own:

http://getyourwebsitehere.com/jswb/rttest01.html
I averaged 0.2406. The kid who hit me might get 78.345.
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Old 07-24-2009, 08:22 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by glatt View Post
what, specifically, are you talking about here? .
There are no such thing as accidents. We may have another classic example of "85% of all problems are directly traceable to top management."
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:28 PM   #58
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From the Washington Post of 9 Aug 2009:
Quote:
Metro Safety System Failed in Near Miss Before June Crash
The crash-avoidance system suspected of failing in the recent deadly accident on Metro's Red Line malfunctioned three months earlier, when a rush-hour train on Capitol Hill came "dangerously close" to another train and halted only after the operator hit the emergency brake, newly obtained records show. ...

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the June 22 crash, learned of the March incident last week when notified by the little-known Tri-State Oversight Committee, said NTSB spokeswoman Bridget Serchak. Metro officials did not immediately respond to questions about why they did not notify the NTSB.

The Washington Post discovered the incident while reviewing documents obtained through a public records request filed with the oversight committee, which was created 12 years ago to monitor Metro. ...

In an April 29 letter ... He said the train "violated a block," meaning it improperly shared a section of track with another train, and "came dangerously close to the leading train." Madison, a planner for the D.C. Transportation Department, wrote that it was only by "coincidence" that a Metro employee later noticed the incident in computer records. ...

After the June crash, Metro officials said that the malfunctioning track circuit at the accident site was "a freak occurrence" and that they were unaware of other incidents, including near misses, that stemmed from failures in the safety system. ...

NTSB says it appears that Metro's control system failed to detect a stopped train and that an approaching one did not receive a command to stop.
That is multiple failures. Similar problems were observed previously when humans averted crashes. Metro spokesmen even denied these problems existed only to learn about them after the Washington Post discovered them. A previous failure was only discovered by coincidence. All imply a serious management problem exists where management does not know how the work gets done. Where employees have the attitude and knowledge provided by management.
Quote:
Later in the meeting, the panel discussed a June 3 letter in which a Metro worker alleged "that the ATP system was unreliable." Metro declined to comment on the reference.
There is one employee who will find future employment difficult. The problem with being honest when management would rather lie or deny - and then take revenge.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:42 AM   #59
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NTSB yesterday announced that it still has no fucking clue what happened, but that there are serious unknown problems with the control system of METRO and probably a handful of other systems in the country. So those systems should be careful.

Thanks guys. That's real helpful. Didn't we know this within the first week?

How are the rail systems supposed to check their shit if you don't tell them what to check for?

It's all moot right now, since the trains are still being manually operated after the crash. The red line still has not been fixed, because in 3 months, they still haven't figured out what is wrong with it to fix.

What the hell? The track circuit is right there. It's not like it was destroyed in the crash. They can duplicate the failure, but don't know what causes the failure? Get some electrical engineers down there, stat.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:46 AM   #60
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Sheesh. Have they checked the o-rings?

You think there'd be a whole system in place for testing and calibration and errors and fixes...scary.
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