Friday, October 26, 2012

Lessons from 1993's Wreck of the Sunset Limited

Amtrak's "pointless arrow" in 1993
I watched the following about the 1993 Sunset Limited disaster* that killed 47 people near Mobile, Alabama. What I want to know is how long, how many disasters it will take before alignment sensors are put in place to guard the rails? We're nearly 20 years on, and the only fix implemented was regional. What truly chills me is that this could happen anywhere, even in Colorado, given the perfect storm of conditions.

My essential point is: Alignment-based derailments are too common to not be fixed.




* Spoiler: A loaded Amtrak passenger train at speed rammed a defective bridge truss that was knocked off its 84 year-old gravity-held mooring only 8 minutes before by a barge that was steered by an inexperienced pilot in dense fog. The Wikipedia article has more details for the those who don't have an hour to watch.

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