Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Catching Up on the Amtrak Train Crash

Just making a few stops:

"US transportation funding set to expire" Washington Post May 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has warned state transportation officials that federal spending for highway, bridge, and transit funding will expire at the end of the month.

‘‘Unless Congress acts prior to this date, the Federal Highway Administration will be unable to make any new obligations of federal-aid funds to your department’s highway projects,’’ Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a letter to state authorities this week. ‘‘Unlike last summer’s cash shortfall when states faced the prospect of delayed payments, under a lapse in authorization, reimbursements on all projects will be halted completely, not simply delayed.’’

Congress is expected to beat the May 31 expiration date by extending the current funding authorization. Most of those involved with the process on Capitol Hill think the extension will carry funding through the end of the year. If Congress moves to patch the pothole in funding, it would be the 33d time in the past six years that lawmakers have exercised that option rather than pass a long-term bill.

Taking that route once more will exacerbate frustration among state and local officials, many of whom have delayed or suspended projects that depend on long-term commitments in federal funding.

Even the seven-month extension being contemplated by Congress will require addressing the problem that has mired progress on a multiyear bill: The Highway Trust Fund that draws its cash from the federal gas tax has been in a downward spiral and no longer provides enough money to meet federal obligations.

The eight-month extension now set to expire required Congress to come up with budget tricks to produce an $11 billion transfer from the general tax fund. There has been little public discussion this month about where a new source of general fund revenue will be found. 

They don't want you to know this is why they are pushing the carbon tax under cover of climate change.

But hey, the world's largest polluter is healthy and this year is all $et!


Same day II (didn't make print)At least six dead as Amtrak train derails

Next day:

"The crash shut down train service between New York and Philadelphia, creating problems for business travelers and commuters, and immediately set off a debate in Washington about the nation’s rail infrastructure — on the same day that the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut funding for Amtrak." 

Yeah, what a coincidence.

Amtrak Crash Passengers Recall Routine Ride, Then Chaos
Profiles of Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment victims
Five more victims of Tuesday’s Amtrak crash identified

Much coverage from my propaganda pre$$, and that always makes me wonder what agenda is being pushed.

"Train sped up before crash, authorities say" by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Richard Pérez-Peña New York Times  May 15, 2015

PHILADELPHIA — Though officials have not released the names of the dead, most have been identified by family members, co-workers and friends. They are Justin Zemser, 20, a midshipman at the Naval Academy; Jim Gaines, 48, a video software architect from Plainsboro, N.J., who worked for the Associated Press; Rachel Jacobs, 39, the chief executive of ApprenNet, an education technology company in Philadelphia; Abid Gilani, a senior vice president of Wells Fargo; Derrick Griffith, 42, a dean at Medgar Evers College; Laura Finamore, 47, an executive at the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield; Robert Gildersleeve, 45, who worked for Ecolab, an environmental engineering firm; and Giuseppe Piras, an Italian businessman.

There was once a time where I thought accidents happen. That was when I believed in my paper. I don't know who might want some of those people dead, or why.


Amtrak has said there were 238 passengers and five crew members aboard the train.

The crash occurred on a stretch of the Washington-to-Boston route where a signal system known as positive train control, which can prevent a train from going too fast, was not yet in operation. Experts say the system probably would have averted the wreck.

The system is already operating on parts of Amtrak’s network, but in that location, there has been trouble with interference with the radio signals that enable devices along the route to communicate with equipment on the train, said Joseph H. Boardman, the railroad’s chief executive.

Boardman said his railroad was the national leader in adopting positive train control and would have it operating on the entire Northeast Corridor by the end of the year.

A 2008 federal law requires passenger lines and heavily used freight lines to have the system by the end of this year. Freight companies have lobbied for an extension.

Even without positive train control, Amtrak locomotives should alert operators of excessive speed with warning lights and loud alarms. Robert L. Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official supervising the inquiry, said he did not know whether those systems were working....


Another II: No charges for engineer in 2013 Bronx derailment deaths

Think of him as a trailblazer.

Investigators say object may have hit Amtrak train; Windshield break raises new issues after derailment" by Dave Philipps and Emma G. Fitzsimmons New York Times   May 15, 2015

Print was by AP, and it looks like it's been scrubbed while I'm told today that investigators are uncertain Amtrak train was struck before crash. That crock-and-bull story not flying?

The pick up in speed suggest hacking to some, and I'm not disinclined to believe that. It would fit perfectly with the Sunday Globe Specials:

US railway infrastructure slowly decaying, officials say

That's odd because Congre$$ told us the railways are fein, and it's just another argument in favor of pipelines.

Amtrak says it’s still implementing anticrash signal system

And restarting service

Better get back on board!


Looks like the Globe train left without me.

"An estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil was dumped into the ocean from a broken pipeline just off the central California coast before it was shut off Tuesday, creating a spill stretching about 4 miles along the beach, the Coast Guard said. The scenic stretch of coastline about 20 miles northwest of the pricey real estate of Santa Barbara is dotted with state-run beaches that are popular with campers, and the spill comes a few days before the Memorial Day weekend and subsequent summer camping season begin."

That $tinks!

Decided to pipe that to you here before choppering out to Hawaii.

UPDATES: Oil spill spreads across 9 miles of California coast 

I'm told "environmental damage was anticipated, but dead fish and oily birds had not been found in the calm seas or rocky coast by late morning," in print with this photograph on page A2 (and never you mind the approval of Arctic drilling, ugh!).

As for the radioactive spew that has fouled the Pacific for more than four years.... maybe those pipelines do need a rethink!

Amtrak investigators looking at engineer’s cellphone use

That's the new cover story now that the rock hitting the windshield didn't move? Guy with an impeccable work record (at least, so far)? And who benefited?

Got another photo for you from Friday, May 22.

"A train hit the trailer of a farm tractor Saturday at a road crossing in western Germany, killing the train driver and one passenger and injuring at least 20 others, police said. Police spokesman Jochen Laschke said a train heading to the small town of Ibbenbueren from the city of Osnabrueck collided with the trailer, which was carrying manure (AP)."

Amtrak to equip locomotives with long-sought cameras

Another incremental advancement of total surveillance. Enjoy the ride.

Amtrak CEO vows to put safety technology into operation

Downeaster is struggling

Trucks and buses to get electronic stability control

Engineer in train wreck was not using cellphone

So much for having a scapegoat.

Train halted despite peril, operator says

Railroad regulator vows to enforce Dec. 31 safety deadline

In the meantime, everything is fein.

Most railroads won’t meet safety deadlines, report says

But other than that, everything is fein, it's just fein!