My Bio and This Blog's Purpose

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cascades #501 Crash & PTC

Last month's crash in Lakewood, WA has sparked a rash of overreactions nationally and a bunch of unnecessary "I-told-you-sos" from locals.

Let's Get Something Out of the Way

First off, the reroute was not a mistake, it was something that the state thought out in advance. As scenic as the Point Defiance route was, it was also single track.

Second, the blame for what happened last month can be attributed of a deficient safety culture inside Amtrak.

The PTC Bug

Certain members of Congress have urged the UDSOT to make December 31 a hard deadline for all railroads to install Positive Train Control (under the 2015 law, extensions to the end of 2020 will only be granted under certain circumstances).

I find this to be a bit of pretentious grandstanding by Congress since it created the problem by overreacting to another tragedy! For those unaware, the tragedy that sparked PTC in the first place was the Chatsworth disaster in 2008. The problem with the way it was implemented was that Congress told every railroad that it not only had to install the device but that said railroads would have to pay out of their own pockets. That demand reflects just how much of an anti-government attitude Washington has had since 1981. If Congress had taken the lead, it would have footed the bill instead.