Chapter #333: Metrolink Anti-Derailment Blade Failure - September 6, 2015

Hyundai-Rotem Cab-Control Car similar to the one involved in the Metrolink 2015 Oxnard collision and derailment - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Metrolink Refuses to Admit Failure of Rotem Anti-Derailment Blade

Recently, both Ventura County Star and L.A. Times articles reported on Metrolink’s unexpected decision to place newly leased Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) freight engines at the head-end of all Metrolink trains. Both articles omit important safety related information. In the Star article, Moorpark City Councilman Keith Millhouse, a member of the railroad's board of directors said, “… since we don’t know what role, if any, the cab cars played, we won’t speculate on it. The only way to run the railroad and take away a potential risk, if any, until we know the answer, is to put locomotives up front.”

Metrolink's Hyundai-Rotem Cab-Control Car No. 645 lost its anti-derailment plow in a collision with a Ford F-450 utility truck and trailer in Oxnard - Click for detail of the missing plow (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In February 2015, a Metrolink passenger train with a Hyundai-Rotem cab car in front derailed after hitting a Ford F-450 utility truck and trailer. Predawn, that rig became high-centered on to the tracks near the 5th St. and Rice Ave. grade crossing outside of Oxnard. After the collision, Metrolink officials were quick to declare that the state-of-the-art cars with energy absorbing crush zones, heavier construction and anti-derailing features appeared to reduce deaths and injuries in the accident.

The direct quote, at that time was: "We can safely say that the technology worked," Metrolink spokesman Jeff Lustgarten told reporters. "It minimized the impact of what (could have been) a very serious collision. It would have been much worse without it." Now, almost six months after the deadly Oxnard collision, Metrolink spokesman Jeff Lustgarten, or is it now Scott Johnson should retract those erroneous and self-serving statements. It was a "very serious collision".
As a result, Sr. Engineer Glenn Steele died. There were twenty-seven injured, including some with life-changing consequences. What could be worse; if everybody died?

In the recent L.A. Times article, Keith Millhouse said, “This is an interim measure until the plow can be evaluated and beefed up if necessary. This is going to be costly for the railroad, but you can't put a price on safety.” Further, the article read, “Millhouse stressed that the temporary restrictions on the Rotem vehicles relate specifically to how the plow performed in the crash, not the larger Another angle on Metrolink Cab-Control Car No. 645 clearly shows that the anti-derailment plow detached from the vehicle during the 2015 Oxnard collision - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)debate over the safety of cab cars”.

With the Hyundai-Rotem anti-derailment plow, there is no “performance” issue. It is a clear-cut case of structural failure. As demonstrated by news photos taken soon after the collision, the plow, which was formerly attached to Hyundai-Rotem cab car No. 645 is nowhere in sight. As the most important piece of forensic evidence from that deadly collision, what happened to that anti-derailment plow? Is it in the custody of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)? Did contractors who cleaned up the crash site discard it along with other assorted debris? If no one saved that blade, how can Metrolink or the NTSB determine the circumstances of its detachment from the cab car?

This concept drawing of an Electro-Motive Tier 4 locomotive has a minimal crush-zone and an anti-derailment plow of dubious size and strength - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)To add insult to injury, Metrolink announced just days ago, that it will purchase up to forty-nine state-of-the-art Electro-Motive Tier 4 locomotives. The new locomotives will be replacements for its aging, unreliable and admittedly un-maintained fleet of 1990’s diesel locomotives. With not so much as a prototype of the new Electro-Motive Tier 4 locomotive available for inspection or testing, an artist’s rendering is all that we have to go on.

In the 2015 Oxnard collision, when it impinged upon a Ford F-450 utility truck and trailer, the lightweight Hyundai-Rotem anti-derailment plow experienced a catastrophic failure. Already, Electro-Motive is touting their new Tier 4
locomotive as the lightest weight (280,000 lb.) locomotive available on the market today. If lighter is better, why is Metrolink leasing up to fifty-eight of the heaviest BNSF locomotives available to head up its commuter trains? Without a prototype to test, how do we know if the anti-derailment plow installed on Metrolink’s new Tier 4 locomotives will pass the “F-450 Truck & Trailer Crash Test”?

Metrolink's current fleet of diesel locomotives dating back to the 1990's is in efficient, unreliable and unavailable in sufficient numbers to run at the head-end of each train - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)The Electro-Motive website shows a futuristic picture of a cab-forward locomotive “design” with an anti-derailment plow attached. With its slightly bulbous nose, it looks like a bullet train from one of Governor Gerry Brown’s high-speed rail dreams. If not for the thirty-plus grade crossings on the Metrolink Ventura County Line alone, this lightweight locomotive might be a good idea.

Until necessary grade-crossing safety improvements are completed, I will expect the "heavy iron" of a BNSF freight locomotive up front on my next Metrolink Ventura County Line ride. In block letters, Metrolink should emblazon each BNSF locomotive with the words, "BNSF MEANS TONNAGE". Still we will have the uninformed or unsuspecting, such as Mr. Jose Sanchez Ramirez who's F-450 debacle led to all of this controversy. Most local commuters will slow to a stop when they see the Great BNSF Behemoth approaching their grade crossing. Suicide is still a potential factor, but with BNSF tonnage up front, most Metrolink commuters involved in a collision will probably survive and prosper, even after such an encounter.

For decades, airlines have told us what aircraft will service our flight. So too should Metrolink tell us, what is the consort of any given train. If there is a cab car up front or an obsolete, Bombardier bi-level coach anywhere in the mix, I will not board or ride that train. It is simply too dangerous.

"BNSF to the Rescue" - Metrolink will lease up to fifty-eight heavy locomotives, as seen here crossing the Colorado River at Needles to head up all Metrolink trains in the future - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Safety related information released by Metrolink, or its parent organization, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) is so rare and nuanced, that it fosters conspiracy theories within me. Helping to cheer me up, a source close to the Metrolink investigation recently told me, “I believe the NTSB has the plow and there is no conspiracy to steal it or to foil the investigation. Metrolink will not give details, but I believe that the NTSB informed the railroad about the failure. It is amazing that they are replacing the Rotem cab cars with engines, using an ‘emergency provision’ related to safety. More to come.”

Being closed-mouthed and tight-lipped, SCRRA and Metrolink do little to create or enhance a positive image for passenger rail service in Southern California. It is time for someone or some organization to break through the “cloak of invisibility” that the SCRRA has thrown over its own proceedings. In violation of the California Open Meeting Law (Brown Act), the meeting in which the SCRRA board decided to lease the fifty-eight freight locomotives was closed to A typical BNSF freight locomotive has three heavy axles and wheel-sets up front, plus a large anti-derailment plow and heavy steel to protect the operator - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)both the press and the public. The public has the right to know details regarding the lease of fifty-eight BNSF locomotives, as well as the cost, including who will be footing that bill.

Are the two interlocking passenger rail agencies (SCRRA & Metrolink) serious about competing in the Southern California commuter marketplace? If so, they should reformulate the SCRRA board to include railroad operating and safety experts, not more politicians and political appointees. Until they do, you can expect Metrolink’s operational and legal costs to skyrocket, while ridership continues its long, slow decline. SCRRA and Metrolink, it is time for transparency and reform.

Email James McGillis
Email James McGillis

By James McGillis at 11:29 PM | | Comments (0) | Link

Blog Search

 →  Recent Posts

Snow in Death Valley National Park
The Colorado River's Demise - 2023
The Four Corners Region - Part 5
The Four Corners Region - Part 4
The Four Corners Region - Part 3
The Four Corners Region - Part 2
The Four Corners Region - Part 1
Mammoth Lakes, Summer 2020
Morro Bay, CA - Fire Season 2020
Camping at Panamint Springs, Part 2
Camping at Panamint Springs, Part 1
Camping at Mojave Preserve in 2020
Death Valley Winter Camping 2019
Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 5
Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 4
Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 3
Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 2
Edward Abbey & Friends at UNM Ch. 1
Planned Desecration of The Book Cliffs
Thompson Springs, Utah - History
Visit Historic Thompson Springs, Utah
Santa Susana Field Lab Contamination
Classmate Bob Lovejoy (1948 - 2018)
Titus Canyon and Titanothere Canyon
2018 - Is The Future a Mirage?
Return of the Moab Burro Crane
Moab - Desert Rocks Festival 2011
Moab, UT - Negro Bill Canyon Remains
Yosemite High Country Devastation
Furnace Creek - Death Valley, Calif.
Zabriskie Point - Death Valley, Calif.
Crescent Junction, Utah - New History
NTSB Final Report Omits Critical Data
Winter Camping in the Mojave Desert
2017 - Burbank Rose Parade Float
Sarah Thomas - World Record Swim
A Family Visit to Kaua'i, Hawaii in 1988
2016 - Cow Springs, AZ Trading Post
Metrolink - Meager Track Maintenance
'16 Beverly Hills Concours d'Elegance
It's Time to Audit Metrolink Operations
Ventura County - Deadly Rail Collision
Ventura County, CA - Rail Safety 2016
Metrolink Ignores Mismatched Brakes
Agencies Ignore Rail Safety Issues
Nevada - Vote Now to Bring Back Solar
Ventura County Rail Deaths Scandal
Google Pop Car- Rail Safety Plan
BNSF Locomotives on Metrolink Trains
2015 - Time to Phase Out Lake Powell
Navajo Power Plant Heat Island Effect
Of Mudflats and Methane Volcanoes
Metrolink Anti-Derailment Blade Failure
Metrolink to Spend $338 Million
The Glenn Steele Memorial Overpass
5th & Rice - A Deadly Railroad Crossing
The One, the Only - Plush Kokopelli
Metrolink Train Crash, A Personal Story
Moab, Utah - Lions Club Park - Part 2
Moab, Utah - Lions Club Park - Part 1
Deadly Crude Oil Trains Coming Soon
Metrolink Oxnard Train Collision Report
2015 Rare California Rain Barrels Help
So. California Lakes Soon to Disappear
C.Proietto - Cattolica, Cafe Eden Roco
Hollywood: "Violence is the New Sex"
2014 Spanish Valley Vineyards
Durango & Silverton Railroad Story
Is it Too Late to Save Moab, Utah?
BLM & SITLA - URLEA Subterfuge
Moab Pile to be "Moab Pit" - 2029
Moab in Springtime - May 2014
Old Mesquite, NV - Gone For Good
I-15 North - Mojave Desert Tour
Grand Co. Plans to Desecrate Site
Moab - County Plans Fail the Test
2014 - Quantum Leap in ATM Theft
Moab Kiley - Peaceful BLM Protest
Stop The BLM-SITLA Land Swap
Utah Recreational Land Exchange
Burro Cranes - A Complete History
Moab Burro at Seven Mile Canyon
Brightsource Solar's Flawed Design
Trend - Horsepower Mitigation Fees
Moab Rim Campark Sold in 2014
Durango, CO - Engine #478 - 1965
Durango, CO - Engine #476 - 1965
Red Lake Trading Post, Tonalea, AZ
Deconstruction at Cow Springs, AZ
Cow Springs, Navajo Art - 2013
Navajo/Hopi, New Energy Dilemma
Peabody Coal Stripmine Disappears
An Arizona River Dies in the Desert
Black Mesa Coal - Water & Power
2013 - The Great Western Drought
Homolovi State Park, AZ - No Ruins
C.Proietto Paints at Lago Maggiore
American Bison Herd Threatened
I-40, Twin Arrows - Both Old & New
Simi Valley Brush Fire - Air Power
I-40: Highway Tax Dollars At Work
Kristi Frazier - World Citizen Award
Sierra Nevada, CA - 2013 Drought
Desolation Canyon Wilderness Area
The Holbrook Basin Potash Project
Moab - Revisit Seven Mile Canyon
Moab - Greater Canyonlands N.M.
Thomas Kinkade - Yosemite Valley
C.Proietto Paints Lugano, Gandria
Paso Robles, CA - Wine Adventure
Colorado River Dine & Unwind Moab
Kodiak 100 --> Moab Charter Flight
The True Cost of Mineral Extraction
Moab Truck - 1950 Chevy 3100
Disappearance --> Reemergence
Edward Abbey - His Spirit Returns
Edward Abbey - Monkey Wrenching
Edward Abbey - Lake Powell 1965
Edward Abbey - Desert Solitaire 65
A New Message From AAMikael
C.Proietto Paints Bad Kreuznach
New Jersey - The New Atlantis?
Moab - A Rare Beech B-45 (T-34A)
Howell Mountain, CA - Winemaking
Oakville, CA - Robt. Mondavi Wines
Crescent Junction, UT - in 1955
Craig Childs - Apocalyptic Planet
Mammoth Lakes, CA - 1st. Snowfall
Mesquite, NV - A Disappearing Act
The Mystery of Hovenweep Road
Moab Airport - Canyonlands Field
Moab, UT - Save Ken's Lake Puddle
Jeeps & Downtown Abbey in Moab
Moab Valley vs. Spanish Valley, UT
Moab, Utah - Go Behind the Rocks
Moab Adventure Xstream Race '12
Face on Mars - Is it John Lennon?
C.Proietto - Paints The Dolomites
Moab Tower - The Wireless Story
Brendel, Utah - A History Mystery
C.Proietto - New Mystery Painting
Tsunami Risks Up in Crescent Bays
"Moab Native" Potash Comments
C.Proietto - And The Glory of Rome
L.A. to Australia, by 34-ft. Sailboat
Interstate I-70 East through Utah
Mesquite, NV - Opportunity Lost?
Las Vegas, NV "Drive-by" - I-15N
Ivanpah Valley, CA - Mega-Solar
Pearblossom Hwy. - Palmdale Road
C.Proietto - Venice Sunset, Sunrise
24-Hours of Moab 2012 to Happen
C.Proietto - A Portrait of the Artist
AOL & Yahoo Mail Getting Hacked
ATM Retail Technology - New & Old
C.Proietto - Solving An Art Mystery
Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood - To The Sign & Beyond
Hollywood - Legendary Paul Pink's
Kokopelli Credit Union - New ATM
#1 Google Ranking & How to Get It
C.Proietto - Two New Oil Paintings
LACoFD Truck 8 at Hollywood Bowl
I-405 Golden Crane Air Hazard
Beware: Hoax/Scam Phishing Sites
A Quantum Leap in Super PAC $$$
I-405 Mulholland Bridge Update
Moab Skydiving Video - May 2011
Tonopah Desert, AZ Thunderstorm
Anticline Overlook - Ancient Spirit
ATM Bank Robbery Now Easier Still
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Sunset
Chaco Canyon - Kin Klizhin Ruin
Chaco Canyon, Spirit of Lizard Man
Chaco Canyon, NM - Campground
White Mesa, Utah - Uranium Mill
Hidden Costs in Biofuels Revealed
Arches National Park Threatened
Moab Rail - The U. P. Potash Local
Toxic Purple Dust Covers Moab, UT
U.S. Highway 191 in Moab, Utah
Kindle Fire Tablet vs. Nook Tablet
Ken's Lake 2011 Update, Moab, UT
24-Minutes of Moab Kids Bike Race
24-Hrs. of Moab, The Final Sunset?
24-Hours of Moab 2011 Race Start
24-Hrs. of Moab Race Live Webcam
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
Petrified Forest, Going, Going, Gone
Nuclear Dust Storm Hits Moab, UT
Moab Rainbow - August 1, 2011
C.Proietto - The Man From Amalfi
I-405 UCLA Rampage - 11/22/66
Moab Rim RV Campark - 2011
C.Proietto Paints the Amalfi Coast
C.Proietto - Modern Impressionist
I-405 Mulholland Drive Bridge
Moab Pile - Countdown to Disaster
Wigwam Village - Holbrook, AZ
Kathy Hemenway - World Citizen
Desert View Mobil - Needles, CA
Mojave Desert Transit in May 2011
Colorado River Basin At Risk - Ch.4
Holbrook, AZ Water Crisis - Ch. 3
Holbrook Basin, AZ Potash - Ch. 2
Little Colorado River Basin - Ch. 1
Port Orford, Oregon - Tsunami
Hope for Atlantis - Chapter 4
Future of Atlantis - Chapter 3
The New Atlantis - Chapter 2
Atlantis, Myth or Fact? - Chapter 1
Kevin Rutherford - Freightliner RV
WindSong - Ericson 35 Sailboat
Moab Pile - The Mill Tailings Train
Moab Pile - Here Comes the Flood
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Race
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - The Start
24-Hours of Moab 2010 - Pre-Race
Moab, Utah - Winter Snowstorms
Happy New Decade - 2011
Save Ken's Lake, Moab, Utah 2010
UPS Air - Moab, Utah Style
Crescent Junction & Brendel, Utah
Green River to Floy, Utah - Video
Moab Ranch - The Movie & Webcam
An Oregon Cascades Range Sunset
The Port at Port Orford, Oregon
Simi Valley, CA Two Live Webcams
Two New MoabLive.com Webcams
Ave. of the Giants, Humboldt, CA
Port Orford, OR - Of Bears & Deer
Goodbye Arizona - We'll Miss You.
Port Orford, OR - A Forest Home
Sun, Moon and the Chakras of Gaia
2010 Super Bowl Advertising
Navajo National Monument Sunset
California Redwoods Elk Herd
A New Decade - The 2010's Begin
Moab - Could Floods Happen Here?
Spanish Valley, UT - Wine & Water
24 Hours of Moab Race - 2009
CA - Rainforest or Dustbowl?
Edward Abbey House, Moab, UT
Kayenta, AZ to Blanding, Utah
U.S. Highway 89 N. to Navajoland
Quartzsite - Black Canyon City, AZ
Simi Valley, CA to Quartzsite, AZ
Phoenix, Moab, The Grand Canyon
Colorado River - A New Challenge
Moab, Utah - The Shafer Trail
2009 - Moab Live Webcam Update
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 2
Moab, Utah - Potash Road, Part 1
SITLA Deal Threatens Uintah Basin
Moab Wildfire Near Pack Creek, UT
Moab Ranch - Plasma Flow Event
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part Two
Mill Creek Canyon Hike - Part One
Memorial Day 2009, Burbank, CA
A Happy Ending for the Moab Pile?
The Old Spanish Trail - New Again
Mesquite, Nevada - Boom or Bust
Larry L. Maxam - An American Hero
Winter Camping in the Desert 2009
Theory of Everything - Part Four
Theory of Everything - Part Three
Theory of Everything - Part Two
Theory of Everything - Part One
Canyonlands Field, Moab, Utah
Access New Energy Now - 2008
The Four Corners States - Part 5
The Four Corners States - Part 4
The Four Corners States - Part 3
The Four Corners States - Part 2
The Four Corners States - Part 1
BC Buckaroos in Panama
Elton John T-shirt, Now Available
Arches National Park Threatened
BC Buckaroos Are Heading South
San Francisco, A New Energy City?
Seven Mile Canyon, Craig Childs
Matheson Wetlands Fire, Moab, UT
24-Hours of Moab Bike Race Finish
24-Hours at Moab Bike Race, Start
New York - The New Atlantis
Translate to Any Language Now
Marina del Rey, Summer Weekend
Seattle Shines in the Summertime
Oregon Battles With Itself - 2008
The Motor Yacht, Princess Mariana
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park
The Mojave National Preserve, CA
Navajo National Monument, AZ
La Sal Mountains Loop Road, UT
The Moab Rim, Above and Below
Colorado Riverway Recreation, UT
Hovenweep - Twin Towers Standing
Aztec, New Mexico - Ancient Ruins
Kin Klizhin Ruin at Chaco Canyon
The Spirit of Pueblo Bonito, NM
Chaco Canyon, NM Sand and Rain
Homolovi Ruins State Park, AZ
ATM Bank Robbery Made Easy
Outstanding World Citizens, Fiji
Planning an Archetype Party
Sir Elton John - The Lost Concert
Start Writing Your Own Blog
My Unification Theory - 2008
Frito-Lay Beach-Trash Explosion
The Great Attractor, Revealed
Vibrational Thought & String Theory
The Long Run - Eagles Tribute Band
2006 Midterm Elections, Revisited
The Lost Murals of Denis O'Connor
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 10
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 9
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 8
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 7
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 6
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 5
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 4
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 3
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 2
Fiji Islands Paradise 2001 - Part 1
Save Natewa Bay, Fiji Islands
The Fiji Islands - Paradise Lost?
Face on Mars
How Water Helped Make The West
Yahoo! - Fighting Its Last Battle?
Helium Gas, Neither Earth nor Mars
Megatrend vs. Meganiche - 2007
German Hydrogen Bomb Ready
Passing The $100,000 Bill
Google Wins - Microsoft Withdraws
A.Word.A.Day, You Ought to Know
San Fernando Valley Winemaking
Divine Inspiration, Or Nearly So
Japanese Win The Space Race
2007 eCommerce - Made Easy
Discovering The Great Reflector
Navajo National Monument, Arizona
Moab, Utah Memories - 2007
Fall Color, Silverton, Colorado
Autumn Equinox in the Rockies
Hasta la Vista, Taos, New Mexico
Megatrends 2010 - The Book
The Quantum Leap, New Mexico
Chaco Canyon Memories 2007
Flame-Out in Phoenix, Arizona
Annals of Homeland Security '07
Quartzsite, AZ - RV Camping
The Quantum Leap Celebration
Welcome to my new weblog 2007!

Colorado River
Current Events
Fine Art
Moab, Utah
Mojave Desert
Personal Articles
Railroad Safety
South Pacific

‹‹ March 2024 ››
Wk M T W T F S S
9 1 2 3
10 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
12 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
13 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Please visit our other sites in the MoabLive network.


© 2007 JamesMcGillis.com - All rights reserved. | Contact Me | Privacy Policy | Sitemap | RSS | Atom | Admin | Design: Nicholas Savalas | Author | Publisher | Top