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Transportation Disasters


Good news: It was a normal day in Sharon Springs, KS when a Union Pacific crew boarded a loaded coal train for the long trek to Salina.
The Bad news: Just a few miles into the trip a wheel bearing became overheated and melted, letting a metal support drop down and grind on the rail, creating white hot molten metal droppings spewing down to the rail. 
The Good news: A very alert crew noticed smoke about halfway back in the train and immediately stopped the train in compliance with the rules. 
The Bad news: The train stopped with the hot wheel over a wooden bridge with creosote ties and trusses. 
The crew tried to explain to higher-ups but were instructed not to move the train.
They were instructed that The Rules  prohibit moving the train when a part is defective!

On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles.

It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging. Wrongful death lawsuits were expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink. However, in December 2008, a confidental source reported that lawsuit claims may reach 1 billion, and who's going to pay?  Since freight haulers have no liability, it will likely be California taxpayers. [Read about the crash]
Victims have until March 12, 2009 to file a suit, and one source reported that as of mid-February 2009 there were already 45 injury claims and 24 death claims.








Proposed Vegas-to-Disneyland Levitating Train Faces Competition

Monday, February 25, 2008

LAS VEGAS-- It's been hailed as the future of mass transit and ridiculed as a big gamble on little more than an amusement park ride. Which is a pretty clever insult, considering the project in question is a magnetically levitating train that would speed tourists from Las Vegas to Disneyland.  [Read More...]

China transport meltdown as 200,000 people camp out for train which won't arrive for a WEEK
Daily Mail :: 28th January 2008

Leaves on the line, cancelled planes and interminable traffic jams have all become part of the British psyche but our public transport woes are nothing compared to the astonishing crisis gripping China.

After weeks of blizzards and ice storms, the rail network has come crashing to a halt in spectacular style. [Read More...]

The Transportation Commission's Proposed 200 Percent Gas Tax Increase: One of Several Bad Ideas in Its Report [article source]
January 30, 2008

Backgrounder #2103

In mid-January, the congressionally created National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission released its final report, which, among other proposals, recommends raising the federal fuel tax by 25 cents to 40 cents per gallon over the next five years and thereafter indexing it to the rate of infla­tion.[1] With the federal fuel tax at 18.3 cents per gallon of gasoline and 22.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel, the commission is proposing that one of the nation's most regressive taxes be increased by a staggering 136 per­cent to 218 percent. These tax revenues would then be spent on a variety of new road, transit, administra­tive, and environmental initiatives, including a 700 percent increase in Amtrak subsidies. [Read More...]

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