News Wire Digest for March 17: No one hurt as MBTA Orange Line train derails; BART to introduce new schedule on March 22
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Crew misunderstanding, lack of ‘physical defenses’ play part in CP Calgary accident, TSB says
A yard crew’s misunderstanding of track permission granted to an intermodal train, along with a lack of “physical defenses” such as signals, led to a collision and derailment of two Canadian Pacific trains near Calgary’s Alyth Yard in March 2019, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada concludes in an report issued Tuesday. The incident at approximately 9:05 a.m. on March 9, 2019, led to the derailment of two locomotives and five cars on the yard job, which was operating via remote control, and four cars and one locomotive on train No. 118-09, which was departing Calgary for Medicine Hat, Alberta. No injuries or hazardous-material release occurred. The report concludes that “collision or derailment may occur as a result of unclear [point protection zone] communications between conflicting train movements, particularly in the absence of physical defense to prevent overlapping authorities within PPZ. It is important that crews follow prescribed verification procedures and repeat back transmissions of safety-critical information to ensure common understanding. The full report is available here.
MBTA Orange Line train derails while changing tracks; no injuries reported
A new Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Orange Line train derailed at the Wellington station in Medford, Mass., late Tuesday morning, leading to a bus bridge around the accident site for the remainder of the day. WCVB-TV reports about 100 people were onboard the train when the third car of the trainset derailed; the train was moving at low speed at the time as it crossed to the southbound track to pass through a work zone. No injuries were reported. The accident occurred about 11:40 a.m.; the train was rerailed and removed from the scene about 5:30 p.m. The MBTA said it plans a thorough examination of the track infrastructure before resuming service. The train involved was part of the order being built by an affiliate of Chinese manufacturer CRRC in Springfield, Mass.; the 152 cars for the Orange Line, part of a larger order for 404 cars, is running well behind schedule [see “Digest: Report says CRRC production issues predated pandemic,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 26, 2020].
New BART schedule makes room for increased service
Bay Area Rapid Transit will introduce a new schedule on Monday, March 22, with the agency saying the changes are “minor adjustments” to prepare for increased service when riders return as the COVID-19 situation improves. In a news release, BART says current weekday frequencies will remain the same, but the new schedules make room to add 26 additional trips to increase frequencies from the current 15-minute headways. Those trips will be added when ridership data shows there are consistently more than 30 people per car on a train. The new schedules will also see Saturdays and Sundays with identical schedules as of Saturday, March 27, which may require some riders to change trains on Saturdays as they currently do on Sunday. More information is available here.