Tuesday, December 19, 2017


If there is a better case for defunding Amtrak than the recent crash in Washington state, I don't know what is.  The first run of the new route, which should have had some excitement about it, had 13 cars (max capacity 500-1000 people most likely) with 80 people on board, and the engineer ignored two speed limit signs to blaze through a 30mph curve at 80mph, killing several people.  Plus, the new line cost $180 million, which is quite a lot per rider, to put it mildly.

 I don't know what led to this, but part of the issue might simply be that driving a locomotive is probably far less engaging than driving a car or flying a plane, and boredom simply overcomes the signaling.  Either that, or Amtrak neglected proper signaling on the line.

It suggests as well that there are limits to the effectiveness of error proofing unless we want the machines to take over completely.  As a guy who still drives a truck with a clutch, I've got to say no, thank you.

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