safty cabs

safty cabs

Postby jmass » Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:38 pm

was wundering why european loco designs dont take into account safety cabs. not much protection it seems in there designs.
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Re: safty cabs

Postby ConducTTor » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:23 pm

Honestly I've been curious as well. Obviously there is a completely different philosophy in locomotive design. Is it possible that US designers build this way due to some government regulation? Does a safety cab really make that big of a difference? I can't imagine that none of the European countries care about the safety of the crew. :?:
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Re: safty cabs

Postby scaro » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:42 am

Three reasons I can think of.

They think about aesthetics a lot more, and streamlining for speed. European trains are pretty fast.

Two, they have far fewer level crossings. Particularly in city areas, rail lines are on viaducts, underground or in cuttings below street level. It's called grade separation. When they are at ground level, they are fenced. In some European countries, unprotected level crossings are unheard of. Stuff just doesn't get onto the tracks as much there! So the US safety cab, as well as being god-awful ugly, may be a bit over-engineered given the lower risk of collision in Europe. If you look at European loco cabs they have less in the way of headlights and plows, for the same reasons.

Three, US trains have the most generous loading gauge in the world, so the US safety cab is able to be accommodated. Railways with less generous loading gauges must use other cab designs. At the same time, collisions aren't the only safety issue, eg railways often want to design in extra visibility, to make shunting safer, as many trains are driver only operation (DOO). So US designs may be unsuitable.

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Re: safty cabs

Postby Markus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:10 am

Being a European myself, I think I can answer the question! European stock are simply just not designed to crash into each other. Instead of having lots of extra steel on the locos, almost all European railways are equipped with very sophisticated safety systems. Instead of protecting the locos in case of a crash, the whole line is built to avoid crashes. Typically computers check the distance between trains, speed, engine status etc and automatically brake or shut down those not following their orders. As mentioned above, level crossings are also less and less common (not to mention that European cars usually are smaller than American, so that in a car-train crash only the car is usually damaged). The new ETCS system, which is currently being installed all over the union, will be a common safety system for all railways in Europe.
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Re: safty cabs

Postby BTTB Fan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:12 am

Markus wrote: ...European stock are simply just not designed to crash into each other...

Funny! I read exactly the same response (but in reverse) explaining why North American railway cars don't have buffers on them...
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Re: safty cabs

Postby Markus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:03 pm

Funny! I read exactly the same response (but in reverse) explaining why North American railway cars don't have buffers on them...


Hehe... I guess being designed for not hitting each other and actually not hitting each other are two very different things! I have read the explanation I wrote at a few different railway forums, but on the other hand... European train do crash a bit now and then too!
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Re: safty cabs

Postby scaro » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:57 pm

I suppose I should write 'we' when talking of Europe, being an ex-Australian who's lived in the UK for years.

The same reasoning about the track structure being either grade separated or fenced off applies in the UK of course, most notably in South East England, a very densely populated area, where the former Southern railway went for third rail electrification across the whole region.

None of the bother of having to maintain catenary, but obviously a lot more dangerous for those few candidates for The Darwin Awards who do manage to get onto the line . . .

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Re: safty cabs

Postby jmass » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:47 pm

great answeres guys,seems with all the political wrangling goin on in this country, the cat systems in this country will lag behind the european sytems.
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Re: safty cabs

Postby ConducTTor » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:07 am

I wasn't able to find numbers for Europe but the US train accident rate is published here (you have to click on "Generate Report"): http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/officeofsafety/publicsite/Query/inctally2.aspx

If you look at total year rates for 2008 it gives '3.16'. I'm guessing that's a percentage of total traffic? If anyone can find numbers for Europe, we can draw some factual conclusions.
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Re: safty cabs

Postby BTTB Fan » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:30 pm

ConducTTor wrote:If you look at total year rates for 2008 it gives '3.16'. I'm guessing that's a percentage of total traffic?

Your guess is probabaly right, since the header states "TOTAL TRAIN MILES USED FOR RATE", which is a reasonable measure of "traffic"...
I would expect that the denominator is actually thousands of miles, since dividing counts by rates yield numbers in the 750-800 range.
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