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Metro Train Crash in Washington DC

June 22nd, 2009 No comments

Two Washington DC Metro Commuter Trains crashed into each other before 5 pm rush hour this afternoon. Reports says six were dead and many other injuries have been reported.

This is the second such major rail catastrophe in recent history. The first was the crash in California that resulted in text messaging being banned from commuter rail. Hopefully history has not repeated itself with the situation in Washington, DC. The train crash hits home for me as I could have been one of the passengers on these trains or even my friends. I have not heard reports on who all was involved so I still may know someone. Please keep the victims and families of Washington DC in your thoughts.

Read the full Report from CNN.com

Six killed in Washington-area Metro train collision

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A rush-hour collision Monday between two Metro trains north of downtown Washington, D.C., killed at least six people and injured scores, Mayor Adrian Fenty said.

One train was stationary when the crash happened, according to Metro General Manager John Catoe.

He called it the deadliest crash in the history of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as Metro. One of the dead was the female operator of one of the trains, Metro officials said.

“The scene is as horrific as you can imagine,” Fenty said in a news conference. “One car was almost squeezed completely together.”

Seventy-six people were treated for injuries, including two with life-threatening injuries, said Chief Dennis Rubin of Washington’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. Two of the injured were emergency responders, Rubin said. See location of crash »

The crash happened just before 5 p.m. on an above-ground track on the Red Line in the District of Columbia near the border with Takoma Park, Maryland.

Both trains were on the same track, and one of them was stationary when the crash happened, said John Catoe, Metro general manager.Video Watch woman say she, fellow passengers “went flying” »

Video footage of the scene showed two cars of one train lying atop the cars of the other train. Emergency personnel carried injured passengers, some on stretchers, from the wreckage. Video Watch injured passengers limp from the scene »

“Metro officials do not know the cause of the collision and are not likely to know the cause for several days as the investigation unfolds,” a Metro statement said.

Fire department personnel cut through the trains to help people from the wreckage, officials said at a press briefing. Some three hours after the accident, fire department sources said rescue operations had ceased, with ongoing work focusing on recovery. Photo See pictures of crash site »

A survivor, Jodie Wickett, described feeling a bump on the track, and then being flung forward when the train suddenly halted a few seconds later. She said she hit her head, but managed to get out and go to where the collision occurred a few cars up, where one subway car lay atop another.

“There was debris, and people pinned under in-between the two cars,” Wickett said. “We were just trying to get them out and help them as much as possible, pulling back the metal.”

People were badly injured, she said. “Ones that could speak were calling back as we called out to them.”

One car was “about 75 percent compressed,” and recovery workers aren’t sure if any more bodies are inside, Fenty told CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Monday night.

“We just haven’t been able to cut through it to see if there’s bodies in there,” Fenty said.

A certified nursing assistant who was on one of the trains told CNN affiliate WUSA she was trying to help those in severe condition after the crash, including a lady who appeared to be in her 20s.

“She is very, very torn in her legs — the muscles and everything are torn, ripped through. She had metal pieces in her face,” said the nursing assistant, who said her name was Jeanie.

Other witnesses described seeing more blood than they had seen before.

Tom Baker, who was in the train that hit the stationary train, told WUSA that after the collision, he looked toward the front of the car, and when the smoke cleared, “all you could see was sky.”

Jasmine Gars, who also was on the moving train, told CNN’s “Larry King Live” that the collision “was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.”

“It was like we hit a concrete wall,” Gars said. “Almost immediately I fell off my seat. Another person — I don’t know who — flew off their seat. And the lights went off and smoke started filling the train car.”

Four people were taken to Providence Hospital in Washington, including two with back injuries, one with a hip injury and one complaining of dizziness from hitting her head, hospital officials said.

Washington Hospital Center reported seven patients from the crash with injuries ranging from serious to minor, while Howard University Hospital reported three and Suburban Hospital in Maryland reported two.

Groups of people wearing green plastic ribbons to show they had been checked by paramedics left the scene about 90 minutes after the crash. Some were crying, and a woman with her arm in a sling who gave her name as Tijuana described the crash as “an earthquake.”

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, NTSB spokeswoman Bridget Serchak said.

At least two FBI officials were at the scene, and the FBI confirmed it was assisting as part of the National Capital Response Squad.

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Amy Kudwa of the Department of Homeland Security said “at this early stage,” there was no indication of anything other than an accidental collision.

It was the second Metro crash to involve fatalities in the 33-year history of the transit authority. In January 1982, a derailment killed three people. The only other collision between Metro trains occurred in 2004.

“We are extremely saddened that there are fatalities as a result of this accident, which has touched our Metro family,” Catoe said in a statement.

“Our safety officials are investigating, and will continue to investigate until we determine why this happened and what must be done to ensure it never happens again.”

Maglev Comes to Birmingham

April 17th, 2009 3 comments

High Speed Rail MapMaglev high speed trains are coming to Birmingham.  In a proposal by the Obama Administration high speed trains will connect Atalanta, New Orleans, Houston, and Birmingham in the Gulf Coast Corridor.

According the Federal Railroad Administration the “vision is to transform the nation’s transportation system, by rebuilding existing rail infrastructure while launching new high speed passenger rail services in 100-600 mile corridors that connect U.S. communities. Similar to how interstate highways and U.S. aviation system were developed in 20th century: partnership between public sector and private industry, including strong Federal leadership that provided a national vision”.

The proposal was released yesterday (April 17, 2009) and by no means definite. Funds have been allocated to the tune of $8 Billion initially and $1 Billion annually over the next five years. These funds are considered a down payment on what is surely to require many more Billions of dollars from state and local governments. First round Federal Grants are expected to be awarded by the end of Summer 2009.

Obama’s administration is promising a transparent approach in development and outlines what appears to be a three phase plan to implement based on merit and benefits.

  • First round of applications will focus on projects that can be completed quickly and yield measurable, near-term job creation and other public benefits.
  • Next round to include proposals for comprehensive high-speed programs
    covering entire corridors or sections of corridors.
  • Additional funds will be available for planning to help jump-start corridors not yet ready for construction.

Ten Major Corridors have been Identified.

  • California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
  • Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
  • South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
  • Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
  • Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleavland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
  • Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
  • Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
  • Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
  • Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
  • Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)

Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, New Haven, Providence, Boston) to compete for funds for improvements to the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service, and for establishment and upgrades to passenger rail services in other parts of the country.

The proposed high speed rail system is intended for immediate economic relief creating new jobs, specifically in the construction and manufacturing sector.  Proposals have also been made that this system will be a green system.  A date for breaking ground on the project was not proposed in the announcement.  Planning and funding application time line goes through February of 2009.  So the immediate impact on Middle-class workers isn’t likely until years to come.

From the Federal Railroad Administration on the Gulf Coast Corridor:

Gulf Coast High Speed Train Corridor
Major Cities: Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Meridian, Birmingham, Atlanta

Overview: The designated Gulf Coast Corridor would use New Orleans as its hub, with three spokes reaching (1) Houston, (2) Mobile, and (3) Birmingham and Atlanta. At Atlanta, the Gulf Coast Corridor would connect with the Southeast Corridor to Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, and Northeast Corridor points. At present, no corridor-type intercity rail service operates in this corridor, although Louisiana has been working with Amtrak and the Kansas City Southern to initiate a commuter service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The FRA has made study grants to the Southern High-Speed Rail Commission (SHSRC, formerly known as the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission), which comprises appointees of the three member states (Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama).

Status: Current activity includes a Baton Rouge to New Orleans conceptual engineering study and a New Orleans gateway rail improvement project.

For Further Reading on the High Speed Rail system from the Federal Railroad Administration:

Other News articles:

Buy American Buy Alabama

December 11th, 2008 No comments

Made in AmericaBirmingham SEO an Alabama Based Search Engine Company and ask me to put this on my blog.  So certainly I am happy to oblige as I feel this is an atrocity. Below is copied and pasted from a blog post at BHM SEO announcing their support of Buy Alabama.

On Wednesday night Birmingham News Source CBS 42 the 10:00 broadcast announced that a boycott of Alabama had been started. The boycott is calling to boycott Alabama made goods and not patron Alabama’s tourism. The website was basing this off the fact that Senator Richard Shelby has made comments that aren’t pro bailout. While we are unsure at this time of these statements we do know that this is an attack on the good hard working people of Alabama.

In response to this atrocious action from a group in Michigan we have launched a response ourselves that is currently in development to help promote the business of Alabama. We started the site Buy Alabama. This site will be used to develop a place where Alabama Business can feature their products. We also plan to in the future open up a store showcasing some of the products to be bought and sold direct from the site. The store is just an idea and no plans are being made. Birmingham SEO will be providing the Search Engine Marketing and Optimization plan for the website for free as a duty to promoting our state.

We also believe as a duty that we help promote the whole of the US and buy American Made. You can find out more on American Made products from Made In The USA. We do not wish to boycott any state and only encourage buying American but Buying Alabama is Buying American.

I am not going to give a link to the group that is calling for the boycott but lets just say it is one crazy nut that doesn’t like Senator Shelby.  Though I know Joe Babisiaz is trying to earn support for bailing out the Big Three.  Which as you know I am fan of.

Message to Joe:

Calling for a ban on Alabama is down right un-American and wrong.  You state on your website “this is not an attack on the hard working people of Alabama”. Then what do you call it an attack on our Senator? The Senator is a hard working Alabamian and the same as attacking the car maker in Alabama. That’s right you may envy we are making good cars in Alabama that aren’t going through Financial Trouble.  But here in Alabama we buy American Made cars. We even buy Detroit made cars.  I can proudly say that most people I know in Alabama want to see the jobs of millions of American’s secure.  We all want secure jobs.  So don’t boycott Alabama buy American and build something Americans can be proud of.

I know you are just a front line worker that is afraid you may loose your job.  Senator Shelby doesn’t want you to loose your job.  He wants to ensure things are in order and bad business mistakes are not rewarded.  The cars you make are of top quality in your job.  But the problem is the decision makers – the management.  If it were up to you – you would build the best and only car on the road I get that.  But build something every kid wants, every grandmother is safe driving in and, something that gets good fuel economy and lowers emissions. Something where the bumper doesn’t fall off.  That is all Senator Shelby is saying.  He isn’t trying to punish you he is trying to right the company.

Senator Shelby is trying to protect Alabama.  He doesn’t want the citizens of Alabama to have to pay for the mistakes of a few greedy managment level automakers.  If true measures are in place that will benefit the overall life of Alabama voters Senator Shelby will support it.  But if measures in place are not there to safeguard us he will not.

There is no reason to call for a boycott of Alabama.  I kindly ask that you end the boycott and your fellow Americans for help in supporting your effort instead of dividing the country.  Because like you said we are all American’s and plenty of Alabamians support the Bailout with oversight.  Without oversight it is just like giving a college kid money  experiments or lab time or Beer and food?  So if there is some oversight we might be able to get something from it.  Like a stable auto market full of good paying jobs.

What I am telling you is your strategy is wrong.  You should be trying to unite everyone to get behind you instead of isolating and picking fights.  We are your brothers and sisters.  Embrace us and we can help.

$1 Gallon Gas by 2009

December 6th, 2008 No comments

Oil Executive Joe Petrowski, CEO of Gulf Oil is predicting $1 a gallon gas in early 2009.  In an article at TheBostonChannel.com shares a perspective on the oil & gas industry.  Petrowski stated that the industry often overreacts. Read more about the Gulf Oil wholesaler’s statements.

Though my pocket will certainly enjoy the break in fuel prices, but gas prices this low will effect American Crude oil prices.  Oil and Gas producers likely can’t afford to produce at rates that low long-term.  I don’t want to give out any ideas – some company’s may not be able to weather the cost of production – thus creating another gap.  With prices so low the “Drill-Baby-Drill” days of Sarah Palin wont be feasible.

I’m not saying raise prices of fuel – I am pointing out the cost of inflation.  Also I would like to point out the obvious that when Wall-Street and the Auto Industry get bailed out the Oil and Gas industry will be next.  Just when hope is insight the real work has just begun.  I am no economist but throwing money at Wall-Street and the Auto Industry is only part of the solution – some fundamental change has to be made. When in times of peril we turn to the Government to solve the problem – to paraphrase Sharat (@ravehead) – “recovery will not come from expensive/shiny titles, but from the ranks”.