Miniature train derails in South Carolina, 6-year-old killed, state inspector falsified report

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

A miniature train at a South Carolina park derailed and overturned on Saturday, killing a 6-year-old child and injuring at least 18 other people, authorities said. The train at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg had 28 people on board when it derailed. The state admits that its inspector falsified a report certifying it for use, as it was not operational when he performed the inspection.

Read more from MSNBC.

See video from AP:

delan's avatar

I know!!! If this were my child I would own the state of South Carolina!

Dutchman said:
Read this. Interesting that the general media didn't pick this up.

http://www.wyff4.com/news/27280292/detail.html

Reading that, it sounds like he was following their standard operation and wasn't doing anything that hadn't been done 1,000 times in the past on this ride.

Next question: Was the park management/owners aware that the inspection report was falsified?


John
LostKause's avatar

I would like to know if the park was aware that running the train in "open up" speed was standard operation. That's how miniature trains get derailed.


The conductor had a blog (since taken down, but Google cache still has it):
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_Rg5TAbiCMgJ:m...press.com/

Quote:
"The track had received essentially no maintenance since being rebuilt in 2002. While most of the ties are still good, the ballast has washed in many places and several sun kinks had developed sufficiently to cause minor derailments."

LostKause said:
I would like to know if the park was aware that running the train in "open up" speed was standard operation. That's how miniature trains get derailed.

Actually, if the governor is working properly, and the track is in the appropriate condition, even a miniature train fully opened up should not derail. That doesn't mean a park has to run that way, but that does not necessarily mean there is a problem.

Scottt said:
The conductor had a blog (since taken down, but Google cache still has it):
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_Rg5TAbiCMgJ:m...press.com/

Quote:
"The track had received essentially no maintenance since being rebuilt in 2002. While most of the ties are still good, the ballast has washed in many places and several sun kinks had developed sufficiently to cause minor derailments."

The sounds like an area of real problem... Ballast is key to maintaining an operating railroad in good order...

LostKause's avatar

Walt, I should have added somewhere in my quick post that miniature trains can derail when going around sharp curves too fast. At least I seem to recall that that has been a problem with these kinds of rides in the past.

But, I'm no train expert at all...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGIubSdNYm0

Listen to that thing squeal around the curves.

That's not all that unusual for these rides. On the bigger stuff we would lubricate the rails with graphite to cut down on the wear and the noise. On the smaller gauge stuff like this it's not done because it increases the likelyhood of wheelslip.

The "falsified" inspection was grounds for termination for the State inspector, but we have no way of knowing at this point whether the inspection, had it been conducted properly, would have had any bearing on the incident. If the finding is that the train was running at overspeed, and that excessive speed is the result of an improperly set or bypassed governor, for instance, that might be relevant as the inspector did not get to see the train operate because of the dead battery. But if the governor was set properly and if the train was operating properly, and if the train otherwise correctly passed its mechanical inspection, then we can probably throw out the inspection as having had any bearing on the incident at all.

That is, it's a distraction.

What is more important is determining the actual cause of the incident. As of right now we don't know if anybody can really be held responsible. That's a legal question that should not even be asked until the engineering forensics are done.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Keith2005 said:
Here you go

http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/child-films-fatal-train-ride-accident-13194807

I tried watching this clip only to get a long promo reminding me to watch Mike Nelson's Denver weather forcasts on " ABC 7 News". Perhaps KMGH ( the Denver ABC affiliate ) feels this accident isn't important enough to be seen in Denver.


I'm in Denver and I can see the video just fine without seeing an ad to watch Mike Nelson's forecast in the first ten minutes.


Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

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