Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BMW cars damaged in train accident at Norfolk Southern, USA

In every city, tens of thousands of people commute to their workplace and move around in public transport vehicles [buses and trains] – then there are – two-wheelers, autos, share-autos, taxis, cabs, cars and more transporting people. For many, car is a luxury.

A car is a wheeled, self-powered motor vehicle used for transportation and a product of the automotive industry. Cars carry mostly humans and not goods.  The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car. In that year, German inventor Karl Benz built the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. One of the first cars that was accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Now in every city, you see, so many top-end models –costly luxury cars for the rich and famous.

While for those using and those envying it on roads, it is the automobile that catches the eye – there is lot more on how it reached that place.  From the manufacturing facilities, cars are transported – travelling on their own power, by specialised trucks, train carriages, by ships too. 

Train movements in most rail systems are tightly controlled by railway signalling systems, or signalling block system. In many railways drivers are given instructions on speeds, and routes through the rail network. Trains (rollingstock) can only accelerate and decelerate relatively slowly, so stopping from anything but low speeds requires several hundred metres or even more. The track distance required to stop is often much longer than the range of the driver's vision. Headway is a measurement of the minimum possible distance or time between vehicles in a transit system, without a reduction in the speed of vehicles. The precise definition varies depending on the application, but it is most commonly measured as the distance from the tip of one vehicle to the tip of the next one behind it, expressed as the time it will take for the trailing vehicle to cover that distance. A "shorter" headway signifies a more frequent service. Freight trains might have headways measured in parts of an hour, metro systems operate with headways on the order of 1 to 5 minutes, and vehicles on a freeway can have as little as 2 seconds headway between them.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG usually known under its abbreviation BMW is a German luxury vehicle, motorcycle, and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. Headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany,  BMW owns Mini cars and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.  After the end of World War I in 1918, BMW was forced to cease aircraft-engine production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The first car which BMW successfully produced and the car which launched BMW on the road to automobile production was the Dixi, based on the Austin 7 and licensed from the Austin Motor Company in Birmingham, England.  This post is about a train accident in USA, in which vehicles were damaged.

A Norfolk Southern freight train derailed northwest of Columbia on Sunday, damaging up to 120 BMW automobiles on their way to the Port of Charleston to be shipped overseas.  The derailment occurred in Blair, S.C., and included two Norfolk Southern locomotives and 12 rail cars. Each rail car holds 10 vehicles. Norfolk Southern said in a statement that the tracks were damaged by the derailment and are being repaired but the company is still investigating how the derailment happened.  According to a Norfolk Southern spokeswoman, two locomotives and 12 of the 96 rail cars went off the tracks in rural Blair shortly before 3 p.m. The cause of the accident is being investigated. The two members of the crew were taken to a local hospital for evaluation and released Sunday, Norfolk Southern said. There were no injuries.

Each rail car carries 10 BMWs, putting the total number involved in the derailment at 120 vehicles. It is stated that it  was not clear how many were damaged. The train also was transporting an additional 840 vehicles made at the Spartanburg County automotive plant.  As of early Monday, Norfolk Southern had rerailed both of the locomotives and four of the cars. The Virginia-based company said it expected service would be restored by late Monday. No road crossings were blocked by the derailment, but authorities said drivers should expect delays because heavy equipment was being brought in to set the rail cars upright and repair the tracks.

Norfolk Southern's route from BMW's plant in Greer to the Columbus Street Terminal in Charleston brings, on average, more than 700 vehicles for export each day. Through October, the automaker had shipped 227,649 vehicles through the Port of Charleston this year. The State Ports Authority is assessing what impact, if any, the derailment will have on its operations in Charleston and at its rail-served inland hub in Greer.  The maritime agency's vessel schedule is not affected by the accident, it is stated.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Dec 2016.

PS : news collated from various sources.  Pictures credit :

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