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Hiawatha Pete

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Member since: Sun Feb 9, 2020, 12:30 AM
Number of posts: 1,693

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In 2021 Canada designated the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity


"Canada has designated the far-right group Proud Boys as a terrorist entity.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the decision was influenced by the group's "pivotal role" in the 6 January riots at the Capitol in Washington, DC.

The designation allows the Proud Boys' assets to be frozen, and members of the groups could be charged with terrorist offences if they commit violent acts."

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Thu May 4, 2023, 01:59 PM (2 replies)

For those interested: North America By Rail (my train travel photo website) has been totally rebuilt

For those interested, my train travel website:

"North America By Rail - A photographic land cruise across Canada & the United States"
( https://northamericabyrail.info/ )

has been totally rebuilt & revamped!

Much more user friendly - gone are the tiny little thumbnail pics, replaced by large images, so now it's simply a case of clicking the trip you'd like to see from the pulldown menus (Canada West, USA East, ect) and simply scrolling down to view the travelog, pics & videos.

Check it out if you'd like - hope you enjoy!

Cheers, Pete

(PS - stay tuned for the latest videos of our upcoming journey on VIA's Westbound Canadian & Amtrak's Eastbound Empire Builder)

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Wed Apr 19, 2023, 10:16 AM (6 replies)

New video coming soon! North American Train Odyssey -a Transcontinental Circle Tour on VIA & Amtrak

For those who enjoyed my prior amateur YouTube documentary on VIA Rail Canada's Eastbound 'Canadian', I will be doing a new video (or series of videos) documenting our journey from Toronto To Vancouver on VIA' Rail's Westbound 'Canadian', and then returning eastbound on Amtrak, including a trip on the 'Empire Builder'.

Watch this space (or check out our website - North America By Rail http://northamericabyrail.info/) in the coming weeks.

Hope you enjoy! Cheers, Pete

(For those interested who may not have seen my old video, link provided below - now at 150K views!)

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sat Apr 15, 2023, 12:07 AM (4 replies)

Twitter meme: Justice Department confirms: Trump will be tried...

...as an adult.

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sat Apr 1, 2023, 12:07 PM (3 replies)

"Dark Brandon just stole #PeePee's brain" -Biden FTW (Dean Blundell tweet)

In his address to Canadian Parliament yesterday President Biden stated:

"both of us have cabinets that are both 50 percent women for the first time in history,"

At that point some conservatives refused to stand and applaud, at which point Biden checkmated them by saying:

"even if you don't agree, guys, I'd stand up."

Dean Blundell Tweet:

(For reference,
Dean Blundell is a progressive former radio talk show host in Canada.
Pierre Polievere, or #PeePee, is the hard-right 'leader' of the Conservative Party of Canada)


Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sat Mar 25, 2023, 11:42 AM (35 replies)

Ukraine gets its fighter jets: Polish MiG-29s to arrive within 'days'

Source: Breaking Defense

WARSAW — Polish President Andrzej Duda today announced plans to send a dozen old Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, four of which are set to arrive in the coming days.

The announcement represents a major first for Kyiv, which has been calling for nations to send them fighter jets — Western-made or older Soviet-era kit — since the early days of Russia’s invasion. But nations have been reluctant, due to a combination of escalation concerns and fears over not having enough airpower for their own national defense.

“In the coming days we will pass four planes full ready to service,” Dude said while talking with Czech President Petr Pavel. “The others are being serviced, prepared and will probably be successively transmitted. Duda added that “we have a dozen or so these MiGs at the moment” that are functional and still used to protect Polish airspace, but “these are the last years” they will be able to operate.

According to Rzeczpospolita daily, Duda specifically said the jets being sent are part of the MiG-29 bought by Poland from Germany in 2002, for the symbolic price of a single Euro. These aircraft were originally in use by the East German air force.

Read more: https://breakingdefense.com/2023/03/ukraine-gets-its-fighter-jets-polish-mig-29s-to-arrive-within-days/
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Thu Mar 16, 2023, 03:54 PM (16 replies)

America: Home of the cruelest & most barbaric healthcare 'system' in the developed world

When you have a system that puts millions in bankruptcy for:

- the apparent 'sin' of accessing healthcare without insurance

- not being able to afford health insurance

- being denied by insurance

That, gentle people, is the very definition of cruel & barbaric.

And to think that conservatives in Canada, propped up by certain American special interests, are trying to bring that bullshit here -
Fuck. These. Assholes.


Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall

Why a million Americans a year risk Mexico medical tourism


Koch dark money lobbies such as the Fraser institute are trying to overturn Canada's universal healthcare system in favour of a private model

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Tue Mar 7, 2023, 08:48 PM (1 replies)

Secretary Pete: "I don't know where Tucker Carlson was when they were trying to dismantle the EPA"

Youtube video link:

And from the NYT: "The Trump Administration Rolled Back More Than 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List"

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Sat Feb 25, 2023, 01:27 PM (19 replies)

An overlooked factor driving the proposed rollout of ECP brakes: PTC & increased train frequency

Although the NTSB has indicated that the train in the Ohio derailment was travelling within allowable speed limits and that a lack of ECP brakes was not the root cause ( https://www.democraticunderground.com/100217675069 )
PTC or Positive Train Control - implemented during the Obama admin -
is intended to prevent derailments due to other factors:

From the FRA website:

"Positive Train Control (PTC) systems are designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movements of trains through switches left in the wrong position. "

So how does this tie in to ECP brakes?

Without getting into the nitty gritty technical details, Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) braking (with the application & release of brakes being controlled by an electric signal as opposed to an air signal in a brake pipe) allows for somewhat more convenient interface with PTC during the installation phase of PTC.

From https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267600084_Increasing_US_Freight_Rail_Network_Capacity_With_ECP_Braking_and_PTC_Systems

"Growth in U.S. rail freight demand, especially for intermodal and coal, is leading to capacity constraints on key corridors. The costs of building new rail lines are often prohibitive, and the industry needs to find other solutions for increasing capacity.

Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) braking combined with new Positive Train Control (PTC) systems have the potential to double the traffic density on existing double-track rail corridors,
as well as increase average network speeds. This has the potential to support the projected increase in rail traffic over the next 20 years, without needing significant additions to track infrastructure. Implementation of ECP and PTC is challenging, and will require close cooperation between railroads, car owners, shippers, railroad suppliers, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

(emphasis mine)

The twist:
It would be ironic if Trump meddling in the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) - supposedly meant to assuage the concern of some freight railroads & railcar owners about the cost of rolling out ECP brakes (which could well have been shared the way grade-crossing eliminations are under the Biden Infrastructure Bill)- actually ended up limiting the industry's capacity.

(Disclaimer- I haven't seen any studies on this which I could quote, so no citations available so far on this last point.)

Reference: S. 1451 (IS) - Railroad Advancement of Innovation and Leadership with Safety Act
Is the Trump admin bill that specifically called for the Federal Railroad Administration to use "performance-based" regulation & effectively nullified the ECP brake rule
Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Fri Feb 24, 2023, 01:06 PM (0 replies)

NTSB Preliminary Report RRD23MR005 Norfolk Southern Railway Train Derailment

Reposted from LBN as per recommendation from forum hosts:

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

Issued: February 23, 2023

"On February 3, 2023, about 8:54 p.m. local time, eastbound Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) general merchandise freight train 32N derailed 38 railcars on main track 1 of the NS Fort Wayne Line of the Keystone Division in East Palestine, Ohio. The derailed equipment included 11 tank cars carrying hazardous materials that subsequently ignited
Train 32N was traveling about 47 mph at the time of the derailment, which was less than the maximum authorized timetable speed of 50 mph.

Train 32N was operating with a dynamic brake application as the train passed a wayside defect detector on the east side of Palestine, Ohio, at milepost (MP) 49.81.
The wayside defect detector, or hot bearing detector (HBD), transmitted a critical audible alarm message instructing the crew to slow and stop the train to inspect a hot axle. The train engineer increased the dynamic brake application to further slow and stop the train.
During this deceleration, an automatic emergency brake application initiated, and train 32N came to a stop.

On the Fort Wayne Line of the Keystone Division, NS has equipped their rail network with HBD systems to assess the temperature conditions of wheel bearings while en route. The function of the HBD is to detect overheated bearings and provide audible real-time warnings to train crews. Train 32N passed three HBD systems on its trip before the derailment. At MP 79.9, the suspect bearing from the 23rd car had a recorded temperature of 38F above ambient temperature. When train 32N passed the next HBD, at MP 69.01, the bearing's recorded temperature was 103F above
The third HBD, at MP 49.81, recorded the suspect bearing's temperature at 253F above ambient.

NS has established the following HBD alarm thresholds (above ambient temperature) and criteria for bearings:
Between 170F and 200F, warm bearing (non-critical); stop and inspect
A difference between bearings on the same axle greater than or equal to 115F (non-critical); stop and inspect
Greater than 200F (critical); set out railcar"

Read more: https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Documents/RRD23MR005%20East%20Palestine%20OH%20Prelim.pdf


Key points & takeaways in the NTSB preliminary report:

1) The train was operating within allowable speed limits (paragraph 1 above)


2) The train was operating in dynamic braking mode (paragraph 2 above). Dynamic braking is an additional braking system over & above the airbrakes and involves the use of the electric traction motors on a diesel-electric locomotive to slow the train.

In many cases dynamic braking alone will just about hold back what tonnage a locomotive can pull, with conventional airbrakes being "blended-in" at lower speeds to bring the train to a complete stop.

Furthermore, the NTSB Chair has issued a statement indicating that the use of conventional airbrakes was not the root cause of the derailment:
(Per my prior post at: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10143035850 )


3) The rail car that initiated the derailment had an overheated wheel bearing (paragraphs 3 & 4 above)

A device that can play a role in preventing derailments is the wayside hot-box detector. It uses infrared sensors to detect bearings, axles or other components of a rail car that are overheating, then uses radio signals to flag rail crews of any overheated components.

Train 32N passed three HBD systems on its trip before the derailment, and these hotbox detectors appeared to be working.

At Mile 79.9, the suspect bearing from the 23rd car had a recorded temperature of 38F above ambient temperature.

At Mile 69.01, the bearing's recorded temperature was 103F above ambient.

At Mile 49.81, the HBD recorded the suspect bearing's temperature at 253F above ambient.

Between 170F and 200F above ambient temperature the rules state for the crew to stop and inspect the train and greater than 200F the crew must uncouple the defective railcar from the rest of the train.

As per the operating rules, the bearing temperature threshold that would invoke stopping the train and remedial action by the crew was not reached until Mile 49.81 - right at the east side of Palestine, Ohio


4) The report also indicates that the partners in the investigation include:

The FRA,

Norfolk Southern Railway,

Trinity Industries Leasing Company,

and GATX Corporation among others.

In most cases, the companies that own the railcars are the ones responsible for railcar safety inspections. Norfolk Southern does not own the railcars but owns the locomotives & right of way.



The root cause of the derailment was not brakes, but an overheated bearing on one of the railcars owned by a third party.

The wayside sensors appeared to be working correctly and the crew following the operating rules

The NTSB investigation is still ongoing and will be up to them to determine whether the 3rd-party railcar owners, &/or Norfolk Southern & other parties bear - or share - in the responsibility.

It will also be up to them & the FRA to determine if required, and recommend & enforce, any changes to the operating rules such as lowering the temperature threshold (recorded by the hotbox detectors) at which to stop a train

Posted by Hiawatha Pete | Thu Feb 23, 2023, 03:50 PM (23 replies)
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