LAST WEEK WE WROTE ABOUT HOW A NBC6 REPORTER reported that the All Aboard Florida high-speed train project “runs right through one of South Florida’s most historic areas and that this photograph was of an unsupervised railroad crew digging along here laying a fiber optic line right through a sensitive area.
In that article we wrote that Phyllis Frey, a leading activist against the AAF projects wrote that “the shocking final statement from AAF reveals the callous, improperly supervised, heavy-machinery methods and attitudes with which they are proceeding, as MANY historical sites in MANY towns all along the entire proposed route on the coast have sent up alarms and written detailed reports of impact on registered sites; but AAF pretends the sites don’t exist (“no impact”) and cites Federal permission (not true).
Here is a reader reply to that article received on August 17, 2015:
“PLEASE! IT WAS A 2′ DEEP TRENCH FOR A FIBER OPTIC CABLE. By the way, the fiber optic cable is to allow for communications that would enhance safety. Something that Phyllis Frey and other radical opponents have been accusing AAF of not addressing. So Phyllis, you can’t have it both ways now! Do you want safety or do you want arrow heads that are one to two feet beneath the grass to be “preserved”? What is it? I prefer we protect the human population that currently is alive here. And how exactly is a 2′ deep trench next to existing railroad tracks going to dramatically impact a site that has already been disrupted?”
Here is Phyllis’ reply to that reader’s comment:
“By saying “safer” with fiber optic cable, you are referring to Positive Train Control (PTC), then you should know that PTC is just one more deception coming from a company that has no operating experience, no proof of creditworthiness, no collateral and no business plan that proves a return on investment. PTC is still in the research stages. According to the American Railroad Association, wherever it has been tested is fraught with flaws and is prohibitively expensive. Current headlines read that there is no timeline that guarantees PTC will ever be implemented and, more importantly, PTC does not make crossings safer. Its purpose is to help prevent train on train collisions and derailments.
Like all of Fortress’s companies, fiber optic cable along the tracks is another profit center (see Parallel Infrastructure a Fortress Company) and as we know, Fortress puts profits over lives.
Adding 32, 110 m.p.h. passenger trains per day sharing the tracks with a doubling of FEC HAZMAT freight that carry anhydrous ammonium nitrate, sulfuric acid, chlorine gas, propane, ethanol, and liquid nitrogen gas through 41 densely populated towns over 342 crossings increases the probability of deaths, accidents or environmental catastrophe by 370%.
This is not going to make us safer. It is going to make us LESS safe. This is an experiment that has been tried nowhere else in the world, and for good reason. Three U.S. freight rail companies have refused to allow rail operations that include a mix of passenger and freight in their corridors. If laying a fiber optic cable would make rail operations safe, it would have already been done.
We in Indian River County still have no idea what AAF intends to do with safety upgrades at our crossings since we are the only county that has not received our 90% engineering plans from the company. Yet, they threaten our commissioners and residents with constant horns 24 -7 if we don’t capitulate and negotiate with the corporation for Quiet Zone upgrade monies. QZ’s sound good to the public but again we find ourselves faced with a double edged sword of Damocles hanging over our heads…experts believe that silencing horns makes crossings more dangerous.
Trains do not stop for obstructions on the tracks. Freight rail stopping distances are approximately 2 miles once an object is detected. For passenger trains, the distance is approximately 1 mile. From the time a gate closes to the moment of impact with an object on a crossing is 8 seconds. FEC already has one of the worst accident and death rates in the country – imagine adding all of these trains and no horns!
As a retired FAA Safety Check Airman, my professional responsibilities required that safety is the highest priority. If my concerns for safety make me a “radical” (your word), then let’s hope there are more “radicals” who share my concern. In fact, the thousands of responses to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement included documentation that revealed safety concerns from MIT aerospace engineers, police and sheriff departments, and medical emergency services.
Are broken artifacts the worst that this project will render? No, but they are symbolic of the blatant attempt to railroad this dangerous project through our counties and threaten everything from archeological digs to wildlife to the lives of thousands of people. (You might find the HAZMAT death toll calculations interesting that are attached.)
I would suggest that you engage in at least the bare minimum level of research and educate yourself on the facts regarding rail safety.:”