Dozens of passengers were killed near Tempe, Greece, when two trains collided at high speed, head on. One train was carrying freight and the other carried passengers. Rescue crews searched for survivors through flattened cars as the wreckage smoked Wednesday, March 1. There were many additional passengers injured in the accident which some called the deadliest rail accident in Greece in a decade. “When something so tragic happens, it’s impossible to continue as if nothing had happened,” Kostas A. Karamanlis, Greek transport minister, said in a statement shortly after the accident as he announced he would resign. “It’s a fact that we inherited the Greek railway in a state that is not fitting for the 21st century,” he said. “In those three and a half years we made every effort to improve this reality. Unfortunately, those efforts were not adequate to avert such a tragedy.”
3 February 2023: Near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A large train of about 50 cars derailed in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line. The train was carrying a freight from Madison, Ill., to Conway, Penn., according to the operator, Norfolk Southern. At the time, no information was released about what caused the derailment. Officials in the area issued an evacuation order which remained in place through Saturday morning for people within a mile of the scene. No injuries were reported. Reports say firefighters from three states (Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia) responded due to the location of the derailment about 50 miles (82 km) northwest of Pittsburgh and about 20 miles (32 km) from West Virginia. The train was carrying chemicals like vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylhexyl acrylate and ethylene glycol and monobutyl ether which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later determined had been released into the air, surface soil and surface waters.
3 January 2023: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Webtec Corporation disclosed a data breach after a Lockbit ransomware attack in 2022. Wabtec says hackers breached their network and installed malware on specific systems as early as March 15, 2022. The U.S. rail and locomotive company disclosed a data breach that exposed personal and sensitive information. Wabtec is a U.S.-based public company producing locomotives and rail systems. The company employs approximately 25,000 people and has a presence in 50 countries, being the world’s market leader in freight locomotives and a major player in the transit segment. On June 26, Wabtec said they detected unusual activity on their network leading to an investigation of the attack and whether the hackers had stolen data. The company started sending notices of a data breach to all impacted individuals on December 30, 2022, but the exact number of people affected by the incident remains undisclosed.
HappyOrNot Launches Next Gen Smiley Feedback Terminal with AI-powered Facial Analysis Software
Instant customer feedback insights company, HappyOrNot, has launched what it is calling its most advanced feedback product: an updated version of its Smiley Touch terminal, already present in airports and retail spaces around the world, now enhanced by artificial intelligence.
Accumulating over a billion feedback responses since its launch, HappyOrNot’s range of smiley-faced terminals serve over 4,000 brands in 135 countries including Amazon, Google, Aramark, and Miami Airport.
Upgrading its popular Smiley Touch product, the new terminal uses a built-in camera system and AI software to unlock and connect in-moment anonymous feedback data with respondent(s) demographic information. The demographic analysis works by converting and mapping facial features into numerous data points to form a vector. The anonymized vector is then analyzed by the AI to estimate the feedback provider’s age and gender — with up to a 95% accuracy rate.
Unlike facial recognition tools, HappyOrNot’s updated Smiley Touch terminal does not identify the individual, instead its only purpose is to analyze a silhouetted vector, which is specifically designed to hide the respondent’s identity.
The company calls this an “unprecedented innovation” in the market, that can help create value and new insights, especially in retail. At a time of economic uncertainty, the new product aims to help businesses make better informed decisions that result in positive operational impact. Already adopted by leading European retail chain XXL Sport & Villmark and Canadian pharmacy chain MacQuarries, the upgraded terminals provide a faster way for businesses to gather detailed information, and crucially, better understand how to meet the unique needs of their target audiences.
Gathering encrypted and anonymous data from the terminals, businesses can also gain a better understanding of the satisfaction levels for specific user groups. The layering of demographics analytics on top of real-time feedback data, supports them to make and measure operational changes that target and add value to specific groups of customers.
“We know that when it comes to customer loyalty, all it takes is one good or bad experience. Yet, providing a personalized service can be challenging when you have customers ranging from 16 to 80. Adding demographics data will allow businesses to better understand their target markets through the feedback provided by their customers.” said Miika Mäkitalo, CEO of HappyOrNot, “Our priority has always been to make customer feedback more digestible, and this latest version will go a long way in providing another layer of context for businesses. This new capability is brilliant for our customers, and I’m very pleased that we are the first in the market to deliver this innovation.”
Using the most advanced technology, HappyOrNot’s new terminal complements its range of innovative feedback solutions aimed at boosting omnichannel customer engagement. To improve accuracy, businesses can also turn on the camera operated feedback guard that recognizes and filters out multiple feedback responses from the same individual in a short period of time. On track to reach 2bn feedback responses by 2024, the upgraded terminals will join other marquee products such as web-based integration Smiley Digital and touchless URL and QR-code solution Smiley Link.
“By combining demographic data with customer satisfaction data, retailers can create a more detailed and nuanced picture of their customers and use this information to make informed business decisions.” explains Kenneth Røsseth-Sørensen, Strategy & Business Development at XXL Group.“For example, a retailer might use this data to identify specific customer segments that are particularly satisfied or dissatisfied with their products or services, and tailor their marketing and customer service strategies accordingly. This can help retailers improve customer loyalty and retention, and ultimately drive sales and revenue.”
8 September 2022: Imperial County, California
On September 8, 2022, about 2:40 a.m. local time, a conductor and engineer of Union Pacific Railroad (UP) train ISILB5-07 were killed when the train collided with railcars stored in a siding near Imperial County, California. The train was traveling eastbound about 28 mph on Mainline 2 when a UP dispatcher routed it into the west end of the signal-controlled siding (Bertram siding) at milepost 646.1 on the Yuma subdivision. The train then collided with 92 empty intermodal railcars that had been stored at milepost 646.3 since December 2021. The two lead locomotives and one intermodal railcar of UP train ISILB5-07 derailed, along with two of the empty stored intermodal railcars.
28 October 2022: Beaumont, Texas
On October 28, 2022, about 12:02 a.m. local time, a PSC Group train conductor was struck and killed by train 3832 during a reverse movement at the ExxonMobil refinery plant in Beaumont, Texas. The train consisted of one locomotive and 19 tank cars. The conductor, part of a four-person PSC Group train crew, was protecting (spotting) the train movement from the ground to position the rear tank car near the end of track 7 for product loading. Visibility conditions at the time of the accident were dark with clear skies, and the temperature was 64°F.
September 12 2022: U. S. Nationwide
Railroads in the U. S. stopped accepting shipments of hazardous and other security-sensitive materials due to the looming threat of a strike Friday the 16th of September. A major national railroad, Union Pacific, whose operations would be stopped by a strike, said it was being done to “protect employees, customers, and the communities we serve.” A statement from the railroad’s trade group said they needed follow federal rules to “ensure that no such cargo is left on an unattended or unsecured train.” The unions that represent the members of those threatening to go on strike say the railroad’s new restrictions are designed to “put pressure on Congress to block the unions from walking out,” adding the move was “completely unnecessary” and “no more than corporate extortion.” As we went to press, Amtrak had begun cancelling all long-distance trains as the strike loomed.
24 August 2022: The English Channel
A Le Shuttle incident began when the train’s alarms went off. Passengers were left stranded for several hours inside the Channel Tunnel when the train from Calais to Folkestone broke down. In footage that emerged later, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle passengers were shown being evacuated through an emergency service tunnel after having to abandon their vehicles. Eventually, the passengers were transferred to a replacement train and taken to the Folkestone terminal in Kent. A Eurotunnel spokesman said services were now back to normal however the incident was being investigated. “The Shuttle was brought to a controlled stop and inspected. As a precautionary measure, for their safety and comfort, we transferred the passengers on-board to another shuttle, via the service tunnel [which is there for exactly that purpose],” a spokesman for the enterprise said.
27 June 2022: Brentwood, California
Three people died and two others were seriously injured when an Amtrak train collided with a car in Brentwood, California, over the weekend according to the East Contra Costa Fire Department. The two people who were wounded (one was a child), suffered serious injuries and were taken to a local hospital, according to officials.
28 June 2022: Mendon, Missouri
Three people died and another 50 were injured when an Amtrak train derailed after hitting a dump truck in Missouri, authorities said. Cpl. Justin Dunn, a spokesperson for Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop B, told reporters that two of the people who were killed were aboard the train while the third was in a dump truck that the train struck. Amtrak said the train collided with the dump truck at a public crossing near the city of Mendon. Authorities said the incident happened at an intersection that did not have warning lights or motion gates. A gravel road crosses the railroad tracks southwest of town at that intersection. Eight cars and two locomotives left the track, “after striking a truck that was obstructing a public crossing near Mendon, Missouri,” company officials said in a statement. The train was en route to Chicago. “Saddened by the tragic loss of life and injuries in the Missouri train derailment today & Northern California collision over the weekend,” Pete Buttigieg, U. S. secretary of transportation, tweeted. Federal Railroad Administration staff and the NTSB will be on site to investigate. It was the second train accident in two days in which an Amtrak train hit a passenger vehicle.