Quantcast

Jump to content




Photo

Capital Limited Train 30(15) Delay - One for record book


6 replies to this topic

#1 deimos

deimos

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 419 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maryland
  • Interests:Hiking, biking, astronomy, travel, amateur radio.

Posted 17 March 2007 - 09:56 AM

Folks,

Amtrak web site reports 30(15) 67 M delayed CHI departure and 18 H 21 M delayed arrival into WAS! I can imagine weather was a major factor, but I was wondering if anyone knew of other more significant problems?

Thanks

Deimos

#2 Alice

Alice

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 655 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:California

Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:17 PM

Folks,

Amtrak web site reports 30(15) 67 M delayed CHI departure and 18 H 21 M delayed arrival into WAS! I can imagine weather was a major factor, but I was wondering if anyone knew of other more significant problems?

Thanks

Deimos


I was on this train and it is quite interesting. Weather was not a factor.

We left an hour late. In the Metropolitan Lounge, the official word was that the train was there but not the crew. Onboard, the engineer said it had taken a while to get the equipment ready.

About 150 miles out of Chicago (just past Kendallville, milepost 378, between Elkhart and Waterloo stops) we parked before midnight I think for around 10 hours. Different people said different things but for sure the lead engine was inoperative. Something was frozen (wheel, axel, driveshaft, etc depending on source, all passengers). They were trying to unfreeze it (I could see multiple big pickup-type worktrucks and lights) by (according to sources) welding or cutting or heat-torching something. One person said they were trying to cut through the driveshaft so at least we could push it off the track somewhere.

Passengers said they should have tried for a few hours but given up much earlier than they did.
Eventually we unhooked, backed up quite a ways, and continued with one engine all the way to Washington.

There were more hitches. In Pittsburgh, we needed to drop the private car (office? It had a treadmill in one window. Nice looking car) we were carrying for Norfolk Southern. NS didn't come for an hour to do whatever they were supposed to do. I think Amtrak people may have finally done it themselves and left it there.

Pulling out of Pittsburgh, there was a broken switch. Our conductor finally got that fixed. That was worth around 1 1/2 hours. Before Connellsville, PA, we stopped to take on fuel (that one-engine scenario?), for maybe 15 minutes.

This is when we passengers determined that we got a lot of info when there was a non-Amtak problem (switch, freight traffic), and little info about Amtrak issues (The all-night stop was only "mechanical problems").

On uphills, we mostly went pretty slow and had no acceleration at all. There were also delays to pick up things like food and forks. Going throught the mountains at night (beautiful country through PA), I saw maybe a dozen freight trains with clean tracks behind them and snow-covered tracks in front, pulled over while we passed. So I think that "waiting for freight" excuse is overused.

From the passenger side, I liked the trip but many people didn't (especially those on a schedule), and I think better communication was in order. We had on board people who were previously delayed 12 hours on the Zephyr, and some from New Orleans who were never going to get to their destination before needing to return home. We got to see some terrific scenery during daylight, though, and the on-board crew were incredible. The news we consistently got with each apology was that everything was fixed now, we'd try to catch up some, and at least we wouldn't lose any more time.

Amtrak offered to fly passengers from Toledo to Washington (during a long stop around MP 353), but the airline refused at the last minute because of conditions at the Washington airport. This was after people had retrieved their checked luggage and such. I think it was Pittsburgh where they chartered a bus for the same reason, then the bus driver said no, they'd leave in the morning when the roads would be safer. Again, this was after people were dressed for cold and standing on the platform with their stuff.

One particularly bad treatment was for the people waiting in the stations, unable to get info because "Julie" was saying the train was delayed, talk to an agent, and agents were 1/2 to 3/4 hour waits. One couple got on in Ohio after waiting all night in one of those small stations. I talked with them in Washington where they looked terrible (no surprise there) and were waiting for a Red Cap to locate some carryon luggage that was missing (he did find it). On the flip side, I think some station agents stayed open when they usually wouldn't have.

One nice touch was that Amtrak gave all coach passengers free dinners that last night, I suspect the same prepared ones we got in the sleepers. I recommend the lamb shank! But travel vouchers plus the meal would probably be more appropriate. As many passengers said, at least we had showers, toilets, and food, unlike some newsworthy airline flights.

And it is much nicer to arrive in Washington at 8am than at 2am, when Metro is closed down.

Here are my time notes:

Chicago 8:15pm (7:05pm scheduled)
Waterloo 9:20am (10:47pm)
Sandusky 1:38pm (1:05am)
Cleveland 2:40pm (2:06am)
Alliance 3:50pm (3:15am)
Pittsburgh 5:47-6:42pm (5:30-5:45am)(out of station 7:20pm after switch repair)
Connellsville 9:03pm fuel, 9:18pm passengers (7:24am)
Cumberland 3:50-4:11pm (9:44-9:51am)
Harpers Ferry 5:33am (11:45am) (Hey, we're early if you ignore the date!)
Rockville 7:23am (12:30pm)
Washington 7:50am (1:30pm)

#3 MrFSS

MrFSS

    Engineer

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,935 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Central Kentucky

Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:25 PM


Folks,

Amtrak web site reports 30(15) 67 M delayed CHI departure and 18 H 21 M delayed arrival into WAS! I can imagine weather was a major factor, but I was wondering if anyone knew of other more significant problems?

Thanks

Deimos


I was on this train and it is quite interesting. Weather was not a factor.

We left an hour late. In the Metropolitan Lounge, the official word was that the train was there but not the crew. Onboard, the engineer said it had taken a while to get the equipment ready.

About 150 miles out of Chicago (just past Kendallville, milepost 378, between Elkhart and Waterloo stops) we parked before midnight I think for around 10 hours. Different people said different things but for sure the lead engine was inoperative. Something was frozen (wheel, axel, driveshaft, etc depending on source, all passengers). They were trying to unfreeze it (I could see multiple big pickup-type worktrucks and lights) by (according to sources) welding or cutting or heat-torching something. One person said they were trying to cut through the driveshaft so at least we could push it off the track somewhere.

Passengers said they should have tried for a few hours but given up much earlier than they did.
Eventually we unhooked, backed up quite a ways, and continued with one engine all the way to Washington.

There were more hitches. In Pittsburgh, we needed to drop the private car (office? It had a treadmill in one window. Nice looking car) we were carrying for Norfolk Southern. NS didn't come for an hour to do whatever they were supposed to do. I think Amtrak people may have finally done it themselves and left it there.

Pulling out of Pittsburgh, there was a broken switch. Our conductor finally got that fixed. That was worth around 1 1/2 hours. Before Connellsville, PA, we stopped to take on fuel (that one-engine scenario?), for maybe 15 minutes.

This is when we passengers determined that we got a lot of info when there was a non-Amtak problem (switch, freight traffic), and little info about Amtrak issues (The all-night stop was only "mechanical problems").

On uphills, we mostly went pretty slow and had no acceleration at all. There were also delays to pick up things like food and forks. Going throught the mountains at night (beautiful country through PA), I saw maybe a dozen freight trains with clean tracks behind them and snow-covered tracks in front, pulled over while we passed. So I think that "waiting for freight" excuse is overused.

From the passenger side, I liked the trip but many people didn't (especially those on a schedule), and I think better communication was in order. We had on board people who were previously delayed 12 hours on the Zephyr, and some from New Orleans who were never going to get to their destination before needing to return home. We got to see some terrific scenery during daylight, though, and the on-board crew were incredible. The news we consistently got with each apology was that everything was fixed now, we'd try to catch up some, and at least we wouldn't lose any more time.

Amtrak offered to fly passengers from Toledo to Washington (during a long stop around MP 353), but the airline refused at the last minute because of conditions at the Washington airport. This was after people had retrieved their checked luggage and such. I think it was Pittsburgh where they chartered a bus for the same reason, then the bus driver said no, they'd leave in the morning when the roads would be safer. Again, this was after people were dressed for cold and standing on the platform with their stuff.

One particularly bad treatment was for the people waiting in the stations, unable to get info because "Julie" was saying the train was delayed, talk to an agent, and agents were 1/2 to 3/4 hour waits. One couple got on in Ohio after waiting all night in one of those small stations. I talked with them in Washington where they looked terrible (no surprise there) and were waiting for a Red Cap to locate some carryon luggage that was missing (he did find it). On the flip side, I think some station agents stayed open when they usually wouldn't have.

One nice touch was that Amtrak gave all coach passengers free dinners that last night, I suspect the same prepared ones we got in the sleepers. I recommend the lamb shank! But travel vouchers plus the meal would probably be more appropriate. As many passengers said, at least we had showers, toilets, and food, unlike some newsworthy airline flights.

And it is much nicer to arrive in Washington at 8am than at 2am, when Metro is closed down.

Here are my time notes:

Chicago 8:15pm (7:05pm scheduled)
Waterloo 9:20am (10:47pm)
Sandusky 1:38pm (1:05am)
Cleveland 2:40pm (2:06am)
Alliance 3:50pm (3:15am)
Pittsburgh 5:47-6:42pm (5:30-5:45am)(out of station 7:20pm after switch repair)
Connellsville 9:03pm fuel, 9:18pm passengers (7:24am)
Cumberland 3:50-4:11pm (9:44-9:51am)
Harpers Ferry 5:33am (11:45am) (Hey, we're early if you ignore the date!)
Rockville 7:23am (12:30pm)
Washington 7:50am (1:30pm)

WOW! What a trip.

#4 AlanB

AlanB

    Administrator

  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 28,803 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Queens, New York

Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:47 PM

About 150 miles out of Chicago (just past Kendallville, milepost 378, between Elkhart and Waterloo stops) we parked before midnight I think for around 10 hours. Different people said different things but for sure the lead engine was inoperative. Something was frozen (wheel, axel, driveshaft, etc depending on source, all passengers). They were trying to unfreeze it (I could see multiple big pickup-type worktrucks and lights) by (according to sources) welding or cutting or heat-torching something. One person said they were trying to cut through the driveshaft so at least we could push it off the track somewhere.


According to another source, it was a failure of a motor on the 4th axle of that engine #191. When that happens, a part called a pinion shaft locks the axle to prevent further damage to the engine. I understand that they tried to cut through the pinion shaft, so as to allow the engine to continue with the rest of the train, even though it would no longer have been able to provide full power with one of four motors out of commision. That however would have still been better than just running with one engine.

I'm not sure just what finally happened, but apparently either they were unsucessful at cutting the pinion shaft or they found an additional problem(s), the prevent them from moving that engine. So eventually the decision was made to continue on one engine.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#5 deimos

deimos

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 419 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maryland
  • Interests:Hiking, biking, astronomy, travel, amateur radio.

Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:07 PM


Folks,

Amtrak web site reports 30(15) 67 M delayed CHI departure and 18 H 21 M delayed arrival into WAS! I can imagine weather was a major factor, but I was wondering if anyone knew of other more significant problems?

Thanks

Deimos


I was on this train and it is quite interesting. Weather was not a factor.

We left an hour late. In the Metropolitan Lounge, the official word was that the train was there but not the crew. Onboard, the engineer said it had taken a while to get the equipment ready.

About 150 miles out of Chicago (just past Kendallville, milepost 378, between Elkhart and Waterloo stops) we parked before midnight I think for around 10 hours. Different people said different things but for sure the lead engine was inoperative. Something was frozen (wheel, axel, driveshaft, etc depending on source, all passengers). They were trying to unfreeze it (I could see multiple big pickup-type worktrucks and lights) by (according to sources) welding or cutting or heat-torching something. One person said they were trying to cut through the driveshaft so at least we could push it off the track somewhere.

Passengers said they should have tried for a few hours but given up much earlier than they did.
Eventually we unhooked, backed up quite a ways, and continued with one engine all the way to Washington.

There were more hitches. In Pittsburgh, we needed to drop the private car (office? It had a treadmill in one window. Nice looking car) we were carrying for Norfolk Southern. NS didn't come for an hour to do whatever they were supposed to do. I think Amtrak people may have finally done it themselves and left it there.

Pulling out of Pittsburgh, there was a broken switch. Our conductor finally got that fixed. That was worth around 1 1/2 hours. Before Connellsville, PA, we stopped to take on fuel (that one-engine scenario?), for maybe 15 minutes.

This is when we passengers determined that we got a lot of info when there was a non-Amtak problem (switch, freight traffic), and little info about Amtrak issues (The all-night stop was only "mechanical problems").

On uphills, we mostly went pretty slow and had no acceleration at all. There were also delays to pick up things like food and forks. Going throught the mountains at night (beautiful country through PA), I saw maybe a dozen freight trains with clean tracks behind them and snow-covered tracks in front, pulled over while we passed. So I think that "waiting for freight" excuse is overused.

From the passenger side, I liked the trip but many people didn't (especially those on a schedule), and I think better communication was in order. We had on board people who were previously delayed 12 hours on the Zephyr, and some from New Orleans who were never going to get to their destination before needing to return home. We got to see some terrific scenery during daylight, though, and the on-board crew were incredible. The news we consistently got with each apology was that everything was fixed now, we'd try to catch up some, and at least we wouldn't lose any more time.

Amtrak offered to fly passengers from Toledo to Washington (during a long stop around MP 353), but the airline refused at the last minute because of conditions at the Washington airport. This was after people had retrieved their checked luggage and such. I think it was Pittsburgh where they chartered a bus for the same reason, then the bus driver said no, they'd leave in the morning when the roads would be safer. Again, this was after people were dressed for cold and standing on the platform with their stuff.

One particularly bad treatment was for the people waiting in the stations, unable to get info because "Julie" was saying the train was delayed, talk to an agent, and agents were 1/2 to 3/4 hour waits. One couple got on in Ohio after waiting all night in one of those small stations. I talked with them in Washington where they looked terrible (no surprise there) and were waiting for a Red Cap to locate some carryon luggage that was missing (he did find it). On the flip side, I think some station agents stayed open when they usually wouldn't have.

One nice touch was that Amtrak gave all coach passengers free dinners that last night, I suspect the same prepared ones we got in the sleepers. I recommend the lamb shank! But travel vouchers plus the meal would probably be more appropriate. As many passengers said, at least we had showers, toilets, and food, unlike some newsworthy airline flights.

And it is much nicer to arrive in Washington at 8am than at 2am, when Metro is closed down.

Here are my time notes:

Chicago 8:15pm (7:05pm scheduled)
Waterloo 9:20am (10:47pm)
Sandusky 1:38pm (1:05am)
Cleveland 2:40pm (2:06am)
Alliance 3:50pm (3:15am)
Pittsburgh 5:47-6:42pm (5:30-5:45am)(out of station 7:20pm after switch repair)
Connellsville 9:03pm fuel, 9:18pm passengers (7:24am)
Cumberland 3:50-4:11pm (9:44-9:51am)
Harpers Ferry 5:33am (11:45am) (Hey, we're early if you ignore the date!)
Rockville 7:23am (12:30pm)
Washington 7:50am (1:30pm)




Alice -

Thanks for all of the information. I'll second Mr.FSS's comment and say WOW! So, I guess its fair to say everyone's patience was put to the test, regardless of how much they tried to take things in stride. But as you say - at least you had access to facilities and food.

Thanks again for all of the details and I hope your next rail journey is less troublesome.

Deimos

#6 deimos

deimos

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 419 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Maryland
  • Interests:Hiking, biking, astronomy, travel, amateur radio.

Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:09 PM


About 150 miles out of Chicago (just past Kendallville, milepost 378, between Elkhart and Waterloo stops) we parked before midnight I think for around 10 hours. Different people said different things but for sure the lead engine was inoperative. Something was frozen (wheel, axel, driveshaft, etc depending on source, all passengers). They were trying to unfreeze it (I could see multiple big pickup-type worktrucks and lights) by (according to sources) welding or cutting or heat-torching something. One person said they were trying to cut through the driveshaft so at least we could push it off the track somewhere.


According to another source, it was a failure of a motor on the 4th axle of that engine #191. When that happens, a part called a pinion shaft locks the axle to prevent further damage to the engine. I understand that they tried to cut through the pinion shaft, so as to allow the engine to continue with the rest of the train, even though it would no longer have been able to provide full power with one of four motors out of commision. That however would have still been better than just running with one engine.

I'm not sure just what finally happened, but apparently either they were unsucessful at cutting the pinion shaft or they found an additional problem(s), the prevent them from moving that engine. So eventually the decision was made to continue on one engine.



Alan - Thanks, as always, to you as well.... Deimos

#7 Guest_Guest_*

Guest_Guest_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 March 2007 - 06:03 PM

In July of last year, I was in train 4 being held at Barstow because of a freight derailment near Needles; the passengers were finally bussed after sitting in Barstow for 16 hours, and I believe they finally arrived in CHI 21 hours late (I don't know personally, because I opted to turn around and return to Riverside from Barstow because the delay had halved my available vacation time).



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users