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D.P. Roberts

Worst duct tape repair?

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Duct tape has been mentioned in many threads here, usually in regards to passengers bringing it onboard in order to fix various problems they find on the train - everything from squeaky doors to blocking off air vents.

 

But in my recent travels, I noticed that Amtrak was also using copious amounts of duct tape to "fix" various broken train components. One of the more annoying repairs was a bathroom cabinet door at foot level - the stickiness had worn off & the door constantly tripped people or banged into their ankles while in the bathroom.

 

However, on a later train I saw this "repair" - a commode entirely held together with duct tape! It's hard to see in the photo, but there's another patch job in the lower right as well.

 

So this got me thinking - what's the worst "repair" you've seen on an Amtrak train? How bad does it actually have to get before they really fix it?

 

2014-06-27_14-57-44_261_zps440e10fa.jpg

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Wow! That's really terrible and embarrassing.

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I was on the City of New Orleans NOL-CHI three years ago in a bedroom. The sliding door between my room - B - and the next room - C - was being held closed by tape. The latch that would lock it closed was broken. By the number of layers and ages of tape used, it looked to have been broken for quite some time. Regardless, the tape did not work. On first curve that pulled the door in the open direction, the tape broke loose and the door slid completely open. I applied more tape myself, and even the time-honored plan of stuffing towels and facecloths to try to keep the door closed. Futile. The SCA tried, and nothing worked. On every curve to the right, all the fixes broke loose and the door slid wide open. At that point Room C was not occupied, but when it was, I had no idea how things could be managed.

 

Sometimes you just luck out. A family boarded an hour or so later. I heard a discussion in the corridor between them and the SCA. Seems they had booked two bedrooms - Rooms C and D - and had been assured by the phone agent that those two rooms had the connecting door. Nope, they don't. Opportunity knocked. I stuck my head out and asked how far they were going. Like me, they were heading to Chicago. Solution was in hand. I traded my Room B for their Room D. They got two rooms with the sliding door. The fact it would not stay closed was not an issue for them. Meanwhile, I got a room with a sliding door that would stay closed. A very lucky win-win.

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Is that FRA certified and approved duct tape? :P

 

In a train restroom, duct tape would not concern me too much. On an airplane, duct tape on the doors or wings would be of concern to me. And probably the FAA. :o

 

Seriously though, that much duct tape does not help to encourage repeat business.

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The photo in the OP looks bad, and I really don't want to sound like an apologist here, but without know some additional details I can't pass judgement.

 

For instance, was this repair done in the field by a member of the on-board crew as a way to keep something in service until the equipment returned to

the maintenance base? Or was this sent out this way?

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Once on the Texas Eagle the SCA borrowed some duct tape from me to tape closed the top bunk in a Roomette had wouldn't stay closed and kept falling down to the stops! He told me the pax in the roomette was 6'6" and had to stay in that roomette because the Sleeper was Sold Out!

 

Some of the cars that the Orphan Eagles get are in such poor shape and have so much duct tape in use the joke is that the name of this route should be " The Duct Tape Ltd."!!! True Story!

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The Mechanical Dept. is often constrained by a lack of spare parts. In addition, there was, and probably still is, a rule prohibiting Mechanics from cannibalizing an out-of-service car to get a needed part. Once again, the problem seems to originate at a higher level.

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Can't parts be sent from Beech Grove to the CHI shops off wrecks and mothballed cars and engines so crappy "shop queens" aren't sent out on the LD Trains???

 

Definitely sounds like a Management problem in Mechanical and Operations both!

Edited by jimhudson

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I don't know if this qualifies as this is not a Amtrak train, but still interesting to note. On the New York City Subway, I am not up on the type of cars, but this was the car with the slanted front.. from the 60's I believe. Last line to have them was the B line, if it helps. On top of the roof was some duct tape to seal a crack.

 

Bruce-SSR

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I was on a US Airways flight a couple of years back that had he entire front end of one aisle seat armrest - the one adjacent to the aisle - covered in duct tape.

 

###############

 

This was the same flight that when I went to give the flight attendant my trash from the taco salad I had brought aboard for lunch, he said to me "Well, what do expect me to do with that!?!"

 

I was so surprised at his hostililty I was speechless, which is not usually like me. After the shock wore off, I came up with an idea for what he could do with it! :P

Edited by The Davy Crockett

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The photo in the OP looks bad, and I really don't want to sound like an apologist here, but without know some additional details I can't pass judgement.

 

For instance, was this repair done in the field by a member of the on-board crew as a way to keep something in service until the equipment returned to

the maintenance base? Or was this sent out this way?

Hmmm... I can't remember which car this was on. I had two really bad Superliner IIs, one on the CS (PDX-LAX) and one on the SWC (LAX-CHI). I almost always "tour the car" when I get onboard, and noticed it right away. I'm pretty sure it was the CS, so I noticed it near PDX - a few hours after it left Seattle. It's possible that our attendant fixed it between Seattle and Portland, but I don't think it's likely.

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I don't know if this qualifies as this is not a Amtrak train, but still interesting to note. On the New York City Subway, I am not up on the type of cars, but this was the car with the slanted front.. from the 60's I believe. Last line to have them was the B line, if it helps. On top of the roof was some duct tape to seal a crack.

 

Bruce-SSR

That would be the slant-nosed R-40 class. (I have O-Gauge models of them :) ) I know the duct-tape-on-the-roof repair well, Probably due to the huge expanse of fiberglass that is the slanted end on those cars. It may not even be the only car class to have that sort of external repair, and a number of other car classes (R40M, R44, R46, R62, R68) also had fiberglass end caps.

 

---PCJ

Edited by RailRide

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I don't know if this qualifies as this is not a Amtrak train, but still interesting to note. On the New York City Subway, I am not up on the type of cars, but this was the car with the slanted front.. from the 60's I believe. Last line to have them was the B line, if it helps. On top of the roof was some duct tape to seal a crack.

 

Bruce-SSR

That would be the slant-nosed R-40 class. (I have O-Gauge models of them :) ) I know the duct-tape-on-the-roof repair well, Probably due to the huge expanse of fiberglass that is the slanted end on those cars. It may not even be the only car class to have that sort of external repair, and a number of other car classes (R40M, R44, R46, R62, R68) also had fiberglass end caps.

 

---PCJ

 

You are probably right. But keeping with the theme of this thread, it doesn't look good or a professional repair job. Doesn't inspire confidence that the car is well maintained.

 

Bruce-SSR

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