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Amtrak Train 91-CSX collision in SC (2/4/18)/Liability issues

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From USA Today

 

“They weren’t supposed to be meeting like that, clearly," Gov. Henry McMaster said. "It appears that Amtrak was on the wrong track.” He said the CSX train seemed to be on the track it was supposed to be on.

 

The CSX train was parked on what appears to be a side track when the Amtrak train slammed into it at about 59 mph, McMaster said. Of the 139 people on the Amtrak train, 116 people were taken to hospitals, he said. Eight were Amtrak employees.

 

"Our information — and this is subject to correction — is that this was not the main (train) line," McMaster said. "This was a loading track for a sidetrack — where the collision took place."

 

He described the freight train engines as "all torn up," and the Amtrak engine as "barely recognizable" from the impact.

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/02/04/amtrak-train-collision/304692002/

 

south-carolina-train-crash-03-ap-jc-1802

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/amtrak-passenger-train-collides-freight-train-sc-injuries/story?id=52826058

Edited by Rover

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According to reports, the area was operating under signal suspension with authority given by track warrants. This is apparently the reason that the Conductor was in the cab - to copy track warrants without having to stop the train to do so, which would be necessary if there was only a single Engineer in the cab.

 

So all those screaming about PTC should know that under signal suspension there would possibly have been no PTC active either.

 

And ironically, apparently the signal suspension was in place in order to cut in PTC compliant signals and place them in service.

Edited by jis

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Doesn't the Card and the CONO run with only 1 P-42 also??

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Please explain "wire issues"....

 

CSX had a brand of wire in use that was failing. They issue a recall and pull it out of use. Replacing the wire everywhere they found it. After another signal failure that was trace back to this wire they did another round of inspection looking for this one type of wire.

 

A wire failure is not in question now as the Amtrak train was operating in Dark Territory with no operating signal system.

 

So the focus goes to the switch now. What position should of been in? What position it was in, and if a difference why?

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There are two damaged cars from what I can see from drone footage. The first car behind #42 is buckled. A small crunch visible in the top skin. The one I think is the cafe car was several back and it SNAPPED in half, bending about itself.

 

And the P42 itself, which appears to have lost roughly a quarter or possibly even a third of its front end in the collision (looks like roughly the first 20 feet or so is detached/missing). No way are they going to be able to repair it.

 

That cafe car that bent in half is absolutely shocking to me, because the front end of it as well as the rear end of it are either over the tracks or just off the tracks. I'm thinking the abrupt stop of coaches and loco in front of it, combined with the force of the sleepers and baggage car behind it, pretty much exerted two opposite forces on it, forcing it to bend/break in half.

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https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amtrak-train-crash-south-carolina-2-dead-live-updates-today-2018-02-04/

 

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said 54-year-old engineer Michael Kempf and 32-year-old conductor Michael Sella were killed in the collision.

Edited by daybeers

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Let's keep politics out of this discussion.

 

THANK YOU.

 

 

Prayers for all those affected.

Amtrak is having more than its fair share of troubles lately, although most seem at this point to not be of its own making. Hopefully all the injured will make full recoveries.

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That is shocking, the way that car broke in half...I don't recall ever seeing anything like that....

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Considering the forces from such a collision, we must be thankful for the fact that most cars did not crush or deform, as sometimes happens in rail crashes abroad...

 

Ed.

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The one I think is the cafe car was several back and it SNAPPED in half, bending about itself.

 

That cafe car that bent in half is absolutely shocking to me, because the front end of it as well as the rear end of it are either over the tracks or just off the tracks. I'm thinking the abrupt stop of coaches and loco in front of it, combined with the force of the sleepers and baggage car behind it, pretty much exerted two opposite forces on it, forcing it to bend/break in half.

 

 

I cannot help but wonder if the Cafe car snapped like it did because it was the lightest car in the consist (no pax, baggage, etc).

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Dark territory? Signal suspension? What does that stuff mean? Please excuse my ignorance

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Amtrak has posted an alert on their website: https://www.amtrak.com/alert/amtrak-train-91-derailment.html

 

We are deeply saddened to report the death of two of our employees in this morning’s derailment in Cayce, South Carolina. Additionally, affected customers reporting injuries have been transported to local hospitals.

 

We are cooperating fully with the NTSB, which is leading the investigation, as well as working with FRA and CSX. CSX owns and controls the Columbia Subdivision where the accident occurred. CSX maintains all of the tracks and signal systems. CSX controls the dispatching of all trains, including directing the signal systems which control the access to sidings and yards.

 

Amtrak is working to take care of everyone who was on the train, including family members of our passengers and crew.

 

Details:

 

Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami, came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 a.m. ET in Cayce, South Carolina. The lead engine derailed, as well as some passenger cars. There were 8 crew members and approximately 139 customers on board. Local authorities are on the scene responding.

 

Customer information:

 

People who have questions about customers on the train can contact us at 800-523-9101.

 

Service information:

 

Due to this incident and the resulting temporary track closure, Trains 91 & 92, the Amtrak Silver Star will detour between Hamlet, N.C., and Savannah,Ga., until further notice. Passengers will be provided alternate transportation to missed stops, as available.

 

Other Amtrak services along the Atlantic Coast, including the Auto Train (Trains 52 & 53), Palmetto (Trains 89 & 90) and Silver Meteor (Trains 97 & 98) are operating normally.

Edited by daybeers

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Wow.

jis posted "Brandon" Drone Vid of car snapped. Amtrak 91 Silver Star CSX collision 4 Feb 2018

Here's CU screencap:

 

This Local TV station carrying frequent/live updates: http://www.wistv.com/story/37422691/update-2-killed-70-injured-following-amtrak-train-collision-in-cayce-sc

 

YouTube drone vid direct link WLTXNews19 [WLTX.com] :

post-103-0-03684300-1517771642_thumb.jpg

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The baggage car at the end of the Amtrak consist is near the start of the siding.

The engineer would not have had enough room to stop the train if he realized being switched onto those tracks was an error.

 

It appears the P-42 climbed up onto the CSX engine(s) and then fell off to the side.

 

Amtrak, outside the NEC, is at the mercy of the plethora of rail infrastructure owning railroads. Amtrak as a whole is at the mercy of the annual funding it is given.

I'm amazed & disappointed that most Americans are not deeply embarrassed that our national passenger railroad is no better than it is.

Edited by KmH

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So all those screaming about PTC should know that under signal suspension there would have been no PTC active either.

 

 

 

 

That would depend on the system and if they suspended PTC. ACSES will still work during a cab signal suspension and a wayside signal suspension. It is even programmed to protect improperly lined facing point switches when operating against the current of traffic. You'd have to actually suspend ACSES rules.

 

Dark territory? Signal suspension? What does that stuff mean? Please excuse my ignorance

 

Making an extremely long and detailed story short, territory that operates without some sort of signals (cab signals, wayside signals) is typically referred to as "dark territory." Typically, these tracks will need some sort of movement authority or permission for trains to operate on the track.

 

In signaled territory, movements are typically governed by signals (wayside, cab signals.) Permission is granted by signal indication.

 

When they take the signals out of service, it is called a signal suspension and movements revert back to movement authorities.

 

 

Amtrak has posted an alert on their website: https://www.amtrak.com/alert/amtrak-train-91-derailment.html

 

Due to this incident and the resulting temporary track closure, Trains 91 & 92, the Amtrak Silver Star will detour between Hamlet, N.C., and Savannah,Ga., until further notice. Passengers will be provided alternate transportation to missed stops, as available.

 

 

There are a couple of potential detours available. I guess they'll pick whichever detour CSX can support and the route that will likely lose the least amount of time.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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The baggage car at the end of the Amtrak consist is near the start of the siding.

The engineer would not have had enough room to stop the train if he realized being switched onto those tracks was an error.

 

It appears the P-42 climbed up onto the CSX engine(s) and then fell off to the side.

 

Amtrak, outside the NEC, is at the mercy of the plethora of rail infrastructure owning railroads. Amtrak as a whole is at the mercy of the annual funding it is given.

I'm amazed & disappointed that most Americans are not deeply embarrassed that our national passenger railroad is no better than it is.

Sorry to have to say this but I highly doubt that most people in this country give Amtrak or passanger rail a second thought. I think only people like us care about Amtrak.

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For those asking, and I know that this is unrelated to this tragedy, there are several LD trains with one loco. Cardinal, CONO, TE, Silver Star, and sometimes even the LSL. You might notice that most of those don't have full dining service, so the trains are shorter and don't require as much HEP - diners use a lot of power.

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For those asking, and I know that this is unrelated to this tragedy, there are several LD trains with one loco. Cardinal, CONO, TE, Silver Star, and sometimes even the LSL. You might notice that most of those don't have full dining service, so the trains are shorter and don't require as much HEP - diners use a lot of power.

TE does have a dining car, so would it not require more then one engine? Sorry to get off topic.

Edited by Dank

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Dark territory? Signal suspension? What does that stuff mean? Please excuse my ignorance

Slightly different terminology, but same general idea. CSX track side signal system was out of service, for upgrades to a PTC (Positive Train Control) System. The train crew were on a block grant dispatch system. The same system used in a dark territory. The difference is one territory has signals that are not work, and the other just does not have any signal at all.

 

 

 

 

Block Grant Dispatch. A low quality explanation.

 

Your Train A53 going from Cooperstown to Oneonta.

 

🔴Order #1 Train A53 clear from Cooperstown to Milford.

 

When you get to Milford you contact dispatch again. The dispatch will clear your first block and then issue a order like...

 

🔴Order #2 Train A53 clear to travel from Milford to Collinsville.

 

After you arrive at Collinsville you contact your dispatch and release the block your were in. Then in this case you contact the Delaware - Hudson dispatcher to get authorization to travel from Collinsville to Oneonta.

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also if a train has authority from point a to point b that is like having a clear signal. you don't have to be prepared to stop until the end of the limits. So if track speed is 55mph, a train would normally be going that speed

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For those asking, and I know that this is unrelated to this tragedy, there are several LD trains with one loco. Cardinal, CONO, TE, Silver Star, and sometimes even the LSL. You might notice that most of those don't have full dining service, so the trains are shorter and don't require as much HEP - diners use a lot of power.

TE does have a dining car, so would it not require more then one engine? Sorry to get off topic.

 

Yeah, but it's a pretty short train that doesn't use much HEP otherwise, and one that Amtrak could care less about. With HEP running, individual engines will have less towing power, so a shorter train may be needed. A diner doesn't necessarily require two engines, but it makes things harder for a long train.

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Plus, San Antonio to Chicago, the terrain the TE traverses lacks substantial grades.

Edited by KmH

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