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5 people injured after Amtrak Keystone strikes tractor (5/5/18)

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While everyone was discussing yogurt and boxed lunches, this occurred. The Keystone Corridor is largely sealed but this private crossing remains.

 

 

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Click on the link to see more pictures.

 

5 people injured after Amtrak train strikes tractor at Rapho Township crossing

 

 

Several people were injured after an Amtrak train hit a tractor in a Rapho Township crossing Tuesday morning.

The crash happened two miles east of the Mount Joy station at Bender's Crossing, at 10:32 a.m., according to Amtrak spokeswoman Beth Toll.

The farm tractor was upended by the train, according to Lancaster County-Wide Communications dispatch reports. Debris was scattered on the track

 

 

This link has a video which shows the aftermath.

 

Amtrak train strikes tractor in Lancaster County, firefighter says ‘it could’ve been a lot worse’

 

 

RAPHO TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- The Amtrak Police Department is investigating a train crash out of Lancaster County tonight.

Authorities say a train struck a farm tractor that was on the tracks this morning.

After hearing about the incident, some people in Rapho Township worried what might have happened to the driver.

A Deputy Fire Chief who responded to the crash says the driver only suffered a minor head injury.

"It could’ve been a lot worse," said Jason Sauder, the Deputy Fire Chief of West Hempfield Township Fire Department.

Sauder responded to the crash.

"With my background, with what I do, it makes your adrenaline rush a little more because it sort of hits home," he explained.

Hitting home because Sauder is both a volunteer firefighter and a farmer himself.

 

 

I thought PTC(ACSES), inward facing cameras and outward facing cameras were supposed to fix all of these issues. :ph34r::huh: ...withdrawn!!

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I thought PTC(ACSES), inward facing cameras and outward facing cameras were supposed to fix all of these issues.

 

How is PTC supposed to prevent a fast moving passenger train from impacting a carelessly operated non-conducting commercial vehicle? Best case scenario PTC hits the breaks right as Old MacDonald fouls the crossing and...impact! That being said, PTC is still an important and necessary upgrade in the wake of so many otherwise preventable accidents and disasters so I guess I'm struggling to understand whatever joke or criticism you're trying to make here.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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That private crossing needs to be closed ASAP. Trains zip through there at 110 mph, IINM. Silly to have such a weak link in what is otherwise a modern high(ish)-speed corridor.

 

Closing it could cost Amtrak a lot of money. This crossing dates from the Pennsylvania Railroad days. This farm has no other access in or out, and I bet the PRR granted the access for a long, long term. If Amtrak wants to get rid of it, they likely would have to purchase property rights and build a road to provide access between this farm and a public road. I bet that Amtrak would be responsible for 100% of that cost.

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I thought PTC(ACSES), inward facing cameras and outward facing cameras were supposed to fix all of these issues.

How is PTC supposed to prevent a fast moving passenger train from impacting a carelessly operated non-conducting commercial vehicle? Best case scenario PTC hits the breaks right as Old MacDonald fouls the crossing and...impact! That being said, PTC is still an important and necessary upgrade in the wake of so many otherwise preventable accidents and disasters so I guess I'm struggling to understand whatever joke or criticism you're trying to make here.

.

 

That was sarcasm since the answer to a lot questions and the big push has been Ptc and cameras.

 

Obviously I know PTC and cameras would not have helped but they are often pushed and regarded as the saviors.

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But the Phasor at the highest setting might have done the trick with one disappearance.

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I thought PTC(ACSES), inward facing cameras and outward facing cameras were supposed to fix all of these issues.

How is PTC supposed to prevent a fast moving passenger train from impacting a carelessly operated non-conducting commercial vehicle? Best case scenario PTC hits the breaks right as Old MacDonald fouls the crossing and...impact! That being said, PTC is still an important and necessary upgrade in the wake of so many otherwise preventable accidents and disasters so I guess I'm struggling to understand whatever joke or criticism you're trying to make here.

.

 

That was sarcasm since the answer to a lot questions and the big push has been Ptc and cameras.

 

Obviously I know PTC and cameras would not have helped but they are often pushed and regarded as the saviors.

TR I instantly got the joke.

 

I remember riding in a cab car like this during my qualifying runs. The one engineer taught me how to bail out of the cab in case something like this would happen. These things are death traps. IMO.

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Thirdrail7 how is the engineer doing? And the rest of the crew. Hopefully not too injured but I'm sure they are shaken up.

 

I instantly got your joke as well. Cab cars are in most cases death traps. I personally don't like cab cars for this reason alone. These cars themselves actually predate Amtrak having been ordered by the Pennsylvania Railroad and delivered to the Penn Central. More modern cab cars might be safer but I still am not a fan of them.

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Since the State of Pennsylvania is paying Amtrak for this service, could the state close all Private crossings along the 110 MPH route?

 

This is the only private or public crossing on the route. Since this farm has no public highway access other than by using this crossing, I suspect the crossing agreement requires the crossing to remain unless new public highway access is established at someone's expense. That someone could be Amtrak, PennDOT, or whoever. That someone almost certainly not the farm. If it was as simple as giving the farm 180 days to find another access and closing the crossing, they would have done that years ago.

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Cab cars are in most cases death traps. I personally don't like cab cars for this reason alone.

Sorry, why are they death traps? Is it just that they have less of a crumple zone than most locomotives?

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https://www.google.com/maps/place/Rapho+Township,+PA/@40.1082052,-76.4712651,1686m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x89c62007e895b1f1:0xfab050350f2e4b95!8m2!3d40.1833098!4d-76.4794435

 

The farm house in the left middle of this frame, just across the track below the "Cargill Animal Feed Mill" sign, is the one in question. The crossing north of it is the location of the accident.

 

One solution appears to be to build a mile long road along the RR ROW to what is marked as Eby Chiques Road, east of the farm. It will lengthen their commute to Mount Joy considerably, but it will be completely safe, with no chance of colliding with a train.

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That private crossing needs to be closed ASAP. Trains zip through there at 110 mph, IINM. Silly to have such a weak link in what is otherwise a modern high(ish)-speed corridor.

Closing it could cost Amtrak a lot of money. This crossing dates from the Pennsylvania Railroad days. This farm has no other access in or out, and I bet the PRR granted the access for a long, long term. If Amtrak wants to get rid of it, they likely would have to purchase property rights and build a road to provide access between this farm and a public road. I bet that Amtrak would be responsible for 100% of that cost.

 

My understanding is that in general the landowner who is granted private crossing access assumes most or all of the liability for incidents and accidents. At a minimum the railroad and five injured people can potentially make claims against this farm. Claims which could result in judgements and penalties that would place a serious financial and operational burden on the farm's owners. Unless the farm is very large or has extensive liability insurance the penalties from these claims might be enough to create a forced sale situation. Just the threat of permanently losing the farm might be enough to motivate the current owners to accept a new access contract that requires some or all of the grade crossing replacement funding to come from them.

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It should not cost much to put a simple train operated barrier pole or flashing lights across a farm crossing?

 

Ed.

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In general, it is a bad idea to have grade crossing on 110mph tracks, though there are quite a few around. Yeah, minimally I think they should be protected. They are basically not allowed in any practical way for speeds above 110mph already.

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One solution appears to be to build a mile long road along the RR ROW to what is marked as Eby Chiques Road, east of the farm. It will lengthen their commute to Mount Joy considerably, but it will be completely safe, with no chance of colliding with a train.

 

Win.

 

Simple easy solution.

 

Just got to ask why it has not been done before this wreck.

Edited by Just-Thinking-51

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Access to and from this farm, however, does not appear to be entirely limited to that crossing at grade where the collision occurred. Google Earth shows the distance from the farm machine shed North to Highway 230 across the tracks at grade is 0.25 mile. The other route to the same place on highway 230 is a rather circuitous 4.2 miles and crosses the tracks above grade at a point about 0.9 mile farther East along the tracks.

 

[edit] There's another route a bit shorter that crosses the tracks below grade that's West of the collision site.

Edited by niemi24s

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Access to and from this farm, however, does not appear to be entirely limited to that crossing at grade where the collision occurred.

 

You're correct, there appears to be a good-quality gravel farm lane that goes south from the farm to Newcomer Road. Of course, this results in a rather circuitous route for the farmer to get to/from Mount Joy, as well as other major highways. The grade crossing exists for the farmer's convenience but does not appear to be necessary to actually access the property.

 

If DA's information about liability is correct, I suspect we may see that grade crossing closed. OTOH, the fact that so few people were injured (ultimately that's a GOOD thing, of course) may mean that this isn't the game-changing incident it could have been. Unfortunately, it may take a true tragedy for this crossing to be closed.

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Cab cars are in most cases death traps. I personally don't like cab cars for this reason alone.

Sorry, why are they death traps? Is it just that they have less of a crumple zone than most locomotives?

 

Sorry, not to badger ya'll but could someone tell me the main issue with cab cars?

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Cab cars are in most cases death traps. I personally don't like cab cars for this reason alone.

Sorry, why are they death traps? Is it just that they have less of a crumple zone than most locomotives?

 

 

 

 

 

Cab cars are in most cases death traps. I personally don't like cab cars for this reason alone.

Sorry, why are they death traps? Is it just that they have less of a crumple zone than most locomotives?

 

Sorry, not to badger ya'll but could someone tell me the main issue with cab cars?

 

You already guessed the answer... ;)

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One possible solution might be for Amtrak to self-impose a speed limit in this area which would allow sufficient time for the engineer to recognize and react to a track blockage. Most Keystone Service trains stop at Mount Joy located 1.52 miles West of the collision site anyway, but this particular train (648) isn't scheduled to stop there (not their or they're). Because of that it was probably travelling fairly fast.

 

But there's probably at least a dozen reason why Amtrak shouldn't, couldn't or wouldn't do such a thing.

Edited by niemi24s

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