Amtrak #6(29) Hit Empty Cattle Trailer in Nebraska

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Agent, May 31, 2018.

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  1. May 31, 2018 #1

    Agent

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    Last night, the eastbound California Zephyr collided with an empty cattle trailer west of Parks, Nebraska. No injuries have been reported. An engine that was damaged had to be removed though. #6(29) is currently running close to eight hours late in Iowa.

    Midwest Trains caught this train at Axtell, Nebraska with just the AMTK 183 leading.

     
  2. May 31, 2018 #2

    cpotisch

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    Stop! Crashing! Amtrak! Seriously, their public image has been torn apart and stomped into the ground repeatedly this year, and it just shouldn't be that difficult to not routinely crash into vehicles and cattle carts all the time.
     
  3. May 31, 2018 #3

    MikefromCrete

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    The only that's going to stop such incidents is to eliminate all grade crossings. In most instances, it's the stupidity of the drivers of vehicles that cause the accidents.
     
  4. May 31, 2018 #4

    Trogdor

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    You may want to familiarize yourself with how a train's braking system works (and the physics involved in stopping a train at various speeds) before making such comments.
     
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  5. May 31, 2018 #5

    cpotisch

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    I understand that it's not as simple as choosing not to crash, and that trains can't just stop on a dime. I meant that all these crashes and incidents are having a serious detrimental effect to Amtrak's reputation and credibility.
     
  6. May 31, 2018 #6

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    What would you suggest Amtrak do?

    Stopping at every grade crossing before proceeding is not a viable option.
     
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  7. May 31, 2018 #7

    Agent

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    It appears there's a bit more to the story. The McCook Gazette reports after the incident at Parks, the train hit a deer near Trenton which broke an air hose.
     
  8. May 31, 2018 #8

    Trogdor

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    But you said it shouldn't be that difficult for Amtrak to avoid hitting vehicles. How might they go about doing that?
     
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  9. May 31, 2018 #9

    zephyr17

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    Okay, since you stated it shouldn't be that difficult, you must have some idea of the solution.

    Note: Physics just may be an issue.
     
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  10. May 31, 2018 #10

    railiner

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    Unfortunately, grade crossing accident's are probably not going to go away all together, although there are some steps that can be taken to reduce their number.

    It is impractical due to the huge cost, to eliminate all grade crossing's. They can eliminate some, and better protect other's. Such as full-width barrier's, that would prevent the foolish motorists that try to 'slalom' around the half-crossing's.

    I am not sure if the PTC system will be able to monitor crossings, that may have vehicles stuck, blocking them, or not. If not, perhaps such sensor's could be added to the system.

    Probably one of the best fixes, would be to really elevate the education of motorists, as to the risk involved. "Operation Lifesaver", https://oli.org, should receive more funding, so that all new driver's receive more information. I have not heard much from this program in recent years, at least where I live, probably because there are fewer grade crossings... [​IMG]
     
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  11. May 31, 2018 #11

    me_little_me

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    Also, strictly enforcing gate evasion rules with cameras that record moving vehicles going around gates and detect vehicles blocking tracks. One place where I think camera tickets are justified.Put $1000 fine on it and the problem will be vastly reduced.
     
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  12. Jun 1, 2018 #12

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    Unfortunately, when it comes to car drivers, truck drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians - there is no way to fix being S T U P I D at grade crossings.

    I disagree that cameras, and draconian fines would have much, if any, positive effect.

    Info I have seen indicates that grade crossing incidents, nationally, have steadily declined over the last 10 years or so.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/nyregion/rail-crossing-accidents-decline-nationwide-but-less-so-in-new-york-region.html

    www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/123
     
  13. Jun 1, 2018 #13

    Agent

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    #6 was nearly nine and a half hours late out of Ottumwa. I caught it running on the left track past Agency. It had a warrant to run on the left track to Burlington. So somewhere east of here, it met #5 running west on the eastbound track.

     
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  14. Jun 1, 2018 #14

    Blackwolf

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    Grade crossing incidents aren't going away in this country. In fact, SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) just had one this afternoon, complete with an injury. Delivery truck deliberately drove around activated and down crossing arms (multiple witnesses) only to be smacked by a train traveling at 50 mph.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8385968-181/one-person-injured-in-truck
     
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  15. Jun 1, 2018 #15

    spinnaker

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    A minute and 22 seconds of a shaky shot of an equipment shed, just to watch a train go by. Really?
     
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  16. Jun 1, 2018 #16

    Lonestar648

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    Grade crossings cost so much to eliminate. A few years ago two over passes were built to eliminate two grade crossings for millions of dollars. Now another grade crossing is being proposed to be eliminated, but all the property owners are fighting the overpass, wanting the crossing to remain. this project has been in the works for three years and no ground has been broken.

    Not understanding the physics of a train stopping is contagious in state legislatures, where in Illinois several years ago, several members suggested traffic signals at rail crossings just like road intersections, using the same technology, they figured a train could stop in the same distance as a car or a truck.
     
  17. Jun 1, 2018 #17

    SP&S

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    Two things I'll never understand: why so many people become so stupid at crossings and why so many people don't use tripods.
     
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  18. Jun 1, 2018 #18

    Devil's Advocate

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    Motorists aren't going to educate themselves unless they have to. We need to get rid of the perpetual driving license loophole and force people to re-qualify every few years. That would also be a great time to cover all the changes in laws and regulations they've missed over the preceding decades of lazy indifference. For commercial vehicles you need to substantially punish the bottom line of any business that is caught employing unsafe drivers. That'll get their attention.

    I agree with the general concept but I'd prefer the fine be based on a percentage of income/gains/wealth in order to ensure it doesn't completely destroy the life of someone who is very poor but also isn't simply ignored by someone who is extremely rich. Other countries handle moving violations in this way and I'd like to use a similar framework here.

    Virtually all of human history is a tale of "fixing stupid" as you say. Even if you believe that a camera and fine system wouldn't stop people from crossing paths with a moving train the revenue generated from such a system could be used to help defray the cost of physically separating the grade in the future. Everybody wins.
     
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  19. Jun 1, 2018 #19

    railiner

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    I can't understand why property owner's would object to an overpass replacing a grade crossing....could it be their "view" would be blocked somewhat? Seriously?

    I suppose they would rather get stuck waiting for long freight trains to clear. And they would miss hearing the locomotives blowing their horns. And the chance of a catastrophic wreck with hazardous material's forcing their evacuation....Really? [​IMG]
     
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  20. Jun 1, 2018 #20

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    I don't think it would work in real life, because so often real life just isn't that logical.
     
  21. Jun 1, 2018 #21

    Ryan

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    This makes far too much sense for anyone to actually implement here.
     
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  22. Jun 1, 2018 #22

    Devil's Advocate

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    If you can articulate a definable problem I'll be happy to discuss the merits in good faith. Otherwise I'm not quite sure what you want me to do with this low effort reasoning.
     
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  23. Jun 1, 2018 #23

    frequentflyer

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    Start making grade crossing accidents expensive for the insurance companies and commercial drivers and it will slow down some. I wander what charges will be bought against the trucker and the company he drove for. Amtrak should bill his insurance even if they are self insured.

    That one Genesis is handling the 10 car consist pretty easy on flat land.

    I worry how a Charger will fare in a similar accident.
     
  24. Jun 1, 2018 #24

    Lonestar648

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    1. People are educated about RR crossings, the realism is that they CHOOSE to ignore the signs, signals, and gates.

    2. Cameras may record the car and license plate, but in some states courts have ruled you can not charge the car owner, only the driver, thus you would need definitive proof who was behind the wheel.

    3. Mega fines do not stop people because so many people feel nothing with happen to them and if it doers it is not their fault.

    4. The media always portrays the train as running into the vehicle as though it is the train's fault. This has from personal experience caused people to have a negative feeling about trains in general, I was shocked recently that people actually voted down money for a grade cross replacement, instead wrote in to abolish the RR tracks.

    5. I have seen on HS routes where four gates are used to prevent drive arounds.

    6. Congress voted down a penny added to a gallon of gas decades ago to start eliminating grade crossings, starting with the worse or most dangerous, but failed because not that many people were killed by trains.

    Bottom line: gradually a few crossings will be eliminated, occasionally Law enforcement will ride in cabs working with support on the ground, but more and more people will be rushing more than they do today. Increasing numbers of people will come to grade crossing saying I don't have time for this. Unfortunately, more people will make bad decisions, but today people seem to be increasingly dulled to senseless tragedy. Most of us on this site will stop at the crossings, get honked at as people drive around us. Hopefully, our examples effect some people.
     
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  25. Jun 1, 2018 #25

    railiner

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    I believe that in general, driver education in this country is very poor. On most "road tests", applicant's will: make a right turn, a left turn, a Y-turn, parallel park, and bada-bing--they're done...all in less than ten minutes. And testing merging onto and off of a freeway? Nah...you learn that after you get your license.

    In other countries, such as Germany, you take a comprehensive exam that lasts much longer...on and off the autobahn, etc. where you demonstrate your mastery of driving, before they grant you a license. Respect for rules and regulation's is more part of the culture, than it is here. And respecting grade crossing safety should be part of it all. Just MHO....
     
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