Amtrak left passengers - how could you make this mistake?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Cole737, Feb 27, 2016.

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  1. Mar 11, 2016 #51

    chakk

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    chakk

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    Boarding the wrong train is common also, I suppose. This morning the gate agent at Chixago told each passenger before going to the platforms to board the train on the RIGHT on Track 22. Yet, the first family in front of me (iI was the second out the door) boarded the first open car door they saw on the LEFT on Track 22.

    I did my Good Deed for the Day and alerted the conductor on the correct train (381) as I reached his post farther down the track -- he couldn't see what had transpired from his position. When he lifted my ticket 15 minutes later, he thanked me a second time and said he got them off that set of equipment going nowhere.
     
  2. Mar 11, 2016 #52

    willem

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    The westbound Empire Builder kept a passenger on the Portland sleeper at Tomah a few years ago. I don't recall if there had been any announcement about a double-spot, but when the train kept accelerating rather than doing its slow move to a second spot, the attendant (rather frantically) announced on the public address that we had a passenger to detrain. The train kept going.

    It was before my time, but I read a story in the Mainstreeter (the magazine of the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association) about passenger trains after NP made the switch from steam to diesel. The new engines had a lot better acceleration from a standing start, and the article said more than one conductor had been left on the platform after signalling the engineer to go.
     
  3. Mar 11, 2016 #53

    Devil's Advocate

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    That sounds like an rather unsafe condition that should have been easy to avoid by simply looking down both ends of the train before departing. Considering how militant Amtrak usually is about how they handle passenger safety it's actually kind of shocking. So did the train backup to retrieve their own employee? Was the conductor punished for such an obvious oversight?
     
  4. Mar 11, 2016 #54

    Bob Dylan

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    I've seen OBS left before during stops including Diner staff that went to the Store to buy good food for Crew meals, and even an AC in Taylor who went to the good Bar-B-Q Joint on a Food run!

    As was said, several of the yellow step stools left behind also!
     
  5. Mar 11, 2016 #55

    neroden

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    There is usually a procedure where the conductor gets confirmation from each attendant responsible for an open door that they're "locked up" before giving the go-ahead to the engineer. I've heard this procedure over the radio. I can't imagine why the conductor didn't do it that time.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2016 #56

    Hal

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    Or the onboard chief who went downstairs to get a lottery ticket. The conductor is not going to delay he train. Nor is the conductor likely to get in trouble for leaving OBS crew behind. If the conductor leaves operating crew, the AC behind questions will be raised, but if the LSA goes upstairs to get a burger and misses the train the LSA is in trouble.

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  7. Mar 12, 2016 #57

    Hal

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    Not sure which post you are answering but the attendants don't have a radio. The conductor and AC generally give hand signals that indicate all aboard, close the traps. The attendant should close their traps or indicate they are not ready. The conductor and AC should be observing the train and make sure the platform is clear and all traps are closed. Where it could break down, but happens only rarely is that attendants miscommunicate. Or they disappear, the crew thinks they are clear, the conductor signals to the engineer to proceed and the attendant steps out on the platform. Oops.

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  8. Mar 12, 2016 #58

    TylerP42

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    All of the conductors I know wait about 5 mins if there isn't someone there, because they know exactly how many pax are on and off at a stopm
     
  9. Mar 12, 2016 #59

    sechs

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    The attendant was flown the next day to Chicago to make the return trip (he was LA-based). He didn't have any information as to how long it took the conductors to figure out what was going on or what happened to them.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2016 #60

    neroden

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    I've watched the A/Cs getting confirmation from each attendant in person. Maybe this is more common on single-level trains (no stairs involved)
     
  11. Mar 12, 2016 #61

    p&sr

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    I've never heard this one before. Lots and lots of times, the train stops and then 30 seconds later we are rolling. If passengers aren't ready to board the train when it arrives, that's how it goes. Different if the train is early. But even then sometimes the time-tables will say, "Train may depart this stop up to 5 min early", or some such.
     
  12. Mar 12, 2016 #62

    TylerP42

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    Most stops trains are not allowed to leave early. Even if they have all passengers accounted for.
     
  13. Mar 12, 2016 #63

    AmtrakBlue

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    He did not say most trains leave early. He said they don't wait 5 mins at each stop unless the train is early, which means if the train is early, then it waits till it's scheduled departure time. There are trains that have detrain only stops and those trains and flag stop trains will leave before scheduled time if they arrive early.
     
  14. Mar 12, 2016 #64

    Seaboard92

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    In Europe when I've railfaned. I've seen people running for the train. And the train shut the doors and pulled out regardless of the people. They took the next one. Which is generally an hour. Now in Poland I've seen the conductor happily hold a train for people running on a platform. Including railfans for photos.
     
  15. Mar 13, 2016 #65

    neroden

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    In Europe, I've never seen a train which only opened one random door, so the problem being described here could not happen. They generally have automatic doors. The older trains have customer-operated doors.
     
  16. Mar 13, 2016 #66

    Seaboard92

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    That is true. And customer activated doors if you ask me is a much more efficient system. The issue would be the trap on American cars. Not that we couldn't copy a European style trap and fix that.
     
  17. Mar 13, 2016 #67

    Hal

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    The tendency in the US is not to shut the doors and pull out regardless of the people.

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  18. Mar 13, 2016 #68

    Hal

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    Why would that be more efficient? Someone has to close the doors. What would be most efficient is automatically opening and closing all the doors.

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  19. Mar 13, 2016 #69

    Seaboard92

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    All doors are shut from one place with a conductors master switch key. When it's ready to leave the conductor walks over to a spot on the platform turns his key which plays an announcement that the doors will be shutting soon. He walks back to his train sticks the key in a switch which shuts all doors but his. Then he gets on and the train leaves. So closing is automatic, opening is manual.
     
  20. Mar 13, 2016 #70

    Hal

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    It is more efficient if the conductor opens all the doors with the master key than opening them manually. Why open them manually when the conductor can do it with their master key?
    The conductor opens a door, looks out and makes sure all cars are platformed and then opens all the doors with the master key.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
  21. Mar 13, 2016 #71

    Devil's Advocate

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    Opening all the doors would mean that any heating/cooling would immediately escape from the entire train. Which would be counterproductive at most stops. So you have a simple button on or near a door that anyone can operate but only opens one specific door to one specific car that has someone boarding or disembarking. Seems kind of obvious to me but I guess if you've never left the US then maybe it sounds more complicated than it really is.
     
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  22. Mar 13, 2016 #72

    Hal

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    Never saw all the heating/cooling escape when all the doors were open. Do you have knowledge that the reason they do it that way in Europe is because of that? Or are you making it up? I have been to Europe a dozen or so times and seen many different ways they do things there, some the same, some different. Because they are different does not make them better or worse.

    In the US there is only one type of equipmentI I have seen,(I have not seen everything) that was built with buttons that passengers could use to open and close their own doors. It is a moot piont on long distance trains since they have manual doors. You can only open and close them with muscle power. On the NEC the Amfleets were built without that and they won't be retrofitted. Would have to wait for succesor equipment. Acelas have that but no crew would enable "Enable" because for sure someone would be carried by which would be poor customer service. This is the US not Europe. Some crews did try it out at the start of Acela service but there was no reason to not open all the doors so it didn't catch on. A bigger issue is that if the door failed to open, and they do on Acela, the crew would not know that there was someone trying to get off. When all the doors have opened the crew on the platform checks the red indicator lights for door failures.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
  23. Mar 14, 2016 #73

    Devil's Advocate

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    Can you normally see the wind or are you trying to wind me up?

    Do you really think I'm making it up that needlessly opening extra doors quickly releases hot/cool air unnecessarily? Or do you think I'm making it up that energy efficiency is a core concern of nearly every industrialized nation besides ours? In my experience nations that have chosen to fund, design, and implement modern passenger rail systems are generally some of the most energy efficient countries in the world. The reason I mentioned the issue with heating and cooling is because that's precisely what I was told when I asked. It never occurred to me that I should pickup a written, signed, and notarized copy to hand over to some dismissive Amtrak insider.

    You seem to be exclusively focused on some kind of user interface based efficiency measurement that counts how many fingers are involved in turning/pressing how many buttons or knobs. Presumably you believe that having to press a button to open a door slows everything down but in my experience that has not been the case. The only time it slowed things down was when someone who had never seen it before had to be shown what to do. After that it was a non-issue. Upon arrival at a major terminus or during irregular operations the doors can all be opened at once as needed. It's a brilliant system in my view but I suppose even obvious benefits are still lost on some.

    You mean they tried it during the period when North Easterners were ignoring their own tickets and bullying each other over who sits where? Sounds like Amtrak has a lot of good ideas but gives up too easily when it comes time to actually implement them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2016
  24. Mar 14, 2016 #74

    Hal

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    It is a brilliant system in your view because you are a dilettante. It might be a good idea but in practice it would be a fail with the reality of the current equipment. Opening all the doors automatically and closing them all automatically works the best with the quirky doors on the Acela. Maybe Acela II will have doors that don't fail to open often.

    Amtrak never tried it. Amtrak thought the passengers would exit on one end of the car and enter on the other end. LOL. When the crews were trained on the doors by the consortium they showed the crews how to open the doors, how to close the doors and how to enable the doors to be opened individually. Some crews experimented with enabling the doors to be opened individualy but it never caught on.
     
  25. Mar 14, 2016 #75

    Seaboard92

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    In Europe I find it to be a very efficient system. And on some trains I've been on the doors shut if no one is going in or out to save energy. Especially the newer generation emus. The older manual door locomotive hauled cars generally don't have AC. They have open windows. It does the job just as well.
     

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