Interesting scanner stories

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Steve4031, Sep 23, 2011.

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  1. Apr 10, 2019 #26

    PaulDobbs

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    PaulDobbs

    Train Attendant

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    I was on a westbound Zephyr a few years ago which was already 6 hours late due to being caught behind two different freights with frozen air in Colorado, one east of Denver, and one up near Winter Park, when the train went into emergency in Nevada. Turned out that an air hose had come loose on the diner. After reconnecting, pumping up the air and testing the brakes, the train restarted. There was a terrible vibration that I could feel in the sleeper. After another inspection, it was reported that there was a 2 inch pipe wrapped around the axle on the diner, and that was what had knocked the air line loose. Amtrak had to dispatch a welder to come cut the pipe off. Fortunately, we had stopped opposite a siding, so freights were able to get around us while we waited. And while we waited, the conductor did another inspection of the train, and found the origin of the "pipe." It was a part that had fallen off one of the coach trucks. After what were apparently fairly long discussions with Amtrak maintenance, we were allowed to double up the coach passengers into once car and proceed at 10 MPH to a nearby town where there was a siding. The car with the damaged truck was dropped on the siding. After the train restarted, the engineer called the conductor and asked how her "customers" were. She told him that the passengers gave her a round of applause when she got back on after dropping the coach! We were 12 hours late to Emeryville.
     
  2. Apr 10, 2019 #27

    fixj

    fixj

    fixj

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    I've been on the Eagle several times when they stopped for meals at that Bar B Q in Taylor. First time I rmemeber was in mid 90's.
     
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  3. Apr 14, 2019 #28

    twropr

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    twropr

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    Back in they days when the SILVER STAR still handled Road Railers on the rear and the train was held to 90 MPH over Amtrak's NEC, a female dispatcher had held train #91 so that an Acela could run around it at Holly, just north of Wilmington, DE. #91's engineer told the DS, "you're treating us like a freight train" to which the DS answered "#91 - you are freight train."
    Andy
     
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  4. Apr 14, 2019 #29

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

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    Had to be 30-35 years ago while riding a Florida train a little south of Baltimore...

    A freight train ahead of us called the DS asking how to handle a electronic toilet fire in the nose of the lead unit. The response had me in tears...'Open allfour doors in the cab and they would see nothing but clear signals all the way ro Pot yard!
     
  5. Apr 14, 2019 #30

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

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    Last October my wife and I were northbound out of NOL on #58 The CONO. Between Hammond and McComb we heard the release of air and we rapidly came to a stop from our 70 mph track speed.

    Over the scanner, the first transmission was the engineer: "That wasn't me!". Turns out, the air hose at the head end of our sleeper parted and "dumped the air". After an inspection, re-connecting the hose and performing standing and running air tests, we were back on our way.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2019 #31

    jimmrl

    jimmrl

    jimmrl

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    I was just settling in my Roomette on the Texas Eagle and the train pulled out to the edge of Amtrak's property. My door was still open and my scanner was on and the Engineer was calling dispatch trying to get clearance on the next section. The Conductor happened to be walking by and asked me "what channel did they just call on?". I told him and I heard him call the Engineer "your on the wrong channel you to call dispatch!". I quickly shut my door and had a good laugh as they quickly changed channels and called the correct dispatch.

    Jim
     
  7. Apr 19, 2019 at 10:58 PM #32

    twropr

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    twropr

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    Another good one from the 1970s. Back then the yardmaster at L&N Boyles Yd, Birmingham, AL, used to hold northbound freights at Green Springs road, the first of several crossings coming into the city. One evening a "chain gang" (L&Nese for a junk freight) had been patiently waiting at Green Springs. The crew asked the yardmaster if they could advance to the Amtrak station (downtown on elevated trackage) so they could get something to eat. The crewman said, "we've been sitting here for over two hours and we're only human." The YM replied, "you're not human when you work for the L&N. Now you sit there at Green Springs until I call you."
    Andy
     
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  8. Apr 20, 2019 at 4:07 PM #33

    Eric in East County

    Eric in East County

    Eric in East County

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    Using our scanner, we’ve had the opportunity to listen in on quite a few incidents that took place on the Amtrak trains we were traveling on. Here are a few of the more memorable ones that come to mind:

    In 2016, we were heading east to Chicago on the Southwest Chief. Just west of Pyramid Rock, we heard the engineer call for an emergency stop. Additional radio traffic between the engineer and the conductor revealed that something was lodged in an axle of one of the rear coaches that could possibly impact the braking system. An announcement was made that we had stopped in order to make an outside visual inspection of the train. More radio traffic revealed that some “animal debris” had been found lodged in an axle. 17 minutes later, we were back on the move again.

    That same year, as we were heading back to Los Angeles on the SWC, east of Trinidad the engineer informed the conductor that someone in a dark red car was driving on the road paralleling the tracks and shooting video of the train. That car kept pace with us for over 30 minutes until the tracks veered off to the north and away from the road. (The driver was undoubtedly a railfan since he signaled a “goodbye” with his right turn signal.)

    On that same trip, our departure from Trinidad was delayed by an incident that we were able to follow on the scanner. It had been discovered that an unaccompanied 13-year-old minor had been put onboard the train by her mother as an adult and without the proper paperwork. We had to wait for local law enforcement to arrive and remove the minor girl from the train so that she could be placed in protective custody. While this delay was going on, the SWC was blocking a major street, with a time limit on how long it could do so. We were approaching the end of that limit, and there was some discussion on the radio as to whether or not we would have to pull forward. The “highball” message final came at 10:03 a.m. and we were once again on our way.

    A scanner is invaluable when traveling on Amtrak, and we wouldn’t leave home without ours.

    Eric & Pat
     
  9. Apr 20, 2019 at 4:20 PM #34

    Thirdrail7

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    Thirdrail7

    Conductor

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    I think one of the most interesting (and printable) stories I've heard on the radio went something like this (redacting the agency and dispatchers):

    Commuter train to dispatcher

    Dispatcher answering commuter train

    CT: We need immediate police assistance at .....station (the train station the train just departed from). A woman left her baby on the platform and she's on the train. He's in a black stroller towards the west end of the station.

    Dispatcher: Can you repeat that?
     

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