Amtrak 171 to Charlottsville on Wrong Track

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acelafan

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Reminds me of the NE Regional that got lost outside PHL a couple of years ago. At least someone figured it out before arriving at Richmond!
 

Acela150

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CSX screwed up at AF?
Dear lord and jesus tell me that's an interlocking name! :eek:

Any way.... :) I did read about this on the book of face. :p I believe they didn't get to far but still had to shove back. I mean let's be honest.. This happens. That's why railroaders are "qualified" on Physical Characteristics. If something doesn't look right.. We're known to speak up to someone. Mainly the guy or gal called the dispatcher. :)
 

fillyjonk

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I would like more details....passengers are calling it a "miserable" trip. Did the toilets go out? Were they stuck on the tracks somewhere for hours? Did they all miss their connections by a long time?

I mean, I've been on trains that were 10 hours late. I've been on a train where a couple cars derailed and the sleeper pax were moved to coach in the middle of the night because the sleeper was bad-ordered. I've been bustituted for 18 hours on the equivalent of a city bus because of flooding....."Miserable"? They were less than 2 hours late... I consider that a "win" on the TE.....

I mean, it still shouldn't have happened, but....their definition of "miserable" and "horrifying" is different to mine.
 

Bob Dylan

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I would like more details....passengers are calling it a "miserable" trip. Did the toilets go out? Were they stuck on the tracks somewhere for hours? Did they all miss their connections by a long time?

I mean, I've been on trains that were 10 hours late. I've been on a train where a couple cars derailed and the sleeper pax were moved to coach in the middle of the night because the sleeper was bad-ordered. I've been bustituted for 18 hours on the equivalent of a city bus because of flooding....."Miserable"? They were less than 2 hours late... I consider that a "win" on the TE.....

I mean, it still shouldn't have happened, but....their definition of "miserable" and "horrifying" is different to mine.
Ditto!
 

Carolina Special

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Virginia
The local reporter is trying to build this up into a big story. 171 can run late, although usually not two hours late. I agree that's not a big deal compared to the LD trains.

I was disappointed when I read this the first time because I thought perhaps 171 had run down the Cardinal route at Orange and had to be shifted to the right track at CVS. Now that would be interesting...
 

Thirdrail7

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CSX screwed up at AF?
I would say that about sums it up, specifically the dispatcher screwed up. I've seen it happen in another place in the Bronx.
You don't necessarily know that it was the dispatcher that screwed up. For all that we know, the dispatching system screwed up or the dispatcher was given wrong information. That is why these things are investigated.

I would like more details....passengers are calling it a "miserable" trip. Did the toilets go out? Were they stuck on the tracks somewhere for hours? Did they all miss their connections by a long time?

I mean, I've been on trains that were 10 hours late. I've been on a train where a couple cars derailed and the sleeper pax were moved to coach in the middle of the night because the sleeper was bad-ordered. I've been bustituted for 18 hours on the equivalent of a city bus because of flooding....."Miserable"? They were less than 2 hours late... I consider that a "win" on the TE.....

I mean, it still shouldn't have happened, but....their definition of "miserable" and "horrifying" is different to mine.
Ditto!
The local reporter is trying to build this up into a big story. 171 can run late, although usually not two hours late. I agree that's not a big deal compared to the LD trains.
Carolina Special used the operative words: COMPARED to the LD trains.

However, 171 is not a LD train. It is a regional train. Specifically, a regional train that deals with the NEC. The passengers have different expectations. 2 hours is a big deal.

Additionally, most passengers aren't railroad savvy nor should they be. So, imagine you're on a train and you hear that "you're on the wrong track." Imagine the images such a statement can conjure. Truth be told, a lot of passengers don't like stopping because they think something is going to crash into them while they're stopped. This is why a lot of the old engineers always kept the train moving to the best of their abilities and instructed their students to do the same.

I would have never made an announcement saying we're on the wrong track. I'm not much for double speak but this is one time I would have definitely worked around it by saying something like " there is a switch problem ahead and we'll have to make a reverse move."

Sometimes, less is indeed more.
 

fairviewroad

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I would have never made an announcement saying we're on the wrong track. I'm not much for double speak but this is one time I would have definitely worked around it by saying something like " there is a switch problem ahead and we'll have to make a reverse move."

Sometimes, less is indeed more.
I hear what you're saying, but in this day and age there surely would have been passengers on board with smartphones who could very easily track (no pun intended) the train's location and come to their own conclusions. Regular riders in particular would have been keen to the error.

It would be relatively easy to document this mistake and then broadcast it to the world via Facebook and Twitter. And then Amtrak would be accused of not informing their passengers about what happened. I guess I would come down on the side of as much disclosure as possible.
 

jis

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Not to mention the ubiquitous AU railfan with their scanners and biiiig headphones keeping track of every minutia. This sometimes puts the train operating crew in a difficult situation and forces them to just be transparent and let the chips fall where they may.
 

fairviewroad

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Reminds me of the NE Regional that got lost outside PHL a couple of years ago. At least someone figured it out before arriving at Richmond!
At least in this case, the Amtrak train was on a track that normally carries Amtrak trains. The PHL case involved an Amtrak train that somehow ended up on a little-used SEPTA spur. That was truly bizarre in a way that this wasn't. Of course, for the passengers who were delayed, that distinction makes little difference.
 

KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
Lots of train passengers have no clue how the train is dispatched, or operated, in that they don't know the engineer can't move the train or choose which tracks to use without permission from the dispatcher.

All they know is they are on an Amtrak train and just assume (ass-u-me) all the infrastructure is Amtrak owned and operated.
 

tim49424

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All they know is they are on an Amtrak train and just assume (ass-u-me) all the infrastructure is Amtrak owned and operated.
The reporter was talking about repeated calls to Amtrak. He apparently didn't do his homework and had no knowledge that the dispatcher is employed by the host railroad.
 

jis

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All they know is they are on an Amtrak train and just assume (ass-u-me) all the infrastructure is Amtrak owned and operated.
The reporter was talking about repeated calls to Amtrak. He apparently didn't do his homework and had no knowledge that the dispatcher is employed by the host railroad.
With all the neat GPS doohickies in the engine, someone at CNOC probably knew quite soon that the train was at a wrong place, if someone was keeping an eye on things that is. Not clear that this would be the case necessarily. I suspect the Engineer knew what was happening when he passed over the NS and across the Cameron's Run three track high level bridge, if he was paying attention.
 

Hal

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I would have never made an announcement saying we're on the wrong track. I'm not much for double speak but this is one time I would have definitely worked around it by saying something like " there is a switch problem ahead and we'll have to make a reverse move."

Sometimes, less is indeed more.
I hear what you're saying, but in this day and age there surely would have been passengers on board with smartphones who could very easily track (no pun intended) the train's location and come to their own conclusions. Regular riders in particular would have been keen to the error.
It would be relatively easy to document this mistake and then broadcast it to the world via Facebook and Twitter. And then Amtrak would be accused of not informing their passengers about what happened. I guess I would come down on the side of as much disclosure as possible.
Smartphones are not going to tell what track the train was on or should have been on. Regular riders would not be that cognizant of location in an interlocking with 6 main tracks. I agree with Thirdrail. Don't announce the train is on the wrong track. Switch problem and have to make a reverse move sounds like my announcements. LOL

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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Hal

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All they know is they are on an Amtrak train and just assume (ass-u-me) all the infrastructure is Amtrak owned and operated.
The reporter was talking about repeated calls to Amtrak. He apparently didn't do his homework and had no knowledge that the dispatcher is employed by the host railroad.
With all the neat GPS doohickies in the engine, someone at CNOC probably knew quite soon that the train was at a wrong place, if someone was keeping an eye on things that is. Not clear that this would be the case necessarily. I suspect the Engineer knew what was happening when he passed over the NS and across the Cameron's Run three track high level bridge, if he was paying attention.
The signal there is for more than one possible routing. They did know what was happening when they were misrouted but it was not possible to stop in time at their speed. So they had to continue about a mile to clear the interlocking before they could make a reverse move. They also had to wait for the signals to time out.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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Palmetto

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CSX screwed up at AF?
"Hey, we gave you priority! You were making good time so what's the complaint? Sheesh, you Amtrak people whine because we make you wait for our freights! Did you have to wait for a freight this time? No!" - the thoughts of CSX management
As Thirdrail said, there's no way to definitely know what actually happened. But the CSX RF&P sub dispatcher controls movements in the area, and I'll bet you a dollar to donuts s/he got distracted and mis-routed the train. As I said earlier, I've been in a control tower at a busy junction in the Bronx, and while it's rare, a mis-route can occur, especially when there's lots of trains out running. at rush hour. And this was the beginning of rush hour if 171 was on time.

The other thing to remember is that AF is only one little piece of the railroad that the dispatcher controls. He's moving [routing] trains all up and down the line for as far south as Richmond. It can be a stressful job. So to sum up, Amtrak did what it was told to do by an employee of CSX.
 

CCC1007

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CSX screwed up at AF?
"Hey, we gave you priority! You were making good time so what's the complaint? Sheesh, you Amtrak people whine because we make you wait for our freights! Did you have to wait for a freight this time? No!" - the thoughts of CSX management
As Thirdrail said, there's no way to definitely know what actually happened. But the CSX RF&P sub dispatcher controls movements in the area, and I'll bet you a dollar to donuts s/he got distracted and mis-routed the train. As I said earlier, I've been in a control tower at a busy junction in the Bronx, and while it's rare, a mis-route can occur, especially when there's lots of trains out running. at rush hour. And this was the beginning of rush hour if 171 was on time.The other thing to remember is that AF is only one little piece of the railroad that the dispatcher controls. He's moving [routing] trains all up and down the line for as far south as Richmond. It can be a stressful job. So to sum up, Amtrak did what it was told to do by an employee of CSX.
171 was already over an hour late.
 

afigg

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Virginia
171 was already over an hour late.
171(7/05) was 53 minutes late departing Alexandria and was 1:44 late at Burke. So it lost 51 minutes due to this mis-routing. The train spent at long time at WAS, 48 minutes, arriving 34 minutes late, departing 52 minutes late so that probably added to the frustration factor.

Status Maps archive data for the Regional:

Code:
* Train 171 of 07/05/2016.         Formatted Data
* Northeast Regional - Virginia
* +---------------- Station Code
* |    +----------- Schedule Arrival Day 
* |    |  +-------- Schedule Arrival Time
* |    |  |     +----- Schedule Departure Day
* |    |  |     |  +-- Schedule Departure Time
* |    |  |     |  |     +------------- Actual Arrival Time
* |    |  |     |  |     |     +------- Actual Departure Time
* |    |  |     |  |     |     |     +- Comments
* V    V  V     V  V     V     V     V
* BOS  *  *     1  815A  *     815A  Departed:  On time.
* BBY  *  *     1  821A  *     821A  Departed:  On time.
* RTE  *  *     1  831A  *     832A  Departed:  1 minute late.
* PVD  1  855A  1  855A  855A  859A  Arrived:  On time.                   |  Departed:  4 minutes late.
* KIN  *  *     1  915A  *     921A  Departed:  6 minutes late.
* NLC  *  *     1  948A  *     958A  Departed:  10 minutes late.
* NHV  1  1038A 1  1040A 1044A 1048A Arrived:  6 minutes late.            |  Departed:  8 minutes late.
* BRP  *  *     1  1102A *     1119A Departed:  17 minutes late.
* STM  *  *     1  1129A *     1206P Departed:  37 minutes late.
* NYP  1  1220P 1  1235P 1250P 117P  Arrived:  30 minutes late.           |  Departed:  42 minutes late.
* NWK  1  1252P 1  1252P 134P  138P  Arrived:  42 minutes late.           |  Departed:  46 minutes late.
* EWR  *  *     1  1257P *     144P  Departed:  47 minutes late.
* MET  *  *     1  110P  *     159P  Departed:  49 minutes late.
* TRE  1  130P  1  132P  220P  223P  Arrived:  50 minutes late.           |  Departed:  51 minutes late.
* PHL  1  200P  1  214P  249P  254P  Arrived:  49 minutes late.           |  Departed:  40 minutes late.
* WIL  1  234P  1  234P  315P  321P  Arrived:  41 minutes late.           |  Departed:  47 minutes late.
* ABE  *  *     1  301P  *     349P  Departed:  48 minutes late.
* BAL  1  324P  1  327P  408P  414P  Arrived:  44 minutes late.           |  Departed:  47 minutes late.
* BWI  *  *     1  344P  *     428P  Departed:  44 minutes late.
* NCR  *  *     1  358P  *     445P  Departed:  47 minutes late.
* WAS  1  420P  1  450P  454P  542P  Arrived:  34 minutes late.           |  Departed:  52 minutes late.
* ALX  *  *     1  511P  *     604P  Departed:  53 minutes late.
* BCV  *  *     1  530P  *     714P  Departed:  1 hour, 44 minutes late.
* MSS  *  *     1  549P  *     735P  Departed:  1 hour, 46 minutes late.
* CLP  *  *     1  624P  *     812P  Departed:  1 hour, 48 minutes late.
* CVS  1  723P  1  723P  907P  913P  Arrived:  1 hour, 44 minutes late.   |  Departed:  1 hour, 50 minutes late.
* LYH  1  836P  *  *     1026P *     Arrived:  1 hour, 50 minutes late.
 
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