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Amtrak Derailment Philadelphia (5/12/2015)

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NE933

Conductor
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
1,066
Location
Queens, New York
Right on PRR 60. Boardman needs to get up and say something, for his absence shows either a lack of energy to withstand the pressure, or a lack of delegates to run 60 Mass Ave in his absence.
 

capltd29

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 27, 2004
Messages
334
Location
Chicago, IL
Well, I don't know where he is... and he probably should play a greater public role, at least for perception. He's also dealing with possibly the greatest Amtrak service disruption in history, so it's doubtful he's just sitting at home twiddling his thumbs.
 

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
264
Location
San Francisco
It is amazing to me how many people on Twitter are commenting that the Amtrak crew should have been paying attention, as if it is that simple. They seem to think the "conductor" should have stopped the train from the back because an overspeed was apparently so blatantly obvious. Sorry, I guess I'm venting to people who actually understand a bit more about how the system works.

There was probably only one person in that cab and if something happened to incapacitate them, even only for a minute, it could have caused this accident. This reminds me of that recent viral video where a guy in his 20's was driving his brand new Mustang on the freeway, only to pass out and almost have a terrible crash. That guy had no prior history of fainting, but happened to have low blood pressure that day.

We are all human, we can make mistakes. I firmly believe PTC could have and should have prevented this accident. We need to stop toying with Amtrak's budget each and every year, and start paying for these crucial safety upgrades. I get that crashes are rare, but we as a nation can afford to pay for this.
 
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guesty

Guest
I've never been on an Amtrak train. I was going on my first train ride from ny penn to Washington dc this upcoming sat 5/16 with my 3 children. I bought the "saver" fare. I called Amtrak today and spoke to a very, very rude woman who said I cannot get a refund because I bought the saver fare. but if the trains are not running, how can they hold my money hostage? the woman said that the trains are running. I told her that according to the news and the mayor, no trains are running. she reiterated I bought the saver fare and asked if I read the non refundable disclosure. I replied yes I understood, but in light of this disaster and the train potentially not running, I need to cancel my hotel and tour reservations before I get a penalty.

I realize this is very unusual, but what am I supposed to do? I can't hold onto reservations (hotel/tours) if I can't get into DC, and if I cancel them but can't cancel the train, I can't go anyway because all my other stuff I would've already cancelled. anyone have any suggestions? thank you.
 

R30A

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
215
Call back. Make same complaint. If you get nowhere, ask for supervisor. Keep going up. If that doesn't work, file a complaint. Usually they are very good at coming up with appropriate refunds in such cases, and will often give you a voucher for a bad experience.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,524
Location
Milwaukee
RIght now it's day-to-day as far as what services are operating, so it's not been officially announced that there will not be service on Sat, May 16. So far, Amtrak has only announced that there will be no service between Philadelphia and New York on May 14, but has not stated what will take place on May 15 and beyond.

ETA: I should add that my assumption is that because Amtrak has not yet canceled service on May 15-16 the representative you spoke with cannot refund the tickets for you. That does not, however, justify rude treatment you may have received.
 
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Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,032
Location
OTN
Give it some time to shake out and see when it looks like service is going to return. I assume penalties kick in with the hotels 24 hours before checkin? That's plenty of time to see how things develop.
 

CCC1007

Conductor
Joined
Jan 2, 2015
Messages
1,719
Why not try to reschedule for another weekend? There should be no penalty for modification to another weekend if you use amsnag.net to find a similar or lower fare.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Not sure where Boardman is, but it isn't his fault and he likely is hard at work with coordinating and figuring out what went wrong and everything else and didn't feel it was the time yet to make a public appearance. Im fact everything we know now is heresay so he is doing the right thing by not being so public on the matter yet. Never met but hes very upfront from what I see.

I can't even say if this engineer was responsible for the crash at this time and sabotage or mechanical or other locomotive issues especially considering it was an early model Sprinter 601, 2nd produced.

Amtrak is facing tough times now but accidents do happen in transportation even with the best intentions.

People in leadership constantly don't want to overtake the recovery and investigation process.
 

DryCreek

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
298
Location
Central Texas
I've never been on an Amtrak train. I was going on my first train ride from ny penn to Washington dc this upcoming sat 5/16 with my 3 children. I bought the "saver" fare. I called Amtrak today and spoke to a very, very rude woman who said I cannot get a refund because I bought the saver fare. but if the trains are not running, how can they hold my money hostage? the woman said that the trains are running. I told her that according to the news and the mayor, no trains are running. she reiterated I bought the saver fare and asked if I read the non refundable disclosure. I replied yes I understood, but in light of this disaster and the train potentially not running, I need to cancel my hotel and tour reservations before I get a penalty.

I realize this is very unusual, but what am I supposed to do? I can't hold onto reservations (hotel/tours) if I can't get into DC, and if I cancel them but can't cancel the train, I can't go anyway because all my other stuff I would've already cancelled. anyone have any suggestions? thank you.
From THIS LINK: "On Thursday, May 14, modified Amtrak service with fewer frequencies than normal will be provided between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston."

Your ticket is a contract for carriage. You will be able to get from NYPenn to Washington. It may be on an alternate route, or your trip may be broken up with a bus substituted between two points. By Saturday they should have the other (inner) tracks that were not damaged open.

If you are still worried about the trip you can always reschedule and cite the accident as the reason.
 

rtabern

Conductor
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
1,588
Location
Suburban Chicago
I went to bed early last night and didnt even hear about the wreck until I gpt up this morning. My wife was on FB and saw people posting to his page they are glad he was ok and was on the train. Then around 7:30a people posted he was the engineer. Ive now been contacted by several national media outlets trying to buy pictures of him. Pathetic.
 

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
I can't resist chiming in on the subject of the engineer's silence. As far as I can tell, the only source claiming that he is refusing to make a statement, is the Philadelphia Police Dept. We are still in a "fog of war" situation and inundated with inept reporters, so I'm not sure. It would be totally inappropriate for the engineer to make a statement to the Philadelphia Police because they are not the appropriate investigatory body. The National Transportation Safety Board has specific expertise in a case like this, so the engineer should speak to them before anybody else. Questions from policemen who don't understand the vocabulary and technology of railroading can lead to answers that can be misleading to those uninformed policemen, and can create more confusion than light. Such misleading questions could conceivably plant inappropriate and inaccurate images in the mind of this very important witness. I think I read only one report that said he was refusing to talk to NTSB, and I discount this because I haven't heard it backed up anywhere else.

If I were in the engineer's shoes, I'd be equally cautious and insistent on legal representation, whether I thought I'd done the right thing or the wrong thing. Wouldn't any prudent person?

I'm impatient for answers too. However, as I've suggested before, speculation can be interesting; but jumping to conclusions is a lot like jumping off a cliff.

Tom
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,032
Location
OTN
I went to bed early last night and didnt even hear about the wreck until I gpt up this morning. My wife was on FB and saw people posting to his page they are glad he was ok and was on the train. Then around 7:30a people posted he was the engineer. Ive now been contacted by several national media outlets trying to buy pictures of him. Pathetic.
Amen. His name an picture are making the rounds in the FB groups, and they're slowly getting pulled down by admins that don't want to see him drug through the mud.
 
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George K

Conductor
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
1,185
Location
The Chicago Burbs
I went to bed early last night and didnt even hear about the wreck until I gpt up this morning. My wife was on FB and saw people posting to his page they are glad he was ok and was on the train. Then around 7:30a people posted he was the engineer. Ive now been contacted by several national media outlets trying to buy pictures of him. Pathetic.
Amen. His name an picture are making the rounds in the FB groups, and they're slowly getting pulled down by admins that don't want to see him drug through the mud.
Took me almost no time to find him on FB. I'm surprised that he, or his friends/family haven't deleted/suspended the account. Maybe he did something horrible and irresponsible. Maybe he didn't. Until the facts are in, everyone should leave him alone.
 
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ALC Rail Writer

Conductor
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
Messages
4,690
Location
Ohio
There's no sense blaming the engineer for anything unless facts emerge that prove he had something to do with the speed. While possible (even probable) there are other explanations.

I don't see why people would be upset that he has a lawyer. Legal counsel is a prudent measure whether he's innocent or guilty of anything. At the very least he and his family will need help dealing with the media and guiding them through the legal processes. If I were involved in an accident that killed somebody, I'd likely seek legal counsel even if I was innocent.
 
O

other guest again

Guest
Engineer's name and pictures have been on CNN since late afternoon. I've heard no station, except Mayor Nutter, rip him apart so far though.

CNN still spouting "Amtrak had the technology to prevent this...." and such. Turned to Fox and they were doing a long segment on the spring break violence in FL panhandle. Had a very brief segment that said it was not known what caused the overspeed at this time. Heard nothing offensive imo, Amtrak coverage ended, and I turned back to the Amtrak coverage on CNN. They're pretty much repeating a lot of the same things. Only two cars remain to be moved.

I think the NTSB has the right approach in not drawing any conclusions about the engineer yet. It may "appear" he wasn't attentive, but it's possible other factors (medical, mechanical, or whatever) could be involved.
 

BuffaloBoy

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
185
Location
SLC
I feel so bad for the passengers on 188. I have my feelings about this, but all I want to say on this post is rest in peace to those who didn't make it and wish a fast, painless recovery for those that were injured. Nuff said.

Jeff
 
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Long Train Runnin'

Conductor
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,242
Location
Central Jersey
I have a kind of unrelated/related question I remember a few years ago a regional blew through the Elizabeth S-Curve at over 100MPH and I can only find one quote about it here on AU from Jis. Can anyone provide a comparison of the track geometry?

Yes. Absolutely. Although, tilting is not particularly going to prevent tipping. The height above rail of the center of gravity of the unit would be the critical determining factor for that. The more immediate problem is how much damage is done to the track more than anything else. In an unintended event an AEM-7 with a bunch of Amfleets managed to go through the Elizabeth S-Curve at over 100mph once without derailing or tipping, but it did damage the track enough that they had to basically rebuild the track. The lack of derailment for partially credited to the stability of track on concrete ties. Also it was not a pleasant experience for the folks on the train. The conductor described the experience starting with something like "After I had picked myself off the floor and managed to hit the emergency brakes .... ", so you can imagine. The net result is that now all trains get a approach medium as it approaches the S-curve.
From this thread.

Different geometry leading to a different outcome or did Amtrak really dodge a bullet there. Seems to me like a very similar situation with vastly different outcomes.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,032
Location
OTN
Of course, that doesn't show anything about the superelevation, which makes a huge difference.
 
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