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Amtrak Train 91-CSX collision in SC (2/4/18)/Liability issues

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gaspeamtrak

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So sad to wake up to this news today. R.I.P. Amtrak engineer & conductor , my thoughts and my prayers go out to those families so sad...
:(
 

LookingGlassTie

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Does the same crew operate on both the northbound and southbound Silver Stars? It's remotely possible that I MIGHT have seen the conductor who died.

(I traveled on the #92 last July.)
 

pennyk

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Does the same crew operate on both the northbound and southbound Silver Stars? It's remotely possible that I MIGHT have seen the conductor who died.

(I traveled on the #92 last July.)
yes
 

Thirdrail7

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CSX signal maintainers recently had been working in the area where a deadly Amtrak crash happened early Sunday morning

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/02/04/source-csx-maintainers-had-been-working-at-site-of.html
Here's a brief fair use quote from that article.

Amtrak 91 struck CSX freight train F77703 around 2:35 a.m. near Columbia, SC. The incident killed two and injured more than 100, according to the Lexington County Sheriff's Office, and the CSX train has leaked thousands of gallons of diesel fuel.

The CSX train was sitting on a side line known as the industry line, according to a source familiar with the matter. A switch that was supposed to send the Amtrak train down the cleared main line was not in the proper position and sent it down the industry line instead, the source said.

Typically, an automatic signal would have warned that the switch was in the wrong position, instructing the engineer to slow down. However, a crew had recently been working on the system in that area, and it may have been shut off when the incident occurred, the source said.
That would fit Jis's signal suspension comment.
 
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daybeers

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CSX signal maintainers recently had been working in the area where a deadly Amtrak crash happened early Sunday morning

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/02/04/source-csx-maintainers-had-been-working-at-site-of.html
Thanks for the article, but could you please delete the extra space at the end of the hyperlink? It adds characters to the end of it that make the website unable to find the article. Thanks! This affects Thirdrail's post also.

Edit: I fixed the link in my quote. Turns out you need to double-click on it and delete those characters at the end of the link in the forum's hyperlink feature.
 
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jis

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There are some background discussions that I have seen which are considering the possibility that the CSX freight inappropriately released their warrant without ensuring that the switch had been reset. But let us wait for NTSB for the actual determination of what happened.
 

AGM.12

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While no definite cause has been established yet by NTSB, I can't help but think that this sounds like another Graniteville. I understand from another thread that CSX would not mind it one bit if Amtrak rerouted the Silver Star off the S line.
 

Thirdrail7

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Thanks for the article, but could you please delete the extra space at the end of the hyperlink? It adds characters to the end of it that make the website unable to find the article. Thanks! This affects Thirdrail's post also.
I fixed my quote. Thank you.
 

grover5995

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Looks like the freight was waiting on a siding for AMTRAK to pass on the main. Somehow the passenger train was switched onto the same passing track causing a head-on that killed the AMTRAK engineer and conductor. PTC can't get here soon enough!
 
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grover5995

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Sad news to hear. It reads as though the Amtrak train ran into the rear of the freight train?

Ed.
Pictures indicate that AMTRAK was switched onto the same passing siding as the freight. This caused a head-on crash that killed AMTRAK engineer and conductor.
 

CSXfoamer1997

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It was not too far from my area! My heart goes out to the friends and families of the two engineers who were killed and those that were involved. Just absolutely tragic.
 

cpotisch

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Looks like the freight was waiting on a siding for AMTRAK to pass on the main. Somehow the passenger train was switched onto the same passing track causing a head-on that killed the AMTRAK engineer and conductor. ATC can't get here soon enough!
Does this mean that Amtrak was not at fault? If the switch was the problem?
 

jis

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There are some background discussions that I have seen which are considering the possibility that the CSX freight inappropriately released their warrant without ensuring that the switch had been reset. But let us wait for NTSB for the actual determination of what happened.
NTSB now says that the switch was lined towards the siding and padlocked in that position. So someone did screw up big time in telling dispatch that the track was released.

Looks like the freight was waiting on a siding for AMTRAK to pass on the main. Somehow the passenger train was switched onto the same passing track causing a head-on that killed the AMTRAK engineer and conductor. ATC can't get here soon enough!
Does this mean that Amtrak was not at fault? If the switch was the problem?
The fact that the switch was lined to the siding and padlocked in that position gives considerable credence to the theory that it was someone at CSX who did it. OTOH, there is a possibility that Amtrak did not have authorization. So we will have to wait for NTSB's verdict on that.

What is the car right behind the 47 unit? It looks to be Heritage?
It was an Amfleet. No more Heritage baggage cars.
The Viewliner II Baggage Car was the last car of the consist behind the Viewliner Sleepers.
 
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neroden

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So, at this point it looks like the signal "maintainers" at Crash Smash eXplode released the line to the dispatcher with the switch lined incorrectly. (The only other possibility is that they notified the dispatcher of the state of the switch and the dispatcher misdirected the train anyway, but they aren't generally supposed to leave it locked heading for an industry track anyway.)

Crashes caused by signal maintainer error are pretty rare, let alone an error this severe, and this shows a deficient safety culture at CSX (something I think most people in the railroad business already knew).
 

jis

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So, at this point it looks like the signal "maintainers" at Crash Smash eXplode released the line to the dispatcher with the switch lined incorrectly. (The only other possibility is that they notified the dispatcher of the state of the switch and the dispatcher misdirected the train anyway, but they aren't generally supposed to leave it locked heading for an industry track anyway.)

Crashes caused by signal maintainer error are pretty rare, let alone an error this severe, and this shows a deficient safety culture at CSX (something I think most people in the railroad business already knew).
Not sure it was the signal maintainers. The operators of the freight train had the track warrant, which they released apparently before realigning the switch to the main as they were supposed to.

In some sense this has a bit of similarity it seems with the 89 incident near Philly caused by inappropriate release of track.
 

Dank

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Ok, I was watching The Pheonix Open and saw an advertisement for CBS Evening News. Third Amtrak crash in two months. The tone of the announcer wanted to make me jump through the television and strangle her.
 

Dank

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For those asking, and I know that this is unrelated to this tragedy, there are several LD trains with one loco. Cardinal, CONO, TE, Silver Star, and sometimes even the LSL. You might notice that most of those don't have full dining service, so the trains are shorter and don't require as much HEP - diners use a lot of power.
TE does have a dining car, so would it not require more then one engine? Sorry to get off topic.
Yeah, but it's a pretty short train that doesn't use much HEP otherwise, and one that Amtrak could care less about. With HEP running, individual engines will have less towing power, so a shorter train may be needed. A diner doesn't necessarily require two engines, but it makes things harder for a long train.
For the TE I thought it was not about the towing power, but about the power needed to run a dining car.
 

daybeers

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Ok, I was watching The Pheonix Open and saw an advertisement for CBS Evening News. Third Amtrak crash in two months. The tone of the announcer wanted to make me jump through the television and strangle her.
Even though it's looking like this collision and the incident in Virginia with the GOP a few days ago weren't Amtrak's fault, to the general public it's going to look like it. I think this is really going to hurt Amtrak, which to me is sad. I just hope Richard Anderson gives a strong response to this, and maybe even does something to try to make it clear that these two incidents weren't their fault. Of course the Cascades derailment was, but not these.
 

Dank

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Ok, I was watching The Pheonix Open and saw an advertisement for CBS Evening News. Third Amtrak crash in two months. The tone of the announcer wanted to make me jump through the television and strangle her.
Even though it's looking like this collision and the incident in Virginia with the GOP a few days ago weren't Amtrak's fault, to the general public it's going to look like it. I think this is really going to hurt Amtrak, which to me is sad. I just hope Richard Anderson gives a strong response to this, and maybe even does something to try to make it clear that these two incidents weren't their fault. Of course the Cascades derailment was, but not these.
Hopefully Joe Biden who has been a big supporter of Amtrak speaks up in Amtrak's defense.
 
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