AMTRAK vs Car - one fatality

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Sad. Betcha her parents are going to sue Amtrak.
Yes, it's very sad. You may be right about the parents suing. But, I doubt that Amtrak has liability here. Maybe the railroad that owns the track and crossing arm. Maybe the local Police who knew about the defective arm. But, if Amtrak was observing the speed limit and the crew was not impared, I don't think they can be held responsible. Also, the young lady drove around the arm.

As a parent I can imagine the living he** this is for the family and they are in my prayers.
 

MStrain

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Such a senseless tragedy. My prayers are for the family, the friends and the engineers on the TE.
 

AlanB

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You may be right about the parents suing. But, I doubt that Amtrak has liability here. Maybe the railroad that owns the track and crossing arm. Maybe the local Police who knew about the defective arm. But, if Amtrak was observing the speed limit and the crew was not impared, I don't think they can be held responsible. Also, the young lady drove around the arm.
Sadly Amtrak will most likely get sued in this incident. Now if the gate was operating properly and it is clear that she drove around, then they may escape paying out. But if the gate was defective in any manor, then Amtrak will loose and have to pay out. The way things work on RR's, even if it is the host RR's fault, if an Amtrak train is involved, Amtrak pays. No matter what. If it had been a BNSF train running on UP tracks, then it would be BNSF that pays.

When CSX's faulty track work lead to the derailment of Amtrak's Auto Train a few years back, the only money that CSX paid out was to fix the tracks that it didn't fix right in the first place, along with the added damage caused by the derailment. Amtrak paid every claim, and paid to fix it's own equipment. Or perhaps I should say that Amtrak's insurance paid, but the bottom line is that CSX basically walked away from that horrible crash with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

And sadly in the case of the story that started this, a poor young girl who most likely made a very poor decision is dead on Mother's day and two or three Amtrak employees now have images in their minds that may well haunt them till the day they die. A sad day indeed. :(
 
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ourlouisiana

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Such a shame..... another good case for on-board cameras. Sympathy for the victims families, AND the train crew who have no control.

Of course when the lawsuits are filed everyone will get involved. We had an incident several years ago where an influential business person tried to run his new BMW in front of the Sunset and lost. The family sued Amtrak, BNSF, the engineer and conductor of the train, as well as Louisiana DOT.

Still a pending case.

Doesn't bring anyone back, nor does it ease the pain that the crew went through.

Donna n Paul Burns Scott La BNSF mp149.1 Lafayette subdivision
 

George Harris

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finally! Back in Mississippi
When CSX's faulty track work lead to the derailment of Amtrak's Auto Train a few years back, the only money that CSX paid out was to fix the tracks that it didn't fix right in the first place, along with the added damage caused by the derailment. Amtrak paid every claim, and paid to fix it's own equipment.
This is a very long-standing arrangement whose nature predated Amtrak by probably a century or more. It is called by some the "but for" clause. It means that but for your presence the event would not have happened. It is more or less standard in any trackage rights agreement. That is, anything that happens to a train that is running on a track owned by someone else, in other words as the the trackage rights tenant, is the responsibility of the tenant, not the host railroad. Except in the northeast and a few other places, Amtrak is the tenant, not the host.

It is not some special and unique "screw Amtrak" clause. It is the normal track rights host / tenant arrangement. The same would be true for, using as an exampe, a NS train crossing accident or derailment between Wauhatchie (Chattanooga) and Stevenson, Alabama. It is a NS train on a CSX track. CSX fixes the track, NS fixes the train. I pick this as an example because it is one of the oldest trackage rights arrangements out there, going back to at least 1850.
 

AlanB

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When CSX's faulty track work lead to the derailment of Amtrak's Auto Train a few years back, the only money that CSX paid out was to fix the tracks that it didn't fix right in the first place, along with the added damage caused by the derailment. Amtrak paid every claim, and paid to fix it's own equipment.
This is a very long-standing arrangement whose nature predated Amtrak by probably a century or more. It is called by some the "but for" clause. It means that but for your presence the event would not have happened. It is more or less standard in any trackage rights agreement. That is, anything that happens to a train that is running on a track owned by someone else, in other words as the the trackage rights tenant, is the responsibility of the tenant, not the host railroad. Except in the northeast and a few other places, Amtrak is the tenant, not the host.

It is not some special and unique "screw Amtrak" clause. It is the normal track rights host / tenant arrangement. The same would be true for, using as an exampe, a NS train crossing accident or derailment between Wauhatchie (Chattanooga) and Stevenson, Alabama. It is a NS train on a CSX track. CSX fixes the track, NS fixes the train. I pick this as an example because it is one of the oldest trackage rights arrangements out there, going back to at least 1850.
I wasn't suggesting that this was something unique or special to Amtrak. That's why I included the bit about BNSF running on UP tracks.
 

daveyb99

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This is a very long-standing arrangement whose nature predated Amtrak by probably a century or more. It is called by some the "but for" clause. It means that but for your presence the event would not have happened. It is more or less standard in any trackage rights agreement.
... because it is one of the oldest trackage rights arrangements out there, going back to at least 1850.
That is one of the goofiest legal standards I have ever heard of.

BTW, some TV coverage from WFAA-TV Dallas
 

AlanB

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This is a very long-standing arrangement whose nature predated Amtrak by probably a century or more. It is called by some the "but for" clause. It means that but for your presence the event would not have happened. It is more or less standard in any trackage rights agreement.
... because it is one of the oldest trackage rights arrangements out there, going back to at least 1850.
That is one of the goofiest legal standards I have ever heard of.

BTW, some TV coverage from WFAA-TV Dallas
Goofy or not, this is indeed how things have worked for years as George pointed out. When Tri-Rail purchased the tracks down in Florida between Miami and West Palm Beach, this is how the agreements worked. Amtrak is responsible for their issues while on Tri-Rail tracks, CSX is responsible for their issues while on Tri-Rail tracks, and Tri-Rail is responsible for their issues. If CSX hits a Tri-Rail train, CSX fixes their equipment. Tri-Rail fixed their equipment and handles any lawsuits.

And there are other examples throughout the industry. This is why I find it funny that Florida suddenly thinks that things will or should be different for the proposed Orlando commuter op. It's also interesting that Massachusettes also somehow thinks that they are going to be able to do it differently there too.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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I think if Massachusetts isn't allowed to do things differently than what has been the convention, there are some serious potential safety problems.

Operating on tracks that are directly connected to tracks with active passenger service possibly requires more care than operating on freight-only tracks, because the consequences of a collision are potentially far worse in terms of the potential number of injured people. If you destroy some autoracks, or some containers full of electronics, you can always just build some more of whatever the goods are. People aren't necessiarly quite so repairable/replaceable.

If CSX has to pay workers more to get them to be careful enough to set the derail mechanisms correctly (as we could speculate may be the case, given what we know about the recent accident where 150 MBTA passengers were injured), but CSX doesn't have to pay the insurance bills that result from running passenger service on tracks near where CSX isn't careful about setting derails, then CSX can save money by taking the chance that people will be injured. It really is better if the party that has to make a decision about skimping on caution is financially responsibile if they screw up. There may be a tradgedy of the commons problem here, if it turns out that paying CSX workers to be careful costs less than paying the insurance bills resulting from carelessness, if the parties paying those two bills are different parties.

(It may also go beyond paying the workers; it's possible to pressure workers to meet deadlines where those deadlines may not be compatible with safety, but I really don't know if that is what happened here.)

A century ago, how many passenger trains were operated on tracks not owned by the operator of the passenger train? I'm betting not very many.
 

AlanB

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I think if Massachusetts isn't allowed to do things differently than what has been the convention, there are some serious potential safety problems.
If Mass doesn't agree to CSX's terms, then CSX quite simply will not sell the Worcester line to the T and that will be the end of things. There will be no increase in service on that line and unless the State can somehow prompt Congress to act, something I think unlikely, there will be nothing that the State can do about it.
 

amtrakwolverine

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Whats strange is Amtrak 21 the westbound Texas eagle struck a SUV outside of san-Antonio on may 2nd at 11:30PM. Both people in the car survived. Can't find any news on it. If you wondering how I know I was on that train.
 
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had8ley

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This is a very long-standing arrangement whose nature predated Amtrak by probably a century or more. It is called by some the "but for" clause. It means that but for your presence the event would not have happened. It is more or less standard in any trackage rights agreement.
... because it is one of the oldest trackage rights arrangements out there, going back to at least 1850.
That is one of the goofiest legal standards I have ever heard of.

BTW, some TV coverage from WFAA-TV Dallas
It might be equated to someone borrowing your car. You're not driving but if the person who borrows the car gets in an accident the other party is surely going to sue your insurance company.
 

Green Maned Lion

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The but for clause can be circumvented in cases of extreme negligence. If Amtrak went to the trouble to send a pack of good lawyers against CSX, I think that the jury would rule that while it wouldn't have happened if Amtrak hadn't passed over that track, CSX's negligence goes above and beyond and, indeed, is indicative of a wanton and reckless disregard for human life.

Old, out dated, and unfair laws can be overturned in newer enviroments.
 

AlanB

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The but for clause can be circumvented in cases of extreme negligence. If Amtrak went to the trouble to send a pack of good lawyers against CSX, I think that the jury would rule that while it wouldn't have happened if Amtrak hadn't passed over that track, CSX's negligence goes above and beyond and, indeed, is indicative of a wanton and reckless disregard for human life.
Old, out dated, and unfair laws can be overturned in newer enviroments.
This isn't a law, this is the contract that Amtrak signed with CSX. They can't sue CSX ever, unless they break the contract. And breaking the contract pretty much means that Amtrak won't be running any more trains on CSX tracks, something that Amtrak can't afford.
 

MrFSS

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The but for clause can be circumvented in cases of extreme negligence. If Amtrak went to the trouble to send a pack of good lawyers against CSX, I think that the jury would rule that while it wouldn't have happened if Amtrak hadn't passed over that track, CSX's negligence goes above and beyond and, indeed, is indicative of a wanton and reckless disregard for human life.
Old, out dated, and unfair laws can be overturned in newer environments.
This isn't a law, this is the contract that Amtrak signed with CSX. They can't sue CSX ever, unless they break the contract. And breaking the contract pretty much means that Amtrak won't be running any more trains on CSX tracks, something that Amtrak can't afford.
And, that contract probably has a very strong Hold Harmless agreement. That is, Amtrak agrees to hold CSX (any freight RR) harmless if that freight RR is sued and/or damages are awarded against that freight RR. So, it just less expensive for Amtrak to take it on and handle the entire matter with their own attorneys.
 
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