Emergency Window Removal

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

T

Tropical

Guest
Can somebody be kind enough to explain to me how the emergency window removal works? Like the directions to open one of these windows, how hard it is for a single person to do it, etc, in at least mild detail. I've been wondering about this for a while and it would be greatly appreciated.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,636
Location
Nottingham, England.
Hi,

The instructions I have seen are along these lines:

The glass is held in the frame by a strong rubber seal. The seal has a special red emergency handle which, when pulled, strips away the rubber seal. The window glass itself has another metal handle attached to it, which can be pulled inward to then remove the glass. I imagine gravity would assist the glass removal, one also seems to aquire a boost of strength anyway, in an emergency!

There are small hammers in the coach and diner cars too, should one require to break other windows.

There are full instructions on each emergency exit, and they are easy to follow.

Please note.. these instructions apply to Amtrak only.. do not use aboard aircraft in motion!

Ed B)
 

Amtrak Watcher

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 1, 2002
Messages
482
Location
Texas
In the fall of 1966, a few of the cars of the train that was taking me from Texas to Chicago, fell part-way off the tracks and rolled over about 45 degrees on their sides near Newport, Arkansas. The conductor came through with a flash light (it was shortly after midnight) telling us to pull open the emergency windows, which had roughly the same construction as the current ones on Amtrak equipment. I recall that it was a bit of a job to pull out the rubber seal, but, once freed, the window which was quite heavy (30 or 40 pounds I guess) fell out easily. It was a non-event since nobody was hurt, and I still wonder why the conductor asked everyone to pull open the emergency windows. The doors still worked.

Looking back, train accidents don't seem to be anywhere near as dangerous as car or planes mishaps, since the train cars are very strong and fires are uncommon. Real danger might emerge for the engineer up front, when the cars fall into a river, or for anyone working in the kitchen of the dinning car.
 
T

Tony

Guest
Looking back, train accidents don't seem to be anywhere near as dangerous as car or planes mishaps, since the train cars are very strong and fires are uncommon.
Good point. Once the accident has happened (the physical or motion part), there usually isn't much of a rush to exit the train cars since train cars have little-to-no fuel to ignite to cause an ongoing threat.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,245
Location
NJ
Hi,The instructions I have seen are along these lines:

The glass is held in the frame by a strong rubber seal. The seal has a special red emergency handle which, when pulled, strips away the rubber seal. The window glass itself has another metal handle attached to it, which can be pulled inward to then remove the glass. I imagine gravity would assist the glass removal, one also seems to aquire a boost of strength anyway, in an emergency!

There are small hammers in the coach and diner cars too, should one require to break other windows.

There are full instructions on each emergency exit, and they are easy to follow.

Please note.. these instructions apply to Amtrak only.. do not use aboard aircraft in motion!

Ed B)
Those hammers are probably about as useful as other such hammers. That is, about as useful as a pitcher of warm spit.
 

sechs

Engineer
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
2,147
Location
ATL
Those hammers are probably about as useful as other such hammers. That is, about as useful as a pitcher of warm spit.
Unless you have a particularly nice pitcher for your warm spit, I think that the hammer is going to be far more useful at breaking the glass.

It doesn't take a lot to break glass, given a well-designed device.
 

BlueJeanGirl

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
111
Location
based in LA
Hi,The instructions I have seen are along these lines:

The glass is held in the frame by a strong rubber seal. The seal has a special red emergency handle which, when pulled, strips away the rubber seal. The window glass itself has another metal handle attached to it, which can be pulled inward to then remove the glass. I imagine gravity would assist the glass removal, one also seems to aquire a boost of strength anyway, in an emergency!

There are small hammers in the coach and diner cars too, should one require to break other windows.

There are full instructions on each emergency exit, and they are easy to follow.

Please note.. these instructions apply to Amtrak only.. do not use aboard aircraft in motion!

Ed B)


The windows are Lexan. Please do not attempt to break them with a hammer. GML, you'd do better to spit at them :lol:

The windows are heavy: I've heard 70lbs for a Surfliner window, and (I believe) are designed to pull inward on emergency removal.

Evacuation via emergency window is a last-resort. We, the operating and service crews, will attempt to evacuate the car via lower level or end doors first.

In the event of an emergency, please follow the instructions of your train crew.

In the event of brilliant sunlight, please do not pull the handle for the sunshade. There is no sunshade, and I'd hate for that heavy window to fall in on you ;)

Travel light!

~BJG
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,245
Location
NJ
Those hammers are probably about as useful as other such hammers. That is, about as useful as a pitcher of warm spit.
Unless you have a particularly nice pitcher for your warm spit, I think that the hammer is going to be far more useful at breaking the glass.

It doesn't take a lot to break glass, given a well-designed device.
As BJG said, they aren't glass- they are Lexan seemingly at least a quarter inch thick. Their unbreakability is one of my reasons for wanting a railcar for a home. With the doors dogged, they'd be pretty hard to break into.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

PetalumaLoco

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
1,980
Location
Petaluma Ca
Those hammers are probably about as useful as other such hammers. That is, about as useful as a pitcher of warm spit.
Unless you have a particularly nice pitcher for your warm spit, I think that the hammer is going to be far more useful at breaking the glass.

It doesn't take a lot to break glass, given a well-designed device.
As BJG said, they aren't glass- they are Lexan seemingly at least a quarter inch thick. Their unbreakability is one of my reasons for wanting a railcar for a home. With the doors dogged, they'd be pretty hard to break into.
A cordless drill and jigsaw would make pretty quick work of your new home's windows. :ph34r:
 

sechs

Engineer
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
2,147
Location
ATL
I don't recall saying anything about trying to break the Surfliner windows with a hammer (although, once again, a well designed device will do the job). There's still plenty of glass to break on many rail cars.

Given the choice, I'll always go for the hammer over the pitcher of warm spit. My feeling is that you would, too.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,245
Location
NJ
A cordless drill and jigsaw would make pretty quick work of your new home's windows. :ph34r:
You'd be drilling for hours. And your jigsaw would need new blades like clockwork. Also, if I'm home, I'd probably hear you. Unless I go deaf or something. And maybe even then.

I don't recall saying anything about trying to break the Surfliner windows with a hammer (although, once again, a well designed device will do the job). There's still plenty of glass to break on many rail cars.
Given the choice, I'll always go for the hammer over the pitcher of warm spit. My feeling is that you would, too.
I'd ignore both as futile and save my energy.
 
T

Tony

Guest
A cordless drill and jigsaw would make pretty quick work of your new home's windows. :ph34r:
Possibly these should be added to the "Things to take with you" thread. In case of emergency (or extreme boredom), disassemble rail car. :blink:

I always back a 'shute in my airline carry-on, and an inflatable raft in my cruise luggage. Yea never know. :D
 

PetalumaLoco

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
1,980
Location
Petaluma Ca
A cordless drill and jigsaw would make pretty quick work of your new home's windows. :ph34r:
You'd be drilling for hours. And your jigsaw would need new blades like clockwork. Also, if I'm home, I'd probably hear you. Unless I go deaf or something. And maybe even then.
Hey, it's plexiglass, not bullet proof glass. We drill and cut 1/4" to 3/8" at work all the time. No big deal.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,636
Location
Nottingham, England.
I guess I have seen the hammers in the emergency equipment on European trains, and got a mite confused.

(This is a pic of my favourite blue jean girl conductor..)
322328448.jpg


Ed B)
 
G

Guest_George Harris_*

Guest
Yes, the hammers are a European thing. They would probably be near worthless against a window that meets the FRA requirements for passenger car windows. Somehow they have never seemed to have heard of the American system. I can not imagine why anyone would deliberately add broken glass to an alread messy situation. There is a certain level of quite literally "bulletproof" in the FRA spec.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,636
Location
Nottingham, England.
Hi GG1,

The European conductor has a portable ticket machine with her. These can read barcodes on home printed internet purchased tickets, as well as scan and issue regular tickets.

Ed. B)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

access bob

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
340
I guess I have seen the hammers in the emergency equipment on European trains, and got a mite confused. (This is a pic of my favourite blue jean girl conductor..)
322328448.jpg


Ed B)
well didn't wear blue jeans but there was a younger female conductor worked the Cap limited for quite a while who never yelled "all aboard" that I ever heard, but she did always tell the engineer, "lets get outta here"

Bob
 
G

Guest_Yerry_*

Guest
I can personally testify as to the strength of today's windows.

"FRA glazing" is defined as being able to be strike a full size cinder block (8 x 8 x 16) hung from above by a rope, at 75 MPH, without shattering.

in the earlies days, before it was actually a law for FRA glazing, I was riding in an Amfleet coach, pillow and head against the window, when someone threw a brick and it hit my window even with my ear. Turns out that back then, something weaker than today's Lexan was the inside layer, with glass on the outside (to keep the plastic from scratching). When I climbed down from the luggage rack, I saw the brick balancing for a few seconds on the shattered glass layer before it fell off. Far better window glazing later eliminated the glass layer.

BTW, the stuff they use today ISN'T Lexan-- read the label. It takes special tools to cut, bend, or drill the stuff. Anything else will just bend, warp or stretch it. Drill a hole and the resulting hole will be smaller than the drill bit after it cools. Cut it and the moment you stop cutting or even slow down, it'll grab the blade and not let go. A proprietary process (far more involved than just heating) is used to bend windows for SuperLiner lounges and Dome Coaches.

Episode two took place on the Southwest Limited (before renamed back to Chief). Several passengers got into what had to be the biggest argument I've ever seen in my life; State Police/Sheriff were called to meet the train in suburban nowhere, and a huge guy took a full-sized suitcase and threw it against a lower lounge window. It bounced, and came back at him just as fast as he threw it, and knocked him senseless. I noticed later that the Sheriff had to pull hard and leaned to port quite a bit to remove the suitcase from the train.

There are several accounts of sideswipes with freight trains where the glazing kept some heavy stuff out of the passenger cars. Window was destroyed, but kept pax safe.

Pull-out windows were installed system-wide after the Coast Starlight sleeping car fire. Luckily, the old HiLiner cars happened to be able to accept SuperLiner windows, thus extending their lives (there was a proposal to eliminate them due to anticipated costs of custom windows); Trans-dorms were refitted with the smaller Amfleet pull-out windows and a one-inch filler plate of stainless steel.
 

rogers55

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 26, 2007
Messages
148
Location
VNC
Just returned from a LAX, SDY, CHI, PDX, LAX trip.

There were some small glass breaking hammers, I think in the dining car.

I don't think the purpose was to open the exterior windows, more likely to open

access to some other equipment like fire extinguishers.

However, the superliner cars all have an emergency cabinet with a sledge hammer

and a big pry bar.

I bet I could open the bullet proof windows with those tools. If the glass didn't

break the frame would.

That cabinet also has the first aid kit and chemical lights. It is located adjacent to

the door on lower level.
 

access bob

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
340
Just returned from a LAX, SDY, CHI, PDX, LAX trip.There were some small glass breaking hammers, I think in the dining car.

I don't think the purpose was to open the exterior windows, more likely to open

access to some other equipment like fire extinguishers.

However, the superliner cars all have an emergency cabinet with a sledge hammer

and a big pry bar.

I bet I could open the bullet proof windows with those tools. If the glass didn't

break the frame would.

That cabinet also has the first aid kit and chemical lights. It is located adjacent to

the door on lower level.
I would bet it wouldn't, fire dept arrived at the MARC/Capitol limited accident in Silver SPring and could not break the windows with their tools to save the kids insidee, unfortunately they were practically right next to the emergency door release but none had noticed or tried to use it.

now there is a design that allows some windows to be opened from the outside also, there is also an outside emergency door release too.

Bob
 
Top