Empire Builder accident (9/25/21)

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OBS

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They said they have forward-facing cameras on the cars not only on this train, but also on the last freight train that went through this same area 80 minutes earlier. Between all that footage, the black box, and the positions of the cars and tracks immediately afterwards, they should have a very good idea of what happened very soon.

Of course, "very soon" in government-agency-report terms probably means several weeks yet before we in the public hear.
The cameras are not in the cars, only in the locomotives.
 

F900ElCapitan

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Frisco, TX
Through FaceBook I learned that the OBS crew was nearly all the same crew that my wife and I rode with from Essex (departed 9/11) to Chicago just a couple of weeks ago. I have learned that most and probably all were given extremely high praise from the passengers. My SCA Tashi, one of the waitress’ in the diner (I don’t remember her name but has beautiful red hair), and Alberto in the 27 sleeper were all mentioned to be safe and performed way above and beyond what’s expected. I really hope they are recognized by Amtrak and I hope to be able to do the same one day.
 

frequentflyer

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946
Looking at the ground you can see where the lead of the three cars dug into the ground the tight lock couplers let go or broke (cannot imagine the physics of 75 ton cars cutting dirt and decelerating in an instant).



As regards crimpled roofs, could be from the rescue operation. Here another closeup. Look at a Superliner roof up close on the numerous YouTube cams and one will see dimpled roofs on these cars. These cars are over 40 years old and have been through more hailstorms than we will experience in our lifetimes,



75 tons rolling over their roofs will do more damage than this. Be impressed the three cars stayed coupled together, that alone saved more lives.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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Delaware
Through FaceBook I learned that the OBS crew was nearly all the same crew that my wife and I rode with from Essex (departed 9/11) to Chicago just a couple of weeks ago. I have learned that most and probably all were given extremely high praise from the passengers. My SCA Tashi, one of the waitress’ in the diner (I don’t remember her name but has beautiful red hair), and Alberto in the 27 sleeper were all mentioned to be safe and performed way above and beyond what’s expected. I really hope they are recognized by Amtrak and I hope to be able to do the same one day.
I'm sure they all did an excellent job. Not sure if they went "way above and beyond what's expected" as they are all trained on what to do in an emergency, including derailments.
 
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Connecticut
Through FaceBook I learned that the OBS crew was nearly all the same crew that my wife and I rode with from Essex (departed 9/11) to Chicago just a couple of weeks ago. I have learned that most and probably all were given extremely high praise from the passengers. My SCA Tashi, one of the waitress’ in the diner (I don’t remember her name but has beautiful red hair), and Alberto in the 27 sleeper were all mentioned to be safe and performed way above and beyond what’s expected. I really hope they are recognized by Amtrak and I hope to be able to do the same one day.
Yes, we had Tashi as our SCA when we took #7 from CHI to SEA on Sept. 2nd. Terrific service and great sense of humor. At extended stops he would lead the passengers in stretching exercises on the platform. Very glad to hear he's well.
 

joelkfla

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Surprised BNSF has not built a temporary bypass track past the derailment site. NTSB say one week. The back log for container out of the ports was 9 days already. This just makes it worse.
NTSB spokesman in the video said they expect to be on site for a week, but when a reporter asked later if the tracks would be closed for a week, he said something like, "Oh no, not that long," but was not more specific. He also said the railroad has already staged materials for the track repair.
 

John Santos

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Jun 24, 2018
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One of the things that might be useful in the future would be handles attached in various places so people have a chance to grab onto something in the event the car rolls over. On many trains across the world, handles are attached to the sides of aisle seats in coach, though presumably for passengers who do not have seats. In the interview that the guy gave above, he mentions that he was able to grab onto one of the tables in the sightseer lounge to prevent himself from being injured. Not everyone is that strong or lucky, of course, and that particularly includes the disabled. You can prepare all you can for these eventualities, but ultimately you have to be in the right place at the time the train tips over.
One thing NASA discovered way back during the Gemini program in the 1960's was how useful putting handles and handrails on everything is when you don't have stable gravity to hold you and things in place. It was only on the final Gemini flight that they put it all together and Buzz Aldrin (a hero of mine) was able to conduct the first truly successful EVA. He had lots of handles and rails (and places to put his feet) to hook onto and to grip. On all the previous space walks, the astronauts came literal close to death whenever they tried to do anything. Dangerously high pulse rates and blood pressure whenever they tried to move themselves to use any tools. Having something to hold onto made all the difference in the world. (Or all the difference out of this world!)

The same thing applies on any unstable mode of transportation, including trains on bumpy tracks, buses and boats. I've noticed the lack of places to grab in many of the older coaches and in the aisles in the sleepers. I hope the new VL2's and Amfleet replacements have many more of them, and when they refurbish the old Viewliners and Superliner, they add them wherever possible. It's pretty cheap and great for people with ordinary mobility, let alone mobility-impaired people.

The only time I've ever been sea-sick was on one of the older Boston-Provincetown ferries. It was the first trip after a storm the night before. The first 3rd (about half an hour) was fine as we sailed past the harbor islands to the entry to the harbor. Then the middle third was very rough until we got into the shelter of Cape Cod. I had missed lunch and got a snack, a bagel and a cup of coffee, from the snack bar. I had almost made it back to my seat, balancing the bagel on top of the coffee cup with one hand and trying to hold onto the seats of other passengers with the other, when we hit the open water and my bagel went flying! Most of the very hot coffee sloshed out onto my hand and the floor. (Why they didn't have lids, I don't know...) A few seconds later, I was too sick to eat or drink anyway. It got a little better when we reached the smoother water near P-Town, but I was still woozie. Then, 5 minutes ashore, I was totally fine, and my friends who picked me up there took me straight to Moby Dick's in Wellfleet for a terrific, enormous sea food late lunch/early dinner. (I know it's an AU requirement to always discuss food whenever possible.)

I've ridden other. newer B-P (and other) ferries since and noticed the seats usually have handles in the upper corners of their backs, which I now truly appreciate. I hope the new Amtrak coaches, diners and observation cars have the same. (I took a train once or twice with a new VL2 diner (being used as a sleeper lounge), but didn't notice whether it had hand-holds on the seats or partitions.)
 

Barb Stout

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Albuquerque, NM
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Barb Stout

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Anyone know if the BNSF trains are being rerouted on other trackage i.e. the Northern Pacific northcoast limited or Milwaukee road
Although they may not be up to a lot of heavy traffic and not all connections possible ?

A lot of heavy hydraulic equipment in the photos and videos being used to raise the cars and replace the displaced wheels (trucks)
remove the damaged cars - after all that is done BNSF track crew can come in straighten the rail mess -
as noted there is a siding some 3K feet the accident site. At the least they have a staging area to work with and a lot of room to
work with replacing rails and the track bed.
During the interview with the NTSB guy, a reporter mentioned that there were a bunch of freight trains backed up on the Hi-Line on both sides of the accident waiting for it to be cleared. The reporter then asked about time frames.
 
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Yes, we had Tashi as our SCA when we took #7 from CHI to SEA on Sept. 2nd. Terrific service and great sense of humor. At extended stops he would lead the passengers in stretching exercises on the platform. Very glad to hear he's well.
I was also on the #7 from CHI to SEA that departed on Sept 2. Our SCA was Yonis, who I have seen in a few of the pictures floating around on the news, but we also met Tashi and he was a super nice and helpful guy!
 

TinCan782

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I was also on the #7 from CHI to SEA that departed on Sept 2. Our SCA was Yonis, who I have seen in a few of the pictures floating around on the news, but we also met Tashi and he was a super nice and helpful guy!
I've ridden with Tashi a couple of times. Most recently in July CHI to MSP on #7. Agree, hi is nice and helpful.
 

Bierboy

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Fishers, Indiana
Wow, that was fast. I wonder if the derailed cars have been moved also or if they will be further examined in situ. Would be a bit eerie to ride through the area with the derailed cars still there.
That’s not unusual. Wife and I were on the EB a few years ago and passed through an area where some freight cars had derailed. There were quite a few still on the ground in the area. Granted, not passenger carriages…
 
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Cal

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Socal
Wow, that was fast. I wonder if the derailed cars have been moved also or if they will be further examined in situ. Would be a bit eerie to ride through the area with the derailed cars still there.
I've ridden by two accident-sites where cars (grain hoppers) were on the ground. I didn't find it too eerie.
 

Amtrak Apple

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Cal

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I see the first lawsuit has been filed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you sort of turn over some rights to the travel vessel (train, plane, auto) when you buy a ticket? Sounds like a pretty terrible situation to go through though.

"This accident and the death and destruction it caused was entirely preventable. Sadly, the September 25, 2021 derailment of Empire Builder Train 7/27 is but another in a long list of devastating and fatal train derailments caused by the negligence and carelessness of Defendants Amtrak and BNSF. "

The cause of the accident hasn't been released yet. :/
 

Qapla

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Gator Country Florida
At this juncture, it is a bit too early to say that this derailment was "entirely preventable".

Not saying that this is the case, but, what if it is determined that a freak wind blew the train off the tracks or someone had placed a foreign object on the tracks or even removed bolts from the rails and ties after the freight went by ....

Seems to me it would have been better to wait until the cause was released.
 

Dakota 400

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Except one important question that non-short people don't think of asking. What was the distance between the window and the ground, given that it was on an embankment? Would a short person have had to jump down?
I noted that in the gentleman's interview. To have crawled through a broken window of the SSL between the car and the ground in order to escape, could I/would I have done so? Was this the best decision one could make at that time? Would it have been better to wait for the emergency responders (or Amtrak crew) to give me directions as to what to do?

Obviously, the decisions he made were to his benefit.
 

Willbridge

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One thing NASA discovered way back during the Gemini program in the 1960's was how useful putting handles and handrails on everything is when you don't have stable gravity to hold you and things in place. It was only on the final Gemini flight that they put it all together and Buzz Aldrin (a hero of mine) was able to conduct the first truly successful EVA. He had lots of handles and rails (and places to put his feet) to hook onto and to grip. On all the previous space walks, the astronauts came literal close to death whenever they tried to do anything. Dangerously high pulse rates and blood pressure whenever they tried to move themselves to use any tools. Having something to hold onto made all the difference in the world. (Or all the difference out of this world!)

The same thing applies on any unstable mode of transportation, including trains on bumpy tracks, buses and boats. I've noticed the lack of places to grab in many of the older coaches and in the aisles in the sleepers. I hope the new VL2's and Amfleet replacements have many more of them, and when they refurbish the old Viewliners and Superliner, they add them wherever possible. It's pretty cheap and great for people with ordinary mobility, let alone mobility-impaired people.

The only time I've ever been sea-sick was on one of the older Boston-Provincetown ferries. It was the first trip after a storm the night before. The first 3rd (about half an hour) was fine as we sailed past the harbor islands to the entry to the harbor. Then the middle third was very rough until we got into the shelter of Cape Cod. I had missed lunch and got a snack, a bagel and a cup of coffee, from the snack bar. I had almost made it back to my seat, balancing the bagel on top of the coffee cup with one hand and trying to hold onto the seats of other passengers with the other, when we hit the open water and my bagel went flying! Most of the very hot coffee sloshed out onto my hand and the floor. (Why they didn't have lids, I don't know...) A few seconds later, I was too sick to eat or drink anyway. It got a little better when we reached the smoother water near P-Town, but I was still woozie. Then, 5 minutes ashore, I was totally fine, and my friends who picked me up there took me straight to Moby Dick's in Wellfleet for a terrific, enormous sea food late lunch/early dinner. (I know it's an AU requirement to always discuss food whenever possible.)

I've ridden other. newer B-P (and other) ferries since and noticed the seats usually have handles in the upper corners of their backs, which I now truly appreciate. I hope the new Amtrak coaches, diners and observation cars have the same. (I took a train once or twice with a new VL2 diner (being used as a sleeper lounge), but didn't notice whether it had hand-holds on the seats or partitions.)
Here's a Czech First Class car that I rode in 2018. I appreciated the handholds, although the ride was much smoother than my usual Superliner experience. On Amtrak I usually end up grabbing some guy's head.

P1050446.JPG
 

Willbridge

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"This accident and the death and destruction it caused was entirely preventable. Sadly, the September 25, 2021 derailment of Empire Builder Train 7/27 is but another in a long list of devastating and fatal train derailments caused by the negligence and carelessness of Defendants Amtrak and BNSF. "

The cause of the accident hasn't been released yet. :/
There are a number of errors in their filing, probably caused by the rush. Note that one of the firms is in Philadelphia. They probably cut and pasted from the lawsuits in the NEC crash.

Possibly the biggest error is stating that the train was on the BNSF all the way from Chicago as a justification for suing the BNSF in Illinois. Another serious error is their claim that PTC failed to prevent the accident, as there is no sign that this had anything to do with PTC. Instead, that's a clue that this is a cut and paste from the NEC overspeed accident.
 
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