Empire Builder accident (9/25/21)

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cocojacoby

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Does anyone know how the 2 people died? If they were in the cars that went over? Were they in coach or the sleeper? I have beee wandering if one if safer than the other???
The younger single man was in the lounge and his wife (who survived) was back in their sleeper room. I believe the older couple were in the Portland sleeper. This info is subject to change.
 

Irelandvegas65

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The younger single man was in the lounge and his wife (who survived) was back in their sleeper room. I believe the older couple were in the Portland sleeper. This info is subject to change.
Onboard in Montana now, Friday. A few things of note: Staff has been open and honest to questions. Clearly no “don’t talk about it” memo from HQ. commendable!

riding through the derailment site today, the area was cleaned up really well on the south side of the tracks.

slowed down to below 40 as we passed. No announcement.

great trip so far , very on time and impressed overall
 

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This has been objected to by a lot of members of *Congress* and it's questionable whether it's legal. We'll see.
My guess is that the SCOTUS will rule in favor of binding arbitration even if it means protecting Amtrak.
 

neroden

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My guess is that the SCOTUS will rule in favor of binding arbitration even if it means protecting Amtrak.
I don't think it'll make it there at this time. 3 deaths? These will all be settled pre-arbitration.

SCOTUS may have been replaced by the time an Amtrak case gets there, given how rare rail accidents are. Even more likely, Amtrak's binding arbitration clause may have been removed by legislation by then, since I know that was already in the works.
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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I don't think it'll make it there at this time. 3 deaths? These will all be settled pre-arbitration.

SCOTUS may have been replaced by the time an Amtrak case gets there, given how rare rail accidents are. Even more likely, Amtrak's binding arbitration clause may have been removed by legislation by then, since I know that was already in the works.
So Amtrak is losing there binding arbitration, will other companies that use or receive federal funding also be losing there ability to use binding arbitration?

How close of a relationship to the federal funding do you need to lose your ability to use binding arbitration?
 

jis

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So Amtrak is losing there binding arbitration, will other companies that use or receive federal funding also be losing there ability to use binding arbitration?

How close of a relationship to the federal funding do you need to lose your ability to use binding arbitration?
The change prohibiting arbitration in lieu of using the normal legal system path in Amtrak Authorization applies only to Amtrak. Whether it sets any kind of general precedent is questionable. A more general approach at restricting arbitration clause usage needs to be tackled by the Congress, but anyone holding their breath on that one do so at their own grave peril.
 

me_little_me

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So Amtrak is losing there binding arbitration, will other companies that use or receive federal funding also be losing there ability to use binding arbitration?

How close of a relationship to the federal funding do you need to lose your ability to use binding arbitration?
Personally, I think binding arbitration should be allowed only between equals (both large companies, both medium companies, both small companies or individuals). Binding arbitration is heavily slanted towards the big guy.

So binding arbitration is okay between NS and Amtrak but not between me and either of them.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Personally, I think binding arbitration should be allowed only between equals (both large companies, both medium companies, both small companies or individuals). Binding arbitration is heavily slanted towards the big guy.

So binding arbitration is okay between NS and Amtrak but not between me and either of them.
If there was a truly neutral arbitration then it would not matter. However it seem you can pick and choose your person to do the arbitration so there is a conflict of money and future business sent your way.
 

dlagrua

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There will probably be lawsuits due to injury and loss of life but we are yet to know who is to blame. Is it bad track that caused the derailment or is it because a wheel or truck detached from the old Superliner or faulty equipment?. A passenger reported hearing loud grinding noises just before the derailment so what does that day? I believe that the issue is that even if it is the fault of BNSF, their agreement with Amtrak says that they cannot be sued. This is one for the lawyers
 

zephyr17

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There will probably be lawsuits due to injury and loss of life but we are yet to know who is to blame. Is it bad track that caused the derailment or is it because a wheel or truck detached from the old Superliner or faulty equipment?. A passenger reported hearing loud grinding noises just before the derailment so what does that day? I believe that the issue is that even if it is the fault of BNSF, their agreement with Amtrak says that they cannot be sued. This is one for the lawyers
My understanding is even if it is totally BNSF's fault, Amtrak has to indemnify them per that agreement. Basically, if BNSF gets sued and is found liable, Amtrak has to pay the judgement.
 

AmtrakBlue

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A passenger reported hearing loud grinding noises just before the derailment so what does that day?
Probably depends on where those people were in the consist. If they were in the Seattle section perhaps they heard the Portland cars derailing and tugging on the SSL before they separated. Or the SSL being dragged after it detached.
 

me_little_me

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If there was a truly neutral arbitration then it would not matter. However it seem you can pick and choose your person to do the arbitration so there is a conflict of money and future business sent your way.
If you are the big guy, you likely know whether the arbitrators are pro-big, pro-small or neutral based on their history of decisions. The little guy does not. Most times, I believe, in big company arbitration, you pick someone, they pick someone and the two candidates select a third arbitrator to hear the case and decide. So Amtrak gets to pick someone they know. You get to pick someone who you know nothing about so now the odds are that you'll get stuck with someone who is pro-big guy when the two selections pick the final arbitrator.
 

VentureForth

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She was a newly married woman who lost her husband. The lawsuit will throw everything out there and amend as needed to get some sort of settlement. Doesn't Amtrak have a per-person limit as to liability? And, no, they won't likely get anything from BNSF - even if their CEO personally pulled spikes out of the ties and hacked the rails. Amtrak's indemnity clause.

As for the cause of death of the three individuals, there may be a summary in the final NTSB report as there was in the 2005 Glendale Metrolink report. In that report, the cause of death was being crushed against the hard-bolted club table. Table didn't break away, no seatbelts, and tragedy.

In this particular wreck, the railfan who was interviewed several pages ago was in the SSL. Said he survived because he hung onto a table stanchion. Said the windows beneath him were gone and he could see ballast below an open gap between the toppled, moving SSL and the ground.
 

Exvalley

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If there was a truly neutral arbitration then it would not matter. However it seem you can pick and choose your person to do the arbitration so there is a conflict of money and future business sent your way.
A major complaint with forced arbitration clauses is that finding a neutral arbitrator is impossible.

Arbitrators are privately hired. They are selected by the parties. So if you are in professional arbitrator, who are you going to give the benefit of the doubt to? A customer of Amtrak that you will never see again, or Amtrak who may hire you for numerous cases in the future?
 

cirdan

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Picture of the local fire department cut open the roof of a Superliner coach to gain access is online.


That going to be a major fix to bring it back to service. If they don’t just scrap it on site.
makes me wonder if local fire departments have any knowledge of Amtrak equipment, or how best to gain access for rescue purposes.
 

AmtrakBlue

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makes me wonder if local fire departments have any knowledge of Amtrak equipment, or how best to gain access for rescue purposes.
There was a deadhead SSL on that particular #7 that was dropped off in Lake City, MN for that exact purpose - to familiarize their local emergency responders with the SSL I imagine they've dropped of coaches & sleepers in the past
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Later pictures show that the local fire department was unsuccessful in gain access to the railcar. So no special training for passenger railcars. That said all 911 provided do the unusual and unexpected on a daily bases. So they adapted there plan to what was working and stop what was not. No two call out are the same. We can try with guild lines and SOP, but the event at the scene still have to be handle.

At large scale event a few years back all the EMS and Fire were stage in front. A 911 call came in from a house adjacent to the building. Call was for people injured on her lawn. The house was behind the building. You adjust and establish a secondary treatment/staging area. Got to roll with the punches, complaining and demanding people to follow your plan does not work.
 

Maglev

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The SSL rescue practice in Lake City involved evacuating people through windows using ladders from an upright car. I have seen on the roof of LA commuter coaches an outline of the place to cut the roof open for evacuation, and there is also a chainsaw icon painted there. I do not fault first responders for trying to cut the roof open in the Empire Builder accident..
 

jis

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I have been wondering what, if any, training, even in the form of documentation and perhaps use of animated video are used to train people on evacuating victims from a toppled car.
 

Rasputin

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I noticed around 2005-06, the Budd cars used on the VIA Ocean had roof markings showing where the roof could be cut. I don't know when the markings were first installed or if they are still there. I assume it wasn't a practice limited to the Ocean and that the cars used on the Canadian had (or has) them as well .

I believe the NTSB report on the derailment of the Empire Builder at East Glacier, Montana on March 14, 1980 contained a recommendation that Amtrak install (or consider installing) roof hatches on its cars to facilitate evacuation in an emergency. I don't think I have seen much further discussion or consideration of this but perhaps I missed it.
 
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