Empire Builder accident (9/25/21)

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joelkfla

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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.
I'm not sure those are firefighters, and not just local citizens trying to help. There's no turnout gear in the photo.

Anyway, the odds of a twice-daily passenger train derailing and flipping within any one particular jurisdiction are so infinitesimal, why would every small town along an Amtrak line train for it?
 

Just-Thinking-51

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I'm not sure those are firefighters, and not just local citizens trying to help. There's no turnout gear in the photo.
Yes the lack of turnout gear was noted. The wear of gloves by some was also noted. It was 90 degrees outside that day. Sure some of the people were just help out, just not sure a non trained person would even try to open a roof.
Anyway, the odds of a twice-daily passenger train derailing and flipping within any one particular jurisdiction are so infinitesimal, why would every small town along an Amtrak line train for it?
Training for the rare hazards in your community is what you do. The common trash fire gets boring, got to spice it up to keep a volunteer force activity involved.
 

jis

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Yes the lack of turnout gear was noted. The wear of gloves by some was also noted. It was 90 degrees outside that day. Sure some of the people were just help out, just not sure a non trained person would even try to open a roof.
In this day and age where way too many people think they are universal experts at everything because they have read an article on the web, who knows what people will do. Dunning-Kruger can have dangerous or at least grossly undesirable outcomes if stretched too far.
 

flitcraft

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In this day and age where way too many people think they are universal experts at everything because they have read an article on the web, who knows what people will do. Dunning-Kruger can have dangerous or at least grossly undesirable outcomes if stretched too far.
Probably the worst such case I know of, is one a number of years back where a Good Samaritan stopped at the scene of a one-car auto accident and saw that the driver seemed to be having trouble breathing. Unfortunately, the Good Samaritan happened to have been an Eagle Scout way back when, and thought he remembered how to do an emergency tracheotomy. Didn't end well. One of my former students got the wrongful death case, which required her to prove that there was not just negligence by the Eagle Scout but gross negligence. The case ultimately settled for insurance policy limits, but as she recounted it to me, all we could think of was "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Of course, if I had known about it then, we'd probably have invoked the Dunning-Kruger effect.
 

John819

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As General Schwarzkopf said, "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail." It would not be difficult for FEMA or state authorities to run training classes on dealing with railroad incidents (both freight and passenger) even if that would be beyond the abilities of each small community along the routes.
 

MARC Rider

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Probably the worst such case I know of, is one a number of years back where a Good Samaritan stopped at the scene of a one-car auto accident and saw that the driver seemed to be having trouble breathing. Unfortunately, the Good Samaritan happened to have been an Eagle Scout way back when, and thought he remembered how to do an emergency tracheotomy. Didn't end well. One of my former students got the wrongful death case, which required her to prove that there was not just negligence by the Eagle Scout but gross negligence. The case ultimately settled for insurance policy limits, but as she recounted it to me, all we could think of was "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." Of course, if I had known about it then, we'd probably have invoked the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Hey, I was an Eagle Scout. They never taught us how to do emergency tracheotomies in the field. What kind of Boy Scouts did this guy belong to?
 

Cal

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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.
Link to a site about that derailment?
 

WWW

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So you are in a derailed Amtrak car:

ESCAPE OPTIONS:
Not through the floor
Not through the cab roof
Possible through the end of the car if not attached to another derailed car
One would have to be some 8+ feet tall to stand on the glass wall facing the ground to try and get out of the glass side facing skyward
Using the structure of the interior may/would shortened that height requirement or offer hand holds to climb out
The SSL may offer an opportunity to escape scooting out one of the large bottom facing windows

*****Thus the roof escape hatches would be an excellent idea - perhaps designed as skylights*****

Not factored in --- a derailed car resting in water

Even in a single level car a derailment presents problems with the potential escape ports available

Escaping from a derailed train is not the same as would be expected in an airplane accident - cabin side up using escape slides etc.

Not all accidents occur on relatively flat terrain much like this recent one
 

Willbridge

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The Canadian emergency markings may have been adopted after the February 1986 Hinton CN-VIA crash.

Over-dramatized but based on the investigation.


Previous findings in the VIA RDC crash at Carstairs were resolved by discontinuing the service.
 

NW cannonball

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I totally like the drift here. From "what the F happened" to "what can I do? in an (air sea road train earthquake tsunami disaster)""
The NTSB's mandate is aimed at the carrier's and infrasrtructure's responsibility.
What I want to promote is what us humans can do (yes I have preschool grandkids), individually and collectively to reduce the risks of going anywhere.
From crossing a busy street as a 2-year-old to crossing a busy street as a 90-year-old with a cane.
Being calm and effective in a scary situation -- that's something that a very few people I know have learned -- bless them.
How I could help in a tipped-over train car -- I dunno.
Like y'all.
Maybe needs a new thread
 

TrackWalker

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Here's a start....


-CERT
 

Eric in East County

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So you are in a derailed Amtrak car:

ESCAPE OPTIONS:
Not through the floor
Not through the cab roof
Possible through the end of the car if not attached to another derailed car
One would have to be some 8+ feet tall to stand on the glass wall facing the ground to try and get out of the glass side facing skyward
Using the structure of the interior may/would shortened that height requirement or offer hand holds to climb out
The SSL may offer an opportunity to escape scooting out one of the large bottom facing windows

*****Thus the roof escape hatches would be an excellent idea - perhaps designed as skylights*****

Not factored in --- a derailed car resting in water

Even in a single level car a derailment presents problems with the potential escape ports available

Escaping from a derailed train is not the same as would be expected in an airplane accident - cabin side up using escape slides etc.

Not all accidents occur on relatively flat terrain much like this recent one
A survivor's account which appears earlier in this thread explains how he was able to escape from the Sightseer Lounge Car.
 

basketmaker

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Everybody is gonna sue everyone they can. I remember the American Airlines that engine fell off of on take-off in Chicago. They sued American, McDonnell-Douglas, the ground handling company(s), General Electric all the way down to the company that made the rivets that kept the plane together. The shysters are gonna go after whoever/whatever they can suck a buck out of. Then take their 33.3%.
 

WWW

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Everybody is gonna sue everyone they can. I remember the American Airlines that engine fell off of on take-off in Chicago. They sued American, McDonnell-Douglas, the ground handling company(s), General Electric all the way down to the company that made the rivets that kept the plane together. The shysters are gonna go after whoever/whatever they can suck a buck out of. Then take their 33.3%.
I witnessed a fatal traffic accident -
I was sued as a witness bystander for just being there -
The judge had some words for the lawyers - - - #@$&%?

The NTSB hasn't even completed its filing information about this accident -
AND the ambulance chasers are already nipping at the heels of anyone involved - - -
 

Night Ranger

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I witnessed a fatal traffic accident -
I was sued as a witness bystander for just being there -
The judge had some words for the lawyers - - - #@$&%?

The NTSB hasn't even completed its filing information about this accident -
AND the ambulance chasers are already nipping at the heels of anyone involved - - -
As a lawyer friend of mine once told me "99% of lawyers give the rest of the profession a bad name." :)
 

Siegmund

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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.
It will vary from department to department --- but in many areas, they do.

About three years ago, we had a very interesting exercise in my quiet little corner of Montana, where BNSF and Amtrak parked a couple of Superliners inside the Flathead Tunnel and set off smoke bombs inside the cars, and a crew from my local volunteer fire department learned how much space was available between the tunnel walls and the Superliner windows / just how hard it was to lower a person strapped to a stretcher almost-vertically through that space.

I had the impression, but could be wrong, that several other fire departments in the state also practiced working on these same cars in the days before and after --- of course that training didn't include flipping them on their sides or cutting holes in the roofs.
 

Rasputin

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Is it too early to tell how many of the cars on the train in this accident have returned to service and how many will need extensive repairs or be scrapped?
 

AmtrakBlue

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Is it too early to tell how many of the cars on the train in this accident have returned to service and how many will need extensive repairs or be scrapped?
At least four are probably impounded while the NTSB does it’s investigation
 
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Wolverine72

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Everybody is gonna sue everyone they can. I remember the American Airlines that engine fell off of on take-off in Chicago. They sued American, McDonnell-Douglas, the ground handling company(s), General Electric all the way down to the company that made the rivets that kept the plane together. The shysters are gonna go after whoever/whatever they can suck a buck out of. Then take their 33.3%.
Yep.
If there is an injury, in say an auto plant, plaintiff’s attorney writes down the name of and the contractors that installed every piece of equipment within two bays of accident site and sues them all. All those companies then have to pay attorneys to defend themselves. Yet all the while everyone knows they were completely innocent. In an auto plant case it is the employee‘s fault 90% of the time.
 

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I remember the American Airlines that engine fell off of on take-off in Chicago. They sued American, McDonnell-Douglas, the ground handling company(s), General Electric all the way down to the company that made the rivets that kept the plane together.
This is literally how lawsuits are supposed to work. What is your alternative solution that does not require reading minds?

I witnessed a fatal traffic accident I was sued as a witness bystander for just being there
Are you saying you were subpoenaed as a witness? Was this on airport property back when you were an airline employee?

The NTSB hasn't even completed its filing information about this accident AND the ambulance chasers are already nipping at the heels of anyone involved
As already explained filing the lawsuit as soon as possible puts the defendants on notice that they must retain potentially relevant evidence.
 
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