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Incident at Saco

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Brian Battuello

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
91
On 9/28, Downeaster train 983 struck a person on the tracks just south of Saco, ME.

I would like to compliment the entire train crew for the professional way they handled the tragic incident and the unavoidable three hour delay. I happened to be near the conductor when the engineer called in while throwing the train into emergency, and he spoke very calmly on the radio to her.

While I knew what had happened, the conductor did a very professional series of announcements that told the passengers what they needed to know, without unduly alarming or upsetting people. At first, he referred to an “incident outside the train”, and then later a “police matter”. Of course it quickly became obvious as we were surrounded by all sorts of first responders, including a coroner's van. The conductor provided regular updates, especially informing us that the delay would likely be significant. He explained that they needed to call in another crew, and when the crew arrived, they told us we would be going soon, and informed us when we were released and waiting for railroad clearance.

Meanwhile, the first conductor approached a number of passengers with round trip concerns (we were headed for Old Orchard Beach for a day trip from Boston). He advised us to detrain at Saco to catch our return train. He generously provided us with trip vouchers and even gave us an extra pair because we would not reach our destination.

It happened that we had 35 minutes in the rather simple Saco station, but my son and I were able to walk to a nearby restaurant and get two lobster rolls to eat on the train on the way home. Maine micro-vacation accomplished.
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
750
Location
HFD
Sad to hear, but glad you were happy with the way the crew handled it. It's good to see passengers got trip vouchers.
 

Brian Battuello

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
91
Thanks for both the "likes" and the "sads". Definitely sad. There is a long story about the person involved in a local paper. I'm not going to post the link, but you can google it at Amtrak Saco news. At the end of the story, it posts useful resources for dealing with depression.

In a much less important matter, the vouchers we received are a bit odd. We have four, and each are good for a one way coach trip anywhere on the Northeaster service. They explicitly say that you cannot make a reservation, you have to stand by and see if there is space available. There hasn't been unreserved service on Amtrak for years, so a bit strange. You write all your details on the back, so maybe the conductor has to type it in when they have time.
 
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