Southwest Chief derailment

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jis

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Eric in East County

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One thing I don't understand and perhaps I have some wrong information, but I believe I read on this thread somewhere that this line has 90 trains passing per day. If you subtract the 2 daily SWCs, then there are 88 freight trains going by here every day. So dividing 24 hours by 88, we get 0.27 which means there is a train that goes by here every 15 minutes or so. And we know that some (many, most?) of these freight trains are very long. And a lot/most of the vehicles that cross here are heavy-duty vehicles carrying big loads. Seems like a tough situation.

Also, I suppose there must be a reason why railroads have so much buildup to make them ride on a ridge above the landscape, but I don't know what it is. Can someone share the reasoning behind that?
With that many trains going through one right after another every day, it is a wonder that any vehicles have an opportunity to use this crossing, given how long it takes the average freight train to go pass a given point.
 
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More cancellations:

As a result of the derailment, Southwest Chief Train 3, scheduled to depart Chicago (CHI) on Wednesday, June 29, will originate in Kansas City (KCY). Southwest Chief Train 4, scheduled to depart LAX on Wednesday, June 29 is cancelled. Additionally, Southwest Chief train 3, scheduled to depart CHI on Saturday, July 2 is cancelled. Southwest Chief Train 4, scheduled to depart LAX on Monday, July 4 is cancelled.

(From the alert on amtrak.com)
 

MccfamschoolMom

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Just found this - no sound but answers a lot not seen on those long distance photos - search YouTube for "NTSB B-Roll: Grade Crossing Collision in Mendon, MO"
Copy/pasting those keywords works once I'm on YouTube - but not in search engines like Bing or Google. Fascinating viewing, even without sound!
 

Stremba

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Based on the cancellation dates I suspect the cancellations are directly related to the fact that there is one less train set available. Train 3 should be the same set as the 4 departing 3 days earlier. Train 4 should be the same set as 3 departing 2 days previously (based on arrival/departure schedules same day turnaround is possible at LAX but not CHI). The cancellations are 4(29), 3(2), and 4(4) so far. These would all be the same “missing” train set.

If no equipment is available (and if I’m right) I’d expect 3(7), 4(9), 3(12) and 4(14) to be cancelled as well.
 
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Based on the cancellation dates I suspect the cancellations are directly related to the fact that there is one less train set available. Train 3 should be the same set as the 4 departing 3 days earlier. Train 4 should be the same set as 3 departing 2 days previously (based on arrival/departure schedules same day turnaround is possible at LAX but not CHI). The cancellations are 4(29), 3(2), and 4(4) so far. These would all be the same “missing” train set.

If no equipment is available (and if I’m right) I’d expect 3(7), 4(9), 3(12) and 4(14) to be cancelled as well.

Gee, I hope you're wrong...I'm scheduled to be on the 4 on the 14th 😭

What would people here recommend...should I book a flight proactively, or wait and see? Would anyone at Amtrak be able to tell me definitively that the train on the 14th will be cancelled?
 

Stremba

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Gee, I hope you're wrong...I'm scheduled to be on the 4 on the 14th 😭

What would people here recommend...should I book a flight proactively, or wait and see? Would anyone at Amtrak be able to tell me definitively that the train on the 14th will be cancelled?
No offense, but I hope I’m right. I’m scheduled to be on 4(8). I would be exploring plan B if I were you, but it is possible that they will get some extra equipment together by then. Nothing is set in stone yet.
 
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Gee, I hope you're wrong...I'm scheduled to be on the 4 on the 14th 😭

What would people here recommend...should I book a flight proactively, or wait and see? Would anyone at Amtrak be able to tell me definitively that the train on the 14th will be cancelled?
At this point, even Amtrak would (could) not make a definitive statement regarding your question. It is still too early.
As mentioned above, you might be considering a back-up plan.
 

zephyr17

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Gee, I hope you're wrong...I'm scheduled to be on the 4 on the 14th 😭

What would people here recommend...should I book a flight proactively, or wait and see? Would anyone at Amtrak be able to tell me definitively that the train on the 14th will be cancelled?
I doubt you could get a definitive answer because I doubt Amtrak operations has their recovery plan figured out yet. And the call center will be the last to know once they do.

I'd get a Plan B figured out but wouldn't pull the trigger on it just yet.
 

Amtrak Apple

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I did NOT see the press conference, but if it was Jennifer Homendy--the current chairman--it seems she has always been known as a great fan as well as a very fair critic of Amtrak under the predecessor chairman Robert Zumwalt.
Yes, that's who it was! She did another one today and I've been very impressed with her and her team's response.
 

Cal

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Based on the cancellation dates I suspect the cancellations are directly related to the fact that there is one less train set available. Train 3 should be the same set as the 4 departing 3 days earlier. Train 4 should be the same set as 3 departing 2 days previously (based on arrival/departure schedules same day turnaround is possible at LAX but not CHI). The cancellations are 4(29), 3(2), and 4(4) so far. These would all be the same “missing” train set.

If no equipment is available (and if I’m right) I’d expect 3(7), 4(9), 3(12) and 4(14) to be cancelled as well.
I hope you're right, if you are my trip is good.
 

west point

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It would be good if the NTSB made a count of how many of these steep crossings there are along this route. Especially since it appears the track is elevated because the train route is crossing a flood plain??
 

zephyr17

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It would be good if the NTSB made a count of how many of these steep crossings there are along this route. Especially since it appears the track is elevated because the train route is crossing a flood plain??
Doubt they are going to inventory similar crossings, they focus on the facts of the current incident as the Chairperson made clear (as do other investigation reports). If they find that the crossing steepness was a contributing factor in the crash, they may issue recommendations that grade crossings exceeding x percent be reconfigured, closed, closed to trucks, etc. The FRA/NHTSA/state transportation departments could choose to make such an inventory based on the NTSB recommendations.
 

billosborn

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I agree with Brian_tampa. Until you have been in the shoes (or vehicle) at that crossing, you have no idea what the situation was. Place all the legal blame you want on the truck driver, just don't let BNSF off the hook by not having done what they should have done years ago. Right-of-Way does not mean deferred maintenance.
NTSB is on the ball. They are gong to literally be in the shoes at that crossing. They will re-enact the crossing with the same type of vehicle, hopefully with the same weight of rocks it was carrying. Hopefully they can re-enact it at the same time of day - (actually not the exact moment because the sun won't be in the same position now, but they can adjust to make sure that the sun is at the exact angle that it was at the time of the collision). That way they can examine sightlines to see what the driver did or did not see. I think we will know more after these kinds of tests.
 

billosborn

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That's not going to happen. Ever.
Unlike the NEC where grade crossings are infrequent and are found in urban or small towns, there are over 6000 grade crossings in the state of Missouri alone! Over 3000 of them are passive like this one, found mostly in farm areas. So removing the crossings is impractical. A possible solution would be to identify the 100 most dangerous and post flashing lights (I'm sure this one would be on that list). The cost would be in the millions of dollars, but within the practical budget resources of the federal government (for instance)
 
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