Southwest Chief derailment

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Eric in East County

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Is there any way to find out the numbers (example AMTK 32029) of the locomotives, the coaches, the sleepers, the sightseer lounge car, the dining car, and the baggage car involved in this incident? Every time we take the SWC, we record the numbers of the cars in the consist. We’re curious to know if any of the cars that were derailed were once in the consists of trains we rode on in the past.
 
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I was surprised to see this Trains news wire report about the resumption of full service of the SWC:

“Shop forces assembled three coaches, a Sightseer Lounge, a dining car, two sleeping cars, a transition sleeper, and baggage car from available Superliner equipment in Chicago for the Thursday westbound train. That train departed Chicago on time, and the first eastbound train into the Windy City was running three hours late”

What caught my eye was the reference to the consist including two sleepers and the transition car. Thought it was down to one full sleeper?
 

SarahZ

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Just some math for anyone who wants to compare.

I could see roughly a mile (0.7) down the road earlier. It's a clear day, the sun wasn't in my eyes, and I was wearing my glasses. I also used a straight stretch of road with no obstructions. I noted where a car with its headlights on was and then noted my odometer when I passed that point. This stretch of road is extremely familiar to me, as I drive it to and from work every day, so I know where every single sign, mailbox, and house is.

Assuming the train has brighter lights, not to mention the horn, we'll use exactly one mile as a reference point.

If a train is traveling at 90 mph, it will take 40 seconds to go from the farthest visual point possible (for me) under perfect conditions to the crossing.

At 70 mph, it takes 51.4 seconds, a gain of 11 seconds. Count to 11 using the 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi method and see just how much longer 11 seconds is.

Now, a fully loaded dump truck takes approximately 35-40 seconds to speed up to 25 mph, and that's on a completely level grade. (Source: Good friend with a current CDL)

I'm not going to take it upon myself to decide if the dump truck driver was at fault or not. I wasn't there. I feel bad for everyone involved. I just wanted to toss out some math so we can stop assuming it's super easy for anyone to avoid this situation simply because we're used to fast and easy acceleration in our compact cars and sedans.
 

Cal

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Is there any way to find out the numbers (example AMTK 32029) of the locomotives, the coaches, the sleepers, the sightseer lounge car, the dining car, and the baggage car involved in this incident? Every time we take the SWC, we record the numbers of the cars in the consist. We’re curious to know if any of the cars that were derailed were once in the consists of trains we rode on in the past.
Here you go.
 
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It just occurred to me that there is this weird similarity between ambulance chasers and overzealous prosecutors:

The former try to sue as many people/entities under the sun as possible in order to get money from somewhere
The latter charges a defendant with as many things as possible so that at least something will stick.
 
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What caught my eye was the reference to the consist including two sleepers and the transition car. Thought it was down to one full sleeper?
I just rewound the Ft Madison VR cam and took a look at today's #3.
Power is 151 and 184; baggage; trans dorm; sleeper; diner; SSL and three coaches (not coach baggage).
BTW, A Boy Scout troop boarded the train at FMD.
 
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zephyr17

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I am not normally in favor of big time lawsuits, but t I hope the families of the deceased and injured sue both BNSF and MoDOT for megabucks.. just to at least get someone to admit fault and apologize... and get the crossing and others fixed. However, usually they will settle with the victims out of court with sums of money without any admission of guilt on the part of either BNSF or MoDoT.
BNSF isn't going to be paying out money to families. Part of the Amtrak contract is Amtrak and the host railroad hold each other harmless and indemnify each other for any damages arising out of any incident, regardless of fault. Amtrak holds BNSF harmless for any damage to Amtrak equipment or property and any damages owed to passengers. BNSF holds Amtrak harmless to any damage to BNSF facilities or equipment. Regardless of fault, regardless if either party committed a "tort."

Missouri DOT may well be on the hook. That trucking company almost certainly is and is likely toast, they will probably far exceed the caps on whatever liability insurance they carry, since Amtrak, the injured passengers, the families of the deceased and even BNSF will all come after them. But BNSF, all they'll be out is legal fees to show a court they're indemnifed by Amtrak and pointing the plaintiffs at Amtrak and getting a ruling to that effect.
 
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Jack Davis

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I would surmise that may be related to drainage. Also, an effort to maintain a level track (minimize any grades), like having a "fill" over low areas and "cuts" through higher areas.
Just a guess on my part.
As many others have also, I saw the video by the concerned 'local man' in the Mendon, MO area that showed the grade crossing (a gravel road) climbing up & over the tracks (because the rail line IS high up. I'm thinking why not then build a tunnel UNDER the tracks for the trucks and farm equipment to use eliminating the danger? News stations said signal equipment on the grade would cost around $400,000 (and then be maintained). What would a tunnel cost? Would the costs be divided between the rail line and the community?
 

zephyr17

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As many others have also, I saw the video by the concerned 'local man' in the Mendon, MO area that showed the grade crossing (a gravel road) climbing up & over the tracks (because the rail line IS high up. I'm thinking why not then build a tunnel UNDER the tracks for the trucks and farm equipment to use eliminating the danger? News stations said signal equipment on the grade would cost around $400,000 (and then be maintained). What would a tunnel cost? Would the costs be divided between the rail line and the community?
Generally, since the railroad was there first and the grade crossing is an easement on railroad right of way, any grade crossing structure/improvement is the responsiblity of whatever agency owns the road, in this case, the county. So a grade separation, be it an overhead or a tunnel, would be on the county's dime (although probably state and federal grants would be available for some of the expense).

I don't know about maintenance expenses for grade crossing signals. I think the railroad just takes care of routine maintenance as part of signal maintenance, but any capital expense, like replacing the signals, would be on the agency's dime. Not doing routine maintenance as part of a signal maintainer's duties doesn't make sense and would lead to massive tie ups since a non-functional grade crossing signal has to be flagged across, so it just makes sense to be able to dispatch a signal maintainer (which is what they do). Parsing out any grade crossing signal maintenance to the local agencies sounds like a nightmare, parsing any time and equipment to individual crossings, then billing it. Crossing 1 to Y City, Crossing 2 to X County, Crossing 3 to the state highway department, crossing 4 to Z city.
 

Willbridge

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Generally, since the railroad was there first and the grade crossing is an easement on railroad right of way, any grade crossing structure/improvement is the responsiblity of whatever agency owns the road, in this case, the county. So a grade separation, be it an overhead or a tunnel, would be on the county's dime (although probably state and federal grants would be available for some of the expense).

I don't know about maintenance expenses for grade crossing signals. I think the railroad just takes care of routine maintenance as part of signal maintenance, but any capital expense, like replacing the signals, would be on the agency's dime. Not doing routine maintenance as part of a signal maintainer's duties doesn't make sense and would lead to massive tie ups since a non-functional grade crossing signal has to be flagged across, so it just makes sense to be able to dispatch a signal maintainer (which is what they do). Parsing out any grade crossing signal maintenance to the local agencies sounds like a nightmare, parsing any time and equipment to individual crossings, then billing it. Crossing 1 to Y City, Crossing 2 to X County, Crossing 3 to the state highway department, crossing 4 to Z city.
Note: this might be one of the cases where the railway was built after the county roads had been established. The Santa Fe line between Kansas City and Chicago was opened on May 1, 1888. It was built to be the shortest and fastest route between the two rail hubs, running diagonally across the prairie grid survey.
 

joelkfla

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Generally, since the railroad was there first and the grade crossing is an easement on railroad right of way, any grade crossing structure/improvement is the responsiblity of whatever agency owns the road, in this case, the county. So a grade separation, be it an overhead or a tunnel, would be on the county's dime (although probably state and federal grants would be available for some of the expense).

I don't know about maintenance expenses for grade crossing signals. I think the railroad just takes care of routine maintenance as part of signal maintenance, but any capital expense, like replacing the signals, would be on the agency's dime. Not doing routine maintenance as part of a signal maintainer's duties doesn't make sense and would lead to massive tie ups since a non-functional grade crossing signal has to be flagged across, so it just makes sense to be able to dispatch a signal maintainer (which is what they do). Parsing out any grade crossing signal maintenance to the local agencies sounds like a nightmare, parsing any time and equipment to individual crossings, then billing it. Crossing 1 to Y City, Crossing 2 to X County, Crossing 3 to the state highway department, crossing 4 to Z city.
The NTSB chair said in one of the press conferences that the U.S, the state, and the county share expenses for the improvement, and the railroad is responsible for the cost of ongoing maintenance. Of course, I think the county would be responsible for maintaining the road approaches. If they remain dirt & gravel, their steepness would probably increase over time due to erosion and they would need to be rebuilt.
 

zephyr17

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If the NTSB's final report blasts MODOT and BNSF for dragging their heels on fixing the crossing, good luck finding a local jury that render a judgment against the dump truck company.
Defense costs alone will kill them.

And the passengers and families haven't been heard from yet, and most of them will file suit naming that trucking company, Amtrak, BNSF, the county, MODOT and who knows who else as defendants. Amtrak has a statutory liability limit on a per accident, not per person, basis. BNSF had ironclad indemnification from Amtrak for passenger injury, and that winds up in Amtrak's hard liability cap. Who doesn't have such protection? The trucking company that fouled the crossing. Hope they have a high liability insurance limit with excess/surplus reinsurance on top of that, because the sharks are already circling. If they aren't insured up to their eyeballs, they're as good as bankrupt. That's their only recourse if their insurers decide to write a check for their policy limits and walk away with no further duty to defend, aside from litigating against their insurers (more $$$$).

And it's all in Federal District Court, not the Chariton County Courthouse
 
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fredmcain

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This kinda supports my contention that the truck driver was at fault. Of course, nothing has been proven yet. It will take time to sort out all the details of what actually happened.

I think that the historical precedent of the law is that at an unguarded crossing on a lightly traveled dirt road, protected with only a set of crossbucks and stop signs, it is up to the motorist to make sure the way is clear before proceeding. I'm not sure that this truck driver did that but, like I say, we still don't know for sure what happened. But still, the whole thing kinda smacks of driver distraction or inattentiveness.
 

joelkfla

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"clearly visible approaching Amtrak train"? Not if the truck was approaching from the same side as the farmer's video! The view from the road was obstructed by brush, apparently on the RR ROW, until the train was about a block away.

In my unlegally-educated opinion the trucking company has good cause to delay the case until the NTSB releases at least it's preliminary report, if not the final one.
 

frequentflyer

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On trainorders they are stating they are moving Superliners via truck. I guess BNSF did want to clog this important rail highway with damaged Superliners being towed to a siding.
 

jis

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On trainorders they are stating they are moving Superliners via truck. I guess BNSF did want to clog this important rail highway with damaged Superliners being towed to a siding.
Now there is a video posted on TO showing one Superliner being transported on a flatbed truck. The Superliner is placed on the flatbed on its side.

One thing this time around is that they seem to be taking much greater care not to destroy the cars, unlike what they did with the EB cars. Maybe there was a bit of an exchange of thoughts on the matter between Amtrak and BNSF.
 
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