Southwest Chief derailment

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,660
CBS2 in Chicago just said it was 2 people in the dump truck and only 1 on the train that were killed. Not 1 in the truck and 2 on the train. I wonder which is correct.

NBC Nightly News reported a few minutes ago that two killed were passengers on the train. The truck driver died. According to the news report, the driver ended up in a ditch nearby the accident. A Boy Scout was nearby (for some reason) and tried to provide some comfort to the person before he passed.

How about drivers just have some common sense?

Common sense is in very short supply these days. Has the good Lord had supply chain issues in installing this in recent generations?
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,288
Location
Washington State
If they werent like that could only one or two cars have toppled instead? Or does having more go down limit the number of potential rolls?
Tight lock couplers prevented the couplers from climbing over each other and causing more damage. They prevent severe vertical displacement between the couplers as well as reducing the possibility of jackknifing

They reduced damage, not increased it.
 

StanJazz

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
220
Location
CHI
Just now CBS2 Chicago said it was 2 on the train and 1 in the truck killed, just like what others were saying.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,288
Location
Washington State
Maybe a bit insensitive at the moment? But the cars that toppled, will they just get a crane and put them back on the tracks to see if they still roll?
In even a minor low speed derailment where the cars remain upright and apparently undamaged, like the derailment backing up over sand awhile ago at Palm Springs, the cars must have all running gear and brake rigging minutely inspected before they can be moved at more than minimum speed or carry passengers.

In this case, the cars scoured the gravel on their sides decelerating from 90 mph. I think the damage might be considerably more extensive than their ability to "roll". At least some are likely to be classified as "wrecked-not repairable".
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,068
Location
Delaware
NBC Nightly News reported a few minutes ago that two killed were passengers on the train. The truck driver died. According to the news report, the driver ended up in a ditch nearby the accident. A Boy Scout was nearby (for some reason) and tried to provide some comfort to the person before he passed.



Common sense is in very short supply these days. Has the good Lord had supply chain issues in installing this in recent generations?
There were 2 Boy Scout troops on the SWC. Coming home from camp.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,587
Location
SW ATL airport
Thoughts.
1. The angle of the road is very acute. If the truck was going north and the train NE the driver would need to really turn his head to see back down the track.
2. The AT&SF tracks are going NE for a long distance. North = S roads are going to all going to have looking for trains going a relative same diretion.
3. The grid system of roads in this area have both n- S % E_W raoads not crossing the tracks at a 90 egree angle.
4.. Kansas might need to place some kind of passive reflector to protect these crossings. Metal mirrors maybe but vandiaism a problem. Maybe the vertical type mountd on crossbuck poles that Ohio is using? That should be immediately. An emergency grant from FRA could be forth coming.
5. Tight lock couplers really seem to have done their job. Freight cars often accordian. Accordian passengers would be flung side to side causing many more fatilities.
6. The 2 dead if they were passengers or onboard crew were probably walking in an aisle and might have flown 40 or more feet forward to hit the bulkhead. I always walk hand by hand on seats.
If I ever hear the emergency brakes air exhaust I would take both hands hold on and yell " every body hold on, hold on, hold on. " Was on the Eagle once when another passenger did just that. I will follow that example. What happened was our train entered a siding too fast that the seach light signal was not propertly visible for the diversion. We did not derail and no one in our car was hurt.
 

uncleboots

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Messages
40
Latest update from here in St. Louis. 3 people have died, they are reporting the train hit a dump truck. My biggest concern with the Marceline Sub was there were several crossing with no arm guards and crossings with only stop signs. For future travelers on this train it has rerouted through Quincy Illinois and St Louis in the past.
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,525
Location
Chicago
There has to be at some point in this country a reckoning of the monetary value of a single life. As described in previous posts, the intersection of tracks and many roads in this area are not at right angles. The BNSF must know this. I wonder how many similar accidents have occurred in this area.

The design of these crossings and lack of extra means to view trains from hard to view angles are the ingredients of a lawsuit imho.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
4,886
Location
Baltimore. MD
It's been a bad day for public transportation in the last two days. The Amtrak issue on the West Coast, the SWC's derailment, and the Norwegian Sun's striking a growler trying to visit the Hubbard Glacier.
It hasn't been such a hot day for people traveling in private cars, either.


(I would expect this is typical of what happens on the road every day. Also, one of the entries pulled up on the search was a report of the car hitting the Amtrak train in California.)
 

joelkfla

Engineer
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,203
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
There has to be at some point in this country a reckoning of the monetary value of a single life. As described in previous posts, the intersection of tracks and many roads in this area are not at right angles. The BNSF must know this. I wonder how many similar accidents have occurred in this area.

The design of these crossings and lack of extra means to view trains from hard to view angles are the ingredients of a lawsuit imho.
I believe the state or local jurisdiction bears the responsibility to pay for upgrades to existing crossings, not the railroad.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
Messages
182
There were 2 Boy Scout troops on the SWC. Coming home from camp.
Per CNN, the 2 troops were from Appleton, Wisconsin with 8 adult leaders. They were on their way back home for the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. None of them were hurt (thank goodness) and they assisted other passengers who needed help. National headquarters is trying to arrange transportation to get them home as soon as possible.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,898
Location
Denver
And what would be wrong with that? In my opinion, running 90 mph passenger trains on tracks that cross unprotected grade crossings is crazy. The world you seek has long ago passed.

The decision to not install any protective devices is strictly a monetary decision. Railroads have proven recently with PSR that the only god that they worship is wall street. Edit: And I know BNSF is the only class 1 not to go the PSR route, but still they worship the investor. Not the safety of their employees or passengers on their tracks.
While I was working for Oregon DOT, a Southern Pacific freight hit a school bus at 20 mph on the secondary West Side line. The school bus driver had stopped, then pulled in front of the train. As a result, outraged public demanded and got crossing gates on the access to a mobile home park. The state and railroad money came by deleting a crossing project with a more likely chance of an accident.

In this case, a 79 mph speed limit -- it appears -- would have made little difference. And the public share of crossing improvements might have been better used at a higher traffic volume location.

Added note: I see that this crossing was on the list for improvements. Some states have engineering units that work on crossing improvements and federal funds may be available. Oregon was doing this in the 70's, some other states had other priorities through the years.
 
Last edited:
Top