Strange Incident at Flagstaff 4(3)

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Rasputin

OBS Chief
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Jan 17, 2019
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Very unusual incident at Flagstaff this morning (April 4). No 4 (3) detrained a woman in a wheelchair from one of the coaches. The woman in her wheelchair, with her walker and other belongings was left on the platform unattended and the train departed. A few minutes later the woman can be heard on the webcam calling for help numerous times and at other times she appeared to be calling on a cell phone. Since it appeared that the woman could barely move in her wheelchair it is fortunate she didn't end up on the tracks. It appears that someone who was watching the webcam live called Flagstaff PD and they showed up to assist about 15 minutes after the train left. Hats off to Flagstaff PD!

Temperature was reported to be 29 degrees at the time.

This incident appears on the west webcam and should be watchable on rewind for a few hours.
 

anumberone

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Dang, that's a bit more than 6' separation. Must have been miscommunication somewhere along the line.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Well this would be business at usual at unstaffed stations, does Flagstaff usually provide redcap type assistance?

I’m guessing the station is closed because of the virus?

This is, in my opinion, a problem with people not knowing what to expect from Amtrak. For better or worse, all airports provide a certain level of assistance getting on and off planes and switching gates. This is not true with Amtrak. Some of the major stations do, but not all.

Obviously I feel sorry for the passenger and I’m glad someone came to assist.

Also- it could be the conductor or train attendant who called the police when they realized they were leaving a passenger on the platform... they can’t really delay a train for that can they? But they can call the police and ask them to check in?
 

Rasputin

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Flagstaff has an agent who sells tickets and handles baggage. I don't know if they were on duty this morning but they have continued to be on duty in recent days.

Someone on the chat connected to the webcam indicated that they called Flagstaff PD. I have no idea if the conductor did or didn't.
 

zephyr17

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Flagstaff station is currently unstaffed and closed on certain days due to the coronavirus.

April 4th is one of those closure days.

 

Bob Dylan

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Flagstaff station is currently unstaffed and closed on certain days due to the coronavirus.

April 4th is one of those closure days.

Yep, just talked with an AU Member who lives in Flagstaff, 2 of the 4 Amtrak Staff @ the Station are out Sick, and the Chiefs are running with a 4 Car Consist but still have 2 P-42s for Power.
 

Rasputin

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Actually it has been a five car consist. Sleeper, Dining Car, Sightseer Lounge Car and two coaches. Sometimes a baggage car on the rear. I haven't seen every consist on the webcam but I have yet to see only a four car consist.
 

saxman

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Wow, I was able to pull up the video. Thank goodness for technology.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Wow, I was able to pull up the video. Thank goodness for technology.
Thank goodness for the compassion and concern shown by strangers toward someone in need. Technology is a neutral actor that doesn't care if anyone is helped, harmed, or ignored in the process. It's just as happy to broadcast someone succumbing to the elements as being assisted and looked after.
 
Last edited:

anumberone

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Well this would be business at usual at unstaffed stations, does Flagstaff usually provide redcap type assistance?

I’m guessing the station is closed because of the virus?

This is, in my opinion, a problem with people not knowing what to expect from Amtrak. For better or worse, all airports provide a certain level of assistance getting on and off planes and switching gates. This is not true with Amtrak. Some of the major stations do, but not all.

Obviously I feel sorry for the passenger and I’m glad someone came to assist.

Also- it could be the conductor or train attendant who called the police when they realized they were leaving a passenger on the platform... they can’t really delay a train for that can they? But they can call the police and ask them to check in?
If Amtrak can wait for medical people to show up out in the middle of nowhere for a passenger with a problem they should be able to do better than what they did here.
 

crescent-zephyr

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If Amtrak can wait for medical people to show up out in the middle of nowhere for a passenger with a problem they should be able to do better than what they did here.
I agree but at the same time nobody did anything careless did they? Again... at an unstaffed station this is exactly how this would be handled.

I get it... I feel terrible for the poor lady just sitting there but it’s not Amtrak’s responsibility is it? They can’t just hold a train and wait for someone’s ride to get there can they?
 

anumberone

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I agree but at the same time nobody did anything careless did they? Again... at an unstaffed station this is exactly how this would be handled.

I get it... I feel terrible for the poor lady just sitting there but it’s not Amtrak’s responsibility is it? They can’t just hold a train and wait for someone’s ride to get there can they?
Yeah, she must have inferred she had some one coming. With trains running early, late, who knows.
 

MikefromCrete

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Was she the only person getting off the train? It seems strange no one else was around. Somebody must have been going to meet her and pick her up.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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If you get put off the train you normally get to meet the local police. Since there was no police when the train arrived. One things she was getting off at her stop.
 

Rasputin

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As indicated in the station advisory for Flagstaff, station personnel were on duty this morning so I guess this lady had not checked the Amtrak website to discover that the station would be closed yesterday. Did any Amtrak personnel at her boarding station inform her of this?

As I watched this on rewind yesterday, it struck me that it was taking an inordinate amount of time to detrain this lady at Flagstaff. The crew set up the ramp. A crew member went into the car, eventually followed by the conductor, while the attendant for that car seemed to nervously pace outside the car door. Eventually the lady's walker was brought out and some small pieces of luggage and set on the platform. One had to wonder what was going on inside. Was this lady in the restroom? Was she uncooperative with train personnel? Had she boarded without a ticket and was being ejected (If so, this raises the question in these days of light travel, how she was able to board without a ticket?)

Was she being removed this fashion because she was discovered to have the virus? In that case I would think that an ambulance should have been called in advance. I have been at the station in Flagstaff when the Fire Dept. ambulance crew was waiting for No. 3 arriving with a medical emergency. The fire dept. crew arrived at the station a good half hour before the train. From what I could see they are first rate professional organization. If notified in advance, they would have been these well in advance of the train's arrival.

This lady was wheeled off the train and left on the platform and from what I could see and hear, there was virtually no communication between the train crew and this lady. That must have taken place inside and the crew seemed to give the impression that they were glad to get rid of her.

I see in another discussion group someone speculated that the train crew "allowed" the woman to stay on the train as long as possible perhaps out of great kindness. I hardly think that was the case.

This lady was left in her wheelchair at the west end of the station, opposite from the better lighted east end where the closed waiting room is located. She started crying for help shortly after the train left which would seem to indicate that no arrangements had been made by anyone, including herself, to be picked up.

The woman was just barely able to move the wheelchair but did move it a few feet away from the tracks. If she had accidently rolled onto the tracks, the result could have been quite serious.

As someone has noted it was 16 minutes from the time the train left until the time the Flagstaff PD arrived to assist, evidently called by someone who was watching on the webcam.

It appears to me that there was something wrong with the way this was handled. Luke 10:29-37.
 

Qapla

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Since we have not heard all the details from someone who knows them - all we can do is speculate, second-guess and wonder

Until we know, I will not place the blame on Amtrak, the station, the lady in the chair or anyone who may have been coming to pick her up.

I will say, I have seen some people who will say they have someone coming - then call for help almost instantly when they cannot see anyone near them ... others will sit silently way too long. I do not know what the case was with this person ... so, I am not going to try and place blame on anyone.

I am glad someone watching the feed called for help and that she got the help she needed .... not my place to second-guess if there was any blame to place on anyone.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Was she the only person getting off the train? It seems strange no one else was around. Somebody must have been going to meet her and pick her up.
It could very well be that she’s made this trip before and the flagstaff agents helped her inside and even called a cab for her.

This is one of those strange situations where nobody is really to blame, and we just have to be glad things turned out ok.

You can’t blame her for expecting a staffed station to be staffed (although there is a warning about that on Amtrak’s website...).

You can’t blame the train crew, it’s not their job to do anything beyond assisting passengers on and off the train.

I’m not sure why anyone is suggesting the lady was forced off the train... it often takes time to assist passengers with disabilities on and off of transportation.
 

anumberone

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As indicated in the station advisory for Flagstaff, station personnel were on duty this morning so I guess this lady had not checked the Amtrak website to discover that the station would be closed yesterday. Did any Amtrak personnel at her boarding station inform her of this?

As I watched this on rewind yesterday, it struck me that it was taking an inordinate amount of time to detrain this lady at Flagstaff. The crew set up the ramp. A crew member went into the car, eventually followed by the conductor, while the attendant for that car seemed to nervously pace outside the car door. Eventually the lady's walker was brought out and some small pieces of luggage and set on the platform. One had to wonder what was going on inside. Was this lady in the restroom? Was she uncooperative with train personnel? Had she boarded without a ticket and was being ejected (If so, this raises the question in these days of light travel, how she was able to board without a ticket?)

Was she being removed this fashion because she was discovered to have the virus? In that case I would think that an ambulance should have been called in advance. I have been at the station in Flagstaff when the Fire Dept. ambulance crew was waiting for No. 3 arriving with a medical emergency. The fire dept. crew arrived at the station a good half hour before the train. From what I could see they are first rate professional organization. If notified in advance, they would have been these well in advance of the train's arrival.

This lady was wheeled off the train and left on the platform and from what I could see and hear, there was virtually no communication between the train crew and this lady. That must have taken place inside and the crew seemed to give the impression that they were glad to get rid of her.

I see in another discussion group someone speculated that the train crew "allowed" the woman to stay on the train as long as possible perhaps out of great kindness. I hardly think that was the case.

This lady was left in her wheelchair at the west end of the station, opposite from the better lighted east end where the closed waiting room is located. She started crying for help shortly after the train left which would seem to indicate that no arrangements had been made by anyone, including herself, to be picked up.

The woman was just barely able to move the wheelchair but did move it a few feet away from the tracks. If she had accidently rolled onto the tracks, the result could have been quite serious.

As someone has noted it was 16 minutes from the time the train left until the time the Flagstaff PD arrived to assist, evidently called by someone who was watching on the webcam.

It appears to me that there was something wrong with the way this was handled. Luke 10:29-37.
We have the storyline for a good TV Show here and you have added added important parts of the mystery.
 

Anderson

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I mean, also consider that we don't know when the Flagstaff station flipped to being unstaffed for the day. It could have been fine when she left home and OBS didn't let her know of the change in circumstances.

And it is entirely possible she was the only one getting off that day. Loads have been so low that the description in The City of New Orleans would seem crowded.
 

ET2020

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This story is intriguing. Has anyone gotten any more details?
 

MikefromCrete

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Only the Flagstaff Police Department probably knows what happened to the woman. Does anybody live in the Flagstaff area who could check with the police? Since we don't know the woman's name and the local media seems to have overlooked the story, the police would be the only source for more information.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I’m guessing they wheeled her to the street while she waited for her ride?

People seem to think the concept of someone waiting inside a train station for a ride or a taxi is new and strange?
 

ET2020

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I’m guessing they wheeled her to the street while she waited for her ride?

People seem to think the concept of someone waiting inside a train station for a ride or a taxi is new and strange?
NO - that alone wouldn't be strange - but it was this portion from a previous post that had me concerned:

This lady was left in her wheelchair at the west end of the station, opposite from the better lighted east end where the closed waiting room is located. She started crying for help shortly after the train left which would seem to indicate that no arrangements had been made by anyone, including herself, to be picked up.

The woman was just barely able to move the wheelchair but did move it a few feet away from the tracks. If she had accidently rolled onto the tracks, the result could have been quite serious.

As someone has noted it was 16 minutes from the time the train left until the time the Flagstaff PD arrived to assist, evidently called by someone who was watching on the webcam.
I don't think that is considered typical!
 
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