Strange Incident at Flagstaff 4(3)

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
NO - that alone wouldn't be strange - but it was this portion from a previous post that had me concerned:



I don't think that is considered typical!
Actually, yes it is.

- it’s typical for train crew to only assist passengers on and off the train at the location of the passengers car on the platform. That’s all the train crew does.

- it’s typical for passengers to wait before or after a train in the station. I’ve waited hours in train stations waiting for a ride, or I’ve been dropped off hours before my train for various reasons.

What is not typical, is that a normally staffed and open station is completely closed. Yes there was a warning on Amtrak.com, yes the station staff is sick, but that is the only thing making this scenario not typical.

Edit to add - I’m not trying to be argumentative, nor do I not feel sorry for the passenger. She was probably very scared. I imagine her plan was to call her ride when she arrived at the station.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
657
I believe that under the laws of most states if this woman was a paying passenger she would have been considered an invitee and Amtrak would have owed her a duty of reasonable care, both on its trains and on its station grounds.

On the other hand, if she had been traveling without paying the fare, she would have been considered as a trespasser and Amtrak would not have had a duty of reasonable care to her, except to not intentionally harm her.

Of course, someone knowledgeable with Arizona law could correct me if I am incorrect.

In this case we have a disabled woman, barely able to move herself in her wheelchair, dropped off at a normally staffed station at 4:25 a.m. in 29 degree weather but on this day, the station is unstaffed. I don't know what the interactions were between this woman and the train crew but from my observations of this on the webcam, it looked like this could have been handled better.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
I believe that under the laws of most states if this woman was a paying passenger she would have been considered an invitee and Amtrak would have owed her a duty of reasonable care, both on its trains and on its station grounds.
What’s the law for unstaffed stations?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
My guess is that it would be a duty of reasonable care not to discharge a person into an unsafe situation.
There are unstaffed stations across the country though. I’m wondering if I’m following what your point is? I probably haven’t had enough coffee today so I might not be understanding you.
 

ET2020

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
119
Actually, yes it is.

- it’s typical for train crew to only assist passengers on and off the train at the location of the passengers car on the platform. That’s all the train crew does.

- it’s typical for passengers to wait before or after a train in the station. I’ve waited hours in train stations waiting for a ride, or I’ve been dropped off hours before my train for various reasons.

What is not typical, is that a normally staffed and open station is completely closed. Yes there was a warning on Amtrak.com, yes the station staff is sick, but that is the only thing making this scenario not typical.

Edit to add - I’m not trying to be argumentative, nor do I not feel sorry for the passenger. She was probably very scared. I imagine her plan was to call her ride when she arrived at the station.
Did you purposely drop this piece from the quote, when responding??:
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 "crying for help" part is what I find atypical. Do you usually cry for help, after disembarking your train?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
Did you purposely drop this piece from the quote, when responding??:
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 "crying for help" part is what I find atypical. Do you usually cry for help, after disembarking your train?
Of course not. I was saying the train crews procedure and the ladies initial plan (assuming waiting at the station for a ride) were both typical.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
OK -Cool
& thanks for the reply:)
Yeah that’s why I added the edit.. I feel sorry for the passenger but I’m guessing she was expecting to have assistance to the station. That expectation is normal at a staffed station.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
I wasn't there and I don't know this woman ... and I have not seen the video - can't make a call on what I "think" may have happened.

I will offer this. When my Mom was confined to a wheelchair - she would have readily accepted the help of the train crew for getting off the train. She would have assured them that someone was picking her up. As soon as the train pulled away she would have been crying for help if she did not immediately see someone there to pick her up - in fact, if I had been walking up behind her and she was facing the other way - she would have cried out that she was all alone and needed help.

At the same time, all concerned may have thought the station was open since it usually is.

Who knows, she may have been put off the train - but that seems the least likely since the police were not already there.

Could this situation have been handled better - Sure! ALL concerned could have done more ... the train crew, whoever was supposed to pick her up and even the lady herself.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
657
I am sorry that some were not able to see this incident on the Flagstaff webcam. I have watched the webcam from time to time over the years and I have seen a number of passengers in wheelchairs detrained and entrained at Flagstaff. I have also personally seen it done at other stations such as Lamy. The ramp is removed from the train, unfolded and put in place. Then the person is wheeled on or off as the case may be. It is done quickly and efficiently.

However, as I have tried to describe in my earlier posts for the benefit of those who did not watch it on the webcam this incident did not seem normal. And if anyone who watched this on the webcam believes that my description is not correct, they are free to post their own observation of it.

As far as the suggestion that the train crew may not have realized that the station was closed and that no agent was on duty on April 4th, that is clearly not correct. The stop at Flagstaff is never a momentary stop. The agent comes out with a four wheeled vehicle to pick up baggage and to pick up bags of trash which are discharged from the dining car and sometimes from the cafe car. This did not happen on the 4th and there was not trash dropped off at Flagstaff because the crew was well aware that the station was closed and there was no agent.

I will be interested to see if there is any mention of this in Thirdrail's police scanner report.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
Ok? I mean maybe the train crew told her the station is closed and they were leaving her on the platform and she had to decide what to do? Maybe that’s why it took longer. Maybe she was asking them “are you really going to leave me here?” And they said “yup highball”

There’s a 100 different scenarios.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
657
Ok? I mean maybe the train crew told her the station is closed and they were leaving her on the platform and she had to decide what to do? Maybe that’s why it took longer. Maybe she was asking them “are you really going to leave me here?” And they said “yup highball”

There’s a 100 different scenarios.
Could you clarify if you actually saw this incident on the webcam or are you speaking generally? Thanks.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
850
I cannot access the page @Thirdrail7 posted as it doesn't allow ad blockers ...

I have watched the webcam from time to time ... However, as I have tried to describe in my earlier posts for the benefit of those who did not watch it on the webcam this incident did not seem normal ... anyone who watched ... (is) free to post their own observation of it.
if you actually saw this incident on the webcam
Do you have a link to the webcam video with this incident?
 

Duane Witte

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
17
Nothing new has been posted on the page thirdrail linked to since 3/26/20. As far as I know a video of the incident in question has not been released. You can only go back 12 hours on YouTube live cameras.

For what it's worth I watched it on rewind that day and the Amtrak personnel seemed to be acting courteously. The woman looked to me like she was moving around and was able to dig around in one of her bags after the train left. Conversation couldn't be heard between them while the train was in the station and you only heard her crying for help after it left. IMHO she was probably expecting there to be someone at the station to assist her.
The only people that know what actually happened are the three people involved and I doubt we'll hear their story
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
657
For what it's worth I watched it on rewind that day and the Amtrak personnel seemed to be acting courteously. The woman looked to me like she was moving around and was able to dig around in one of her bags after the train left. Conversation couldn't be heard between them while the train was in the station and you only heard her crying for help after it left. IMHO she was probably expecting there to be someone at the station to assist her.
The only people that know what actually happened are the three people involved and I doubt we'll hear their story
I am glad that you got to see this. It is too bad that a video of this is no longer available so that others can view it.

I have a different opinion, however, and I thought the incident was rather shocking and could have been handled much better.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,372
IMHO she was probably expecting there to be someone at the station to assist her.
Exactly. If she had called the station and asked before the notice was posted they would have said “yes you’ll get off the train and we will assist you inside”
 

keelhauled

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
857
I believe that under the laws of most states if this woman was a paying passenger she would have been considered an invitee and Amtrak would have owed her a duty of reasonable care, both on its trains and on its station grounds.
The Flagstaff station is not Amtrak property; it's owned by the city. Depending on the language of whatever lease arrangement is in place, it's possible that Amtrak's responsibilities ended as soon as the woman left the train.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,301
The Flagstaff station is not Amtrak property; it's owned by the city. Depending on the language of whatever lease arrangement is in place, it's possible that Amtrak's responsibilities ended as soon as the woman left the train.
Legal responsibilities, maybe. What about moral?
 

MikefromCrete

Conductor
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
2,612
There doesn't seem to be any reports on the Flagscanner web site about the incident, so it must have been resolved quickly without any problems. There does seem to be a lot of action in Flagstaff, a lot of fights in progress.
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,279
A friend of mine who lives in Lompoc Ca, has told me in the past he has given people a ride into town when they apparently got off the starlight without knowing the platform was in the boondocks. I guess if you get off there, all you can do is wave goodbye to the departing train.
 
Last edited:
Top