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Train 14 and Semi

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riderails

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
35
Train 14 (Coast Starlight) not able to move since striking a semi (we have been told) around 6:45 pm that was in its path at a crossing. Emergency stop was interesting to say the least. Replacement front engine needed, again so we have been told. Train was just beginning to depart from Salinas, CA stop.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
11
Sounds all too familiar. I was on the Starlight about 2 years ago and the train hit the back end of a truck trailer as the truck tried to make it across the tracks. Same area. Thank goodness we didn't hit the major part of the truck, but it still shattered the window in the train's engine sending glass into the eyes of the engineer. We were delayed a long time while replacement crew came and investigation took a long time. It sounds like truckers in that area are ignoring the risks and trying to beat the trains at intersections.
 

willem

Conductor
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,022
How did the service disruption affect Ambus 5014 (passengers from San Francisco traveling to points north), which had been scheduled to deliver passengers to the station at 2135? Did they sit at the Emeryville station for over 12 hours? Did the station remain open overnight?
 

Qapla

Conductor
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
1,175
Location
Gator Country Florida
Tuesday when we took a day-trip we rode Amtrak and SunRail. We got delayed because a car was struck by a different train causing all rail traffic to use a single rail north and south while they worked the wreck. The car was on the tracks at a crossing and was struck near the rear. They said it spun the vehicle around and knocked it out of the way. No one was seriously hurt and the delay only lasted about 45 minutes.

When will people learn that they can't win and stay off the tracks at crossings
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Messages
1
I can add a few more details and my experiences here:
The truck was a porta-potty service truck (not a semi, but that's a nit-pick) and the driver was killed. You can see some footage from the scene at this news report: https://www.kion546.com/news/one-dead-after-train-collides-with-truck-south-of-castroville/1141971303
The crossing was a dirt road into fields, with no lighted crossing signals, and just off an intersection with a paved road that runs parallel to the tracks. I haven't seen any further details, but it would seem almost certain that this was unfortunate driver error, which as is so often the case, led to his death.

I was not on the train at the time; I was waiting for that train at Sacramento, where I had arrived on the California Zephyr earlier that day.

The station staff at Sacramento did as best they could to inform us, but it took time for information to come in about the magnitude of the damage and ensuing delay, so for some time, the expected arrival time just kept moving in 30-minute increments. I'm told that after the on-site investigation and some new engine crew arrived, they backed the train into Salinas, set aside the damaged engine, then eventually proceeded to Oakland, where a second engine was attached.

During the delay, the Sacramento station staff were awesome in trying to host us overnight as best as they could. Sacramento has a pseudo-first class lounge, but it's really just a small corner divided off by high office-cubicle-type dividers, with some couches and chairs, though these at least had cushions unlike the wooden benches in the rest of the station. And had one forlorn outlet strip duct-taped to a table. They brought in pastries, fruits, etc in the wee hours of the morning, and then later fried chicken and potato salad for an early lunch. The staff were super friendly and accommodating, absolutely doing their best.

We got underway almost exactly 12 hours delayed. On the plus side, it was daylight while going through the very scenic regions south of Mt Shasta.

I was very disappointed at one conductor in the southern Oregon area who came through the lounge car and thought it appropriate to make several tasteless jokes at the dead man's expense. He seemed to think he was quite the comedian; I thought it totally unprofessional behavior to be sure. I wish I had got his name to report him. At the time, I was not brave enough to call him out - he struck me as the power-tripping type who would probably toss anyone who challenged him off the train just because he could.

To get the equipment back on schedule, they terminated and turned the train at Portland, where we arrived at about 3:50am. Again, the station staff there were excellent at getting everyone directed to the appropriate bus connections, at a time in the morning when there is not usually any activity there. Rather than doing 'local' service where the busses follow the route, stopping at each station stop, they did direct busses to Seattle, and another direct bus to Tacoma, with smaller busses going to other stops in between. I appreciated that, because it probably got me home maybe 45 minutes sooner, though still about 12 hours delayed.

Unfortunately, the Tacoma station staff was horrible when the bus dropped us off. We arrived before official opening time, and although a station agent was inside and working at the counter, she refused to open to the door, instead leaving several elderly folks to stand outside in the drizzle for 45 minutes until the station officially opened. They really could have / should have allowed the passengers from the bus to go inside to use the rest-room and sit without fully opening the station. But no, the agent just came to the inside of the door, pointed to the opening time, and then walked away. Terrible customer service there. Maybe she didn't know we were passengers arriving after a 12-hour delay and maybe deserving of some reception, but she should have. (I took a Lyft home, and offered to give rides to anyone who wanted a lift to a coffee shop or some other warm location.)

Summary: Unfortunate incident with one death. Some Amtrak employees shined, some were embarrassments.
 

riderails

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 20, 2017
Messages
35
As rickb notes, the fact that it was a (flatbed) p-p service vehicle is not very important. What is important is the entire content of rickb's report seems to be an accurate report of the episode. By this I am referring to how someone miles away in SAC apparently had access to considerably more information on the episode than many (perhaps most) who were at the actual scene. Many of us commented on how we we kept so uninformed on bare essentials. It was obvious that employees did not follow a set of even minimal guidelines for informing passengers of episodes such as the one in question. Need it be commented that the problem goes back to management? My observations over numerous trips is that staff communications over simple occurrences such as inter-station stops usually occur but not consistently. Whomever communicated with SAC could have informed those held captive (we had "no exits permitted" communicated -- reasonable) for a considerable period of time.
 

willem

Conductor
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,022
Thank you, rickb, for the detailed report.
 
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