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Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 3:39 am
by ArchGuy1
On Saturday, an Amtrak train derailed in Montana, leading to the death of three people and several more being injured. Eight cars on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle derailed and the train was being pulled by two locomotives. The train was traveling at 75 to 78 mph in a 79 mph speed limit zone. Will be interesting to see what comes from this investigation.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.co ... index.html

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:37 pm
by frmrCapCadet
The rails had been inspected only two days before. It was in a pretty remote area, and a lot of volunteers assisted with the response. Rail blogs are pretty silent on speculation of causes. There are, every year, a number of derailments that seemingly happen because they happen. Besides rail failure there is equipment failure, or switching failure. As often is the case extracting the wounded can be very difficult. Train cars are huge, windows are almost unbreakable. Extension ladders, heavy equipment are often needed.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 3:51 am
by mke717spotter
How do so many people get killed in an accident like this? It is simply blunt force trauma from being throw around? Or were they ejected from the train car? A couple years ago one of my friends rode the Empire Builder and I remember he mentioned that for a stretch out west the tracks appeared to be in rough shape because of how rough the ride was.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:07 am
by Aaron747
mke717spotter wrote:
It is simply blunt force trauma from being throw around? Or were they ejected from the train car?


Both can happen - depends on the derailment sequence. Easy to imagine how.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 6:07 am
by c933103
Signalling seems to be what set the US from rest of the world apart in term of rail safety, and cause the high rail accident rate despite the low ridership. But of course there can still be other reasons.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 5:58 pm
by PHLspecial
frmrCapCadet wrote:
The rails had been inspected only two days before. It was in a pretty remote area, and a lot of volunteers assisted with the response. Rail blogs are pretty silent on speculation of causes. There are, every year, a number of derailments that seemingly happen because they happen. Besides rail failure there is equipment failure, or switching failure. As often is the case extracting the wounded can be very difficult. Train cars are huge, windows are almost unbreakable. Extension ladders, heavy equipment are often needed.

I don't think Amtrak owns this section of rails? It's likely a private freight rail operator. It's hard to determine a cause without more info. I doubt it was due to speeding with the AP reporting on that. Thanks to cost cutting of PSR, derailments is going to be to increase.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 6:24 pm
by frmrCapCadet
Amtrak definitely does not own this section. It is BNSF. I am not reading anywhere that PSR is resulting in any more derailments.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 5:11 pm
by N757ST
I think it’s likely the train picked the switch.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 7:32 pm
by frmrCapCadet
https://www.washingtonpost.com/transpor ... ties-rare/

It references the Seattle Portland train wreck where an engineer was going 80 mph into a 30 mph curve - and practically totally exonerates the engineer. The curve is widely known, it occurs about 12 minutes after leaving Tacoma. A ten year old would have done better.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 7:51 pm
by johns624
frmrCapCadet wrote:

It references the Seattle Portland train wreck where an engineer was going 80 mph into a 30 mph curve - and practically totally exonerates the engineer. The curve is widely known, it occurs about 12 minutes after leaving Tacoma. A ten year old would have done better.
It was known to engineers who were regulars on that run. I don't believe the engineer that day was familiar with the line.

Re: Amtrak Train Derailment in Montana

Posted: Sat Oct 02, 2021 9:58 pm
by frmrCapCadet
There were no regulars on that portion of the line. The disaster occurred on the first run ever. And yes, the engineer had been over this section in training at least once. The most obvious item is that 30 mile curve. He did not see the slow signs, he did not remember there was a 30 mile curve to slow down for just a few minutes after leaving Tacoma. This had often been discussed on rail blogs before that first run. I am surprised that he was not charged with some degree of negligent homicide.