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Amtak Continues to Burn


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#1 ICGsteve

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 11:11 AM

QUOTE
MICRO, N.C. -- An Amtrak train engine caught fire as it traveled through Johnston County Saturday.

NBC TV

JEEZ, is it too much to ask of Amtrak for them to keep their locomotives in a good enough state of repair that they don't keep burning-up while on the road??? Apparently it is.

Edited by ICGsteve, 26 August 2007 - 11:12 AM.


#2 KevinKorell

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 12:15 PM

Well I give credit to this reporter for stating that it was only a train engine that caught fire. However he negated that credit in the second paragraph:
QUOTE

No injures were reported. Train No. 123 was headed to Miami from New York.

Um, there is no Amtrak Train #123, but I bet I could tell you what the engine number was on the point of a certain Silver Service train, which was either #91 or #97.

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#3 ICGsteve

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 12:25 PM

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“This is my first time to get on the Amtrak, and this is what happens. I’m never getting on it again,” said passenger Nilda Santos
WRAL TV

Well YA, this experience would I think teach that Amtrak is not a reliable mode of transit. We don't expect our cars to catch fire, and most of us know that the only time they do outside of an accident is when they have not been properly maintained. Amtrak catching fire is proof that Amtrak does not keep their locomotive in a state of good repair, no amount of spin will alter that perception. The only question is who gets the blame, is it Amtrak or is it Congress or is the the PREZ or is it the American taxpayer.

#4 ICGsteve

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 12:31 PM

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Micro Assistant Fire Chief Johnny Dixon said a man whose home is beside Micro Fire Department saw the flames and immediately called authorities shortly after 4 p.m
smithfieldherald

The obvious question is what the hell is wrong at Amtrak Operations which makes it that they don't know that they have a fire and call the fire department before a good citizen along the ROW does? So let's review, an Amtrak Locomotive catches fire, neither Amtrak nor the RR calls the fire department, passengers don't get information on either what happened or how they will get to their destination......How many different ways can Amtrak screw things up?

Edited by ICGsteve, 26 August 2007 - 12:39 PM.


#5 AlanB

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE(ICGsteve @ Aug 26 2007, 01:31 PM) View Post

QUOTE
Micro Assistant Fire Chief Johnny Dixon said a man whose home is beside Micro Fire Department saw the flames and immediately called authorities shortly after 4 p.m
smithfieldherald

The obvious question is what the hell is wrong at Amtrak Operations which makes it that they don't know that they have a fire and call the fire department before a good citizen along the ROW does? So let's review, an Amtrak Locomotive catches fire, neither Amtrak nor the RR calls the fire department, passengers don't get information on either what happened or how they will get to their destination......How many different ways can Amtrak screw things up?


Steve,

We're not talking about the space shuttle here. Amtrak operations wouldn't have a clue that the locomotive was on fire as there is no monitoring equipment on the engine that transmits real time info to operations.

Depending on just how things went down, it is quite possible that someone standing alongside the tracks would indeed be the first to see a fire in the engine compartment. Even if the engineer noticed something in his guages or his mirrors, his first action would be to stop the train. His second action would be to radio the host RR and request that they dispatch police, fire, and rescue units to his location.

His third action might be to use his cell phone to call 911, assuming that he had a signal. Next assuming that he still had any motive power; he most likely would try to detach the engine from the rest of the train, so as to protect the passengers in the coaches and sleepers. Or depending on the size of the fire, he might try to put it out with the onboard fire extinguisher. Then if need be he would try to assist in evacuating the passengers, if that need was urgent.

Finally after all of the above, he might actually try to call operations to let them know about the problems, again assuming that he has a cell phone signal.

But the bottom line here is that operations would be, and should be, the last to know. The engineer and the host RR are the best people, short of a bystander, to call and coordinate local fire and rescue teams.

As for the passengers, despite the complaints of some, from what I read it seemed like most passengers knew what had happened, either from simply seeing the events or from the crew telling them. And according to the last article that you posted, Amtrak did indeed provide them with buses to their ultimate destinations.

I quote the fire chief:

QUOTE
The train was heading south, toward Selma, when the fire broke out, Dixon said.

Passengers were transported by charter buses to their destinations, he added.

Now we can debate about whether the fire was caused by poor maintenance, or lack of funds to fix things. But outside of that area, Amtrak IMHO would appear to have done what was needed and what is proper according to the RR operations book.



Now we can debate about whether poor maintenance lead to the fire, or lack of money to buy new parts. But beyond that area, it would appear IMHO that Amtrak did what it was supposed to do, reacted appropriately and according to RR operating rules regarding this event.
Alan,

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#6 ICGsteve

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:11 PM

We don't hear about fire truck chasing down the train, so I think we know that the train had come to a stop before the fire department was called. The unknown is how long before the call was made did the train crew know that they had a fire, and how long did the train sit before the call was made? I don't buy the argument that the engineer should not be able to stop the train and call the dispatcher at the same time. Cell phone to either Amtrak or 911 might be a problem, I agree.

#7 AlanB

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE(ICGsteve @ Aug 26 2007, 02:11 PM) View Post

We don't hear about fire truck chasing down the train, so I think we know that the train had come to a stop before the fire department was called. The unknown is how long before the call was made did the train crew know that they had a fire, and how long did the train sit before the call was made? I don't buy the argument that the engineer should not be able to stop the train and call the dispatcher at the same time. Cell phone to either Amtrak or 911 might be a problem, I agree.


First we getting everything through the media, which make any info subject to question. The fact that the media noted that someone living alongside the tracks called in the fire, doesn't mean that the engineer didn't call the dispatcher before that bystander did. The breakdown, if there was one, could well have been with the dispatcher trying to find the appropriate number to call and report the fire. And for all we know, maybe the fire department did indeed get a phone call from the dispatcher first. We don't know how accurate the reporter was in his/her investigation. All we know for sure is that someone living alongside the tracks called in a fire. But none of that has anything to do with Amtrak operations knowing that the train was on fire and placing a call to the local fire company.

Second, I wasn't suggesting that the engineer couldn't stop the train and call the dispatcher at the same time. I was simply saying that his first action would be to initiate stopping the train. I had the experience of once riding an Amtrak train into an emergency stop because the engineer thought that he had hit someone. The first thing he did was to hit the emergency stop button. However even as we were still coming to a stop he was on the radio screaming to anyone and everyone that train #449 was in emergency and that he believed that he had hit someone.
Alan,

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#8 ICGsteve

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 04:05 PM

Q: do AMtrak employees follow host railroad emergency procedures or is it Amtrak procedures that have been signed off on by the railroads?

#9 AlanB

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 07:23 PM

QUOTE(ICGsteve @ Aug 26 2007, 05:05 PM) View Post

Q: do AMtrak employees follow host railroad emergency procedures or is it Amtrak procedures that have been signed off on by the railroads?


Amtrak engineers and conductors must first follow host RR emergency procedures, and it's really more the procedures agreed upon by collective RR's. East of the Mississippi most RR's follow NORAC (Northest Operating Rules Advisory Committee) procedures, west of the Mississippi, it's called GCOR (General Code of Operating Rules). With the exception of small short line RR's that didn't join one of those two collectives, everyone follows those rules whether they are running on their own RR's tracks or running on a competitor's tracks through shared operations.

Once those are taken care of, then and only then can Amtrak require further procedures/steps that they must take.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#10 gaspeamtrak

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 09:25 AM

QUOTE(ICGsteve @ Aug 26 2007, 01:31 PM) View Post

QUOTE
Micro Assistant Fire Chief Johnny Dixon said a man whose home is beside Micro Fire Department saw the flames and immediately called authorities shortly after 4 p.m
smithfieldherald

The obvious question is what the hell is wrong at Amtrak Operations which makes it that they don't know that they have a fire and call the fire department before a good citizen along the ROW does? So let's review, an Amtrak Locomotive catches fire, neither Amtrak nor the RR calls the fire department, passengers don't get information on either what happened or how they will get to their destination......How many different ways can Amtrak screw things up?


Do you ever have anything good to say about AMTRAK??? mad.gif





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