Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak conductors’

Calif. Man Charged with Assaulting Amtrak Conductor

July 6, 2020

A California man was arrested late last week after allegedly assaulting a conductor on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The arrest occurred Thursday in La Plata, Missouri.

Sepanta Rad, 28, was charged with assault, assaulting a police officer and felony resisting arrest.

News reports indicate that Rad was asked to leave the train during the La Plata station stop but then tried to force his way back aboard.

The assault on the conductor reportedly occurred at that point. The suspect was also accused of throwing rocks at the train when a police officer arrived.

The officer was unable to subdue the suspect, who continued to throw rocks. He was finally apprehended after additional police officers arrived at the station.

Comparing Notes

June 1, 2020

An Amtrak conductor talks over business with the locomotive engineer who has just come on duty in Sacramento, California, on the eastbound California Zephyr.

I don’t know what they were discussing. It could be making sure they have the same set of train orders or that they are on the same page for how a certain operation will be handled.

No. 6 makes a long stop in Sacramento and boards a heavy load of passengers.

But soon it will be on its way toward one of the most scenic rides in America over Donner Pass on former Southern Pacific tracks through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Are We on Time?

February 16, 2020

An Amtrak conductor checks his watch to see how close to schedule Train No. 391 is as it pulls into the station at Kankakee, Illinois.

The southbound Saluki was on-time early in its journey to Carbondale.

The image was made on Aug. 5, 2012.

Amtrak Apologizes to NAACP Attorney Asked to Move

January 22, 2020

A high profile civil rights attorney received an apology from Amtrak after she was told by a conductor to move to another seat.

The incident involving Sherrilyn Ifill, of Baltimore, began as she was riding from Washington last Friday.

An assistant conductor told Ifill that she wanted to keep the seating area where Ifill was seated open for other passengers who would be boarding later.

In Tweeting about the incident, Ifill suggested that the incident was racially motivated and said the car in which she was sitting was sparsely filled.

“When I was laying her [assistant conductor] out to the [lead] conductor, at one point, I said, ‘I can sit where I want,’ and I thought, ‘This isn’t 1950,’ ” Ifill, who is African American, wrote on Twitter.

Ifill said she had approached the lead conductor to complain and he apologized but that the assistant conductor told her, “Follow me; I’ve found a seat for you.”

Amtrak spokesman John Abrams said in an email to the Baltimore Sun that Amtrak sought to contact Ifill numerous times on Friday to apologize for the incident, but did not make contact with her until Saturday morning.

“We should have responded publicly sooner, and we apologized for the incident and our slow response,” Abrams told the Sun. “Amtrak is looking into the matter more closely so that we can prevent situations like this going forward.”

Ifill is the president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and cousin of the late PBS political analyst Gwen Ifill.

“I am colossally disappointed in @Amtrak for both this incident & the way it was handled,’” Ifill tweeted on Saturday.

“What really disturbs me is how someone with this authority can just entirely make up something so ridiculous and approach a customer in this way,” Ifill tweeted. “I did wonder when she was carrying on — how far will I take this? And the immediate answer in my mind was ‘all the way.’ ”

Assault on Amtrak Conductor Results in Arrest

April 25, 2019

A man on parole was arrested after allegedly assaulting a conductor on Tuesday aboard a an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train.

Police said the man had boarded Train 565 and allegedly grabbed the conductor pushed him against a wall after the conductor asked to see the man’s ticket.

Authorities said the incident happened as the train was nearing Oceanside, California.

As Oceanside police sought to take the man into custody, he began struggling with an officer and sought to escape on foot. The man reportedly did not have a ticket to ride the train.

The suspect’s name has not been released, but authorities said he lives in Los Angeles and was arrested on suspicion of assault and violating his parole.

The Amtrak conductor was reported to have a sore shoulder but did not need medical care.

The incident delayed Train 565 for about a half-hour.

Anyone Want to Board Here?

June 8, 2018

An Amtrak conductor stands by an open vestibule of the westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, but all of the passengers are lined up at another vestibule father down.

That’s because the far vestibule aligned with the gate allowing passengers through a fence that separates the tracks of Canadian National (former Grand Trunk Western) and Durand Union Station.

Eventually, a few passengers were directed to board farther down the platform, perhaps because they were holding business class tickets. The cafe car on Train No. 365 was located toward the rear.

The Blue Water departed Durand on time en route to Chicago.

Looking For a Future

May 14, 2018

I’m aboard the penultimate run of Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian from Chicago to Philadelphia. The date is Feb. 8, 2003.

I’m holding a ticket to travel from Cleveland to Pittsburgh where I’ll lay over for a few hours and catch the last Pennsylvanian to Chicago out of Pittsburgh.

Tomorrow, the Pennsylvanian will begin to revert back to a New York-Pittsburgh train with funding from the State of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvanian was extended to Chicago during the era when Amtrak thought it could, to borrow the words of then-President George Warrington, ascend a glide path to profitability.

Then David Gunn became president of Amtrak and decided that wasn’t going to work and he took the passenger carrier out of the business of carrying mail and express.

One of the first casualties of that policy change was the Pennsylvanian. It had been extended to Chicago west of Pittsburgh to carry head-end business.

But with that now being taken away and the Pennsylvanian having mediocre ridership on the Pittsburgh-Chicago segment it became expendable.

On this day No. 42 arrived in Alliance, Ohio, well ahead of its scheduled arrival time. I had time to get off the train and walk around to make photographs.

My favorite was this one, made from the vestibule showing the conductor looking back on the platform for boarding passengers.

I can imagine he might also be searching for his future with Amtrak.

The Conference is Over

January 24, 2018

Having conferred with the engineer of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder during a station stop in Milwaukee, the conductor is walking back to his post. No. 7 was running behind schedule due to having to wait in Chicago for connecting passengers from a late Lake Shore Limited. The Milwaukee Amtrak station was built by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.

Amtrak Conductor Continues Recovery

June 21, 2017

The Amtrak conductor shot in Naperville, Illinois, last month continues to make steady progress and doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery.

Michael Case, 45, remains hospitalized, but has made enough progress that he might not need another surgery that doctors expected to have to perform.

“The bottom line, he should be able to eat, he should be able to function, he should be able to work; we’re a long ways away from that, and his condition although fairly stable, could take a turn,” said Dr. David Piazza, the Medical Director of Trauma Surgery at Edward Hospital.

However, Piazza cautioned that a devastating infection or blood clots, or pneumonia could still hamper Case’s recovery and even take his life.

Piazza said Case faces six to eight weeks of rehab and will eventually have a final surgery in about six to nine months.

Case, a conductor on the inbound Southwest Chief, was shot on May 16 while standing on the platform of the Naperville Metra Station.

Edward Klein, 79, of Wisconsin has been charged in connection with the shooting. Klein is being held on a $1.5 million bond and will appear in court on June 28.

He has been changed with attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Illinois Judge Orders Mental Health Evaluation of Suspect Charged in Shooting of Amtrak Conductor in Naperville

May 26, 2017

An Illinois judge on Thursday ordered a suspect in the shooting of an Amtrak conductor to receive a mental health evaluation.

DuPage County judge Daniel Guerin made the ruling in granting a motion from a defense attorney representing Edward Klein, who is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, is charged in connection with the shooting of Michael Case of Homewood, Illinois, as he worked on the platform at Naperville, Illinois, after the eastbound Southwest Chief came to a halt there.

Case, who remains hospitalized, was shot once in the abdomen during the May 16 shooting.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that Klein became angry when he was denied permission to disembark from the train in Naperville rather than continue to Chicago Union Station as he was ticketed.

Amtrak personnel kept the door of the car in which Klein was riding closed to prevent him from disembarking because they were concerned about his welfare.

Some passengers have told reporters that Klein was exhibiting disturbing behavior before the train reached Naperville and that he had caused a disturbance in Kansas City, when Train No. 4 was late in arriving at the station there.

A news report indicated that during a May 19 court hearing, Klein seemed unable to grasp the severity of the situation.

He said several times that he was leaving the next day and said he would not need the public defender to represent him because he would soon be leaving.

During the Thursday hearing, Klein spoke several times, telling the judge at one point that he had an appointment.

Judge Guerin, though, ordered the public defender’s office to represent Klein, who is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

“After meeting with our client, we had immediate concerns about his fitness to stand trial,” said Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Maples.

Klein could be sent to a security facility if he is found mentally unfit. He might be sent to Elgin Mental Health Center, to receive treatment.

If doctors later determine that he is mentally fit, the criminal court proceedings against Klein would continue.

Klein is a former officer with the Federal Protective Service, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His next court date has been set for late June.