Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak conductors’

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.

Amtrak Conductor’s Condition Upgraded to Serious

May 24, 2017

The condition of the Amtrak conductor who was shot last week in Naperville, Illinois, has been upgraded from critical to serious.

Doctors said that Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, Illinois, remains in Edward Hospital in Naperville after being shot in the abdomen and suffering what they described as “very significant intestinal injuries.”

Case was shot with a single bullet from a .38-caliber revolver and faces a long recovery time. He was working on the eastbound Southwest Chief at the time.

The doctors said Case suffered injuries to his pancreas and a region of the intestines called the duodenum, but many of the major blood vessels in the area were not harmed, which should aid his recovery.

Edward Klein, 79, of West Allis, Wisconsin, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in connection with the shooting.

Klein will next appear in DuPage County court on June 12.

S.W. Chief Conductor Reported in Critical Condition, Charges Pending in Shooting

May 18, 2017

The Amtrak conductor wounded in a shooting in Naperville, Illinois, on Tuesday was still in critical condition authorities said Thursday afternoon.

The conductor of the Southwest Chief was identified as Michael Case, 45, of Homewood, Illinois. He was being treated at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

Authorities have taken a suspect into custody but have yet to identify him other than being a man in his 70s from Wisconsin.

Case underwent surgery on Wednesday morning to treat wounds that he suffered in his torso. The shooting occurred after he stepped down to the platform during a scheduled station stop for Amtrak train No. 4.

Police said that Case and a passenger had gotten into an argument before the shooting occurred.

Reports indicate that the suspect shot the conductor from aboard the train. Other passengers restrained the suspect until police arrived.

Naperville police Cmdr. Lou Cammiso said officers have interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage at the station. Charges are expected to be filed by the DuPage County prosecutor’s office.

“The suspect was on the train; the victim was off the train,” Cammiso said. “Not knowing the intention of the suspect, not knowing what further acts he was capable of, I think it was key that the other passengers did restrain him for police. I think that possibly could have saved lives.”

According to police, the suspect fired one shot during the incident.

A passenger, Mike Leming, of Lake Forest, California, was en route to Chicago where he planned to connect with an Amtrak train to Boston.

He said the argument that preceded the shooting had to do with luggage.

Amtrak officials said over the station’s public address system that police needed to interview passengers who possibly saw something before they could leave.

The announcement said the priority was to get buses for passengers seeking a connecting ride to Cleveland, then “sleepers,” and then everyone else. No. 4 was running two late at the time of the Naperville stop.

“With the assistance of the assistant conductor and several passengers, a suspect was taken into custody by the Naperville Police Department without further incident,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “This senseless and random act of violence is under investigation, and [Amtrak police are] working closely with local law enforcement personnel.”

The Southwest Chief had 239 passengers aboard when it arrived in Naperville and the train was delayed another three hours while police investigated the shooting.

Magliari said Amtrak held connecting passengers at Union Station until passengers from No. 4 could arrive.

He would not speculate about whether Amtrak will change its security procedures.

The passenger carrier prohibits firearms in carry-on baggage along with such other items as archery or martial-arts equipment, corrosive chemicals, hoverboards, flammable liquids or gases and sharp objects such as scissors, nail clippers, corkscrews and razors.

Amtrak Conductor Shot in Naperville

May 18, 2017

A conductor working Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was hospitalized on Tuesday with non-life threatening injuries after he was shot on the platform at Naperville, Illinois.

The incident occurred in late afternoon and police were still seeking a motive for the shooting.

News accounts indicated that a Wisconsin man in his 70s was taken into custody in connection with the incident after being tackled and held by passengers.

The man was aboard the train when the shooting occurred.

“The conductor had stepped off the train when the suspect reached through the window and shot him,” said Naperville Police Commander Lou Cammiso.

BNSF and Metra rail traffic was halted at the station while police investigated the crime and passengers aboard the train were put on buses.

 

Photographed From Both Directions

April 12, 2017

An Amtrak trainman is photographed while standing in the vestibule of his train on the last day of operation of the eastbound Hilltopper on Sept. 30, 1979.

The train proved to be quite popular on the day of its last run with crowds waiting to board at some stations.

For much of its history, the Hilltopper drew low numbers of passengers, making it an easy target for discontinuance during the massive route restructuring of 1979.

The train had a largely Norfolk & Western route that has not seen an Amtrak train since the demise of the Hilltopper.

Not Much Longer to Wait

February 13, 2017

north-coast-hiawatha-september-24-1979-06

It is a Monday night at Amtrak’s Midway Station in St. Paul, Minnesota. I waiting for the Chicago-bound North Star to arrive and in the meantime the Seattle-bound North Coast Hiawatha is in the station.

A conductor stands by a vestibule looking for boarding passengers. It is ritual that he won’t be performing much longer for this train. In less than two weeks, Nos. 17 and 18 are slated to be discontinued as part of a massive Amtrak route restructuring.

A court order will keep the North Coast Hiawatha running for a few more days, but it will eventually succumb and intercity rail passenger service on the former Northern Pacific route will end.

The Empire Builder will continue to operate between Chicago and Seattle, but the “North Coast Hi” will be history.

This image was scanned from a slide and made on Sept. 24, 1979.

Amtrak to Transfer Half of Denver Crew Base

January 21, 2017

In what is being framed as a cost-cutting move, Amtrak is moving 21 train operating positions from Denver to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Feb. 1.

amtrak-california-zephyrAmtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier expects to save almost $1 million annually by making the move although he declined to explain how that will be the case.

Magliari said all of the affected employees are conductors and engineers. If all of the workers agree to transfer, none of them will lose their jobs or their work seniority.

They are assigned to the Chicago-San Francisco Bay California Zephyr. Magliari said it will take 90 days for the train crew members being transferred to become fully qualified.

The move will bring to 44 the number of Amtrak employees in Nebraska, all of them based in Lincoln or Omaha.

Earlier, Amtrak had moved its crew base in Omaha to Lincoln, which Amtrak said was to cut costs and make for a more efficient operation.

Denver-based Amtrak employees who elect not to transfer to Lincoln will be given the opportunity to transfer elsewhere on the Amtrak system without losing their seniority.

If not enough Denver-based workers agree to move to Nebraska, Magliari said Amtrak will open those positions to others within the Amtrak work force.

The changes will cut the number of workers at the Denver crew base in half.

Amtrak will continue to base conductors and engineers in Denver to operate Nos. 5 and 6 between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.

Looking for Passengers in Tryone

October 15, 2016

amtrak-conductor-2

A train approaches a station and from somewhere back in the consist, a door opens. The face of an Amtrak conductor or trainman looks forward to check how many passengers are waiting on the platform.

Of course, with reserved trains, the crew already knows how many people are ticketed to board here.

Still a crew member watches and directs the engineer when “that’ll do when you get ’em stopped.”

I don’t know the name of the conductor of Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian, shown arriving at Tyrone, Pennsylvania, in December 2015.

After I posted this photograph on a railfan chat list I received an email from a friend of his asking for a copy of the photo to give to him, saying he would soon retire from Amtrak. I was happy to oblige.

The Atlantic Interviews an Amtrak Conductor About Life on the Railroad; Yes, He likes it

September 13, 2016

The Atlantic magazine has an interview posted on its website with Amtrak conductor David Pryor. The Chicago native talks about his 27 years with America’s passenger railroad at which he started working in his late 20s.

Amtrak 3Pryor began as a coach and sleeping car attendant, a position he assumed in January 1990. He worked routes radiating from Chicago to New Orleans, New York, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay region.

A year later he landed a position as a conductor. At one point, Pryor went into management, but missed being on the road and went back to being a conductor.

Aside from telling what it has been like to work for Amtrak, Pryor also told interviewer Bourree Lam why working on the train has taught him to be optimistic about America.

The interview, which is in a Q&A format story can be found at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/amtrak-conductor/499664/