Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak derailments’

No Injuries in LSL Chicago Derailment

March 29, 2017

No injuries were reported when the inbound Lake Shore Limited derailed at slow speed just outside of Chicago Union Station on Monday.

No. 49/449 was arriving at the station at 11:50 a.m. when three cars on the 11-car train left the rails.

Passengers in the three cars were helped into the cars that remained on the tracks.

The cause of the derailment is still being investigated, but the mishap occurred as the train was moving through a switch.

There were 197 passengers and nine crew members aboard. Damage to the passenger cars was minimal.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said there were no delays to Amtrak or Metra trains. However, a couple of Amtrak trains were held in the station to allow extra time for connecting passengers to transfer their luggage.


Texas Eagle Suffers Minor Derailment in Arkansas

May 10, 2016

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle suffered a minor derailment in Southern Arkansas on Tuesday when the wheels of a sleeper came off the track.

Amtrak Texas EagleAmtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the accident occurred about 12:30 p.m. in Hot Spring County just east of Malvern.

There were no injuries. The train was carrying 81 passengers and a crew of nine.

Magliari said the accident occurred where two sets of Union Pacific tracks converge. The train was bound for San Antonio.

Kansas Investigation Report Singles Out Truck as Likely Cause of SW Chief Derailment

May 10, 2016

A Kansas newspaper recently reported that a truck driver failed to set the emergency brakes on a vehicle that then rolled downhill and knocked BNSF tracks out of alignment, which triggered the March 14 derailment of the Chicago-bound Southwest Chief.

The Wichita Eagle obtained the investigation records through a freedom of information request.

Amtrak Southwest Chief 2A Kansas State Highway Patrol investigator, Herb Bradley, found that a worker from Cimarron Crossing Feeders drove the truck to a feed mill and parked it on a downhill slope.

“I feel that the driver either failed to set the parking brake or did not completely apply the parking brake of the Kenworth (truck) before exiting the vehicle,” Bradley wrote.

The driver also left the truck’s transmission in neutral and it began rolling when he got out.

The truck broke through a fence, traveled across a pasture, through a second fence, down a ditch on U.S. 50, across the highway, and through another ditch before finally hitting the railroad tracks, displacing ties and rails in the process.

Bradley detailed his inspections of the truck in a written report that concluded that the truck’s brakes worked properly.

He observed the truck for four hours while parked on a downhill slope with the brakes activated and concluded that the truck did not roll downhill because of failed brakes.

In an inspection, Bradley did not find any mechanical problems that could have compromised the truck before, during or even after the accident.

The derailment of the Southwest Chief occurred several hours after the truck struck the track.

Twenty-eight of the 144 aboard were hurt and six of the train’s 10 cars derailed.

Tire marks at the scene of the derailment matched a 2004 Kenworth truck owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders that was used to haul cattle feed. Investigators found cattle feed strewn along the tracks.

The derailment caused more than $1.4 million in damage.

Maynard Burl, feedlot manager for Cimarron Crossing Feeders, wrote in a voluntary witness statement that the driver of the truck said the parking brakes didn’t work.

In his statement, Burl said he got into the truck the day the truck rolled downhill and tested the parking brake twice to show the driver that they worked each time.

Amtrak, BNSF Sue Kansas Feed Company in Connection with March 14 S.W. Chief Derailment

April 11, 2016

Amtrak and BNSF are suing a Kansas company in connection with a March 14 derailment of the eastbound Southwest Chief.

The laws suit names Cimarron Crossing Feeders and claims that the company engaged in “gross negligence.”

The suit alleges that company employees left a truck “unattended, out of gear and without any brakes applied” when it was loading grain March 13 into March 14.

The truck later rolled downhill, crossed U.S. Highway 50 and struck the side of the railroad BNSF tracks, coming to rest on the tracks, the newspaper reported.

Cimarron was then said to have called for a tow to remove the truck, but did not call BNSF or Amtrak to warn about the damaged track.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation has found that the tracks near the derailment site were a foot or more out of alignment.
Amtrak train No. 4 derailed shortly after midnight near Cimarron, Kansas. Twenty-eight passengers were injured.

NTSB Eyes Damaged Track in Chief Derailment

April 8, 2016
Tire tracks leading to the out of alignment rails at the derailment site of the Southwest Chief.

Tire tracks leading to the out of alignment rails at the derailment site of the Southwest Chief.

Damaged track is the preliminary cause of a March 14 derailment of the Southwest Chief that injured about 30 passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a truck struck the rails near Cimarron, Kansas.

NTSB investigators said railroad ties and tracks were out of their normal positions and established the point of derailment 25 feet beyond that location.

Video from the lead locomotive of the Los Angeles to Chicago train showed abnormal track immediately before the derailment, NTSB officials said in the report.

Investigators also found fresh damage to the north ends of the ties and fresh tire tracks perpendicular to the tracks. Also at the scene were small amount of flaked corn, a type of cattle feed.

The tire tracks led to a feed lot owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders, where the tread on a 2004 Kenworth International truck matched the tire track impressions at the scene, NTSB officials said.

The truck in question is used to haul flaked corn to feed bins. The truck’s left and right mounting brackets on the front bumper were broken.

The tracks where the derailment occurred are owned by BNSF.

Train No. 4 was traveling at 60 mph — the maximum speed limited in that area — when the engineer applied the  emergency brakes
Amtrak and BNSF have estimated that the track and equipment sustained $1.4 million in damage.

The NTSB said its preliminary findings will be “supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.”

Runaway Truck Knocked Tracks Out of Alignment Before Southwest Chief Derailment in Kansas

March 23, 2016

Investigators are now saying that the truck that damaged the BNSF tracks before the March 14 derailment in Kansas of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief was a runway.

The truck had been parked at nearby feed mill, but its brakes failed and it rolled downhill across U.S. 50 and struck the tracks, knocking them 12 to 14 inches out of alignment.

Amtrak Southwest Chief 2Thirty-two aboard the eastbound Chief were injured when the train left the tracks just after midnight. Seven of the train’s 10 cars derailed, with some flipping over on their sides.

Video from the lead locomotive’s forward-facing camera showed what investigators termed a “localized distortion” in the track.

The engineer of No. 4 applied the emergency brakes shortly before the derailment occurred.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator has said the train was traveling at 60 mph just before the derailment, which is the authorized speed limit for that section of track near Cimarron, Kansas, between Dodge City and Garden City.

The NTSB has determined that the truck that struck the tracks is owned by Cimarron Crossing Feeders, LLC.

The company owns a two-axle 2004 Kenworth truck that matched the tire tracks found at the scene of the derailment.

Investigators believe that either someone failed to set the truck’s parking brakes or a mechanical malfunction caused the truck to begin moving.

Track Out of Alignment Before S.W. Chief Crash

March 17, 2016

Investigators probing the derailment of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief early Monday say that the cause might be the rail being out of alignment after it was struck by a truck.

During a news conference, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator said the truck moved the rail 12 to 14 inches. The incident occurred a day before the derailment, which resulted in 32 people being treated at two Kansas hospitals for injuries sustained during the accident.

None of the injuries was life-threatening.

STBThe Los Angeles to Chicago bound train was traveling at 60 miles per hour just before the derailment, which occurred between Dodge City and Garden City, Kansas.

The train was carrying 131 passengers and 14 crew members.

NTSB investigators said the train’s engineer spotted a bend in the tracks and applied the emergency brakes, but was unable to avert the derailment, which occurred 18 seconds later.

The truck that hit the track was carrying cattle feed and belonged to Cimarron Crossing Feeders LLC.

The NTSB posted on its Twitter feed photographs of the truck and said that the company that owned it has been cooperative in the investigation.

BNSF owns the track and has repaired them. Amtrak said that Nos. 3 and 4 have resumed using the route.

A passenger aboard the train said she was lying across two seats trying to sleep when the derailment occurred.

“I heard and felt this horrible thundering and rumbling sound,” said Laurel Saiz of Syracuse, New York. “It lasted about five or six seconds and the train started turning over.”

Saiz, a journalism professor at Onondaga Community College in upstate New York, suffered a broken collar bone.

“In my mind, I told myself, this is a train derailment,” she said.

Saiz was on the right side of the Superliner coach, which then flipped over onto its left side.

She said she was thrown from her seat to the opposite side of the train and doesn’t remember what happened next.

“I just remember landing flat,” Saiz said. “I must of hit the other seats on the way down. I think that’s when I broke my collarbone.”

After the car came to a halt, Saiz said she heard an older man beg for help. “He said he couldn’t breathe and that he felt like he was dying,” she said. “That was horrible because I couldn’t do much to help.”

Rescue workers arrived on the scene within minutes and passengers who were not injured were able to help the older man.

Saiz said passengers had to climb a ladder to get out of their car and then reach the ground on another ladder.

A professional musician who was traveling back to his New York City home after playing a gig in Santa Fe, New Mexico, said he feels fortunate to still be alive after being seriously injured.

The musician, a percussionist and video artist who was born as Stefan Joel Weisser but goes by the name Z’EV, said time seemed to stand still once the train left the tracks.

“The train’s going along and then all of a sudden I could tell that they’re like hitting the brakes,” he said. “And then there’s this kind of, like, crack and then the train flips.”

Z’EV said flew in the air seven feet before landing on a seat’s arm rest.

“I knew I was hurt,” he said. “And then I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up the next morning in the hospital.”

Z’EV suffered five broken ribs on his left side and expects to remain hospitalized through the end of the week.

He expected it will take up to a year for his bones to heal. He hospitalized in Amarillo, Texas.

“Considering I use my arms in performing, you know it’s not clear whether–how much I’m going to be able to work,” Z’EV said.

“I can think of better ways to spend the next six months,” he said as he laughed. “The momentous things in your life, eventually you come to realize what it was about.”

Z’EV said he lacks health insurance so his Friends and fans have created a Go Fund Me page to help him pay for medical bills. So far, they’ve raised more than $22,000 of their $30,000 goal.

The page is at

20 Hurt in SW Chief Derailment in Kansas

March 14, 2016

Approximately 20 people were treated at hospitals after the eastbound Southwest Chief derailed just after midnight in southwestern Kansas.

Media reports indicated that five Superliner cars had turned over onto their sides. Amtrak said that 140 were aboard the Los Angeles to Chicago train at the time of the derailment.

Amtrak Southwest Chief 2The accident occurred 20 miles west of Dodge City in Gray County alongside U.S. Route 50. Western Plains Medical Complex in Dodge City said it was treating passengers in its emergency room. The hospital said none of those treated thus far had suffered critical injuries.

Some passengers were taken to St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, all of whom were reported to have suffered minor injuries.

Amtrak said that those aboard No. 4 included 128 passengers and 14 crew members. The train had two locomotives and nine cars. The train was traveling on tracks owned by BNSF

Passengers not taken for medical treatment were transported to the 4-H Recreation Center in Cimarron. The Red Cress and other relief agencies were providing blankets, drinks and snacks until Amtrak arranged for alternative transportation.

Amtrak said that the westbound Southwest Chief would detour from Newton, Kansas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for trains originating March 13 and 14.

No Injuries in Lincoln Service Derailment

January 10, 2014

As if the bad winter this week wasn’t enough, Amtrak’s problems continued to mount this week when northbound  Lincoln Service train No. 302 derailed Thursday morning at Wann Tower near Wood River, Ill., in suburban St. Louis.

The low-speed derailment caught the rear truck of locomotive No. 53 and the first of five passenger cars. No injuries are reported among the 116 passengers and crew onboard, according to local media reports.

Train lost head-end power for a while, but power was later restored as passengers awaited the arrival of buses.

No. 302 was to have turned to become No. 307 in Chicago, but that train was canceled and Amtrak provided substitute bus service instead.

Amtrak sent a locomotive to the scene to tow the train back to St. Louis.

The derailment also caused a four-hour delay to southbound Lincoln Service No. 303.

NTSB Cites Jumper Wire use in 2012 Derailment

November 29, 2013

The use of a jumper wire that resulted in a false proceed signal is being blamed as the likely cause of the derailment of an Amtrak train last year near Niles, Mich.

The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that the use of the jumper wire violated Amtrak procedures for overriding signal and train control safety. The NTSB also cited inadequate oversight by Amtrak management to ensure that proper jumper wire safeguards were used.

The accident occurred on Oct. 21, 2012, when Wolverine Service No. 350 en route to Detroit (Pontiac) diverged from the mainline at 61 mph at CP 190 and into the Niles Yard.

The train derailed about 291 feet after leaving the main track and traveled 1,148 additional feet before coming to a stop. The two locomotives, one on each end, and four passenger cars all derailed but remained upright.

The NTSB report said that a track maintenance crew had been operating a tamping machine at the site and after completing its work had contacted the Amtrak train director to seek permission to move the tamper into Niles Yard.

The train director was unable to align switch No. 2 into the yard and sought to contact a signal supervisor about the problem. However, no signal maintainers were available so a signal supervisor traveled to the site.

After arriving at CP 190, the supervisor attempted to correct the problem at the power-operated switch but was unsuccessful. He then entered the signal bungalow and removed two cartridge fuses, opened two terminal nuts on the terminal board, and applied local battery power using two jumper wires.

When the battery power was applied, the local control panel indication lights showed that the switch was aligned and locked normal, but he did not verify the physical position of the switch before applying the jumper wire.

The train director contacted the supervisor and informed him that the switch was now indicating normal on the dispatcher’s display and asked if it was safe for No. 350 to proceed eastward. The supervisor answered in the affirmative.

When the supervisor observed No. 350 approaching entering the yard tracks, he realized what had occurred, removed the jumper wires and reinstalled the cartridge fuses.

He did not notify anyone hat he had used jumper wires just before the derailment and he did not leave the signal bungalow to aid the passengers and crew on the derailed train.

On Oct. 26, 2012, Amtrak issued a safety notice and conducted a system wide safety stand down for signal maintenance personnel. Amtrak managers discussed the circumstances of the Niles derailment and reviewed proper jumper wire procedures at safety meetings throughout the system.

Amtrak also issued a safety bulletin that stated in part that that jumper wires should only be used as a last resort to restore train operations. The procedure requires the train director or operator to be notified in all cases in which any signal system is inoperative and how protection is provided until repairs are made and the jumper wires removed.