Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak locomotive failures’

Engine Failure Strands Pere Marquette for 3 Hours

February 7, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Pere Marquette was stranded for three hours on Tuesday night due to locomotive failure near St. Joseph, Michigan.

The train, which had a load of nearly 80 passengers, halted about five miles before reaching the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor station.

“We’re all stopped here . . . My entire unit just shut down,” the engineer was heard saying on a radio recording captured by the Saint Joseph Area Rail and Marine channel of Broadcastify.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the breakdown occurred about 9:45 p.m.

Passengers were eventually taken by bus to their destinations.

The train, which originated in Chicago and was bound for Grand Rapids, Michigan, lacked heat after the engine malfunctioned.

A CSX locomotive was able to move the stranded Amtrak train to the St. Joseph station at about 11:45 p.m. where the 78 passengers remained onboard until buses arrived about 1 a.m.

Although the St. Joseph station also houses a pizza restaurant, that business was closed at the time of the incident.

Locomotive Failures Raise Concerns in N.Y.

May 26, 2017

Deteriorating track conditions at New York Penn Station isn’t the only source of frustration with Amtrak these days in New York State.

New York State Department of Transportation officials are noting that the locomotives used to haul Empire Corridor trains from upstate New York are breaking down, stranding passengers on some trips.

Two locomotives have malfunctioned this spring in the tunnels leading out of Penn Station, marooning hundreds of passengers on Empire Service trains. The locomotive of a third train broke down in the Mohawk Valley.

NYDOT officials wants new locomotives ordered before the breakdowns become chronic, but have been rebuffed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The locomotives in question are P42DMAC units, most of which were built in 1995 but some of which were constructed in 1998.

The locomotives were designed to be dual mode, meaning they could operate as diesel-electrics or as straight electrics in third-rail territory.

The locomotives pull some Empire Service trains as far as Niagara Falls, New York.

“GE [Transportation] has … stopped manufacturing new replacement components, which combined with age and intense use makes it difficult and costly for Amtrak’s Rensselaer Maintenance Facility to keep these locomotives in service,” said Jack Madden, a retired engineer at the NYDOT’s rail division, who argued for replacing them in an opinion piece in The Daily Gazette of Schenectady. “The average failure rate in service for the (dual-mode) fleet is increasing, leading to more frustrating delays to passengers.”