Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby BR&P » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:21 am

KevinD wrote: Plus, with the slip-out on the west side (downstream) and not the east side (upstream) tells me the over saturation happened on the west side. That likely happened from a downstream obstruction in the wooded area that has been cleared post-derailment.


OK, guess I was mixed up. I thought the stream was flowing from southwest to northeast. (Timetable south to north). If it's going the opposite way I have to go back and re-educate myself to what I was seeing.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby D Alex » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:27 am

JoeS wrote:The 1965 E-L track chart copy I have is barely legible but it does show something in the vicinity...

At MP 390.67 there is what I think reads " 5 x 5' 11 St Arch" which I take to be stone arch... or is it steel reinforced concrete arch?

The East Main crossing is MP 391.03 so per the track chart the arch is 1900 feet east of the crossing.

The more recent Conrail Lehigh Division 1982 track chart shows just "UG" at 390.67 but the East Main crossing at 391.01, which gets us to a culvert location 1,795 feet from the crossing.

Google maps measures about 1720 feet to where the stream is located. 1900 feet from the crossing on Google maps is just on the edge of the field where the damaged cars and locos were moved to.

County line is located at 390.32 for additional reference.

So the culvert seems well documented... I don't know what to make of it; seems a 5 foot by 6 foot culvert, arch etc. collapsing under that large embankment would go undetected and certainly not create a sinkhole large enough to swallow a train.


It looks like there was a blockage, caused either by the partial collapse of the culvert, or at the entrance, which caused a backup, followed by infiltration of the fill, which caused a washout by the water going around the culvert. Very common occurrence during a wet, thaw period. If anybody is watching the crews rebuilding this portion, look to see if they bring in either corrugated metal or pre-cast concrete culvert material. If it's just stone, then the masonry arch is still intact.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby JoeS » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:15 am

KevinD wrote:I simply noted that while crews were engaged in the recovery of railcars, other crews were going to town clearing the downstream treed-in area along the "brook". Other photos showed excavators in the water working to keep the channel clear. During reconstruction they never went down far enough to mess with the integrity of the arch, so that tells me all is still okay with it. Plus, with the slip-out on the west side (downstream) and not the east side (upstream) tells me the over saturation happened on the west side. That likely happened from a downstream obstruction in the wooded area that has been cleared post-derailment. But its all good if we all don't necessarily agree.

Now that the line is open does anyone know if they opened the siding first or the main?


John Kucko posted a short video of the first eastbound train creeping by the site. After looking at it I have to agree with your assessment that the west side slid out from under the main track. The roadbed under the siding looks undisturbed.

And it looks like the siding is open with a 5 or 10 mph speed restriction. Max speed on the siding used to be 25 mph per a 1999 CR timetable but I don't know if that is still the case after NS took over. It was 50 MPH when it was still eastward main 2 in E-L and early Conrail days.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby BR&P » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:37 am

KevinD wrote:Plus, with the slip-out on the west side (downstream) and not the east side (upstream) tells me the over saturation happened on the west side. That likely happened from a downstream obstruction in the wooded area that has been cleared post-derailment.


Now I AM confused. (i t does not take much! :P ). Maybe I need my coffee first.

First, when dealing with railroad situations like this, it is often helpful to rely on timetable direction, not compass direction. This keeps us away from the "sorta-southeast to sorta northwest" stuff. As far as I know, Buffalo to Binghamton is timetable eastward. So regardless of curves and bends, the train was headed east and anything on the engineer's side is south. Anything on the fireman's side is north. (OK, OK, it's 2018. Anything on the CONDUCTOR'S side is north! :-D )

As near as I can tell from the photos and the Google Maps pics, the engine went down the bank to the north. This is supported by the report the crew was evacuated to the farmhouse on the north. And aerial pic show the stream is flowing south to north. That's right to left as seen from the engineer's seat as they approach the problem.

So you are saying there was an obstruction farther downstream which backed up the water until it weakened the embankment, allowing it to slump to the north. Not impossible, and that could be a reason why an NS track inspection would not have picked up the problem, especially if it was inspected before the water accumulated. The guy would be looking at his own right of way, and would probably not see something downstream in the woods.

Has anybody seen an overhead shot of the scene before all the cleanup started? I'm curious whether there is a slump on the north side, or if there is a notch cut through the whole embankment. The latter scenario would suggest the body of water was south of the embankment and ate through the whole thing.

EDIT - From JoeS's post above, the south side gave way?
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby RMB357 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:11 am

Just saw 27N go west through Altoona. Is that not a regular on the southern tier line? Must still be rerouting some traffic
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby johnpbarlow » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:36 am

RMB357 wrote:Just saw 27N go west through Altoona. Is that not a regular on the southern tier line? Must still be rerouting some traffic


The Tier has 287 mt autos and a 28N loaded autos (plus occasional single stacks) but AFAIK there is no 27N running between Binghamton and Buffalo.

There could be a couple of new symbols appearing on the Tier as it is rumored that W09 and W10 extras are to be replaced (?) by a 149 extended east of Buffalo and a 14Z, IIRC.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby lvrr325 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:26 pm

So with loaded auto racks destroyed, is there any special rules for cleanup and salvage?

They can't sell the vehicles once damaged, even if minor, due to liability issues (Morrisville College's auto tech program had one donor pickup that had two minor drag marks on the roof from some mishap loading or unloading, so it was donated; they had cars varying from totally intact to one Buick that had been smashed badly in the back but still ran and drove). Do they call in a crusher and scrap them on the spot, do those not totally destroyed get hauled off to be salvaged for parts, or just what.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby litz » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:31 pm

I doubt they'd be crushed on the spot, but more likely hauled to an auto salvage yard for dismantling there.

No clue on parts salvage or not.

Some time back, when a car carrier ship almost capsized in the north pacific, it was full of brand new Mazdas.

Most were completely undamaged ... but ...

every single one was flattened at a salvage yard, and no parts were removed.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby JoeS » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:28 pm

BR&P wrote:
Has anybody seen an overhead shot of the scene before all the cleanup started? I'm curious whether there is a slump on the north side, or if there is a notch cut through the whole embankment. The latter scenario would suggest the body of water was south of the embankment and ate through the whole thing.

EDIT - From JoeS's post above, the south side gave way?


Sorry for the confusion and possible OD on caffeine... but using the railroading definitions of direction based on timetable, the NORTH side gave way. The siding (the first track back in service) appeared to be in better condition than the main or north track. So I think we are in agreement...
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby BR&P » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:10 pm

OK, we're good. Wonder when an "official" cause will be determined and made public.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby BR&P » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:06 am

litz wrote:I doubt they'd be crushed on the spot, but more likely hauled to an auto salvage yard for dismantling there.


I'd say NS made a pretty good start on the crushing process already! Image
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:35 am

No, they could scrap the cars on the spot, just bring in a truck-based crusher and smash away and then they can be hauled out 10-15 at a time instead of maybe three at a time.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby mkirsch » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:46 am

They could but they probably won't. Presumably flatbeds and wreckers are much more readily available than a mobile car crushing outfit. Plus for insurance reasons I'm betting the adjuster will want to take inventory of the cars in a more organized manner (i.e. all lined up in a lot vs. dumped in a pile at the wreck site), document the extent of damage, and then determine their final disposition.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby sd80mac » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:49 am

BR&P wrote:but usually the plan is to rerail anything which is not seriously derailed,.



ok im late with this.

the last 2 auto racks you see in the last picture before that BR&P's posting. These 2 cars can be rerailed easily But they chose to shove them down the embankment ON THE SOUTH... I couldn't understand why cant they move them toward to north then shove them down the embankment to put them with other cars. A lot easier this way and no need to negotiation with other farm owner to access to the south side.
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Re: Attica NS derailment 2/15/18

Postby sd80mac » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:53 am

BR&P wrote:Joining the birds is a crapshoot in most cases. there have been times where jumping saved one guy's life while the one who stayed got killed (Casey Jones for one example). But there have also been times when the one who jumped was killed either by the jump itself or by derailed equipment on top of them while the one who stayed survived. A couple years back there was a nasty one somewhere east of Amarillo IIRC. Woman jumped from the westbound before a head-on. A week later they still had not recovered her, not sure they ever did.


Also the head-on on the Rockville bridge, the conductor chose to jump. Engineer chose to stay in because of widecab (that was his reason) and it was not travelling that fast. trailing unit rolled over and landed on conductor.
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