Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday 2/24

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Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday 2/24

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:52 am

https://katu.com/news/local/amtrak-trai ... llen-trees

An Amtrak train has been stranded in Oakridge, Oregon since Sunday after it struck a fallen tree and the weather deteriorated.

Amtrak officials said the Coast Starlight Train 11, going from Seattle to Los Angeles with 183 passengers and crew, struck a tree that had fallen on the tracks just after 6:15 p.m. Sunday.

Amtrak said no one was injured.


Latest news is that crews are digging the line out and will have the train free around 6am Pacific Time (per WBAL TV Baltimore, I'm listening to the newscast before I catch my morning commuter)
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby pumpers » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:49 pm

It's moving again (back towards Seattle), but barely;
Here is an update blog I found:
https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/amtrak ... index.html
From what I saw on the news it sounded pretty grim. 183 people
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby CarterB » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:34 pm

:From what I saw on the news it sounded pretty grim. 183 people

They had heat and quite a bit of food. Would have been worse if passengers tried to get off train in heavy snow.
I would, however, think the bathrooms would be a tad 'ripe'
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:40 pm

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/26/69808912 ... id-heavy-s

They got through it. Going back to Seattle on a rescue engine.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:28 pm

In keeping with a journalistic tradition of long standing, Yahoo news ran a photo of a cut of spine cars to accompany the story--well, the cars had snow on them ...
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby D Alex » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:39 pm

We were talking about this event at work today, and one of my co-workers asked "why don't they just back the train up"? I responded by something like "I don't think they can, unless there are controls on the tail end", but to be honest, I don't know what the regulations are. Can somebody enlighten me?
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby WhartonAndNorthern » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:54 pm

D Alex wrote:We were talking about this event at work today, and one of my co-workers asked "why don't they just back the train up"? I responded by something like "I don't think they can, unless there are controls on the tail end", but to be honest, I don't know what the regulations are. Can somebody enlighten me?


With permission of the dispatcher, they can put a conductor on the rear with a radio to guide the engineer in the backing up operation. However, if they were really stuck in the snow, they weren't backing up either.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Tom6921 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:08 pm

At least it's not as bad as what happened to the City of San Francisco.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Stephen B. Carey » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:38 pm

OK since it seems that everyone on board is OK and now off the train can I ask why we are calling it the "Coastal" Starlight? Isn't it the Coast Starlight? Also I noticed that literally every news report said Coastal as well. I checked the Amtrak website and it still says Coast Starlight, I was wondering if I had missed a name change since they got rid of the Parlour cars.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby ryanov » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:57 am

WhartonAndNorthern wrote:
D Alex wrote:We were talking about this event at work today, and one of my co-workers asked "why don't they just back the train up"? I responded by something like "I don't think they can, unless there are controls on the tail end", but to be honest, I don't know what the regulations are. Can somebody enlighten me?


With permission of the dispatcher, they can put a conductor on the rear with a radio to guide the engineer in the backing up operation. However, if they were really stuck in the snow, they weren't backing up either.

I've read elsewhere that the engine was disabled from striking a tree, which is why they stopped initially.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:57 am

CarterB wrote:They had heat and quite a bit of food. Would have been worse if passengers tried to get off train in heavy snow.
I would, however, think the bathrooms would be a tad 'ripe'

As bad as airlines stranding on the tarmac and other huge, time for a passenger bill of rights for stranded trains?
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby electricron » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:03 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:As bad as airlines stranding on the tarmac and other huge, time for a passenger bill of rights for stranded trains?
Why? Where would they go? Have you ever tried walking on track ballast? Planes stranded at airports are often a few thousand feet away from an airport gate. Where was the nearest train station from the train, was it a few feet or dozens of miles away?
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Allouette » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:44 am

Oakridge is 40 miles from Eugene, the nearest station it could back to. UP had other trains equally stuck behind the Starlight. Parallel Highway 58 was closed for miles with hundreds of trees down and was not completely open at the time the Starlight started moving.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Tadman » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:59 am

electricron wrote:
R36 Combine Coach wrote:As bad as airlines stranding on the tarmac and other huge, time for a passenger bill of rights for stranded trains?
Why? Where would they go? Have you ever tried walking on track ballast? Planes stranded at airports are often a few thousand feet away from an airport gate. Where was the nearest train station from the train, was it a few feet or dozens of miles away?


If so, it would have to be a far different concept than the airline bill. You could have the most airtight law about this and what are you going to do? The train is literally stuck miles away from civilization.

That said, this could be an opportunity to promote emergency supplies in the baggage car such as potable water or freeze dried food (MRE-like) to be used only in case of emergency. It could also be an opportunity to require an emergency toilet in the baggage car that dumps straight onto the ballast. Although this is currently not legal for regular operations, in emergency situations it presents a more sanitary option than opening a door in the woods and squatting alongside the ballast.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Arborwayfan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:26 am

From some of the news reports it sounds like it was not really that bad. People seem to have gotten along well with each other. The whole Coast Starlight with only 183 pax, stranded with more than a day left in it's run (therefore with lots of food and water and fuel) must have been a lot more comfortable than a 767 with the same number of people stranded for even five or six hours. People could walk around, eat real food, etc. No one was in a middle seat. They had big windows with something to look at. Coach pax on the the transcontinentals spend more hours without lying down.

Amtrak and the train crew seem to have behaved reasonably. I wonder if they were lucky enough not to have that one person who can't seem to understand that the train can't fly or go sideways and that there are only so many tracks; I remember a particularly infuriating person on the CZ when there were fires east of Grand Junction and we went through Wyoming instead and this person complained loudly about having to double back to Grand Junction instead of being sent up the one railroad towards the flames....

Look for Amtrak and UP to be a little more skittish about weather leading to some more cancelled trains in the next few years.

Ideas of emergency plans are good, especially "what to do when the bathroom tanks fill up", what to do with extra sleeper space if there is any including in the dorm car (e.g. maybe give priority to people who are old/pregnant/have health problems and who were only headed a couple more stations down the line so they had no reason to reserve sleepers), how and when to disembark passengers at a grade crossing (obviously only if the road is open). Quite possibly these plans exist and were followed?

How does hours of service apply to a stranded crew who can't be relieved? Can they sleep in the crew dorm and become eligible to work again? How long is a locomotive allowed to run to provide HEP with no one in the cab?
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