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

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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby chuchubob » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:50 am

ExCon90 wrote: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 ...
That photo was snapped by a passenger onboard the stopped Coast Starlight.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:53 pm

Everyone:

This problem with the Coast Starlight was something that was totally out of Amtrak's direct control
and was caused primarily by weather problems. There have been numerous reports that this was
only after the train struck a downed tree on the track going southbound. Any idea about how much
snow was actually on the ground in the area the train was stalled at? There was not much mention
about Union Pacific and the route - were there freight trains stuck in front of #11 as well as in back
making a backup move not possible until the following freight trains were moved off the line?

From what I saw most of the passengers took a tough situation in stride and in the end everyone
was safe and sound. I noted a middle-aged woman complaining about Amtrak that this was
"unacceptable" but under the circumstances Amtrak handled the problems well.

I agree with Arborway above in that I would much rather have the free run of the train instead
of being confined for hours in a aircraft waiting for who knows how long in the event of problems.

This is something that is thankfully a rare occurrence. Amtrak should not get any bad press for
something they had literally no control of in the firstplace...MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby SST » Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:04 pm

I stumbled across this video about 1 week before this incident. I never thought a train would just bulldoze through trees. How big does a tree have to be to bring a train to a stop? The news was reporting that the tree they hit damaged the brakes. Have no idea if that was just speculation or fact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7QCnv0Qpfg
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Railjunkie » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:03 pm

In that video they are hitting mostly the fluffy end of trees. Not a super big deal a little thump and keep going, as long as it dosent get into the brake rigging. From personal experience, of all the trees Ive hit. Five stand out, these were on the trunk side and larger than 3 ft around. All five did enough damage to bring me to a stop. And clean out my britches. Damage ranged from broken cab windows and running lights, twisting the ladders outwards, bending the plow inward and destroying the cab signal pick up bars to completely killing the engine.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:06 pm

SST:

Yes-a tree that is large enough in circumference would be enough to stop a train. I watched the
video and noticed that the trees that they ran over were did not have thick branches or trunks.
With the snow and ice this train crew did not want to lose momentum in the event they had to
stop to remove any thing too large from the track ahead.

I want to relate an example of something that I recall from a NY Amtrak trip from 1983: I was going
east to Schenectady from Rochester between visits to friends and took an eastbound train that left ROC at 3:58 PM and arrived in SDY around 7:30 PM which was a perfect travel time for me.

I boarded the train - which had Rohr Turboliner equipment - on time at ROC and settled in for the
ride - which was at first uneventful until we were someplace around the Montezuma Swamp area
in Cayuga County - we struck a deer doing probably MAS about 79 mph - I remember the sound
of debris movement under the car I was in not knowing initially what we struck as we ground to
a halt. The crew discovered that a main brake pipe had been damaged in the hit causing brakes
to lock up. A responding Conrail maintenance crew cut down a nearby tree to make a makeshift
"plug" for the pipe allowing the brakes to be released and the train to get back under way.

The delay was between 2-3 hours and the train crew was very good at keeping us informed
about what was going on and what needed to be done. I got to SDY around 10:30 PM and
remember that the person I was visiting was aware of the delay after this mishap.

Sometimes it is not the sheer size of something that a train hits - it depends on what damage
debris of any type can cause such as this case from 1983. MACTRAXX
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby NorthWest » Wed Feb 27, 2019 3:28 pm

The tree impact apparently impacted the lead locomotive enough to rupture its fuel tank. It was cut off and left in Oakridge.

The train was dragged north and let everyone off at their point of embarkation, until it stopped in Portland because the Columbia River Bridge was on fire.

Passengers I talked to were frustrated, but in relatively good spirits about the whole thing.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby scoostraw » Thu Feb 28, 2019 3:11 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:SST:we struck a deer doing probably MAS about 79 mph

Wow that deer was really moving.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:05 pm

scoostraw wrote:
MACTRAXX wrote:SST:we struck a deer doing probably MAS about 79 mph

Wow that deer was really moving.

SS: I could have worded this one a little differently - such as:
"Our train struck and killed a deer on the track when we were traveling at a good rate of speed"
I only noted that when you pointed this out... :wink:

The point that I was making is that at times it depends on what type of damage is done when a
train strikes debris of any type despite the size or shape of the object(s) in question.

In the case of Train #11 it was substantial damage to the lead unit along with the bad weather
related conditions that contributed to the problems that were experienced.

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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby east point » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:59 pm

Heavy snow at a very low altitude meant trees getting the snow that had never had the snow before. Recipe for trees falling onto highways and RR tracks that are open field. Trees even lean around here toward blank spaces. then an ice storm or heavy snow will bring them down, BTW it has been 5 - 8 years since the last one so when it happens Georgia will repeat what just happened in Oregon.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby scoostraw » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:10 am

MACTRAXX wrote:
scoostraw wrote:
MACTRAXX wrote:SST:we struck a deer doing probably MAS about 79 mph

Wow that deer was really moving.

SS: I could have worded this one a little differently - such as:
"Our train struck and killed a deer on the track when we were traveling at a good rate of speed"
I only noted that when you pointed this out... :wink: MACTRAXX

Yes I was just busting your chops. ;)
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Bobby S » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:29 pm

Question about this situation. What does or did the engineer do this whole time? I know his cab is kind of roomy but did he actually spend the entire time there? I assume he can't leave or was he able to leave the engine unattended? This topic came up in discussion and nobody quite knew. Conditions outside were probably not optimal for walking to cars.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby scoostraw » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:20 am

Bobby S wrote:Question about this situation. What does or did the engineer do this whole time? I know his cab is kind of roomy but did he actually spend the entire time there? I assume he can't leave or was he able to leave the engine unattended? This topic came up in discussion and nobody quite knew. Conditions outside were probably not optimal for walking to cars.

I would imagine the crew moved around. The conductor could occupy the cab while the engineer maybe got some sleep etc. There were lots of options.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby 8th Notch » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:39 pm

Bobby S wrote:Question about this situation. What does or did the engineer do this whole time? I know his cab is kind of roomy but did he actually spend the entire time there? I assume he can't leave or was he able to leave the engine unattended? This topic came up in discussion and nobody quite knew. Conditions outside were probably not optimal for walking to cars.


Probably leave the cab and hang out in the coaches with the rest of the crew, I’m sure there was a way to walk to rear of diesel and cross over to first coach. There is no reason to be up there the whole time, tie it down and put HEP on standby to conserve fuel and quiet things down is all he would have been required to do in this situation.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:33 pm

Did UP just shutdown this part of the RR due to weather and related storm damage? That would force Amtrak to just tie down the train and just wait.
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Re: Coastal Starlight Train 11 stuck in Oregon since Sunday

Postby Tadman » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:47 am

8th Notch wrote:
Bobby S wrote:Question about this situation. What does or did the engineer do this whole time? I know his cab is kind of roomy but did he actually spend the entire time there? I assume he can't leave or was he able to leave the engine unattended? This topic came up in discussion and nobody quite knew. Conditions outside were probably not optimal for walking to cars.


Probably leave the cab and hang out in the coaches with the rest of the crew, I’m sure there was a way to walk to rear of diesel and cross over to first coach. There is no reason to be up there the whole time, tie it down and put HEP on standby to conserve fuel and quiet things down is all he would have been required to do in this situation.


This is a good question. Is there a written procedure for "you're stuck in the wild"? IE handbrakes applied, food/water/fuel inventoried, something regarding extra engines (idle or shutdown?), perhaps consolidate passengers into a few cars to save power heating extra cars? I'm not an expert at this, just very curious.
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