S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby BnOEngr » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:01 am

Toppysager wrote: The CSX train was Q211-01 (Louisville, KY-Cayce, SC), and was unloading at the time of the incident.


Q211 was tied down and unoccupied in a non-controlled, non-signaled siding, not "unloading".

redcrumbox wrote:What does a square yellow sign with a diagonal red line mean?


Warning Sign. Placed approximately 2 miles (with a couple exceptions) in advance of a temporary speed restriction or a work zone.

There were 2 switches behind the Amtrak train a very short distance. The one on the opposite side of the main from the incident can be seen having a derail. There is a signal circuit bungalow near both of the switches and this is usually an indicator of electric lock switches. There are no signals at the immediate location of the incident, but the line is TC (CTC) signalled territory.

I'm hearing there was a signal suspension in place, and by bulletin the maximum speeds are 59 passenger/49 freight, with the reported speed of 91 being 59 MPH. The bulletin issued with a signal suspension has standard wording to the effect that all switches are to be considered as lined for the main track within the limits of the suspension, and that TWC authority is used, meaning every train gets an EC-1 to operate through the suspension. The crew of the freight would have been required to note the handling of the switch on a Switch Position Awareness Form and report the initial throwing and final lining of the switch to the dispatcher and both crew members must initial the form.

The outward-facing camera of the lead unit of Q211 will most likely provide most of the information regarding what happened leading up to the incident.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby 9xs » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:24 am

PTC

Prayers, Thoughts and Condolences

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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby ~Z~ » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:28 pm

DaveO wrote:Before someone wants to complain, please go search for pictures and stories about trains telescoping and the horror that came with that happening.

Link for those wanting to see telescoping: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telescoping_%28rail_cars%29

Also a google map link to where the accident was in Pine Ridge SC: https://goo.gl/maps/CmnWZtvxb4Q2
Birds eye view even shows a CSX autorack train on the main working the automotive center there.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby Doktor No » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:49 pm

Thank you for the much better explination BnOengineer. I think I was equaitng an enroute signal failure scenario with a signal suspension. Up here we used to have enough of the former and little of the latter.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:46 pm

One report has the CSX dispatchers talking the crew through the signal suspension by phone. Boy that saves a lot of time at 59 mph. Radios aren't working either? Since this is how they were receiving orders no chance for the second crewmember to hear the conversation. Only one person heard the dispatcher I hope they listen to the tape real good, but wait their is no tape or is there with phone traffic?
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby SousaKerry » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:35 pm

Super Chief wrote:One report has the CSX dispatchers talking the crew through the signal suspension by phone. Boy that saves a lot of time at 59 mph. Radios aren't working either? Since this is how they were receiving orders no chance for the second crewmember to hear the conversation. Only one person heard the dispatcher I hope they listen to the tape real good, but wait their is no tape or is there with phone traffic?


Oh I am willing to bet that any phones on a dispatcher desk are being recorded as well any thing else in the room. If anything just for the lawyers and insurance companies.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby BnOEngr » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:58 pm

Super Chief wrote:One report has the CSX dispatchers talking the crew through the signal suspension by phone.... Since this is how they were receiving orders no chance for the second crewmember to hear the conversation.... but wait their is no tape or is there with phone traffic?


Phones are an acceptable alternative when there is no radio communication available. The information, in this case, is copied onto Form EC-1, which is repeated back to the dispatcher for verification, and a copy is provided to the other crew member for their record and review.

All lines of communication are recorded in offices. There are also monitors recording all radio traffic in certain terminals for review in the event of an incident.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby Typhoon » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:13 pm

SousaKerry wrote:
Super Chief wrote:One report has the CSX dispatchers talking the crew through the signal suspension by phone. Boy that saves a lot of time at 59 mph. Radios aren't working either? Since this is how they were receiving orders no chance for the second crewmember to hear the conversation. Only one person heard the dispatcher I hope they listen to the tape real good, but wait their is no tape or is there with phone traffic?


Oh I am willing to bet that any phones on a dispatcher desk are being recorded as well any thing else in the room. If anything just for the lawyers and insurance companies.


Any conversation on the dispatchers communication unit, which is called an AVTEC, is recorded. Radio, phone, block lines with yardmasters or other dispatchers, all recorded.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby hoborich » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:06 pm

I'm puzzled why unless the CSX train backed into the siding, why was the switch out in front of their tied down train lined for the siding?
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby Super Chief » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:46 pm

They came in loaded and backed into the west siding which you can see in some of the pictures to the big parking lot. After all autos were removed they came out on the main cleared that switch and went a little further down the main to the switch for the east siding. They unlocked the switch and backed the entire cut of empties into the east siding and apparently didn't line the switch back to the main and just locked it and went home.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby MQT3001 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:30 am


I'm very glad to hear that the crew was in fact able to dump the train and get it slowed down. It wasn't enough to save them, but it probably saved some passengers. There's a lot of energy lost going from 60mph to just 50mph.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby hoborich » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:53 am

Super Chief wrote:They came in loaded and backed into the west siding which you can see in some of the pictures to the big parking lot. After all autos were removed they came out on the main cleared that switch and went a little further down the main to the switch for the east siding. They unlocked the switch and backed the entire cut of empties into the east siding and apparently didn't line the switch back to the main and just locked it and went home.


Thanks for the detailed explanation. That seems to explain it very well.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:37 am

Saturnalia wrote:Makes you wonder if it would have been better or worse for the train to leave the rails at that point.


It might have been better for the crew, but I doubt the rest of the train would have fared as well as it did. Most of the passenger injuries sounded to be fairly minor. Nobody was seriously maimed, outside of the crew in the cab, unless I missed something. If the train had left the track, between trees and the stationary Q train, there would have been plenty of solid objects to wrap cars around, which would have likely increased the number of serious injuries suffered by the passengers.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby AARR » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:25 am

More good observations from railroaders Ron and Bill in this thread.
http://members4.boardhost.com/OtherMichRRs/msg/1517746756.html
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby barnstormer » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:49 am

First off, I'm saddened with the news of this tragedy, and my thoughts
& prayers are with the families/friends of these crew members, and
the extreme sense of loss they are facing right now, and forever will be.

However, I'm going to throw a BIG wrench into this discussion, as I had
an incident occur while under a similar signal suspension, just like the
one the Amtrak crew here faced. The onus is on two or three entities
in this accident, depending on the freight crew's filing of the switch
position awareness form.

If the crew notified the dispatcher that they had left the switch
reversed, then the dispatcher is responsible for not notifying the
Amtrak crew (I doubt this is the case, but it's plausible, if the
freight crew ran afoul of the H.O.S. Law) when they were given
the EC-1. Most likely, I believe, that the freight crew didn't line it
back, but may have stated that they did, which would put them
mostly at fault...but there's more.

Under signal suspension rules at CSX, the crew would have received
an EC-1, though without the "normal expectation" that all switches
would be lined & locked for the main (and they likely had a
bulletin stating the method for movement through said limits was
controlled speed (not restricted speed). The rules here require
that while operating under controlled speed in a Signal Suspension,
that the crew must stop movement before any improperly lined
switch (added to the other requirements under controlled speed),
line & lock for move, then proceed.

I speak with some authority on this, as I had this very scenario
take place, involving the same rules application that the
Amtrak crew would have been operating under...(this point
came up in a hearing, and it's found to be an oft-overlooked
rule exception, even by TM's), so the Amtrak crew would also
have born out some culpability.

If I hadn't experienced this first-hand, I would have agreed
with several posts here about where the fault lies... I'm sure
that the media will state the obvious (that they don't have a
clue, but say otherwise), but we'll all hear it in some form
during the next safety stand-down. That's my take, but I
welcome any qualified rebuttle, as I don't know everything....
just relating my experience on this matter.

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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby Doktor No » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:18 pm

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonvill ... yptr=yahoo So far it looks like Employee In Charge could be in for some heavy questioning. Evidently there was a conductor on scene for the signal suspension.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby BnOEngr » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:31 pm

barnstormer wrote:If the crew notified the dispatcher that they had left the switch
reversed, then the dispatcher is responsible for not notifying the
Amtrak crew (I doubt this is the case, but it's plausible, if the
freight crew ran afoul of the H.O.S. Law) when they were given
the EC-1. Most likely, I believe, that the freight crew didn't line it
back, but may have stated that they did, which would put them
mostly at fault...but there's more.

Under signal suspension rules at CSX, the crew would have received
an EC-1, though without the "normal expectation" that all switches
would be lined & locked for the main (and they likely had a
bulletin stating the method for movement through said limits was
controlled speed (not restricted speed). The rules here require
that while operating under controlled speed in a Signal Suspension,
that the crew must stop movement before any improperly lined
switch (added to the other requirements under controlled speed),
line & lock for move, then proceed.


Standard wording in CSX signal suspension bulletins is worded to the effect that all hand-operated switches are lined and locked for the main. They also state that maximum speed is P59/F49 unless otherwise restricted. I don't recall ever seeing an instruction making the speed "controlled" or "restricted" and that you must proceed "looking out" when dealing with a signal suspension. Not saying it doesn't happen, but based on their speed, it apparently wasn't the case here.

Doktor No wrote:So far it looks like Employee In Charge could be in for some heavy questioning. Evidently there was a conductor on scene for the signal suspension.


The headline and article are misleading. The conductor would have been the employee in charge of the switch "on-site" because he was handling it (per the rules). If there had been a work authority in effect, the EIC of the authority would have only been made aware that the crew was making the moves and would have given permission to make "any and all restarts" to get the work done.
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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby R3DZ0N3 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:22 pm

Doktor No wrote:https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/02/06/incorrect-information-from-csx-employee-led-to.html?ana=yahoo&yptr=yahoo So far it looks like Employee In Charge could be in for some heavy questioning. Evidently there was a conductor on scene for the signal suspension.

So there was a switch tender ON DUTY?

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Re: S. Carolina Amtrak-CSX Accident

Unread postby DaveO » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:04 pm

Message removed by user
Last edited by DaveO on Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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