Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Michigan.

Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:24 am

Amtrak 355 hit a car at KL and 11th last night. 3 people in the car were killed.

355 was already roughly an hour late into KAL. They’re now running almost nine hours behind and should be in Niles at the time of thispost (~6:20 AM).

https://www.woodtv.com/news/kalamazoo-a ... 1807429223
If the Conductor is in charge of the train, then why is he promoted to Engineer?
NSSD70ACe
The Conrail Guru
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:57 am

They were running an hour late. This brings up a question that is somewhat related to what someone on the train supposedly said. One of the passengers on the train said supposedly she thought they sideswiped another train. I know this crossing is about 1/4 mile from the switch between single and double track.

Was there a second train that same through EB just prior to this incident. Could this have been a situation in which the crossing lights were activated for an EB and then stayed activated for the WB train, making someone sitting at the crossing gates think there might be a malfunction, when in fact there was not?

I'm just trying to figure why something like this would happen.
chapmaja
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Ypsi » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:37 am

Here are the status for both trains into KAL that night. Should not have been an issue of a second train. That being said I have no clue if that is single or double track. Also it can't take away the fact that they ran around the crossing gates.
Attachments
IMG_2088.PNG
IMG_2087.PNG
"Ann Arbor 2373 Calling... Milkshake. Over"

All Aboard Amtrak: Northbound, Southbound, and My Hometown
User avatar
Ypsi
The Bestest Railroadfan... fan
 
Posts: 5267
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:13 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:52 am

Ypsi wrote:Here are the status for both trains into KAL that night. Should not have been an issue of a second train. That being said I have no clue if that is single or double track. Also it can't take away the fact that they ran around the crossing gates.


I agree you can't take away from the fact they ran the gates. I'm just trying to think if there was something unusual that would have caused them to do it.

The track at the crossing is single track, but the double does end about 1/4 mile east.

I found the comments supposedly made by a passenger interesting in that she supposedly said she thought they sideswiped another train.

Your status updates sure seem to indicate a second train shouldn't have been in the area though. With NS not running out of K'zoo there wouldn't have been a freight train out that way.
chapmaja
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby kenN » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:58 am

The only "other" train would have been eastbound #354 which made its Kalamazoo stop at about 9:25. When we collected our friends' luggage and left about 15 minutes later, #355 was still east of the station, no headlight visible when we crossed the tracks. So this "other" train was well east of KZO by the time the accident happened west of the station.
kenN
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Cutlerville MI

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:34 pm

kenN wrote:The only "other" train would have been eastbound #354 which made its Kalamazoo stop at about 9:25. When we collected our friends' luggage and left about 15 minutes later, #355 was still east of the station, no headlight visible when we crossed the tracks. So this "other" train was well east of KZO by the time the accident happened west of the station.


The way it works for 354/355 (assuming they're near each other and on time) is that one of the trains will occupy the station first and the other will hold outside until the train in the station clears. Kalamazoo can't handle two trains at one time.

The other thing to take into account is that the south side of the crossing is a large hill. It's possible, given conditions at the time, that they slid onto the tracks at exactly the wrong time.
If the Conductor is in charge of the train, then why is he promoted to Engineer?
NSSD70ACe
The Conrail Guru
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby MQT1223 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:20 pm

Whats sad is that if they had waited the 30 or so seconds for the train to clear and the gates to rise is none of this would've happened.
1223 OUT! President and Founder of the Buck Creek Central, the Rolling River Route! (2012-2017) President and Founder of the Lamberton Valley Railroad, The Tin Plate Road! Proudly railfanning with Asperger's since 1996. :)
User avatar
MQT1223
O Scale Railfanner
 
Posts: 2761
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:46 pm
Location: Grandville, Michigan

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:40 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:
kenN wrote:The only "other" train would have been eastbound #354 which made its Kalamazoo stop at about 9:25. When we collected our friends' luggage and left about 15 minutes later, #355 was still east of the station, no headlight visible when we crossed the tracks. So this "other" train was well east of KZO by the time the accident happened west of the station.


The way it works for 354/355 (assuming they're near each other and on time) is that one of the trains will occupy the station first and the other will hold outside until the train in the station clears. Kalamazoo can't handle two trains at one time.

The other thing to take into account is that the south side of the crossing is a large hill. It's possible, given conditions at the time, that they slid onto the tracks at exactly the wrong time.



I wonder if this isn't what happened. I know some newer model cars have black boxes in them. I wonder how detailed they are relative to application of accelerators and brakes. Did they actively attempt to drive around the gates or did they slide? I think the damage at the scene will tell a lot. If they were sliding, the gates would show signs of being hit.

Unless I am mistaken on the crossing involved through I don't see the big hill you describe.

In regards to MQT1223, if they did indeed go around the gates rather than wait, then yes. If they slid into the crossing, then that is a slightly different story. What is sad is that three people last their lives in an incident that was preventable.
chapmaja
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:24 pm

The locomotive's camera will tell-all. It'll show if they went around the gates, it'll show if they were trying to stop and slid through it. We just won't see the video, because quite frankly, we aren't entitled to it.
Thornapple River Rail Series - YouTube
Copper Country '19-'20 Snowfall Total: 159"
User avatar
Saturnalia
Authority on Cat
 
Posts: 13736
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:54 pm
Location: Michigan's Copper Country

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby chapmaja » Tue Feb 26, 2019 4:32 pm

Saturnalia wrote:The locomotive's camera will tell-all. It'll show if they went around the gates, it'll show if they were trying to stop and slid through it. We just won't see the video, because quite frankly, we aren't entitled to it.


I hope you are right and we don't see the video. I would not be shocked if it was released publicly however. The crash in Canton that killed 5 several years ago did have the train camera released and it clearly showed what happened.
chapmaja
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby justalurker66 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:02 pm

Quote from a train passenger:
"What I heard from personnel was apparently they were saying the car was impatient — too impatient to wait for the train and thought it could make it. (It) went around the first bar and tried getting through," he said.

It can be dangerous to be in an impatient car.

The speculation about icy roads is also in the updated news story.
https://www.woodtv.com/news/kalamazoo-a ... 1808640322
User avatar
justalurker66
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 1438
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:51 am

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby PatAzo » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:48 am

Why not wait for the MSP report? The next door neighbor speculating about ice and a passenger on the train who can't tell the difference between side swiping and passing through the switch at CP147 are hardly reliable "witnesses".
PatAzo
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 912
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:20 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Wed Feb 27, 2019 5:48 pm

PatAzo wrote:Why not wait for the MSP report? The next door neighbor speculating about ice and a passenger on the train who can't tell the difference between side swiping and passing through the switch at CP147 are hardly reliable "witnesses".


I agree with waiting for a formal report however such a report may or may not reveal the whole story.

I am quite certain no one from the MSP witnessed the accident. The MSP report will be speculation, or perhaps at best deduction.
User avatar
Standard Railfan
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 1452
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:25 pm
Location: Marquette, MI

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby justalurker66 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:15 pm

Indubitably.
User avatar
justalurker66
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 1438
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:51 am

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Buster Manning » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:31 pm

spoke to someone who knows....this was the second car to go around the gates....while it may have been snowing and icy out, that wasn't the main reason for the incident....you would think by now that people who live along this line would notice that the gates come down sooner and stay down longer before a train comes thru....patience is a virtue hardly practiced anymore...
Buster Manning
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:16 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby kenN » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:50 pm

Not to mention train speed. Gates come down and it seems like a long time before the train gets there. By the time Amtrak gets to 11th St west bound, they are already hitting about 70mph. Riding 353 one day I clocked 90mph going under the 8th st overpass, 1.5 miles west of 11th, on its way to 110. Crossing signs at 11th St say "High Speed Trains" but that means nothing to impatient drivers. The headlight looks like it's a long ways off.....boom!
kenN
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Cutlerville MI

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby PatAzo » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:32 pm

The fast food industry has studies that show typical drivers become impatient after 30 seconds of waiting. Having two windows at the drive through is only part for quicker service. It also breaks up the wait time. If you look at the crossings on the line from Chicago toward St Louis where they run 110MPH most of the crossings have four arms.

kenN wrote: Riding 353 one day I clocked 90mph going under the 8th st overpass,


Someday try standing on the south bridge abutment at 8th St when they roll past.
PatAzo
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 912
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:20 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:39 pm

kenN wrote:Not to mention train speed. Gates come down and it seems like a long time before the train gets there. By the time Amtrak gets to 11th St west bound, they are already hitting about 70mph. Riding 353 one day I clocked 90mph going under the 8th st overpass, 1.5 miles west of 11th, on its way to 110. Crossing signs at 11th St say "High Speed Trains" but that means nothing to impatient drivers. The headlight looks like it's a long ways off.....boom!


That would be correct...TransitDocs has 355 hitting 70 mph just before the switch at CP 147.

Those HST signs have been up for just about as long as I can remember. I don't think anyone really pays attention to them anymore.
If the Conductor is in charge of the train, then why is he promoted to Engineer?
NSSD70ACe
The Conrail Guru
 
Posts: 1000
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Doktor No » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:45 pm

Four quadrant gates. Then grandma gets caught between them in her tin lizzie and freezes. I've seen it happen at two quadrant gates...sorta like a squirrel in the road when cars are coming. Total freak out and then...they DO NOT MOVE. 120th and Lakewood in Holland comes to mind, then downtown Holland near the Amtrak Depot...or anywhere else for that matter. It comes down to paying attention and giving up a few seconds of your life or giving up your life period. Simple enough it seems.
Hell, I would stop BEFORE the gates came down just to watch the train go by anyway.
Enjoy Every Sandwich.
User avatar
Doktor No
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:49 pm

Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread postby Steve B » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:29 am

I'm sure I've confused a few drivers by speeding up when I see the gates start to come down- so that I can guarantee myself a front row seat to watch the train go by!
Steve B
Railroadfan...fan
 
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:03 pm
Location: East Lansing

Next

Return to Michigan Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 3 guests

x