Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

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NSSD70ACe
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Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

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
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chapmaja
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by chapmaja »

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.

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Ypsi
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Ypsi »

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.
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chapmaja
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by chapmaja »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by kenN »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

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.
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by MQT1223 »

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.
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by chapmaja »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Saturnalia »

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.
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by chapmaja »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by justalurker66 »

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

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by PatAzo »

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".

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Standard Railfan »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by justalurker66 »

Indubitably.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Buster Manning »

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...

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by kenN »

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!

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by PatAzo »

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.

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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

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.
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Doktor No
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Doktor No »

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.
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Re: Amtrak vs Car in KAL, 3 Dead

Unread post by Steve B »

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!

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