CSX / Amtrak Silver Star Collison in SC

Hardcoaler Feb 4, 2018

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    It was announced a short while ago that the two fatalities were the Amtrak engineman and the Amtrak conductor. :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
  3. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Reports I'm seeing is that the CSX was parked and the Amtrak had been routed on to the wrong track.
     
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    The below photo is from boston.com and it pretty clearly shows what you posted, that the Star was on the wrong track.
    2018-02-04 Amtrak Crash.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Local news just noted that the signals were out of service and dispatching was being worked by radio.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  6. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I think that's the first photo I've seen that really shows how badly the locomotives were damaged. Wow.
     
  7. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Definitely a head-to-head at speed. Looks like the passing siding lead switch was not aligned properly. Quite possible with manual dispatching. Sad.

    I assume the freight crew saw what was about to happen and hauled it to the woods. Fortunate for them, sad for the Amtrak crew.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Can clearly see the damage to cab area of that ATK engine. Sad. :(
     
  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    The CSX lead engine took the worst damage with what looks like a broken frame. The ATK loco looks to have crushed back only to the engine room bulkhead. Surprisingly the baggage looks to have telescoped only slightly., which speaks well for the new Viewliner-II design.
     
  10. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    Really sad event. :( There certainly could not have been more than a couple of seconds to react between the switch and the collision. I guess all we can do is pray for the injured and the families of the lost crew.
    I've been right by that location a few times. That bridge is usually a good spot to catch a CSX train if I have an extra few minutes when headed in or out of West Columbia. The CSX yard at Cayce SC is maybe 3 miles north of this location and there is an auto unload/distribution facility to the right of crash. the switch right by the locomotives is the first of two that lead into the facility.
     
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  11. jpwisc

    jpwisc TrainBoard Member

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    It looks like the CSX crew neglected to line that switch back for the main after switching the auto unloading facility. I don't think the investigation will take long on this one.
     
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  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, focus now seems to be the turnout and why it was lined and padlocked to route the Star onto the track with the CSX freight.

    I don't know if it was a motorized turnout and with the signal system inoperative, if the turnout could have been actuated if it was motorized.

    All of the evidence is there for the NTSB and the cab video will be of value too.

    CSX Dispatchers have had a tough time of it lately. The railroad announced a re-consolidation of system dispatching in Jacksonville and Dispatchers sold their homes, only to find that the railroad then decided to delay the process. A number of Dispatchers are now living in motels, with and without their families. Throw in systemwide operational changes, PTC cutover and their work situation is a mess.
     
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  13. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Apparently the automatic control systems for that section had been disabled for maintenance. So dispatching, switch settings, movements, etc. were ordered manually by radio.

    This also may be a symptom of the chaos that Hunter Harrison started last year, resulting in rumors, system-wide confusion, and low morale.
     
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  14. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    If the crew of the CSX train incorrectly lined and locked the turnout for their track and left, that would be much like the cause of NS's tragic 2005 wreck at Graniteville, SC where a mainline switch was left in diverging position after a local crew closed out their work and marked off. An NS through freight carrying chlorine and other hazmat commodities was diverted into the spur and wrecked, killing nine people, many from chlorine gas exposure.
     
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  15. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Trains News Wire has posted that the CSX train of 36 empty auto racks and two engines had backed into that siding from the main. Further, it was not known where that train's crew was at the time of the crash.

    There was no follow-up on that subject within the post. However, one might assume that the crew had left the train, each assuming the other had realigned the switch. Had the automatic control and signalling system not been disabled, Jacksonville dispatch would have had an indication of the misaligned switch.
     
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  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hank-

    If you are correct, this is more than just tragic, it is very scary. :(
     
  17. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Ken, possible involuntary manslaughter charges for the CSX crew, if they were the ones who aligned the switch for the backing move in the first place.
     
  18. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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  19. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    That's a great video showing the full impact of the crash.

    I wonder what caused the #4 car to split in the middle and jackknife, when the three cars in front appear to suffer minimum visible damage, except #1 car which telescoped slightly.

    The #1 CSX engine appears to be completely destroyed, broken frame, body almost totally separated from the frame, cab virtually shredded into small pieces. I guess the engine and train brakes were all set. If so, there would be no movement available to absorb the energy from the ATK train, so the #1 CSX engine absorbed it all like a sitting duck. The amount of energy contained in a train moving at track speed amazes me.
     
  20. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    Some of our local "newscasters" are saying that PTC may have prevented this accident. With respect to the deceased and injured, I doubt this could have been prevented considering the signaling system down and the switch aligned to the siding. No "system" can prevent actions from us human beings as long as we are permitted to mess up like this. Sorry, I'm ranting.
     
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