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Another AMTRAK Wreck in Kali
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ClydeDET
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Another AMTRAK Wreck in Kali
 
« on: Oct 13th, 2011, 3:55pm »
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What in the world is going on with passenger service in Kali? Two AMTRAK trains collided in the Jack London Square station in Oakland yesterday. Apparently a San Joaquin ran a red and smacked into a Coast Starlight stopped to detrain and ick up passengers at 15-20 mph. Supposed to be 16 passengers and train crew injured, most serious injury a broken arm.

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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Another AMTRAK Wreck in Kali
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 14th, 2011, 1:05am »
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Today's Oakland Tribune reports that the collision happened around 10:00 Wednesday night (October 12), between the northbound Coast Starlight and a southbound San Joaquin. The impact was nose-to-nose. I believe that the San Joaquins usually run in push-mode southbound, and also that southbound San Joaquins and the northbound Starlight share the same rails, in the same direction, northeast from Oakland-- this MAY indicate that, (1) the Starlight may have rear-ended the parked San Joaquin, or, (2) the San Joaquin trainset may have backed into the parked Starlight.  Captions to the photos on the website consistently suggest the latter explanation.
 
The Starlight's Genesis unit (#47) has a very clear "dimple" in the center of its nose, presumably made by the nose of the San Joaquin's power-- unit #2004, which, incidentally, wears a special rail-safety-awareness paint job, complete with the words "Stay Away. Stay Alive." across the nose at the point of impact.
 
 
Relieved it wasn't worse,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2011, 1:17am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
George_Harris
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Re: Another AMTRAK Wreck in Kali
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 14th, 2011, 3:13am »
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There has been a certain amount of directional and other confusion in this accident.  Both trains were nominally northbound.  The San Joaquin trains run north up the valley on the BNSF (ex ATSF) line to a point a few miles east - by the compass that is - of Martinez, at which point they go over to the UP (ex SP) line to finish their trip to Oakland.  As a consequence of geography and this maneuver the nominally northbound San Joaquin trains are running southbound on UP the last several miles of their trip.  
 
Thus, the San Joaquin was engine leading at the time of the collision and the collision was nose to nose, that is, engine to engine.  Indications are that the Starlight was stopped at the time.  
 
The SJ train was no. 717, which is our normal return to the Bay Area from seeing our son in Fresno.  According to the press, there were only 8 passengers on the train.  This is no surprise since the passenger loading drops from Stockton on, with almost all remaining getting off at Emeryville to catch the buses across the Bay Bridge into SF itself.  
 
Both trains were right at on schedule at the time of the collision.
 
It appears to be a fairly straightforward misses signal accident.  I would guess the collision speed to be around 10 mph, maybe a little less, but not much less.  The pictures indicate that it was primarily the railroad equivalent of a fender bender.  Apparently the Starlight spent the night in Oakland.  I have heard, but am not certain, that the Starlight resumed its trip about 8:00 this morning.  My guess is that if the engineer had hit the emergency brake around 5 seconds or a little more before he actually did, there would have been no collision at all.


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George_Harris
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Re: Another AMTRAK Wreck in Kali
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 14th, 2011, 6:03pm »
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Here is a summary of known and speculative information floating around here.  It was put together for a person outside the US, thus the use of the 24 hour clock and the term "SPAD" which is a British acronym for "Signal Passed at Danger", i.e., passed a red signal.
 
It was about 10:00 pm (US Pacific Time) on Wednesday night.  The trains involved were #717, one of the San Joaquin trains out of Bakersfield due into Oakland at 21:55.  Thanks to slack in the schedule, if on time leaving Richmond CA, he could have gotten to Oakland as early as 21:45.  Although nominally northbound, he was heading south by the compass entering Oakland.  These trains are usually 5 cars plus diesel push-pull trainsets, normally, as was this one, operating in pull mode in the Bakersfield to Oakland direction.  The other train was #14, the Coast Starlight, running Los Angeles to Seattle.  Its schedule at Oakland was arrive 21:32, leave 21:42.  These trains are normally longer, but I do not know their normal consist or that of this particular train, but it includes coaches, sleepers, a diner and a baggage car, and, I think normally 2 diesels.  Based on the time of collision, it can be said that both trains were reasonably close to on schedule.  
 
There are a couple of versions out there about how it happened.  
 
As to the what:  Train 717 went through a crossover that was set to put in on the track occupied by train 14 which was standing in the station.  When the engineer of train 717 realized that he was going into Train 14, he put the brakes in emergency, but not soon enough to avoid impact.  The engines hit nose to nose.  The result was the railroad equivalent of an automobile fender bender.  The speed of collision has been stated to be about 15 mph, but I am inclined to believe it was somewhat less.  Probably in the range of around 10 mph.  The front axle, maybe the front bogie of the engine on train 717 derailed.  The number of injured, apparently all on train 14, has been stated to be between 16 and 20, depending upon source of information.  The most serious was a broken arm on the engineer of train 14.  
 
The passenger count on train 717 was given as 8.  No passenger count was given for train 14.  The passenger count was so low because this was train 717's last stop.  Generally beginning at Stockton the passenger count on these train starts to drop, with almost all remaining getting off at Emeryville.  Emeryville is the stop immediately preceding Oakland and the location for connecting buses to points in San Francisco and several other bay area points.  It is also in a better part of town than Oakland station.
 
There are several versions of the events leading up to the collision, not all compatible with each other.  Here are the reasonably certain portions of one of these versions.
 
1.  At CP King Street #717 got a yellow, with the red over red at CP North Jack London, which should be clearly visible from CP King St, unless there was fog. But still yellow means be prepared to stop at the next signal anyway.
 
2.  #717 carried on past the red over red and into the same track as #14, and emergency brakes were applied as it crossed the switch.
 
3.  #717 collided into #14 at 15 mph or so, derailing the front axle of both locomotives.
 
4.  A download of CTC confirmed that the signals were displaying as stated above.
 
5.  There were two engineers on #717.  One was the regular engineer.  The other was doing a qualification or requalification run.  Where they were at the time of the accident is a matter of disagreement at this time.
 
5.  One of the two engineers had gone from the engine to the cab car at the other end of the train in order to expedite the backup move the train would be making after stopping at Oakland.  Which was where is part of the uncertain information.
 
Some of the alternatives are as follows:  
 
It has been stated that one of the engineer had a previous SPAD violation.  Which one is one point of uncertainty.  Some have stated that the student engineer was the one with the SPAD and that this run was to requalify him.  Others have stated that the engineer with the prior "passing red" violation was the primary engineer, and that his SPAD had been several years previously.  
 
Most versions have engineer with the previous SPAD as being the one operating the engine even when they disagree which of the two was the previous rule violator.  The versions that have the primary engineer as the one with the SPAD violation have the other one being requalified after being disqualified due to a drugs and alcohol violation.  
 
The railroad: Track owner is Union Pacific.  This is ex-Southern Pacific territory.  
 
The distance between Emeryville and Oakland is 5.1 miles.  
There is a milepost equation at Oakland 10th Street.  Milepost 2.2 on the Martinez Subdivision going north equates to milepost 4.2 going south on the Niles Subdivision.  
Emeryville is at milepost 4.5 2.2 equals 2.3 miles from 10th street on the Martinez Sub.
Oakland Jack London Square Amtrak station is at milepost 7.0 4.2 equals 2.8 miles from 10th street on the Niles Sub.
 
Maximum speed in this area is 50 mph for passenger trains and 40 mph for freight trains In the vicinit of Jack London Square Station, Niles Sub mileposts 5.9 to 7.6,, the speed limit is 25P/15F.  Speed limit on passenger tracks at Emeryville and Jack London are 20 mph and 25 mph respectively.  The crossover at Jack London appears to be a 25 mph crossover.  The crossover south of Emeryville, which #717 may or may not have used, is a 15 mph crossover.
 
Operation is by CTC signal indication.  The turnouts involved, and all others into, out of, or between main tracks in this area are power operated.
 
Due to the relatively minor damage and lack of death or serious injury, I do not know whether this accident will rate a NTSB investigation.  
 
 
 


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