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View Full Version : Thousands Aboard six amtrak trains endure a long ordeal


NSFan14
01-01-2006, 06:31 AM
Amtrak passengers along the busy corridor between Florida and New York were delayed for up to 20 hours after eight freight cars derailed on Thursday near Savannah, Ga., blocking the tracks in either direction.

The cars were finally cleared from the rails, but about 2,000 passengers on six trains - three headed north, three south - were still traveling yesterday more than 30 hours after embarking on their trips, said R. Clifford Black, an Amtrak spokesman.

Mr. Black said that the freight train's derailment had occurred at a "choke point" and that the Amtrak trains had therefore been unable to pass around it.

The tracks are maintained by CSX, which said it was investigating to determine the cause of the derailment.

By last night, passengers aboard at least one of the trains, Amtrak 98 from Miami to New York, were broke, hungry, exhausted and, barely having reached South Carolina, still many miles from home. They were also incensed, all the more so since they had been required to pay for whatever amenities were available throughout the ordeal.

"One woman had to pay $15 for a blanket," said Eleanor Meyer, 53, who was headed home to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., after a vacation at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., with her 19-year-old triplets.

"I can't believe in this day and age, for this amount of time, to go this short a distance, people are treated this way," Ms. Meyer said by cellphone.

Ms. Meyer said the first indication that anything was wrong occurred at a station in Jacksonville, Fla.

"They told us there had been an accident on the tracks ahead of us and that we were in for an extended wait," Ms. Meyer said. They had no idea.

The train sat in Jacksonville for 12 hours before it finally started moving again early yesterday morning. But only two hours later, at 6 a.m. in the middle of a forest south of Savannah, it stopped again because of the heavy traffic resulting from the derailment. The second delay was about eight hours.

During the wait, the toilets became clogged. The crew offered no food or water, passengers said, except what was available in the dining car, for a price. Those who could not pay were told they could charge their food, but only if they presented ticket stubs with their credit cards, said one passenger, Nancy Johnson of Washington.

An angered Ms. Johnson called her sister and enlisted her help in contacting The Associated Press. Ms. Meyer and other passengers joined in the effort, and soon news organizations were reporting accounts of the distress.

But despite those reports, Amtrak 98 passengers said at 6 o'clock last night that they still had not been offered meals or a rest stop of more than five minutes to stretch their legs.

Tracy Connell, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said the company was working to provide free meals at the next stop, in South Carolina.

And Mr. Black said of the ordeal, "We regret it deeply."

JBCagle7073
01-02-2006, 03:58 AM
And they want us to come ride the rails with them! I think being late is the rule for them but that's even a little extreem. That's what happens when there is no free market competition for business.

NSFan14
01-03-2006, 04:00 AM
Yeah really amtrak is doing so horable I dont see who want to pay for a ticket and be late for everything....lol

JBCagle7073
01-03-2006, 04:23 AM
It's great if you have a loose itenerary and want to derail 3 times along the way!

NSFan14
01-03-2006, 05:15 PM
Really its like why not drive to get somewhere then pay so much to get somewhere LATE

JBCagle7073
01-06-2006, 03:15 AM
I guess it's the experience of watching freights blow by that you are paying for!

NSFan14
01-06-2006, 04:28 PM
Hahahaha Thats Funny

fuente1
01-10-2006, 05:59 AM
The problem in this situation is poor train management. The conductor should have at least offered passengers some type of meal or beverage at the very LEAST! I dont know if he just didnt care or if the order came down from the corporate office. Piss poor train management on any conductors part will make Amtrak loose paying customers. Amtrak should have refunded the fares for this train as well. Accidents happen and there is nothing Amtrak can do about that when they are a guest on CSX rails. 20 hours to clean up 8 cars is a little extreme on CSX's part but thats just the way it is. Airplanes get delayed to extremes in bad weather similar to this, at least on Amtrak you can get up and walk around and are not crammed in an airplane.

crazyro
01-11-2006, 06:16 PM
Wait! Wait! Why wasn't something done in Jacksonville? 12 hours? Come on! Someone should've known there was trouble ahead. Bring in a couple of buses or something. This is so bad and wrong on some many levels it's not even funny. And here I am, thinking of trying the whole Amtrak experience someday. :roll: Maybe not...

fuente1
01-11-2006, 06:56 PM
Id a done what Im surprised these folks didnt do. Gotten off the train and walked to the nearest town or called for a taxi to take me to the airport! Id like to see a conductor try to stop 200 people from getting off a train :)

CSX 283
01-12-2006, 08:37 PM
That derailment was caused by a local with a hot box! the spendal came out and the wheel came off causing the derailment. Also there is plenty of tracks they could have off on and got around the accident. The derailment happened only about 40 miles from were I take my pics. CSX is spending $2million on replacing ties and purchasing equipment to do the project from Fairfax,Sc to the SC/GA line and the only town along that line which follows US HWY321 with more than 4000 people in it is Columbia SC about 120miles from Savannah. I blame Amatrak not CSX, but its the Gov. running things so what can you expect?

bnsf sammy
01-12-2006, 11:03 PM
And here I am, thinking of trying the whole Amtrak experience someday. :roll: Maybe not...
Heck, even if Amtrak was the worst railroad on the planet I would still travel it just for that whole train experience. How else can you travel the rails as a passenger? Crouded commuter trains? Maybe, but how are you going to get from Sea to Shinning Sea by rail?

cmherndon
01-13-2006, 02:00 AM
How else can you travel the rails as a passenger?

Become a hobo.

but how are you going to get from Sea to Shinning Sea by rail?

I doubt the general public really cares about this. If the trains were on time, and could go cross country in 6 hours, then there wouldn't really be a problem. The public doesn't want to take a week to go cross country. Most everyone wants to get there as quickly as possible.

Everyone, discard your foamer tendencies for a few minutes and put yourself in the shoes of John Q. Public. You want to go from Miami to Los Angeles. Cost of the trip is no problem, but time is. You have three choices: Rail, Plane, or Car. It's about $200 for a flight that lasts around 7 hours. The same trip by rail is scheduled 121 hours (but is probably a lot more) and costs $373. 121 hours is equal to 5 days. The Eisenhower Interstate System will allow you to drive the same distance in 3-4 days and it'll cost in between $200 and $400. Which do you choose?

Note: Prices and Schedules are from United.com and Amtrak.com

fuente1
01-13-2006, 02:21 AM
Heck, even if Amtrak was the worst railroad on the planet I would still travel it just for that whole train experience. How else can you travel the rails as a passenger? Crouded commuter trains? Maybe, but how are you going to get from Sea to Shinning Sea by rail?


If you wanna ride the rails as a passenger go ride a tourist railroad. They are usually on time, if not 15 mins late MAX, and you can ride in nice vintage Pullmans vs the Amtrak's garbage cars. You can also have an exciting locomotive on the point from E & F units to vintage steam locomotives vs. a P42. The price is cheaper and alot more enjoyable than wondering if you are ever gonna get to your destination while empty coal trains and garbage trains (low priority) pass Amtrak in a siding.

bnsf sammy
01-13-2006, 03:35 AM
Become a hobo.

I meant legally :lol:
you can ride in nice vintage Pullmans vs the Amtrak's garbage cars. You can also have an exciting locomotive on the point from E & F units to vintage steam locomotives vs. a P42.
Well, this is where I differ from the croud. Personally, I like the Amtrak Superliners, which I think aren't garbage cars, and I would actually prefer being pulled by a P42 or some other modern locomotive rather than an old steamer or diesels.
The price is cheaper
I think that really depends on the tourist railroad. I know of one, the American Orient Express that costed a heck of a lot more than Amtrak even if you were in First Class everything. Now of course the AOE, is probably not the best thing to compare since it is probably the most expensive, but I don't know of any other tourist railroads that take you on the same route as Amtrak. Just my opinion. ;)

fuente1
01-13-2006, 05:33 AM
Understood, but there is no way to get quality service outa Amtrak or be on time unless you are riding a local. All the Amtrak trains that come thru here Piedmont, Carolinian, and Crescent (should be illegal to call it that with Amtrak's shoddy service record, Claytor is tossing in his coffin right now over that) have old worn out cars on their trains and the Carolinian and Crescent run historically late, not 30-45 mins late, but hours and hours late on a regular basis. The cars on the Piedmont are older than I am and look it. Ive never seen a Superliner anywhere, I thought they were all in Beech Grove awating repair from the numerous times they have been on the ground in their lifetimes. The AOE would be the way to go but its VERY expensive and I doubt it runs on time either since Amtrak hauls it at times. As for the P42, each to their own, we are lucky enough to have a Amtrak local here that at times is pulled by a 40-2, when the regular engines break down, which is fairly often. Amtrak can be neat, just dont expect to arrive anywhere on time, and expect plenty of railfanning time sitting in sidings waiting for low priority trains to pass. Amtrak should let railfans in the open vestibules to photograph all the trains passing their trains while they wait for signals, gotta give people something to do while they watch their day pass them by. Would also be nice is Amtrak could add something interesting to their trains, like full dome cars. As far as traveling anywhere beyond my home state, Ill stick to flying, we only get a certain amount of vacation a year and I dont wanna spend the whole time in a siding. It should also be noted that I have traveled via Amtrak before and had folks going to the same destination via car meet me at the depot, and the folks in the car beat us, in traffic, and something is wrong with that! The best way to see the places Amtrak goes without being on Amtrak used to be the Southern/Norfolk Southern Steam Excursions and they ran on time. But those are gone now unfortunately.
My favorite thing Amtrak does is loose trains. You call their 800 number and request train status of a train that is 2 hours late and Julie says "We have no report for that train at this time, please call back in 30 mins" Its pretty sad when a railfan with a scanner at the depot knows where Amtraks train is, but Amtrak dosent!

bnsf sammy
01-13-2006, 04:01 PM
Would also be nice is Amtrak could add something interesting to their trains, like full dome cars.
Well, see we are on oppisite sides of the nation. I'm on the west coast, and here, the Amtrak cars are pretty nice. We have Superliners and Surfliner cars, the Surfliner cars are really nice and modern. Anyways, on the Coast Stairlight (a Superliner train), which runs from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington, Amtrak has a Pacific Parlour Car which is like a lounge car, only it is exclusive to Sleeper passengers. It has a movie theature on the lower level! Can't beat that! :D

J
01-16-2006, 07:45 PM
No one has made the observation that the recent change in Amtrak senior management has played a role in this mess. Don't blame the conductor. He doesn't have a few thousand dollars in his grip to hire busses or cater meals.

Frederick
01-16-2006, 08:46 PM
That derailment was caused by a local with a hot box!

There's no such thing as a hotbox anymore, now train cars all have roller bearings.

VirginiaSouthern
01-16-2006, 09:08 PM
There's no such thing as a hotbox anymore, now train cars all have roller bearings.

I beg to differ. While they are VERY few and far between, you will still find an occasional piece of equipment on with non-roller bearing trucks in use.

fuente1
01-16-2006, 09:54 PM
J, I agree with you, this problem was probably created by Senior management. The whole system is broken. Dealing with Amtrak on a long trip (thru more than one state) is a pain, be it on the west Coast or East Coast. How often is the Starlight on time without derailment issues? :lol: Maybe one day they will get it fixed/figured out.

cmherndon
01-16-2006, 10:00 PM
There's no such thing as a hotbox anymore, now train cars all have roller bearings.

As mentioned, not all cars have roller bearings. Cars with solid bearings (aka friction bearings) have been banned from interchange, but you'll still find them in use, more than likely on a work train seeing as those don't get interchanged.

Even though cars now have roller bearings, those are still capable of overheating. I know of several instances where trains around here have had to set out cars with hotboxes. If there was no such thing there would be no use for a hotbox detector would there?

VirginiaSouthern
01-16-2006, 10:01 PM
As mentioned, not all cars have roller bearings. Cars with solid bearings (aka friction bearings) have been banned from interchange, but you'll still find them in use, more than likely on a work train seeing as those don't get interchanged.

Even though cars now have roller bearings, those are still capable of overheating. I know of several instances where trains around here have had to set out cars with hotboxes. If there was no such thing there would be no use for a hotbox detector would there?

Thank you for wording that better than I did. That's what I was trying to get at, but couldn't formulate it right.

J
01-17-2006, 01:14 AM
I beg to differ. While they are VERY few and far between, you will still find an occasional piece of equipment on with non-roller bearing trucks in use.
Correct. Plain bearings have been banned from interchange by AAR rules but they can still be found on "captive" cars such as MW / company material.