KevinD wrote:Plus, with the slip-out on the west side (downstream) and not the east side (upstream) tells me the over saturation happened on the west side. That likely happened from a downstream obstruction in the wooded area that has been cleared post-derailment.
Now I AM confused. (i t does not take much!
). Maybe I need my coffee first.
First, when dealing with railroad situations like this, it is often helpful to rely on timetable direction, not compass direction. This keeps us away from the "sorta-southeast to sorta northwest" stuff. As far as I know, Buffalo to Binghamton is timetable eastward. So regardless of curves and bends, the train was headed east and anything on the engineer's side is south. Anything on the fireman's side is north. (OK, OK, it's 2018. Anything on the CONDUCTOR'S side is north!
As near as I can tell from the photos and the Google Maps pics, the engine went down the bank to the north. This is supported by the report the crew was evacuated to the farmhouse on the north. And aerial pic show the stream is flowing south to north. That's right to left as seen from the engineer's seat as they approach the problem.
So you are saying there was an obstruction farther downstream which backed up the water until it weakened the embankment, allowing it to slump to the north. Not impossible, and that could be a reason why an NS track inspection would not have picked up the problem, especially if it was inspected before the water accumulated. The guy would be looking at his own right of way, and would probably not see something downstream in the woods.
Has anybody seen an overhead shot of the scene before all the cleanup started? I'm curious whether there is a slump on the north side, or if there is a notch cut through the whole embankment. The latter scenario would suggest the body of water was south of the embankment and ate through the whole thing.
EDIT - From JoeS's post above, the south side gave way?