• CSX almost does it again

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New York State.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by erie2937
Tonight, April 29th, there was an interesting incident at the Amtrak station in Depew NY(Buffalo). Train 281 was brought into the station on Track 1 which is separated from the station platform by Track 2. Simultaneously the CSX dispatcher ran an eastbound freight through the station on Track 2. There were quite a few people on the platform waiting for 281 including a group of young girls, probably young collecge kids or maybe high school seniors. Theye were very excited about the imminent arrival of a friend on 281. I was standing on the platform about twenty-five feet to the east of this group. 281 was stopped on Track 2. The eastbound was about one hundred yards west of the depot running at track speed. If the engineer on the freight rang his bell or blew his whistle no one could hear it because of the noise from the engine on 281. Suddenly one of the girls began to run along the platform toward me but she was right on the edge of the platform between the yellow safety line and the edge of the platform. She never saw or heard the eastbound train. I ran toward her and pulled her away from the edge of the platform a matter of seconds before the eastbound went by. Had I not been there I think she would have been struck by the eastbound. It was very close to a disaster. I think the dispatcher should have held one of the trains out of the station area. By running 281 right into the station and allowing the eastbound to run through at the same time created a very dangerous situation. I think there are lot of lucky people in Buffalo tonight, not to mention the crew on the eastbound freight.

  by videobruce
It was a bad afternoon from 4pm on.
Everything was backed up especially the EB's
Two afternoons in a row we were bombed after 4 or 5pm untill 8 or 9pm!

  by roadster
I believe there's a rule violation there. When an Amtrak is stopped at the station on a track not next to the platform, the disp. is suppose to put a block on the open track to protect passengers crossing to and from the train. NORAC rule 121a,b,c . Amtrak should not have pulled into the station knowing they were entering the station with an open track intervening, untill they recieved Disp. assurance that protection was in place. IE: track blocks and stop signals at CP433 and CP 429. No trains should have been allowed to enter the station untill Amtrak had completed it's passenger exchange and cleared the station. The frieght train should have approached the station prepared to stop, unless otherwise notified by Amtrak that they could proceed. Thank God you were observant and took action which may have saved that girls.

  by nydepot
What about the girl who was not paying attention to the signs that say "STAY BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE". Everyone is quick to say that CSX was in complete violation with no real proof. We do have proof that the girl was in the wrong.


  by videobruce
I don't know the details. I was along Bway when he went by on tk. one.
The whole afternoon was a 3 ring circus. 390 was on one at 434 for 3 hours, 380 was on one at 433 for about as long making a p/u after he dropped at 434. 386 was at cp429, 116, 160, 164, and at least one ML were west of cp2. 386 outlawed at the Bay. About 6 WB's were in the picture. The south yd was corked! There were 2 WB vans at 433 getting recrewed. (this wasn't ALL at one time mind you).

Didn't understand what the problem was. Durning Penn Central, that was a typical afternoon!

  by spatch

Where do I start? I have pondered for 5 days now on if I should pipe up on this on or not. This is how it went down as I was working right next to the NG a.k.a. Buffalo terminal dispatcher during this incident. I will tell you REAL story. Amtrak 281 called the NF a.k.a. (main line dispatcher) and said they were coasting into Depew station from cp 423 at 40mph or slower. The engineer of 281 said that the engine was not loading and if they crossed over at cp 429 they might stall in the interlocking and that a mechanical department was awaiting their arrival to Depew to repair the engine. The NG dispatcher who had the switches lined and signal displayed at cp 429 to go from trk #1 to trk #2 for Amtrak took it away and got the burn off then re- lined the switches to bring Amtrak in on #1 trk. He told Amtrak that a freight train was leaving cp 434 and not to pull into the station if it was still going by and would not have protection on #2 trk until he the freight train was clear. There was an understanding between the 2 trains on what was going on. There was protection applied on #2 track. It was confirmed by Amtrak 281 that the freight train had passed and that they had permission to unload and board over track #2 when they got to Depew station. The NORAC rule 121 par. B #2 was being complied with.

Now for the real world application. I have been on station platforms that had tons of people excited about the arrival of the passenger train when a freight train comes screaming by .... taking everyone by surprise. I can recall a person killed doing the same thing a few years ago and this past winter a person was killed in the Boston area using a snowblower on a station platform fouling the tracks by accident. People take for granted that only passenger trains are running next to the station platform. I do also hope that at some point there is an automatic gate device that keeps people away from the tracks until the Amtrak has pulled up. Alot of people are stupid and can not read the warning sign or understand the danger of moving trains.

  by Otto Vondrak
Thanks for clearing the air.

I wish that there were either more stations built as island platforms, or built as high-level platforms...


  by erie2937
The post from Spatch is interesting but, in my opinion, not entirely correct. Amtrak 281 was stopped in front of the Depew station on Track 1 before the eastbound freight went past. The engine was directly in front of the ramp leading from the building to the platform. 281 was NOT east of the depot at all. 281 was IN the depot. Spatch was not there. I was and I know what I saw. The dispatcher's train sheet would not show exactly where 281 was stopped. Two retired NYC/PC/CR/CSX engine men were also there and saw exactly what happened. If a rule was broken then there should be an investigation. I'd be happy to tell my story to anyone officially investigating the incident. So would the two retired gentlemen. HTG

  by Otto Vondrak
Let's not turn this one into a battle, ok?


  by roee
I was down in Jacksonville, FL last week for work and I headed over to the amtrak station in hopes to get some photos. Freight trains run on the station tracks and there was a sign before the crossway to the platform that for saftey no one is allowed onto the platform until called. I of course was bummed because this meant that I couldn't take pictures from there (and I didn't feel like pushing my luck) but it makes sense after reading this.

  by O-6-O
Hey spatch; As I find RR operations most interesting,could you explain
the phrase "burn off" from your above post? Also are engine
crews required to operate their bell and or horn when passing
a passenger platform. I have noticed here in Utica trains oper-
ating with and without sounding a warning. It is indeed a little
scary when a frieght running track speed "sneeks up" on you.
I like a little noise personally. Thanks
sTeam oN

  by videobruce
"Burning off" or "running time" has to do with the time delay built into signals (varies on where you are and the speeds involved) from the time the signal is put to stop and the time the circuit(s) behind the signal is clear and the switches are released so that they can be thrown. I beleive the time is 8 mnutes.

Funny I was 'in the neighborhood' and I didn't hear anything about what was going on (very unusual).

  by spatch
Video Bruce has it mostly right. The process is just as he said but the time limmits of a Burn is set according to the speed of the track and length of the automatic signals. It is a FRA mandate. most burn times are approx 6 min but some like CP Draw in Buffalo are 10 to 12 min. Hey Whitesboro is where I grew up email me at [email protected] sometimes so I can talk about how things are going in Whitesboro.

Spatch OUT