• Heartland Flyer Mishap

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Pensyfan19
 
The engine was briefly lifted off the tracks. (not my photos)
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The first car also got some damage.
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  by John_Perkowski
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 3:56 pm Amtrak and BNSF... damn, but at least we know who's at fault on this one, and it's not the train companies!
Not that the car carrier company and insurance company won’t try.
  by electricron
 
Many auto carrier trailers on the highways today have a very low clearance between the trailer and the highway, the lower they can build the lower deck means there is a lower clearance for obstacles from the upper deck of the trailer. Looking at the photo of the highway/road approaching the crossing, the highway rises at least a foot, possibly more. I can easily see a low clearance trailer getting stuck on the hill/rise/bump at the railroad crossing.
It is not up to the railroad to build a safe level crossing, it is the responsibility of the state to build a safe highway.
  by BM1566GP7
 
There is a one minute video of the crash on youtube. I do not have permission to post it. Seach YouTube for "Amtrak collides with semi Car Hauler in Oklahama".
  by STrRedWolf
 
electricron wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 6:31 pm Many auto carrier trailers on the highways today have a very low clearance between the trailer and the highway, the lower they can build the lower deck means there is a lower clearance for obstacles from the upper deck of the trailer. Looking at the photo of the highway/road approaching the crossing, the highway rises at least a foot, possibly more. I can easily see a low clearance trailer getting stuck on the hill/rise/bump at the railroad crossing.
It is not up to the railroad to build a safe level crossing, it is the responsibility of the state to build a safe highway.
Here's the area in question: https://www.google.com/maps/@33.8388482 ... a=!3m1!1e3

Lets add some more context here: This was a regular semi hauling a low-floor trailer with what looks like three cars on it. It wasn't a high-capacity hauler that would go to a dealership. (John posted the video of the crash)

Also, the crossing in question raises up from a US designated "highway" (even though the speed limit in the area is 55 MPH, it's a 2 lane road) to rail level AND has signage on the US 77 side that essentially says "your trailer will get stuck."

Is there a way around it from the opposite side? Yes, Willer Road taken south, then Hide-A-Way Road west, will get you into Thackerville and US 77. Is there signage saying so? I can't tell from Google Maps, but there's definitely not signage on ether side of the intersection on US 77 to make it more visible.

So from a liability standpoint, the state and county may say "we put signs up warning against it" but I doubt it'll fly in the courts. I also would not be surprised if the trucker had just blindly followed the GPS.

NTSB is going to be poking fingers at everyone.
  by ExCon90
 
electricron wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 6:31 pm
It is not up to the railroad to build a safe level crossing, it is the responsibility of the state to build a safe highway.
It is also the responsibility of the truck driver to remember when he's pulling a lowboy. The MSNBC video shows that the driver shouldn't have needed signs to tell him he wasn't going to make it, since the view makes it clear that he's going to get hung up if he tries it*. The suggestion above that he was blindly following his GPS seems likely. (I believe that GPS devices can take overhead clearances into account when plotting routes if the dimensions of the vehicle are input; can GPS also allow for low clearances of semitrailers?)

* Looking at that video, I wouldn't be too sure about taking a standard 53' dry van over it, since you can't see the other side of the crossing.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
On my road trip last month to Salt Lake City, the only place I attempted to do any railviewing was Granger, WY. That is the Junction of the UP Overland Route and the OSL, or in the Antrak era, route of The Pioneer.

Nothing showed up in the half hour I was prepared to wait (starting to feel uncomfortable; what's this Lexus with Illinois tags up to?), but I did note a large sign at the X-ing for Low Boys to call the UP before doing so.
  by Ken W2KB
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 7:35 pm So from a liability standpoint, the state and county may say "we put signs up warning against it" but I doubt it'll fly in the courts. I also would not be surprised if the trucker had just blindly followed the GPS.


The state and county probably are immune from liability, and especially so if there were warning signs. As a general principle, stemming from the many centuries old English legal principle that "the king can do no wrong", states and the federal government are absolutely immune from tort liability under the doctrine of "sovereign immunity". In the interest of fairness, many states and the feds have enacted so-called tort claims acts which allow limited liability under certain limited circumstances. See for example this official Oklahoma State presentation which contains the general statement: "A. The State of Oklahoma does hereby adopt the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The state, its political subdivisions, and all of their employees acting within the scope of their employment, whether performing governmental or proprietary functions, shall be immune from liability for torts." https://www.ok.gov/DCS/documents/2011-O ... ebinar.pdf
  by STrRedWolf
 
Ken W2KB wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 9:33 am The state and county probably are immune from liability, and especially so if there were warning signs. As a general principle, stemming from the many centuries old English legal principle that "the king can do no wrong", states and the federal government are absolutely immune from tort liability under the doctrine of "sovereign immunity". In the interest of fairness, many states and the feds have enacted so-called tort claims acts which allow limited liability under certain limited circumstances. See for example this official Oklahoma State presentation which contains the general statement: "A. The State of Oklahoma does hereby adopt the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The state, its political subdivisions, and all of their employees acting within the scope of their employment, whether performing governmental or proprietary functions, shall be immune from liability for torts." https://www.ok.gov/DCS/documents/2011-O ... ebinar.pdf
Thus why I say "Probably". They will get sued, and a lawyer is going to capture some photos as evidence. I leave proper judgement to the courts on that.
  by electricron
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 11:54 am Thus why I say "Probably". They will get sued, and a lawyer is going to capture some photos as evidence. I leave proper judgement to the courts on that.
Whether the State is liable or not, whether the truck driver is liable or not, the fact remains the highway crossing over the tracks is not safe for low boy trailers. It would probably cost far less that what the lawyers will get paid in the future lawsuits to fix this highway-railroad crossing for low boy trailers, imho.
If you can not make every inch of state highways safe for low boy trailers, maybe the state should ban low boy trailers? :(
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
As I have reported here at various postings, I believe that the allocation of liability between Amtrak and BNSF is essentially "no fault". If such still prevail, then Amtrak is responsible for the removal and repair of their equipment as well as any injuries to passengers and employees (the TV news reporter said none, but who knows what crawls out of the woodwork).

BNSF is responsible for restoring the track and any damage to lineside equipment or structures.

If this trucking company is small, you'd be amazed how low the minimum liability coverage is - double that statement "in Spades" in states such as OK. Their insurance very likely is "blown".

Fortunately the driver did not try to "play hero" and bailed out along with his dogs. "The music will play", but he lives to see another day.