1. #1
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    Default Train Extrication

    The recent Amtrak incident got me wondering if anyone who has ever dealt with a similar situation had any tips, tricks, etc for dealing with extriactions from passenger trains. Also any good books or internet sites out there with this info would be appreciated.

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    Never dealt with one (yet), but I did see a very interesting program on The Discovery Channel about the NTSB investigating an accident in Maryland. During the program, they interviewed by-standers and fire officials who talk about how difficult it was to gain access to the passenger compartments. Supposedly some improvements were made bacause of that incident. I would suspect that if one isn't available yet, there will probably be some programs developed to at least offer awareness training on how to open emergency exits and such.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    We have had lectures in the past from NJ Transit, which runs the trains through my area. Forget about extrication, is their suggestion. Windows, tough to make entry, they claim Glas-Masters won't cut them, you need to remove the entire window...from the inside. You can usually force the car doors open with minimal effort, and that is the best entry you will get. Seats inside the trains are fairly simple to "disassemble". A cut here, a cut there, no more seat. Don't know how Amtrak cars compare to NJ Transit cars.

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    Whilst we've never dealt with a derailment or an extrication from inside of a train, we've had a lot of calls for jumpers and surfers and have had to "pick up the pieces" literally!

    We've put in place the following procedures for train incidents in our area, bearing in mind they may not be relevant to international trains....

    * Our electric trains are fitted with a Master Key. The key must be removed from the train and must not be in the posession of the driver at any time. (Shock can set in- we've witnessed them try to drive off because they're late for the next stop.)

    * No person goes under a train unless the key has been removed and we know the location of the key.

    * We post a person at each end of the train, inside. (Ours can be driven from either end) These two people have radios and at any time can contact the IC if the train is about to be moved or anything else.

    * No vehicles are placed across tracks at any time- way too dangerous.

    * As soon as we arrive, we notify the Train Control Room of the incident an request immediate stoppage of all trains. We also contact the next station at each end of the train to confirm this has occurred.

    * If in doubt, we can place a battery jumper lead between the guage of the tracks- this will trick the signals into beleiving a train has stopped and will set the next two sets of signals into "stop" mode.

    * If at night, a member is sent at least two sets of signals up the track with traffic wands to stop any stray trains, in case they have not been stopped for any reason by the Control Room.

    * No recovery is done from on top of the train until it has been confirmed that the power (22,000 volts) has been isolated.


    Just a few points about our trains and others in general:
    * Watch out for the added height. The picture below shows me in orange and you can see the height of it. (I'm just on 6 feet tall)

    * When recovering from underneath a train, beware of the spread of the body and body parts as per the second picture. You may need to look for a considerable distance to recover all body parts.

    * Under no circumstance can non injured passengers be removed from a train without the express permission of the owners of the train company. (In the incident depicted below, passengers were kept on the train for about 1.5 hours until the authorities arrived and gave permission for their removal.) No emergency service in our area, including Police is authorised to remove passengers.

    * The glass in our trains is only laminated glass. No different to get into than any windscreen on a car.


    Hope this may help in some way...
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    Luke

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    Be prepared to look over a long distance for boday parts under a train. Also be prepared, as per the picture below, you may need to take measures to hide the view from the public or other passengers as they disembark from the train...
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    Texas A&M University offers a comprehensive weeklong program detailing passenger train emergency response. They have a full scale mock train accident which is used during the course. The program is well worth a look.

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    We had a train accident a few years ago over here. It was practically impossible to cut certain parts of the train with the Amkus gear we carry. The metal used on the sides/floor is very very strong and in most cases wider than the jaws can open. If you have to start cutting wreckage to make space, you may be looking at in some cases using oxyacetelene torches.

    Another problem I have heard about, is that during the winter the diesel fuel is mixed with parafin to prevent it freezing up when the train is ldleing or stopped overnight. Burns like crazy and the fumes/smoke as you can imagine are horrendus.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Martin,ALL diesel fuel contains paraffin.That's what clogs the filters in the winter/cold climates.To combat "clouding"k-1 (kerosene)is added to the fuel to prevent gelling.That's why "wintermix" or climatized fuel burns like hell.Kinda like the aviation industry adding small amounts of gasoline to jet fuel for more boost in certain applications.T.C.

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    I can't help you with questions regarding extrication, but we did have an awareness-type class with a local railroad representative.

    Some things that I remember that seem pertinent (and this is reference freight trains):

    1. The locomotives can carry up to 2000 gallons of diesel fuel each.

    2. There is an "engine stop" button on both the left and right sides of the locomotive, roughly in the center, that can be depressed to shut the fuel flow into the engine. We we warned to use this only if necessary because it takes several hours to restart the engine after doing it.

    3. As far as freight cars are concerned, the only thing holding them on the track is gravity. There are no lips or clamps that keeps the wheels on the rails. Likewise, gravity keeps the cars on the axles. That's why during derailments you see axles separated from the cars alot.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    A train traveling too fast at a bridge crossing caused this derailment that stretched for over three miles along the tracks.

    One of the "collapse zones" that was established was this one due to the serious tilt of this rail car.

    We were presented with an unexpected "solution" to this stabilization challenge and I'll post that in the next message.
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    You've heard of tensionsed buttress stabilization. Well this is the version they sell to police departments... the tensioned BUTTress system.

    Actual unretouched image. Honest! He actually ran over there and wanted me to take his picture. What could I say. He's the one with the gun.
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    Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
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    Stabilisation! We don't need no steenking stabilisation!!!
    Luke

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    I'd prefer a Cat with a winch!T.C.

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    101. Thanks for the correction. Never could understand diesel fuel! Had to be one or the other. Just remember it burned quite merrily for a long, long, time.

    rmoore. Do the "cop chocks" work better vertically or horizontally?!
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    Default Rail Safety For Fires Responders

    fire-inst, You specificaly asked about Amtrack cars. I recently took the rail safety class offred by BNSF and a point they drove home is dont walk between or under cars with the HEP (Head End Power) operational. HEP is 480 v ac to keep passangers happy, heat, cool lights. I understand it is not uncommon to see exposed wiring at the connectors. Also Amtrack does not "own" rails, only leases them so you should establish who owns the rail lines in your district.

    Hope this helps some, Ill try to include a link you can request a Rail Safety Class on this post

    http://www.oli.org/presentations.html

    http://www.oli.org/presentations.html

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    That reminds me...even after a train is stopped, movement of a car by three or four feet is possible. This is due to the length of some of these trains. Just because the car you are looking at has completely stopped doesn't mean there isn't movement in the train. So be careful operating under or near the wheels.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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