Walking Boston reports a turkey flew into the windshield of the engine powering his Boston-bound Amtrak regional train in Mansfield shortly after 4 p.m., forcing the train to a halt.
Gregory Colica, heading to the Hub from New York tweets the announcement that came over the PA after train 86 stopped:
A wild turkey jumped up and smashed the windshield, so we had to stop and brush it off. Sorry for the delay folks - Boston in 10.
Moving, but at low speed. Conductor said that wind is the problem, trying to avoid further breakage.
Photo of the aftermath at South Station below the fold ...
Kamikaze turkey takes out car on 128.
The folks at Railroad.net report the Grand Junction bridge over the Charles River - which connects rail lines north and south of the city - has had to be shut again, only three months after it was re-opened following extensive repairs.
The bridge is used for produce shipments to the Chelsea market and lets Amtrak and MBCR ferry trains to repair facilities on either side of the Charles (South Boston for Amtrak, Somerville for MBCR). With the bridge shut again, trains have to go on a circuitous route via Worcester County.
A couple years ago, state officials bought the Grand Junction bridge and East Cambridge rail line in the hopes of routing some Worcester Line trains to North Station. They've since shelved those plans.
A Brooklyn man wanted in four states was pulled off a New York-bound Amtrak train in Westwood Tuesday morning after other passengers complained he was acting strangely and police found he was packing a stun gun - and a decent-sized collection of fake IDs and bogus scripts for prescription medicines - the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports:
Extensive delays on the Lowell Line this morning after an Amtrak train smashed into a car at High Street in West Medford. MBTA Transit Police report:
Minor injury to driver, substantial car damage.
As of 9 a.m., the Lowell Line alerts page had seven alerts - all showing cancellations or extensive delays.
MBTA Transit Police report a "trespasser" on the tracks was struck and killed by a Boston-bound Amtrak train between Mansfield and Sharon late this afternoon, and that both commuter-rail and Amtrak service is now halted as police investigate. Buses are on the way to pick up passengers, MBCR says.
Zach Lanier tweets:
Currently on Amtrak #2160, sitting between Providence and Rte128. Our train hit someone crossing the tracks; fatality.
Rob Goodwin, also on the train, tweets:
I feel horrible for the Amtrak crew. I don't know how I would cope in their shoes. Having a tough enough time coping with it in mine.
Why you don't want to be on the tracks in Mansfield or Sharon:
Update, 7:25 p.m.: One track was cleared and limited train service through Ruggles resumed.
Commuter-rail and Amtrak service through Ruggles is stopped as transit and fire officials investigate a fatal train-vs-person collision on the inbound side this evening. The T is describing it as a "trespasser strike."
Dan Esdale reports his outbound train to Franklin stopped, then headed back to South Station.
In the other direction, Craig Herman reports an Amtrak train is just sitting at Forest Hills.
Bill managed to get on one of the trains actually moving between New York and Boston last night. Then a tree fell against the overhead wires in Readville around 11 p.m., caught fire and brought the Northeast Corridor to a halt again, with powerless trains just sitting on the tracks for almost 90 minutes. He reports:
After a 3hr 22 minute delay, Amtrak train 2170 arrives at South Station.
Downed power lines somewhere in the Canton area mean no Amtrak service between Boston and New York and, of course, massive delays on the Providence/Stoughton Line that have left stranded commuters hoping for the buses the T is promising.
Amtrak blames a Somerville trucking company for a truck/train crash in Maine last month that killed the truck driver, injured several passengers and did millions of dollars in damage to the Downeaster train.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court, Amtrak says Triumvirate Environmental, Inc. should never have let Peter Barnum behind the wheel of a tractor trailer hauling trash because "it knew or should have known was unqualified to operate the Kenworth
tractor trailer combination."
MBTA Transit Police report Benjy Barlatier, 28, of Hyde Park, died last night when hit head on by a speeding Acela train.
According to the report, Barlatier was hanging with two friends near the benches on the inbound platform when he "unexpectedly" got up and dashed across the tracks nearest the platform onto the center set of tracks:
Barlatier reversed his direction and proceeded back to the platform and was fatally struck while attempting to cross over [the tracks nearest the platform].
The engineer of the inbound train estimated it was doing 120 m.p.h. when it hit Barlatier around 10:30 p.m. Police say the engineer saw Barlatier before the strike and immediately applied the emergency brakes, but at that speed, it took 1.26 miles to stop the train - it came to a halt just past the West Street bridge.
Barlatier's remains were brought to the state medical examiner's office for examination.
UPDATE: Victim identified as Hyde Park man.
An Acela train barreling through Hyde Park station struck and killed somebody around 10:30 p.m. The engineer immediately applied emergency brakes, but it still took several blocks for the train to come to a stop - just on the other side of the West Street bridge, well north of the station.
More than 100 passengers sat on the train for more than two hours beside beside a wall painted with "Welcome to Boston," while outside, police and firefighters also waited, to help transfer passengers to a promised relief train from South Station that never came.
"The train crew haven't announced what happened, but passengers told them we read about what happened on Twitter," Jesse, a passenger on the train reported.
He added that the train "coasted to a stop with a burning electrical smell that I presume was the brakes. AC was off for a few, then kicked back on."
At 12:45 a.m., after an inspector took one last look around the train, the engineer sounded its horn twice and the train took off for Back Bay and South Station.
Meanwhile, back at the Hyde Park commuter-rail stop, investigators continued to examine the tracks and put down evidence cones along the inbound platform. Three white tarps covered remains along the center tracks.
Acela engine encased in snow at South Station.
Stephanie counted herself lucky: She had a ticket on the 5:10 Amtrak train out of South Station - one of the last to leave before the rail line shut down service because of the storm. She reports refugees from the all-canceled Fung Wah streamed into the train station:
Passengers crying I MUST GET TO NY! ... I saw one woman screaming "I will sue Amtrak" - it was nuts.
The Federal Railroad Administration today awarded the money to the state to begin planning seven new tracks at South Station to support new commuter-rail and Acela service to and from Boston. The new tracks would terminate at what is now the post office on Fort Point Channel; federal and state officials continue to work on moving that facility nearby.
State transportation officials say a $120 million grant to Connecticut will upgrade the tracks between New Haven and Springfield, which will eventually allow for more service between Boston and New York inland, rather than along the coast. Amtrak recently said it would use this route to dramatically cut travel time between the two cities - over the next 40 years.
The Boston Fire Department is on scene at the main rail line through Hyde Park, where wind toppled a tree onto the inbound catenary lines, causing it to burst into flames. Rail traffic was stopped in both directions as firefighters awaited the arrival of an Amtrak crew who could turn off the power to allow the charred remnants to be removed and to inspect the wires for damage.
Amtrak unveiled its vision for a Next-Gen High Speed Rail system along the northeast corridor, and it's pretty spiffy. The Super Express would travel non-stop between Boston and New York City in just 83 minutes - and, after stopping at Penn and Grand Central in New York, and again in Philadelphia, get passengers all the way to Union Station in Washington DC in just 3 hours and 23 minutes. That's about as long as the typical Sox game - and probably a little faster than flying, once travel to the airport and security screenings are factored in.
Commuter rail service to Providence is being terminated at South Attleborough due to an earlier fire on a bridge over the tracks in Pawtucket.
The wooden bridge in question is at the state line, and crosses both the southbound and northbound Amtrak lines in Pawtucket. It does not carry the rail line itself. Also, the bridge is a single span, and there is no central pier between the two tracks.
So the T's statement that only "outbound" service to Providence has been suspended is very curious indeed. And if the Pawtucket fire chief has declared the "inbound" track as safe to use, then no service should be suspended at all. The NEC is set up to allow trains to run in either direction on either track, and there are crossovers at both Providence and South Attleborough.
BTW, here's the T's alert about the disruption:
Prov/Stou - Due to a track closure, outbound service will terminate at South Attleboro. Substitute bus service will be provided between South Attleboro and Providence. Please anticipate delays and allow extra time for your commute. 9/16/2010 12:33 PM
Amtrak reports Acela trains met their schedules only 70% of the time in July, down from 79% over the past year.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a proposal by some grad students at the University of Pennsylvania for re-doing the Northeast Corridor the right way. The catch? It would cost roughly $98 billion, part of which would go for a new inland route through Connecticut and a tunnel under Long Island Sound.
"We started with a different framework than Amtrak," said Bryan Rodda, 26, one of the student authors. "Amtrak said, 'What's the best we can do to make sure it doesn't fall apart?' and then, 'What is the best we can do with what we have to improve travel time?'
"We asked, 'What can we do if we rejected the way it is now and do actual, true high-speed rail and get travel time below two hours?' "
Via The Transit Wire.
Channel 4 reports medics had to be called to the Regional train out of South Station, stuck in Larchmont, NY, for power problems, after Amtrak refused to let passengers off to avoid messing up the schedules for other Northeast Corridor trains.
Then you know that huge stone and arch bridge the train snakes across not long before you sink into the darkness of the tunnel into Manhattan. Vanshnookenraggen, the guy who gave us FutureMBTA (imagine if Boston had a subway system like three times as extensive as it does now), recently took a completely unauthorized trek to the top of the Hell Gate Bridge, and returns with some amazing photos.
Rob Bellinger reports from Forest Hills, where, after 30 minutes, his Acela train to Boston has not moved. It's the fifth straight delayed Acela train he's been on:
... Two functioning commuter trains have been dispatched past our High Speed equipment, and nearly a half dozen Orange Line subway trains have passed us on the adjacent tracks. ...