MORE ON AMTRAK LOCOMOTIVE 74
Here is road number 74 from the 1996/97 Amtrak Genesis order from the GE Transportation Division at Erie, Pennsylvania. Six or seven of the ten are still on duty in 2023. The situation with #74 is uncertain as of July 2023 because of involvement in a road crossing incident at Moorpark, California.
The 70's group had a loss to fire in 2011, as #70 burned while serving on the Lakeshore Limited. There were faulty fuel injectors blamed for fires in several locomotives that year. Also a total loss from that same cause was #49 in a different incident. Engine #73 has now been out of service for more than a year, sitting at Beech Grove with obvious scratches and tears down the engineers side. It is not known whether it can or will be brought back to active duty. It was the trailing unit behind #58 on the Coast Starlite March 18, 2021 when a contractor left a bobtruck too close to the tracks. A collision and fire ensued. Engine 58 was patched back up, but #73 ended up at the Grove on June 9, 2021. Was there another incident with #73 between March and June? We don't know.
Also missing in action in 2023 is #79. #79 - Serial 49617(April 1997): Among other incidents, #79 was involved with a stalled truck load of gypsum boards at a crossing November 8, 2018 on the Silver Meteor. Not reported since September 17, 2022.
Serial numbers for 70-79 are between 49608 and 49617. Build dates were March and April 1997. After delivery in the 1993 style paint, all were eventually refurbished into 2000 millennial livery. Road numbers 75 and 77 first received northeastern 1998 varient, all the rest going directly into low shirt millennium paint during 2002. Both #75 and #76 had early repainting due to wreck damage (the latter due to a derailment and overturn). Nose cones were all changed to the bolt-on variety by the end of the decade.
ENGINE 74 HAS HAD CLOSE CALLS
In September 2021, #74 was leading the Empire Builder, train 7, west of Joplin, Montana with #38 trailing. The last 8 cars of the ten car consist derailed after encountering a track misalignment, just shy of the East Buelow switch in Liberty County. Amtrak train 8 had passened the point of derailment three hours earlier without incident, as well as a BNSF freight train. Evidence gathered from the scene indicated that wheel flanges overrode a temporary four-bolt track joint that had been installed earlier in the summer when crosstie work was being performed. The National Transportation Safety Board released its final report in July 2023, assigning primary fault to horizontal and vertical track displacement. A contributing cause was an overworked BNSF track inspector. No causative blame was assigned to Amtrak crew or equipment.
Locomotives #74 and #38 did not derail. There were three passenger fatalities, and 49 injuries. Of the fatalities, two were between cars in the vestibule when the cars separated. Six passengers in the sightseer lounge were ejected with the window systems failed, one of those being a fatality. The NTSB recommended, among other things, a tightening of standards for rail wear, increased use of autonomous track inspection systems, and less workload management pressure on track inspectors.
In many respects, the Liberty County, Montana accident was similar to the fate of a Southwest Chief in Kansas, in that both were caused by track misalignment. In the Kansas incident, though, the misalignment had been caused by an unreported truck rollaway from an agricultural cooperative adjacent to the railroad right of way. Had the damaged track been reported as it should have been, that incident could have been prevented.
THE MOORPARK INCIDENT
In June, 2023, #74 was trailing the special paint Charger unit #300 on the Coast Starlight when a truck was encountered near Moorpark, California at a private un-gated crossing. It suffered some damage, and was at least partially derailed in the incident. Evidently the trucks fuel tank ruptured under #74, causing some fire damage as well. There were some reported on-board injuries. We will post additional information as further investigation takes place.
Following were recent sighting reports for #74 prior to the Moorpark incident:
#74 - Serial 49612(April 1997): Repainted March 18, 2018. Leading westbound Empire Builder September 24, 2021 Montana incident near Joplin. Locomotives did not derail but passenger cars mostly did.
Train 20 of February 2, 2023; train 19 of February 5, 2023. Train 90 February 22. Train 86/125 Virginia Feb 28.
Trains 174/95 Mar 1. Trains 94/85 Mar 3. Train 91 Mar 11(w/60). Train 92 Mar 13(w/60). Train 98 Mar 16(w/60). Train 91 Mar 17(w/60). Train 98 Mar22(w/60). Train 91 Mar23(w/60). Train 92 Mar25(w/157+60). Train 29 Mar28(w/101).
Tr2 Apr19(w/194). Tr1 Apr22(w/194). Tr 4 May1(w/137). Tr 3 May4(w/137). Tr4 May6(w/199). Tr 3 May9(w/199). T4 May11(w/199). T3 May14(w/199). T4 May16(w/199). T3 May19(w/72). T4 May21(w/72). T3May24(w/72). T4May26(w/72). T3May29(w/72).
T2Jun4(w/136). T1Jun7(w/136). T2Jun9(w/136). T1Jun12(w/136). T2Jun14(w/171). T1Jun17/18(w/171). T14Jun20(w/189). T11Jun22(w/300). T14Jun24(w/300). T11Jun26(w/300). T14Jun28(w/300). Partially derailed and some fire damage near Moorpark, CA.
July 28, 2023 Update from 4rr.com feedback at 4rr.com