Originally posted by icepack
reply to post by Frira
I was on a westbound Amtrak train which hit some bad track as it approached Ogden, Utah. The two or three engines made it safely but the baggage car
and first two passenger cars derailed. I was in the fifth car and came to a quick stop because the emergency braking worked just fine when the
air-hose connection was broken from the engines.
did you have a shock after the accident ? i mean, did you need professional help afterwords ?
It was the summer of 1974, and I was fourteen traveling with my parents from Denver to San Francisco to link up with my older brother. My experience
was not at all traumatic-- I had been tackled harder playing football than the forces I encountered in the accident.
It happened between midnight and two in the morning as I recall. I was asleep in private room-- the sudden deceleration rolled me against the forward
wall holding me there until reaching a stop, and then I rolled back against the webbing that exists exactly for such a need. Lots of commotion and
voices as I got dressed in a hurry. A few shouts of concern, but no one screaming or any hint of panic. The conductor was coming down the hall
checking on the occupants of each compartment when I ducked out into the hall.
My car and all behind it were fine, so was the car in front of mine. The one before that was partly off the track. The one before that was over on
its side, and the baggage car was too. Some in those cars went to the hospital, mostly with sprains, cuts and bruises, and I believe one broke an arm
and another with a broken leg.
The conductor asked us to stay on board for about the first 30 or 45 minutes and so I could not see much except the reflection of the flashing lights
of the emergency vehicles. Amazingly, I thought, is that about a dozen men with tools were on the scene within a quarter of an a hour, dragging rail
and spiking new track.
Some spikes had come loose, and the weight of the locomotives was all that section of track could handle. The rail let loose as the baggage car was
on it, and so its wheels slid down the railway bed into the ditch, dragging the car behind with it, and the front of the next one. Since we were
approaching the station, we were slow-- about twenty miles and hour seems right. The injuries, therefore, were not from the sudden deceleration, but
from the falls you would expect when the wall suddenly become the floor and the floor becomes a wall.
While I slept, they removed the two damaged cars, reset the partially derailed car, repaired the track, and shoved us into the station. When I woke
at about dawn, we were already on our way and crossing the Great Salt Lake. The passengers from the two damaged cars were put on buses.
Oddly enough, my first short-story had been for a class assignment to be read aloud two years before that experience; and had been about a passenger
train wreck from the perspective of one inside of the train.