Posts Tagged ‘NS derailment at Swanton’

Delta Woman Convicted of 2 Charges Stemming From June Derailment of Norfolk Southern Train in Swanton

September 25, 2019

Am Ohio woman has been convicted in a criminal case stemming from a June 6 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Swanton, Ohio.

Logan Guess, 26, of Delta, pleaded no contest this week to two charges in Fulton County Common Pleas Court.

Authorities said Guess left a vehicle on the Chicago Line tracks next to the Main Street crossing.

A westbound NS container train struck the vehicle, drug it a short distance and derailed after the SUV became snagged in a switch.

Damage from the derailment had both mainlines blocked for more than 24 hours.

Guess was convicted of interference with the operation of a train, a fourth-degree felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a first-degree misdemeanor.

She will be sentenced in six to eight weeks after court officials complete a pre-sentence investigation. Guess will remain out on her own recognizance until sentencing.

No serious injuries resulted from the derailment, which NS said caused nearly $1.4 million in damage.

No hazardous materials were involved in the derailment and none of the spilled containers struck an occupied building.

Woman Indicted in Connection with NS Derailment

July 18, 2019

A Delta, Ohio, woman has been indicted in connection with an incident that led to the derailment of a Norfolk Southern container train in early June.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Logan P. Guess, 25, who was indicted in Fulton County on charges of interfering with the operation of a train, a fourth-degree felony, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Guess is alleged to have left an SUV parked on the NS tracks in Swanton on June 6 that subsequently was struck by the westbound train.

After the collision, the rain pushed the vehicle until it snagged on a switch. The lead locomotive of the Chicago-bound train subsequently derailed.

The derailment blocked the busy NS Chicago Line for more than 24 hours.

There were no serious injuries in the derailment, which narrowly missed striking several buildings.

Police Identify Suspect Driver in NS Derailment

June 16, 2019

Police have identified the woman who they believe was the driver who left an SUV on the tracks in Swanton, Ohio, before it was struck by a westbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train that subsequently derailed.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the driver is thought to be Logan Paige Guess, 25, of Delta, Ohio.

In a statement, Lt. Shawn Robinson, commander of the Toledo post, said that although Guess has not yet been charged with a crime, a report likely will be submitted to the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration and possible presentation to a grand jury.

Robinson said the investigation remains ongoing.

Guess is alleged to have driven a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe onto the NS tracks in Swanton and then left it there. The driver later fled the scene.

The derailment, which occurred around 10:17 p.m. on June 6, caused two locomotives and 15 cars carrying containers to derail on the NS Chicago Line.

Both mainline tracks in Swanton were blocked until Saturday morning.

Authorities said the train pushed the SUV until it snagged at a switch, leading to the derailment.

Aside from damage to the consist of the train, five other motor vehicles were damaged. However, there were no injuries and no major damage to any buildings or homes.

The derailment also led to an electrical outage that affected more than 4,000 customers.

Police have said that alcohol use is suspected in the crash.

Little Info Still About Driver Who Triggered Derailment

June 10, 2019

As Norfolk Southern returns to normal operations following a derailment last Thursday in Swanton, Ohio, on its busy Chicago Line, authorities continue to investigate what contributed to the derailment.

Authorities have not identified the driver of a vehicle left on the tracks that was struck by a westbound stack train which triggered the derailment.

Police have not said if the owner of the vehicle was the driver who left the vehicle on the tracks and fled the scene and have said little about the circumstances of how the vehicle got onto the tracks.

No injuries were reported in the derailment, which sent two locomotives and 14 cars off the rails.

One track was reopened early Saturday morning and the second track opened late Saturday morning.

The Trips From Hell

June 8, 2019

A very late eastbound Capitol Limited cruises through Rootstown on Friday afternoon.

Even before their trip began on Thursday evening, passengers aboard Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited were already experiencing adversity.

No. 30 pulled out of Chicago Union Station at 9:53 p.m., 3 hours and 13 minutes late.

Little did they know that that wasn’t the worst of what would turn into a journey from hell.

More than 200 miles away in Swanton, Ohio, a town of 3.600 that many of those aboard the train had never heard of, workers dealing with the aftermath of a derailment that was blocking both mains of the route used by Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

Those booked on Amtrak train No. 30 of June 6-7 to travel the distance to Washington Union Station would finally reach the end of their journey at 5:06 a.m. Saturday, 16 hours later than they expected.

Passengers aboard the Lake Shore Limited that left Chicago at 10 p.m., 30 minutes late would have an equally hellish ride. By the time No. 48 reached South Bend, Indiana, it was 58 minute down. The worst was yet to come.

Both Nos. 30 and 48 would not get beyond Bryan, Ohio.

Their train sets were combined in Bryan and returned to Chicago, leaving there at 1:28 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 4:58 p.m.

But at least those traveling westbound got to where they were going on Friday. It would be a different story for those headed east on Nos. 30 and 48.

The equipment that had passed through Northeast Ohio on Nos. 29 and 49 early Friday morning turned back at Toledo.

Crews turned the entire consist of No. 29 which returned to Washington as No. 30. The locomotives of No. 49 were cut off and placed on what had been the rear of the train to transform it into No. 48.

As for the passengers, those going east disembarked at Bryan, which is a regular stop for the Lake Shore Limited, but not for the Capitol Limited.

Westbound passengers got off in Toledo. School buses rented from the Sylvania school district were used to shuttle passengers between trains.

The Blade of Toledo reported a passenger as saying that Amtrak underestimated how many buses were needed and coordination and accommodations could have been better.

But Meleke Turnbull told the newspaper it could have been worse, too. “I’m still in a positive, good mood,” she said.

Jack Ciesielski, who was en route by train from Baltimore to California, said his train halted some time after midnight. Passengers were told later there had been a derailment ahead.

“They handled it coolly and professionally,” Mr. Ciesielski said about the Amtrak staff.

Maureen Ciesielski said her fellow passengers maintained a positive attitude, helping each other with luggage and while being kind, and for the most part, understanding.

Railway Age magazine published on its website an account written by David Peter Alan, the chairman of the Lackawanna Coalition, a rail passenger advocacy group in New Jersey.

He was one of those aboard the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

He said No. 48 arrived in Bryan at 3:20 a.m. The school buses that would transport them to Toledo did not arrive until 8 a.m.

One of the bus drivers reported that she was called at 6:30 a.m. to go to work transporting Amtrak passengers.

Alan said there were seven schools buses dispatched to Bryan, which he said was not nearly enough to handle the number of passengers from Nos. 30 and 48.

The first wave of passengers left Bryan at 8:27 a.m. and arrived in Toledo at 9:47 a.m. They then picked up passengers from Nos. 29 and 49 and took them to Bryan.

No. 29 had arrived in Toledo on time at 6:19 a.m. whereas No. 49 arrived at 6:19 a.m., 25 minutes late. Some passengers waited between four to six hours to catch a ride on their bus.

The buses left Toledo over a two-hour period, with the last two departing at 11:47 a.m. The combined Nos. 29 and 49 didn’t leave for Chicago until 1:28 p.m.

Amtrak officials said the earliest the combined Nos. 29 and 30 could reach Chicago was 3:30 p.m., which ensured that unless the western long-distance trains were held most of them would miss their connections.

It actually arrived at either 4:58 p.m. or 4:58 p.m., depending on which arrival time you want to believe on the Amtrak website.

Alan said passengers waiting to depart from Toledo had a long wait.

Harpist Jacob Deck tried to entertain the increasingly impatient crowd with music.

A boarding call for No. 48 was made at 11:06 a.m. but boarding did not begin until 11:50.

The train departed at 12:24 p.m. Passengers had to ride backwards because neither the train nor the seats had been turned.

At 2 p.m. No. 48 was nearing Olmsted Falls when, Alan said, it should have been 30 minutes from Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

On the other hand, Alan said, passengers also got to see Sandusky Bay in daylight.

Those traveling to eastern cities knew that if their projected arrival times were correct, they would reach their destination after most public transit has stopped operating for the night.

The projections were that No. 30 would get to Washington at 12:39 a.m. and No. 48 would get to New York at 1:20 a.m.

But those were wildly off the mark. It didn’t help that No. 48 lost three hours on CSX between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania, most of that from sitting in the Erie station for nearly two hours.

No. 30 sat arrived in Pittsburgh at 6:39 p.m. but didn’t leave until 8:04 p.m. By then it was 14 hours, 44 minutes late.

Those dwell times might have been due to waiting for a “rested” crew.

When this post was written at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, No. 448 was projected to arrive at Boston South Station at 10:09 a.m., 14 hours and eight minutes late.

No. 48 was projected to arrive into New York Penn Station at 7:14 a.m., 12 hours and 39 minutes late.

Alan said the sorry story of the fates of Nos. 30 and 48 illustrate “that Amtrak’s preparedness is dreadfully deficient.”

He said the derailment occurred before Nos. 30 and 48 left Chicago, leading him to wonder why Amtrak didn’t detour the trains and therefore avoid the bus bridge?

He also wondered why it took more than five hours to get buses out of Bryan and why there weren’t enough westbound buses originating in Toledo.

“Why were eastbound passengers forced to wait almost three hours at Toledo to continue their trip? Why did the combined Chicago-bound train leave Bryan so late? Why, why, why?” he wrote.

Alan believes Amtrak needs a service recovery plan to deal with emergencies such as this one.

If such a plan existed, it would have enabled Amtrak to have gotten buses into position sooner.

That plan would also include providing stranded passengers with food, which Alan said Amtrak did not provide other than the “emergency snack packs” kept aboard trains that he said are small and not exactly nutritious.

There are answers to those questions and some of them might involve factors beyond Amtrak’s control.

Whatever the case, you have to wonder how many of those affected by those trips from hell will be willing to board Amtrak again anytime soon.

In the meantime, No. 30 left Chicago Friday night at 12:11 a.m., 5 hours and 31 minutes late while No. 48 departed at 12:23 a.m., 2 hours and 53 minutes late. Both trains were projected to reach Northeast Ohio after 8 a.m. today.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

NS Reopens Chicago Line at Swanton

June 8, 2019

Traffic was reported moving on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern early Saturday morning in Swanton, Ohio, where a derailment late Thursday night blocked both mainline tracks and disrupted Amtrak operations.

An online report indicated that an eastbound train was coming into Swanton just before 4 a.m. as workers continued work to reopen both tracks through the town 20 miles southwest of Toledo.

The Blade of Toledo reported that NS expected to resume operations on one track late Friday and on the main by Saturday morning.

The derailment occurred about 10:15 p.m. when westbound stack train 25Z struck a vehicle on the tracks near the Main Street crossing. Two locomotives and 14 intermodal rail cars derailed.

There were no injuries resulting from the derailment although some rail cars came perilously close to hitting nearby homes.

The vehicle was unoccupied at the time of the collision and its driver fled the scene.

NS said that 12 of the derailed cars were carrying empty shipping containers while others had containers of , and two of the cars contained consumer products.

No hazardous materials were involved in the derailment. However, a fire broke out after a propane tank used for a switch heater ruptured.

Some NS trains were rerouted following the derailment. Online reports indicated that at least four trains detoured via Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Bellevue on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline.

Train 24N diverged onto the former Wabash at Butler, Indiana, and reached Toledo via Detroit.

At least one train diverged onto CSX at Berea and at least one intermodal train was to operate today on CSX between Buffalo, New York, to Chicago.

The train involved in the derailment had originated at Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was en route to Chicago.

The Blade reported that police are still investigating why the vehicle was on the tracks before the collision.

The derailment destroyed some utility poles, which knocked out power to more than 3,000 people. It was restored Friday morning shortly before 9 a.m.

Workers clearing the wreckage piled the containers in rows and at an athletic field near Swanton High School.