MAX Derailment Footage

I happened to be in the area shortly after todays MAX derailment. (So was our own Jason McHuff, as coincidence would have it).

As derailments go, it was both not serious and very serious. Not serious, thankfully, because there were no injuries or collisions, but very serious in that at least three trucks (wheel assemblies) of the train had come of the track and had gotten pretty well embedded into the brick and concrete.

Here’s some high-definition footage I took. An interesting bit of overheard conversation: Note that the foreman is calling an emergency meeting of the various crew departments, and that he states that he has no idea how to get the train back on the tracks but will do whatever the other crew heads tell him needs to be done.

31 Comments

31 Responses to MAX Derailment Footage

  1. Bob R.
    April 20, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link

    (YouTube is taking awhile to process this, so the video may not be immediately available.)

  2. Jason McHuff
    April 20, 2009 at 8:49 pm Link

    Well, the train has been successfully cleared (they had to raise each truck on the car and move it over again and set it down into the track groove) and they’ve one train go through into the yard there and a second one go through in service, but those may have just been the ones stuck on Morrison. Streetcars have been going through (I think they’re back to normal) and another MAX train is just about ready. However, they are still working on the tracks and the streets are still closed.

    Reporting LIVE from SW Morrison & 11th at the India House.

  3. Anthony
    April 20, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link

    Why doesn’t that other train drive around it?? Oh wait…. they can’t!

  4. Jason McHuff
    April 20, 2009 at 9:00 pm Link

    Also, I heard that this happened at 4 so the tracks and area were blocked for just about 5 hours. The streets have been reopened and I think they may be done with the tracks. Also, I just showed the safety guy (the one with the English or Australian accent) the video (he actually asked me if there was video on YouTube yet).

    And I’ll have plenty of video and some pictures later.

  5. jon
    April 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm Link

    did they consider temporarily routing the gresham, airport and interstate trains on the new mall trackage during this incident?

  6. Bob R.
    April 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link

    The new mall isn’t always energized. I noticed this weekend, including yesterday (not sure about today) that temporary safety cables had been installed between the overhead wire and ground. I presume this is to protect workers from stray currents should they need to contact the overhead wire.

    Trains have been testing on the new mall as recently as a few days ago, but I believe rules require operators to be trained and certified before being able to use the new alignment, so it would be premature at this time to reroute trains to the new mall.

    The pattern used today was to run shuttle buses from Rose Quarter, and turn trains around there — that’s how I got into downtown.

  7. Bob R.
    April 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link

    “Why doesn’t that other train drive around it?? Oh wait…. they can’t!”

    That’s why there are shuttle buses for these situations. Not pretty, not cheap, but there’s nothing wrong with riding buses.

    You might get a kick out of this… if you look closely in the videos (click on “HD” for higher resolution), the rollsigns of both streetcars state “Please Go Around”.

  8. Bob R.
    April 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm Link

    Thanks for the on-the-spot reporting, Jason.

  9. Jason Barbour
    April 20, 2009 at 11:11 pm Link

    I wonder if the planet was (mis-)aligned with something today. At PCC-Sylvania around 5:30-ish, a bus that would be running 44-Capitol Highway had a lift stuck in the out position… so the bus was stuck blocking everything for quite a while. It took the 78s in each coming through in each direction (Beaverton and Lake Oswego) probably about 20 minutes to get around the narrow car-filled parking lots at PCC.

  10. Jason McHuff
    April 20, 2009 at 11:43 pm Link

    You’re welcome, Bob. Besides India House whose outside seating I used, thanks also goes to Big Town Hero for having WiFi and having it on after hours, though I could have hooked up my phone and got (slow) access that way. And I got a video of the Streetcar “destination” of “STREETCAR DISABLED”/”PLEASE GO AROUND”.

  11. Jason McHuff
    April 20, 2009 at 11:52 pm Link

    BTW, one of my comments on Portland Transport: Bend Your Legislator’s Ear on the CRC didn’t go through.

    Lastly, I’d like to note that trains usually do work and when they do can carry a lot more riders than a bus (even an articulated one, if we had those, and this incident would probably have been a good reason to have them).

  12. Bob R.
    April 20, 2009 at 11:59 pm Link

    BTW, one of my comments on Portland Transport: Bend Your Legislator’s Ear on the CRC didn’t go through.

    Rescued from the spam filter… scroll back 9 hours in that thread.

  13. al m
    April 21, 2009 at 12:22 am Link

    Nice job Bob R!

  14. Eva S
    April 21, 2009 at 12:30 am Link

    Great site! I DO need to come here more often. And good comments on the derailment.

    Bob, I do not think my “J” and your “J” is the same person… :-)

    Bob, you are right when you wrote that rail operators need to be certified on the new mall before being allowed to operate there. Besides, the new mall is not yet ready for regular rail traffic since there is still more testing to be done. I assume a lot of this is due to federal regulations.

    However, I am looking forward to my “fun” on the mall on May 14th! – – -> If I were you all, I’d stay off the new mall that day…

    I will post pictures and commentaries on my blog after my certification class that day… :-)

  15. Jason McHuff
    April 21, 2009 at 12:44 am Link

    Rescued from the spam filter

    Thank you! :)

    new mall is not yet ready for regular rail traffic since there is still more testing to be done

    That’s what I think. Though it will be interesting if they do shift trains between the two alignments when things happen. It will be the first time that they’ll really be able to do.

  16. Grant
    April 21, 2009 at 8:05 am Link

    Was the train going through or was it entering the turnaround? Noteworthy that it was a 100-series train that derailed.

  17. Douglas K.
    April 21, 2009 at 8:21 am Link

    How on earth did that happen? Was there something on the track?

  18. The other J
    April 21, 2009 at 8:48 am Link

    As a Blue line, it was supposed to be going straight on the westbound main, not entering the terminus.

    As for shifting to the mall alignment, it’s already been said here that operators need to be certified on it first, but also logistically it’s probably pretty tricky to do – the only place I can think of where trains can move onto the north/south mall is above the north end of the mall (coming westbound off the Steel Bridge) so as for the trains that were already downtown when this happened, I don’t think they could move over, and I’m not sure what it would have accomplished if they did since they can’t go westbound once on the mall. Not sure though – I’m not one of the people who decides how to bridge around a service disruption! :)

  19. The other J
    April 21, 2009 at 8:55 am Link

    Oh, and one other thing – I don’t know who the person is who said he didn’t know how to get the train off the ground, but I’m guessing based on his uniform that he’s a rail supervisor, not one of the maintenance crewmen. So if that’s the case, then it’s not strange that he didn’t know how to get the train back on the tracks since that’s outside of what he would need to handle as a supervisor.

  20. Bob R.
    April 21, 2009 at 9:20 am Link

    J –

    First, welcome…

    I should clarify that my inclusion of his remarks was for a rare “behind-the-scenes” look, not at all a revelation of any kind of ineptitude. I thought he handled the meeting well … define the problem, hear from each department what needs to be done, get everyone organized quickly, etc.

  21. Bob R.
    April 21, 2009 at 9:22 am Link

    However, I am looking forward to my “fun” on the mall on May 14th! – – -> If I were you all, I’d stay off the new mall that day…

    Any chance of lining up an aspiring blogger/videographer (like me!) to do a documentary about the testing and the training an operator receives on the new mall?

    (That goes for bus operators on the new mall, too… it will be an interesting dance.)

  22. Other J
    April 21, 2009 at 9:42 am Link

    I should clarify that my inclusion of his remarks was for a rare “behind-the-scenes” look, not at all a revelation of any kind of ineptitude.

    Gotcha :) I thought the whole ordeal was fascinating to watch, and from the look of it you put the video together earlier than I got there so it was interesting to see what happened before I showed up!

  23. Jason McHuff
    April 21, 2009 at 11:25 am Link

    As a Blue line, it was supposed to be going straight on the westbound main, not entering the terminus.

    Yep. But it got pretty far down along the track leading into the terminus. And I should note that this happened at the third track, and trains turning there (e.g. the Yellow Line) usually use the first one.

    I’m not sure what it would have accomplished if they did since they can’t go westbound once on the mall

    Well, it would allow people to get to/from the Pioneer Square area, at least somewhat farther west than trains can get on Morrison (3rd) when that route is blocked. But moreover, its probably a lot smoother to turn trains using the mall than having them all use the single track between the Morrison Bridge underpass and Morrison & 3rd one-at-a-time. In fact, it would just be a matter of shutting down the mall shuttle trains and replacing them with diverted Blue and Red Line ones.

    it’s not strange that he didn’t know how to get the train back on the tracks

    It’s OK if you don’t know how to do something as long as you can marshal the people that do know how. And saying that you’re relying on them is a great motivation/seriousness tool.

    Lastly, I’d like to note that I happened to already be out with the camera and laptop. I was looking for a good hotspot to upload video to YouTube from (using the camera as a card reader) and heard about the situation after calling Transit Tracker to see if there was an alert for stop closures on Washington St, though I would have probably realized something had happened eventually since I was headed that way.

  24. W. K. Lis
    April 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm Link

    How to rerail: you pull them using another streetcar or truck. Whatever is handy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KO0rYJ3QcU

  25. Bob R.
    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link

    I’m beginning to believe the alignment-of-planets theory… apparently the streetcar didn’t have a good day today:

    http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2009/04/21/streetcar-vs-suv

  26. Matthew
    April 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link

    I missed getting on that train by about a minute at Galleria, waited for the next train, (it was Yellow, so I didn’t get on it) which then parked there for along time until I looked up the track and saw that the Blue line was turned slightly into the yard. I figured the switch was just wrong and it could backup and reset the switch and go on with life, and the operator did try that though, (or at least, turn the lights on for backing up,) but since it was a derailment, that probably just made the problem worse. And then I saw them open the doors and the operator and some customers got off, and so I walked up there, realizes that train wasn’t going anywhere and I went to the PGE park station.

    I was impressed with how quickly they started turning around trains at PGE Park. Once I got there I saw one train go by east, and then the next one kicked it’s passengers off, and turned around and went west, (although not without plenty of confusion since it was the eastbound station.) They’d apparently turned around another train, (probably one of the Yellow Specials,) in front of us by the time we got to Sunset, because there was only about 3 people on the platform, (and given that it had probably been about 30 minutes without a train, those people must have gone somewhere…)

  27. Other J
    April 21, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link

    And I should note that this happened at the third track, and trains turning there (e.g. the Yellow Line) usually use the first one.

    Second, actually, which the yellow line will use but typically only if there’s already one in the terminus on that closest track. I wasn’t there at the time this happened but I was there at the same time today watching train movement as I was waiting for another one – train 22 was the one that derailed yesterday, and today a red line was in front of 22. If the same thing happened yesterday, then it’s even weirder that the red line went through without incident, but it’s possible that a yellow was in front of 22 yesterday (for example, if the yellow line got to Rose Quarter before the blue line did and pulled into downtown first)

  28. Aaron
    April 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm Link

    In this article from the Oregonian, they seem to say that TriMet isn’t turning trains around at 11th/Morrison until they know more about how things happened. If that’s the case, what are they doing to turn the Yellow Line trains?

  29. al m
    April 23, 2009 at 12:43 am Link

    Don’t miss JASON MCHUFF REPORTING ON THIS INCIDENT!

    http://rantingsofatrimetbusdriver.blogspot.com/2009/04/max-derailment-multiple-parts-jason.html

  30. Jason McHuff
    April 23, 2009 at 2:19 am Link

    I’ll have a playlist with all the footage ready tomorrow. I’m not going to finish it tonight. There’s, I think, over 2 hours of footage.

  31. Chris
    April 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link

    ::he states that he has no idea how to get the train back on the tracks but will do whatever the other crew heads tell him needs to be done::

    Actually this is an incident management technique. He probably is the supervisor or foreman for the incident, however the incident “specialists” just were showing up talking to him individually about it. He presented a “reset” situation and then proceeded to go around to each specialist so that everybody is on the same page and so that nobody is left “out of the loop”.

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