Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Near Miss in Fernley

This morning, the Union Pacific local (the "Fernley Flyer") was heading east down Fernley siding when I heard its horn sound repeatedly. Soon thereafter, over the scanner, I heard them trying to raise the dispatcher (without success). They then called Amtrak #5, which was at the time between five and ten miles east of Fernley heading west at around 70 MPH. When the engineer of #5 answered, the crew of the Flyer told them, "Better take it easy coming into Fernley. There's a woman here trying to kill herself."

From the radio discussion, it appears that a woman was having a very loud argument with a man who was with her, and was screaming that she wanted to die. The Flyer had managed to bring their train to a stop in time. (This was probably because they were only drifting along toward the siding signal at East Fernley, where they would be held for Amtrak to go by on the main.)

A UP signal maintainer whose name and voice we recognized from regular calls on the scanner chipped in. "I'm right nearby. Do you want me to go have a look?" They allowed as that would be a good idea.

Meanwhile, the dispatcher finally answered and the Flyer crew filled them in. The DS started to call Amtrak #5, but the Flyer told him that they'd already handled that. The DS said he'd call the Sheriff.

Soon thereafter, the maintainer called in to say things were under control. About five minutes after that, Amtrak #5 came through at significantly reduced speed, but started picking up the pace as they exited Fernley.

I didn't hear the rest of the story (we're having trouble with the scanner), but for the rest of the day, most of the trains coming through Fernley did so sounding their horns liberally.
Tags: fernley, trains
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