Talgo train returns to Milwaukee for repairs

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A Talgo car body on a flatbed truck headed from Seattle to Milwaukee, Wis., for repairs.
J. Johnson
The Talgo trainset stayed mostly upright and did not jackknife when train 502 derailed on July 2, 2017, thanks to the semi-permanent couplings and steering linkage, shown here between the first and second units behind the locomotive.
SEATTLE — A convoy of trucks is on its way to Milwaukee, Wis., carrying all 14 pieces of a Talgo train damaged in a derailment this summer.

The Mt. Jefferson derailed July 2 when Amtrak Cascades train 502 went through a derail after passing a lift bridge stop signal south of Tacoma, Wash.

The carbody of the unit nearest to the locomotive originally appeared to be twisted, Talgo’s Josh Coran tells Trains News Wire, “but it turned out that the deformation was entirely within the elastic range of the material and the body returned to its original, straight, condition when the load (transmitted through the coupler) from the leaning locomotive was removed.”

Coran says, “the car’s pushback coupler (designed to absorb energy from a sudden stop) had a pretty good twist from the locomotive trying to turn over and will be replaced.” Steering linkages, which guide the single-axle trucks, also suffered damage on the first three cars.

The Series 8 trainset involved was one of two Talgo built for the Oregon Department of Transportation in Milwaukee as part of a production run that also included two trainsets originally purchased by Wisconsin. Talgo recently reactivated its facility to rehabilitate Los Angeles subway cars as part of a $73 million contract and is able to accommodate the repairs.

Coran says Oregon’s Department of Transportation decided to send all of the units; other work includes installation of positive train control and bistro car retofits. They are all being trucked separately because the semi-permanently coupled units can only travel by rail if the one with a standard coupler, now damaged, is operable.

After the work is completed, Talgo officials expect the trainset will return to the Pacific Northwest on its own wheels.

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