Locomotive Seized in Settlement

Article written by Thomas R. Violante for the January 13, 1993 edition of The Connecticut Post

NEW HAVEN -- A former Amtrak employee who won a suit against the government-funded rail agency took the unusual step of having a deputy sheriff seize a locomotive parked on a spur in the Union Station rail yard Tuesday.

Engine 902, an electric locomotive built by General Electric and worth about $2 million, was seized in the yard near Hallock Street. Yellow tape stretched around the engine and utility poles, warning passers-by to stay clear. The deputy sheriff, who executed the seizure, taped to several windows large notices stating that the engine had been seized in settlement of a $1.8 million judgment for the former employee. "We went there [Amtrak] and made a demand on them, and they didn't pay. And we decided to go and seize the train," the sheriff said.

Delores Schneider of Springfield, Mass., was the plaintiff in the lawsuit. She accused the company of not providing proper security while she was working as a ticket agent during the 3 p.m. to midnight shift in Hartford's Union Station on Superbowl Sunday in January 1986. While leaving the station she was assaulted and beaten and was about to be raped when she broke free.

During a trial in January 1992, she won a judgment against Amtrak for $1.8 million, her attorney Charles said. Amtrak filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. Its appeal in the 2nd Circuit Court is pending, but Amtrak failed to post a bond to stay the judgment. Schneider and her attorney felt that waiting seven years for her settlement was long enough and asked U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns to hear the case Monday. Burns granted the seizure of the locomotive and upheld her decision Tuesday night. "It was time that Delores was paid for what she suffered at the hands of Amtrak," said . Howard Robertson, an Amtrak public affairs spokesman in Washington, D.C., would only confirm that the seizure had taken place.