Dr. does NOT expect her to make it!

watash Mar 22, 2002

  1. Alan Walker

    Alan Walker TrainBoard Member

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    This sounds much like a grade crossing incident that happened to my train about four years ago. We had a seven car passenger train that was being deadheaded back to our terminal at night after completing a children's Christmas special. I was the conductor on that trip. We were approaching a grade crossing on a small sidestreet and the locomotive was struck by a mid-sized two door passenger coupe.

    The train was running no more than eight miles an hour and the car was running about thirty miles an hour. My engineer never saw the car until it spun out away from the train on his side. The flagman saw the car but hardly had time to shout a warning to the engineer before the car struck the train. The vehicle was spun 180 degrees when it came to rest. What helped us was that our utility switchman was following the train on the surface streets and was in the parking lot of a nearby community center and had a clear view of the entire incident as the vehicle approached the crossing from his side and collided with the train. The crossing had clear visability to either side and the engineer had sounded the air horn and bell before reaching the crossing but the driver was totally oblivious to the train. The driver was fortunate that she was not killed and that she did not have anyone in the vehicle with her at the time.

    I can still clearly remember the scene, from the time that I stepped from the vestibule of the third coach into the crossing and went up to the locomotive till the wrecker finished clearing the scene and we pulled away. It's something that I hope that I will never have to deal with again, but know that I am prepared should it happen again. Any time I talk about rail safety, this one incident comes up in my memory.

    Knowing the damage that was done to the car by the train moving at less than ten miles an hour, one shudders to think of what would have happened if the train had been in thirty mile or fifty mile an hour territory. Some of the other train crewmen I know have seen or been involved in such incidents. I have seen so many near collisions at some of these crossings that when I ride a locomotive through that area, my hand is right by the emergency air brake handle, ready to dump the air at a moment's notice if the situation arises. It's been done many times. Personally, every time I come to a railroad crossing I stop, roll my windows down, turn the radio down, listen and look both ways before starting across just as I look and listen before crossing an active track. LOOK, LISTEN and LIVE! If people would follow that one rule, many lives would be saved.
     
  2. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    Amen Mr. Walker, Amen.
     
  3. LadySunshine

    LadySunshine TrainBoard Member

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    Wayne after reading this and digesting it for a day or two, I sent this out to all my friends so they can read it and heed it's warnings.

    THANK YOU FOR THIS TIMELY POST

    I hope that my friends read it and pay attention to what they do from now on. I PROMISE to watch and be safe always Wayne I will HEED the WARNINGS and be on GUARD XXXXXXX my heart.

    Love, Barb
     
  4. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Another friend got another one, it is his 3rd or 4th, but I may have to wait to tell about it, because this one is gory! Another one of those stupid what on earth were they thinking of, or were they even thinking? Its always a surprise to the crew on board the train, and the family. The more we get the word out what really happens, maybe the public will get some sense! Its not a shame, it is stupid!
     
  5. conductordave

    conductordave E-Mail Bounces

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    I wonder how us guys and gals would score if we took a stress test after each insident, or even after just a normal day on the railroad.
     
  6. Alan Walker

    Alan Walker TrainBoard Member

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    I think that some of us would hit the point that might take us out of service on some days. I'm certain that everyone here has heard about the grade crossing incident that occurred two years ago this past March in Polk County, Tennessee. That was the CSXT freight vs. Murray County, Georgia school bus collision that killed three elementary school students. There was news coverage a couple of weeks back concerning the memorial service for the deceased students and those that were injured. What mention was made about the train crew and the trauma that they suffered? NOTHING! One of my friends is an engineer for CSXT out of Etowah, Tennessee and was supposed to have been the called engineer on that train. However, he turned the call down that morning. The two crewmen that were on that train are good friends of his and to this day, they both are severely affected by what they went through that day. The driver was charged with numerous criminal counts and the trial judge quite correctly refused to give the driver a chance at probation. She is to go to trial next month and hopefully will spend the better part of the rest of her life behind bars in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Corrections (possibly my future employer). This was just a year after a family was killed at a crossing on the same line for the same reason, not paying attention. Now that crossing has a $250,000 crossing installation with lights and gates. Was it necessary? Under Tennessee law, yes. Was it necessary from an operational and safety standpoint? Probably not. I do not recall that any collision had previously happened at that location. In some cases, signals are indeed needed but in other cases, that money might be better invested elsewhere, particularly in Driver's Education. If I remember correctly, at least half of the fatal train-motor vehicle collisions occur at crossings that are protected by signals with lights, gates or a combination. Sometimes it seems that the push to put signals at certain crossings is based more on emotions than good judgement. The responsibility lies with the driver alone, drive safe or take the consequences.
     
  7. BN9900

    BN9900 TrainBoard Member

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    I am reading these posts and it sickens me to think that people are so stupid. Then they blame the railroad...but what gets to me and makes me soooooo mad is like what Alan said....there was no mention of the crew....they are just as much the victim as the person who caused the accident...I am no railroader, but I have no sympathy for stupid people who tromitize others!! To those men and women that are here and read this, I salute you....you deserve all the credit in the world for going on, after all trama that you have experienced!!
     
  8. Alan Walker

    Alan Walker TrainBoard Member

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    FYI- It was reported in the April 4, 2002 Chattanooga Times-Free Press that Polk County, Tennessee District Attorney Jerry Estes sent a letter to the attorneys of Ms. Rhonda Cloer, the substitute bus driver involved in the March 28, 2000 train-bus collision near Tennga, Georgia. The purpose of the letter was to explain the reasons that the DA's office denied an appeal by the defense for pretrial diversion (probation). In that letter, an aggrivating circumstance cited was a near miss the defendant had with a locomotive only eleven days prior to the fatal incident. There were no students on the bus the day of the close call. Presently the defendant sits in the Polk County, Tennessee jail facing 19 criminal charges including at least 12 counts of failure to stop at a railroad crossing (on at least several different occasions) and three counts of vehicular homicide. It is expected that the defense will appeal the denial of pretrial diversion to the trial judge. The criminal trial is scheduled to be held sometime in May.
    For all practical purposes, the Murray County, Georgia School District is also on trial here. They hired a driver who was not complying with state law, failed to detect these violations (lack of proper driver oversight) and as a result, failed to take proper action to ensure that the children entrusted to their care were adequately protected. The most damning statement against the school district was when they attempted to prevent the Tennessee Highway Patrol from getting the tapes from the bus's onboard camera when they were investigating the incident. It turns out they had good reason to fight the Highway Patrol-the tapes provided proff beyond a reasonable doubt that the bus driver (Ms. Cloer) had failed to stop at railroad crossings on at least several different dates!

    Perhaps the only way to get the message through to these school districts is to publically "hang" a transportation manager who is negligent in their duties by holding them responsible for their subordinate's actions or lack of such through a charge of criminal negligence. The only other way to get a message across would be for a railroad like CSXT to file a lawsuit against the school district if a conviction is passed down and ruin a school district financially. Make an example of one district to scare the others into doing what they should have done years ago.
     
  9. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    You may have a point there Alan, if CSX would file on behalf of the train crew!

    I would like to see Train Crossing Safety as a part of getting a driver's license!
     
  10. Alan Walker

    Alan Walker TrainBoard Member

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    Better yet, put Driver's Education back in our high schools and make it a required course. Yes it costs more in the form of insurance. However, many automobile dealers would probably be willing to donate vehicles and training aids for such programs and the cost of these programs would be miniscule compared to the costs of accidents caused by inexperianced, improperly trained drivers with little skill and no discipline. Get a program like this and everybody wins. Fewer accidents, fewer injuries and deaths, fewer traffic jams and lower insurance costs. If school districts can afford to provide computers and related courses for students, they can certainly afford the costs for drivers education programs that might save their students from injury or death someday.
     
  11. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Maybe we could get some Mortuarys to print up a small form to pass out at schools that each senior student is to sign telling where he or she wants their body parts gathered up an bagged for disposal, when they forget to stop safely at a railroad crossing. They are to tear off the business card sized bottom of this form and carry it in their bill fold. The rest of the form is to be turned back in to the teacher, bundled and mailed to the local police, or a sponsoring railroad, insurance company, Mortuary.....

    At least we might stir a fleeting thought before they do try to out run a train.

    If it didn't work we would just continue to blot them up and dispose of the ooze as usual.

    Harsh? The older I get, the less I feel bad for the stupid ones.
     
  12. Telegrapher

    Telegrapher Passed away July 30, 2008 In Memoriam

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    Watash. Thanks for this letter. I E Mailed it to all my grandchildren and their girl(boy)friends. Thay are all in college .
     
  13. CR Signaman

    CR Signaman E-Mail Bounces

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    Wabash, as an ex-signalman, I have had to investigate a number of such accidents and each time it was a very bad experience. I have passed this on.
    Bob
     
  14. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Bob, its Watash not Wabash, although "The Wabash Cannon Ball" is one of my favorite songs, my mom and dad used to play on their banjos. :D
     
  15. watash

    watash Passed away March 7, 2010 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Bob, were you working back during the war when a coupler snapped going up Cajon Pass? It was the one where several cars loaded with Sherman tanks broke loose, stopped, then started back down the grade pushing the caboose crew. For some reason there was no air, so the crew started setting brakes, but the tanks were too heavy.

    I think that was back around 1944-45 maybe?
     
  16. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    Lately I've been sort of keeping score of the crossing jumpers and trespassers I see whenever I go out on a road job. On a 200 mile run, the average seems to be about 6-10 cars zooming the gates or racing me to the crossing and about a dozen trespassers, depending on the time of day. Right around the time schools let out in the afternoon is brutal, kids everywhere. It's not a very scientific approach but my little straw poll tells me that it's a miracle we don't squash somebody every time we take out a train. Why don't they play on a runway or an interstate for a change and really make it interesting for everyone? What do you think would happen if someone regularly stacked up piles of old tires and ties on one of those avenues? There would be public outrage, yet on the railroad it's just business as usual. Sometimes I just don't get it. :confused:
     
  17. TxRocket

    TxRocket E-Mail Bounces

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    I've been running locomotives for 34 years, hit seven so far, never killed anyone, but put a few in the hospital. What I've got to say is, I never plug it until I've actually hit you. It won't make a bit of difference in the few seconds that ensue as you flit across the front of my locomotive to dump the air! Those who do risk having all the tonnage behind you pile up on top of you, and the idiot who made it escapes. So when you hear those air horns blaring, STOP, because I'm not going to even attempt to! :eek:
     
  18. Rule 281

    Rule 281 TrainBoard Member

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    TxRocket - Right you are! It ain't going to do a bit of good to stack up the whole train and then have some little rat run off laughing. The time it takes for the brakes to even start to bite uses up all the space between them and us. The only thing you can do is lay on the horn and close your eyes so you don't have to watch. :mad:
     
  19. rich m

    rich m E-Mail Bounces

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    that gave me the chills,i dont drive a train for a living but i do drive a tractor trailer and have seen them try and out run a train,and have had alot of close calls my self if the driving puplic (who gives these people their driving lic's.anyway) :mad:
     
  20. Benny

    Benny TrainBoard Member

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    $75 dollars, two weeks of class, and six hours behind the wheel. And then I had to pass the exam. And no driving tests. No parralel parking. NO parking, for that manner! That's all it took me to get my license.

    If only my fellow collegues could remember: with great power comes great responsibility.

    I can drive, but for the time being, I will stick to my bicycle. A lot less will be on my conscience if I hit someone. Unless they are a pedestrian or another biker. but with all the mindless foot traffic at the university here, I don;t think I would really mind running into someone, especially if they have a cell phone and are obviously completely oblivious to the world.

    I was thinking of mounting a pair of 26" airhorns and a compressor on my bike (my bike is my first bike I got back in 7th grade, still runs real good, an old huffy with 24" wheels, and I am 6 foot) ...do you think I should wear earplugs?

    I probably should purge the thought...

    [ 12 May 2002, 01:19: Message edited by: Benny ]
     

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