UP wuses out!

Maxwell Plant Apr 20, 2000

  1. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    It seems the 110MPH speed limits have been put on hold for awhile between Dwight and Springfield, IL. Since the terrible grade crossing accident at McLean, IL., UP wants to wait to boost the speeds. I guess they think it will make them look better by showing "concern" for the general publics "safety". They are in a Lawsuit that is going to cost them millions of bucks. The grade crossing lights and gates were not reactivated after a maintainance test. There are also BARRIER GATES that the Illinois Department of Transportation is testing at this crossing, but were shut down for road construction. Two teenage boys were killed due to the mistake made by the UP signalworker. [​IMG] As tragic as a grade crossing accident is, I'd like to know the difference between getting mauled at 79MPH and 110MPH. At either speed, the cars passengers are dead. The only difference I see is the distance they'll be dragged by the train. UP and Amtrak have a hard enough time getting along. Now it looks like UP wants to "share the blame" with Amtrak over this one by not letting them go faster. You could look at it this way, IF the Amtrak train was allowed to go 110MPH, they would have already been through the crossing BEFORE the car was on the tracks. And if UP had trained their signal crews better, the lights would have flashed, the bell would have rung and the gates would have come down. Thus the accident would have NEVER accured. Just my opinion...

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  2. throttlejock

    throttlejock TrainBoard Member

    164
    0
    20
    Max,
    What track or sub division are you talking about going to 110mph. This would be real news. Not knowing what the facts are I don't want to step on toes, But. For a train to do over 49mph or 59mph passgr it must have some kind of signal system(I think). To do over 79mph it must have automatic train stop and that only gets you up to 90mph. So I imagine to get over 91mph there are several other hurdles to jump through. So outside the NEC and some stretchs of the former ATSF no train goes legaly over 79mph that I know of. If the UP is doing it that would be news to me and I would really like to know where and what they did to get there.
     
  3. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    There is no ATS on the old Alton/GM&O. This is the line between Chicago and St. Louis VIA Springfield, IL. It was always fast track, before ICG. The GM&O ran trains at 100+ MPH up untill the IC merger, then things went down hill. We even had the Turbo Train for awhile, until ICG let the track go to hell. Things got better once IC sold the track to the Chicago Missouri & Western, which went Bankrupt after one year, and then SP took over. SP laid welded rail and reballasted the whole line. the train speeds went up from 40 freight-55 passenger to 60 freight-79 passenger. This is what it was when Amtrak first started running trains here. Now they want to make it a High-Speed Passenger line, eventually raising the speed to NEC standards. 110MPH was the first step, double tracking is in the future for this line, like it was before ICG, and a totally new signal system with fiber-optic. They currently use the original B&O three position/color aspect signals for most of the line through my area, but some of the "bonnet" three color lights are in place around the Pontiac-Joilet area. (or so I'm told.)

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  4. throttlejock

    throttlejock TrainBoard Member

    164
    0
    20
    Max,
    Just because they use to run at 100+ mph doesn't mean they can do it now. Laws and Federal regulations have changed. There are several places that have been proposed targets of Hi-speed corridors but there would have to be many upgrades like I eluded before. All I can say is forget how it used to be like because the railroad industry has changed so much and continues to change daily. Today it is you can't go over 79mph with out automatic train stop and over 90 with even more features unkown to me.
     
  5. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    I'm just tellin' it like it is. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) released this information to the Public late Febuary, stating that "Amtrak would be authurised to run at 110 MPH between Dwight and Springfield, IL. starting in early March." That's what they said and that's what isn't happening due to UP wanting to put it on hold for now. Yes, I'm fully aware of ATS being required for trains to run over 90 MPH, but IDOT seemed to have waived this requirement because there is no ATS on this line. I'm also aware of your expertise as you are an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer, but again, there has been no mention of lack of ATS being the problem here. It's UP trying to save face.

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  6. throttlejock

    throttlejock TrainBoard Member

    164
    0
    20
    My my Max,
    is this g) or h) [​IMG]
    It would be very interseting to see if the state of Ill. can overule Fed regulations. They want to up the psgr speeds here between Sea & Pdx and the last I heard from the amtrak officials were they figured to install ATS since that would be the cheapest but that would only get them to 90. They must be doing some heavy upgrades. In the literature you've read do they say anything of upgrades and or doing it in phases? I can't find my reg book but I'll dig some more.
     
  7. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

    904
    0
    24
    Oh throttlejack, that is the first thing I have read on this board that made me burst out laughing!!!

    Dane N.



    ------------------
    TAMR2860-AKA BC Rail King
    TAMR2860@hotmail.com
     
  8. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

    904
    0
    24
    Oh throttlejack, that is the first thing I have read on this board that made me burst out laughing!!!

    Dane N.

    ------------------
    TAMR2860-AKA BC Rail King
    TAMR2860@hotmail.com
     
  9. LarryOrr

    LarryOrr New Member

    5
    0
    19
    The line with the 110 MPH is the Chicago to Detroit line and an article was written on it just recently in Trains magazine. Can't remember the exact issue at this time and I also can't find the damm thing either.
     
  10. Alan

    Alan Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    10,793
    396
    124
  11. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    I think it's G! HA! I'm not in an uproar, it's all cool. [​IMG] This is the only thing I don't like about the written word over the spoken word. Getting back to the subject: The artical was in our local paper this Febuary and it was about the Chicago to St. Louis line, not Chicago to Detroit. It was a news release from IDOT via Copley Press (the Publisher). I think I may still have the artical, if I do, I'll post the whole thing here as a quote from Copley Press.

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  12. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    One thing I might add, there isn't an Amtrak train in Illinois that doesn't go less than 79 MPH top speed. We've got some really great track to run trains on here. The old IC Iowa Division is even seeing Amtrak trains again! YEEEEE! HAAAAA! [​IMG] I still haven't found the artical, but I'm still looking.

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  13. LittleGiant

    LittleGiant TrainBoard Member

    42
    0
    18
    Maxwell,

    What's the scoop on Amtrak service on the old Illinois Central Iowa Division? If you mean the Chicago-Des Moines service, that will operate over the I&M (Milw/Soo) Chicago to the Quad Cities and the Iowa Interstate on to Des Moines.:confused

    I haven't heard or read about any proposed Amtrak service over the Illinois Central (Chicago Central) line West from Chicago to Rockford, Freeport, Dubuque, Waterloo, etc.

    Fill me in. I know the folks in Rockford are upset that the new service uses Davis Junction as the Rockford Stop. That's about 15 miles south of the City.

    Little Giant
     
  14. TrainTech

    TrainTech E-Mail Bounces

    25
    0
    18
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Maxwell Plant:
    They are in a Lawsuit that is going to cost them millions of bucks. The grade crossing lights and gates were not reactivated after a maintainance test. There are also BARRIER GATES that the Illinois Department of Transportation is testing at this crossing, but were shut down for road construction. Two teenage boys were killed due to the mistake made by the UP signalworker. [​IMG] As tragic as a grade crossing accident is... (some info removed)
    (more info removed) ...if UP had trained their signal crews better, the lights would have flashed, the bell would have rung and the gates would have come down. Thus the accident would have NEVER accured. Just my opinion...

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Actually the accident would not have occured if the driver of the vehicle would have had enough sense to SLOW DOWN, STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN when approaching ANY RAILROAD CROSSING! Wether the crossing has lights, bells, gates, et al, these DO MALFUNCTION from time to time. Nothing is foolproof and I've seen these things activate on their own, not work at times. Therefore I have enough sense to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN before I cross any tracks that I can not see clearly down them in either direction.

    Unfortunately most teenagers and some stupid adults play their damn radios so loud they couldn't hear a diesel horn or steam whistle if there life depended on it, WHICH IT DOES!

    Can't even count the number of times I've laid on the horn when someone starts changing lanes right into the side of my car, why didn't they hear the horn? Damn radio playing so loud they couldn't hear emergency vehicles, horns or anything else.

    In my opinion radios in automobiles need to have a set volume level so that you can't "crank" the volume up so loud you can not hear the outside surroundings. And car manufacturers need to quit making auto's where the outside noise is almost non-existant as well.

    All of this stuff leads to death and major accidents due to one not being able to hear what's going on outside. And as long as radios keep blaring at ridiculous decibels and car makers keep making the outside noises that need to be heard from coming in, I personally think train, car and truck accidents will start to go on the uprise.

    Of course there is exception to everything and I've seen some of those too, like the jackass that drives around downed crossing gates. I have no empathy or sorrow for any idiot that would drive around a downed crossing gate or through it. Just seen a truck driver bust a gate the other day to haul ass across the tracks before the train got there. He just *barely* made it!

    So don't blame it all on the signal operators, partial responsibility lies within the driver of the automobile.

    When near any RR Crossing just use some common sense, slow down, turn down the radio, put the damn cell phone down and LISTEN! It could very well save your life and any passengers lives that may be riding with you!

    Sorry for the long-winded dissertation, but I just feel using common sense when approaching a RR Crossing is a smart way to handle it. Even if the crossing is marked with automated signals and gates.

    ------------------
    Clay/TrainTech
    http://www.trainweb.org/fcen-rr
    http://members.tripod.com/~White_Kitty

    [This message has been edited by TrainTech (edited 24 April 2000).]
     
  15. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    Harry,
    I think that southern route is the one I'm thinking of, I was under the impression it was the Rockford line, I guess not.

    TrainTech,
    I felt the same way you do until I knew all the facts. The young men who lost their lives did not have their "Damn Radio" turned up to loud. They couldn't of heard the train anyway, two to three blocks away, the town of Mclean was having a Tractor pull in conjuntion with a festival. Witnesses say you couldn't hear the train horns due to the
    un-muffled tractors. They didn't just "speed across" the tracks either. They were doing less than 30 mph (posted speed is 35) when they were hit. If they were going faster and not paying any attention to the posted limit, they may have made it and got the hell scared out of them instead. The signalman in question is no longer a UP employee due to his actions, his supervisor is gone too. The NTSB has put the blame soley on UP and the signalman. Amtrak, IDOT and these young men are not to blame. If you could see all the "bells and whistles" they have on this crossing, you would understand why the average person may not be as cautious as you or I at this particular crossing. Someone didn't do their job and because of it two young boys died. Right place at the wrong time. And that's the facts...
     
  16. aomhs

    aomhs E-Mail Bounces

    5
    0
    17
    I agree that we need to increase grade crossong awareness, but your assertion that "MOST" teens walk with radios loud on train tracks isn't correct. Sure, I see some students using the commuter rail line in my town as a shortcut, but compared to the size of the teen population of my community, it's really an insignificant amount.

    Going back to the original conversation, I've had enough of Uncle Pete's Gotta-slow-Amtrak-to-hurt-ridership-so-Amtrak-will-discontinue-service mentality. I'd like to see 110, but I believe it will be ineffective in gaining significant numbers of riders UNLESS it is extended over AT LEAST half of the line. Maybe all areas except restricted zones (the parts currently good for 79) between Joliet and Alton should be concidered. That would bring about the faster than driving times that will make trains popular and the costs more effective.

    If it is grade crossings that are the problem, new technology, educations, and signage should all be considered. Not one more life should end.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TrainTech:
    Actually the accident would not have occured if the driver of the vehicle would have had enough sense to SLOW DOWN, STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN when approaching ANY RAILROAD CROSSING! Wether the crossing has lights, bells, gates, et al, these DO MALFUNCTION from time to time. Nothing is foolproof and I've seen these things activate on their own, not work at times. Therefore I have enough sense to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN before I cross any tracks that I can not see clearly down them in either direction.

    Unfortunately most teenagers and some stupid adults play their damn radios so loud they couldn't hear a diesel horn or steam whistle if there life depended on it, WHICH IT DOES!

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



    ------------------
    AO :)
    http://www.trainweb.org/midtown
     
  17. AFN

    AFN TrainBoard Member

    118
    0
    20
    Expect a train on any track, at any time, in any direction. Its in our rule books. Perhaps it should be pounded into the public mind as well. I agree STOP LOOK and LISTEN should be enough but the sad fact is some people just dont take my train seriously, or have little regard for personal safety.
     
  18. Maxwell Plant

    Maxwell Plant TrainBoard Member

    1,087
    4
    29
    It's in Amtrak's and The State of Illinois plan to have this corridor developed into another High Speed Corridor, just like out east. The projected date was 2003 the last time I heard. The plan calls for the current trains to run at 110 MPH with D/Electrics, other "express" trains will run at 130(?) MPH with "Juice Jacks". The electrics will stop at limited stations while the D/E's will stop at all the regulary scheduled places. The placement of the 110 MPH limits, between Dwight and Springfield, was to be the first of many steps towards this goal. People are just as likely to get hit at grade if the trains are doing 79 MPH or 110+ MPH, so what's the hold up? It's not like it's cutting into UP's "capacity" on this line, they barely run anything on it now and that's mostly at night after all the Amtrak traffic is done for the day.

    ------------------
    RAILROADING-TO-THE-MAX, Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Style!
    Brent Tidaback
     
  19. TrainTech

    TrainTech E-Mail Bounces

    25
    0
    18
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AFN:
    Expect a train on any track, at any time, in any direction. Its in our rule books. Perhaps it should be pounded into the public mind as well. I agree STOP LOOK and LISTEN should be enough but the sad fact is some people just dont take my train seriously, or have little regard for personal safety.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with you AFN. I regulary railfan around CSX and "leased" Amtrak Tracks and I can no longer keep count on my fingers or toes how many times I have seen people drive around downed crossing gates or blatantly run right across the tracks where crossing gates may not be in use (like a lot of small country roads just have the flasher lights).

    I'm probably going to start an IDIOT'S HALL OF FAME page on my website dedicated to these same idiots that "just barely made it" as the train approached. Just got to see how many pix I've actually got of some of the ones I've caught doing this.

    Public Awareness of trains does need to be stressed. I actually talked to one person that was "late to catch the train" so they ran around the gates to get to the "depot on time" and I aksed them, if that train had hit you how far do you think it would be before it could stop? The answer I got was amazing, and I quote (southern accented), "Why shore son, that train could stop within a few feet, very little damage would have been done to my car or anyone in it."

    I'm sure the look on my face was total bewilderment, this guy really believed that train travelling at about 25-30 mph could stop short and no one would be hurt.

    I said, well let me tell you, that loco would not have stopped in a few feet, it would take hundreds of feet and by the time your car was rolled over by the loco, chances are if you didn't get bumped off to the side, your chance of surving it aren't as rosey as you believe. Chances are you and every person in your vehicle may have been maimed for life or worse, killed outright. Trains DO NOT have rubber tires, they are bare metal wheels operating on metal rails, and whenever a loco has to slam on its airbrakes to do an emergency slow down to try and lessen the impact, that loco could sustain severe damage such as flat spots on the wheels, passenger cars, train could also be derailed by pieces of your car going underneath the train and getting caught in the wheels. You could have even killed the train crew operating that train, not to mention some of the passengers!

    His repsone to all that was: "I ah nev'r gave it much thought. But I still believe no severe damage would have been done."

    I should have asked him his name so I can watch the obits for it and see if he died because of getting rammed by a train.

    I don't work for any railroads (but I will be going to conductor school in a few months to become one and get a job on the rails here in Florida) and this person and his mentality scare the hell out of me!

    Unfortunately I think there are many more like him out there behind the wheel of semi-trucks, automobiles, etc. Really scary thought isn't it? Shudder


    ------------------
    Clay/TrainTech
    http://www.trainweb.org/fcen-rr
    http://members.tripod.com/~White_Kitty

    [This message has been edited by TrainTech (edited 05 May 2000).]
     
  20. E-Lack & N-Trak

    E-Lack & N-Trak Guest

    0
    0
    0
    Max, did I hear someone say eew, pee wants to sell their tracks through Central IL?

    If the McLean crossing barriers are/were part of an IDOT/FRA test, then the accident is a costly lesson. However, comments about grade crossing carelessness by motorists are still valid. The Amtrak vs. truck accident last March is another example of a driver with a load on the trailer, but light from the neck up.

    I have sons near the age of the boys who were killed at McLean. They recall the boy who died about two years ago, while walking to school on the tracks with his headphones on; his Walkman turned up.

    With black humor, their peer group asks what the kid was listening to while a northbound Amtrak came up behind him, sounding the horn and braking hard?

    I'm a transplanted Buckeye, wondering if there's something in the water to make folks in Illinois appear so dumb.

    I'd love to see high speed rail travel in the Midwest Corridor. When motorists outnumber rail passengers a gazillion to one, it's a tough sell.

    Ask a farmer who uses an unprotected gravel crossing to get from one field to another; or the soccer mom having to go six blocks out of her way at 30MPH so a lounge cafe full of fans can get to the Cubs-Cardinals game at 110MPH.

    ------------------
    You can always tell a model railroader; you just can't tell him much.
     

Share This Page