You think these guys would know better.....

friscobob Apr 25, 2010

  1. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    245
    124
    I was in Wagoner, OK awaiting the arrival of UP 844 on its trip home to Cheyenne, and even before the train got there, a sizeable crowd had gathered, with UP and local police out to keep things safe.

    Well, almost..............

    [​IMG]

    A Wagoner PD cruiser, parked on the very tracks on which 844 would arrive. One of the fellows engaged in casual conversation is the chief of police (identified by a local resident I was talking to). This car sat there for 10 minutes before it moved on.

    While no trains were nearby, this is, IMO, a bad example of grade crossing safety. ANd one would hope that law enforcement would know better. Guess it's time for an Operation Lifesaver seminar...............:tb-wink:
     
  2. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

    6,002
    1,155
    85
    Well.. I suppose it's better a police cruiser rather than a private car.

    Say 844 smashes it to pieces... Mr. chief of police probably wont be on the job much longer, but at least UP would be able to recover damages to 844 from the state instead of a private citizen, who I'm guessing wouldn't have the cash to cover the damages to the vintage equipment. :/
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,871
    101
    37
    The UP would be quite upset if some local gendarme broke their pretty engine!!!!

    Charlie
     
  4. Capdiamont

    Capdiamont TrainBoard Member

    58
    0
    10
    I've seen this before with the speeder rides we give. One the SO cars was parked on the track on our return trip, with his front pointed away from us. Despite all the horn blowing we did, he never noticed us, until we stopped, and I walked up to his car, tapped on his window.
     
  5. Seated Viper

    Seated Viper TrainBoard Member

    592
    1
    14
    Reminds me of the situation with office doors. "FIRE DOOR - KEEP SHUT" says the notice. So long as you use an extinguisher to prop it open, that's fine, but you get reprimanded for using a wedge!

    Regards,

    Pete
     
  6. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    7,138
    85
    85
    What doesn't make any sense is that they could have backed that patrol car about 10 feet, still guarded the crossing or whatever it was they were doing, and they would have set a good example for the community.
     
  7. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    245
    124
    A UP special agent even talked to them, but apparently them ol' boys know whut they's a-doin', and don't need no fancy-pants rail-road cop tellin' them whut to do. (spoken with tongue-in-cheek)

    This pic has been sent via E-mail to someone I know up in Tulsa who does Operation Lifesaver presentations at his request. I do believe that the local powers-that-be in Wagoner will also get one.

    Matters not if there is a train coming or not, you JUST DON'T PARK OR SIT ON THE TRACKS, period. Were it a private citizen, I guarantee you the local gendarmerie would have told him to move PDQ.

    Hopefully, the Wagoner PD will get the idea that parking on the tracks is NEVER a good thing.

    End of rant.................
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  8. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    245
    124
    OK, acting as a concerned private citizen, I sent an email to the mayor of Wagoner (with pictures) concerning this.

    Here 'tis:

    Dear Sir,

    As you know, Union Pacific's 844, an historical steam locomotive, stopped in your fine city on Saturday enroute to its home base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As happens when this piece of rolling history shows up, a crowd of people was on hand to see 844 and its train visit town. The local police department, as well as UP Special Agents, was on hand to make sure the crowds were safe.

    Well, almost.

    I am enclosing a picture of one of your police cruisers and two of your officers (one identified as the chief of police by a local resident) standing on the tracks. The cruiser was parked there for about ten minutes, clearly in violation of several safety rules and at risk of being hit by a moving train had the car's engine cased to run. Even a UP Special Agent had talked to these men, and said their parking on the tracks was dangerous.

    You may reply "Well, there wasn't a train anywhere close, so there was no danger", but that would be ignorant of the dangers of standing on the tracks. Your officers may have been expecting the steam train to arrive from the south, but for all we know a northbound may have appeared on the former MKT and swung over to the former MP heading southeast, with very little warning outside of the appearance of a yellow & grey locomotive, horn blasting, engineer setting the emergency brakes in a vain attempt to stop his train. With luck, your men may have moved out of the way, but only just.

    I have no personal grudge with your police department, nor the chief, but I feel your officers should set a better example for the citizens of Wagoner and be more aware of grade crossing safety. The Union Pacific has the right of way on those tracks, and to block them for no real reason (and I'm not buying safety reasons for a minute) is an invitation to disaster. I and quite a few folks take pictures of trains, and even we know not to stand too close to the tracks, or to be on railroad property without permission. www.oli.org is a good source of grade crossing safety tips, as well as accident statistics.

    Who knows, the Wagoner Police Department could have been one car less (it takes much more to stop several thousand tons of train than it does one car). And nobody wants that to happen.

    Again, I have no grudge, nor do I wish to publicy embarrass anybody, but as a concerned private citizen I'm pointing this out to you so that your police officers will be made more aware of this while they do their job to preotct & serve the people of Wagoner.

    Thanks very much for your time.
     
  9. Train Kid

    Train Kid TrainBoard Member

    798
    0
    18
    No. Generally speaking THEY are part of the problem. Jeeez.
     
  10. friscobob

    friscobob Staff Member

    10,474
    245
    124
    I would disagree- in my opinion, these fellow acted out of ignorance, and that can be changed. I'm not wishing that this thread dissolve into a round of "cop-bashing", as I've seen plenty of regular citizens (and even railfans, who of all people should know better) act just as irresponsible.
     
  11. BOK

    BOK TrainBoard Member

    184
    0
    16
    Nice letter Bob.

    Well written, not vindictive and straight to the point.

    Having handled several steam/diesel excursions as engineer pilot and supervisor over the years, I always am stunned at the lack of safety the general public displays around railroad property. It's even worse when the one department you think you can depend on (police) displays a less than safe attitude. This is the primary reason why most railroads shy away from running any type of public excursion which would cause the public to come on railroad property. The lack of safety awareness and the liability factor.

    Thanks, for the fine effort with the city and sharing your letter. If you receive a reply from the mayor maybe you can share that with us also.

    Barry

    I would be interested
     
  12. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    17,999
    12,908
    222
    Some officers just don't know. I once had one guy from a volunteer fire department attending an Operation Life Saver presentation that I was giving. He argued that if an emergency vehicle had their lights flashing and siren on, that they had the right-of-way at any intersection. Even railroad crossings. I had to explain that the laws of physics would trump any man-made law giving him such power, should any such law actually exist.
     
  13. BOK

    BOK TrainBoard Member

    184
    0
    16
    Russell:

    You are right. There is no such law that I am aware of and most emergency responders have more common sense than the firefighter you encountered.

    That said, I do teach railroaders that if all possible, when they hear a siren or see an emergency vehicle approaching with lights on, that they try to bring their train to a stop (avoiding an emergency application of the brakes) to allow the emergency vehicle the right of way. It's only the right thing to do.

    Thanks for participating in OLS.

    Barry
     
  14. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,871
    101
    37
    The BNSF was running a program where they had the local LEOs ride the cab with the crews. They did this on the "Racetrack". Several officers had their vision greatly improved once they saw what the hogger put up with on an average day!

    Charlie
     
  15. Davejb

    Davejb TrainBoard Member

    17
    0
    8
    I actually had that happen once. Being a rail fan since a kid I have a healthy respect for them, I was repsponding to a chimney fire one night driving the first due engine, lights and gates activated as I approached the tracks with a car stopped in front of me. As usual when this happens I pull into the oncoming traffic lane and stop to wait. Along comes a pair of Guilford engines, the engineer stops and waves me through, thought that was cool :)
     

Share This Page