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Western Railroad Discussion > Union Pacific to Install Cameras on Locomotives for Acc


Date: 09/20/04 11:28
Union Pacific to Install Cameras on Locomotives for Acc
Author: mococomike

OMAHA, Neb., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital cameras and microphones will be mounted on Union Pacific locomotives to record every trip for accident investigation purposes in the event of incidents. Union Pacific will install Track Image Recorders (TIR) to verify train crew and motorist/pedestrian actions in accidents.

The TIR will be linked to the locomotive's existing event recorder so each trip can be duplicated in detail with the sound of the locomotive's air horn and crossing bell and pictures of the track ahead of the locomotives. Depending on the model, event recorders record speeds, throttle and brake settings, electrical power levels and horn use. The TIR image file and the event recorder data will be time synchronized.

The small cameras will be mounted inside the locomotive cab at the top of the engineer's windshield, looking down the track in front of the locomotive. A microphone will be mounted outside to record the locomotive's air horn. The video image disk, which can record up to five days, will be retained onboard each locomotive in a lockbox, accessible only to authorized personnel for review.

It is anticipated that the first phase of retrofitting Union Pacific locomotives with TIR will be completed by the end of next year. Emphasis will be on "over-the-road" locomotives that pull trains between cities.

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is the largest railroad in North America, covering 23 states across the western two- thirds of the United States. A strong focus on quality and a strategically advantageous route structure enable the company to serve customers in critical and fast growing markets. It is a leading carrier of low-sulfur coal used in electrical power generation and has broad coverage of the large chemical- producing areas along the Gulf Coast. With competitive long-haul routes between all major West Coast ports and eastern gateways, and as the only railroad to serve all six gateways to Mexico, Union Pacific has the premier rail franchise in North America.

For additional information call John Bromley (402) 544-3475.



Date: 09/20/04 11:38
Re: Union Pacific to Install Cameras on Locomotives for
Author: lrvto

On a smaller scale, I have been told we at the San Diego Trolley are getting cab mounted cameras installed in the lrv's. They will record a 24 minute loop and if nothing happens in 24 minutes, they will record over the previous info. In the event of an emergency brake application, the camera will save what has been recorded, and the Operator can manually save info for posterity if he/she needs to document an event that didn't result in an incident. The cameras will not record speed or horn signals at this point. In today's litigious society it is a wonder it took this long.



Date: 09/20/04 11:57
Re: Union Pacific to Install Cameras on Locomotives for
Author: BobP

Excellent.
IMHO this should be a federal law on a phase in schedule with some possible exceptions.



Date: 09/20/04 12:41
Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: tomstp

I really hope that juries will look and listen to these tapes and finally put the blame where it belongs: On the vehicle drivers. UP has lost several large bodily injury verdicts around Texas, in my view to stupid jurors. Maybe pictures complete with sound will show just how negligent vehicle drivers really are and stop these unjustified verdicts and in the future, stop continuation of suits. If anyone has ever gotten a bum rap on crossing incidents, it is the railroads.



Date: 09/20/04 12:55
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: espeeboy

so railfans on the U.P. empire, remember to wave at Dick and the rest of Uncle Pete's Big Brother crew (excluding John B. of course because we all like him)



Date: 09/20/04 13:05
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: HDHewson

Why do we like John B.??????????? I wish the UP would just FIRE Davidson and move on



Date: 09/20/04 13:23
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: Railbaron

This could actually be a double bladed sword that the railroads may wish they never pulled out of the closet.

While the theory is that the camera would absolve the railroad from liability, or at least greatly reduce it if it's shown the "victim" was at fault, what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? What happens if the video shows the crew was not 100% compliant with a rule or rules? Now all of a sudden juries can be shown the railroad was neglegent even though the driver went around lowered crossing gates and everything because the engineer didn't blow the prescribed whistle signal for the crossing or might have been 1 mph above the maximum speed limit. While a lot of cases might get dropped or greatly reduced, I can also see the other side and see a lot of huge awards coming because of the cameras might show fault with the operatin crews, ergo the railroad.

What is interesting is that a few years ago I read an article in Railway Age in which they discussed the "camera on the train" idea. That article made mention of the fact that many railroads were scared of the possible liability they could face if the camera showed the crew doing ANYTHING wrong and there was an accident. Once the personal injury attorneys get wind of these cameras the first call they'll make is to get an order for the video to be turned over to them so they can also see it to determine how high to aim in their award. This could get interesting.

BTW, the other part of this camera in the cab thing is that there is also a microphone installed as well. One has to start wondering about privacy issues for crew members. What one might say to the other person in the cab might of a confidential nature and now all of a sudden "Big Brother" as a direct line to what's being said.

And for those of you who think this will be used only for accident investigation, think again. That's what the original idea behind event recorders was and yet they've now become a tool the railroads use for disciplinary purposes. In fact UP even has computer programs that automatically download and search event recorder information looking for rule violations. If this was for "accident investigation" purposes only, then why is it designed to record up to five days worth of information? Can you say "Big Brother is watching you"?



Date: 09/20/04 13:40
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: KimHeusel

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> BTW, the other part of this camera in the cab
> thing is that there is also a microphone installed
> as well. One has to start wondering about privacy
> issues for crew members. What one might say to the
> other person in the cab might of a confidential
> nature and now all of a sudden "Big Brother" as a
> direct line to what's being said.

The original story said the microphone would be mounted "outside" in order to record the sound of the horn.

Cut and pasted from the original:
"The small cameras will be mounted inside the locomotive cab at the top of the engineer's windshield, looking down the track in front of the locomotive. A microphone will be mounted outside to record the locomotive's air horn."



Date: 09/20/04 13:51
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: rrnut_99

Because it takes UP five days to move a train across one division...LOL

L.G.

<snip from Railbaron's reply:>

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
If this
> was for "accident investigation" purposes only,
> then why is it designed to record up to five days
> worth of information?





Date: 09/20/04 13:53
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: BobE

Railbaron Wrote:

> BTW, the other part of this camera in the cab
> thing is that there is also a microphone installed
> as well. One has to start wondering about privacy
> issues for crew members. What one might say to the
> other person in the cab might of a confidential
> nature and now all of a sudden "Big Brother" as a
> direct line to what's being said.




There is substantially no "right to privacy" in the workplace. Except the bathroom. What you do in your employer's service and on the employer's premises isn't private.

In my business, any mail that I send out is subject to review by compliance department lawyers. Any emails I send, too. Phone calls can and are recorded. What websites I visit can be and are monitored (thankfully, I follow railroad stocks, so trainorders.com is part of the job => ).

So, hate to burst your bubble, but that's the way it is in the real world.

BobE



Date: 09/20/04 14:02
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: tomstp

If it shows crews doing something wrong, it won't be any worse verdicts than they are already getting against them. You can not imagine the large dollars being paid to negligent claimants. Just two cases alone in Texas in the last year has cost UP over 50 Million dollars. And as they say, that ain't cabbage!



Date: 09/21/04 06:44
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: egedisni

Railbaron,

NS has been using cab mounted cameras for years and has it has reduced the number of superfluous lawsuits. People can no longer say that the horn was not blowing or the gates were not down. I have actually seen video where a drunk tried to beat the train and lost (survived as the car glanced off the snowplow). At the deposition, NS showed the video, the lawsuit was dropped and NS as a good neighbor did not charge the man for the damage to the snowplow. It is also being used in an apparent suicide in Erie, where an NS train hit a man. The Coroner will use the video to rule whether it was an accident or a suicide. Your concerns about opening up possible liability to the railroads in well taken, other than crossing gates being down or not, which could be verified by witnesses, all other data is recorded by the event recorder. An accident investigation will be able to determine if the horn was sounded, what was the speed, when were the brakes applied, etc. Now you will have video to corroborate the event recorder data. As for the recordings of the video with respect to speed, they are getting the same information as the event recorder.
Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This could actually be a double bladed sword that
> the railroads may wish they never pulled out of
> the closet.
>
> While the theory is that the camera would absolve
> the railroad from liability, or at least greatly
> reduce it if it's shown the "victim" was at fault,
> what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?
> What happens if the video shows the crew was not
> 100% compliant with a rule or rules? Now all of a
> sudden juries can be shown the railroad was
> neglegent even though the driver went around
> lowered crossing gates and everything because the
> engineer didn't blow the prescribed whistle signal
> for the crossing or might have been 1 mph above
> the maximum speed limit. While a lot of cases
> might get dropped or greatly reduced, I can also
> see the other side and see a lot of huge awards
> coming because of the cameras might show fault
> with the operatin crews, ergo the railroad.
>
> What is interesting is that a few years ago I read
> an article in Railway Age in which they discussed
> the "camera on the train" idea. That article made
> mention of the fact that many railroads were
> scared of the possible liability they could face
> if the camera showed the crew doing ANYTHING wrong
> and there was an accident. Once the personal
> injury attorneys get wind of these cameras the
> first call they'll make is to get an order for the
> video to be turned over to them so they can also
> see it to determine how high to aim in their
> award. This could get interesting.
>
> BTW, the other part of this camera in the cab
> thing is that there is also a microphone installed
> as well. One has to start wondering about privacy
> issues for crew members. What one might say to the
> other person in the cab might of a confidential
> nature and now all of a sudden "Big Brother" as a
> direct line to what's being said.
>
> And for those of you who think this will be used
> only for accident investigation, think again.
> That's what the original idea behind event
> recorders was and yet they've now become a tool
> the railroads use for disciplinary purposes. In
> fact UP even has computer programs that
> automatically download and search event recorder
> information looking for rule violations. If this
> was for "accident investigation" purposes only,
> then why is it designed to record up to five days
> worth of information? Can you say "Big Brother is
> watching you"?





Date: 09/21/04 08:49
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: soolinehoghead

I agree with you 100% Railbaron.

While the publicly-stated, and quite possibly the actual main reason this is being implimented is for crossing accident investigation, it WILL end up being used as a disciplinary tool against crews. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!!

It will also be used to place all blame possible, whether directly relative to the accident occurance or it's severity, on the operating crews in the event of any accident, xing or otherwise. One possible example of this (with countless more available as well) would be if the train crew (i.e. engineer) started whistling 30 feet after the whistle post instead of directly at it, and even though this had ZERO impact on the outcome or severity of the accident, it will then be used by the railroad, not necessarily by the plantiff's, to place blame / responsibilty for the accident on the crew and deflect any or all of it from the railroad or the dumbs**t motorists.

Sorry to be so paranoid here. But after 26 years sittin' in the seat, I've learned to "read between the lines" on stuff like this. More often than not where RR management and their motives, public or not, are involved I've been proven correct.

And BTW, what does UPRR even need these cameras for anyway. Trains that sit motionless in sidings for days don't get involved in a lot of crossing accidents.

Soo Line Hoghead



Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This could actually be a double bladed sword that
> the railroads may wish they never pulled out of
> the closet.
>
> While the theory is that the camera would absolve
> the railroad from liability, or at least greatly
> reduce it if it's shown the "victim" was at fault,
> what happens when the shoe is on the other foot?
> What happens if the video shows the crew was not
> 100% compliant with a rule or rules? Now all of a
> sudden juries can be shown the railroad was
> neglegent even though the driver went around
> lowered crossing gates and everything because the
> engineer didn't blow the prescribed whistle signal
> for the crossing or might have been 1 mph above
> the maximum speed limit. While a lot of cases
> might get dropped or greatly reduced, I can also
> see the other side and see a lot of huge awards
> coming because of the cameras might show fault
> with the operatin crews, ergo the railroad.
>
> What is interesting is that a few years ago I read
> an article in Railway Age in which they discussed
> the "camera on the train" idea. That article made
> mention of the fact that many railroads were
> scared of the possible liability they could face
> if the camera showed the crew doing ANYTHING wrong
> and there was an accident. Once the personal
> injury attorneys get wind of these cameras the
> first call they'll make is to get an order for the
> video to be turned over to them so they can also
> see it to determine how high to aim in their
> award. This could get interesting.
>
> BTW, the other part of this camera in the cab
> thing is that there is also a microphone installed
> as well. One has to start wondering about privacy
> issues for crew members. What one might say to the
> other person in the cab might of a confidential
> nature and now all of a sudden "Big Brother" as a
> direct line to what's being said.
>
> And for those of you who think this will be used
> only for accident investigation, think again.
> That's what the original idea behind event
> recorders was and yet they've now become a tool
> the railroads use for disciplinary purposes. In
> fact UP even has computer programs that
> automatically download and search event recorder
> information looking for rule violations. If this
> was for "accident investigation" purposes only,
> then why is it designed to record up to five days
> worth of information? Can you say "Big Brother is
> watching you"?





Date: 09/21/04 10:40
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: xsphogger

Event recorders, cameras on the locomotive, I'm glad i'm "X" SP Hogger.



Date: 09/21/04 17:17
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: Anvilhead

The carriers and the NTSB would love to have voice recorders inside the cab.

This would hopefully be fought tooth and nail by the unions, and rightly so.

Enough is enough.



Date: 09/21/04 18:03
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: gladhand

Anvilhead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The carriers and the NTSB would love to have voice
> recorders inside the cab.
>
> This would hopefully be fought tooth and nail by
> the unions, and rightly so.
>
> Enough is enough.

I have no problems with voice recorders in the cab. Now, what about governors & event recorders for the trucking industry? IMHO, one is no more intrusive than the other.



Date: 09/21/04 19:08
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: sd60m

Kind of a rhetorical comment or question...

How the heck can the train be wrong at a grade crossing accident?



Date: 09/22/04 08:40
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: HaggisKennedy

Anvilhead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The carriers and the NTSB would love to have voice
> recorders inside the cab.
>
> This would hopefully be fought tooth and nail by
> the unions, and rightly so.
>
> Enough is enough.

In court, on a wrongful death lawsuit against the RR....

Voice #1: Hey! What's that asshole trying to do?

Voice #2: Look out! Doesn't that Dumbs**t know we can't stop on a dime?

Voice #1: He's gonna run the gates! S**T!!

Now, what do you think the jury is going to say about all of this? The crew called the driver an asshole and a Dumbs**t. I'd expect the plaintiff's lawyer to sue for defamation as well....

:D

Kennedy



Date: 09/23/04 19:19
Re: Hope it stops lawsuits.
Author: gladhand

sd60m Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Kind of a rhetorical comment or question...
>
> How the heck can the train be wrong at a grade
> crossing accident?

How about speeding, failure to begin using the whistle at the prescribed point, inoperative ditchlites, malfunctioning grade crossing equipment? A smart lawyer can rip you a new one for any of these violations.



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