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Western Railroad Discussion > when you don't follow the rules!


Date: 01/24/02 13:43
when you don't follow the rules!
Author: 3rdswitch

On a September, 1993, trip, I was following the Santa Fe transcon west out of Belen and wondered why there were no trains running? I heard something on the scanner about the "wreck". As I continued west there were trains parked EVERYWHERE. The cause: An eastbound stack train had gone into undesired emergency at West Crookton, a westbound train was approaching the site and SHOULD have been moving at RESTRICTED speed. While rounding a curve passing the eastbound, the westbound began sidswiping derailed stack cars that were fouling the north track. Had the westbound been going RESTRICTED speed, this incident would not have occured. The result was a significant service interuption, a costly derailment and two men in the hospital. This was the lead unit on the westbound, seen sitting on a siding at Seligman, AZ.
JB




Date: 01/24/02 14:02
RE: when you don't follow the rules!
Author: gp2000

That had to hurt!

How are the ones that ended up in the hospital?

ed



Date: 01/24/02 14:11
RE: when you don't follow the rules!
Author: Michael_SD40-2

I would say the crew was FIRED! The shortened version of restricted speed was explained to me by an old head engineer and it goes a litle somethin' like this. Run at a speed not to exceed 20mph which will allow you to stop short of an investigation! The real version of course can be explained as:TERMSD- Stop within half the range of vision short of Trains, Engines, Railroad cars, Men or equipment fouling the track, Stop signal or Switch improperly lined, and Derail. Notice it doesn't say anything about stalled automobiles!



Date: 01/24/02 14:32
RE: restricted speed
Author: mediumclear

Restricted speed is one of the most undefineable and often violated rules in railroading, in my opinion.

For example, unless you are running light engines, being able to stop in half the distance to a broken rail to me means that you can't move! And at night! Not a chance! How about in snow?

I know a couple of FRA guys and they often state that restricted speed is almost impossible to define, enforce, or measure. It's only really clear use if for discipline if something happens.

I would be interested in hearing what engineers have to say about actually operating a train at restricted speed.



Date: 01/24/02 14:49
RE: restricted speed
Author: peachfuzz

"Restricted speed is one of the most undefineable and often violated rules in railroading, in my opinion.

For example, unless you are running light engines, being able to stop in half the distance to a broken rail to me means that you can't move! And at night! Not a chance! How about in snow?

I know a couple of FRA guys and they often state that restricted speed is almost impossible to define, enforce, or measure. It's only really clear use if for discipline if something happens.

I would be interested in hearing what engineers have to say about actually operating a train at restricted speed."

Do they sit the little plastic sign in your face out there? One of Norfolk Southern's trainmaster tricks is "The Banner". Jump in front of the train and place the sign. Hit it, be relieved on the spot, and 30 days on the street. Must be able to stop within "half visible range". 10 mph? 5 mph? 3mph? Have seen it all.



Date: 01/24/02 14:51
RE: restricted speed
Author: james1

You don't have to stop short of broken rails, just be on the look out for them. I guess so that you don't drag the whole train over it. That was how it was explained to me by one of the local officals.



Date: 01/24/02 15:07
RE: restricted speed
Author: craigdouglas

mediumclear wrote:

> For example, unless you are running light engines, being able
> to stop in half the distance to a broken rail to me means that
> you can't move! And at night! Not a chance! How about in snow?


You are correct that one could not operate a train at restricted speed and stop short of a broken rail, but the rule does not require you to do that. The restricted speed rule only says you have to look out for broken rail, not stop short of one. Here is the actual rule:


--------------------------------
When a train or engine is required to move at restricted speed, movement must be made at a speed that
allows stopping within half the range of vision short of:
• Train.
• Engine.
• Railroad car.
• Men or equipment fouling the track.
• Stop signal.
or
• Derail or switch lined improperly.
The crew must keep a lookout for broken rail and not exceed 20 MPH.
Comply with these requirements until the leading wheels reach a point where movement at restricted speed
is no longer required.
--------------------------------


> I know a couple of FRA guys and they often state that
> restricted speed is almost impossible to define, enforce, or
> measure. It's only really clear use if for discipline if
> something happens.

As for impossible to enfore, define or measure, I have to disagree. Banner testing is used all the time to enforce restricted speed by railroads. It can be easily tested on signalled or non-signalled track, in a railroad yard or out on the mainline.

The real use of the rule is to protect the railroad employees if something is wrong on the tracks ahead of them, not for discipline. In a perfect world, if everyone followed the restricted speed rule 100 percent of the time there would be no discipline handed down since a train operating at restricted speed would not rear end another train, derail after hitting a washout, etc.


Craig Douglas
BNSF Editor CTC Board Magazine



Date: 01/24/02 16:58
RE: when you don't follow the rules!
Author: Hallawell

I remember the accident but I’m not so sure the crew had sufficient warning to bring their train down to restricted speed, and can not say for certain that they were to blame. There is a descending grade through Pan Canyon. 3rd Switch, are you positive that they violated the rules or are you speculating?



Date: 01/24/02 17:43
Locomotive number???
Author: albowen

It probably got posted somewhere....but I can't read it in the photo (nice job BTW) What is the number on the locomotive on the point?
AL Bowen



Date: 01/24/02 18:27
RE: when you don't follow the rules!
Author: Runs4TheNS

Hallawell wrote:
>
> I remember the accident but I’m not so sure the crew had
> sufficient warning to bring their train down to restricted
> speed, and can not say for certain that they were to blame.
> There is a descending grade through Pan Canyon. 3rd Switch,
> are you positive that they violated the rules or are you
> speculating?

Yes, please provide details before asserting the crew screwed up.

Been in a similar position more than once... one time we rounded a curve at night, only to have another crew call us and say they were stopped and in emergency. There's nothing like moving along at track speed, only to come around a bend and find a train stopped "in the hole" without anybody telling you it was there when you had a chance to take the appropriate action.

The other time was when we were passing a train at track speed. Our closing speed was above 90mph, and all of a sudden we hear his air go as we're passing his train, followed by his emergency radio transmission.

Thankfully, neither case provided anything more than a few anxious moments.

So, sometimes you have no warning and can't react. When that happens, you hold your breath, try and slow down, and have your hand on the brake valve in case you have to dump it...



Date: 01/24/02 21:35
RE: when you don't follow the rules!
Author: hoggerdoug

well, did the crew actually do a radio broadcast to the effect that the train had gone into emergency at such and such location and attempt to notify all trains in the area. With out getting my rule book out, in Canada, we are required to do an "emergency broadcast" and any train in the area is to stop, or at least approach the location prepared to stop. Did the crew do this, if so, perhaps the other crew did not have time to react, please don't say "they SHOULD have been travelling at restricted speed", your description of the incident is very vague and seems to have condemned the crew before all the facts are known.



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