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Date: 02/24/17 16:08
Was I wrong?
Author: retcsxcfm

Many years ago,actually in the 70's I was foreman at Sanford,Fl.
We had six Amtrak trains in each direction.These trains took on
water and fuel for the locomotives,water for the cars.Short time
and minor repairs,ie no AC.Sanford was also an engineer and
fireman crew change.
The trains remained on the mainline while this work was being
done.Generally laborers would water the cars and a hostler and
helper would take care of the locomotivies.The train was protected
with blue flags that we have placed during this time.
Sanford was not a busy station for riders,few,if any got off or on.
The people that did were usually the engine crew and the conductor.
On one trip the locomotives were not spotted so we could fuel them.
As soon as the outbound crew got aboard,I pulled the flags and
asked the engineer to move about twenty feet.He did and I replaced
the flag and started fueling.
In less time then I can count to ten here comes the conductor
raising holy hell.Who gave permission to move MY TRAIN?
I told him because my shop placed the flags we had total control
of train movement.And until I moved the flags his train was not
going anywhere.He got madder and said he was going to call
the super.Well,HIS train left when WE got finished servicing it.
OK What side are you guys on? Was I correct or he?

Uncle Joe
Seffner,Fl.
 



Date: 02/24/17 16:14
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: Railbaron

Both! While there was nothing wrong with pulling the flag(s) and having the engineer help in spotting the train to complete servicing the conductor should have been briefed also and agreed to the move before doing anything (the engineer should have called him on the radio IMHO). While the conductor may not have needed a blue flag he may have been doing something that required the train remain stopped and the reason he was mad was the train was move without his knowing the reason ahead of time.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/17 16:15 by Railbaron.



Date: 02/24/17 16:27
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: cabsignaldrop

Only the same person who placed the flag can remove it. You were in the right.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/24/17 16:59
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>While the conductor may not have needed a blue flag he may have been doing something that required the train remain stopped and the reason he was mad was the train was move without his knowing the reason ahead of time.

In my opinion, it's the engineer who was wrong. He should have told that foreman to get ahold of the conductor for moving the train.

>Only the same person who placed the flag can remove it.

Correction: only a person of the same class of employee, not the same employee.



Date: 02/24/17 17:20
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: Railbaron

EtoinShrdlu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >While the conductor may not have needed a blue flag he may have been doing something that
>> required the train remain stopped and the reason he was mad was the train was move without his
>> knowing the reason ahead of time.
>
> In my opinion, it's the engineer who was wrong. He should have told that foreman to get ahold of the
> conductor for moving the train.
>

​The flag itself wasn't the issue since it had been removed.

As far as the conductor being brought into the loop I don't see where it makes any difference who does it as long he is contacted with the move to be made and is in concurrence. If the conductor had a radio it would have been very simple for the engineer to call him and give him a heads-up on what's needed and then once he was in agreement the move could have been made. After all the flag is pretty much at the same place the engineer is. Of course if no radio was available then certainly the foreman should have taken a hike to find the conductor and brought him into the loop that way.

​Either way I can certainly agree and understand why the conductor was so pissed about the train moving without his being brought into the plan; if I had been the conductor I would have gone ballistic also.



 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/17 17:21 by Railbaron.



Date: 02/24/17 17:25
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>The flag itself wasn't the issue since it had been removed.

In case you hadn't noticed, someone else brought it up.



Date: 02/24/17 17:30
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: justalurker66

Logic question: Placing the flags prevents the crew from moving the train, Removing the flags allows the crew to move the train. Under what authority did the engineer move the train? He needs the conductor to give him that command.

You can give the command not to move (by placing the flags) but you cannot give the command to move. I agree with the answer that the engineer was wrong for moving the train without the conductor. In your role you could keep a train stopped, but you could not make it go.



Date: 02/24/17 18:18
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: spnudge

"The Flag wasn't an issue"  Are you kidding? You can't possibly be a rail.

A BLUE FLAG is the only thing that protects someone, without fail.  

The only person that can take down the flag, is the person that put it up. Period.  (later changed, with said persons permission.)

There are people that hang their tags on that flag, knowing they are protected.

No. 1:   That engineer knew the person taking it down, didn't put it up. He should have questioned the move. 

No. 2   The engineer should have talked the move over with the Conductor first.

No. 3  The conductor should have contacted the car  & round house folks making sure everyone was on the same page and in the clear.

No. 4   Then, and only then, the engineer should sound two longs, turn the bell on and then move at snails pace to where to spot the engine.

No. 5  After stopping and setting the train air, contact the department involved and get another blue flag put on the engine.

There was a pic the other day of one of the UP steam engines sitting with a blue flag. You can see all the the tags hanging, from other other services.


Nudge



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/17 18:23 by spnudge.



Date: 02/24/17 18:39
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: trainjunkie

The mechanical foreman is in charge while the train is flagged. Once the flag is pulled by the foreman, the conductor is in charge. The conductor is right. The only time a foreman should be able to direct movement is within mechanical limits, and that has more to do with the wording of labor agreements than regulation. Moot point here though since this was on the main. I would have been furious too.



Date: 02/24/17 18:42
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: Railbaron

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "The Flag wasn't an issue"  Are you kidding? You can't possibly be a rail.
>

​Are you not able to read and understand the original post and first answer? The original poster said HE was the foreman, HE was the one who placed the flag, HE was the one who removed the flag. Since he was the person who posted the flag he, and only he, was the one who could remove it. Once the flag was removed by the proper person the flag was no longer an issue! And yes, I am/was a rail, retired after 43 years!!!

​In my original answer I specifically stated that the conductor should have been "brought into the loop", or to put it so maybe people can understand, been included in the job briefing. The conductor had every reason to be mad the train was moved without his knowledge or consent and the engineer shouldn't have moved the train without the conductor being briefed first and consented to the move.

​As far as the foreman "controlling" the move, he wouldn't be controlling it unless the conductor agreed to that as part of the job briefing. I see no problem with the foreman directing the engineer to move 20 feet to spot for fuel if that was acceptable to the conductor; we're not switching out the whole train!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/17 18:46 by Railbaron.



Date: 02/24/17 19:00
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: ExSPCondr

The conductor in this case was right, the engineer in this case was really wrong, and the car foreman was only doing his job, and was neither right nor wrong.

Lets stop and look at several things!
1. The conductor and brakemen load passengers at almost all stations without a blue flag.  Said passengers board and dis-embark via a "step box."  When the train made an unexpected movement with passengers having one foot on the box, and one foot on the train, serious injuries could have resulted!

2. Now the passengers that were lined up to board are at a step box that doesn't line up with the car door any more, and until the two or three train crew can get things under control, there may be seven or eight cars with doors open and no step box!

3.  Standing  operating practice is for a passenger train to be highballed from the rear toward the front, when the sleepers are loaded, either the rear brakeman or the conductor will give a highball to the head brakeman who will highball the engine when the chair cars and the baggage cars are loaded.   Same thing applies to loading controlled by radio, the train doesn't move until the entire train crew is ready.  This move violated all of that. 

4.  Back in the middle 70s, several rail fans used to watch the Sunset Limited when it arrived at Pomona.  Before long several of them brought flashlights and tried to "help" the train crew by relaying signals.  It got so bad we had to call the SP Police to get the foamers to leave their flashlights behind.

Bottom line is the train shouldn't have moved without the conductor's signal.
G



Date: 02/24/17 19:48
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: EtoinShrdlu

>The only person that can take down the flag, is the person that put it up. Period.  (later changed, with said persons permission.)

GCOR Rule 5.13 (the CFR says pretty much the same thing)   
"Blue Signal Protection of Workmen"
.
.
.
Blue signals or remote control blue signals must be displayed for each craft or group of workmen who
will work on, under, or between rolling equipment.
.
.
.
Blue signals may be removed only by the craft or group who placed them."

No verbiage about "permission from the employee who put it there". Craft or goup means that if an electrician blue flags a train, then only an electrician can take it down (same applies to the tags).

In that thread on the steam board, one of the Great Gurus Of The 844 has said that the tags were personal ones with photo IDs. Using these is more restrictive than the Rule (ane FRA) requirements, which is quite OK. What the UP, nor any other RR, can't do is be less restrictive than the CFR requirements.

>No. 1:   That engineer knew the person taking it down, didn't put it up. He should have questioned the move. 

As long as it was the same class of employee, it was OK for said individual to remove the flag. In a sense this should be qualified to say "nowadays" (meaning the last 20 years) because the SP's 1969 Rule Book (Rule 26) did say "same person". But even that was qualified with the addition of a clause reading "or authorized emnployee". The OP said "1970s" so to determine whether the "same person" applied Rule back then, you would have to look for an Amtrak Rule Book (or host RR rule book) from that period.

It is my strong suspicion that the phrase "the same class of employee" has pretty much been in the rules on all RRs for a long time.

>No. 2   The engineer should have talked the move over with the Conductor first.

It's better in the overall scheme of things if the foreman contacts the conductor directly about moving the train, not the engineer, because after all "the conductor is in charge". Yes, by all means, at the very least the engineer should have contacted the conductor to obtain his permission to move (once the foreman had taken the flag down) -- BTDT many times.

For "Uncle Joe":

>In less time then I can count to ten here comes the conductor
raising holy hell.Who gave permission to move MY TRAIN?
I told him because my shop placed the flags we had total control
of train movement.

Via your blue flags, you had control over whether the train could move. Not being part of the train's crew, you had no say in telling the engineer to move it.

>And until I moved the flags his train was not going anywhere.

Correct.

>He got madder and said he was going to call the super.

Ohhhh! wack my (expleteive deleted). Whenever people got on their high horse and said things like this, I would always offer to dial the phone for them.

>Well,HIS train left when WE got finished servicing it.

Undoubtely, because as long as your blue flags were up, the train couldn't move.

>OK What side are you guys on?

I'm on the side of correctness and using the chain of command the way it's supposed to be because it saves lives.

>Was I correct or he?

A little of both.



Date: 02/24/17 21:29
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: justalurker66

EtoinShrdlu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>> Was I correct or he?
> A little of both.

That is generous.
The engineer was most wrong as he moved the train without the conductor's permission.
The foreman was wrong to assume that he could order the train to move. He can ask for the train to be moved, he can remove the flags, but he cannot make the train move.
The conductor was right and the foreman should feel fortunate that all they got was an angry lecture.
(The only problem I can see with the conductor's actions would be the apparent failure to report the incident.)

>> I told him because my shop placed the flags we had
>> total control of train movement.

Once the flag was removed control was relinquished. You can stop the train from moving but you can't make it move.

>> Well,HIS train left when WE got finished servicing it.

His train moved when he told his engineer to move it. Sure, he could not do so until the flags were removed but following the rules you could not force him or his engineer to move the train. You could only force him not to move.



Date: 02/24/17 23:31
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: Railbaron

I cannot fathom how you can say the foreman was "wrong". He simply pulled the flags per the rules and then "ASKED"​ the engineer if he could pull forward 20 feet to fuel the units. How is "asking" forcing the engineer to move the train?

​If you want to place fault the only one that could be at fault would be the engineer for moving the train without conferring with the conductor or having the foreman confer with the conductor about the move needed. The conductor was right in chewing ass for the train moving but in my opinion he should have gone off on the engineer, not the foreman as the foreman didn't "force" the engineer to move it.



Date: 02/25/17 00:37
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: wpamtk

Just to complicate things a bit more, the original post said the train was blue-flagged on the main track. I always wondered how Mechanical Department forces could legitimately blue-flag a track that was under the control and authority of the dispatcher. In the case mentioned, was the dispatcher contacted by Mechanical forces? I've seen Amtrak Mechanical do this many times in CTC territory without a word to the dispatcher. Seems to me they should have contacted the DS and requested Track & Time.



Date: 02/25/17 08:22
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: Waybiller

wpamtk Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Just to complicate things a bit more, the original
> post said the train was blue-flagged on the main
> track. I always wondered how Mechanical Department
> forces could legitimately blue-flag a track that
> was under the control and authority of the
> dispatcher. In the case mentioned, was the
> dispatcher contacted by Mechanical forces? I've
> seen Amtrak Mechanical do this many times in CTC
> territory without a word to the dispatcher. Seems
> to me they should have contacted the DS and
> requested Track & Time.

Isn't mechanical blue flagging the train, not the track?  So, the dispatcher has conferred authority on the train to occupy the track.  Then mechanical is just saying the train can't move.  Track authority is still protected by the train.   Mechanical would only need Track and Time if there wasn't a train there.  



Date: 02/25/17 08:43
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: imrl

In modern times, when a carman or diesel shop employee establishes blue flag protection on a train on the main line (or controlled siding), they will contact the dispatcher to request a block on the section of track to be worked. This is just like locking out a yard track for a train inspection where the mechanical employee lines switches away from the track and locks them with their craft lock. Now, back in the day, things were done differently. If they didn't have the DS apply a block in day to day operations, that's just the way it was done. The train was still properly flagged, though. 

As for who who should be the proper recipient of the butt chewing?  Gotta go with the engineer. The train was flagged. The craft that placed the flag removed it and requested the train to be moved to complete servicing. The engineer should have consulted with the conductor first. 



Date: 02/25/17 11:08
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: EtoinShrdlu

> I always wondered how Mechanical Department forces could legitimately blue-flag a track that was under the control and authority of the dispatcher. In the case mentioned, was the dispatcher contacted by Mechanical forces? I've seen Amtrak Mechanical do this many times in CTC territory without a word to the dispatcher. Seems to me they should have contacted the DS and requested Track & Time.

The CFR doesn't require contacting the DS for blue flagging a train on the main track. This shouldn't be taken to mean that a RR may not take the more restrictive approach of requiring it to be done.



Date: 02/25/17 12:23
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: wpamtk

What occurs to me is that in a "main track" situation, Mechanical has no way to protect themselves from another movement entering the track, as they can't line and lock a switch away from the track they're working on. There are cases where the DS can line a move into an occupied track (such as the station track at Jack London Square) on a Restricting signal aspect. Of course, the movement should be at restricted speed, but in this situation I wouldn't bet my life on it. Also, UP has their "track breach protection" rule if there's one or more adjacent tracks, which would require the DS to be contacted as well. 



Date: 02/25/17 15:25
Re: Was I wrong?
Author: PatternOfFailure

retcsxcfm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I told him because my shop placed the flags we had
> total control of train movement.

This is the part where you were wrong and I'd call the boss about anyone who had that attitude. You can hold the train with your flags; you have no authority to order it to move.



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