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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Stopped by the secret service?


Date: 08/01/22 06:51
Stopped by the secret service?
Author: joeygooganelli

As a follow up to a previous story, I wanted to share a story about having to stop for a presidential campaign on the south side of Dayton, OH:


One of the more unusual things that I have seen on my orders was to stop at a certain milepost due to a Presidential Candidate being in the area Campaigning. This happened to me and fellow railroaders back when Mitt Romney was campaigning in Dayton,OH. Our orders said something to the effect of "No trains will operate north of milepost BE57.0 nor south of milepost BE59.0 between 1100 and 1300hrs account Motorcade for Presidential Campaign". Of course, my memory of the exact lingo isn't most likely accurate. On that date, I did get the just of the issue. The dispatcher had made a few communications about where we would need to stop that morning. We knew we couldn't clear. We ended up stopping short of Nicholas Road while running north from Cincinnati to points north.

Around 1045 I pulled to a stop. I do recall having another northbound on my blocks behind me that ended up pulling to a stop next to me on double track. Not long before the 1100 hr, numerous police and a few black suvs showed up. One drove directly towards both of our head ends. We looked puzzled until they got out of the cars and made a haste approach.

"You aren't moving!". It wasn't a question or request. It was the secret service telling us, you will not move. We joked between our two crews. Many of us already knew who was coming to town and apparently their stop just north of the crossing was one of many from the two major candidates. During that campaign season, I had seen that order before. This time, I had a front row seat.

There were people every where by 1100. Lots of bystanders and people holding their signs gathered along the road going towards where the event was going to be held. That spot wasn't a quarter of a mile away. As 1100 came and went we started to see lots of lights and patrol cars starting to cross in front of us and knew it was time for the main event. Just off to the south and right of the mains, we saw the buses approaching. People were waving and making a commotion! 

I've always been a bit of a jokester. After the bus crossed, I reached up and pulled the horn handle lightly to give a couple short toots. At that moment, all eyes were on us! Secret service turned. The police turned. I'm pretty sure I saw weapons from the one SUV move towards where we were. Apparently, tooting wasn't a good move. Two to three seconds transpired and the officers and secret service standing by realized we were no threat. A couple got a chuckle. My conductor was also getting a good laugh.

Around 30 minutes came and went and the buses came back out from where they were and crossed in front of us this time. This time without the railroad fanfare.

I have seen the secret service a few times in Cincinnati as well. When ever any person protected by them has to cross the Ohio River from Kentucky into Ohio, they shut EVERYTHING down. The river. The highway. And yes, the railroads.

Have any of you guys witnessed these events from the cab before?

Joe



Date: 08/01/22 07:06
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: engineerinvirginia

joeygooganelli Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As a follow up to a previous story, I wanted to
> share a story about having to stop for a
> presidential campaign on the south side of Dayton,
> OH:
>
>
> One of the more unusual things that I have seen on
> my orders was to stop at a certain milepost due to
> a Presidential Candidate being in the area
> Campaigning. This happened to me and fellow
> railroaders back when Mitt Romney was campaigning
> in Dayton,OH. Our orders said something to the
> effect of "No trains will operate north of
> milepost BE57.0 nor south of milepost BE59.0
> between 1100 and 1300hrs account Motorcade for
> Presidential Campaign". Of course, my memory of
> the exact lingo isn't most likely accurate. On
> that date, I did get the just of the issue. The
> dispatcher had made a few communications about
> where we would need to stop that morning. We knew
> we couldn't clear. We ended up stopping short of
> Nicholas Road while running north from Cincinnati
> to points north.
>
> Around 1045 I pulled to a stop. I do recall having
> another northbound on my blocks behind me that
> ended up pulling to a stop next to me on double
> track. Not long before the 1100 hr, numerous
> police and a few black suvs showed up. One drove
> directly towards both of our head ends. We looked
> puzzled until they got out of the cars and made a
> haste approach.
>
> "You aren't moving!". It wasn't a question or
> request. It was the secret service telling us, you
> will not move. We joked between our two crews.
> Many of us already knew who was coming to town and
> apparently their stop just north of the crossing
> was one of many from the two major candidates.
> During that campaign season, I had seen that order
> before. This time, I had a front row seat.
>
> There were people every where by 1100. Lots of
> bystanders and people holding their signs gathered
> along the road going towards where the event was
> going to be held. That spot wasn't a quarter of a
> mile away. As 1100 came and went we started to see
> lots of lights and patrol cars starting to cross
> in front of us and knew it was time for the main
> event. Just off to the south and right of the
> mains, we saw the buses approaching. People were
> waving and making a commotion! 
>
> I've always been a bit of a jokester. After the
> bus crossed, I reached up and pulled the horn
> handle lightly to give a couple short toots. At
> that moment, all eyes were on us! Secret service
> turned. The police turned. I'm pretty sure I saw
> weapons from the one SUV move towards where we
> were. Apparently, tooting wasn't a good move. Two
> to three seconds transpired and the officers and
> secret service standing by realized we were no
> threat. A couple got a chuckle. My conductor was
> also getting a good laugh.
>
> Around 30 minutes came and went and the buses came
> back out from where they were and crossed in front
> of us this time. This time without the railroad
> fanfare.
>
> I have seen the secret service a few times in
> Cincinnati as well. When ever any person protected
> by them has to cross the Ohio River from Kentucky
> into Ohio, they shut EVERYTHING down. The river.
> The highway. And yes, the railroads.
>
> Have any of you guys witnessed these events from
> the cab before?
>
> Joe

Seems like we've had similar orders concerning Richmond va...but by the time we get there the party is over and everything is back to normal. 



Date: 08/01/22 09:23
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: wp1801

Good story!  Our tax dollars at work.



Date: 08/01/22 20:48
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: Drknow

wp1801 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Good story!  Our tax dollars at work.

I suppose the memory of the four murdered presidents still haunts the Secret Service.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/01/22 22:27
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: roustabout

Hillary Clinton had made a campaign stop in Eugene, I think 2008, and her and the entourage bussed north to another stop on old Hwy 99.  I was working the American Turn, switching the siding in Harrisburg, in preparation to switching a customer south of town, I think. We pulled out of the siding and got the gates just as the first of her entourage came off Hwy 99 on to the street we were blocking. We had them blocked for a couple of minutes before we shoved the main. No one ever complained that I know of but I enjoyed the moment.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/22 22:28 by roustabout.



Date: 08/02/22 07:53
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: Notch7

If you work in a major urban area like I did, you will occasionally get stopped well short of any overpass that might be used by a motorcade of a president, presidential candidate, or vice president.   On the CTC mainlines, the dispatcher would stop you at a distant control point. On unsignaled leads, the yardmaster would give you the stop directions.  Mostly we were so far away we never saw anything.  The one exception I remember was when President George H. W. Bush's campaign train came through Charlotte NC.  We all were stopped in place.  The overpasses were guarded by police.  The campaign train was a mixture of UP and CSX equipment. President Bush and his wife Barbara were on the open plation of the rear office car waving to us as they went by, and we were waving to them.



Date: 08/04/22 08:27
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: 20yearrrman

In Ohio during the Obama administration a visit to lima was on the front page of the local paper the next day.

The train was ordered to stay outside of town til x:xxpm when that time came up the train proceeded into town. The bad part Obama spoke to long and left after the "ground stop" ended as the train approached the crossing law enforcement and secret service was waiving for the train to stop, as police was holding up the gates as the motorcade passed with Obama waiving thru his window as the train came to a stop. That night on the national news "president had a close call with a train after speaking to town folk". Needless to say procedures changed on the next visit.

Posted from Android



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/04/22 15:07 by 20yearrrman.



Date: 08/05/22 23:13
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: railstiesballast

When Metrolink was working or re-habbing the old SP Coast Line through Simi Valley there was a motorcade scheduled with all the living ex-Presidents to drive to the ceremonys for Reagan at his library, this had to cross the tracks and all trains were held.  So far, so good.
But oblivious to all that a Hy-Rail inspection car was granted TWC track authority through the area.
As they approached the crossing of the motorcade route they dropped the track shunts, just like any other day.
The gates came down after the leading black SUVs had crossed, but before the Presidents.
Shocked expressions and lots of stares, but they made no effort to halt the Hy-Rail, which continued on.
Nobody completely exhaled for a couple of more miles when it was clear that no black helicopters were coming.



Date: 08/08/22 17:41
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: 567Chant

re:  joeygooganelli's post -
At least you didn't throttle up a couple of clicks with the brakes applied.
A good excuse, at least for the LEOs present - "I needed to make the air compressors make more air for the brakes".
...Lorenzo



Date: 08/08/22 19:56
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: OliveHeights

In 1990 I was dispatching the San Bernardino Sub when the Nixon Libray was opened. Ford, Reagan and George HW Bush attended. My memory is that Ford and Reagan crossed the tracks at Lakeview and Bush at Imperial Hwy. in the Anaheim Hills area. The Santa Fe had a signal maintainer and special agent at both crossings along with a secret service agent. When a president was on the approach the maintainer would call me and get track and time for the president to cross the tracks. They either departed by a different route or after I went home at 3 pm because it was one direction only for me. I had 2 other encounters with the secret service and presidential moves in my career.



Date: 08/10/22 18:44
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: dsrc512

Out on the South Dakota prairie, had a call from the Mitchell (Home of the Corn Palace) Chief of Police.  Due to an upcoming presidential candidate visit, a four lane bypass road which crossed our track was an emergency escape route.  The. Chief could cross us off his list after I told him we were not running a train that day in the Mitchell area.  As an aside, since the road was a designated route for high and/or wide loads, we would occasionally get a call, asking us to swing the overhead crossing flasher arms out of the way for a house mover.

Alex Huff  



Date: 09/07/22 08:42
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: santafe199

Back in ‘88 I was on an MRL crew that was being DH’d home to Missoula from Spokane via a prop-jet puddle jumper. We were onboard, ready to taxi over for takeoff. But “they” turned us around and made us deplane. Prez Bush (41) was departing way over on the other side of the huge airport complex. Probably 3/4 of a mile away. Back inside I was grumbling out loud that “we could’ve been in the air and halfway to Missoula by now”. Next thing I know a man in his 30s and a younger attractive girl in her 20s had come up to strike up a conversation with me about that very thing. It was later that I realized they were Secret Service trying to get a fix on me, whether or not I was a threat. It was kind of spooky but kinda cool all at the same time…

Posted from iPhone



Date: 09/07/22 16:59
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: PHall

santafe199 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Back in ‘88 I was on an MRL crew that was being
> DH’d home to Missoula from Spokane via a
> prop-jet puddle jumper. We were onboard, ready to
> taxi over for takeoff. But “they” turned us
> around and made us deplane. Prez Bush (41) was
> departing way over on the other side of the huge
> airport complex. Probably 3/4 of a mile away. Back
> inside I was grumbling out loud that “we
> could’ve been in the air and halfway to Missoula
> by now”. Next thing I know a man in his 30s and
> a younger attractive girl in her 20s had come up
> to strike up a conversation with me about that
> very thing. It was later that I realized they were
> Secret Service trying to get a fix on me, whether
> or not I was a threat. It was kind of spooky but
> kinda cool all at the same time…
>
> Posted from iPhone


You never know who's listening...



Date: 09/21/22 16:48
Re: Stopped by the secret service?
Author: NSDTK

Back in 2020 I got on a train in Augusta Ga, We took off to Nixon yard that sits beside the Augusta airport, Come across the main crossing there is City Cops, GSP and Black Suits everywhere with all traffic stopped, We keep along at restricted speed with plans to stop at the yard office for new paperwork, wondering just what is going on when i spot the tail of Air Force 2 Across the road from the tracks, Double check our restrictions for anything about holding for Pence nothing, look at the conductor we arnt supposed to be here some one had made a major blunder, just then a helicopter started trailing over head, Stop at the yard office tell the conductor DO NOT take the brake stick out side, You do I'm running for the woods, sit there for a moment and watch Air Force 2 fly off into the distance. I have a feeling who ever made the plan with the Secret Service got a chewing for not having train traffic held. 



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