Home Open Account Help 147 users online

Railroaders' Nostalgia > Another Fatal Van Accident…


Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


Date: 02/06/24 13:43
Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: TheButcherofBena

Just got a message from former colleagues at bnsf that another crew was killed when a van driver pulled in front if an on-coming train.  Brings to mind an incident when my conductor and I got dog caught after a long trip with a dog train that was under powered and low priority.  I was beat up and immediately went to sleep in the van.  Woke up and began a cell phone conversation with another Engineer trying to get an update on the board.  As I got wrapped up in the phone conversation, suddenly my Conductor begins screaming at the van driver, and a huge argument ensued while the driver is speeding down the freeway.  He suddenly cuts across all 4 lanes, heading for the shoulder, and it appears we're going to collide with an abandoned car on the shoulder.  I remarked to my friend, "gotta go, I think we're about to die on the freeway" and dropped the cell phone to prepare to meet my maker. The driver managed to avoid striking the parked car, and the Conductor is about to get out of the van to tune up the driver.  I intervene, bring an end to the argument and pending fist fight, and we then inform the driver to slow down unless he wants us to report his unsafe driving.  Get back on the freeway, driver continues to drive like a maniac, all the way to the home terminal where it gets worse.  While heading to the yard office, the driver begins to cut in front of a yard engine shoving a cut of cars at a crossing; the Conductor and I scream at him to stop which he did, barely avoiding an ugly collision.  I convinced my Conductor not to beat up the driver (much as I wanted to help him teach the driver a lesson), and convinced him reporting the dangerous driver to the Trainmaster was a better course of action.  We did so, and after writing an incident report, the Trainmaster dismissed the driver and he was later fired.  After that experience, I never again slept in a van no matter how long the trip that resulted in being dog caught.  Several years later we lost too many brother rails to accidents involving collisions involving vans and trains,  and collisions on the road.  There's good drivers and bad ones; they're not paid well, treated miserably just like train crews, and generally un-supervised and unaccountable.  The RR and their contractors have a hard time hiring and retaining drivers.  I get it, but the carnage continues well after my retirement.  It's so frigging wrong.  Sorry for the rant but just want to say to any readers on this board still working the rails: I know it sucks but when you get in that van please be vigilant just like you need to be when you're on the train.  And thank the good drivers, and report the dangerous ones.  If the RR doesn't take action, talk to your union reps!  



Date: 02/06/24 15:14
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: NSDTK

Good van drivers are a rare thing now days. My terminal we have 2 good drivers and the rest are dangerous



Date: 02/06/24 15:15
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: atsfer

Sorry to hear about that and your experience is legion I bet.  The most dangerous part of our jobs was when we were in the cabs, no doubt about it.



Date: 02/06/24 16:53
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ghemr

Yes, we had to refuse a few drivers because of their past actions. I also remember begging a few train dispatchers to "give us the light----we'll make it"  to avoid dying in certain locations which would then mean we'd have to use a cab with perhaps bald tires, poor brakes, sleepy driver, etc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/24 17:21 by ghemr.



Date: 02/06/24 18:31
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: 57A26

Perfect timing. I'm reading this while deadheading in a van.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/06/24 18:35
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ts1457

Has anyone been pushing for the railroads to take back the crew vans and drivers?



Date: 02/06/24 19:33
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: trainjunkie

The scariest train trips are the ones that involve a van.



Date: 02/06/24 21:00
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: Drknow

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Has anyone been pushing for the railroads to take
> back the crew vans and drivers?


You’ll see full crews and Waycars on all manifests before that happens.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/06/24 21:14
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ts1457

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ts1457 Wrote:
> -------------------------------------------------------
> > Has anyone been pushing for the railroads to> take
> > back the crew vans and drivers?
>
>
> You’ll see full crews and Waycars on all
> manifests before that happens.

I know that you are probably right, but I don't envy you who have to endure such dangerous rides. I hope some clever lawyer finds a way to lasso the railroad after such a bad accident (I have trouble calling it an accident).



Date: 02/07/24 06:10
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: rrcaboose

Had a few problems with van/taxi drivers too.
Early CR, called for turn job from EL Pt. Morris to Croxton, NJ with sign up Dover tower, deadhead by taxi to Port Morris. Local taxi came, bald tires and snowing. Refused to get in taxi. Had disp. call for another cab. This time driver drunk. Whole crew marked off "sick" on the spot. While waiting for EL MU train back to Hoboken, trainmaster came out and drove us to Port Morris.
rr caboose



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/24 06:14 by rrcaboose.



Date: 02/07/24 08:16
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: usmc1401

For those not in a rail van driver area. Just look at the Amazon delivery vans they seem just as bad on the road but without passengers.



Date: 02/07/24 08:36
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ts1457

I'm curious just how this situation with van drivers arose.

If my memory serves me, early in my railroad employment some places had railroad clerks handling the ferry driving and assistant trainmasters did a fair amount of crew hauling. Did the crew van services evolve from the days when a local taxi company was called?

Did the clerks give up the right to crew hauling or did they never have that right tied down?

To me, he lack of regard by a railroad as to the safety of these crew vans is horrible.


 



Date: 02/07/24 09:33
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

Over the years have had my share of van drivers some were good some were less than stellar. A few trips where the drivers were sleepy. My conductor told them pull over and he was going to drive. Of course there was a few times that the drivers were relucquent. He told them you have a choice i will ask for another van and you will be fired or let me drive. He took the wheel and the drivers went to sleep as soon as their butts sat down in the seat.
One of the first van services the SP had the van drivers were paid 15 a hour and had to buy their own gas. One day deadheaded to Santa Barbara to patch a train. The temperature was in the 90s and the van was hot. The driver said that he got less gas mileage. Told him will give you $20 for gas if you turn on the air conditioning.
Several drivers were hired right out of prison because they had good driving records.! A few were paroled murderers.
You get what you pay for !

Posted from Android



Date: 02/07/24 20:40
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ExSPCondr

Things got so bad out of Roseville, Ca. that the SP finally prohibited the dispatchers from deadheading between Roseville and Dunsmuir between 10pm and 4 am because of sleepy drivers.

A couple of the 'better' stories:  We were called to deadhead to Dunsmuir about 6pm in the winter, so it was dark already  The driver was a 60 year old lady we hadn't seen before, and she did alright until we got to I5.  She had the seat all the way forward, and she was leaned up over the steering wheel.  She had the headlights on high beam against the traffic, and she was going about 50 in the fast lane.  Everybody was flashing at her  from the other direction, and passing us on the right and cutting back in close in front of us due to their being mad at her going so slow.

We all suggested she use the low beams against the oncoming traffic, and we didn't have a problem with her going 50, just do it in the slow lane.  She made the mistake of saying "this is how I drive!"  She immediately got told "Not with us in  the car, pull over!"
We called the TM on duty and told him what was going on, and we weren't going to ride with her any further.  We sat in a rest stop for about an hour and a half until another driver got there to relieve her.  I never saw her again.

The other story I had posted here a couple of years ago,which is worth repeating, is about a lady driver who wouldn't get her rest, and was always tired.  She worked for Renzenberger out of Sparks, and was called to take four of us to Elko, 313 miles, in the middle of the night.
We usually made a pit stop at Winnemucca, which was about halfway.  This was a downhill offramp off of I80, with a left turn at the bottom.  One of us woke up to find the van stopped about halfway down the ramp, still in drive, and the driver sound asleep slumped down in the seat with her foot on the brake.

That was the end of everybody being asleep at once, after that, we took turns with one of us staying awake with all the drivers.

Less than a year later she took a crew to Gerlach, and apparently there was no crew to bring back, so she was alone.  This was a little two lane road, without much traffiic, and Renzenber couldn't find her even with their GPS locator.  At daylight a trucker going in with an empty semi to load gypsum saw a car upside down a little ways off the road, and knew it wasn't there the evening before, so he stopped to look.

She was still alive, pinned in the van upside down, and they figured she had been there for about six hours.

Then there was Guido:  He was Renzenberger's favorite, because he would take all the calls. One night in the winter two of us were called to deadhead from Roseville to Sparks and work back.  This was one of the best jobs on the railroad, as it paid 284 miles, and we were home in less that 12 hours.  We both have our cold weather gear on in the van, but Guido has the selector in the defroster position, (its not raining,) the temp is on cold, and the fan is on high.

The engineer asks him for a little heat, so he moves the selector from defrost to heat, (which turns off the Air Conditioning) but does nothing else.  A couple of minutes later  the engineer made it clear he wanted some heat!  Guido slams the temp lever all the way to hot, and the fan is still on high, so in about two minutes it is warm in the van, and Guido's eyes start to droop.  Within a couple more minutes he can't stay awake.  Since we are rested and going to work, I didn't mind driving, so we had him pull off, and I took over.

Out he went for the next two hours until we had to wake him up to drive us in the yard office.  We asked him how much rest he had, and in the last 24 hours before starting our trip, he had four hours off. This guy was real popular with the crews because he would buy food on the company card for the crews.  About that time his wife divorced hiim so he was living in the van, and yes he smelled like it!

Fortunately for us, his yearly Renenberger exam came up, and it turned out he had been driving on a suspended llicense for almost the last year!
G



Date: 02/08/24 05:47
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: RoadForeman

It's not just contract drivers!  One afternoon at 36th Street in Denver, the MYO (Manager of Yard Operations) informed me and the switch crew I was working with that he was going to take us down to the Denargo Wye to pick up some units.  We loaded up into a crappy, well-worn beater of a Jeep while the MYO screamed out of the parking lot before we could even buckle up.  A hard left onto Brighton Boulevard with his foot to the floor, we were approaching 65mph in a 35 zone when I asked if we were really in that much of a hurry, and to slow down.  Of course I became the bad guy, but at least he slowed down enough so we could live to tell about it.  I'm sure this type of thing happens all of the time, and usually no one will speak up...



Date: 02/08/24 13:00
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: Drknow

Lately, where I work the newest trick is to now DH crews for rest at 1, 3, or 4 AM. This didn’t happen until the last year but someone thinks that putting crews on Mr. Toads wild ride in the middle of the night, with all that comes with that, is a great idea.

Drivers falling asleep, deer, other wildlife, other sleepy drivers, drunk drivers, no or limited services open, and other things that go bump in the night don’t seem to matter. It’s almost like someone is being vindictive and making people get up in the middle of the night just because they are working a night shift. 🤔

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/08/24 17:55
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: TAW

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lately, where I work the newest trick is to now DH
> crews for rest at 1, 3, or 4 AM. This didn’t
> happen until the last year but someone thinks that
> putting crews on Mr. Toads wild ride in the middle
> of the night, with all that comes with that, is a
> great idea.
>
> Drivers falling asleep, deer, other wildlife,
> other sleepy drivers, drunk drivers, no or limited
> services open, and other things that go bump in
> the night don’t seem to matter. It’s almost
> like someone is being vindictive and making people
> get up in the middle of the night just because
> they are working a night shift. 🤔
>

It's more likely someone rolled ithe dice and it came up 'run a train.' Then someone else said 'oh shhhh there is no crew - deadhead! Chance that anyone had a clue what time it was let alone plot a nefarious deadhead time: 1/n^n where n --> Really Big

TAW



Date: 02/08/24 19:14
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: ExSPCondr

The story of the crazy MYO reminds me of a real "Oldie but a Goody"
Back in 1970 when I was a yardmaster, I had a yard crew tie down their engine and get on the road power to make the final double over for the MSE out of the 
shops on the SP in LA.  When the train was built, their engine was blocked in, but the car dept. was getting the air test, so it was only going to be another ten minutes until the train left and they could run their engine up by the tower for beans.

The ATM on duty (JBIII) couldn't stand to wait and drove down to have the crew leave the engine there, and crawl through the outbound train so he could drive them back to the office.  The Shops yard had a high tower, and the switchmens shanty was across the parking lot where we could see it from the tower.  I saw the company Chevy Nova come back by the shanty, unload,, and drive away.  Good I thought, it will be calmer up here for a while.

About an hour later I had a move to make, so we threw the switch list out the tower window on a clipboard with a rope to bring it back empty.  I called Ralph the foreman on the speaker and said the usual, "list on the hook."  Ralph answers back with "my foot hurts!""  I made the wiseacre answer of "your ass is going to hurt if I have to come down there to kick it to get you to do something!"  Ralph answers back with: "Didn't Bauer tell you?"  Of course I said tell me what?

Ralph says come down here and look, so I did.  Here he sits on a bench with one boot off, and his foot up on the table with what looks like a football in his sock.  Turns out Ralph went to get in the back seat on the drivers side, and when the other two doors slammed, the ATM took off and drove over the foreman's foot. 

Then he made things worse by telling him to wait until after lunch to see if it got better,  and not telling me so I could have called for another  switchman who would have just aboout gotten there in the hour before the next move,
G



Date: 02/09/24 01:00
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: Drknow

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Drknow Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Lately, where I work the newest trick is to now
> DH
> > crews for rest at 1, 3, or 4 AM. This didn’t
> > happen until the last year but someone thinks
> that
> > putting crews on Mr. Toads wild ride in the
> middle
> > of the night, with all that comes with that, is
> a
> > great idea.
> >
> > Drivers falling asleep, deer, other wildlife,
> > other sleepy drivers, drunk drivers, no or
> limited
> > services open, and other things that go bump in
> > the night don’t seem to matter. It’s almost
> > like someone is being vindictive and making
> people
> > get up in the middle of the night just because
> > they are working a night shift. 🤔
> >
>
> It's more likely someone rolled ithe dice and it
> came up 'run a train.' Then someone else said 'oh
> shhhh there is no crew - deadhead! Chance that
> anyone had a clue what time it was let alone plot
> a nefarious deadhead time: 1/n^n where n -->
> Really Big
>
> TAW

Oh no, it’s better than that. This has become a semi-regular occurrence 2-4 nights a week, depending on who the chief on duty is. Two crews, DH for 10 hours UR and maybe get some HAHT. Sometimes two at 4 AM and another two at 6, or whatever. But 1,3, and 4 are the magic hours. And you ain’t heard the best part, 95% these DH aren’t on the lineup. So guys go to bed thinking they will have anywhere from a 2/4 hr nap to maybe a nights sleep. 35 minutes later your phone is ringing. Glad I’m “rested”.

Oh, the DH were put on the lineup and prompted AND called in 20 minutes. Get the right rest.

And the band played on.

Regards

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/10/24 12:45
Re: Another Fatal Van Accident…
Author: TAW

Drknow Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Oh no, it’s better than that. This has become a
> semi-regular occurrence 2-4 nights a week,
> depending on who the chief on duty is. Two crews,
> DH for 10 hours UR and maybe get some HAHT.
> Sometimes two at 4 AM and another two at 6, or
> whatever. But 1,3, and 4 are the magic hours.

I wasn't giving credit to management to be smart enough to be devious. I attirbuted it all to incompetent and lazy.


> And
> you ain’t heard the best part, 95% these DH
> aren’t on the lineup.

That's not shocking. It's normal.


> So guys go to bed thinking
> they will have anywhere from a 2/4 hr nap to maybe
> a nights sleep. 35 minutes later your phone is
> ringing. Glad I’m “rested”.


Yup and get into an incident the report will do the arithmetic and proclaim you to be fully rested. I have wanted lineups to be part of aincident investigations forever but nobody is interested - too likely to take the blame off the crew.

>
> Oh, the DH were put on the lineup and prompted AND
> called in 20 minutes. Get the right rest.


Pro forma - gotta have it on the lineup so they can say later if there is an incident that it was on the lineup, you should have known and be prepared.

TAW



Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1354 seconds