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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Runaway Train on CSX....

Date: 05/15/01 13:44
Runaway Train on CSX....
Author: sooman

Latest news on the CNN site says that there are conflicting reports that either no one on the train or that the engineer (or as CNN states: "driver", what is this? England?) on the train had a heart attack. The train was loaded with 47 cars of "flammable material" and that CSX had tried a forced derailment, but were unable to stop the train. The train finally stopped when it hit a uphill grade.

Lets take a moment to applaud the employees who risked thier lives to stop this train. And to think of the engineer if there was one who suffered a heart attack.

But on the lighter side, if there was a engineer on board who had a heart attack and fell off the locomotive. And then the train ran through a switch and on to the mainline; wouldn't that remind you of a certain movie made about 20 years ago?

In that case, CSX better look around the train to see if John Voaght and Eric Roberts are hiding out somewhere on board!

Date: 05/15/01 13:50
RE: Runaway Train on CSX....
Author: TRKneller

CNN article:

<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/05/15/runaway.train.04/index.html&quot;&gt;http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/05/15/runaway.train.04/index.html&lt;/a&gt;

And, as CNN pointed out (with help) what about the dead man's pedal?

Date: 05/15/01 13:55
RE: Runaway Train on CSX....
Author: crazy_nip

if the train was idling, the dead mans pedal would not need to be applied, it would just roll... only when the traction motors are getting juice and the train is in "run" would you need to apply the dead mans pedal... from all accounts so far it seems the crew stopped to throw a switch (where the hell was the conductor?) and left the train unattended (no brake application??) and it just started rolling away

Date: 05/15/01 14:04
RE: Runaway Train on CSX....
Author: rickrailrd

You can't read anything about railroads in the news without the words "carrying hazardous materials" somewhere in the first sentence. When it comes to reporting, journalists fall back on what little they know about railroads, and then when they try to write filler materials they invariable write a bunch of wrong and incorrect information. There are no "drivers" on US Railroads, yet the news media would have you believe that. If you look at the hazardous response guide that all transportation employees must carry, even coal is considered a hazardous material. (especially if consumed in large quantities, say by a 100 ton load of it dropping on your head :-) So why the big emphasis on hazmat?

I have worked on that line, which is called the "Toledo Branch Secondary". Suprising it didn't wipe out several budding young college students in Bowling Green. Of course I have seen some people along the tracks in town that make me wonder if their grade point average is as high as their blood alcohol content, so it may be a few days before anyone turns up missing from college.

OK CSX employees in Ohio, be prepared for yet another round of safety blitzes, conferences, rule changes, new bulletins, magnets with the "slogan of the month" printed on them arriving in the mail, MOPs in the bushes, banners on the mainline, eggs in the switchpoints, etc. Just don't expect any timely service to customers!! Oh no. Wouldn't be safe!

Date: 05/15/01 14:06
I think...
Author: sooman

Whatever th situation may turn out to be,I think the results will conclude that having one or even two man train crews (like the railraods are trying to cut down too, WC has experimented with and Amtrak already has one man crews) are unsafe in that it increases the chance of things like this happening on road trains.

Without all of the story, its too early too know exactly what happened and make a judgement. But mark my words, this type of thing has been waiting to happen since they went to two man crews.

Date: 05/15/01 15:15
RE: I think...
Author: sirsonic

There seems to be some confusion here.

A deadman pedal is a pneumatic valve that must be held down. Should it be released, air will escape through a warning whistle for about 6-10 seconds. Once that air has exhausted, the train brakes will be applied. You do not need to hold it down when the locomotive is standing with more than 25psi in the brake cylinder.

An alertor is an electronic device. The ones I am familiar with operate on a 40 second cycle. If no control action is made in a 20 second period, the alarm will sound, and a light on the alertor will flash. The alarm will sound with increasing intensity for 20 seconds. If at the end of that 40 second period (20 seconds of silence, followed by 20 seconds of the alarm)the engineer has not made a control action, or hit the acknowledge button, the brakes will be applied in the same manner as with the deadman. A control action usually includes moving the throttle or dynamic brake handle, ringing the bell, blowing the horn, moving the reverser, moving the brake handle, or hitting the acknoweldge button. There is also another system that involves an energized coil beneath the engineers seat. When he sits on the seat, a small current is passed through his body. When he makes contact with any metalic part of the control stand, this will acknowledge the alertor. Just like the deadman, the alertor may be silenced when the locomotive is stoped, and there is a minimum of 25psi brake cylinder pressure.

Locomotives in freight service are not required to have any type of saftey control device (alertor or deadman). Only locomotives used in passenger service are required to be equipped.

Had the locomotive been equiped, it would not have been possible for the train to run away as it did.

Date: 05/15/01 15:16
RE: I think...
Author: shifter

If both air brakes are released the alerter or crewcall
device must be reset to keep the brakes from applying
whether or not the traction motors are getting power.

Date: 05/15/01 18:36
RE: I think...
Author: cr3317

Being an ex-CR SD40-2, the engine almost certainly had an alertor. But if the unit was in idle, it would not have activated...

Scott H

Date: 05/15/01 18:50
RE: I think...
Author: Sirsonic

I have been told that CSX is removing the alertors from the ex-CR locomotives, so that they do not have to maintain them. As they are not required by any regulation, they can do this if they want to. Also, all of the alertor types I know of function regardless of if the throttle is in idle or not.

Date: 05/15/01 19:07
Thanks, Sirsonic...
Author: diddle_e._squat

..that was a good, clear, and concise explanation of an alerter. Was surprised to hear of CSX removing alerters. So is your opinion that the alerter is a pain in switching and therefore unnecessary, or should all loco's be equipped?

As to the question of where was the conductor, he was probably back at the cut, or riding the rear. Reducing to 2 man crews have created quite a quandary in some switching situations, so it is not uncommon for engineers to get a switch when the conductor is at the other end, in order to save time. Of course this also reminds me of that no-good lazy sloth of a Jersey conductor who takes so long to get a switch that his regular engineer would always get the switches! Always good for a laugh amongst the other crews.

Date: 05/15/01 20:30
RE: Thanks, Sirsonic...
Author: trainhand

good explanation Sirsonic. Alerters are supposed to make a penalty brake application if they are not reset. i have seen them cut out and some removed.

Diddle I think all engines should have them--this is from an idiot who has to push the yellow button regularly. they don't bother me when switching because you are moving the throttle and appling brakes ttherefore reseting it.

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