What does a crew do when they are stopped at a red light for a long time?

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What does a crew do when they are stopped at a red light for a long time?
Posted by IbanezGuiness on Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:43 PM

I've seen trains stopped at a red light for several hours at times in my local area. Are they allowed to read a book or use their phone or do something to pass the time? Or are they required to keep their attention on the signal and rails? Always something I've wondered about. 

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Friday, July 21, 2017 12:12 AM

Sit and wait, maybe call the dispatcher for an update.  Most railroads have a rule that prohibits reading non-Company authorized material while on duty, and of course using cellphones is also prohibited.  Sleeping while on duty is not allowed either, but I believe one of the American rulebooks has a provision to allow one crew member to nap while the other keeps watch.  In Canada the rulebook also requires the Conductor to make a walking inspection of as much of the train as possible in the time spent waiting.  And of course the crew is required to inspect passing trains from a position on the ground. 

Them's the rules, in reality of course they are not completely obeyed 100% of the time.  In the middle of nowhere with (hopefully) no one watching there's no harm done by resting one's eyes for a little while.  If a manager happens to be skulking about and sees this there will be harsh discipline though. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, July 21, 2017 7:52 AM

However, taking a nap while on duty on CSX is now forbidden.

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, July 21, 2017 8:09 AM

From my trip long ago.. March 1982. We were stopped for a couple of hours near Spence's Bridge, BC. Brakeman went to sleep in the second unit while the engineer remained in his seat reading "The Urban Cowboy".. They didn't complain about it.. seemed as if they encountered these types of waits often. 

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Posted by zugmann on Friday, July 21, 2017 8:23 AM

Ulrich
They didn't complain about it.. seemed as if they encountered these types of waits often.

If you don't ahve patience, you will never make it out here.

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Ulrich on Friday, July 21, 2017 8:42 AM

zugmann

 

 
Ulrich
They didn't complain about it.. seemed as if they encountered these types of waits often.

 

If you don't ahve patience, you will never make it out here.

 

 

Yes, and as I recall both of them had a good sense of humor.. mostly at my expense!

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Posted by Kielbasa on Sunday, July 23, 2017 2:15 AM

SD70M-2Dude

Sit and wait, maybe call the dispatcher for an update... In Canada the rulebook also requires the Conductor to make a walking inspection of as much of the train as possible in the time spent waiting.  And of course the crew is required to inspect passing trains from a position on the ground.  

You Canadians have some funny rules. Watch them by from the ground?!? How barbaric... And walking just because you gotta kill time? That's what detectors are for! The rulebook allows for cell phone use under certain conditions for us. 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, July 23, 2017 12:45 PM

Kielbasa

 

 
SD70M-2Dude

Sit and wait, maybe call the dispatcher for an update... In Canada the rulebook also requires the Conductor to make a walking inspection of as much of the train as possible in the time spent waiting.  And of course the crew is required to inspect passing trains from a position on the ground.  

 

 

You Canadians have some funny rules. Watch them by from the ground?!? How barbaric... And walking just because you gotta kill time? That's what detectors are for! The rulebook allows for cell phone use under certain conditions for us. 

 

We're still required to have a crew member do roll bys from the ground when stopped.  Everyone since last fall has been saying they were going to do away with the requirement of inspecting passing trains from the ground around the first of this year.  Still required as far as I know.  (I've been on vacation and haven't seen the latest system general order.)  Also required to immediately call the dispatcher when stopped by a controlled signal.  Just in case someone (dispatcher) or something (computer) forgot to line us up.  It does happen. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:43 PM

Kielbasa
 
SD70M-2Dude

Sit and wait, maybe call the dispatcher for an update... In Canada the rulebook also requires the Conductor to make a walking inspection of as much of the train as possible in the time spent waiting.  And of course the crew is required to inspect passing trains from a position on the ground.   

You Canadians have some funny rules. Watch them by from the ground?!? How barbaric... And walking just because you gotta kill time? That's what detectors are for! The rulebook allows for cell phone use under certain conditions for us.

Watching a train by on the ground involves all the observers senses, sight, hearing and smell - any and all of which can sense something that is not right.  Watching a passing train from a locomotive cab leaves, for the most part, only the sense of sight being fully active.  Hearing gets overwhelmed by the locomotive's own noises.  Smell gets short circuited by the normally closed cab windows - either to keep the AC's cold air in or to keep the electric heaters hot air in.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Monday, July 24, 2017 12:49 AM

Kielbasa
SD70M-2Dude

Sit and wait, maybe call the dispatcher for an update... In Canada the rulebook also requires the Conductor to make a walking inspection of as much of the train as possible in the time spent waiting.  And of course the crew is required to inspect passing trains from a position on the ground. 

You Canadians have some funny rules. Watch them by from the ground?!? How barbaric... And walking just because you gotta kill time? That's what detectors are for! The rulebook allows for cell phone use under certain conditions for us. 

I believe the rule which contains the walking inspection tidbit (CROR 111) dates back to the old UCOR, that is the era of plain bearings and cabooses on every train and infrequently located detectors.  Rule 111 also makes reference to pre-planned inspection stops and tail-end crew members, two things we don't see anymore.  The section on walking inspections at meeting points is listed as optional by Transport Canada, but CN has chosen to enforce it for some reason.  Not sure if CP is the same. 

And I have spotted numerous things on roll-bys that a detector would not pick up, and I might not have noticed from the cab.  Things like shifted loads, metal banding that has come loose, "riders" (hobos) on cars and open doors on intermodal containers to list a few.

CN also chooses to religiously enforce the no-napping policy, you are on duty so you must be fully rested and completely awake right?  A far cry from 20 years ago when new locomotives were being ordered with seats that would lean back completely to make napping easier and more restful.  My personal view is that resting one's eyes while stopped in a siding is harmless, and recharges your batteries a bit to help you stay awake later when the train is moving and real concentration is actually required, but unfortunately those who are in charge obviously know something I don't. 

Would anyone question the safety of a driver pulling over at highway rest stop to take a nap? 

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by switch7frg on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:31 AM

Wink Would the crew get yelled at if they shined up the engine and windows and rearview mirrors with rags ??

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:37 AM

switch7frg

Wink Would the crew get yelled at if they shined up the engine and windows and rearview mirrors with rags ?? 

Not if they brought their own rags and cleaners....Devil

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Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:37 AM

The no napping policy is kinda dumb. If the crew is sidelined through no fault of their own then why shouldn't they be allowed to catch up on sleep? 

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:44 AM

Play with their fidget spinner?

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Posted by traisessive1 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:56 AM

Canadian Rules state ALL crew members have to be outside on the ground inspecting BOTH sides (when safe).

So yes, the engineer is required to be outside in the pouring rain or a whiteout blizzard. 

 

And as mentioned, our senses will ALWAYS pick up more than a detector can.

10000 feet and no dynamics? Today is going to be a good day ... 

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Posted by Mookie on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:20 AM

tree68

 

 
switch7frg

Wink Would the crew get yelled at if they shined up the engine and windows and rearview mirrors with rags ?? 

 

 

Not if they brought their own rags and cleaners....Devil

 

Back in the dark ages - being unionized - BNSF (while still CBQ/BN) wouldn't let an engineer change a lightbulb that was easily reachable.  That was to be done by the union that handled that type of thing.  Cleaners maybe?

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:03 PM

Mookie
...wouldn't let an engineer change a lightbulb...

Very common in union shops.  Dad worked in a non-union shop (General Motors Proving Grounds) and ran into "trouble" when he and another non-union GM employee had to go to GM's Tech Center.  Seems he tried to plug a cord into the wall...

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Posted by zardoz on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:05 PM

SD70M-2Dude

 CN also chooses to religiously enforce the no-napping policy, you are on duty so you must be fully rested and completely awake right?  A far cry from 20 years ago when new locomotives were being ordered with seats that would lean back completely to make napping easier and more restful.  My personal view is that resting one's eyes while stopped in a siding is harmless, and recharges your batteries a bit to help you stay awake later when the train is moving and real concentration is actually required, but unfortunately those who are in charge obviously know something I don't.

 

Rules made by persons who have never had to work on call 24-7 nor work 12+hour shifts once called.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 2:41 PM

Mookie

 

 
tree68

 

 
switch7frg

Wink Would the crew get yelled at if they shined up the engine and windows and rearview mirrors with rags ?? 

 

 

Not if they brought their own rags and cleaners....Devil

 

 

 

Back in the dark ages - being unionized - BNSF (while still CBQ/BN) wouldn't let an engineer change a lightbulb that was easily reachable.  That was to be done by the union that handled that type of thing.  Cleaners maybe?

 

 

In a 1977 a picture of a BN train (made by a BN photographer) was used on the front cover of Railroad Magazine.  The info about the photo said the head end crew upon learning that a company photographer was going to get a picture of them wiped down the engines.

About detectors, there have been a few derailments where the last detector passed gave a highball (no defects) and a bearing burned off a few miles later.  I was on a train where a detector gave a highball, but a yard job 5 miles beyond the detector saw a car with a smoking bearing.

Jeff

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Posted by Kielbasa on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:37 PM

Hard to find the motivation to clean anything when you know the next crew behind you is gonna trash your hard work anyway. Most I've ever done is disinfect the radio and wash the coal dust off the windshield. Maybe a bag of ice in the toilet if someone left the tank heater onBig Smile

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Posted by GREG HODGES on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 6:30 PM

Thank goodness subscriptions to PENTHOUSE and PLAYBOY are still somewhat reasonable.

("Uh.....What unauthorised reading material ?  I was just reading over the FRA standards manual on traction motor wear and tear......that's all.")   (whew...)

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 9:05 PM

Mookie
tree68
switch7frg

Wink Would the crew get yelled at if they shined up the engine and windows and rearview mirrors with rags ??

Not if they brought their own rags and cleaners....Devil

Back in the dark ages - being unionized - BNSF (while still CBQ/BN) wouldn't let an engineer change a lightbulb that was easily reachable.  That was to be done by the union that handled that type of thing.  Cleaners maybe?

I wish they put spare bulbs in the toolkit on the locomotives, sure would be nice to be able to replace burnt out headlights or ditchlights as soon as they happen.  But I guess you can always steal from the second unit or the rear end of the lead one.

Most guys I work with wipe down the controls with wet wipes from the company-provided crewpacks.  A few aren't satisfied with that and buy their own wet wipes.

What I really hate is when the guy before you leans back in the chair and puts his filthy boots up on the desk.  Takes like 20 minutes to clean up all the dirt and grime from that.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, July 27, 2017 7:00 AM

SD70M-2Dude
Takes like 20 minutes to clean up all the dirt and grime from that.

I recall reading about an engineer who liked his locomotive cabs "just so," and was very upset when he discovered he had drawn a certain loco that day.  He grabbed a bunch of rags, etc and headed for the cab...

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 27, 2017 7:47 PM

tree68
 
SD70M-2Dude
Takes like 20 minutes to clean up all the dirt and grime from that. 

I recall reading about an engineer who liked his locomotive cabs "just so," and was very upset when he discovered he had drawn a certain loco that day.  He grabbed a bunch of rags, etc and headed for the cab... 

T&E personnel are not the only ones that want their work space 'just so'.  Worked on desk where one person sprayed down the desk surface, touch screens, keyboards, writing instruments and everything else on the desk with Clorox Cleaning spray and wiped everything down with a small forest of paper towels.  Their relief would come in and basically repeated the proceedure with isopropyl alcahol.  Both suffered more ill health than those that weren't that persnickity.  The equipment on that desk failed more than the same equipment did on other desks.  Wonder why?

Being the oldest in the office by in excess of 20 years, I was always amazed at how sickly the younger generations are.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by Sunnyland on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 12:16 PM

never really thought about it, until I heard Harrison is fobidding naps now on CSX, they used to get a power nap up to 45 mins.  A friend on FB who is retired engineer on BNSF used to be able to carry a camera in cab "back in the day" and has awesome photos of meets and shots from the cab looking back at train. He started with the Q at 16 so he went thru a lot of transitions.  Glad he could carry a camera because he took photos none of us could ever do unless we worked for a RR. But that's now a no no. He said it was time to retire when his engineer trainees learned how to run a train from a simulator.  He did it the old fashioned way-3 years in the left side seat until he could move over to the right. 

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 2:58 PM

usually the train crew is whining and hollering about wanting to tie the train down and "go to beans" ....

(1) Colorado & Wyoming railroad crews could be found with kerosene rags wiping down the engines constantly.

(2) One young woman engineer, laid off from ATSF, was observed sunbathing on top of the short hood of her C&W GP38 on a lawn chair within site of the ATSF main at Jansen, CO (Consternation! - especially when she marked back up on ATSF)

(3) Had union reps trying to lobby the Division Supt. not to use sidings at Sutton, KS, Orsa CO and Onava NM because they were really out in the boonies and there were no beanweries or convenience stores (for that matter people, period) nearby.  The Supe laughed for days afterward. Division Engineer was amused because they demanded new sidings be built close to towns with beaneries/ stores to replace those sidings. Orsa and Onava were each less than 5 years old at the time and were placed where the dispatchers wanted to see them to expedite meets. (As DC may remember - ORSA became a terror for train crews and crew haulers because of its remoteness. Being marrooned up there was a fate worse than prison...Frick, CO was also "out there", but had best pray for dry dirt roads)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, August 09, 2017 6:33 PM

MC, yes  I have been to all on a motor car, except Frick. Sutton on the 1st District had all of the fast passenger trains, 17-18; 19-20; 21-22; 123-124 and fast mails 7-8 so a drag could be held there especially if the passenger trains were not on time.

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Saturday, August 12, 2017 12:54 PM

This is the reason one wisely packs a travel pillow, reading material and snack munchies. As long as the train is stopped and no one on the job is involved in any type of work event, one can use their phone but once the work resumes, it is to be turned off, tucked away out of sight. There have been trains stopped long enough for a pizza or Jimmy Johns to be delievered to the train (sounds weird but true). If a fast food joint is right by the trks, one can hike over there and grab something. Even trackside visitors have brought food items to the train. Crews really like that.

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Posted by traisessive1 on Monday, August 14, 2017 9:05 AM

SFbrkmn

This is the reason one wisely packs a travel pillow, reading material and snack munchies. As long as the train is stopped and no one on the job is involved in any type of work event, one can use their phone but once the work resumes, it is to be turned off, tucked away out of sight. There have been trains stopped long enough for a pizza or Jimmy Johns to be delievered to the train (sounds weird but true). If a fast food joint is right by the trks, one can hike over there and grab something. Even trackside visitors have brought food items to the train. Crews really like that.

 

 

No phones on the train in Canada. Unless it's a phone specifically assigned to the job you are working. 

No leaving the property without permission. 

10000 feet and no dynamics? Today is going to be a good day ... 

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