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Another Super Bad Cajon Pass Train Wreck May Be Coming!

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Another Super Bad Cajon Pass Train Wreck May Be Coming!
Posted by K. P. Harrier on Thursday, June 10, 2004 9:26 AM
From the crossovers at Summit, California, the NEW signaled Martinez siding straddles the regular two mainline tracks eastward for a mile or two. The geographic crest is between siding switches, so it seems that a disastrous runaway of a string of temporarily unattended rollingstock could occur in either downward direction. Historically, Cajon Pass is notorious for runaways, and the results of such incidents have been fairly well documented photographically. Nevertheless, if the railroad installed a power derail at each end of the new siding, it would reduce the gravity of a possible runaway, and keep any surprise mishap relatively small and manageable.
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Posted by CShaveRR on Thursday, June 10, 2004 10:16 AM
If I understand you correctly, this siding is between the two main lines?

1. Exactly what are the odds of either railroad leaving an unattended string of cars on this siding (and to what purpose?)?

2. Why are you telling us about this, instead of somebody who could actually address the perceived problem?

3: If the siding is between the main tracks, toward which of those tracks would you derail the cars?

Carl

Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, June 10, 2004 11:29 AM
From one who has worked "the hill"...

(1) Carl is right, chance of anything being left at Summit unattended is almost non-existant.

(2) If I'm going in the hole in mountain country, leaving my train draped over a crest is where I want to be, to get started coming out....

(3) No CTC passing siding has derails unless it is no longer used for its original purpose....(Your thought processes need some work)

(4) The runaway incidents you refer to were never unattended....were either the result of poor train handling, mechanical failure, poor train make-up (Duffy Street) or human failure.

(5) The only thing left unattended on the hill was an engineer who was not noticed to be missing until his conductor brought his train into 5th Street/ SanBdno. (he fell off trying to restart a dead unit!)

(6) If this really bothers you, go visit the Supt. and Dispatchers at 740 Carnegie in San Bernardino (off of Hospitality Drive).....and follow Carl's advice....

The design of the 3rd track is common to BNSF high tonnage power crossovers in high tonnage territory (Got two just like it here in Denver - no cars stored on them either)....the design is hinting at the beginning of a future stretch of 3MT operation...

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 K. P. Harrier on Thursday, June 10, 2004 6:42 PM
TO THOSE WHO HAVE INQUIRED:

As I understand it, in north to south track order: Martinez siding, Track #1, Track #2. Martinez is NOT a center siding.

The power switches at Martinez siding do NOT appear to be of the high-speed variety as used for the Summit crossovers and elsewhere on the subdivision mainline.

Crews that will be bitten by the hours of service limitations tend to be routed to the siding.

Others HAVE previously advised BNSF of the danger.

A good book on Cajon Pass railroading that includes a section on wrecks may be enlightening for unbelievers

Does not a track welder work with someone? One welds, the other watches for the unauthorized unexpected. Some see obvious dangers, some do not. That is partly the reason why there are train wrecks.

Keep safe,

K.P.
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Posted by dharmon on Friday, June 11, 2004 12:25 AM
wooooooo eeeeeeeeeeee ooooooooo
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Posted by croteaudd on Saturday, June 12, 2004 2:18 AM
Union Pacific learned the hard way the value of powered derails for some sidings on long downward grades, and has since adjusted matters accordingly. The disastrous Montclair-Commerce runaway last year near Los Angeles that inspired those adjustments is covered in a public report from the National Transportation Safety Board. It makes for enlightening reading, and is downloadable from the NTSB government agency website.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 4:10 AM
BNSF rebuilt the Martinez spur ?????????? Never heard before!!!

BTW: Martinez Spur is a part of the former (until 1972) AT&SF mainline across Cajon.

When Cajon Station was rebuilt, lowered an went to anew location about 200 feet to the south in 1972 (Chard Walkers articles in the 02 aqnd 03 / 2004 TRAIN issues show the old line).

The spurĀ“s westend is about 20 feet higher than the new mainline!
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Posted by wabash1 on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 6:56 AM
I have never seen a siding with a derail. and if it is ctc ( i may be wrong ) the dispatcher couldnt line a train in the siding if the derail is on. But i must ask this question with a derail how do you reduce the gravity of a possible run-a way ?
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Posted by mloik on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 1:44 PM
I used to live about two hundred feet from the BNSF main as it (westbound) entered San Bernardino. About two miles north of where the big wreck occured ten or fifteen years ago.

Once, a train got loose coming down from the Summit, left the rails, and let loose with some chlorine gas. Closed I-15 for a while.

Knowing the small amount about railroading that I do, and a little more chemistry than most, I was always worried about wrecks in the area.
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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:09 PM
Coming back down Cajon a last week I saw something that was of great surprise to me. I was stuck behind a southbound freeway closure halfway down Cajon grade north of the hwy138 crossover, had to close all lanes so they could land a Helicoptor. As I was waiting I had a great view of the lines as they make that big bend and pass under the freeway. I was watching a BNSF frieght making its way up the grade, saw the end of the train emerge from under the freeway only to be followed by ANOTHER train less than 100 or 150 feet BEHIND it . no more than two car lenths![:0]

My jaw dropped, he was close enough he might as well have coupled onto it! isnt there somekind of minmum distance they are supposed to maintain? If the first train went into emergency stop there was no way even going uphill that second train could have reacted, it would plow right into the rear.[:0]

PS Given the shear volumn of traffic over Cajon, If a runaway WAS to occur, it wouldnt get very far before it banged into another train![:o)]

  Have fun with your trains

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 4:17 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by vsmith

Coming back down Cajon a last week I saw something that was of great surprise to me. I was stuck behind a southbound freeway closure halfway down Cajon grade north of the hwy138 crossover, had to close all lanes so they could land a Helicoptor. As I was waiting I had a great view of the lines as they make that big bend and pass under the freeway. I was watching a BNSF frieght making its way up the grade, saw the end of the train emerge from under the freeway only to be followed by ANOTHER train less than 100 or 150 feet BEHIND it . no more than two car lenths![:0]

My jaw dropped, he was close enough he might as well have coupled onto it! isnt there somekind of minmum distance they are supposed to maintain? If the first train went into emergency stop there was no way even going uphill that second train could have reacted, it would plow right into the rear.[:0]

PS Given the shear volumn of traffic over Cajon, If a runaway WAS to occur, it wouldnt get very far before it banged into another train![:o)]



You ought to try being in that big box culvert UNDER I-15 with the train! (Quite a thrill![:O])....Does "be able to stop within half the range of vision" ring a bell? Train #2 had to be in there with the DS's permission and running at restricted speed..... BNSF or UP?

Is the switch to the "old" Martinez spur still there above the freeway underpass or is it up the hill at Summit as KPH implies? Is the drill rig and the CalTech/USGS earthquake monitoring station still at the top of old Martinez spur?

If a runaway was to occur, it would still end up in the ditch at Blue Cut and would not have most likely come out of a sidetrack anyhow...
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 Anonymous on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 10:58 PM
The railroad I work for had a split point derail installed on a controlled siding in CTC territory. The siding is connected to a quarry operation who let a car go once and did not stop it for 25 miles. After that the FRA required them to install the derail. As for the dispatcher, he can line you into the siding with a red over flashing red ( restricting signal) which requires the train to proceed at restricted speed into the siding.
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Posted by wabash1 on Thursday, June 17, 2004 7:41 AM
the derail is on the spur not the siding just connected to the siding, a true siding is a track use for bypassing trains no derail is in a siding.and yes they can give you a restricting signal but if its controlled but not signaled it will be a restricting signal anyways.
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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, June 18, 2004 4:55 AM
My GCOR says,"Sidings having hand-thrown derails will have derail locked in non-derailing position, except when engines or cars are left unattended on siding."
We have a powered split-rail derail where a yard lead connects to the main line. When the dispatcher lines up movement into/out of the yard, the derail throws with the main line switch. This yard is on a hill and only the bottom end is equipped with a derail. The other end isn't. Last year the yard crew tested the derail with a covered hopper. It worked.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 18, 2004 12:11 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by jeffhergert

Last year the yard crew tested the derail with a covered hopper. It worked.


your being sarcastic right? Or did they actually test it to make sure it worked?
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Posted by mudchicken on Friday, June 18, 2004 12:18 PM
Yes, as in "the laws of gravity" were in effect the day the covered hopper hit the derail.
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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