News Wire: Canada recommends mandatory inward-facing cameras on locomotives

5481 views
98 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 3,459 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Friday, May 19, 2017 1:52 PM

Maybe the solution is to have cameras on the camera watchers.. who have cameras on other camera watchers.. who have cameras on the train crew. Great if you're in the camera business I guess. 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,534 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, May 19, 2017 4:26 PM

Ulrich
Maybe the solution is to have cameras on the camera watchers.. who have cameras on other camera watchers.. who have cameras on the train crew. Great if you're in the camera business I guess.

How will the Supreme Exhalted Camera Watcher be determined?

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • 1,849 posts
Posted by Miningman on Friday, May 19, 2017 5:16 PM

Casino's do this...watchers watching watchers watching other watchers who watch ..everything and everybody is watched through many layers..ultimately in some unknown of room that no one knows about, manned by some trusted crony paranoid smart dude, and his trusted lackeys, connected at the hip to The Big Boss. 

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Kenosha, WI
  • 5,787 posts
Posted by zardoz on Saturday, May 20, 2017 1:01 AM

Phoebe Vet

Just a thought:

A camera and control data recorder that only preserves the last hour.  It could be programed to preserve the data in the event of a collision or emergency brake application, but otherwise would be overwritten in an hour and therefor not available for anyone to review.

 

HEY!!   A THOUGHT THAT MAKES SENSE!!

------------------------------------------------------------

I sure am glad I've retired. When I think back to the "good old days" fun we usually had on the locomotive, and how certain 'work habits' from then would cause a modern Trainmaster to have a breakdown. Strangely enough, we didn't go around breaking or crashing into things. How did we ever manage to do our job without multiple layers of supervision?!

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 3,916 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, May 20, 2017 3:59 PM

The biggest thing (at least in my corner of the world) they are looking for is the use of electronic devices outside of the limited allowable usage by rule.  (The rules placed by individual railroads reflects the FRA emergency order, but can be stricter than what the FRA mandates.)  That's not to say they won't take note of other rule violations observed in reviewing recordings.

While trying to rid the cab of distractions, they themselves are placing them in the cab.  I'm talking about their Energy Management Systems.  All require at least a little bit of "keeping an eye" on them, but some almost require a constant check of the screen.  Some trips (and my last one was one of them) I think I spend more time checking the screen to see what the EMS wants then I do looking out the window. 

Jeff   

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: On the Ballast.
  • 5,798 posts
Posted by zugmann on Saturday, May 20, 2017 4:05 PM

jeffhergert
Some trips (and my last one was one of them) I think I spend more time checking the screen to see what the EMS wants then I do looking out the window.

At least you have a conductor.   Oh wait, he's too busy writing in his signal log. It blows my mind how all this is considered okey-dokey for the lokie by all those in charge.

 

I sometimes wonder why they even bother putting windshields on engines anymore.  Thank gevo my yard/local power normally doesn't have that crap in it.  Yet.  I know it'll come soon enough.  I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

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

I occasionally post off-topic remarks.  Adults can handle that.

  • Member since
    May, 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 11,395 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, May 20, 2017 4:51 PM

jeffhergert

The biggest thing (at least in my corner of the world) they are looking for is the use of electronic devices outside of the limited allowable usage by rule.  (The rules placed by individual railroads reflects the FRA emergency order, but can be stricter than what the FRA mandates.)  That's not to say they won't take note of other rule violations observed in reviewing recordings.

While trying to rid the cab of distractions, they themselves are placing them in the cab.  I'm talking about their Energy Management Systems.  All require at least a little bit of "keeping an eye" on them, but some almost require a constant check of the screen.  Some trips (and my last one was one of them) I think I spend more time checking the screen to see what the EMS wants then I do looking out the window. 

Jeff   

 

Why not just put in some technology that records if someone uses electronic devices when they shouldn't be?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,836 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:15 PM

Zardos, Jeff and Zug.

The need for inward facing cameras is based only on the wishes/fantisies of those wishing to place blame on someone. In the minds of some there has to be a fall guy. Would one have helped in the Amtrak 188 incident? Doubtful in my mind. Just another tool for those who need someone other than themselves to blame. I feel for those who have to work under such conditions.

Norm


  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 3,916 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, May 21, 2017 4:41 AM

zugmann

 

 
jeffhergert
Some trips (and my last one was one of them) I think I spend more time checking the screen to see what the EMS wants then I do looking out the window.

 

At least you have a conductor.   Oh wait, he's too busy writing in his signal log. It blows my mind how all this is considered okey-dokey for the lokie by all those in charge.

 

I sometimes wonder why they even bother putting windshields on engines anymore.  Thank gevo my yard/local power normally doesn't have that crap in it.  Yet.  I know it'll come soon enough.  I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

 

A few years ago around 10 or 11pm we were approaching the hot box detector located (at that time) a couple hundred feet west of a crossing on the Meskawaki indian Reservation near Tama, IA.  We were westbound on main #2.  About half way between the crossing and detector was a guy laying across main #1. He wasn't easily visible until we were almost to him.  I couldn't believe what I had just seen and asked my conductor if he had seen the same thing.  He hadn't.  He was filling out his conductor's log in preparation for the detector.  I tried toning in 9-1-1 on the radio but it wouldn't tone up due to terrain.  I knew there was another train close behind and warned them.  By then we had cleared the dead spot and were able to give the dispatcher details.  The guy was gone by the time the following train went through there.

Jeff

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,039 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Sunday, May 21, 2017 5:17 AM

Norm48327

Zardos, Jeff and Zug.

The need for inward facing cameras is based only on the wishes/fantisies of those wishing to place blame on someone. In the minds of some there has to be a fall guy. Would one have helped in the Amtrak 188 incident? Doubtful in my mind. Just another tool for those who need someone other than themselves to blame. I feel for those who have to work under such conditions.

 

What you have just said is that your employer has no right to supervise your work or to know what you are doing when operating his very expensive and potentially deadly train.  You also seem to believe that it is a violation of your rights if authorities investigate and assign blame when an accident occurs.

An inward facing camera or data recorder cannot be used to discipline you unless you are doing something wrong.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

RME
  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 2,073 posts
Posted by RME on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:12 AM

Phoebe Vet
An inward facing camera or data recorder cannot be used to discipline you unless you are doing something wrong.

There are no words.

I think, being charitable, you should go back and read a few of STCO's posts about the interlocking laws and regulations in the truckiing industry, which will cheerfully be analyzed by people who are motivated for any reason to go fishing for violations.

It could just as easily be said that Winston Smith's world of ubiquitous telescreens was just fine because only criminals would be afraid to be watched all the time.

Does your employer have the right to use inward-facing cameras in his property?  Of course he does.  He even has the right to require the camera as a condition for an owner-driver to handle his trailer (and note that certain hazmat shippers have their own camera suite running on their railcars)

What this argument has been about is whether an employer can selectively review data on individuals in order to try winkling out "offenses", no matter how slight, circumstantial, or merely statutory, that can be used for discipline.  Some relevant cultural observations about this sort of mindset and its uses were in Hunter Harrison-related threads.  And this before we take up the issue of employers representing to employees that camera data won't be released except in case of accident ... then whoops! 

One of the things very easily proven is that someone performing a skilled task requiring judgment may be dangerously impaired if he or she has to keep foreground attention on formal avoidance of complex rule violations.  I suspect that anyone who has driven in California, where the full-stop rule is often obsessively enforced, knows how the concentration on producing the 'documentation bounce' of the front end can take away from vigilance of traffic, especially bicycles approaching in the 'wrong direction' from behind.  Making sure you're always good for the cameras or other sensors is going to take something away from vigilance and performance, and heaven knows it takes away from any sense of professional pride or job satisfaction.

Just dont trot out that platitude that 'only the guilty have something to fear from our oversight'.  Eventually almost everybody will be guilty of something, and the point of the exercise is not to empower petty control but to provide things like better safety and 'lessons learned' for future accident prevention.  I think those can be adequately provided in a system that does not give anyone but the employees involved primary access to datastream information except as specifically provided to law enforcement or other responsible public agencies.  Not owners, and not insurance companies, unless they have shown and documented proper cause.  Or unless they sign, and then abide by, firm agreements regulating the capture, monitoring, and use/release of any of the video or other data captured by the in-cab devices or monitoring systems.

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Charlotte, NC
  • 6,039 posts
Posted by Phoebe Vet on Sunday, May 21, 2017 7:43 AM

A)  YOU said "all the time", I didn't.

B)  If I am paying you to perform a service under clearly defined conditions, I have the right to be sure you are doing what I am paying you to do just as you have the right to receive every cent I have promised you.  If you are worried about being caught on your cell phone while operating the train then you must be on your cell phone while operating the train.  You are watched by SOMEONE most of your day.  Next time you go to Lowes or WalMart, look at the ceiling.  Those are cameras.  If you are not stealing, you don't have to worry.

C)  Look back through this thread and you will find I suggested that such records only be preserved and reviewed in case of an incident.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 465 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:12 AM

We just had a driver that had a cop suicide dive him up in Ohio.  The cop misjudged his space clipped the front end of our truck and then had the balls to say our driver rear ended him.  The other cops agreed with him of course.  Our driver was cited came back with the camera footage.  My boss and the driver involved flew out for the court hearing this week with a DVD of the crash in their carry-on luggage.  I was told not only did the judge throw out the ticket he ordered the DA of the county to cite the Policeman for Perjury reckless driving and abuse of power in the courtroom.  We got a formal apology from the agency involved this week along with a check to cover the damages to the truck.

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 17,347 posts
Posted by tree68 on Sunday, May 21, 2017 5:18 PM

PV - if you were in the military, then you remember "white glove inspections" - especially those where the powers that be were looking to cancel your weekend pass.  They looked until they found enough to warrant action.  Didn't matter how ***-n-span your stuff was, you were bound to have missed something.  Whodathunk they'd find a smudge of mud on the sole of your dress shoes that offensive!

And that's what RME is referring to.  Did you blow the horn for the requisite amount of time, at the proper distance from the crossing, or were you a second too short?  Did you start too early?  You might have done everything exactly correctly, save letting go of the horn handle too soon... 

On an average trip, I'd bet someone looking for things you did wrong would be able to find enough to give you some time off, as nit-picky as those "violations" might be.

 

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,534 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:18 PM

tree68
PV - if you were in the military, then you remember "white glove inspections" - especially those where the powers that be were looking to cancel your weekend pass.  They looked until they found enough to warrant action.  Didn't matter how ***-n-span your stuff was, you were bound to have missed something.  Whodathunk they'd find a smudge of mud on the sole of your dress shoes that offensive!

And that's what RME is referring to.  Did you blow the horn for the requisite amount of time, at the proper distance from the crossing, or were you a second too short?  Did you start too early?  You might have done everything exactly correctly, save letting go of the horn handle too soon... 

On an average trip, I'd bet someone looking for things you did wrong would be able to find enough to give you some time off, as nit-picky as those "violations" might be.

Just like in football - THERE IS holding on EVERY play.  When it gets called??????

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 633 posts
Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:35 PM

Phoebe Vet

What you have just said is that your employer has no right to supervise your work or to know what you are doing when operating his very expensive and potentially deadly train.  You also seem to believe that it is a violation of your rights if authorities investigate and assign blame when an accident occurs.

An inward facing camera or data recorder cannot be used to discipline you unless you are doing something wrong.

Come work for a railroad for a while.  We'll see how long that attitude lasts.

As a railroader, I have no problem with management trying to have a safe and efficient operation.  That's what we employees want as well.  The problem (which has been discussed at length on the forum before) is that management is vengeful and somewhat incompetent.  As I mentioned earlier they already target certain people (union reps, safety reps etc) who do not deserve it and the cameras will just make that worse.  The goal is not purely safety, but intimidation and furthering the culture of fear. 

I have a feeling the inside-facing camera footage will be used to further the situation that already exists:  the golden boys and brown-nosers will be able to get away with murder and any who have been deemed 'unworthy' will get 15 demerits for not having their safety glasses on with the window open a crack (seen them throw that one at several people already even without the cameras); at 60 demerits you get fired automatically.

For a everyday world comparison, the inward facing locomotive cab cameras are just like the police/goverment putting a inward facing camera inside your car, and using the footage to give you tickets for traffic violations, and suspend/revoke your driver's license once you have accumulated enough tickets.  Seems fair, after all shouldn't the authorities who are responsible for the roads have the right to monitor those who use them? 

More to come later, the wife's calling me to dinner.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • 465 posts
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:46 PM

There have been several times when in a lawsuit inward driver cameras have destroyed a defense for a trucking company in a civil lawsuit. Why because2 mins prior to whatever happened the jury sees the driver do something that they feel wasn't safe. It doesn't matter that the plaintiff underrode the trailer beheaded his wife the trucker took his eyes off the road to get a drink or had to shift gears. 

 

If you think these cameras aren't going to be used as a punishment tool I've got an oceanfront condo in Colorado for sale cheap. 

  • Member since
    January, 2002
  • From: On the Ballast.
  • 5,798 posts
Posted by zugmann on Sunday, May 21, 2017 11:32 PM

Norm48327
Just another tool for those who need someone other than themselves to blame. I feel for those who have to work under such conditions.

I've had engines with the inward cameras.  To be honest, after intially seeing it when walking in the cab, I usually forget it's there.  Of course I keep the damned phone turned off and in my grip (unless it is for prescribed and permissable company business).  In this day and age, you are nuts to do otherwise.  Are there other things they can get you for on the camrea?  Sure.  But a trainmaster watching you through binoculars from the side of the ROW can probably see the same thing.  As far as actual train operations - that stuff is all recorded, sattelite-ed(?), and reviewed all the time - sometimes in real time.  A camera isn't going to make much difference.  

You're not going to keep them out of the cab.  It just is what it is. I run the train the same with or without a camera.  No use in getting paranoid. 

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

I occasionally post off-topic remarks.  Adults can handle that.

  • Member since
    February, 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 20,898 posts
Posted by selector on Monday, May 22, 2017 9:21 AM

SD70M-2Dude

 

 
 

 

 

Come work for a railroad for a while.  We'll see how long that attitude lasts.

...  The problem (which has been discussed at length on the forum before) is that management is vengeful and somewhat incompetent.  As I mentioned earlier they already target certain people (union reps, safety reps etc) who do not deserve it...

 

It's well beside the point of the thread, but this sounds terrible.  Why work there?

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,534 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, May 22, 2017 10:32 AM

selector
It's well beside the point of the thread, but this sounds terrible.  Why work there?

Money, bennies and surprizingly personal satisfaction.

Over my 51 year career the aim of management was always to take the fun and sense of accomplishment out of the employment experience. (note - I was managemtnt for 20 years)

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 3,459 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Monday, May 22, 2017 10:55 AM

Wouldn't PTC make the cameras redundant? To my understanding PTC would over-ride any egregious crew error that could involve a collision. And the cameras wouldn't capture crew activities outside of the locomotive.. i.e. hooking/unhooking cars etc. Outward facing cameras that cover blindspots might make more sense. 

  • Member since
    May, 2003
  • From: US
  • 12,534 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, May 22, 2017 1:01 PM

Ulrich
Wouldn't PTC make the cameras redundant? To my understanding PTC would over-ride any egregious crew error that could involve a collision. And the cameras wouldn't capture crew activities outside of the locomotive.. i.e. hooking/unhooking cars etc. Outward facing cameras that cover blindspots might make more sense.

PTC is not being implemented on all tracks of the carriers.  There will be a lot of lines that don't require PTC because of the traffic they handle.

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • 1,036 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, May 22, 2017 4:03 PM
 
Quote
Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:12 AM

We just had a driver that had a cop suicide dive him up in Ohio.  The cop misjudged his space clipped the front end of our truck and then had the balls to say our driver rear ended him.  The other cops agreed with him of course.  Our driver was cited came back with the camera footage.  My boss and the driver involved flew out for the court hearing this week with a DVD of the crash in their carry-on luggage.  I was told not only did the judge throw out the ticket he ordered the DA of the county to cite the Policeman for Perjury reckless driving and abuse of power in the courtroom.  We got a formal apology from the agency involved this week along with a check to cover the damages to the truck.

That is great to hear. Obviously not a Chicago Judge.
Hope you got reimbursed for your time and expenses.
 
  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 17,347 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, May 22, 2017 5:41 PM

Ulrich
Wouldn't PTC make the cameras redundant?

Actually, I might tend to think it would be just the opposite.  Since the engineer has PTC to keep an eye on things, he/she can just kick back and enjoy the ride, blowing the horn on occasion and taking action when PTC reminds him...

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 3,459 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Monday, May 22, 2017 6:22 PM

Maybe that would be ok.. why monitor someone that closely when its really not required? 

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 17,347 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, May 22, 2017 7:05 PM

Ulrich
Maybe that would be ok.. why monitor someone that closely when its really not required? 

You do realize that your personal vehicle may well be recording what you are doing while you're driving....

Invasive management notwithstanding, constant monitoring needs to be constant because we don't schedule when things will go wrong.  Just to pick on an incident we've been discussing elsewhere - how useful might in-cab video have been in determining what happened in Philly?

I don't know if you've seen the Japanese "point" system, wherein employees (including engineers/drivers) point at those things they need to take note of before taking an action. 

For an engineer, that might be an upcoming trackside signal, an in-cab signal indication (if so equipped), the signal as represented on a chart on the cab wall, and the speedometer.  In theory, this shows that the engineer is aware of all of those factors.  In reality, I feel it just means that he looked and pointed at them - there is no indication that he actually recognized them for what they are...

Even office workers use it - point in both directions and at the crosswalk before crossing the street...

Recall a story in Trains some years ago about a newish fireman working with an old head engineer (on a Diesel).  The fireman looked over at the engineer and saw that the engineer appeared to be asleep - yet he didn't miss a single crossing as they roared down the line at track speed...

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • 1,036 posts
Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, May 22, 2017 7:29 PM

tree68
You do realize that your personal vehicle may well be recording what you are doing while you're driving....

If you choose to let your auto insurance company install their monitor on your car, (it plugs in to the diagnostic computer plug) they give you a lower rate but they also know how fast you drive and much more. State Farms discount for having the monitor dosen't come close to the cost of the cell service. Or GM's On-Star requires you to have a cellular service for your car which you have to pay for after the first year and they monitor what your car is doing. Shades of Aldus Huckly's Brave New World. Big Brother IS watching.

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,505 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Monday, May 22, 2017 7:59 PM

As to On Star, I used it the day in 2002 when we bought a new car--and never used it afterwards.

WHen I bought another car, in 2013, I never used the system at all, and when I sold the car to my granddaughter last year, the button was absolutley untouched.

Johnny

  • Member since
    January, 2014
  • 3,973 posts
Posted by Euclid on Monday, May 22, 2017 8:32 PM

tree68
I don't know if you've seen the Japanese "point" system, wherein employees (including engineers/drivers) point at those things they need to take note of before taking an action. 

For an engineer, that might be an upcoming trackside signal, an in-cab signal indication (if so equipped), the signal as represented on a chart on the cab wall, and the speedometer.  In theory, this shows that the engineer is aware of all of those factors.  In reality, I feel it just means that he looked and pointed at them - there is no indication that he actually recognized them for what they are...

I am intrigued by the Japanese point-and-call safety system. They say that users must often overcome a feeling of embarrassment when first using it.  I would say the closest thing in U.S. railroad practice to point-and-call is calling out signals. 

But point-and-call is more than just confirming to others that you understand a safety-critical operational detail.  It is also a way for the person performing this drill to reinforce their own attention to the critical task at hand. 

The rule requires a conscious action of pointing at a detail and calling out the required action.  This conscientious hard focusing of the mind mandated by the rules prevents a person from drifting into a critical task with their consciousness scattered in a daydream-like state of mind as they approach the task. 

The point-and-call system is a memorized, habitual drill routine that is there like a permanent structure to pull the mind into one-pointed focus at every step where that mindset is critically necessary.

They claim that testing shows that it makes a big improvement in preventing accidents. 

It is interesting that they find that people are often embarrassed by using point-and-call.  I would say that that embarrassment flows from a lax attitude that creates a degree of indifference toward safety.  The discomfort is the point-and-call technique challenging that indifference. 

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,505 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Monday, May 22, 2017 8:59 PM

I was taught that it was impolite to point--perhaps this matter of ettiquette is enforced even more in Japan that it is (was?) here.

Johnny

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy

Search the Community