BNSF Arizona Collision on Transcon, One Dead

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Posted by petitnj on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:26 PM

The cause was fatigue. All these other causes require major failure of the dispatching system and the dispatcher. The railroad and unions will fight to make the cause some obscure failure, but the intermodal crew fell asleep. At those speeds you can fall asleep for a minute, pass an approach and wake up just in time to blow by a red signal. 

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Posted by dpeltier on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:52 PM

I just want to point out that there at least three GCOR rules that can be used to authorize a train and work equipment within the same track segment in CTC territory:

Rule 10.3.1.4: Track permit behind a train

Rule 10.3.3: Joint track permits

Rule 15.2: Track Bulletin Form B

Of course all of these come with various requirements that, if applied correctly, will prevent collisions.

The point is - without more information, it's impossible to assign fault.

IF you assume that the PTC overlay worked as designed, then you can rule out two possibilities: that the train just blew by a Stop signal and into the MOW track and time limits, or that the train crew totally forgot about the existence of a Form B. Pre-PTC, you would have said that these were the most obvious suspects. But there are still lots of possibilities left.

Dan

(BNSF employee, speaking for myself only, with absolutely NO inside knowledge about this incident.)

 

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Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 11:01 PM

petitnj
The cause was fatigue. All these other causes require major failure of the dispatching system and the dispatcher. The railroad and unions will fight to make the cause some obscure failure, but the intermodal crew fell asleep. At those speeds you can fall asleep for a minute, pass an approach and wake up just in time to blow by a red signal.

 

Yeah, we get it. Everything is fatigue.  Even if the cause is something else in reality - you will call it fatigue.  I'm all for fatigue management reform as the next guy, but arbitrarily assigning it as the cause for every incident is not going to help with acheiving real reform.

Not saying fatigue wasn't a factor or a cause, but let's get some real answers.

 

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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 11:48 PM

zugmann
Not saying fatigue wasn't a factor or a cause, but let's get some real answers.

Yes  Actual information has been hard to find on this incident, unusual for a mainline fatality.  On the other hand, speculation and opinions have been plentiful.

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Posted by petitnj on Thursday, June 14, 2018 7:12 AM

The silence of the investigation is the main indicator of a human incident. If it were the signalling system, FRA would have issued a rule on inspection of signals. If it were a permission issue, FRA would have issued a change in the permission rules. I can go on, but once human caused all parties will be silenced until NTSB finishes their investigation in a year. They are quiet because if ruled human caused, FRA will have to issue another rule. That rule may require all crew to be sleep tested. I cannot understand why my car will rattle the steering wheel if I doze, but railroads have not figured this out. BTW an easy fix would be safety glasses that buzzed if your head goes down. Just saying and I know this will cause a stir. It is time to cause a stir and make some real progress on the fatigue issue. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 7:32 AM

petitnj
The silence of the investigation is the main indicator of a human incident. If it were the signalling system, FRA would have issued a rule on inspection of signals. If it were a permission issue, FRA would have issued a change in the permission rules. I can go on, but once human caused all parties will be silenced until NTSB finishes their investigation in a year. They are quiet because if ruled human caused, FRA will have to issue another rule. That rule may require all crew to be sleep tested. I cannot understand why my car will rattle the steering wheel if I doze, but railroads have not figured this out. BTW an easy fix would be safety glasses that buzzed if your head goes down. Just saying and I know this will cause a stir. It is time to cause a stir and make some real progress on the fatigue issue. 

Appearently you are a fatigue hammer and every incident you see is a nail.

         

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Posted by Euclid on Thursday, June 14, 2018 8:47 AM

ChuckCobleigh
 
zugmann
Not saying fatigue wasn't a factor or a cause, but let's get some real answers.

 

Yes  Actual information has been hard to find on this incident, unusual for a mainline fatality.  On the other hand, speculation and opinions have been plentiful.

 

I conclude that actual information is purposely being made to be hard to find.  That seems to be the trend these days when it comes to train accidents.  I don't understand why our society does not just put a total silence order on all news about the causes of accidents.  What right does the public have to know these sensitive details?  What need do they have? 

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Posted by petitnj on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:03 AM

Are you being sarcastic or serious? The unions don't want blame to go on their members and have members required to have more sleep (fewer hours). Companies don't want to hire any more crew -- they thrive on operating ratio. Any change in the hours of service will bring out the lawyers. How the railroads can expect crews to work on irregular hours is beyond me! The rules for pilots are amazing complex but hours of rest are 12 between service and 25 hours of flight each week (roughly). In today's aircraft the pilot is almost redundant. That will be the case for train crews in a few years. (let the diatribe begin). 

 

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:15 AM

Not much recent news ..  found this with a overhead photo.

http://www.thesalemnewsonline.com/news/article_a85f235e-6a81-11e8-b9eb-6b0dee9f678c.html

 

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Posted by RDG467 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:19 AM

BaltACD

If - The rail train was actively dropping rail - NO other train should have been occupying that particular track segment. <snip>

There is a stick of rail on the outside (North side) of Main 1, the WB track which both trains were occupying. AZ Sun Photo of BNSF CollisionYou can see it curving around the lead unit of SMEMSCO1-02L, which was heading WB downgrade towards Valentine, AZ, in the picture from the  Salem News.    IDK if the rail train had just dropped that stick and was backing up to drop another one on the S side of Main 1 or if that stick was dropped previously and the rail train should've been on Main 2.

The collision occured between W. Peach Springs (MP 467.4), which was the end of a siding for WB trains only and E. Valentine (MP 484.0) which has a siding for EB's only.  The closest set of crossovers from Main 1 to Main 2 to the east of the derailment appear to be at Cherokee (MP 473.8).

As Captain Obvious would say "One train was on the wrong track."  The question remains, which one???

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Posted by Euclid on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:44 AM

petitnj

Are you being sarcastic or serious? The unions don't want blame to go on their members and have members required to have more sleep (fewer hours). Companies don't want to hire any more crew -- they thrive on operating ratio. Any change in the hours of service will bring out the lawyers. How the railroads can expect crews to work on irregular hours is beyond me! The rules for pilots are amazing complex but hours of rest are 12 between service and 25 hours of flight each week (roughly). In today's aircraft the pilot is almost redundant. That will be the case for train crews in a few years. (let the diatribe begin). 

 

 

I am being serious, but please understand that I am not advocating the news blackout.  I just think that is where we are headed.  When I ask, "What right does the public have to know?", I am offering that as an example of the viewpoint of those who would ban the news (and discussion.)  It is not my viewpoint. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:51 AM

RDG467
 
BaltACD

If - The rail train was actively dropping rail - NO other train should have been occupying that particular track segment. <snip> 

There is a stick of rail on the outside (North side) of Main 1, the WB track which both trains were occupying. AZ Sun Photo of BNSF CollisionYou can see it curving around the lead unit of SMEMSCO1-02L, which was heading WB downgrade towards Valentine, AZ, in the picture from the  Salem News.    IDK if the rail train had just dropped that stick and was backing up to drop another one on the S side of Main 1 or if that stick was dropped previously and the rail train should've been on Main 2.

The collision occured between W. Peach Springs (MP 467.4), which was the end of a siding for WB trains only and E. Valentine (MP 484.0) which has a siding for EB's only.  The closest set of crossovers from Main 1 to Main 2 to the east of the derailment appear to be at Cherokee (MP 473.8).

As Captain Obvious would say "One train was on the wrong track."  The question remains, which one???

The Herzog equipment is capable of unloading strings of rail on both sides of the track it is working on....as such there would be no need to back up to unload a string on the other side of the track being worked on.

         

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Posted by petitnj on Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:39 AM

Yes a news ban would be an effective way of controlling speculation. But as you see, that hasn't stopped us. Media need spectacular events to get attention. In the case of this accident, it was remote enough that few people heard about it. I really don't know how to control speculation, but I think that controlling the news is far more dangerous than our ramblings. 

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Posted by Cotton Belt MP104 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:00 AM

 

reference Eculid    news blackout suggestion Might Be Good, but Not advocated by him…………………..

 

      TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN………………………

 

  1. ………………………I hear ya

  2. …………………………I guess the worst of all was the occasion when US Marines landed ashore during conflict in Somalia years ago.   Okay they are going ashore to “correct” some “misdeeds” of “some” locals

  3. ………………………..reference Black Hawk down

  4. ………………………..WHAT?   all the news services over the world were there to cover the “action”

  5. ………………………….What is wrong w/THIS picture ………Nothing?   Okay, if that is your view, this is a free country we are fortunate to live in …….. to me this is a disgrace ……. too much news coverage in this case in MY view

  6. …………………………..On the other hand  news blackout on a fatal RR accident  ……  what national security is at stake here?    In fact what is at stake at all for revealing details?

  7. ……………………………Now the IMPORTANT reason for this posting

  8. ……………………………OF ALL PEOPLE to suggest a blackout ……..SOME people takes each and all incidents and RUNS w/said incident to the extent that there is NO END to speculation of the CAUSE/CURE. 

  9. ……………………………Okay, we are all allowed to speculate, but this News Blackout suggestion is certainly happening in the Herzog/BNSF incident, but a person to SUGGEST it is plausible ……. are you trying to help out w/”the PROBLEM” that some on this blog site have?   Comments Infinium w/o known facts or details. …………………………….  just sayin’    endmrw0614181052

 

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Posted by RDG467 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:06 AM

BaltACD
 
RDG467
 
BaltACD

If - The rail train was actively dropping rail - NO other train should have been occupying that particular track segment. <snip> 

There is a stick of rail on the outside (North side) of Main 1, the WB track which both trains were occupying. AZ Sun Photo of BNSF CollisionYou can see it curving around the lead unit of SMEMSCO1-02L, which was heading WB downgrade towards Valentine, AZ, in the picture from the  Salem News.    IDK if the rail train had just dropped that stick and was backing up to drop another one on the S side of Main 1 or if that stick was dropped previously and the rail train should've been on Main 2.

The collision occured between W. Peach Springs (MP 467.4), which was the end of a siding for WB trains only and E. Valentine (MP 484.0) which has a siding for EB's only.  The closest set of crossovers from Main 1 to Main 2 to the east of the derailment appear to be at Cherokee (MP 473.8).

As Captain Obvious would say "One train was on the wrong track."  The question remains, which one???

 

The Herzog equipment is capable of unloading strings of rail on both sides of the track it is working on....as such there would be no need to back up to unload a string on the other side of the track being worked on. 

BaltACD, that is true. They may have done that here and it's just not visible in any of the views I've seen.  However, BNSF *may* prefer to drop one rail at a time on curving stretches of track, like this one in Crozier Canyon. IDK their operating procedures in situations like that.

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:08 AM

I don't think it's a news ban -just a loss of interest.  It's a collision that resulted in the death of a railroad (contractor) worker.  No public deaths, no massive hazmat release, so it falls by the wayside.  When school shootings barely warrant front page news anymore, do we really think a wreck in the middle of nowhere is going to bring that much media attention?

 

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Posted by Cotton Belt MP104 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:21 AM

 

disclaimer:  I do NOT work on the RR.  I have dear friends that do.  I have followed RR for over 50 years and have many friends thus have a SOLID/SINCERE interest in their lives and safety.  I have worked as a contract crew carrier and seen the shock to individuals who were RR crews involved in fatal accidents.

 

  1. that said, I have interest in observing folks on this blog who are active/retired RR folks

  2. their reactions are interesting in that they seem to get very riled when a finger is pointed to something that they would rather not happen and want to ignore

  3. causes of accidents right here in my region have been cause by a touchy subject of fatigue

  4. why be shy about accepting that as a possible problem to be addressed?

  5. the conditions the RR crew faces is almost impossible to avoid fatigue!

  6. it is not the crew, but the conditions and lack of some mechanism that could be installed to thwart the lapse of attention

  7. i.e. deadman pedal was an attempt but there has to be more comprehensive mechanisms present day

  8. I have a friend, who from personal observation as a conductor, witnessed an incident that is hard to imagine possible.  His engineer was asleep and snoring loudly while operating all functions of the loco/train

  9. I would love to point out two individuals that seem to know it all about things RR.  They seem to own this blog and recently they used the same metaphor to describe us who are “no nuttins’”

  10. I have been personally chastised by them both and we who are not in the “click” seem to have no “bidness” giving our view w/o smack down         just sayin’ endmw0614181118

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:21 AM

RDG467
 
BaltACD
 
RDG467 
BaltACD

If - The rail train was actively dropping rail - NO other train should have been occupying that particular track segment. <snip> 

There is a stick of rail on the outside (North side) of Main 1, the WB track which both trains were occupying. AZ Sun Photo of BNSF CollisionYou can see it curving around the lead unit of SMEMSCO1-02L, which was heading WB downgrade towards Valentine, AZ, in the picture from the  Salem News.    IDK if the rail train had just dropped that stick and was backing up to drop another one on the S side of Main 1 or if that stick was dropped previously and the rail train should've been on Main 2.

The collision occured between W. Peach Springs (MP 467.4), which was the end of a siding for WB trains only and E. Valentine (MP 484.0) which has a siding for EB's only.  The closest set of crossovers from Main 1 to Main 2 to the east of the derailment appear to be at Cherokee (MP 473.8).

As Captain Obvious would say "One train was on the wrong track."  The question remains, which one??? 

The Herzog equipment is capable of unloading strings of rail on both sides of the track it is working on....as such there would be no need to back up to unload a string on the other side of the track being worked on.  

BaltACD, that is true. They may have done that here and it's just not visible in any of the views I've seen.  However, BNSF *may* prefer to drop one rail at a time on curving stretches of track, like this one in Crozier Canyon. IDK their operating procedures in situations like that.

In today's world of main line railroading - track time is critical for every user - trains and MofW - it is a constant competition.  For MofW the reality is that they have to accomplish more work in a shorter period of time - thus we have the Herzog assisted rail dropping operation. 

This time crunch has also resulted in the Herzog GPS contolled ballast train to be able to spread ballast on the right of way at 12-20 MPH; rather than the traditional hopper with its door chained partially open and spreading the contents pocket by pocket at 'maybe' 1 MPH, if that fast.

         

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:25 AM

Cotton Belt MP104
I would love to point out two individuals that seem to know it all about things RR. They seem to own this blog and recently they used the same metaphor to describe us who are “no nuttins’” I have been personally chastised by them both and we who are not in the “click” seem to have no “bidness” giving our view w/o smack down just sayin’ endmw0614181118

Am I one of these two people?  Just curious.

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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:44 AM

BaltACD

 In today's world of main line railroading - track time is critical for every user - trains and MofW - it is a constant competition.  For MofW the reality is that they have to accomplish more work in a shorter period of time - thus we have the Herzog assisted rail dropping operation. 

This time crunch has also resulted in the Herzog GPS contolled ballast train to be able to spread ballast on the right of way at 12-20 MPH; rather than the traditional hopper with its door chained partially open and spreading the contents pocket by pocket at 'maybe' 1 MPH, if that fast.

 

 
I would not be suprised if they were shoving their way to get off the main and tie down as their time was up.
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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:51 AM

rdamon
 
BaltACD

 In today's world of main line railroading - track time is critical for every user - trains and MofW - it is a constant competition.  For MofW the reality is that they have to accomplish more work in a shorter period of time - thus we have the Herzog assisted rail dropping operation. 

This time crunch has also resulted in the Herzog GPS contolled ballast train to be able to spread ballast on the right of way at 12-20 MPH; rather than the traditional hopper with its door chained partially open and spreading the contents pocket by pocket at 'maybe' 1 MPH, if that fast. 

I would not be suprised if they were shoving their way to get off the main and tie down as their time was up.

With or without permission?

         

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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:15 PM

rdamon

Not much recent news ..  found this with a overhead photo.

http://www.thesalemnewsonline.com/news/article_a85f235e-6a81-11e8-b9eb-6b0dee9f678c.html

 

 

Possible location of the collision, based on the overhead photo in the article:

35.43225934393215   -113.6301297092179

Better (larger) image of the same photo here.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:32 PM

ChuckCobleigh
 
rdamon

Not much recent news ..  found this with a overhead photo.

http://www.thesalemnewsonline.com/news/article_a85f235e-6a81-11e8-b9eb-6b0dee9f678c.html 

Possible location of the collision, based on the overhead photo in the article:

35.43225934393215   -113.6301297092179

Better (larger) image of the same photo here.

Picture indicates that the area is multiple track and that the lead BNSF engine sustained minor damage.  The Herzog truck unit sustained catastrophic damage.

         

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Posted by RDG467 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:42 PM

ChuckCobleigh

Possible location of the collision, based on the overhead photo in the article:

35.43225934393215   -113.6301297092179

Better (larger) image of the same photo here.

 
Chuck, those coordinates are more exact than what i found on Google Maps. Or, I just truncated the numbers on the screen when I copied them down. Smile
 
 
There's an S curve leading into the east end of Crozier Canyon and the impact point was just past where the 'S' curved back to the right after passing Truxton Spring. The spot with the *worst* visibility possible.....
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Posted by rdamon on Thursday, June 14, 2018 3:42 PM

Looks like the closest crossover and siding is in Valentine.

 

 

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Posted by RDG467 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 4:16 PM

Valentine is west of the accident scene and the rail train would have to have pulled downgrade to Valentine to clear Main 1, the occupied track in rdamon's photo above.   

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Posted by ChuckCobleigh on Thursday, June 14, 2018 5:34 PM

RDG467
Chuck, those coordinates are more exact than what i found on Google Maps. Or, I just truncated the numbers on the screen when I copied them down.

Actually, I extracted those numbers from some XML gobbledygook of a pin I placed at the suspected location, that is to say the one that seemed to line up with the topography and vegetation in the referenced picture.  Interesting to note that in the Google Earth image, there are concrete ties scattered north of the tracks where depicted in the picture.

RDG467
There's an S curve leading into the east end of Crozier Canyon and the impact point was just past where the 'S' curved back to the right after passing Truxton Spring. The spot with the *worst* visibility possible.....

That was my take as well, worst being a good description of the visibility.  There are crossovers about six and a fraction miles east of the suspected site and as noted above, also at Valentine just west of the site.

The picture does seem to depict rail on the north side of M1 but it's not clear whether its west end is near the collision point.  The linked video suggests that when the rail falls out of the rollers that the rail train does need to back up a bit before starting to put the next piece on the ground.

Not mentioned (at least here) is the impact this may have on planned relay projects this summer, as not having the "re-kitted" equipment associated with the truck basically takes that rail train out of service.  Talk about an extended Maalox™ moment!

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 7:00 PM

Cotton Belt MP104
it is not the crew, but the conditions and lack of some mechanism that could be installed to thwart the lapse of attention i.e. deadman pedal was an attempt but there has to be more comprehensive

There is such a mechanism - it's called the alerter.  If not reset periodically, it will enact a penalty brake application.  

Cotton Belt MP104
mechanisms present day I have a friend, who from personal observation as a conductor, witnessed an incident that is hard to imagine possible.  His engineer was asleep and snoring loudly while operating all functions of the loco/train

This phenomenon was noted in a story in Trains or Classic trains a while back.  Not only was the engineer doing all the engineer things he should be doing, in his sleep, but was blowing for crossings when appropriate.  He apparently really knew his territory.

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Posted by Cotton Belt MP104 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:00 PM

tree68
 
Cotton Belt MP104
it is not the crew, but the conditions and lack of some mechanism that could be installed to thwart the lapse of attention i.e. deadman pedal was an attempt but there has to be more comprehensive

 

There is such a mechanism - it's called the alerter.  If not reset periodically, it will enact a penalty brake application.  

 
Cotton Belt MP104
mechanisms present day I have a friend, who from personal observation as a conductor, witnessed an incident that is hard to imagine possible.  His engineer was asleep and snoring loudly while operating all functions of the loco/train

 

This phenomenon was noted in a story in Trains or Classic trains a while back.  Not only was the engineer doing all the engineer things he should be doing, in his sleep, but was blowing for crossings when appropriate.  He apparently really knew his territory.

 

 

alerter, gotcha,.......................... but after a crash on the Hoxie sub here locally, the engineer input moves to cancel the alerter was changed (NTSB finding and suggestion implemented) ..............in that the alerter was in operation and was “fooled”.  i.e.  due to fatigue........................... the crew would make habitual moves and were not ALERT enough to not run against RED from siding into the side of a the train on the main. ................................ HENCE my suggestion that more comprehensive ALERTER if you will.  ..........................You missed my point. ............................ There are safeguards in place, BUT OBVIOUSLY are not comprehensive enough. ................................. GET MY POINT?  ........................ Sorry I am one of those “fatigue hammers” and you are NOT the nail but I do have a point. ........................ Did you get my point?  endmrw0614182043  ...............................

 

your second comment only proves the point i am trying to make.......please ......let us not go so far as to call this a "phenomenon".......get real....... there was another phenomenon here where the phenomenon caused the UP train to T-bone a BNSF and during the crash it took out a highway overpass........since it is so phenomenonal there surely is a phenomenonal aspect to the alerter system that can preclude this phenomenon of fatigue.........I have said over and over again I get it, the difficulities of being a RR crewman is really a strain, but please lets be real with the actual problem

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:12 PM

Cotton Belt MP104
 
tree68
 
Cotton Belt MP104
it is not the crew, but the conditions and lack of some mechanism that could be installed to thwart the lapse of attention i.e. deadman pedal was an attempt but there has to be more comprehensive 

There is such a mechanism - it's called the alerter.  If not reset periodically, it will enact a penalty brake application.  

Cotton Belt MP104
mechanisms present day I have a friend, who from personal observation as a conductor, witnessed an incident that is hard to imagine possible.  His engineer was asleep and snoring loudly while operating all functions of the loco/train 

This phenomenon was noted in a story in Trains or Classic trains a while back.  Not only was the engineer doing all the engineer things he should be doing, in his sleep, but was blowing for crossings when appropriate.  He apparently really knew his territory. 

alerter, gotcha,.......................... but after a crash on the Hoxie sub here locally, the engineer input moves to cancel the alerter was changed (NTSB finding and suggestion implemented) ..............in that the alerter was in operation and was “fooled”.  i.e.  due to fatigue........................... the crew would make habitual moves and were not ALERT enough to not run against RED from siding into the side of a the train on the main. ................................ HENCE my suggestion that more comprehensive ALERTER if you will.  ..........................You missed my point. ............................ There are safeguards in place, BUT OBVIOUSLY are not comprehensive enough. ................................. GET MY POINT?  ........................ Sorry I am one of those “fatigue hammers” and you are NOT the nail but I do have a point. ........................ Did you get my point?  endmrw0614182043  ...............................

your second comment only proves the point i am trying to make.......please ......let us not go so far as to call this a "phenomenon".......get real....... there was another phenomenon here where the phenomenon caused the UP train to T-bone a BNSF and during the crash it took out a highway overpass........since it is so phenomenonal there surely is a phenomenonal aspect to the alerter system that can preclude this phenomenon of fatigue.........I have said over and over again I get it, the difficulities of being a RR crewman is really a strain, but please lets be real with the actual problem

Ah yes your point is to have the locomotive control operator perform Cirque de Sole' acrobatic movements between each Alerter timeout to 'prove' he is awake and in the mean time be vigilent and perform all his other reqirements of safely operating his train.  Point has been nailed even though it is in the wrong location.

         

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