Crew size

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Posted by Falcon48 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 12:47 PM

Juniata Man

 

 
Falcon48

 

 
CMStPnP

I think one person in the cab is insane, even with PTC.   I would think you need the second pair of eyes as a check.   Also an extra safety margin in this era of sleep apnea when so many have that condition without even knowing it.

 

 

 

Based on this "safety" logic, all highway trucks should have 2 person crews.  After all, trucks don't operate on fixed guideways with limited public access.  They operate on public roads shared with other vehicles, including relatively frail and vulnerable passenger cars.  And trucks actually operate as "trains" in many parts of the county with multiple trailers.  Finally, the types of accidents that occur on RR's by operator error occur far more frequently with trucks.  For example, in the Port Defiance Amtrak accident, a train turned over entering a curve too fast.  How often does that really occur on railroads (and it will probably occur much less with PTC)?  But, if you live in a major city, it happens almost daily with trucks on urban expressways (just listen to the rush hour traffic reports in any large city).   

 

Bottom line: If you're advocating two person crews on trains but not on highway trucks, you're not doing it for safety reasons.   

 

 

 

 

C'mon Falcon; there is a heckuva difference between operating a tractor trailer by oneself and operating a two to three mile long train by oneself.

Trucks operate for the most part along routes where emergency services as well as food and rest areas are relatively accessible.  The same cannot be said for most rail routes.

Argue for one man crews all your heart desires but; to compare one man crews on freight trains to a solo driver on a long distance truck is apples to oranges.

 

There's very definitely an "apples to oranges" difference between one person operating a tractor trailer (which could have as many as 3 trailers in some states) and one person operating a 2-3 mile freight train.  The difference is that the one person train is far safer than the one person truck.  For one thing, the train is on a fixed guideway with only limited interface with pubic roads (typically  at grade crossings).  The truck does not operate on a fixed guideway.  It operates on public roads which it shares with all other kinds of other users.  The railroads have paid billions of dollars for automated safety systems (most recently PTC) which override engineer errors or inattention far more effectively than a separate set of human eyes ever could (assuming that the second set of eyes is open, and that the person owning them isn't distracting the engineer with irrelevant chatter).  Trucks have nothing even remotely like this.  If a truck driver falls asleep at 60 mph, a serious accident (probably involving other vehicles) is a near certainty.

Again, if you don't believe me, just listen to the rush hour traffic reports in any major city.  Rolled over semis  (usually due to excessive speed on curves) are nearly a daily occurrence.   The "safety" case for requiring a "second set of eyes" is far stronger for trucks than trains, particularly trains on PTC equipped lines.

There certainly may be operational reasons for two person crews on many trains (e.g., work en route, defect response, etc.) .  And, of course, crew size is a legitimate issue for collective bargaining.  But there's no "safety" case for requiring 2-person crews on trains but not on highway trucks    

 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 7:36 AM

Direct costs are obvious.  Allocation of overhead is pretty fuzzy. And then there are those other costs,  often unknown at the time,  that show up later and paid for by the government,  i. e.,  the public. Recall the Superfund to clean up toxic wastes of corporations. Love Canal. Since 2001, the funding shifted to general revenues rather than from the consumers of products of the petrochemical industry. 

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Posted by abdkl on Monday, February 3, 2020 9:18 PM
"The costs of counting cost more than the costs"
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Posted by PJS1 on Monday, February 3, 2020 7:13 PM
The Texas Eagle, at least between Marshall and San Antonio, only has an engineer in the cab.  The conductor is in the transition sleeper or dining car or working the train.
 
The engineer calls the signals, and the conductor is required to affirm them.  But it is just one pair of eyes in the cab of the locomotive.  
 
I don’t know enough about freight train operations to know whether a second pair of eyes is necessary, but Amtrak has concluded that they are not needed in the cab for the Texas Eagle. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by Juniata Man on Monday, February 3, 2020 6:30 PM

Falcon48

 

 
CMStPnP

I think one person in the cab is insane, even with PTC.   I would think you need the second pair of eyes as a check.   Also an extra safety margin in this era of sleep apnea when so many have that condition without even knowing it.

 

 

 

Based on this "safety" logic, all highway trucks should have 2 person crews.  After all, trucks don't operate on fixed guideways with limited public access.  They operate on public roads shared with other vehicles, including relatively frail and vulnerable passenger cars.  And trucks actually operate as "trains" in many parts of the county with multiple trailers.  Finally, the types of accidents that occur on RR's by operator error occur far more frequently with trucks.  For example, in the Port Defiance Amtrak accident, a train turned over entering a curve too fast.  How often does that really occur on railroads (and it will probably occur much less with PTC)?  But, if you live in a major city, it happens almost daily with trucks on urban expressways (just listen to the rush hour traffic reports in any large city).   

 

Bottom line: If you're advocating two person crews on trains but not on highway trucks, you're not doing it for safety reasons.   

 

 

C'mon Falcon; there is a heckuva difference between operating a tractor trailer by oneself and operating a two to three mile long train by oneself.

Trucks operate for the most part along routes where emergency services as well as food and rest areas are relatively accessible.  The same cannot be said for most rail routes.

Argue for one man crews all your heart desires but; to compare one man crews on freight trains to a solo driver on a long distance truck is apples to oranges.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, February 3, 2020 6:19 PM

CMStPnP

I think one person in the cab is insane, even with PTC.   I would think you need the second pair of eyes as a check.   Also an extra safety margin in this era of sleep apnea when so many have that condition without even knowing it.

 

Based on this "safety" logic, all highway trucks should have 2 person crews.  After all, trucks don't operate on fixed guideways with limited public access.  They operate on public roads shared with other vehicles, including relatively frail and vulnerable passenger cars.  And trucks actually operate as "trains" in many parts of the county with multiple trailers.  Finally, the types of accidents that occur on RR's by operator error occur far more frequently with trucks.  For example, in the Port Defiance Amtrak accident, a train turned over entering a curve too fast.  How often does that really occur on railroads (and it will probably occur much less with PTC)?  But, if you live in a major city, it happens almost daily with trucks on urban expressways (just listen to the rush hour traffic reports in any large city).   

Bottom line: If you're advocating two person crews on trains but not on highway trucks, you're not doing it for safety reasons.   

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, February 3, 2020 2:16 PM

Erik_Mag

FWIW, FAA regulations on crew size are tied to the size and performance of the airplane being flown. Only the smallest of the business jets are legal to fly with one person in the cockpit.

I suspect that the true costs (e.g. counting full costs of delays) are taken into account, a crew of two is probably optimum for all but the smallest trains. Problem is that "true costs" are a bear to determine so are ignored in favor of an easily calculable "cost". Note this is true of almost all industries. This is not unique to railroads.

 

Railroads (and, I guess other industries...) have a hard time counting up "soft" costs and savings.  My hunch is that railroads aren't ready for one man crews.  Trains and infrastructure are still too unreliable and ways to deal with trouble too primative to have universal one man train crews.

They want them, for sure.  They just don't know, or want to acknowledge, they're not ready.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:47 AM

FWIW, FAA regulations on crew size are tied to the size and performance of the airplane being flown. Only the smallest of the business jets are legal to fly with one person in the cockpit.

I suspect that the true costs (e.g. counting full costs of delays) are taken into account, a crew of two is probably optimum for all but the smallest trains. Problem is that "true costs" are a bear to determine so are ignored in favor of an easily calculable "cost". Note this is true of almost all industries. This is not unique to railroads.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:41 AM

I think one person in the cab is insane, even with PTC.   I would think you need the second pair of eyes as a check.   Also an extra safety margin in this era of sleep apnea when so many have that condition without even knowing it.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, February 1, 2020 9:02 AM

The carriers want to bargain at the national level, the union on a individual railroad level.  Plus there's supposed to be a moratorium in place that was agreed to by the carriers that they wouldn't reopen crew consist until the last trainman at the time of signing (protected employee) was gone.  That point in time shouldn't be that far off but when all you care about is cutting costs to funnel more money to Wall St, every penny counts.  The union's position is that they don't have to bargain until that point in time as been reached. 

Some railroads, or portions of them, due to legacy contracts still require a brakeman on trains that do a certain number of intermediate work events.  Or require a switchman helper on all yard jobs.

Jeff 

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Crew size
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:45 AM

I just read this article: http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2020/01/railroads-unions-butt-heads-on-crew-size-ahead-of-first-national-bargaining-meeting

Is this (any upcoming negotiations, whenever they might occur) solely about railroads wanting 1 person, and unions wanting 2? Or is it more complicated than that?

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