CSX Train hits car

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 8:11 AM

Flintlock76

Interesting story, but it's three years old.

The important paragraph, to me at least, is the one that begins with "Anecdotal evidence..."  In a way, it kind of says it all.

 

When you say the use of the term, "anecdotal evidence" says it all, what is it that you think it says?  It seems that you are saying that the article is exaggerting the problem, or that the problem was three years ago, but has been fixed since then. 

What is the current thinking in the town as to whether there is a problem and what do do about it if there is?  In the article, it sounds like there is a problem, and they go into detail about ways to eliminate the problem.  Considering that the article was from 2017, I wonder if they ever implemented their remedy.

Are there people in the town calling for the relocation of the town or the railroad?  I recall someone saying the train speed limit through there is 45 mph.  Is that the speed that trains normally pass through there?

Since this issue of accidentally driving onto the track is common there, and that the police showed up before the train did, I wonder if the train crew was informed of the problem before their train arrived.  If this type of incident is common, I assume that the police can almost instantly get a message to the railroad to stop all approaching trains.  Since the train actually hit the vehicle, I have to assume that the crew had no warning notification.  If they were warned before arriving at the town, and then hit the vehicle anyway, I think there is more going on here than meets the eye.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Sunday, October 18, 2020 8:13 AM

I think painting the line (or two lines, maybe one white, one yellow or orange) as Paul said would help a lot.

Then add Tree's flexible markers.

Plus slope the pavement, so the wayward drivers have a chance of extracting themselves.

They could also post big yellow signs in each direction, that say "For Left Turn Cross 2 Tracks THEN Turn."

All that together, and they've really changed the odds.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:16 AM

Euclid
When you say the use of the term, "anecdotal evidence" says it all, what is it that you think it says? 

What it means to me is "The exception doesn't prove the rule."  Hundreds, if not thousands more make it through that grade crossing without incident, so the actions of an inattentive few shouldn't be the cause for mass panic or hysteria. 

Yeah, call me a heartless unfeeling SOB, I don't care.  

Sure, we can take all the precautions we want and put up all the warnings we want but as I said earlier there's some out there you can't save from themselves no matter what you do. 

Hey, we could reduce the death toll from driving accidents to almost zero if we set a national speed limit of 25 MPH.  How many of you would agree to that?  

And that's all I'm going to say on that subject.  

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:40 AM

Euclid
What is the current thinking in the town as to whether there is a problem and what do do about it if there is?  In the article, it sounds like there is a problem, and they go into detail about ways to eliminate the problem.

Common practice in my childhood years to the time I left in the early '90s, in northern New Jersey, was to fix any crossing or intersection at which there had been a documented accident.  In some cases that involved two-way or four-way stops; in some cases installation of lights.  A section of major north-south road was converted to 'directional main' one-way, with the street names reserved, when there was an increase in accidents with higher traffic (this coming about the time of the double-decking of the GWB and massive interstate-highway construction at the south end).

Considering that the article was from 2017, I wonder if they ever implemented their remedy.

Shouldn't it be easy to see by comparing the current feed from Virtual Railfan's cam with what's seen in the videos?

I recall someone saying the train speed limit through there is 45 mph.  Is that the speed that trains normally pass through there?

One of the comments to the coffee-banging video resolves this.  There was an hours-limited 45mph restriction until a few years ago (about 3 at the date of the comment) at which point it was reduced to 35mph.  That may not look like a major reduction but overlay the resulting service and emergency stopping curves on the map and I think it's significant.

I would not be surprised to find that this reduction is in response to one of the crossing mishaps...

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:30 AM

Flintlock76
And that's all I'm going to say on that subject. 

Are you sure you can?  How about refraining from your use of reductio ad absurdum arguments as well?

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 10:50 AM

An article from five years ago, in detailing a City policy in dealing with railroad related emergencies says that in the case where a car is stuck on the tracks, the first responding unit would contact CSX. 

Surely, that would prevent any collision if there is time to make this contact while no trains are too close to stop in time.  I assume that this contact would reach the train crew in the shortest time possible, no more than 30 seconds. 

In the case of this most recent collision, first responders were on the scene apparently several minutes before the train arrived.  And even after it did arrive in sight, there was plenty of time to stop before impact.  So I am curious about what happened in this latest collision.   

This is an odd situation because you have a disproportionate amount of stalled vehicle grade crossing collisions that have nothing to do with motorists trying to beat the train.  Generally, stalled vehicle collisions have nothing to do with crossing warnings and approaching trains.  They only feature a vehicle that has encountered a problem on its own.  So with a stalled vehicle there is often way more than enough time to take some type of collision preventative action before a train arrives.

In Ashland, VA, there is an unusual tendency for vehicles to become stalled on the track, but also an unusual amount of people nearby to witness the problem and to take action to help prevent a collision if there is sufficient time.  With all of that in mind, this most recent collision in Ashland almost looks as though it were staged.  

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:03 AM

Euclid
An article from five years ago, in detailing a City policy in dealing with railroad related emergencies says that in the case where a car is stuck on the tracks, the first responding unit would contact CSX. 

Surely, that would prevent any collision if there is time to make this contact while no trains are too close to stop in time.  I assume that this contact would reach the train crew in the shortest time possible, no more than 30 seconds. 

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:11 AM

BaltACD
 
Euclid
An article from five years ago, in detailing a City policy in dealing with railroad related emergencies says that in the case where a car is stuck on the tracks, the first responding unit would contact CSX. 

Surely, that would prevent any collision if there is time to make this contact while no trains are too close to stop in time.  I assume that this contact would reach the train crew in the shortest time possible, no more than 30 seconds. 

 

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

 

I know exactly what I am taking about and I made it perfectly clear.  Why don't you tell us what you are talking about so we can understand and consider it?

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:13 AM

Lithonia Operator
Then add Tree's flexible markers.

Someone else suggested them - I just brought them back up.  Credit where due.  

As has been pointed out, there are those who will defeat even the most fool-proof protections.  They'd just drive between the delineators and onto the tracks.

A solution suggested by the photo of a British line would be to put in a set of standard gates across the tracks.  They'd go up when the roadway gates go down.

Perhaps they could even be made to failsafe up instead of down, as is the case with the road gates.  Definitely one more thing to maintain, but at least it's an existing technology.

The question is whether the municipality is willing to foot the bill.  As has been pointed out, they are the interloper - the railroad was there first.

 

 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:22 AM

tree68

 

 
Lithonia Operator
Then add Tree's flexible markers.

 

Someone else suggested them - I just brought them back up.  Credit where due.  

As has been pointed out, there are those who will defeat even the most fool-proof protections.  They'd just drive between the delineators and onto the tracks.

A solution suggested by the photo of a British line would be to put in a set of standard gates across the tracks.  They'd go up when the roadway gates go down.

Perhaps they could even be made to failsafe up instead of down, as is the case with the road gates.  Definitely one more thing to maintain, but at least it's an existing technology.

The question is whether the municipality is willing to foot the bill.  As has been pointed out, they are the interloper - the railroad was there first.

 

 

 

I think the gates rotate, across the tracks as the default position, then moving to block the road if a train is coming. At least they were that way at some crossings in the past.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:39 AM

 

I think Ashland, VA would be a perfect place to test prototypes for a stalled vehicle train warning system.  Such a system only protects against trains striking stalled vehicles, and that is unusually frequent in Ashland.  This would be a modern version of trying to fiddle around calling the railroad in the case of track being fouled by stalled vehicles. 

 

The stalled vehicle detector would bring the message right into the locomotive cab, and the action called for would be clear.    

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:41 AM

charlie hebdo

 

 
Flintlock76
And that's all I'm going to say on that subject. 

 

Are you sure you can?  How about refraining from your use of reductio ad absurdum arguments as well?

 

I'm sure I can.  Are you sure you can stop playing the elitist?

And let me remind you, a while back you asked me to keep something private, and so I have. And so I will.  Maybe you need a little reminder I'm a man of my word.

Forget it, to day I'm in no mood.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:42 AM

Euclid
 
BaltACD 
Euclid
An article from five years ago, in detailing a City policy in dealing with railroad related emergencies says that in the case where a car is stuck on the tracks, the first responding unit would contact CSX. 

Surely, that would prevent any collision if there is time to make this contact while no trains are too close to stop in time.  I assume that this contact would reach the train crew in the shortest time possible, no more than 30 seconds.  

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. 

I know exactly what I am taking about and I made it perfectly clear.  Why don't you tell us what you are talking about so we can understand and consider it?

Leave the world of fantasy and enter the world of reality.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 18, 2020 11:46 AM

charlie hebdo
I think the gates rotate, across the tracks as the default position, then moving to block the road if a train is coming.

They do in Britain.  What he's suggesting is the same blocking action with a standard counterweighted crossing gate that lowers across the tracks to prevent vehicle 'transgression' at all times a train has not actuated the crossing protection.  Then after the crossing gates have fully dropped the cross-barriers would rise...

There are associated problems with this idea, including the very distant but legally significant risk of derailment if a barrier does not raise properly and a train hits it.  The cost is also orders of magnitude beyond paint, the flexible pole barriers, and appropriate warning signage, and likely also beyond effective ramping.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:12 PM

Overmod
It gets worse on crApple Maps.  BOTH sides are labeled 'S. Center St.   south of town, both sides 'N. Center St. north of town, and in the historic district both sides are S. Railroad Ave, although you have to zoom in heavily to get the east side road to show this.  It would be highly interesting to see how the Apple navigation renders a turn when someone has just visibly crossed S. Railroad Ave. in the dark and rain and the nav system instructs them to 'turn now' on S. Railroad Ave...

You do know they make other phones, right?  You don't have to have an apple.  Heck, you don't even have to use apple maps - you can download other map apps.  Although I'm sure none of them go through great pains to tell you to be careful and not drive ont eh RR tracks.  

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:16 PM

Euclid
With all of that in mind, this most recent collision in Ashland almost looks as though it were staged.  

You think they were just bored in Ashland that night?  Maybe Virtual Railfan wanted more views? 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:24 PM

zugmann
You do know they make other phones, right?  You don't have to have an apple.

You can shut up about it now, just like I have about chronic misspellings.

It would be remarkably simple to fix the issues with iPhone navigation -- better TXOs for the GPS core, losing the sliding scale, better voice prompting, and allowing zoom or pan to predict a route in progress being simple things that other nav systems did properly before 2000.  Even porting the last-generation Windows-Phone nav application to iOS would solve all these, and more, like not having address entry come up with the numerical keyboard since that's the way everyone enters addresses now.

As it happens I prefer Apple phones for all the stuff they do better than Android.  I was perfectly happy with what the 4s did, and would still be using it except, you know, crApple stopped supporting it.  I have a large number of Macs running 10.6.8 by choice (as I do still use files from PowerPC applications) but many crApple apps won't run on them... although they do just fine on Windows ME machines a decade older.  Excuse that, if you can.

Incidentally, leaving the fanboi stuff aside where it belongs, perhaps the 'best' alternative remains one of the earliest ones.  As an upgrade to CONELRAD during the Nixon administration, the idea was floated of having car FM radios (then a relatively new feature) be made to turn on and automatically be tuned to Energency Broadcast System stations in the current reception area.  I was not the only one to realize that short-range local 'low-power FM' transmitters near railroad crossings could be used for warnings when a driver was nearing a crossing, or  more active levels of warning when trains were approaching or present.  This would likely have been largely warning lights rather than alpha displays ... with sound through the speakers reserved only for emergency notification ... but everyone's new car would have it, and year after year more would until eventually most running cars would be compatible (plus those with aftermarket FM installed) at no major additional cost.

Unfortunately the whole idea failed, in part through anti-Nixon paranoia, but it still represents a road easily taken that would largely address many 'crossing awareness' issues.

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Posted by adkrr64 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:33 PM

zugmann

You do know they make other phones, right?  You don't have to have an apple.  Heck, you don't even have to use apple maps - you can download other map apps.  Although I'm sure none of them go through great pains to tell you to be careful and not drive ont eh RR tracks.  

The Wayze app does specifically highlight RR crossings and will play a special tone when approaching them. I don't think it would necessarily help in this particular situation.

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:37 PM

Overmod
Tou can shut up about it now, just like I have about chronic misspellings.

Must have touched a nerve. 

Again with the apple rants.  Go to MacRumors and sound off there.  You keep twisting every topic into your love/hate/whatever for apple products.  It's just weird. And that's coming from me. 

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:38 PM

adkrr64
The Wayze app does specifically highlight RR crossings and will play a special tone when approaching them. I don't think it would necessarily help in this particular situation.

Maybe they can link the ENS number when you stop moving on the tracks?

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:40 PM

zugmann
Must have touched a nerve. 

Yes, whining as hominems from hypocrites does that to me.  But unlike you I'll stop discussing it now.

When you work for Kalmbach you can tell me what and what not to post.  

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:41 PM

Overmod
Yes, whining as hominems from hypocrites does that to me.  But unlike you I'll stop discussing it now. When you work for Kalmbach you can tell me what and what not to post.  

Nah, you'll be back in the next topic.  

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:53 PM

zugmann
Maybe they can link the ENS number when you stop moving on the tracks?

The stated concern about this is that most GPS chips in consumer devices can't always resolve the 'correct' ENS number when multiple mains run closely parallel, like the ex-NKP and NYC in many locations in far northwest Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.  In my experience none of the 'HA' differential location refinement up to last year reliably improved that enough -- in those locations -- to improve the matter.

Of course a reasonable solution is to serve all the ENS numbers for a given likely positional drift, and automate making emergency calls to them all based on the ENS metadata.  This might result in some false-positive train slowdowns but I think would accomplish the necessary prompt notification.

I would agree that things like ease of 'false alarms' sent maliciously by east-to-use apps may be a concern, but less of one than the safety that would be gained.

 

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:10 PM

I think it's unrealistic to think that the police could call CSX within 30 seconds. It might be that they would try to do that. But dispatchers are busy guys, and they get a lot of calls. There's no way I know of to assure that the cops can get through quickly, unless they were to create a "hot line" from Ashland PD to CSX; and they'd also have to have a way that a cop with a cell phone or radio can quickly patch into that system very quickly.

I suppose they could create a phone line at the dispatcher's desk that is there ONLY for emergencies, and give out the number only to first responders. Or maybe issue CSX-frequency radios to the cops; but I don't know what the realities are concerning radio range, and I'm guessing this approach might be too unreliable.

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:29 PM

Lithonia Operator

I think it's unrealistic to think that the police could call CSX within 30 seconds. It might be that they would try to do that. But dispatchers are busy guys, and they get a lot of calls. There's no way I know of to assure that the cops can get through quickly, unless they were to create a "hot line" from Ashland PD to CSX; and they'd also have to have a way that a cop with a cell phone or radio can quickly patch into that system very quickly.

I suppose they could create a phone line at the dispatcher's desk that is there ONLY for emergencies, and give out the number only to first responders. Or maybe issue CSX-frequency radios to the cops; but I don't know what the realities are concerning radio range, and I'm guessing this approach might be too unreliable.

 

Well yes, it has to be the hottest possible hotline, maybe even directly into the locomotive cab.  If it is just a normal routine, through the channels with a phone call, forget it.  It could take an hour.  However, it is the Ashland website that says that first responders routine is to contact the railroad.  That protcol is pointless if it is not lightning fast.  Apparently this latest collsion proves that. 

The main point is that these stalled vehicle incidents often provide ample time to notify and stop a train. 

 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:32 PM

zugmann
 
Euclid
With all of that in mind, this most recent collision in Ashland almost looks as though it were staged.  

 

You think they were just bored in Ashland that night?  Maybe Virtual Railfan wanted more views? 

 

 

No I mean staged as a lecture to prove a point. 

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:43 PM

Euclid
No I mean staged as a lecture to prove a point. 

I'd hope for better camera angles. 

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:49 PM

zugmann
I'd hope for better camera angles. 

 

A warning shot fired across the bow of all citizens of Ashland:  "Be it known all people, that CSX trains do not stop for cars, ...Cars stop for trains" ..and quit asking us to paint our bridges...

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, October 18, 2020 2:00 PM

Lithonia Operator
I suppose they could create a phone line at the dispatcher's desk that is there ONLY for emergencies, and give out the number only to first responders. Or maybe issue CSX-frequency radios to the cops; but I don't know what the realities are concerning radio range, and I'm guessing this approach might be too unreliable.

In theory, the number on the blue plates is for emergencies.  A citizen calling to report a blocked crossing should get the same response as the police.

Back when most police agencies used VHF-Hi Band radios, the radio idea might have made sense - today's trunked systems would require a "gateway" to be installed between the two systems.   Range on a mobile is measured in tens of miles.  A handheld would be good for a mile or three, depending on terrain.

You also have the problem of keeping said radio (in a patrol car) ready to go.  Portables need periodic recharging, and a mobile radio takes up space that is frequently at a premium in today's patrol vehicles.  In a trunked system all you'd need would be another talkgroup, though.

There then comes the question of whether the frequency of incidents is worth the cost (both equipment and training).  Maybe in a place like Ashland, otherwise not so much.

It would be better to look at ways of engineering the problem out of existence, such as with the delineators or gates.

The gates, by the way, are usually fiberglass, and are made to swing out of the way or break if struck.  Derailment wouldn't be a problem.  While no solution can be 100%, I would opine that this is perhaps one of the better options.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, October 18, 2020 2:19 PM

Overmod

 

 
charlie hebdo
I think the gates rotate, across the tracks as the default position, then moving to block the road if a train is coming.

 

They do in Britain.  What he's suggesting is the same blocking action with a standard counterweighted crossing gate that lowers across the tracks to prevent vehicle 'transgression' at all times a train has not actuated the crossing protection.  Then after the crossing gates have fully dropped the cross-barriers would rise...

 

There are associated problems with this idea, including the very distant but legally significant risk of derailment if a barrier does not raise properly and a train hits it.  The cost is also orders of magnitude beyond paint, the flexible pole barriers, and appropriate warning signage, and likely also beyond effective ramping.

 

That's what I said.  I fail to see what you have added except words. 

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