Overshooting platform.

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Overshooting platform.
Posted by gp18 on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:12 AM

I was watching the Southwest Chief at La plata Mo. The engineer over shot the platform loading area and the passengers had to walk about 40 yards to the road crossing to board the train. The station agent was visibly ticked off about having the passengers walk to board the train. In fact, she walked to the middle of the train and had a conversation with someone. Are train engineers allowed to back the train up a couple of feet for the paying customers?

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:55 AM

gp18
Are train engineers allowed to back the train up a couple of feet for the paying customers?

Normally reverse moves require at bare minimum permission from the dispatcher (plus someone going to the rear to protect said shove).  And unless the ticked off station agent worked as an engineer - she can get over herself.  Stuff happens. 

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

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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 2:03 PM

I have seen this kind of backing as standard procedure in Truckee, CA. The CZ pulled in, stopped for a few minutes, backed about two car length, stopped again for a few minutes, and left finally. I have watched this on a webcam in winter and was told that the platform is too short.

I haven't checked it in summer yet.
Regards, Volker

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 2:19 PM

Volker, that is interesting. I haven't ridden west of Salt Lake CIty for some time, but, as I remember, the second stop was for the passengers at the rear, which is the procedure followed east of here at the stations with shorter platforms.

There is story, told long ago, of the engineer who overshot a station stop, and after he had taken the train back to the proper location inquired indignantly, "Who picked my sunflower?"

Johnny

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 6:50 PM

IIRC the Truckee platform is very short.  Checking on Google Earth, it appears the platform was cut back from the track, and only a new looking 55 foot section was installed.

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:44 PM

zugmann

 

 
gp18
Are train engineers allowed to back the train up a couple of feet for the paying customers?

 

Normally reverse moves require at bare minimum permission from the dispatcher (plus someone going to the rear to protect said shove).  And unless the ticked off station agent worked as an engineer - she can get over herself.  Stuff happens. 

 

Zug you are right. She should just get over herself and take the same attitude as the engineer, the customer.  So what if we force them to walk some.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:48 PM

matthewsaggie
 
zugmann
 
gp18
Are train engineers allowed to back the train up a couple of feet for the paying customers? 

Normally reverse moves require at bare minimum permission from the dispatcher (plus someone going to the rear to protect said shove).  And unless the ticked off station agent worked as an engineer - she can get over herself.  Stuff happens.  

Zug you are right. She should just get over herself and take the same attitude as the engineer, the customer.  So what if we force them to walk some.

How much delay are you will to put up with for the reverse move - and even if requested by the crew it may not be allowed by the Train Dispatcher account following traffic.  It is not a matter of the customer.  It is a matter of the time required to comply with the applicable rules.

Railroad station stops are not transit bus stops.

         

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:08 PM

matthewsaggie
Zug you are right. She should just get over herself and take the same attitude as the engineer, the customer. So what if we force them to walk some.

I take it you are a perfect engineer and never missed a spot?   By the time the conductor or AC got to the rear, and permission was granted (if needed - I don't know the local OR), the customers probably could have been in their seats and lost in their phones already.

 

Besides - maybe it was a condcutor/AC that gave crappy car counts if the spot was tight?  Her getting visibly "ticked off" as described by the OP is just silly and not professional.  She's also not a trainmaster or a roadforeman.

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Posted by matthewsaggie on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:15 PM

Balt, I understand the situation and really dont expect a backing move.

I was borhered by the attutude that the agent could get over herself. She is the face of Antrak to those passengers, and had gotten her passengers out where they should be. The engineer overshooting makes her look the fool to passengers and she has every right, even a responsibility to speak to the crew about it, and report it. From a passenger viewpoint its not a positive experience either. But heck, she can get over herself and let sloppy practices continue.

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Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:17 PM

matthewsaggie
The engineer overshooting makes her look the fool to passengers and she has every right, even a responsibility to speak to the crew about it, and report it.

see previous post.

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

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 10:30 PM

As a Professional Amtrak employee - it is her responsiblity explain the situation to the passengers calmly and without snide comments; to do otherwise indicates that she is among the rankest of newbies in customer relations.

In life, mistakes happen own them when you or your organization make them, explain them with proper facts and a upbeat tone to the customers and move on to the next challenge.

         

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Posted by gp18 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 4:44 AM

I should have mentioned the station agent was courteous and explained to the passengers, considering she spends a lot of time telling them to stay behind the yellow line. The platforms are short and I've seen train crews move the train perfectly to load sleepers, then coach folks.The BNSF freights barrel through on both tracks and in both directions, so she is diligent in keeping people away from the tracks. I watched the train cam again yesterday and the same thing almost happened again. This time she and the attendant had to stabilize the portable step as it was hanging on the edge of the asphalt. They are making the platform longer, but at New Jersey labor union speed, slow, slower, and we need a break. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:11 AM

Backup moves after an overshoot are a risky proposition at best.  A back-up move on the IC suburban line on October 30, 1972 led to 45 deaths.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:42 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH
Backup moves after an overshoot are a risky proposition at best.  A back-up move on the IC suburban line on October 30, 1972 led to 45 deaths.

http://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net/Document?db=DOT-RAILROAD&query=(select+3956)

         

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Posted by Dakguy201 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:42 AM

I no longer remember where it might have been, but I've observed a conductor at the door of a Superliner on the radio counting off the car lengths to his desired stopping point at a station.  I'd think that an easy solution to a short platform situation. 

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:53 AM

matthewsaggie
 
zugmann

 

 
gp18
Are train engineers allowed to back the train up a couple of feet for the paying customers?

 

Normally reverse moves require at bare minimum permission from the dispatcher (plus someone going to the rear to protect said shove).  And unless the ticked off station agent worked as an engineer - she can get over herself.  Stuff happens. 

 

 

 

Zug you are right. She should just get over herself and take the same attitude as the engineer, the customer.  So what if we force them to walk some.

 

   I don't know what line of work you are in where everything is perfect, but the rest of us deal with life as it comes. I seriously doubt the engineer overshot the platform on purpose. The station agent worked with the passenger, that’s part of her job and that's not the first time a train has overshot the platform. The engineer is doing his or her job; the station agent is doing hers.

 

 

 

     While we're pointing out little things that bother us, could you please watch your language a bit? We're not in a tavern. We're a group of people with a common interest in trains. Disagree with whoever you want but there’s no reason to start dropping.



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Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 8:39 AM

BaltACD
CSSHEGEWISCH

http://dotlibrary.specialcollection.net/Document?db=DOT-RAILROAD&query=(select+3956)

 

I think the situations are not comparable. The OP said the locomotive overshot the platform by 40 yards (120'). The NTSB report of the IGC accident states that the last car overshot the platform by 600 ft and a signal by 400 ft. The train was already completely in the next block.
 
Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt the problems associated with backing a train. But this looks like apples and oranges.
Regards, Volker
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Posted by gp18 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 8:56 AM

The engineer only stops when the conductor tell him/her to stop. The train stops to unload/load the sleepers, then pulls ahead to unload/load the coaches at the direction of the conductor. When the SW Chief stops at La Plata, the engineer is about 400 ft past the station platform to load a sleeper then is told to pull ahead to spot the desired coach. We cannot blame the engineer or the agent, but the conductor who spots the train. The conductor also spots the train to fill cars in a specific order, so maybe that has something to with it.  

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:39 PM

I was watching the LaPlata webcam and saw the overshoot. As has been stated by others, the engineer is directed by the trainman (Conductor or Asst. conductor) as to his spot. It seems as if the platform is built with a short area at the east end where the platform has an area that is closer to the track. It also appears that predominatly, the coach passengers are discharged/boarded from the first of the three coaches. I have seen the trainman use the door of the second coach. Can't see the third.

I have watched BNSF Metra trains that have overshot the platform and some had the passengers walk back in the train to a car that was at the platform. I have also seen them get permision from the dispatcher, have a trainman go to the back door, and then back up. Cost about five minutes delay. Some Metra stations have platforms that are shorter than the train and the PA system will announce that "Passengers for stop XXXX should move to the back "NN" cars (or forward) if they wish to get off at XXXX. 

Also was working downtown Chicago on the 35th floor of what then was the First National Bank when the IC accident happened with a clear line of sight to the accident. My department's secretary was on the second car of the heavy weight (1926) IC equipment which got the label "SPAM CAN OPENER" while the new Highliner car got the label SPAM CAN". She fortunatly was uninjured, got off the train, walked up to the street and caught a bus to the office. She was told she could take the rest of the day off. 

A day that I will not forget.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:20 AM

A real problem on LIRR, Metro North, and SEPTA are leaves or even just their oily resedue on the rails in the Autumn leave-dropping season.  This can easily cause lots of sliding wheels, overshooting platforms, and in some cases even flat-spots that require wheel-turning.  In addition to use of vacuum leaf eliminators, these systems have all had programs to cut-back all foliage to br several yards (meters?) from tracks.  I understand these programs are effective, and the problem is much reduced from the time that I rode these trains frequently.

 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:27 AM

Electroliner 1935

I was watching the LaPlata webcam and saw the overshoot. As has been stated by others, the engineer is directed by the trainman (Conductor or Asst. conductor) as to his spot. It seems as if the platform is built with a short area at the east end where the platform has an area that is closer to the track. It also appears that predominatly, the coach passengers are discharged/boarded from the first of the three coaches. I have seen the trainman use the door of the second coach. Can't see the third.

 

 

The east end of the La Plata platform, the part looking a bit closer to the track, is a raised section.  I am guessing for easier access for wheel chairs.  I was there last month (stayed at the Depot Inn and Suites for my birthday) and watched the westbound Chief make it's stop.  It seemed like they tried to line up with the raised portion even though they didn't have any handicapped passengers.  They slowed way down and with one of the trainmen (trainwomen in this case) directing the stop, released and eased forward.  And still missed by about half a car.  They just pulled out their step stool and boarded passengers.  Had they made the raised platform, they wouldn't have needed the stool.   

Jeff

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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:45 AM

jeffhergert
And still missed by about half a car.

Good think they're not working a local doing spots. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:44 PM

zugmann
 
jeffhergert
And still missed by about half a car. 

Good think they're not working a local doing spots. 

especially with a cut of partially loaded tank cars!

         

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Posted by Gramp on Thursday, May 24, 2018 9:07 PM

I recall in the book, "Life on a Locomotive", about an engineer for the Northwestern, Buddy Williams, that an old head instructed him to always keep 100 feet in his pocket (just in case) when stopping a train. Do engineers think this way today? 

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:51 AM

When I ran streetcars at what is now called the Shore Line Trolley Musuem 1957-1995, I would always aim to stop 50 feet short of the intended location and then release the brake gradually to ease up to the intended spot.  On the freight on the B&M the regular engineer took over before stopping at Sommerville Yard, and we had already slowed to yard-limit speed, but I think I observed him doing what you described on the passenger runs from Boston to Portsmith, NH.  Power was always GP7 1567 or 1568, up on the passenger and back on the freight, winter, 1952-1953.

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Posted by PJS1 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 9:08 AM

zugmann
......and unless the ticked off station agent worked as an engineer - she can get over herself.  Stuff happens. 

Excellent point!

I worked as a commercial pilot for several years during the 1970s before deciding on another career path.  

The FAA had hired a bunch of controllers who knew very little about piloting an airplane.  They frequently issued impracticable instructions.  Finally, the FAA figured it out, and provided basic flight training for many of the controllers.  I am not sure whether they still do it, but it struck me as a smart move.  

If you ain't done it, don't rag on the person who does, especially if the mistake is a minor one and causes no real harm.

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by nhrand on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:16 AM

MAINLINE BACK-UP MOVES

I was a commuter to New York on the North Jersey Coast line from 1969 to 1996 and remember well some mainline back-up moves by trains I was on.  The ex-Pennsy trains from Penn Station in New York City left the multi-track mainline at Perth Amboy Junction at Rahway for the ride south on my way home in the evening.  During the evening rush there were dozens of trains on short headways moving fast and furious through the area including Metroliners, Clockers, and mainline locals.

If there was a delay and trains got out of sequence, the tower operators at Rahway sometimes mistook an approaching train and set-up a wrong move.  Rahway was a flying junction where the tracks to the old New York & Long Branch went down ramps and under the mainline so there was no need to crossover busy tracks.   However, once in a while my train would not get routed correctly and we would overshoot the junction switch and come to a halt on the mainline.  This was the time of GG-1s and old P-70 coaches.  Imagine sitting on the mainline while a Metroliner zoomed past at high speed and rattled the old coach windows and nearly sucked them out.

After sitting for a while my train would slowly back-up until clear of the interlocking and then proceed down the ramp to the branch.  I do not know what rules or regulations applied to the back-up move but I trusted that my train was protected by the signal and interlocking system.  The possibility of a rear-end collision always entered my mind but if you are a daily commuter you can't dwell on such things.

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Posted by aegrotatio on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:41 PM

Was there a signal involved?  Perhaps avoiding that 1972 IC accident you mentioned.

 

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Posted by Reynold on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 3:17 AM

The Sounder commuter trains come through the platforms very hot and yet stop very quickly. These commuter trains between Seattle and Tacoma commonly undershoot/overshoot the very short ~10' disabled/wheelchair raised platforms. I've seen them back up 1' or 10' to 30' many times.
I don't know why they couldn't have added a few more feet to the platforms. The conductor is always there to lower the short aluminum folding crossing plank, and has direct communication with the engineer. Very few of the people are not capable of shifting over a little extra. After all, they made the trek into the station and platform already.

Reynold   Puyallup, WA

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