I don't know how many of you read the news wires, but tonight I read about an Amtrak engineer getting the crap kicked out of him by a mob of people in Sacremento, Ca. Now I am a new conductor, and still waiting to start my promising new career and this angers the heck out of me. As train crews we are trained to have Safety being the number 1 priority. What do you do when a mob of people stop a train moving at restricted speed? You stop the train of course within half the range of vision, which is exactly what the engineer did. I pose these questions...What do you do when a situation like this arrises? I see why the engineer dismounted after tying down to try and deal with the scenario in a civilized manner and not disturb his passengers or fellow crew but was it the safest course of action? Would it have been effective to yell from the cab car window? How do you protect your crew and cargo or passengers in a scenario such as this? Personally and as a young individual who is passionate about the safety of our nation and the individual, my first instinct would be if the crowd looks to be a bunch of bums or thugged out kids why not just gesture for them to get out of the way from the cab? If they do not move, as they are not railroad employees, and are just there trespassing or there to cause a ruckus, lay down the horn as loud and as long as you feel like it. No matter how hard these idiot youths are or think they are, after being blasted with a K5LA for a straight minute, they are going to be hurting and loose the will. Point is, it is not the trains' or the crews' fault that some people move into it's domain. The right of way is where locomotives are the kings and gang bangers, vagrants, bums, tramps, and 'bos are not even ants compared to an SD70Ace or even a Plymouth critter. I am not suggesting that running an individual over is an option, as that solves absolutly nothing. What is the safe path here? My thoughts are that when safety is concerned on the railroad there are only two types of people. Those who work for the railroad and everybody else.
As a photographer, I like to be as near the action as possible, as anybody who shoots trains does, but I respect the rails and know what can happen when safety is foresaken. I just hope that other crews don't get scared by this incident and think all of us are out there to beat up railroad personel just for the fun of it. Unfortunatly, this is probably going to bite all law abiding railfans in the butt. I see TSA looming over our freedoms around the tracks like they do at airports. Which is totally reasonable, as many very hazardous materials and millions of people travel by rail yearly, but should it have to be necessary?
I pray the engineer has a speedy recovery and returns to service unintimidated by this horrific incident. Furthermore, I hope the people that did this face justice in its harshest form.
As you said, access to railroad property requires Right Of Way (ROW) safety training. As a sub-contractor I have to renew mine every 2 years. Personal on the right of way will have a radio and cell phone as does the train crew. The engineer's orders should tell him where to expect personel near the tracks.
A call for help to Local or Railroad Police "should" be easy and in advance of violence.
Don U. TCA 73-5735
When this kind of situation occurs, and they don't move after repeatedly blowing the horn, then it would be time to get over the radio and call the dispatcher. The Police can handle this. I certainly wouldn't come out of the cab. I would lock the doors and call the dispatcher. that would be the safer coarse. Also notify the conductor of the situation and let him lock the doors to the cars.
The police will handle it from there.
From evidence presented elsewhere, this seems to be a case of some gang members trying to assert their turf rights. Unfortunately, when dealing with nasty people, there are no nice solutions.
In addition to the usual 'more police patrols,' one suggestion calls for the trains to transit this area at higher speed. If the ones on the rails had been punted into low orbit, the rest of the nitwits would have had second thoughts about the wisdom of trying this stunt. Whether it would have prompted better behavior is open to question.
One can only hope that the guilty parties will be rounded up, tried and given appropriate punishment.
Maybe we should punish wrongdoers with real jail time instead of going easy on them. Assault an engineer? 20 years. Torch a trestle? 10 years. Let them break rocks and dig ditches for the public good for a portion of their adult life. Not so fun then is it? Sorry, I have no sympathy for the hooligans, forgiveness yes, but I believe you must still suffer the consequences of a bad decision, in doing so hopefully you will make a better one in the future. Just ask the kid in Bangkok that got caned for vandalism.
Allow the police to kick in a few doors and round up the usual suspects, none too gently mind you. Take the legal cuffs of our law officers and put them on the crooks. Enforce victim rights and take away the rights of the criminal. Make breaking the law something that you DON'T want to do.
The Dixie D Short Line "Lux Lucet In Tenebris Nihil Igitur Mors Est Ad Nos 2001"
conrailman wrote:Deport them Punks kids to Iraq, that will teach them.
I understand your sentiment, but I am slightly offended. I have been to Iraq and everybody I served with was a paragon of American virtue. Send them idiots to IRAN, and now you've got game! Do what they did there and those punks would be a head shorter than they are now, no questions asked.
Hey, no hard feelings!
tangerine-jack wrote:<snip> Let them break rocks and dig ditches for the public good for a portion of their adult life.<snip>
<snip> Let them break rocks and dig ditches for the public good for a portion of their adult life.<snip>
how about cutting timber/ties from trees, and laying 39' sections of rail on said ties.... WITHOUT POWER TOOLS
Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site
CMSTPP wrote: When this kind of situation occurs, and they don't move after repeatedly blowing the horn, then it would be time to get over the radio and call the dispatcher. The Police can handle this. I certainly wouldn't come out of the cab. I would lock the doors and call the dispatcher. that would be the safer coarse. Also notify the conductor of the situation and let him lock the doors to the cars. The police will handle it from there.James
This seems to have been the best course of action. But I'd hesitate to call someone stupid if I wasn't there and couldn't see the whole situation. Maybe there were only a few people on the tracks and the rest didn't show up till the engineer got out.
This whole thing is sad i knew trainmen in the 90s who when they got to Chicago would travel in groups of 3 or more just to walk to the shanty. They were worried about groups of " locals" jumping them. Some guys were almost happy about cabooses being eliminated because they felt unsafe back there alone in the middle of the yard.