Trains.com

Metro North, 6 dead

20344 views
372 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Thursday, February 19, 2015 5:41 AM

I think a small $500 fine under "Do not stop on tracks" would work in the same way it curbed littering.

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:11 AM

schlimm
 

 

 
Murphy Siding
Shouldn't you have used a ';'  instead of a ';' after the word own? 

 

In a word, "No."   A semi-colon would preceed a clause, not a mere phrase.  https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Semicolons.html

"A semicolon is most commonly used to link (in a single sentence) two independent clauses that are closely related in thought.".

 

Fair enough; apology accepted.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,533 posts
Posted by zugmann on Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:45 AM

My sign idea.

 

Know those light-up signs (example: [NO TURN ON RED] ) that only come on under certain circumstance?

 

Maybe we need one of those on the crossing that lights up  [GET OFF THE TRACKS!] when the crossing activated.

  

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:07 PM

zugmann

My sign idea.

 

Know those light-up signs (example: [NO TURN ON RED] ) that only come on under certain circumstance?

 

Maybe we need one of those on the crossing that lights up  [GET OFF THE TRACKS!] when the crossing activated.

 

Maybe the idea of a traffic signal (traffic light) that turns yellow and red in conjunction with the gates.  Yellow to warn, then red, gates start to descend.  I have seem those at level crossings in Germany where the road is more than a rural, farmer's crossing.  They seem to work well enough.  Plenty of warning, the police have remote cameras in place and the fine for running it is very, very steep: 240-700 Euros (up to $800)and license suspension up to 3 months, which makes folks take it seriously since you are always ticketed. 

C&NW, CA&E, MILW, CGW and IC fan

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,009 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:12 PM

Remember - we are dealing with the human animal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6syBu8KjcIQ

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:30 PM

Yes, the human animal. Basic learning theory gives us the solution to the problem,  A rat or even much more primitive species, even American drivers can be conditioned.  You just have to make the consequences of doing the wrong thing aversive enough and certain to be inflicted during the learning period, with plenty of cues (warnings).  Seems simple and cheap enough to implement here.  Why not?  Unless some folks prefer to have fatal grade crsooing accidents occur frequently.  Of course there are some situations with some folks that nothing will prevent, but those are outliers, maybe <5% (suicides, drunk, drugs, mentally disturbed).

C&NW, CA&E, MILW, CGW and IC fan

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Louisiana
  • 2,297 posts
Posted by Paul of Covington on Thursday, February 19, 2015 12:57 PM

schlimm
 

Maybe the idea of a traffic signal (traffic light) that turns yellow and red in conjunction with the gates.  Yellow to warn, then red, gates start to descend.

 

    I've been thinking along these lines.   Since most drivers seem to condition their minds to react to common events like traffic lights, then turn off their thinking, if you put up standard-looking red/yellow/green traffic lights, they will more readily respond to them.   Railroad crossings are uncommon experiences, and when drivers do cross them, most of the time there is no train.

_____________ 

  "A stranger's just a friend you ain't met yet." --- Dave Gardner

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:06 PM

schlimm

Yes, the human animal. Basic learning theory gives us the solution to the problem,  A rat or even much more primitive species, even American drivers can be conditioned.  You just have to make the consequences of doing the wrong thing aversive enough and certain to be inflicted during the learning period, with plenty of cues (warnings).  Seems simple and cheap enough to implement here.  Why not?  Unless some folks prefer to have fatal grade crsooing accidents occur frequently.  Of course there are some situations with some folks that nothing will prevent, but those are outliers, maybe <5% (suicides, drunk, drugs, mentally disturbed).

 

  Isn't that what we already have?  What consequences could be more averse  than possible death?  And-plenty of cues?  Like warning lights, bells, crossbuck signs, gates, arms, horns, ditch lights etc..?  I understand that there is a need to improve safety at crossings.  Why are we talking about making it harder for a train to hit a car?  Shouldn't we talking about how to make car drivers better able to keep from putting themselves in harm's way?


pssst.. I think you spelled crsooing wrong; just sayin'... Whistling


Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,533 posts
Posted by zugmann on Thursday, February 19, 2015 1:08 PM

People block intersections with traffic lights all the time.  So they stop on the tracks when the light is green, the light turns red, and they still sit on the tracks and get hit by the train. 

I don't think it would have made a bit of difference in this wreck.

 

  

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

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,899 posts
Posted by tree68 on Thursday, February 19, 2015 2:30 PM

schlimm
Maybe the idea of a traffic signal (traffic light) that turns yellow and red in conjunction with the gates.  Yellow to warn, then red, gates start to descend.  

Yellow = goose it, or you'll have to wait for a train...

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:09 PM

tree68

 

 
schlimm
Maybe the idea of a traffic signal (traffic light) that turns yellow and red in conjunction with the gates.  Yellow to warn, then red, gates start to descend.  

 

Yellow = goose it, or you'll have to wait for a train...

 

  Red= Doesn't pertain to me.  Nobody tells me when I have to stop. Besides, I'm important, and I'm in a hurry. Sigh

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: LaGrange GA
  • 55 posts
Posted by ramrod on Thursday, February 19, 2015 3:39 PM

tree68
Yellow = goose it, or you'll have to wait ...

 

See this all the time locally, along with the occasional collision.

The Dutch may have a solution. Watch the Meirlo-Hout webcam (Railcam.nl) carefully. The crossing has traffic light controlled intersections on both sides of it. When a train approaches, about 10 seconds before it gets close enough to activate the bells, flashers an gates, the traffic light on both sides stop all traffic at the intersections. That additional time seems to have an effect. Of course, with more than 100 trains a day passing the crossing, local drivers must be accustomed to stopping a little early. No special signs are evident. Also, I expect enforcement is strict. AFAIK there has been only one collision at the crossing in the three or so years I've been watching. Last August a pedestrian was hit when s/he walked past the gate into the path of a passenger train. It took more than 3 hours (at night) for police, fire, and RR responders to remove the remains and clean up the scene. All rail and road traffic was halted during that time.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, February 19, 2015 4:54 PM

Murphy Siding

 

 
schlimm

Yes, the human animal. Basic learning theory gives us the solution to the problem,  A rat or even much more primitive species, even American drivers can be conditioned.  You just have to make the consequences of doing the wrong thing aversive enough and certain to be inflicted during the learning period, with plenty of cues (warnings).  Seems simple and cheap enough to implement here.  Why not?  Unless some folks prefer to have fatal grade crsooing accidents occur frequently.  Of course there are some situations with some folks that nothing will prevent, but those are outliers, maybe <5% (suicides, drunk, drugs, mentally disturbed).

 

 

 

  Isn't that what we already have?  What consequences could be more averse  than possible death?  And-plenty of cues?  Like warning lights, bells, crossbuck signs, gates, arms, horns, ditch lights etc..?  I understand that there is a need to improve safety at crossings.  Why are we talking about making it harder for a train to hit a car?  Shouldn't we talking about how to make car drivers better able to keep from putting themselves in harm's way?


pssst.. I think you spelled crsooing wrong; just sayin'... Whistling


 

 

You aren't understanding aversive conditioning.  Having a fatal accident as a possibility doesn't work,because it is not a 100% certain contingency schedule.   A ticket with a very large fine is. They even ticket pedestrians.  That is the difference and why the approaches used here do not work well.  Seems sensible to have an open mind and use approaches which are soundly based on operant conditioning and work well in other settings.

BTW: There is a difference between obvious typos Smile, Wink & Grinand misspellings Dunce, which even the former spell checker would not catch.  But if that is fun for you, go for it.

C&NW, CA&E, MILW, CGW and IC fan

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, February 19, 2015 6:44 PM

schlimm

 

You aren't understanding aversive conditioning.  Having a fatal accident as a possibility doesn't work,because it is not a 100% certain contingency schedule.   A ticket with a very large fine is. They even ticket pedestrians.  That is the difference and why the approaches used here do not work well.  Seems sensible to have an open mind and use approaches which are soundly based on operant conditioning and work well in other settings.

BTW: There is a difference between obvious typos Smile, Wink & Grinand misspellings Dunce, which even the former spell checker would not catch.  But if that is fun for you, go for it.

 

 I understand what you're saying, but if that works, why do we still have people getting in trouble and paying those big fines for things like: overweight trucks, overheight trucks, loud mufflers, speeding in a school zone, etc...?




BTW:  If you can blame your typos on "I meant to do that", I guess I can too.  From this day forward; I will persevere to pepper my posts with obvious spelling and grammar errors. Cool

**This is just like the little cartoons on the edges of the pages in Mad Magazine;  what were they called? Marginals?**

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,863 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Thursday, February 19, 2015 7:38 PM

After at least 283 replies this thread and countless others on other threads only one conclusion is apparent.  No matter much any effort is made you can not make a grade crossings potentially accident free.  There are too many scofflaws, persons who think they can beat anything on tracks, distracted drivers, missed judgments, missed signs, other drivers causing problems, etc  that will cause grade crossing accidents and deaths.

Even eliminating a grade crossing or building an overpass or underpass will not stop all accidents.  Look at what happened to the Texas prison bus.

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,162 posts
Posted by Euclid on Monday, February 23, 2015 7:52 AM
blue streak 1
 
rdamon
I can imagine if the end/beginning of the third rail is just a square end it would tend to impale things.

 

I wonder if a design like this would reduce the chances of something getting under it. There could be an insulated joint that keeps them from electrocuting the worms.

 

 

 

 

 

This would not work for third rail.   --------   but --------

Why not place this type guard rail outside of the plane of the third rail closer to the roadway ?  That way the guard rail would engage any vehicle and lift it over the third rail.  That might roll the vehicle but could prevent impaling the loco / cab car / MU.  

 

 

 

I see what you mean.  You could have a guardrail that is independent from the structure of the third rail.  That guard rail would catch an approaching vehicle being either thrown or shoved by a train during a grade crossing collision.  The guard rail would deflect the vehicle upward and away from the trailing crossing end of the third rail. 
As we have seen, this getting under the end of the third rail and prying it up can send its loose end right into a head on collision with the train that is pushing the car, or has thrown it as a result of a collision.
It is the blunt end of the massive third rail steel that must be protected from a wedging underrunning of a vehicle being driven toward it by the force of collision with a train.  This blunt end presents itself at every grade crossing because the rail is gapped at grade crossings in order to allow vehicles to pass over the crossing.
Having an independent guardrail would allow it to be solidly anchored without the need to isolate it from the ground with insulators.  Otherwise, the use of insulators would limit the structural strength of the guardrail function. 
The guardrail itself could be anchored into a deep ground in order to resist and tendency to pry up its end by a crashing vehicle.
Actually the guardrail should extend continuously with the third rail.  It would be like a strong roof over the third rail.  The need for this continuous protection stems from the fact that a struck vehicle can be pushed for a long distance.  So even if it is prevented from running under the blunt end of the third rail at crossings, it can still plow up the third rail anywhere along the distance that the struck vehicle is pushed.    
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,899 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, February 23, 2015 9:15 AM

This assumes that the third rail will always be pulled into the rail cars.  Given different positioning of the struck vehicle, the third rail might have been deflected more or less harmlessly off to the side.

Underrunning third rail has been around for how many years?  And how many examples have been found of this particular manifestation?  While we can agree that it was a factor in this incident, methinks we are otherwise searching for a solution for a problem that is virtually nonexistant.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Monday, February 23, 2015 9:27 AM

"we are otherwise searching for a solution for a problem that is virtually nonexistant"

Standard procedure of some folks.

Norm


  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,162 posts
Posted by Euclid on Monday, February 23, 2015 9:54 AM
When I first heard of this third rail impalement, I thought the problem should have been obvious to the designers.  But then I thought there must be hundreds of grade crossings with this type of third rail with maybe a century of practical experience with it.  And therefore it seemed unlikely that it was a problem with that much practical experience without the problem being recognized.
But then I learned that there are only a couple dozen grade crossings that have this underrunning third rail.  And, as I understand it, many, if not all of these have only existed since the early 1980s.  So the practical experience has not been relatively extensive, and therefore, I do not see the occurrence of just one third rail impalement as proving that "it is a problem that is virtually nonexistent." The fact that it has actually happened proves that the problem exists. 
We do put all sorts of guardrails along highways because designers recognize the dangers that warrant them.  I agree that not every grade crossing crash is going to send the third rail into the front of the train.  Not every grade crossing crash is going to push the vehicle into contact with the third rail.  But we all know that trains hitting vehicles at grade crossings is inevitable.  The proximity of the blunt end of the slightly elevated third rail provides a great opportunity for it to get struck by a train-struck vehicle.  And once that happens, the size and proximity of the train front presents great opportunity for it collide with the end of the dislodged third rail.    
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,899 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, February 23, 2015 1:12 PM

One must remember that the idea of burying the end of highway guardrails dates to the 1960's.  The design came about because of the number of cars that were being impaled on the blunt end of existing guardrails of the time.

That practice is now being replaced by collapsing end guardrails.  Why?  Because the parent of a young driver whose vehicle was launched airborne (or caused to roll over - don't recall specifics) by a sloped end of a guardrail sued, saying the design caused her child injury (or was it death?).  That might raise questions as to circumstances, but those are beyond this discussion.

Thus a practice that undoubtedly saved countless lives was blamed for taking one.

Rather than re-engineering the 25  junctures that exist with a solution that only benefits those 25, methinks we should concentrate on the basic problem of driver incursions into crossings - a topic we've been discussing at length here in numerous threads.  

Besides, the next headline might read "the occupants might have survived were it not for the structure that had been installed to protect the third rail..."

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,325 posts
Posted by rdamon on Monday, February 23, 2015 1:24 PM
Or the headline could be “Second death due to flawed third rail design”.
Why can we do both?
A simple guard or even a cement filled pipe to protect the blunt end seems like a low cost solution, or at least worth a study to see if it warranted.

 

Most safety improvements have come at the cost of someone’s life.
  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 13,493 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, February 23, 2015 1:58 PM

I wonder if anyone has considered the fact that any safety device for protecting the end of the third rail has to be designed to allow the passage of third-rail shoes on MU cars or locomotives.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,162 posts
Posted by Euclid on Monday, February 23, 2015 2:37 PM
I do realize that the third rail guardrail needs to allow the passage of the pickup shoe.  Without spending a lot of design effort, I do not see exactly what that guardrail should look like.  The photo of the highway guardrail is just food for thought.  I would not conclude that the proper third rail guardrail will throw the vehicle into the air like the highway guardrail has been shown to do.   
There are some significant differences in the two guardrail applications.  The highway guardrail is intended to protect drivers, whereas the third rail guardrail would be intended to protect people on the train.  It would have no function to protect the driver of a struck vehicle. 
The main relationship that I see between the third rail guardrail and the highway guardrail is the need to anchor the end, and the best way to do that is by a ground anchor.  My main point is that the third rail and its guardrail should be two separate and electrically isolated structures.   
  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,863 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, February 23, 2015 3:11 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

I wonder if anyone has considered the fact that any safety device for protecting the end of the third rail has to be designed to allow the passage of third-rail shoes on MU cars or locomotives.

That was why I stated that a buried guard rail has to start outside the plane of a third rail shoe travel. ( probably 12" or so outside the car truck  )  It then has to rise above the third rail shoe contact height before going toward regular rail to protect the third rail by moving over the top of the third rail .  
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Smoggy L.A.
  • 10,743 posts
Posted by vsmith on Monday, February 23, 2015 3:48 PM

   Have fun with your trains

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, February 23, 2015 4:38 PM

vsmith
 

  Yes, but, I think we'd have to have a series of signs leading up to this sign that say "Be sure to pay attention to upcoming signs".

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,162 posts
Posted by Euclid on Monday, February 23, 2015 4:47 PM

I am working on this.  I will report back when I hear something.

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Monday, February 23, 2015 5:00 PM

Norm


  • Member since
    March 2002
  • 9,265 posts
Posted by edblysard on Monday, February 23, 2015 6:48 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH5CZvPUR54

 

Anyone who manages to get hit at something like this must be blind and deaf.

23 17 46 11

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,843 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 9:16 AM

There were some reproduced Burma Shave sign sets that were placed along the old Lincoln Highway/US30 routes in Iowa.  One went something like this.

"Train Approaching, Whistle screaming. Pause. Avoid that run down feeling. Burma Shave."

Jeff

 

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy