Trains.com

BNSF's Panhandle wreck.

25709 views
124 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Aurora, IL
  • 4,515 posts
Posted by eolafan on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:30 AM

Yes, a tragic situation to be sure...especially if there was any loss of life or injury (which seems likely).  It would seem there are two possible general causes for such a wreck...(a) human error (i.e. one of the train crews blowing through a red block) or (b) dispatch error (i.e. either a mistake by a dispatcher or a fault in the signal system somewhere.  Am I missing yet another possibility?

Eolafan (a.k.a. Jim)
  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,574 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:46 AM

Its always tragic when death rides the rails..

My condolences to their family and follow railroaders that knew and worked with these men.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 10:50 AM

eolafan
.(a) human error (i.e. one of the train crews blowing through a red block) or (b) dispatch error (i.e. either a mistake by a dispatcher or a fault in the signal system somewhere. 

Two of your three (which seems to cover all the causes) are human error.

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

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:02 PM

BNSF news release

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 29, 2016 – Following yesterday’s collision between two trains near Panhandle, Texas, BNSF Railway is deeply saddened to announce that the remains of two BNSF employees have been recovered, while the third missing employee is still unaccounted for. The fourth employee remains in stable condition at a local hospital. The families of the employees involved have been notified, but BNSF is not publicly releasing their names out of respect for the families’ privacy. “The entire BNSF family is terribly saddened by this event and we extend our deepest sympathy and thoughts to the families and friends of the employees involved in this incident. This is an extremely difficult time and our entire organization grieves for the loss of our colleagues,” said Carl Ice, president and chief executive officer.

The investigation is now being overseen by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 7:53 PM

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,058 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:14 AM

I believe PTC would have prevented this.  But there will be plenty of mileage without PTC, and I hope the investigation turns up a measure or two to prevent such a tragedy in the future.   Meanwhile, my heart goes out to the families involved.

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, July 3, 2016 5:17 PM
  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: US
  • 591 posts
Posted by petitnj on Sunday, July 3, 2016 7:11 PM

Does this guy have to wear his high visibility vest at the press conference? Looks like he expects a train to pass by any time now. 

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, July 3, 2016 8:28 PM

petitnj

Does this guy have to wear his high visibility vest at the press conference? Looks like he expects a train to pass by any time now.

Trying to portray himself as a 'hero', fresh from the fight.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Monday, July 4, 2016 11:06 AM

Give the guy a break, that’s his usual work clothes, except for the headgear.

"NTSB rail investigator Richard Hipskind documents track damage on scene of train derailment in Lynchburg, VA."

"NTSB rail investigator Richard Hipskind working on scene in Oklahoma, where two Union Pacific freight trains collided."

“NTSB Investigator-in-Charge Richard Hipskind shows Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt around the Casselton, N.D., derailment and explosion scene last week in below-zero temperatures."

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, July 4, 2016 11:45 AM

petitnj
Does this guy have to wear his high visibility vest at the press conference?

See if the next news conference you see with a police or fire chief has them in street clothes.  Guarantee the fire chief will at least have his helmet on.

For the guy in question, it's his "uniform."

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
    October 2004
  • From: Allen, TX
  • 1,320 posts
Posted by cefinkjr on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 4:20 PM

schlimm
 
eolafan
.(a) human error (i.e. one of the train crews blowing through a red block) or (b) dispatch error (i.e. either a mistake by a dispatcher or a fault in the signal system somewhere. 

 

Two of your three (which seems to cover all the causes) are human error.

Aren't all causes ultimately human error?  Even equipment failure should have been anticipated by the design engineers and a backup or fail-safe system devised or regular maintenance should have detected the imminent failure. 

Chuck
Allen, TX

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 5:00 PM

cefinkjr
Aren't all causes ultimately human error?  Even equipment failure should have been anticipated by the design engineers and a backup or fail-safe system devised or regular maintenance should have detected the imminent failure. 

I'll accept that there are incidents that are outside of the realm of human error.  No one was able to specifically predict the tornado that famously derailed a moving train, and I doubt that any reports of said tornado probably would have reached the crew until it was too late - in which case they still might have stopped in the "wrong" spot anyhow.

Some things we know will fail, despite careful and regular inspection and other controls.  It's just a matter of figuring out when.

And who knows when a bit of moisture or dirt will get into a brake valve and make it stick, resulting in a dragging wheel?

OTOH, NTSB no longer routinely refers to "accidents."  Collisions are called just that - collisions.

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 2006
  • From: KS
  • 989 posts
Posted by SFbrkmn on Tuesday, July 5, 2016 5:21 PM

I worked with Laura several times on the Garden City rd switcher.As an engr she briefly was assgined to the job and caught it a few times filling in on the extra bd. She will be missed by many of us

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 1,243 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 3:48 PM

I have since heard that one of the engineers went through a red signal, which could have been a major cause of the collision.  I did hear from a retired BNSF engineer friend that this engineer  had done this before. Was on suspension or fired for a time, and had just returned.  We'll never know why because he died in the crash. He also said the conductor in other engine was a woman-I see her pic-. She was right behind him when he jumped but never saw her again.  A very tragic situation. Praying for all involved in this sad event.   

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Thursday, July 7, 2016 7:47 AM

Sunnyland

I have since heard that one of the engineers went through a red signal, which could have been a major cause of the collision.  I did hear from a retired BNSF engineer friend that this engineer  had done this before. Was on suspension or fired for a time, and had just returned.  We'll never know why because he died in the crash. He also said the conductor in other engine was a woman-I see her pic-. She was right behind him when he jumped but never saw her again.  A very tragic situation. Praying for all involved in this sad event.   

 

If that statemen is fact based and not hearsay, it brings to mind a very troubling thought.

Norm


  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 1,568 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, July 8, 2016 4:09 PM

This would be a modern example of a "cornfield meet".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpl4Cr3-Tm0

The cornfield wrecks were common in the  early 1900s. The fact that this happened in the 21st century with CTC and PTC is sad indeed. (and then the railroad wants to blame the crew as usual is even more sadistic.I am surprised that no one has put out a drone video of the accedent like that did with CSX Lynchburg Oil train wreck

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • 66 posts
Posted by 20th century on Monday, July 11, 2016 11:32 PM

Our hearts and thoughts go out ot the families of the crew members who lost their lives in this tragedy. In this day in age such wrecks should have been a thing of the past. It is no wonder the public at large does not have a high opinion of the industry. I guess the BNSF ripped out the old Santa Fe ATC system after dropping passenger services on this route. That system alone probably would have prevented this disaster. The railroads are always hard pressed to spend money  on maintaining safety systems. The railroads are not winning over neither the politicans nor the public. With GPS systems available as well, it is amazing that dispatchers cannot determine two trains are on the same track. With the loss of business, this wreck is just what the BNSF needed is such a horrific loss. 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 11:14 AM

Blaming humans is cheaper than admitting the system is unsafe and rectifying it quickly.  No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

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

  • Member since
    August 2009
  • 322 posts
Posted by BLS53 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 11:44 AM

CandOforprogress2

This would be a modern example of a "cornfield meet".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpl4Cr3-Tm0

The cornfield wrecks were common in the  early 1900s. The fact that this happened in the 21st century with CTC and PTC is sad indeed. (and then the railroad wants to blame the crew as usual is even more sadistic.I am surprised that no one has put out a drone video of the accedent like that did with CSX Lynchburg Oil train wreck

 

My Grandfather died in such an accident in 1909, at the age of 24. He was a Postal Clerk on the NC&StL between Nashville and Memphis.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:14 PM

schlimm
No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

The line through Panhandle is double tracked.

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
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:35 PM

tree68

 

 
schlimm
No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

 

The line through Panhandle is double tracked.

 

 

Details, details!

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:37 PM

Buslist

 

 
tree68

 

 
schlimm
No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

 

The line through Panhandle is double tracked.

 

 

 

 

Details, details!

 

oops not supposed to be snarky!

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 12:50 PM

schlimm

Blaming humans is cheaper than admitting the system is unsafe and rectifying it quickly.  No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

 

 

A single track railroad is not unsafe.  

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 1:23 PM

tree68

 

 
schlimm
No major rail route should be single-tracked, regardless of ATC or PTC.

 

The line through Panhandle is double tracked.

 

As posted earlier:  "NTSB rail investigator Richard Hipskind working on scene in Oklahoma, where two Union Pacific freight trains collided."

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 1:51 PM

But Google Earth views look like it is double-tracked.  Perhaps this picture was from the Panhandle, OK collision a few years previously.  It is a single track line.

So assuming this crash's line is double-tracked, why were trains traveling in opposite directions anywhere near each other on the same track?  Sounds like less than optimal safety to most folks.  Perhaps we need to be looking at the bigger picture.

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

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 1:59 PM

schlimm
As posted earlier:  "NTSB rail investigator Richard Hipskind working on scene in Oklahoma, where two Union Pacific freight trains collided."

Only two things wrong with using that image and caption as a resource for this incident, which is why you may be confused.

The incident occured in Panhandle, Texas, and the railroad was BNSF.  The BNSF line through Panhandle, TX, has two tracks.

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
    March 2016
  • 1,568 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 2:36 PM
  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 2:46 PM

 

schlimm
So assuming this crash's line is double-tracked, why were trains traveling in opposite directions anywhere near each other on the same track?

That is irrelevent.  It doesn't matter if the dispatcher set up the meet that way for a reason or not, those tracks and switches are there to be used as needed and the situation dictates.  

schlimm

  Sounds like less than optimal safety to most folks.  

Link? Or are we to assume you speak for "most folks" now?  However it is no less safe than an intersection protected by stop lights.  You expect the other traffic to comply with signal indication.

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    November 2015
  • 1,341 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 3:20 PM

Head on collissions are nothing new, I've seen footage and videos of the aftermath.

here is one incident that is similar to the Panhandle Wreck

From Wikipedia:

Sept 25, 2013 - A BNSF freight train collides with the rear of another standing BNSF train in Amarillo, Texas, derailing about 30 cars of the standing train. A third train traveling on the parallel main track collides with the wreckage. Four BNSF Crewnman injured ant treated at local hospitals, No fatalities reported.

 

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 4:48 PM

n012944

 

 

 
schlimm
So assuming this crash's line is double-tracked, why were trains traveling in opposite directions anywhere near each other on the same track?

 

That is irrelevent.  It doesn't matter if the dispatcher set up the meet that way for a reason or not, those tracks and switches are there to be used as needed and the situation dictates.  

 

 
schlimm

  Sounds like less than optimal safety to most folks.  

 

 

Link? Or are we to assume you speak for "most folks" now?  However it is no less safe than an intersection protected by stop lights.  You expect the other traffic to comply with signal indication.

 

 

Don't be so snarky, he doesn't like it, even if he is a king at it!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 5:06 PM

FYI, "Snarky" is defined as "short-tempered, irrelevant, irritable, snide comments."

I offered an opinion, which is a reflection of what others say about rail safety.  Much of the public, who are entitled to have an opinion, believe US railroads are out of date, often dragging their heels on safety.  Some are fed up with it. To say that no more requires a citation than many of your or others' comments. Certain folks on here seem to have a limited perspective because they often have a conflict of interest (a rail connection) and thus are intolerant of any outside criticism.  

The fact is that many double/multiple track lines were downgraded to a single track to save money.  Diitto with bi-directional two-mains. The railroads (and a poster above) claim the latter enhances eficiency.  Maybe so, but at what price in safety?  If that BNSF two-track line were run as it once were, this crash would not have happened.

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

  • Member since
    November 2015
  • 1,341 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 5:15 PM

If the crews for both freight trains had been paying attention, this accident would have not occured. Not only do these accidents claim the lives of trainman, but more locomotive numbers are dropped from the roster.

You not only lose lives, you lose locomotives as well.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,543 posts
Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 5:25 PM

ATSFGuy
You not only lose lives, you lose locomotives as well.

Sorry, but I couldn't care less about the locomotives.  They are just machines.

 

  

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

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,848 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 5:48 PM

ATSFGuy

If the crews for both freight trains had been paying attention, this accident would have not occured. Not only do these accidents claim the lives of trainman, but more locomotive numbers are dropped from the roster.

You not only lose lives, you lose locomotives as well.

 

One crew was paying attention.  Otherwise they wouldn't have attempted to jump.

Jeff

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:05 PM

schlimm

 If that BNSF two-track line were run as it once was, this crash would not have happened.

 

Oh, an absolute statement.  So, please tell me what changes happened on this BNSF line ensured this accident, and why it wouldn't have happened back when...

 Also, since you have identified the operational changes that caused this head on, you must know the reason for it.  Please provide the link to the NTSB report, as I have not seen it posted anywhere.

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:49 PM

n012944:  I suggest you read some histories of what railroads did to modify double track mains.  As to this crash, just use your noodle and try reasoning it out.  Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

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

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,543 posts
Posted by zugmann on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:56 PM

schlimm
n012944: I suggest you read some histories of what railroads did to modify double track mains. As to this crash, just use your noodle and try reasoning it out. Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

Yeah, but 251 (the rule for one-way on my railroad - yours may vary) really restricts operations.  Especially when trying to mix locals and road trains.  I'd rather go with signal enforcement than one-way running.  You can still run bi-directional with 251, but just with authorties, and since you don't get the automatic signal protection, it makes it even less desirable.

 

If all you were doing was fleeting trains A to B, it wouldn't be a problem.  It's the times you have to work in between that makes it a headache.

  

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

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,567 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 9:52 PM

schlimm

FYI, "Snarky" is defined as "short-tempered, irrelevant, irritable, snide comments."

 

 

FYI, "Snarky" must have different meanings to different people.  Maybe it's a regional thing. In my part of the world, snarky comments don't include short-tempered or irritable.  I will give you irrelevant and snide though.  To me, a snarky comment is usually aimed at poking a playful little barb at an obvious target.  It's real similar I suppose, to saying someone is being cheeky.  So there you go.  All those times you said I was being snarky you were wrong about my intent.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 10:55 PM

schlimm

n012944:  I suggest you read some histories of what railroads did to modify double track mains.  As to this crash, just use your noodle and try reasoning it out.  Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

In a railroad for profit - there is no such thing as one way track.

At some point in time trains will need to be operated in the 'other' direction.  The rules governing operation in the 'other' direction vary.  The modern efficient way is to have the track signalled in both directions with trains operating on signal indication under Rule 261.  The 1900's way was to have track signalled in one direction and operation trains 'against the current of traffic' on train order authority at maximum speeds defined by what is allowed on non-signalled track under Rule 251.  The 1800's way manual block authority on any track in any direction.

One thing I have always wondered - why aren't split rail derails installed at control points to prevent the distance a train would operate without either the signal being lined for the movement or the train having requisite permision to pass the Stop signal after lining the route for their movement.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:50 AM

BaltACD
At some point in time trains will need to be operated in the 'other' direction. 

When I was stationed at Chanute AFB in Rantoul, IL (ICG at the time), I believe they ran pretty much directional, and may well have been signalled that way (I wasn't as aware of all that stuff at the time).  If there was a call to run on the "wrong" track (maintenance, usually), the station agent at Rantoul was kept busy hooping up orders to northbound trains so they could cross over north of town.

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 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:14 AM

Murphy Siding

 

 
schlimm

FYI, "Snarky" is defined as "short-tempered, irrelevant, irritable, snide comments."

 

 

 

 

FYI, "Snarky" must have different meanings to different people.  Maybe it's a regional thing. In my part of the world, snarky comments don't include short-tempered or irritable.  I will give you irrelevant and snide though.  To me, a snarky comment is usually aimed at poking a playful little barb at an obvious target.  It's real similar I suppose, to saying someone is being cheeky.  So there you go.  All those times you said I was being snarky you were wrong about my intent.

 

 

Maybe words mean what you say, as in Alice in Wonderland?  I tend to stick to the dictionary definitions.

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

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:22 AM

schlimm
Maybe words mean what you say, as in Alice in Wonderland? I tend to stick to the dictionary definitions.

Those of us with a little more interest in the language, particularly etymology, go to places like this:

http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2007/01/hunting-origin-of-snarky.html

Incidentally, this confirms much of what schlimm said, except for the 'irrelevant' (perhaps itself an illustration of snarkiness in action?) which is an inappropriate (purely from an etymological or definitional standpoint, please note) normative intrusion here.

We should be aware that words -- and, probably, comparatively often portmanteau words -- tend to evolve additional senses or meanings, and these may not be reflected in 'dictionary' definitions.  It's sometimes amusing to watch when expressions 'gain official credence' by appearing in ... cue drum roll and fanfare, please ... the OED!  (And yes, I can still remember an age in which inclusion in the Encyclopedia Britannica was an official stamp of professional approval and reasonable review by knowledgeable staff ... )  On the other hand, you should look with caution on dictionary 'definitions', particularly of novel words or those with multiple nuanced meanings, just as you should avoid like the plague the temptation to use the words in a given thesaurus entry as though they were synonyms.  That is an implicit appeal to authority that can be really, really misguided, a bit like attributing to Congressional intent some detail of a law's interpretation by 20-something bureaucratic line or staff employees during implementation.

Sorry for the long non-railroad interpolation, but (as with the bounce we recently suffered over 'opinions', which I apparently started to my present regret) this is starting to carry over into mutual stupidity, and I think it should stop here.  Surely there is enough in the Panhandle wreck, even with speculation 'off the table' until the NTSB reports more, to keep the thread on topic?

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:41 AM

Overmod
Schlimm wrote the following post 13 minutes ago: schlimm Maybe words mean what you say, as in Alice in Wonderland? I tend to stick to the dictionary definitions.

 

Overmod: {snark alert!] Those of us with a little more interest in the language, particularly etymology, go to places like this: http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2007/01/hunting-origin-of-snarky.html Incidentally, this confirms much of what schlimm said, except for the 'irrelevant' (perhaps itself an illustration of snarkiness in action?) which is an inappropriate (purely from an etymological or definitional standpoint, please note) normative intrusion here.

"Irrelevant" is included in some dictionaries.  I think you might be shocked at how many people have as much or more interest in language than you. English, like many others, is a living language.  Etymologies are of interest, especially if one knows Latin or Ancient Greek, but it's not the end all.  BTW, "snark" was why I paraphrased Carroll above, but in your reflection you overlooked that?

Personally, I am of the school that feels threads take on a life of their own. Other than flaming, the thought police should stay out.

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

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • 1,742 posts
Posted by diningcar on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:47 AM

overmod, thanks for 'grounding us'. There is way too much play with language here at the Trains site. When a thread becomes consumed with it many of us who may have something worthwhile to contribute just walk away.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:47 AM

BaltACD
In a railroad for profit - there is no such thing as one way track. At some point in time trains will need to be operated in the 'other' direction.  The rules governing operation in the 'other' direction vary.  The modern efficient way is to have the track signalled in both directions with trains operating on signal indication under Rule 261.  The 1900's way was to have track signalled in one direction and operation trains 'against the current of traffic' on train order authority at maximum speeds defined by what is allowed on non-signalled track under Rule 251. 

1. So profits trump safety?

2. When were rules 251/261 added or changed to the current version?  Hardly early 1900s.

Movement of Trains in the Same Direction by Block Signals

251. On portions of the railroad and on designated tracks so specified on the time-table, trains will run with reference to other trains in the same direction by block signals whose indications will supersede the superiority of trains. 
254. Except as affected by Rule 251 all Rules for Conducting Transportation remain in force.

Opposing and Following Movement of Trains by Block Signals

261. On portions of the railroad and on designated tracks so specified on the time-table, trains will be governed by block signals whose indications will supersede the superiority of trains for both opposing and following movements on the same track. 
262. A train for which the direction of traffic has been established must not move in the opposite direction without proper interlocking or manual block signal indication or train order. 

(from PRR employess TT)

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 Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:07 AM

schlimm
 
Murphy Siding

 

 
schlimm

FYI, "Snarky" is defined as "short-tempered, irrelevant, irritable, snide comments."

 

 

 

 

FYI, "Snarky" must have different meanings to different people.  Maybe it's a regional thing. In my part of the world, snarky comments don't include short-tempered or irritable.  I will give you irrelevant and snide though.  To me, a snarky comment is usually aimed at poking a playful little barb at an obvious target.  It's real similar I suppose, to saying someone is being cheeky.  So there you go.  All those times you said I was being snarky you were wrong about my intent.

 

 

 

 

Maybe words mean what you say, as in Alice in Wonderland?  I tend to stick to the dictionary definitions.

 

Fair enough.  How do your dictionaries deal with words that have different regional contexts?  Words like "pop" and "soda" for example?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:08 AM

schlimm
"Irrelevant" is included in some dictionaries.  I think you might be shocked at how many people have as much or more interest in language than you.

Probably not; delighted would be a better word (as it describes how I feel when I find even one person with an interest in the language).  Where I become ... snarky isn't quite the right nuance, "curmudgeonly" in the Ampex-list sense might be a bit closer ... is when people start pontificating on restricted or flat-out misguided use of the language.  [Edit, on reviewing that sentence, NOT that I am accusing schlimm, in any way, of doing such pontification, in context of this thread or otherwise.]

English, like many others, is a living language.  Etymologies are of interest, especially if one knows Latin or Ancient Greek, but it's the the end all.

That's not quite the expression; if you're going to riff on cliches you at least need to try to reference them correctly.  The expression is "the be-all and [the] end-all" (with some leeway in the punctuation to suit, if you like). 

One of the critical points of etymology is that it tracks the progress through the evolution of words in the 'living language' -- or has that point escaped you, too, in your zeal to assert yourself as an equal or better 'lover of the language'?

BTW, "snark" was why I paraphrased Carroll above, but in your reflection you overlooked that?

Never assume that when I disregard heavy-handed attempts at humor, or self-considered clever references, I have not recognized them. Wink

Personally, I am of the school that feels threads take on a life of their own. Other than flaming, the thought police should stay out.

There are two problems with this.  The first is that it's a patent violation of the published Kalmbach terms of service.  You can say all you want about how thread drift shows how the community actually values and thinks about a given thread's topic and content.  Hell, I was one of the joyful people commenting about root beer when that was the 'official' method of indicating displeasure with how particular posters (or trollers, or [insert appropriate term here]) were carrying on too long, or irritating people too much, or whatever.  I agree with you completely in terms of 'intellectual freedom', and in fact I ran my own boards (and currently run Yahoo Groups) that way.  But the second problem is that, when a thread drifts, its title does not announce that (unless the OP goes back in and changes it) and in the absence of a functional 'search the community' feature outside of the 'legacy' code on the Classic Trains site, people who may have an interest in reading the 'drifted' content may not recognize it, or be able to find it via search.  That is why I came around to the position that threads should stay on topic, and if they even start to drift should be re-started in new threads with 'on-topic topics'.

Aside from that -- in general you couldn't find a more fervent supporter than me concerning 'the thought police should stay out'.  And that applies to my own sometimes-ridiculous attempts at doing 'retroactive policing' (in part via what qualified as 'snarky' comments, as opposed to sarcastic ones) in the past.  (As a confession: not to speak ill of the dead, but I have reservations about patronizing the 'diner' over on the MR site because they named it in memory of Wimberley, perhaps the archfiend of demon mods. (that's probably 'snarkasm', but I'm sorry, the memory is still both strong and painful.)

I'm also of the opinion that a certain amount of 'flaming' is tolerable when it represents a true difference of opinion, as along with the low amount of thought policing goes a certain allowance for 'lack of gentlemanly thought and tolerance'.  Only when the discussion verges over into pure ad hominem or personalized insults, or continued intentional trolling rather than provocation of ideas or directed thinking (and sometimes that line is difficult or impossible to draw in a manner that would permit 'proactive' moderation) should the police be called.  "Thread ostracism" -- or the time-honored 'just hit the delete key or use the "foes" feature' -- probably are better responses.

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,543 posts
Posted by zugmann on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:30 AM

schlimm
1. So profits trump safety?

Well, if nothing moved, nothing would wreck.  So, ultimately, risks vs. rewards sort of thing.

If the railroads want to serve online industrues (I'd like them to), then 261 signalling makes the process about a billion (my estimate) times easier than 251.  Also not reliant on paper railroading and allows the automatic signalling do its job.

 

  

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

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:42 AM

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:10 AM

Let us beware of boojums.Smile

Johnny

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:49 AM

zugmann

schlimm
So profits trump safety?

Well, if nothing moved, nothing would wreck. So, ultimately, risks vs. rewards sort of thing.

Hold on for a moment here.  I still haven't had it nearly enough explained to me why procedures adopted on the specific stretch of track near Panhandle have made operation 'less safe than in the past', let alone that the procedures in question were adopted 'to enhance profit at the expense of safety' (if I may paraphrase the rhetoric).

My understanding up to this point -- I cheerfully confess I may have missed something -- was that these trains were under CTC control, in which any train can be directed onto either main via power crossovers, and then operate under the authority of the displayed signal indications.  The fundamental operating principle has been established since the Thirties, and I fail to see why there is now some problem with the idea.

Where the difficulty starts to come in is with the idea that some sort of radio traffic with a dispatcher is either necessary or desirable to make CTC work safely.  Admittedly there needs to be some procedure where two trains stopped mutually by, say, signal failure can pass each other safely, and that's going to involve getting specific authority from the dispatcher which is verbally transmitted and verbally acknowledged (probably via radio) out of necessity.  But any such movement takes place entirely under restricted speed rules, almost certainly containing the stop-in-half-the-visible-sight-distance criterion.

Here we have a collision said to have a closing speed of over 100mph (and although I cannot prove this yet, I consider reasonable evidence to have established its likelihood).  There is, as has been noted repeatedly by people who do this routinely for a living, no way for this to occur -- dispatcher or no dispatcher -- without somebody either running a CTC red or failing to stop for an anomalous signal outage.  The only other possible situation is a mechanical failure in the logic of the CTC plant, which I consider almost ridiculously unlikely even if terrorist sabotage is considered, and which I expect to be an early subject of NTSB investigation and findings.

The question then shifts far, far away from any invocation of 'profit over safety' into whether automatic enforcement of CTC indications (which even with inductive ATC would have almost certainly prevented this collision) 'ought' to be a feature of CTC functionality in the 21st Century.  I happen to agree that it should be, and one of the functions of PTC is to instantiate it; in fact, to instantiate it on any double-track arrangement whether CTC or 'dual bidirectional main' or extended sidings.  But that has little bearing on the problem with the present Panhandle wreck, which is to explain how the two trains came to collide so violently despite a signal arrangement which was nominally carefully designed to prevent even close spacing head-to-head.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:28 PM

Overmod
The expression is "the be-all and [the] end-all" (with some leeway in the punctuation to suit, if you like). 

I deliberately altered it (notice my use of a variation on the hackneyed expression was not in quotes) in reference to living language and etymology.

Overmod
There are two problems with this.  The first is that it's a patent violation of the published Kalmbach terms of service.  You can say all you want about how thread drift shows how the community actually values and thinks about a given thread's topic and content. 

Yes, and enforcement is, of course, the moderators' responsibility, not mine or yours.

Overmod
Wimberley, perhaps the archfiend of demon mods

I will simply say, without making any judgement, that Jeff Wimberly was/is disliked because he got tough with some members.

Overmod
I'm also of the opinion that a certain amount of 'flaming' is tolerable when it represents a true difference of opinion

I've never been clear as to what constitutes 'flaming' on a forum.  If it does not necessarily involve ad hominem attacks, then I suppose it is OK. Surely it does preclude using vulgarities, especially the f-bomb?

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

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:37 PM

Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

Obviously you have never operated on 251 territory.  The track is signaled for operation in one direction.  That does NOT mean its only operated in one direction.  Trains could (and regularly did) operate "against the flow".  The difference between a two track main and a current of traffic main is that in a two track main (what the BNSF has) it is signaled in both directions, you have ALL the safety layers on both tracks in both directions.  With the 251 territory the trains operating against the current of traffic  are operating in "dark" territory, unsignaled territory.  They have NONE of the safety layers afforded by a signal system.

So rather than being more safe, 251 is less safe.  Two main track (CTC) has full signalling in both directions on both tracks.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 1:55 PM

schlimm
I've never been clear as to what constitutes 'flaming' on a forum. If it does not necessarily involve ad hominem attacks, then I suppose it is OK. Surely it does preclude using vulgarities, especially the f-bomb?

Back in the days of flame wars, there were at least two very distinct kinds of flaming.  One of them was the kind most of us are familiar with from 'lesser' forums: the use of invective and insults by 'basement-dwellers with no lives of their own', in the safety of the isolation and virtual anonymity provided by the Internet, against anyone who 'crossed' or disagreed with them in some way.  Personally, I tend to agree with Heinlein about what should be done with such people, but I also won't volunteer either to enforce that or pay for someone else to git 'r dun.

The other version, however, could on occasion be spectacular.  That would come when you had two or more people with distinctly different opinions, but similar prickly attitude and suffer-no-fools-gladly judgmental mentality.  Each would produce amazingly well-referenced posts taking the other to task ... and when you tried to unwind the truth from the controversy, you couldn't: both of them would be right.  This was even worse than legal controversies, where at least there is some underlying matter of fact that you or I or Euclid could come to 'believe in'.

(The place I saw this best exemplified -- don't draw conclusions from this other than procedural ones -- was on one of the forums for organic chemistry, specifically one that had come to specialize in, ah, recreational organic chemistry.  It was impressive to watch some of these people thoroughly and repeatedly demolish each other ... with none of them ever actually being objectively wrong about anything they said, or at least not being able to back it up with objective proofs.) 

This is also what I would propose as the delineation of 'flaming' on a forum like this one -- and it mirrors, I think, the current moderation priorities: strong speech is permitted, but personal insults not.  (With the tacit assumption, as I previously noted, that if anyone objects to the strong speech they can either respond as a matter of fact, or choose not to read further.)

Kalmbach has one further consideration, though: they want to keep the site relatively clean for 'young people' to peruse, and this means keeping both the language and some of the 'rhetoric' restricted.  I don't happen to think that restricting the use of outright profanity is part of 'free expression' on a forum such as that, even though I would defend the constitutional right of someone to express themselves in profanity 'in general'.

I also have the opinion that almost any degree of sarcasm, 'snarkiness' or whatever is acceptable in commenting about circumstances in threads ... the difficulty coming in discriminating between making fun of the message and making fun of the messenger in some way, which may be difficult or even impossible to do effectively.  Here I would fall back, a little lamely perhaps, on a couple of ideas: we should act like gentlemen and ladies even when provoked with the equivalent of pointed sticks; we should not show our tails or our dirty laundry in public; if we have objections or comments for individuals, we should use the PM function instead of public posting (or shaming, or mob appeals).  In other words, don't do as I do, don't do as I say, just 'do right'.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 2:11 PM

Thanks, Overmod and Dave, for your discussions of operating under rule 251 versus operating under rule 252. 

I have no way of knowing for certain, but I have the impression that man failure (running a red signal), not signal system failure, caused the collision. The system is designed so that if there is some failure in it, the signal(s) affected by the problem will have an aspect that greatly reduces the permissible speed--even to the point that an approaching train is to stop.

Johnny

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 2:20 PM

dehusman

 

 
Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

 

Obviously you have never operated on 251 territory.  The track is signaled for operation in one direction.  That does NOT mean its only operated in one direction.  Trains could (and regularly did) operate "against the flow".  The difference between a two track main and a current of traffic main is that in a two track main (what the BNSF has) it is signaled in both directions, you have ALL the safety layers on both tracks in both directions.  With the 251 territory the trains operating against the current of traffic  are operating in "dark" territory, unsignaled territory.  They have NONE of the safety layers afforded by a signal system.

So rather than being more safe, 251 is less safe.  Two main track (CTC) has full signalling in both directions on both tracks.

 

dehusman

 

 
Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

 

Obviously you have never operated on 251 territory.  The track is signaled for operation in one direction.  That does NOT mean its only operated in one direction.  Trains could (and regularly did) operate "against the flow".  The difference between a two track main and a current of traffic main is that in a two track main (what the BNSF has) it is signaled in both directions, you have ALL the safety layers on both tracks in both directions.  With the 251 territory the trains operating against the current of traffic  are operating in "dark" territory, unsignaled territory.  They have NONE of the safety layers afforded by a signal system.

So rather than being more safe, 251 is less safe.  Two main track (CTC) has full signalling in both directions on both tracks.

 

Obviously I did not.  But if you have the old system, two traind did not routinely approach each other from opposite directions at speed.  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  In the case of the Panhandle crash, the two trains would not have been having a cornfield meet at a ~100mph closing speed.

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

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • 3,231 posts
Posted by NorthWest on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 2:25 PM

Yes, they did! Running 'wrong main' was often the fastest way to get passenger trains over the road as it allowed several slower freight trains to be passed at a time. These, of course, are the most critical types of trains.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 2:33 PM

schlimm
dehusman

Obviously you have never operated on 251 territory.  The track is signaled for operation in one direction.  That does NOT mean its only operated in one direction.  Trains could (and regularly did) operate "against the flow".  The difference between a two track main and a current of traffic main is that in a two track main (what the BNSF has) it is signaled in both directions, you have ALL the safety layers on both tracks in both directions.  With the 251 territory the trains operating against the current of traffic  are operating in "dark" territory, unsignaled territory.  They have NONE of the safety layers afforded by a signal system.

So rather than being more safe, 251 is less safe.  Two main track (CTC) has full signalling in both directions on both tracks.

dehusman

Obviously you have never operated on 251 territory.  The track is signaled for operation in one direction.  That does NOT mean its only operated in one direction.  Trains could (and regularly did) operate "against the flow".  The difference between a two track main and a current of traffic main is that in a two track main (what the BNSF has) it is signaled in both directions, you have ALL the safety layers on both tracks in both directions.  With the 251 territory the trains operating against the current of traffic  are operating in "dark" territory, unsignaled territory.  They have NONE of the safety layers afforded by a signal system.

So rather than being more safe, 251 is less safe.  Two main track (CTC) has full signalling in both directions on both tracks.

Obviously I did not.  But if you have the old system, two traind did not routinely approach each other from opposite directions at speed.  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  In the case of the Panhandle crash, the two trains would not have been having a cornfield meet at a ~100mph closing speed.

again - you don't have a clue as to how railroad operated in 251 territory.  Presuming the territory allowed 79 MPH passenger operation with signals, passenger trains were allowed 59 MPH when operating against the current of traffic without signals, freights were allowed 49 MPH under the same conditions.  Total impact speed of over 100 MPH were possible.  There have been any number of head on's in 251 territory over the years.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • 4,190 posts
Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 3:22 PM

jeffrey-wimberly

Had a visit from one of the reps at the Hanger clinic today. They're in the process of making not one but two prosthetic legs for me. A new one for the left leg and a re-sized replacement for the right leg. I learned today that I will have a new TV to watch by Monday. Most of my time consists of boredom. It would be better if I had something to on. If anybody has a project to contribute you can send it to Jeffrey Wimberly, C\O Rosepine Retirement & Rehabilitation Center 18364 Johnny B Hall Memorial Hwy, Rosepine, LA 70659

 

http://www.labbymemorial.com/home/index.cfm/obituaries/view/fh_id/10166/id/2866216

  • Member since
    June 2011
  • 1,002 posts
Posted by NP Eddie on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 5:12 PM

ALL:

As a retired professional railroader, I am tired of the many comments of signal rules and operations on a day to day basis.

Let's not forget that three railroaders died! I have not heard of the third railroader being found yet. Quite a tragedy.

Ed Burns of Anoka, MN

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 5:29 PM

NP Eddie
Let's not forget that three railroaders died! I have not heard of the third railroader being found yet. Quite a tragedy.

She was found, and her funeral was held.  A number of people have posed reminiscences for her.

The only reason for commenting on 'signal rules' is to figure out whether something can or should be done to prevent something like this from happening again. 

We have assuredly not forgotten the dead, or the tremendous miracle that is the fourth person surviving a 100mph+ mutual impact.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,848 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:08 PM

schlimm
 
 

Obviously I did not.  But if you have the old system, two traind did not routinely approach each other from opposite directions at speed.  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  In the case of the Panhandle crash, the two trains would not have been having a cornfield meet at a ~100mph closing speed.

 

To run a train wrong main in current of traffic (back in train order days) in many areas, a train order would be given to the affected trains and it was up to the crews to act accordingly.  There would be no switch tender or tower man to line the crossovers.  (Form D-R, basic example: Extra 200 West has right over opposing trains on eastward track crossover mp207 to crossover MP215. Instead of crossover location an actual station name might be used.)  

The train directed to run against the current of traffic would have to stop at the end of it's wrong main authority (MP215 above) and line it self back to the "right" main.  An opposing train running "right" main would have to stop before the last named crossover point (again MP215), unless it had identified that the train authorized to run wrong main had fulfilled the order.

If one or both engine crews forgot or fell asleep, a collision could happen.  The train running with signals, if awake, might be running at 20mph or less but the one running without could be running at allowable track speed for operating against the current.  If the one with signals fell asleep, they could well be at track speed, too.  Even though the closing speed might be less than 100 mph, it will still be messy and possibly fatal to some of the crew. 

Note that in the beginning of the above paragraph I said engine crews.  There's one back-up back in the day that might explain why you didn't hear of too many such incidents.  The rear trainmen also had a copy of the order (some railroads provided that both conductor and rear brakeman/flagman receive a copy of a train order) and, assuming they weren't asleep, would take action when they noticed they weren't slowing to stop where they should.  Either getting on the radio or pulling the air. 

Jeff

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:17 PM

NorthWest

Yes, they did! Running 'wrong main' was often the fastest way to get passenger trains over the road as it allowed several slower freight trains to be passed at a time. These, of course, are the most critical types of trains.

 

And how many head-ons between a passenger train on the the wrong main and a freight (or another passenger train) ocurred?

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

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:22 PM

wanswheel

 

 
jeffrey-wimberly

Had a visit from one of the reps at the Hanger clinic today. They're in the process of making not one but two prosthetic legs for me. A new one for the left leg and a re-sized replacement for the right leg. I learned today that I will have a new TV to watch by Monday. Most of my time consists of boredom. It would be better if I had something to on. If anybody has a project to contribute you can send it to Jeffrey Wimberly, C\O Rosepine Retirement & Rehabilitation Center 18364 Johnny B Hall Memorial Hwy, Rosepine, LA 70659

 

 

 

http://www.labbymemorial.com/home/index.cfm/obituaries/view/fh_id/10166/id/2866216

 

There are a few members still on here (and a few who are not) who should be ashamed of their attitudes toward him.

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

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 7:46 PM

Jeff, was not the standard form of address: "C&E train #__  at ___"? I have long had the impression that both train and engine crews knew what orders affected them. I do not have my collection of train orders here, but I recall that all were addressed to "C&E."

In the orders themselves, the numbers of the engines powering the trains were given. If a train were double-headed, only the number of the engine on the point was given (I think); if it should be come necessary to exchange such engines, the DS had to issue new orders to replace any that were so affected. 

Johnny

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:25 PM

schlimm

n012944:  I suggest you read some histories of what railroads did to modify double track mains.  As to this crash, just use your noodle and try reasoning it out.  Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

 

so you're lecturing a railroad operations professional on operations. As you asked someone else on another thread what's your expertise?

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 9:32 PM

An example of how 251 running is not as safe as some on this site would like everyone to believe.

 

https://alongtherails.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/the-cobden-distaster/

 

BTW, this head on accident happened on the Illinois Central, I "researched it"....

 

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:03 PM

schlimm

  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  

 

 

You really should research some railroad operations before making such a statement.  Might I suggest the IC's main south out of Chicago before it was single tracked?

 

 

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:27 PM

n012944

 

 
schlimm

  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  

 

 

 

 

You really should research some railroad operations before making such a statement.  Might I suggest the IC's main south out of Chicago before it was single tracked?

 

 

Why don't you do some research before making such a statement?

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

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:33 PM

schlimm

 

 
n012944

 

 
schlimm

  The "wrong way track" was only used for pick ups, set outs and maintenace, not rgular operations.  

 

 

 

 

You really should research some railroad operations before making such a statement.  Might I suggest the IC's main south out of Chicago before it was single tracked?

 

 

 

Why don't you do some research before making such a statement?

 

 

I have, thanks.  But since you seem to be the expert, tell me how the IC ran 100 mph passenger and 60 mph freight on a 2 main ABS railroad, without running against the current?

 

Or are you just going to continue your pattern of redirecting questions instead of answering them?

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:41 PM

Buslist

 

 
schlimm

n012944:  I suggest you read some histories of what railroads did to modify double track mains.  As to this crash, just use your noodle and try reasoning it out.  Two trains cannot collide head on if the two tracks are strictly for one-way traffic, as they once were in many areas of the US.

 

 

 

so you're lecturing a railroad operations professional on operations. As you asked someone else on another thread what's your expertise?

 

 

Don't hold your breath on him answering that question.

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,848 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Thursday, July 14, 2016 12:51 AM

Deggesty

Jeff, was not the standard form of address: "C&E train #__  at ___"? I have long had the impression that both train and engine crews knew what orders affected them. I do not have my collection of train orders here, but I recall that all were addressed to "C&E."

In the orders themselves, the numbers of the engines powering the trains were given. If a train were double-headed, only the number of the engine on the point was given (I think); if it should be come necessary to exchange such engines, the DS had to issue new orders to replace any that were so affected. 

 

Yes, the address in a train order would be "To C&E ...".  In modern GCOR the address in track warrants/track bulletins is just to the train, for example "To UP 1234."  The conductor and engineer both have to have a copy, but it's not specifically addressed to them.  I do see "To C&E" some times on messages that appear on the conductor's work order.

Some railroads would list both engines of a double-header.  "No 5 engs 123 and 456 coupled."  That seems to be more from the steam era, especially the first part of the 20th century. 

Jeff

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Thursday, July 14, 2016 1:13 AM

jeffhergert
Some railroads would list both engines of a double-header.  "No 5 engs 123 and 456 coupled."

We get that if we've got a "both ways" Form D and two engines.  That way, either can lead.  Otherwise, a new Form D would have to be issued for travel with other than the cited engine.

Inasmuch as all of our trains are extras, we get "C&E Extra 1234 at Podunk" as the addressee.

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
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 14, 2016 6:58 AM

jeffhergert
Some railroads would list both engines of a double-header. "No 5 engs 123 and 456 coupled." That seems to be more from the steam era, especially the first part of the 20th century.

I would suspect that it might apply to engines with separate crews, and one way to check this would be to see how situations with incompatible diesels operated together were handled.  (I am thinking of that clip on the Long Branch where there is an EMD leading one of the Baldwin passenger Sharks).  A rational application of rule would be to note the situation where multiple independent crews were controlling the power (as distinctly opposed to MU), and it would then be further rational to issue the orders relative to the engines (as an extension of issuing the order to 'the train') and to indicate how they are positioned in the consist.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Thursday, July 14, 2016 8:07 AM

Deggesty
Jeff, was not the standard form of address: "C&E train #__ at ___"? I have long had the impression that both train and engine crews knew what orders affected them. I do not have my collection of train orders here, but I recall that all were addressed to "C&E." 

Generally Rules 204 and 206 outlined addresses.    Orders to trains were addressed to the "C&E" and the ID of the train.  For regular trains, that would be the train number, some roads added the engine number:

C&E No 101 or C&E No 101 Eng 1234

Orders addressed to a schedule (No 101 ) applied to all sections of the schedule.  Orders addressed to a section only applied to the section:

C&E Second 101 or C&E Second 101 Eng 1234

Extras were identified by engine number and direction.

C&E Extra 1234 West

Work extras (which have no direction) are just addressed by engine number:

C&E Work Extra 1234

The C&E is necessary because the orders could be addressed to other employees (such as yardmasters or operators).

 

In the orders themselves, the numbers of the engines powering the trains were given. If a train were double-headed, only the number of the engine on the point was given (I think); if it should be come necessary to exchange such engines, the DS had to issue new orders to replace any that were so affected. [/quote]

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Thursday, July 14, 2016 8:17 AM

tree68
We get that if we've got a "both ways" Form D and two engines. That way, either can lead. Otherwise, a new Form D would have to be issued for travel with other than the cited engine. Inasmuch as all of our trains are extras, we get "C&E Extra 1234 at Podunk" as the addressee.

In GCOR there are no regular trains so there are no extras, everything is just a train.  Authorities are addressed to an engine and direction :  UP 1234 West.

There is no requirement that the addressed engine be the lead engine.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: KS
  • 989 posts
Posted by SFbrkmn on Thursday, July 14, 2016 9:45 AM

The UTU @ LaJunta has  obtained a garden bench as a memorial for Lara Taylor. A gold engrave w/ date of birth & death has been added. This bench, as a tribute to a fallen member and former La Junta trainperson, will be placed at the Amtrak depot which also serves as the BNSF depot in LaJunta. Just like the local chairman stated he hopes he never has to again put up a memorial for a fallen coworker

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,177 posts
Posted by Euclid on Thursday, July 14, 2016 10:31 AM

Overmod
We have assuredly not forgotten the dead, or the tremendous miracle that is the fourth person surviving a 100mph+ mutual impact.

 
As I understand it, the one survivor jumped off the engine prior to impact.  There has been a railroad tradition of doing that as the last resort.  There is often considerable warning time as an impending collision becomes apparent.  But jumping might kill a person who would have survived if he/she rode out the collsion.  I am wondering what the U.P. rules say about the permissibility or advisabilty of jumping off a train that is about to collide with another train. 
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, July 14, 2016 10:33 AM

n012944
schlimm:Why don't you do some research before making such a statement?    

n012944: I have, thanks.  But since you seem to be the expert, tell me how the IC ran 100 mph passenger and 60 mph freight on a 2 main ABS railroad, without running against the current?   Or are you just going to continue your pattern of redirecting questions instead of answering them?

Just wait.  I have never pretended to be an expert.  I am trying to get hold of an old friend who dispatched on the 2 main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

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

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 14, 2016 10:58 AM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    August 2004
  • From: The 17th hole at TPC
  • 2,269 posts
Posted by n012944 on Thursday, July 14, 2016 11:39 AM

An "expensive model collector"

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 14, 2016 12:35 PM

n012944

EB did not comply with signal indications.  8:30 AM heading into the sun.  Excuse? Reason? Red Herring?

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, July 14, 2016 2:17 PM

dehusman

 

 
tree68
We get that if we've got a "both ways" Form D and two engines. That way, either can lead. Otherwise, a new Form D would have to be issued for travel with other than the cited engine. Inasmuch as all of our trains are extras, we get "C&E Extra 1234 at Podunk" as the addressee.

 

In GCOR there are no regular trains so there are no extras, everything is just a train.  Authorities are addressed to an engine and direction :  UP 1234 West.

There is no requirement that the addressed engine be the lead engine.

 

And, I have the impression that there is no right or superiority. You move in accord with CTC signals, YL, or TWC

Johnny

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, July 14, 2016 2:23 PM

BaltACD

Balt, well posted. When I first looked at the site, I thought, "I am not going to read all this"--and then saw that the far greater portion of it is a listing of accidents. 

The first section, describing train orders, should inform all interested in working of train orders.

Incidentally, I never saw a Form 31 order--and I have clearance cards stating that there were no orders given with them; however if the ETT states that a clearance card was to be given at a certain point, no train could proceed past that point without having received a clearance card by both C&E.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 14, 2016 3:51 PM

Deggesty
BaltACD

Balt, well posted. When I first looked at the site, I thought, "I am not going to read all this"--and then saw that the far greater portion of it is a listing of accidents. 

The first section, describing train orders, should inform all interested in working of train orders.

Incidentally, I never saw a Form 31 order--and I have clearance cards stating that there were no orders given with them; however if the ETT states that a clearance card was to be given at a certain point, no train could proceed past that point without having received a clearance card by both C&E.

The general way of thinking of the distinctions between 19 and 31 orders is that form 19's instructions become effective at a distance from the point at which they are delivered.  31 orders are effective at the point of delivery or at a distance that would not permit picking up the orders on the fly, reading them and complying with their instructions.  Trains must be stopped to receive 31 orders and on some carriers they had to be signed for by the crew that received them.

On my carrier for a operator to deliver train orders, the orders had to be acconted for, by TO number as well as any 'messages' that would be delivered with the orders (messages were instructions for such things as pickups and setoffs and any engine moves that were to be made during the trip).  The 'Clearance Form A' (as it was known on my carrier) also had fields that, when used, coveyed authority with other methods of operation.

In my personal experience, trains were operated against the current of traffic 'mostly' between interlockings.  The exchange between Dispatcher and Operator would be something like this -

DI - Station A - 19 East copy 3OPA - Yellow TO signal displayed, ready to copy
DI - Station B - 31 West copy 3
OPB - Red TO Signal displayed; WB Signal to #1 blocked at Stop, ready to copy
DI - A address to T&E Extra 4431 East; B address to Westward Trains
  Extra 4431 East has right over opposing trains on #1 track A to B.  XYZ where XYZ are the initials of the Dispatcher issuing the order.
Each operator repeats the order to the Dispatcher who underlines each word repeated in the Train Order Book.  When BOTH operators have repeated the order correctly the Dispatcher will issue a COMPLETE time which the operators will inscribe on the Order in the appropriate place.

After the orders have been completed, the order along with Clearance Form A with the order number inscribed can be delivered to Extra 4431 East at A and the interlocking set for the train's movement East on #1 track which is signaled for Westbound traffic only.  Operator at B will keep is WB Signal for #1 track blocked at Stop until after Extra 4431 East's markers have cleared #1 track and the interlocking.  Since TO's are defined as remaining in effect until, they are fulfilled, superceeded or annulled, with the observation of Extra 4431 East's markers Clear of #1 track - the order has been fulfilled.  The Red TO Board may be taken down and the block may be removed from the WB signal to #1 track at B.  If Extra 4431 East had Cleared #1 track at some point between A & B and was not going to make any further movement from that point.  Extra 4431 East would report his train Clear at the point - when that information is reported to the Dispatcher, he will then issue a TO to the Operator at B for the Operator at B and for Extra 4431 East at the clearance point.  Order will state 'Order No 999 (or appropriate number) is annulled.  The Operator at B will give the Order to Extra 4431 East and underline his copy of the order as Extra 4431 East repeats it, Opr B will then repeat the order to the Dispatcher who will issue a Complete time, which Opr B will write on his copy of the order and also transmit the Complete time to Extra 4431 East.  With the completed annullment, Opr B can take down the Red TO Board and remove the blocking from the WB Signal to #1 track.

19 Orders were written on Green flimsy paper.
31 Orders were written on Yellow flimsy paper.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, July 14, 2016 4:08 PM

Balt, after reading the procedure for a Form 31 order you outlined, I recalled an article in Trains many years ago--"Flip Two Switches, Push One Button" (as I recall), which described how much simpler CTC operates.

Johnny

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, July 14, 2016 4:15 PM

Deggesty

Balt, after reading the procedure for a Form 31 order you outlined, I recalled an article in Trains many years ago--"Flip Two Switches, Push One Button" (as I recall), which described how much simpler CTC operates.

Nowadays it's not switches and buttons - it's mouse clicks on computer screen(s).  Even creating Track Warrents is a matter of mouse clicks on the computer screen(s).

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, July 14, 2016 5:10 PM

Yes, the system has been improved. Back then, you fed the computer cards you had punched, and the computer would punch cards with its response.

Johnny

  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Calgary
  • 2,044 posts
Posted by cx500 on Thursday, July 14, 2016 5:24 PM

This will cover several more recent subthreads within the original topic. 

With double track direction of traffic operation, I agree that in general head-ons will be fairly unlikely.  However there were a number of reasons that can cause one of the tracks to be blocked, so a number of times a year you could well see a train given orders to run against the current of traffic, and in those circumstances there is potential for error.  And errors did happen.  Furthermore, the train running ACOT had no signal protection against broken rails or obstructions, unlike in bi-directional CTC. 

Crews missing signals caused more than a few collisions even in directional running.  A train plowing into the back of a stopped passenger train had the potential for greater loss of life than a head-on collision.  Pure directional running is not failsafe.

Overtakes were made possible by having passing sidings on the outside of the double track.  An inferior train was required to clear the main well ahead of the time of a following train, and wait until it (and all other superior trains) had passed.  That was one reason for crew districts typically being around 120 miles, and freights might take well over the modern 12 hour crew limit to cover that short distance.

My experience with train orders in Canada was that they would not bother mentioning C&E, the train identity being sufficient.  I cannot think of any situation where only the engineer or only the conductor would receive an order.  The operator would make the required number of copies, usually two for the train (or each train) and one for his record.  If it was a plow train he would likely make another copy for the plow foreman.  A helper could be added ahead or behind the road engine.  As long as the road engine was present there was no need to revise the orders to reflect the helper's engine number.

John

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • 1,568 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, July 15, 2016 12:25 AM

garbage in garbarhe out

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,883 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, July 15, 2016 3:40 AM

This may or may not be the reason for the wreck but the FAA takes fatigue very serious.  Maybe its time for the FRA to get on board.  Oh wait that is another agency can't do that.

-- FAASafety.gov --------------------------------------------------------

You have asked us to notify you when a webinar is scheduled that meets your criteria. The following webinar may be of interest to you:

"Terrible Triad of Fatigue Stress and Medications"
Topic: Awareness of Hazards Created by Fatigue, Stress, and Medications
On Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 20:00 Eastern Daylight Time (17:00 PDT, 18:00 MDT, 19:00 CDT, 14:00 HST, 16:00 AKDT, 17:00  Arizona, 00:00 GMT)






Select Number: EA2369819

Description:
As pilots we must be as close to "the top of our game" as possible. But as humans, we suffer from fatigue and stress, and sometimes we need medications. We can be safer in everything we do if we understand and actively manage the individual members of the "Terrible Triad" of fatigue, stress, and medications. This live webinar will introduce the hazards and provide some information on how to mitigate some of the risks. Several recent accidents will be discussed and analyzed to learn from the mistakes of others
Click here to visit the webinar page for more information and to register.

To view further details and registration information for this webinar, click here:
http://www.faasafety.gov/SPANS/event_details.aspx?eid=69819

The sponsor for this seminar is:
FAASTeam

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Friday, July 15, 2016 6:35 AM

Euclid
 
Overmod
We have assuredly not forgotten the dead, or the tremendous miracle that is the fourth person surviving a 100mph+ mutual impact.

  I am wondering what the U.P. rules say about the permissibility or advisabilty of jumping off a train that is about to collide with another train. 

First off the trains that collided were BNSF trains so UP rules aren't applicable.

No rule book has rules about jumping off a train.  They contain rules that, when followed, keep the situations where somebody might feel the need to jump off a train from happening.

I'm sure the highway laws in your state are silent about "rules" for jumping out of your car prior to an impact.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: Omaha, NE
  • 10,619 posts
Posted by dehusman on Friday, July 15, 2016 6:44 AM

blue streak 1
This may or may not be the reason for the wreck but the FAA takes fatigue very serious. Maybe its time for the FRA to get on board. Oh wait that is another agency can't do that.

Just to level set this situation. 

The crew that ran the red block had been on duty about 2 hours.  The got on the train at Amarillo.  That is their home terminal.  They ran the red block about 25 miles after getting on the train.  Assuming a linear acceleration to 60 mph, that means an average speed of about 30 mph so that means they had only been moving about maybe 45 minutes or so.

I understand all the issues with crews notgetting fully rested in a motel and being drowsy a after working 11 hours, etc. etc.

This wasn't that situation.  This was a crew that spent the night in their own beds, went on duty around 6-630 am, got on their train in the daylight and in the first 25 miles of the trip blew through an advance approach, approach and stop signal.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,177 posts
Posted by Euclid on Friday, July 15, 2016 8:18 AM

dehusman
 
Euclid
 
Overmod
We have assuredly not forgotten the dead, or the tremendous miracle that is the fourth person surviving a 100mph+ mutual impact.

  I am wondering what the U.P. rules say about the permissibility or advisabilty of jumping off a train that is about to collide with another train. 

 

 

First off the trains that collided were BNSF trains so UP rules aren't applicable.

No rule book has rules about jumping off a train.  They contain rules that, when followed, keep the situations where somebody might feel the need to jump off a train from happening.

I'm sure the highway laws in your state are silent about "rules" for jumping out of your car prior to an impact.

 

Dave,

I meant to say BNSF.  The reason I ask is that I read maybe 20 years ago about some level of railroad policy had been added that advised against jumping off under any circumstances.  This was stated as the introduction of a policy statement regrarding jumping to avoid being in a collision, which what was recognized as a long standing optional practice. 

As I recall, the policy reasoned that if the locomotive were moving slow enough to not pose grave risk of serious injury or death, it would be safer to ride out the crash.  And if it were moving fast enough to produce a lethal crash, it would be too fast to jump without great risk of death.  So they considered that tradeoff, and then went ahead that made a policy to eliminate the policy of the option to join the birds.

I think it is an interesting point because question of whether to jump and risk death versus riding out the crash and risking death has no clear answer, so a policy recommending one over the other is worthless.  It should be left to the person confronted with the impending collision.  As we learn from this Panhandle wreck, the policy would have probably been wrong.

When I asked about rules, I was referring to any rule or policy or informal recommendation. 

Of course, you are being absurd in your remark about rules for jumping out of your car to avoid being in a collision.  Train collisions are often preceded by a large interval of time to jump off.  The point is that collisions happen despite the fact that rules should be followed.  I can't see someone deciding to ride out a collsion that they could safely avoid by jumping just because the collision is the result of a rule not being followed. 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 15, 2016 11:08 AM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 2,499 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Friday, July 15, 2016 12:44 PM

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 15, 2016 1:28 PM

Euclid
Of course, you are being absurd in your remark about rules for jumping out of your car to avoid being in a collision.

Why so?  A number of the discussions (both technical and in the press) concerning high-speed motor vehicle lethality clearly cover 'when to jump' (and, at least in the late '40s, clearly indicate that jumping is preferable for many kinds of accident even though 'it is like being thrown from the Century at top speed', to paraphrase one article)  It's really only with the advent of belts, bags, safety steering columns, crumple zones, etc. that it's safer to stay in the car than bail out...

Train collisions are often preceded by a large interval of time to jump off.

In the immediately preceding video Balt provided: at exactly what point would you have concluded there might be a collision and you should get out?  Did that leave you enough reaction and judgment time to act, and then time enough to get out a door and off the engine?

That's not to say there are plenty of collisions that give you a bit more warning.  Take this one, for instance; about the likeliest one for 'bailing out' I have seen (crash stop from 93mph inside a fiberglass kiddie-car)

Typical Internet snarks laugh at the guy for bailing out as he did, accusing him of abandoning the ship and all that.  I find most of his actions to be common-sense (other than losing his footing as he dismounted).  I still can't quite understand why that train didn't hit, and hit hard...

 

The point is that collisions happen despite the fact that rules should be followed. I can't see someone deciding to ride out a collsion that they could safely avoid by jumping just because the collision is the result of a rule not being followed.

Just what "point" this is supposed to establish is unclear.  Whether you jump or not isn't a matter of you having 'broken a rule' or not; it's a matter of whether you think you'd be safer trying to get to the FRA 'armored refuge' (if you think that would do you any good at 100+mph closing speed) or bailing out into what will shortly be a sea of colliding metal jackstraws and shrapnel.  There's no GCOR or NORAC provision that can, or really should, govern a decision like that.

One of the haunting issues here is that the person at Panhandle who bailed out said Lara was 'right behind him'.  Did she freeze a bit, or just not have enough time to follow where he went before the forces caught her?  I suppose it doesn't really matter, and I'm as sad as anyone that there was no rule that would have helped her much.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 11,013 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, July 15, 2016 2:02 PM

caldreamer

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

 

No, Ira, this has been noted on several threads that 2 (or more) main tracks means that each track is signaled for traffic in both directions. In an ETT, the usual representation is 2MT CTC. Some roads have had a diagram running alongside the station listing, showing the number of tracks, and using color coding to indicate the presence of CTC, ABS, or dark territory.

As I understand it, if you do not have CTC on a stretch with two tracks, you have a double track stretch that would have signals in one direction only for each track--whether it is ABS or better.

I also understand that if you do not have CTC, you operate under Track Warrant Control, with the dispatcher giving you authority to enter a particular stretch of road, whether it has block signals or is dark territory.

Johnny

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,618 posts
Posted by NDG on Friday, July 15, 2016 4:06 PM

 Great Information!

 

Thank You!

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,848 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, July 16, 2016 11:27 AM

Deggesty
 
caldreamer

I thought where you have 2 MT (Main Tracks), that you had signals for both directions since a tarin could run either track.  Am I mistaken in this assumption?

      Ira

 

 

 

 

No, Ira, this has been noted on several threads that 2 (or more) main tracks means that each track is signaled for traffic in both directions. In an ETT, the usual representation is 2MT CTC. Some roads have had a diagram running alongside the station listing, showing the number of tracks, and using color coding to indicate the presence of CTC, ABS, or dark territory.

 

As I understand it, if you do not have CTC on a stretch with two tracks, you have a double track stretch that would have signals in one direction only for each track--whether it is ABS or better.

I also understand that if you do not have CTC, you operate under Track Warranty Control, with the dispatcher giving you authority to enter a particular stretch of road, whether it has block signals or is dark territory.

 

Where you have two tracks each signalled only in one direction/current of traffic, if GCOR rule 9.14 (equivalent to rule 251) is in effect, it allows trains to run on signal indication. 

All the two track areas I run are now CTC/2 main track.  When we had Double track/9.14 territory all we received was a track warrant to deliver track bulletins. It had the "other specific instructions" box checked and stated it was only to deliver track bulletins and did not convey authority to occupy the main track. (Even in CTC and TWC territory you get a track warrant to deliver bulletins only.) The authority to occupy the main track in 9.14 (and CTC) is either verbal authority to enter or a proceed indication from a controlled signal.  In TWC, the authority is a track warrant that authorizes a train/engine to proceed from/to or work between.

You can also have yard limits/restricted limits in effect on ABS or dark main tracks.  We have a section of two main track ABS/Yard Limits across Council Bluffs.  Both tracks are signalled for movement in either direction but use of them is governed by Yard Limits.

Jeff

PS. I believe the rule book Zug works with is still pretty much has the rules numbered close to the traditional rule numberings.  (I had links to most of the rule books currently in use on my old laptop. Sadly it died and I haven't tried finding those links yet.) GCOR started out that way, but the third edition (1995) renumbered them into chapters 1 thru 19, although 18 and 19 are reserved for future use.   

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,177 posts
Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 17, 2016 9:43 AM

Overmod
 
Euclid
Of course, you are being absurd in your remark about rules for jumping out of your car to avoid being in a collision.

 

Why so?  A number of the discussions (both technical and in the press) concerning high-speed motor vehicle lethality clearly cover 'when to jump' (and, at least in the late '40s, clearly indicate that jumping is preferable for many kinds of accident even though 'it is like being thrown from the Century at top speed', to paraphrase one article)  It's really only with the advent of belts, bags, safety steering columns, crumple zones, etc. that it's safer to stay in the car than bail out...

 

I would have never imagined that jumping from a motor vehicle to avoid being in a collision would have ever been seriously proposed.  But if it was, I will take your word for it.  I would like to see any references to the practice if possible. 

The problem with jumping is that you want to delay it until you are certain that a collision will take place, and be severe enough that jumping clear is your best bet.  But there can be no certainty that jumping would be preferable to riding out the collision. 

When it comes to judging the likelihood of a train collision, at least one can quickly see the route conflict, and the certainty of where the train will inevitably travel in relation to the other train. Also, because trains take a long distance to stop, they offer longer warning of an impending collision.   

In a vehicle crash, the time interval between realizing that a collision will occur, and its actual occurrence is much shorter.  And also, the conclusion that a crash will occur is much less certain because there is always a possibility of a last second dodge or near miss.  So, it seems that with an impending vehicle crash, the resolve to bail out would not be available until just a split second prior to impact. 

I have seen a few train collisions around here where crewmembers jumped to avoid being in a collision.  The results were mixed.  In all cases, the crewmembers might have taken the opposite course if they did if they had it to do over again. 

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 8,177 posts
Posted by Euclid on Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:24 AM

Overmod
 
Euclid
 Train collisions are often preceded by a large interval of time to jump off.

I am not sure what I would have done.  Don’t get me wrong.  I never meant to suggest that the decision was easy.  On the contrary, I think it would be one of the most difficult decisions a person would ever face.  In the case of head-on train collisions, there is often the clear appearance of each train to the other long before there is a clear indication that one is about to foul the other. 

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:42 AM

Euclid
I would have never imagined that jumping from a motor vehicle to avoid being in a collision would have ever been seriously proposed. But if it was, I will take your word for it. I would like to see any references to the practice if possible.

My grandfather was an EENT in Kingston, PA.  Sometime in the 1940s he evidently took an interest in the evolving field of high-speed vehicle trauma and put together a file of articles and clippings on the subject, which I 'inherited' after he closed his office and sent all the furnishings down to be stored in our large, but flood-prone, basement in Englewood, NJ.  Much of what I know on the subject comes from early reading of that material, although where it is now, or how much of it has survived various catastrophes since, I don't know.  Some of that material was wondrous frightening in ways that just 'blood and guts' photography would not be.

At the risk of irritating folks in the community:

The problem with jumping is that you want to delay it until you are certain that a collision will take place, and be severe enough that jumping clear is your best bet. But there can be no certainty that jumping would be preferable to riding out the collision.

In the railroad context, there is an additional consideration, which is that the behavior of the consist during the accident also concerns safety, and involves high momentum and unpredictable dynamic behavior.  I am frankly amazed that anyone bailing out of the Panhandle collision could possibly survive, even if they joined the birds as soon as they recognized the other train was not stopping.

All the 'knowledgeable wisdom' I've ever seen in many years of looking at locomotive safety has been that it's better to try to ride it out in the cab than to jump out into the land of accordioning freight cars and remove all doubt.  That wouldn't apply to the LRC example, where you'd be about as safe in a collision as you'd be in a Boston rocker, holding a cafeteria tray in front of you, with a 251 strapped to the back.

 

When it comes to judging the likelihood of a train collision, at least one can quickly see the route conflict, and the certainty of where the train will inevitably travel in relation to the other train.

That sure wasn't true in the clip BaltACD provided!  In fact, aside from the red signal indications, I'd have thought clearly that the opposing train was stopped for 'my' train to take siding right up to the point I was diverging.  Part of that involves the deceptive relative speed of trains seen head-on,  which involves your next point.

 

Also, because trains take a long distance to stop, they offer longer warning of an impending collision.

I'm not sure whether this means there's more 'assurance' of the likelihood of a collision due to the known limits on braking, or whether railroad sight distances leave more time to make a decision on what to do because you know you can't stop in time.  I think you are right that many railroad crashes provide more seconds of 'decision time', but in all too many of those cases this is only more time to agonize over the virtual assurance of impending death or dismemberment.  There was certainly the assumption (in the secure-cab development work) that in most cases of very severe impending impact, there would be limited effect of braking or swerving forces to prohibit the crew reaching, accessing, and bolting down the 'armored refuge' as needed, and ample time to do so after assuring the train was correctly in full 'most effective braking'.  It will be interesting, in a kind of cold analytical way, to see whether the crew of the eastbound at Panhandle made any attempt to reach the 'refuge zone' in their cab before impact, but as I've already said, I don't think they did.

[EDIT: in the post you made while I was writing this, you bring up the situation where it is clear there will be a collsion between two trains, but only after a protracted time.  In that situation there are several variables, the idea probably being that if you can get sufficient 'way' off the train you're on, you want to get off it and away from the ROW by the time the actual collision and subsequent pileup occur.  In the Panhandle case it appears that the surviving engineer made the judgment that jumping at high speed was the only shot at survival; he shot the moon and seems to have won.]

I suspect there is a field of psychology that determines how people behave in impossible situations, like the people who jumped out of the World Trade Center knowing they wouldn't survive the fall.  This collision has strong potential similarity, and it would be interesting to see what someone like schlimm thinks about it.

 

In a vehicle crash, the time interval between realizing that a collision will occur, and its actual occurrence is much shorter.

You'd be surprised at just how long the subjective time can be, and how irritating it is that physics don't follow the heightened awareness ;-}

My wife was recently in one of the worst high-speed Interstate crashes I've ever seen, in which deflected traffic moving at over 70mph passed immediately both ahead of and behind her car and missed her only because she was steering, accelerating, and braking to miss them.  She said she was amazed at how much time there was to decide what to do about the vehicles coming at her; it helped that she was driving a car (CLK55 AMG) capable of executing strong control inputs reliably.  Interestingly, in that accident (which I witnessed from a following vehicle) there would have been no time whatsoever to physically release the belts and bail out of the vehicle, let alone avoided many of the other moving hazards including considerable following traffic.

 

And also, the conclusion that a crash will occur is much less certain because there is always a possibility of a last second dodge or near miss.

The situation in the Thirties and Forties was somewhat different.  Between the narrower tires, much more primitive suspensions, crude body construction and gas-tank placement, the steering column pointed like a spear at your chest, etc. it was well-recognized that being inside the car at all was to risk all manner of more-or-less assured death from any substantial impact, either with another vehicle or something at the end of the accident 'trajectory'.  That was probably not helped by the portrayal of accidents in popular media.  (As an amusing aside: the Chrysler corporation contributed vehicles to many TV series in the '60s for promotional purposes.  My eight-year-old conclusion, watching these series, was that I would never own a Chrysler product because they always rolled over in accidents and promptly and conclusively burst out into flame all over the chassis.  You can guess why that might not be quite a valid conclusion ... but I'll bet many other people watching the shows reached similar conclusions about how cars would behave in serious accidents...)

The moral, if there is one, is that people would be prepared to jump 'first', at the mere indication of impending crash, for a variety of good or at least rational 'reasons'.  Many of those have been intentionally or peripherally removed over the years by various kinds of safety construction or devices, and a considerable amount of danger from loss-of-control accidents that do not involve collision has been reduced by the lessening of mass over the years relative to body integrity.

 

So, it seems that with an impending vehicle crash, the resolve to bail out would not be available until just a split second prior to impact.

Depends on the opinion, and probably the nerve, of the people involved.  As noted, for railroad crashes, the decision might be made very early and not particularly 'rationally' in order to assure some combination of getting clear ahead of the 'pile-up zone' or being able to scramble further free, or to some form of shelter, by the time the accident propagated to where the person was.  As you noted, to the extent crashes might happen in 'slow motion' with the assumption that slow braking won't prevent trains from stopping in time, jumping early but not later might become the reflex.

Personally, in a motor-vehicle crash I've never even considered bailing out, as there is too much possibility of the unattended motor vehicle causing secondary collision or damage that I might have been able to prevent.  I cannot explain how I survived a couple of incidents involving long, high-speed loss of control, a couple of which were likely candidates for 'safer bailouts' (going straight backward in a Lincoln at 104mph, anyone, or a 1080-plus in the back seat of a Cadillac convertible around a blind Interstate curve?) but they all involved hunkering down and resisting g and impact forces rather than getting out.  After the crash stops -- that's another matter entirely!

 

I have seen a few train collisions around here where crewmembers jumped to avoid being in a collision. The results were mixed. In all cases, the crewmembers might have taken the opposite course if they did if they had it to do over again.

The question to ask -- of the survivors who jumped -- would be what they were thinking, and whether they would do it again in similar circumstances.  You didn't ask them, did you? -- because I'd be highly interested -- not in this thread, but another one with the specific topic -- to hear from railroaders who actually chose to bail or stay, and their reasonings.  And most if not all of this post should be moved there, and not kept here.  This thread is not a good place for analytical decisions or what-ifs; they cheapen the tragedy I think we should keep in mind while discussing the specific subject of this accident.

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 1,243 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:49 PM

 To Norm48327 -As far as I know it is fact based.  This guy was an excellent engineer and still has a lot of friends at BNSF so I'm sure he got the facts from former co-workers.  He's not the type to start wild rumors.   I did read in news that the one train did run a red signal, one train was running 66 mph and the other was doing 25 mph.  

  • Member since
    April 2001
  • From: Roanoke, VA
  • 2,016 posts
Posted by BigJim on Thursday, July 21, 2016 11:45 PM

Overmod
I still can't quite understand why that train didn't hit, and hit hard...

Then you weren't paying attention to what was going on! Go  back and look at it again. It's really very obvious. I easily picked it out the first time I saw that video some time back.

.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 22, 2016 8:30 AM

BigJim
Then you weren't paying attention to what was going on!

Oh, I'm well aware of what was going on!  I was writing more or less rhetorically.

The only thing that saved that incident from severe collision was the combination of good braking on the passenger consist and the implicit bravery of the local crew in reversing quickly at as high a rate of acceleration as their (multiple engine) consist could produce.  Even at that, the two trains came within no more than a few feet of collision. 

It is easier to pick out -- in hindsight -- that the trains will not ultimately collide if we watch from the perspective of one train relative to the other, but it is not as easy to gauge using the fixed frame of outside reference, particularly with the way the camera is panned into the frame of the reversing units where the rate of deceleration/acceleration is difficult to assess nearly end-on.

I would point out that the person who was there, who probably had a better view of the impending incident than either of us did, chose to swing out, I think carefully watching, and judged to bail out completely while his train was still moving at considerable speed.  That indicated to me either that it wasn't really very obvious that there wouldn't be a collision, or that he found it really very obvious that his little fiberglass kiddie-car nose wouldn't afford him much protection...

  • Member since
    January 2008
  • 1,243 posts
Posted by Sunnyland on Friday, July 22, 2016 3:13 PM

Reading over the NTSB prelim report, it sounded like what my friend said, the one engineer ran a red signal and he was the one going faster.   That video was something to see, fast thinking and braking, ended up nose to nose but not hitting.  I asked my friend if he ever had to bale, no he did not.   But he was dive bombed by a small plane going over a bridge in IL, the guy pulled up at the last minute. He said try explaining that to dispatch-I hit a plane or a plane  hit me.  

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 22, 2016 4:23 PM

Sunnyland

Reading over the NTSB prelim report, it sounded like what my friend said, the one engineer ran a red signal and he was the one going faster.   That video was something to see, fast thinking and braking, ended up nose to nose but not hitting.  I asked my friend if he ever had to bale, no he did not.   But he was dive bombed by a small plane going over a bridge in IL, the guy pulled up at the last minute. He said try explaining that to dispatch-I hit a plane or a plane  hit me. 

I seem to recall several years ago my carrier had a small plane fly into a cut of cars somewhere up in New York State - don't recall if it was an operating train or a parked cut of cars.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Southeast Michigan
  • 2,983 posts
Posted by Norm48327 on Friday, July 22, 2016 4:45 PM

BaltACD
I seem to recall several years ago my carrier had a small plane fly into a cut of cars somewhere up in New York State - don't recall if it was an operating train or a parked cut of cars.

IIRC, that was a small plane landing at South Albany, NY. Landed a bit short in Selkirk Yard.

Norm


  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 22, 2016 9:47 PM

To jump or not jump - that is the question, a question as old as time.

http://specialcollection.dotlibrary.dot.gov/Document?db=DOT-RAILROAD&query=(select+37)

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

NDG
  • Member since
    December 2013
  • 1,618 posts
Posted by NDG on Saturday, July 23, 2016 4:56 PM
  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, July 23, 2016 5:55 PM

NDG

The real salient point

Although they were qualified for their respective positions, the train crew of three CP management (non-unionized) employees were not familiar with the territory.

Where are the weed weasels when they are needed?  Making fireable mistakes!

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,535 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:28 PM

BaltACD
Where are the weed weasels when they are needed? Making fireable mistakes!

Fascinating, but for more than just that amusing reason:

1) This report never quite seems to explain how the Three Stooges came to be on that train, looking at the wrong timetable.  It just got more and more comical as it invokes circadian rhythms, a fundamental conflict of sense between trainmasters indicating a route is clear and RTC enforcing "OCS" authority over a route established to be clear, and the unspoken taking the three off the train at the next available place after the stop.  Then we find out CP was consolidating the two subs anyway, but just hadn't quite finished doing that yet.

Someone explain to me what a 'service design specialist' is -- and where I sign up for this 'street-to-seat' program that lets people like that learn from their peers how to mistakenly run trains on an optimized schedule without all that cumbersome conductor prep.

As far as I can see, aside from fixing the wack procedures about OCS, this involves the guy in Fort Steele using the wrong language on the radio to give the crew the idea they had 'clear track' over the Cranbrook sub without explicitly receiving the clearance for that from the RTC.  There are two possibilities here:

1) there wasn't actually clear track, in which case the trainmaster involved should be carefully counseled NOT to use language that appears to authorize movement not formally acknowledged; or

2) there was clear track -- which seems to be the case -- and this is confusion not over 'situational awareness' but over correct bureaucratic procedure in train occupancy control.  That is a very different thing from a SPAD or violation of restricting order; it's easy to say "management people of all people ought to eat the dog food they are supposed to dish out" but I fail to see any particular actual safety hazard involved in this incident (that upbraiding the trainmaster doesn't effectively solve).

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:23 PM

I don't know CP operating rules.

Everywhere else, the Train Dispatcher (RTC in Canadian) - is BOSS.  If the President of the Company wants on the track - he gets authority from the Train Dispatcher to OCCUPY it.  Trainmaster in the field has no authority to tell at train to OCCUPY a track, UNLESS SPECIFIC AUTHORITY has been granted to the Trainmaster by the Train Dispatcher to control operations in a narrowly defined area bounded by specific mileposts. ie. Train operates from A to D.  Trainmaster given authority to control movements between B and C account derailment or other similar type incident. Train MUST have Train Dispatchers authority to OCCUPY at least A to C, BEFORE they can accept Trainmasters instructions between B & C.  IF Train Dispatcher authorized train A to B, it cannot accept Trainmaster instructions between B & C - it must get Train Dispatchers authority to OCCUPY track between B & C and then operate in accordance with the Trainmasters instructions.

Rules are not something that can be played with 'fast and loose'.  If you don't know the rules - AND HOW THE APPLY - you are an accident waiting to happen.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Sunday, July 24, 2016 8:47 PM

I currently have authority on a specific stretch of track, which has been designated as "out of service" - Form D line 4.

This is for the sole purpose of allowing non-rules qualified contract personnel to work on the tracks.

For all intents and purposes, I am the dispatcher for that section of track.  If someone else wants in, they have to contact me, and I will weigh their needs against what they want and what I can provide.

As soon as the contractor is done, I'll give the track back to the dispatcher.

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
    March 2003
  • From: Central Iowa
  • 6,848 posts
Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:18 PM

Overmod
 
BaltACD
Where are the weed weasels when they are needed? Making fireable mistakes!

 

Fascinating, but for more than just that amusing reason:

1) This report never quite seems to explain how the Three Stooges came to be on that train, looking at the wrong timetable.  It just got more and more comical as it invokes circadian rhythms, a fundamental conflict of sense between trainmasters indicating a route is clear and RTC enforcing "OCS" authority over a route established to be clear, and the unspoken taking the three off the train at the next available place after the stop.  Then we find out CP was consolidating the two subs anyway, but just hadn't quite finished doing that yet.

Someone explain to me what a 'service design specialist' is -- and where I sign up for this 'street-to-seat' program that lets people like that learn from their peers how to mistakenly run trains on an optimized schedule without all that cumbersome conductor prep.

As far as I can see, aside from fixing the wack procedures about OCS, this involves the guy in Fort Steele using the wrong language on the radio to give the crew the idea they had 'clear track' over the Cranbrook sub without explicitly receiving the clearance for that from the RTC.  There are two possibilities here:

1) there wasn't actually clear track, in which case the trainmaster involved should be carefully counseled NOT to use language that appears to authorize movement not formally acknowledged; or

2) there was clear track -- which seems to be the case -- and this is confusion not over 'situational awareness' but over correct bureaucratic procedure in train occupancy control.  That is a very different thing from a SPAD or violation of restricting order; it's easy to say "management people of all people ought to eat the dog food they are supposed to dish out" but I fail to see any particular actual safety hazard involved in this incident (that upbraiding the trainmaster doesn't effectively solve).

 

I get the impression that they thought they were in their equivalent of what we would call yard limits or restricted limits (GCOR).  Where YL or RL is in effect, you don't need authorization from the dispatcher to occupy the main track.

Jeff     

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 25,067 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:40 PM

jeffhergert

I get the impression that they thought they were in their equivalent of what we would call yard limits or restricted limits (GCOR).  Where YL or RL is in effect, you don't need authorization from the dispatcher to occupy the main track.

Jeff

All goes to knowing your job and how the rules apply to it as well as the physical characteristics of territory you are working on and how the rules apply to it.  They knew neither the job, the territory or the rules.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Monday, August 1, 2016 9:51 AM

schlimm

 

 
n012944
schlimm:Why don't you do some research before making such a statement?    

n012944: I have, thanks.  But since you seem to be the expert, tell me how the IC ran 100 mph passenger and 60 mph freight on a 2 main ABS railroad, without running against the current?   Or are you just going to continue your pattern of redirecting questions instead of answering them?

 

Just wait.  I have never pretended to be an expert.  I am trying to get hold of an old friend who dispatched on the 2 main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

 

n012944:  Sorry, I was wrong.  I finally heard from the former CNW/UP dispatcher.    He said:

"There are NO WRONG tracks- in signaled territories it would be called Against the Current of Traffic, & dispatchers could reverse the current to enable the signals to work properly- from Proviso to Salt Lake City the UP had/has 2 main tracks, sometimes 3, & a few short areas of single track- it was a delight for dispatchers to have two (shooters we called those fast trains) side by side at 70mph speeding toward Geneva. Whichever went through Dekalb first would be crossed over & get to take the train into Proviso. In single track territory sometimes trains would be put in sidings to allow another to pass."

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

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 24,937 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, August 1, 2016 10:15 AM

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

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
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:15 PM

tree68

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

 

 

At that point the IC was 2 track ABS. So crossing over was indeed "wrong maining" it wasn't until you got to Gilman that it became bidirectional CTC. Southbound would rarely get orders as a new crew would get on at Champaign and get their orders while passing Champaign Tower ( with Dick Stair as first trick operator , the tower at Monticello named after him). 
 
Just south of the Rantoul along the base was a somewhat unique installation, a so called intermediate siding. This was between the 2 mains and could be used by both north and south bounds.
  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,097 posts
Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:40 PM

schlimm

 

 
schlimm

 

 
main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

 

 

 

n012944:  Sorry, I was wrong.  I finally heard from the former CNW/UP dispatcher.    He said:

"There are NO WRONG tracks- in signaled territories it would be called Against the Current of Traffic, & dispatchers could reverse the current to enable the signals to work properly- from Proviso to Salt Lake City the UP had/has 2 main tracks, sometimes 3, & a few short areas of single track- it was a delight for dispatchers to have two (shooters we called those fast trains) side by side at 70mph speeding toward Geneva. Whichever went through Dekalb first would be crossed over & get to take the train into Proviso. In single track territory sometimes trains would be put in sidings to allow another to pass."

 

 

so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • 9,610 posts
Posted by schlimm on Monday, August 1, 2016 6:39 PM

Buslist
so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

I really had no idea of what n012944's job was. I did not notice your posts on that thread.  Many railroaders do not identify what their experience is. "Tower Terry" as he was known in 1970 (met him through his late sister) is an old friend from Urbana/UofI days back then.  I tried contacting him about this on FB messaging (he's a friend there) but no response as of yet.  

I've admitted my error (something few ever do on here), but I guess that is insufficient in your book?

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

  • Member since
    March 2023
  • 7 posts
Posted by Reading467 on Thursday, March 9, 2023 10:14 AM

Overmod's comments in a more recent thread led me to look up the NTSB docket (DCA16FR008) on the Panhandle Collision. There were 82 files there. The best summary is the Party Submission- BLET file.  Other illuminating files include the Interview with the Dispatcher and the surviving engineer from Q-CHISBD6-27L.

Both trains were on Main 1.  There's a siding at Panhandle just north of Main 1. The dispatcher planned for a meet between westbound CHISBD and eastbound S-LACLPC1-26K, which had departed Amarillo about 0645 CDT.  CHI was lined for the siding and LAC was supposed to stop on Main 1 at signal 5261.  The DS said he did this in order to run a Z Train around LAC on Main 2 at Panhandle after the meet with CHI. He also said he contacted both CHI & LAC about 10 mins prior to inform them of the meet. CHI's engineer responded to the DS and acknowledged the meet details.  The DS said he thought he heard a reply from LAC, but it was garbled and unitelligible. 

CHI had a diverging signal and was slowing to 40 mph for the RH switch at 5261. The Engineer noted he thought that LAC had passed a road crossing that he knew to be to the West of signal 5621 and that once LAC had passed that point, he realized they were going to have a head-on collision.  He put his train in Emergency and told the Conductor they were going to have to jump.  They both left the cab of lead unit BNSF 5416 on the engineer's side &ran to the rear steps.  He saw the conductor behind him just before he jumped. That was the last he saw of her.  

He also stated he couldn't see any movement in the cab of LAC's leading unit, BNSF 5162.

LAC was travelling at 65 mph (east) and CHI was at 37 mph (west) for a closing speed of 102 mph.  Both lead locos were stripped to the frame as a result of the collision. 

 

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