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BNSF's Panhandle wreck.

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Posted by schlimm on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:22 PM

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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

 

 

 

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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?

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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'.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:10 AM

Let us beware of boojums.Smile

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Posted by wanswheel on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 10:42 AM

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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.

 

  

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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.

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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?

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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