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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:27 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 212
I recall the article mentioning that they were aware of at least two trains....
It should not be too hard to find out the approximate schedule on most any class one railroad....I've known a few rail fans who knew or thought they knew what each train was and weather it was late or not.... while not accurate, such information would explain how they "knew" there would only be two trains and were caught by surprise by the third.
I seriously doubt that anyone at CSX knew that they were filming there, at least not in time to have any effect on the situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 4:02 pm
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Location: Back in NE Ohio
Anyone who has worked in any kind of high-pressure environment - like a railroad - knows about supervision willing to cut corners, even the law to get things done, so they look better to their supervision. I've seen front line supervision order me to outright violate either company or federal rules just to meet an arbitrary on-time departure deadline. So, I have no doubt that it is entirely possible that the film crew were bowing to pressure from those in charge of the production to get the darn shot and move on. They figured that they've done this sort of grab-shot thing before and got away with it, so they probably would this time as well. This time though, the law of averages caught up with them. Having operated trains through areas where special events were happening, and knowing the precautions a railroad takes to ensure the safety of crews, trains, and event participants, I can't imagine that CSX was even aware of, let alone gave permission to, that film crew to be where they were under the circumstances presented. About the only times I have seen unaccompanied workers around railroad RoW without any advance notice, who are allowed to be there, are survey crews for utility companies, and they know to stay out of the "kill zone".


Last edited by PaulWWoodring on Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 794
Location: NJ
As far as the media goes, I have read that the property adjacent to CSX was owned Rayonier in one report, Weyerhauser in another. Or is one a subsidiary of the other? And of course we all know that the stock image of an NS train on a bridge was wrong. Still a tragedy that should not have happened.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:55 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
It is possible that the filming company completely fabricated the story about permission from CSX including the details about CSX telling them about the two or three trains. It would not require inside information from CSX to fabricate that story about the two or three trains. After all, in retrospect, the filming company knows that two trains were coming because they say they watched them pass.

They certainly know about the third train because it struck them on the bridge. When they say that CSX told them they “may” be a third train coming, that may simply reflect their reasoning to assume it was safe to enter the bridge after two trains, assuming that a third trains was unlikely. Nevertheless, they knew that more trains were possible after the two they waited for, so they knew there was a gamble. The idea that if a third train came, it would blow the horn, giving them adequate warning may have simply been their rationalization that it lowered their risk to an acceptable level.

So this whole story may be simply a reflection of their thought process upon entering the bridge without any assurance or permission from CSX. Indeed, the part about CSX telling them that a third train may come, but it will sound its horn to give them ample warning is completely unbelievable.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 726
Location: Tucson, Arizona
The whole "CSX Permission" story smells. If they had had permission, they would have had a CSX supervisor on site with them and Roadway Worker Protection would have been in force. TVRM never let anyone not associated with the railroad on the right of way unaccompanied. I remember one time when Warner Brothers was going to use us as a location and sent an advanced scout out. They were interested in shooting a scene in the tunnel, so I was sent out with the scout. I took a radio and as the local train was running, I met up with the engineer and conductor to arrange for them to stop and let us off at the tunnel. I also provided them with information as to what we were doing and arranged protection.

After the train departed, the scout and I walked the tunnel, stopping to take measurements in a couple of locations. The director had an idea what he wanted to do-the scout's job was to collect the data so they could determine if it could be done safely. Turns out it could and the movie got made.

There is indeed a difference in attitude between some local film production markets and the big boys. It's unfortunate that the cowboy mentality of a small time player got those folks hurt. The big boys have reputations to maintain and won't let their folks stoop to the levels of the little guys (when their folks are doing their jobs).

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
Two time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler has written an open letter than begins with:
Quote:
I am part of a group asking that Sarah Jones’ name be included in the Academy’s “In Memoriam” section of the Awards telecast this Sunday. Sarah and the three injured crew members were not victims of an “accident” but of criminal negligence. Something that would not have happened if proper safety rules were in place.


Here's the article:
Deadline Hollywood: Oscar-Winning DP Haskell Wexler Backs Sarah Jones In Memoriam Campaign, Calls For Safer Sets In Open Letter

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 457
Alan Walker wrote:
The whole "CSX Permission" story smells.


Last Friday, a local television station reported that the Sheriff is investigating the incident as a homicide:
WTOC - Officials investigate fatal train accident as homicide (Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 12:05 PM EST)

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2091
Location: Northern Illinois
Ron Travis wrote:
This report of CSX granting permission to be on the bridge with the warning about the two or three trains remains completely unexplored by the news media, and yet it is the elephant in the room. Apparently the media has taken the filming company president’s advice and moved on. Now the incident is being called simply an accident without any sense of negligence or blame attached to it.


To quote someone who has also been in the news lately, "At this point, what difference does it make?"

We all know that half of what the media reports is BS, and the other half is outright lies... the only question is which half is which. At this point it's up to the courts to assign liability, and the criminal justice system to bring charges if there was criminal negligence, which it certainly sounds like there was. What the media thinks, says, or does simply is not germane to the issue.

I assume that the NTSB will be making its own investigation, I am sure they will recommend changes to procedures if they find CSX was somehow responsible.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:59 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Dennis,

I agree with what you say about the news media, and it confirms my observations about how they have covered this case. In a general sense, I get the impression that they have sided with the film company without confirming the facts, or even questioning the representation made by the film company president when they interviewed him. I am surprised that the news media has not placed some responsibility on CSX for knowing that the film company would working in the area after CSX had allegedly declined permission for the film company to be on CSX property.

I see three separate issues:

1) A lack of safety
2) Trespassing
3) Lying about having permission

I don’t expect the news media to decide this matter in lieu of the courts, but if this death was due to negligence or criminal trespass; and if the film company lied to the media to cover up their negligence or trespass, then those matters certainly ought to be part of the news story.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 726
Location: Tucson, Arizona
I'll go a bit further and say that I only see trespassing as an issue. The lack of safety and lying stem from trespassing if they did not have permission to be there. As for CSX, the only issue is whether the crew had permission to be there or not. Permission is not conveyed unless the party granting permission makes an affirmative statement to the fact. If you ask for permission to enter upon private property, permission is not granted until the property owner tells you that you have permission to enter.

My perspective on local media is that there is indeed bias in some cases. That said, we have to consider that a reporter for a local television/radio station or newspaper rarely has the opportunity to specialize in one specific field. Due to staff cuts, the folks that remain have to do what they can to cover as much news as possible. They have deadlines and cutoff times to meet and often, they may not have time to research as much as they would like to. I would say that in the majority of instances where an error is made in reporting, it is accidental rather than intentional.

That said, I don't think that CSX has much to worry about. If the reports are correct, they told the film company that they could not use the trestle and as far as they were concerned, that was that. They had no legal responsibility to inform the train crews as there was no reasonable expectation that the film company would criminally trespass on CSX property. All the NTSB report will say is that the primary cause of the incident was trespassing upon the railway right of way (and possibly that there was nothing that the railway could have done to prevent the incident). Short of fencing and gating every mile of right of way, there's no way that you are going to prevent someone who is determined to get on the right of way from getting there.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:29 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 950
I can second what Mr. Walker said above about reporters having more and more to cover in less and less time. I retired from full-time reporting at the end of 2009 at a newspaper with 7 reporters. When I started there 10 years before, there were 10 reporters. I saw a former colleagues the other day who told me they are now down to 6 full time reporters.

The other problem, and I speak from experience, is getting a PR person from the railroad to call you back in a timely manner. I covered several accidents involving trains and automobiles, and getting someone return a call or e-mail in time for the print deadline was a lost cause. In that case, a reporter with no railroad knowledge just goes with the facts as he gets them from the police.


Last edited by G. W. Laepple on Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1806
Topic drift: Is anyone troubled by implied message in the new car ad where the train stops at the grade crossing to let the car pass?

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:24 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
No, for two reasons.

1) I seem to recall the car is already stopped, and the train stops and effectively says "after you!"

2) They do so much stupid stuff in car commercials that hopefully everyone has it figured out by now. If not, they're more likely to die trying to land on top of the train in their car....


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:29 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
G. W. Laepple wrote:
I can second what Mr. Walker said above about reporters having more and more to cover in less and less time. I retired from full-time reporting at the end of 2009 at a newspaper with 7 reporters. When I started there 10 years before, there were 10 reporters. I saw a former colleagues the other day who told me they are now down to 6 full time reporters.

The other problem, and I speak from experience, is getting a PR person from the railroad to call you back in a timely manner. I covered several accidents involving trains and automobiles, and getting someone return a call or e-mail in time for the print deadline was a lost cause. In that case, a reporter with no railroad knowledge just goes with the facts as he gets them from the police.


Just about any rulebook has something to the effect of only discussing railroad business with those that have a "need to know". So you are, of course, allowed to answer questions from the police investigating the incident, if you're involved. Speaking to the press would only be done by "authorized personnel" and they're most certainly going to say "no comment" or at best "we are saddened by this tragic accident and are investigating..."

In other words, nobody who wants to keep his job is saying anything!


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:56 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
Bobharbison wrote:
2) They do so much stupid stuff in car commercials that hopefully everyone has it figured out by now. If not, they're more likely to die trying to land on top of the train in their car....

Except I seem to recall THAT specific commercial quite liberally, almost farcically, applying quite a few "disclaimer" text graphics at the bottom, to the extent of "Do not attempt. Seriously, don't jump onto a train with your car. Please. Really. This doesn't work in real life." Or something to that effect.

So, yeah. Everyone will read that, and no one will try it, and no one will sue the auto maker. Rest easy. </snark>


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