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 Post subject: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:43 pm 
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Location: MA
It is our job as Railroad Museum to educate the public about railroads. But have you ever been in a situation where you or your organization thought maybe the public should't know about "that". For example demonstrating coupling and uncoupling a train, could that knowledge be used for nefarious uses for individuals who are up to no good? Or how about setting in releasing hand brakes, the incident in New York where a hopper car that crashed into steam locomotive show the hazards of releasing hand brakes and that wasn't even done on purpose, do we leave that information out? What are your thoughts on this and how is your organization handle this issue?


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
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How many outlaws are visiting your museum?

Short of perhaps school groups where some kids with questionable moral values and a lack of proper parenting might be in attendance, those visiting a museum or tourist railroad most likely aren't going home at night and setting fire to buildings and other felonious acts.

With the internet, any creep that wanted to know how to do this is likely going to spend 5 minutes on Google on their phone in the bushes next to their target and find all that they need, even with basic terminology like "unhook train car". They're likely not the type visiting this type of setting and keeping an eagle eye out for instructions to be utilized in carrying out their future deeds, or if they are, likely aren't paying attention anyways to what's in front of them.

So I say if you feel like it's something important that your audience would appreciate learning about, don't worry about the small chance that your attempt at education could be used for ulterior purposes. Anything can be used negatively in one way or another. That type will always find something, so why punish everyone else?

And this is probably too much work for such types anyways, when they can just toss a brick off the nearest bridge in their attempt to kill someone.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 11:16 am
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The problem is not knowledge, but how one uses it. If you had a good science class you understand some basic principles about how certain tools work and their both positive and potentially negative impacts. We grow thru the sharing of information not by holding it back. Will some use there education to do harm yes, but that is also a human trait. If we live in fear are we living at all?

Robby Peartree


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:27 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
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The New York 0-6-0 incident is an oops moment with a kid playing around a car trying levers etc. Which gets me curious any updates on this engine?

It is curious that some movies do not depict some railroad apparatus accurately perhaps just for this reason. Can't help if its a real engine being filmed. Thinking of the Lone Ranger here.

I think a brakeman/conductor/engineer for the day for pay is a right time to demonstrate these, but if your a hobbyist you know all this and you know these things. Your call I think, but I agree if someone really wanted to do something they can simply research.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:00 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:36 pm
Posts: 178
As an unsupervised youth with a fascination with trains I managed to get a cut of cars moving on a siding one day. Fortunately I had enough sense to run after the car and apply the hand brake before going to far instead of taking off like my buddy did.

If I could figure it out by guess and test, just about anyone could.

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"What smells like Lube Oil and Diesel? Oh It's just my Locomotive Breath"


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:23 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

This subject question is used in so many places...

If we don't tell them about sex ....

Guns are bad.

If we give them the information about .... they will think it is OK to use it.

I happen to believe that the parents are trying to get out of feelings of guilt. The (to me) bad statement "It's quality time not quantity."

Consider Germany between 1920 and 1939 - the rise of Nazis - National Socialism. How many know that the Nazi Aryian came from a language that existed in Iran/Persia around the 500's? If we do not teach it, how are our descendants to know what to watch for (another Hitler)?

Today's society is so internalized with cell phones and CD players that they are out of touch with their surroundings. I've had people so self centered on their phones that they knock my walking cane out from under me. Is the cell phone bad or the user?

I think that unless you have a track record of problems, the teaching of uncoupling cars and operation of locomotives and throwing switches draws people in - HANDS-ON.

FWIW

Doug vV

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"... he felt that the will of the people should be observed. Which is all well and good, but ruling based on opinion polls, especially ones pushed by narrow agendas, is never a great idea." Throne of Stars - D. Weber, J. Ringo, 2003


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2096
Location: Northern Illinois
I don't see anything here that a little common sense won't answer.

If you are giving a tour of a diesel electric locomotive and it's systems, of course it's OK to tell people that to start it, batteries are used to motor the generator to roll the engine. On the other hand, there is really no need to specifically show them where the switches and breakers required to actually do it are located, although any ten year old can likely find that information on the internet if he tries hard enough.

Likewise uncoupling. When you have to cut the power off at the station platform, what are you going to do, call the Coroner's Office to have them come out and set up privacy screens around the joint? Just ask people to step back a safe distance so they don't get hit by anything when the air hoses pop, and don't worry about what they take away from the experience. Of course, there's no reason to dwell on the little nuances like the passenger car cut levers that need to be lifted before they will turn, but anyone with an ounce of mechanical ability will figure that out the first time they get their hands on one anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:39 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Quote:
"If we don't tell them about sex ....

Guns are bad.

If we give them the information about .... they will think it is OK to use it."


The issue here, though, is that there are some examples where not providing information might be advisable. I remember the first time I saw the sequence of panel controls used to put an EL U34CH on high idle for HEP ... and thinking 'this isn't something to tell the general public'. Some of the default protections in locomotive operation corresponding to 'operating without a key' involve some obfuscation, as does operating some types of Army or construction equipment. My opinion in at least some of these situations is that 'with great power comes great responsibility' and if the person concerned either cannot assume the responsibility or has no need to be in a responsible situation, it might be wise not to blab all the details.

Not true of safety concerns, however, even highly technical things that affect safety. Just think if those knothead firemen near Lac Megantic had understood how to check a consist before shutting units down, or how to apply the automatic brake. Perhaps explaining to a kid what the lever did would keep him from pulling it off to find out. There's a risk in telling kids what the unit emergency fuel shutoff does, but it might be worth it for them to know that if there is ever an emergency.

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R.M.Ellsworth


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:25 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
Posts: 1735
@Dougvv

"Today's society is so internalized with cell phones and CD players that they are out of touch with their surroundings. I've had people so self centered on their phones that they knock my walking cane out from under me. Is the cell phone bad or the user?"

I go to gym which is principally the domain of bodybuilding types rather than powerlifting types, so perhaps the population is skewed to the self-centered type, but your observation is so resonant. They carry their phones from station to station, most either don't re-rack their weights or throw them on the wrong pegs.

The worst thing is to hear somebody yakkin' it up from inside the stall, just before you hear the flush. I will never touch their phones.

I'm afraid if you actually did show them something, they'd be like OMG TXTING LOL.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:44 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi superheater,

"it might be wise not to blab all the details"

That is the general direction we need to go. Do not keep it all hidden but do not go into all the details. Just defining the thresh hold can be a problem.

How about "there's the button that launches a nuclear missile" but do not tell them the sequence to arm the missile and the items needed to release the missile?

I recall working at Mission Control Houston. The general public seemed to think there was "The Switch" that launched the Shuttle. There never was "The Switch". The countdown to launch was quite detailed and hundreds of "switches" had to be thrown for the launch to take place.

The most impressive item that people saw (in my opinion) was seeing the Mission Control room with the banks and banks or consoles and switches and push buttons and readouts (LED, light bulb and CRT) that all had to be set correctly for a launch.

Short of explaining the the days and days of different milestones that had to be met for a launch and the thousands of instructions that had to be executed correctly (which would have bored the un-informed public), there was nothing to say that was a good enough response for the public to understand easily.

I do not know how many times adult parents wanted to know what our 2.5" gauge Live Steamers were powered with. Many would not believe that steam could haul our trains even though we could open the firebox door and show them the fire.

Sometimes the public is so uninformed about one subject (trains) and think they know everything (they can recall from memory the baseball statistics of every active player for instance) about everything.

Doug vV


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:46 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:25 pm
Posts: 1808
Quote:
"it might be wise not to blab all the details"

That is the general direction we need to go. Do not keep it all hidden but do not go into all the details. Just defining the thresh hold can be a problem.


I agree. Most visitors enjoy the ride and the exhibits. Occasionally a visitor will want to know more technical detail and answers are offered on a "need to know" basis. As an example, Q: "Where do you get the power for the trolleys?" A: "We buy commercial power from Pepco and convert it to 600 volts using a rectifier." That usually gets and "Oh, ok" reply. Sometimes there is a follow up question. But I do not see the need to show them the rectifier room and related switch gear. Thankfully, no one has asked how a wire frog works.

Wesley


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:24 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1438
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
wesp wrote:
Thankfully, no one has asked how a wire frog works.
I've been asked that question at the Branford Electric Rwy.
Since we also have a trackless trolley line, the questions and answers vary a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:55 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:58 am
Posts: 371
Location: Reston, VA
How does a wire frog work? Tell anyone who asks that the runners are designed so that the angle of the trolley pole in relation to the frog determines which way the pole goes. Trolleybus frogs are different. These have movable runners, which can be mechanically or electrically actuated.


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:56 pm 
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Location: MA
I posted this because one idea I was toying about in my mind was letting the general public couple and uncople trains. Now before you jump on me on what a stupid and dangrious idea this is I was thinking of a set up with one locked down rail car and a working fiberglass copler mounted on a on a tool cart like this Image


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 Post subject: Re: Maybe we shouldn't show them that...
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 909
Hi,

I think that's a good idea.

As another possibility, get a pair of Live Steam Couplers (1.5" scale) in Bronze or Iron. Have a miniature car or two available so moving the cars by hand would not be a problem. Hands-on display.

Doug vV


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