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 Post subject: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9309
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
http://www.chronline.com/crime/chehalis ... 399bd.html

For once, we have a situation where the "stupid, careless driver tried to beat the train!" rant definitely does NOT apply, and where a review of railroad safety procedures MAY be in order:

Quote:
“The steam train, the dinner train was traveling and apparently had some kind of mechanical issue I believe,” said Chief Deputy Dusty Breen.

The train had to back up over the railroad crossing he said. At some point, a vehicle driven by a 69-year-old Raymond man began crossing the tracks as the train backed up, and was struck.

“There’s just signage, there’s no lights or crossing guard that comes down,” Breen said.

Breen noted that the conductor told deputies he saw the car coming and sounded to horn, with no response from the driver. He tried to stop the train but wasn’t successful.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 520
My initial questions -

Was this a planned shove move?
Were there proper lights on the back of the train?
Was there a proper air horn? Or just a monkey style whistle?
Did the Conductor put the train into emergency? Or just radio the engineer to stop?


This is the 3rd major incident at a tourist railroad in just a few weeks... not good for anyone's insurance rates.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2078
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
This hasn't been a good year for them. They only ran steam early in the season...
Quote:
Breen noted that the conductor told deputies he saw the car coming and sounded to horn, with no response from the driver. He tried to stop the train but wasn’t successful.

Okay, the cops agree that they sounded either the air whistle on the rear coach, or the horn from the diesel they're using this season (2-8-0 # 15 is down for the season for some mechanical issue I know nothing about). So how it is the driver of the car carries no responsibility in such a case? What's different here than if the train was moving forward, at the same grade crossing with no flashers or gates (which is all but a couple of crossings on that run)?

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Lee Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm
Posts: 80
First off let me say that this is an unfortunate event for all parties involved. It is never a pleasant experience for anyone involved in these things no matter what the outcome.

For all those pointing fingers and demanding answers: By letter of the law both parties appear to be at fault.

As is the case in many states, in Washington a crossbuck means the same as a yield sign so the motorist SHOULD have approached the crossing prepared to stop for an approaching train and upon seeing the train he should have stopped and yielded right-of-way to the train.

By Federal Law 49 CFR 218.99 Shoving or Pushing Movements ...see also 218.93 Definitions for Track is Clear, the train crew is require to provide "A designated and qualified employee is stationed at the crossing and has the ability to communicate with trains"

Various railroad rule books address this as well. The most common / widely used of which being the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) which states in Rule 6.32.1 "When cars are shoved or kicked over road crossings at grade (except those used exclusively by railroad employees), a crew member must be on the ground at the crossing to warn traffic until the crossing is occupied. Make any movement over the
crossing as directed from that crew member. Such warning is not required when gates are known to be in the fully lowered position." ... this language is actually far more clear and concise than the CFR but, obviously makes the same point.

There are no exceptions in either the CFR or GCOR for horns, whistles, headlights, blinking lights, lanterns, party streamers, fuzzy dice, monkey whips, rat tails, or anything else mounted or provided on car being shoved. Wait, I know what some of you are thinking.... "but Mr. Box, what about a cab car... you know, like the ones on Metra or Caltran or dozens of other commuter operations?" Those are considered by the FRA, for regulatory purposes, to be locomotives. As locomotives specific requirements apply to horn volume, headlight brightness, and air brake controls. These regulations cannot by applied to various rail cars at the FRA's or even the railroad's discretion. For example someone protecting a shove with a bicycle horn and a bicycle headlight can say "we have a horn and a headlight" but, these items are nowhere near the decibel or lumen / candella requirements outlined for locomotives (and cab cars.) Since there is no federal requirement for a car being shoved to even have these items the FRA cannot legally say the horn needs to be louder or the light needs to brighter because there is no published standard to judge them by.

For those that read ahead in the CFR, there is a line related to protecting crossings which states in part " when it is clearly seen that no traffic is approaching or stopped at the crossing" and yes that does mean that the train is not 100% required to stop BUT if the train hits a car during this move... guess what? ....the traffic was either stopped at or approaching the crossing whether you could see it or not. It doesn't say ...if you cannot see any traffic.

My own opinion:

As a group of people who work with trains and really need the public at large to like us and trust us, we can either learn from this incident and take an opportunity to check up on our own rule books and operating practices to ensure safe and compliant operations, or we can continue down the typical railroad path of calling motorists idiots and reminding everyone that an arrogant railroader is never wrong. Remember, 90% of the people who show up at our museums and railroads drove or rode in a car to get there to learn about trains. Why not teach them something positive and useful in their daily lives?


Last edited by hotbox on Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:02 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1437
hotbox wrote:

As is the case in many states, in Washington a crossbuck means the same as a yield sign so the motorist SHOULD have approached the crossing prepared to stop for an approaching train and upon seeing the train he should have stopped and yielded right-of-way to the train.


I don't know who was at fault, but I would like to know exactly how that move was handled. What kind of backup light was there? It seems to me that the rule imposed by the crossbuck to yield to trains might not apply in darkness if there is no strong light leading the rear car.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 9:00 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:35 pm
Posts: 80
Quote:
It seems to me that the rule imposed by the crossbuck to yield to trains might not apply in darkness if there is no strong light leading the rear car.


That's valid point. I'm sure it will come up in the courtroom at the hearing that inevitably follows this.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:17 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 151
I can't remember if it was a rule. But I know it was very common when doing a back up move at night with a rail car, and you were passing crossings, you had to have a red flare burning on the end of the rail car (usually on top of the coupler). I also remember if it was a busy crossing with no signals, you would lay a 10 minute flare in the middle of the road on each side of the crossing before proceeding. This is what we normally did when I worked for Union Pacific. It is also considered a high risk to ride on the side of the rail car at night, when going across crossings, due to the frequency of people hitting the side of the train with their cars or trucks. I can't remember the statistics but the majority of car/train accidents at rail crossings involved people driving right into the side of the train.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:32 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:08 pm
Posts: 316
Location: Amherst, Oh
I understand in this day and age we all feel entitled to information but why not let the courts settle this like they're supposed to. Questioning the railroad in a public forum does nothing to help. It's the same thing when people were questioning if Strasburg was bottling air - that information gets back to the host railroad and sometimes hurts more than it helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 448
Maybe it's time to do what Network Rail in Britain does? https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=network+rail+safety+advert

Maybe stage some rail/vehicle accidents and run adverts on the local TV stations and maybe on social media.

Australian Railways have also done these types of safety adverts to try and get the point across.

I can't say I have seen too many such adverts on TV here though?

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:23 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 520
Emmo213 wrote:
I understand in this day and age we all feel entitled to information but why not let the courts settle this like they're supposed to. Questioning the railroad in a public forum does nothing to help. It's the same thing when people were questioning if Strasburg was bottling air - that information gets back to the host railroad and sometimes hurts more than it helps.


The very nature of a forum is that we can ask and discuss the topic. Do you not think members of the public should be allowed to question things?

In the case of Strasburg... someone asked a question.. and it was answered? It wasn't some big secret, anyone who watches their operation can see that they do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:07 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1854
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Before we form opinions let's wait until all the facts emerge. There are many unknowns in this incident that have a direct bearing on its cause. As always the truth will emerge and then show what actually occurred.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 11:56 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1437
In a more typical scenario, the driver would be at fault for failing to yield to the train as required by the crossbucks. However, a backup move introduces several other factors that might play a role in determining the cause of the collision. It would be interesting to know what rules the Railroad has to govern backup moves across public grade crossings, and also how frequently they make such moves.


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9309
Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
In another example of just how complicated such situations can be, I distinctly recall (but not well enough to remember exact date and location) an instance where a train being switched JUST cleared a crossing, and an impatient driver started around the cut of cars just as spring action in the draft gear decompressed and pushed the end of the train back over the crossing, striking the car of the impatient driver......


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:29 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 254
Having experienced just this exact scenario....
As Hotbox noted above in the CFR...
If you are operating a train in a shoving move over grade crossings, you are supposed to stop and flag.
It does not matter if you've got a light, dump valve, etc....if it ain't a locomotive...you must stop and flag.
The only times you don't absolutely have to flag are gated crossings and if the crossing is clear....but, if it's clear and someone comes around and you hit them....you should have stopped and flagged....
It is this exact scenario that Florida Central railroad used as their excuse to get rid of the Cannonball steam operation....
I know it's hard for some to believe or accept, but because of the way the CFR is written, YOU are at fault and YOU are in violation of the rules if YOU hit some idiots while shoving at grade crossings....


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 Post subject: Re: Chehalis Steam Train Hits Vehicle, Driver Injured
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:03 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 29
You got that right. I was firing the Cannonball during their
last few months of operation. The entire situation is far
more complex than anyone looking in from the outside
would ever suspect.


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