an averted collision

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Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

an averted collision

Post by Gadfly » Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:31 am

Yesterday about 4 PM I was working my part-time gig and came up beside the old "GEBO" line (remnant of the old Norfolk & Southern line from Hickory, NC to Columbia, SC). I noticed an old beat-up Nissan pickup FOULING the right of way. Surely this vehicle was stalled and no one was around, and obviously, there was no way for a train to clear him. I immediately called the NS District Dispatcher and 911. Then I went out with a flag to sign down any trains that might come. This line is now an industry spur (about 10 miles long) and I kinda figured that it was unlikely that there would be any moves that day, but "Expect trains on any track at any time, from ANY direction", goes the Rulebook, so...................................
Shortly several cop cars showed up with lights flashing (looking like a MAJOR traffic scene :-) ) then a Signal Maintainer. We pushed the old truck off the RoW and down a side street.

After it was over, I was driving MY work truck and thinking about WHY somebody would park a vehicle right ON the ballast (not at a crossing, either)? How did it stall in just THAT place? Did it quit going uphill and the people coasted backwards off the road not thinking where they had ended up? Did they not KNOW where they ARE? :( Maybe they thought that, since they were "off" the road, it was a good place to leave it? Then I had a wry thought: Maybe they they did it on purpose hoping to get a new truck! :P

It's amazing what folks do around railroad tracks!
GF

EMTRailfan
Posts: 339
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Location: Horsethief Capitol Of The World

Re: an averted collision

Post by EMTRailfan » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:50 am

...or maybe whoever parked it there didn't own it.
The trails are nice, but let's save the rails!!!
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Big Bri
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Re: an averted collision

Post by Big Bri » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:00 pm

Gadfly,

WHY don't you call the local police and inquire about your find? Since you are the one who found it and called them, ask them for any follow-up info. Maybe it was a stolen truck?

Bri

Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: an averted collision

Post by Gadfly » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:44 pm

Big Bri wrote:Gadfly,

WHY don't you call the local police and inquire about your find? Since you are the one who found it and called them, ask them for any follow-up info. Maybe it was a stolen truck?

Bri
If you will take note, I said that "I called the District Dispatcher (on phone) then THEN CALLED 911" which accomplished the same (and desired) result. The way a "fan" would do it and an old RR head would do it might be different. The idea was to, FIRST get any train movements stopped and make the dispatcher aware that the track was fouled. Granted, this is a spur line that has, maybe ONE switcher per day. It also has a permanent speed restriction on that line because it traverses a busy city street, and preceeds at 10-15 MPH. The train may have been able to stop on its own, but that is not how we were trained to do it. I KNOW this because I used to CLEAR this very switcher when I worked as an Agent! :-D But, the priority is to get the dispatcher alerted FIRST so the Local can be made aware and approach the area prepared to stop. THEN to alert the local police so the owner or driver could be found and the truck could be moved OFF the RoW. While one was fooling around, particularly on a main line, with 911 and THEY were calling the railroad, a train could come and HIT the vehicle causing damage to the train, the RoW, or the truck itself. So I alerted the dispatcher, prepared to flag any movements, then alerted the cops. In that order. The owner DID show up soon after.

EMTRailfan
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 7:20 pm
Location: Horsethief Capitol Of The World

Re: an averted collision

Post by EMTRailfan » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:57 am

I think our replies were to your 2nd paragraph, at least mine was.

I agree with you on fooling around with calling 911 first. At least the county in which I work "upgraded" to EMD/CAD dispatching which now involves 3 or 4 minutes of the 911 operator interrogating the caller instead of just sending the resources that are needed, which is their job, and the CAD takes all common sense out of their world, and they loose all comprehension to "deviate" away from the CAD says to send if the situation calls for it. After their 3 or 4 minute interrogation, their armchair "diagnosis" of the situation is usually incorrect anyway, and those 3 or 4 minutes were a waste. If someone falls and slips on the ice, I don't care if they have a cardiac history. It doesn't pertain to the situation, but in their world finding out if the patient is still outside freezing doesn't matter.

I would have done the same as you in that situation too. I have CSX and NS emergency numbers in my cell as well as the local shortlines/regionals dispatch/emergency numbers that I frequent.
The trails are nice, but let's save the rails!!!
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Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: an averted collision

Post by Gadfly » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:07 pm

I was only there because I now deliver flowers part-time for a florist located right across from the Gebo line. One note, not meant in any spirit of argument, is that when someone has been indocrinated so heavily in rules, they are so BURNED into one's psyche due to the fear of being run off for a mistake that a railroader might react according to the rules FIRST. THEN it might occur to him to 'look' for an owner. However, the police were on the scene quickly, any ownership issues would, after all, be up to THEM anyway, so calling the dispatcher would be the thing to do KNOWING that they would attempt to locate the owners (or thieves). My job is to deal with the hazard FIRST, notify the police for the other issues. I'm glad it worked out.
:-)

GF

Plate F
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:25 pm
Location: Geneva, NY

Re: an averted collision

Post by Plate F » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:40 pm

Gadfly, I don't think that anyone is attacking you for calling the RR first. I would have done the same thing.

What Bri said was simply that if you were curious as to WHY the truck was there to begin with, you should call the police and see if they followed up with it.

-Adriel

Big Bri
Posts: 958
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:52 pm

Re: an averted collision

Post by Big Bri » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:54 pm

Exactly!
I work in Law here in Philly. Since Gadfly was the one who called it in, it is his legal right to inquire about it.

A follow up.................nothing to get all upset 'bout Gadfly.

Big Bri

Gadfly
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: an averted collision

Post by Gadfly » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:26 pm

I'm not upset! :-) I actually didn't CARE about who owned it! :-) Because of all these years on the RR, I saw a HAZARD to rairoading, an obstruction on the RoW. The main thing in such a case is to alert the dispatcher, flag the obstruction or any trains approaching, and notify the police who would obviously try to locate the owner that left the vehicle in such a precarious place. (in that order). The police would have more interest on the owner than I would. I just wanted to avoid damage to the company's equipment and RoW.
GF

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