Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

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train2
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Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by train2 »

On several boards over the last few weeks their have been story after story about Amtk trains dying on the road of freight roads. Often they are short of a station or final station. While I understand most of this is whether related it got me to thinking: When this happens will the freight road ever call a freight engineer to move a passenger train -- esp. if it is blocking something important like single track or a busy main -- or will the train be forced to wait for a Amtk engineer (such as an extra board person) to come from what might be a longer distance away terminal to move the train?

What is allowed and not allowed concerning passenger trains on freight carriers?

T2

Gadfly
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by Gadfly »

It depends on the Work Rules on the roads concerned (Amtrak and the host road). Normally, I wouldn't THINK so because it would generate what we call a "Time Claim" because the Amtrak engineer is actually on a different crew roster and seniority list from the freight crews. Likewise, Amtrak engineers could not move a freight train. I think, based on what I knew when I was working, Amtrak would have to call a new AMTRAK crew, unless there was some extenuating circumstances or danger. Then, perhaps a qualified Road Foreman + engineer would have to move it---but only until the hazard or danger was past, the track was no longer fouled, or the train in the clear. I can't think offhand why a freight crew would need to get involved. Guys? More experienced/recent than I?

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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by EMTRailfan »

I've seen several photos of Amtrak breakdowns being pulled in by the host RR's locos. Is this what we are talking, or are we talking about outlawing on time for unforeseen circumstances and getting a fresh crew?
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train2
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by train2 »

Not concerned with which loco is on the headend. What you are talking about is an AMTK crew running a freight unit to sub for an ailing AMTK unit.

I am interested in the crew level where the one and only AMTk crew is down for the count and a freight crew is available and can get to the train faster than an AMTK crew.

SooLineRob
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by SooLineRob »

Second hand knowledge here...

A freight Conductor I know was used once to relieve an Amtrak Conductor.

Apparently, the Amtrak Conductor's Hours Of Service time expired before the Engineer, while the Long Distance train was en route to the LD crew's Away From Home Terminal; meaning no available Amtrak crews at the location.

Freight Conductor was transported by a taxi to meet the Amtrak train at a station stop. Once he boarded. he met with the Amtrak Conductor and his crew, was given "the basics" on what he needed to do, and that was that. Once the LD arrived at the Amtrak crew's AFHT, the outbound Amtrak crew took over, and away they went.

While it's possible for a freight Engineer to relieve/operate an Amtrak train, it's highly unlikely. Issues with training, equipment, physical characteristics, and train handling would certainly come into play. A modern day freight Engineer wouldn't have any idea how to deal with a malfunctioning HEP system. I would expect a freight Engineer called to operate an Amtrak train (in an emergency situation) would be joined by an Amtrak Road Foreman of Engines to instruct him/her on the operation of the Amtrak equipment; the RFE acting as a Pilot.
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SooLineRob
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by SooLineRob »

train2 wrote:I am interested in the crew level where the one and only AMTk crew is down for the count and a freight crew is available and can get to the train faster than an AMTK crew.
While on the host railroad's property, Amtrak is "on their own". Chances are if Amtrak is in trouble, so is the freight railroad. Said freight railroad isn't going to "burn up" their own crews to "help out" Amtrak with their problems. An agreement would be required between both railroads to address this situation, which is somewhat moot. If a freight crew can get to the Amtrak train, so can an Amtrak crew. The timeliness of the relief crew reaching the train is not a factor.

However, emergency situations do arise; which would most likely be handled as noted in my above post (freight crew with Amtrak supervisors acting as Pilots).
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airman00
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by airman00 »

Just a thought...

If an Amtrak train brokedown or was having problems, I've seen videos of Norfolk Southern engines hooking up to the disabled Amtrak train and towing it to the nearest station, and then Amtrak can figure out solving it's problem. In this way, no need for crew exchange/engineer help. NS engineer operates one of his own freight engines, and simply acts like a tow truck so to speak.

Jtgshu
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by Jtgshu »

airman00 wrote:Just a thought...

If an Amtrak train brokedown or was having problems, I've seen videos of Norfolk Southern engines hooking up to the disabled Amtrak train and towing it to the nearest station, and then Amtrak can figure out solving it's problem. In this way, no need for crew exchange/engineer help. NS engineer operates one of his own freight engines, and simply acts like a tow truck so to speak.
That can happen, and does happen, but the thing is, the amtrak crew isn't being relieved, they are being helped out. The Amtrak crew is still there.
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airman00
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by airman00 »

I would think the safety of the passengers matters more than whose engineer is operating which loco. I do understand however that rules are rules, and if a crew's shift is over, than broken loco or not, a fresh crew is required to come in. In which case, it should be amtrak if they can get there, (with back-up power, such as another road engine or a switcher if that's all that's nearby), or if not then the host frieght line, such as NS in this case should help/tow the amtrak either to the nearest station or to at least a point where the nearest amtrak crew could take over.

As long as companies cooperate and work together than should be no problem. Besides I thought all RR's had some back-up engines like protect engines ready in case of emergency. Be it sw's or road engines.

SooLineRob
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by SooLineRob »

airman00 wrote:I would think the safety of the passengers matters more than whose engineer is operating which loco. I do understand however that rules are rules, and if a crew's shift is over, than broken loco or not, a fresh crew is required to come in. In which case, it should be amtrak if they can get there, (with back-up power, such as another road engine or a switcher if that's all that's nearby), or if not then the host frieght line, such as NS in this case should help/tow the amtrak either to the nearest station or to at least a point where the nearest amtrak crew could take over.

As long as companies cooperate and work together than should be no problem. Besides I thought all RR's had some back-up engines like protect engines ready in case of emergency. Be it sw's or road engines.
Mr Airman00,

May I ask where exactly are you going with this?

Is there a specific incident you wish to discuss, or are you just throwing out various scenarios to see what the answer may be?

Your posts seem to be mixing various questions together. The topic is "Can freight Engineers move Amtrak trains these days?". Asked and answered.

You mentioned "safety of the passengers" above. If there was an EMERGENCY situation where the Amtrak crew ran out of time and the train, it's passengers, crew, or member(s) of the public were in danger of losing life or limb, a high ranking supervisor would order the Amtrak crew to violate the Hours of Service Act and move the train and it's passengers to a safe location to be recrewed. Simply running out of time between stations without relief IS NOT an emergency.

You seem to imply freight Engineers should "get on and go" when Amtrak has a problem. That's not going to happen for the reasons cited in the posts above. Freight Engineers ARE NOT familiar with, nor qualified, to operate Amtrak equipment. Unqualified freight Engineers running Amtrak trains is a lawsuit waiting for a court date.

Freight railroads do not have "standby", "protect", nor "back up" locos sitting around. Host railroads do supply locos for mechanically disabled Amtrak trains frequently; provided a loco is available.
"If I don't have it, or can't get it, neither should YOU." - America today.

train2
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by train2 »

Yes this post has gotton a little off. This was my post so I will steer it back. I had originally posted this on the Amtk board, but a moderator moved it to the NS forum. I couldn't find my own post for a while.

The locos are not the issue and not the question. All I wanted to know was if an AMTK train ON ANY RR was going to sit for 4-5 hours waiting on a relief crew could a freight crew move it to a station or off the main.

I found it interesting that people would think a XYZ freight engine on an AMTK train would come with XYZ crew. Which is not the case.

Thanks for all that responded.

HoggerKen
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by HoggerKen »

SooLineRob wrote:Second hand knowledge here...

A freight Conductor I know was used once to relieve an Amtrak Conductor.



While it's possible for a freight Engineer to relieve/operate an Amtrak train, it's highly unlikely. Issues with training, equipment, physical characteristics, and train handling would certainly come into play. A modern day freight Engineer wouldn't have any idea how to deal with a malfunctioning HEP system. I would expect a freight Engineer called to operate an Amtrak train (in an emergency situation) would be joined by an Amtrak Road Foreman of Engines to instruct him/her on the operation of the Amtrak equipment; the RFE acting as a Pilot.
Bah! We bring a loco for ATC, tie on, and away we go, 70 mph! Did it once as a conductor, and was qualified on UP's biz trains as a hoghead. Get on and go, watch the waters part for you, nothing but green all the way to Clinton or Omaha. Most of the times they are on our line to begin with as a detour from the Q. No pesky station stops, no customers to deal with. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

HoggerKen
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by HoggerKen »

BTW, I don't suggest a 70 mph trip in an SD60M. They rode like a roller coaster back in 1999, and I bet they still do today.

HoggerKen
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by HoggerKen »

You seem to imply freight Engineers should "get on and go" when Amtrak has a problem. That's not going to happen for the reasons cited in the posts above. Freight Engineers ARE NOT familiar with, nor qualified, to operate Amtrak equipment. Unqualified freight Engineers running Amtrak trains is a lawsuit waiting for a court date.
Yeah, but I am qualified on UP passenger equipment, and run about every model out there on the rails today save museum stuff. But they cannot be that hard to move, brake released, throttle out. No harder than pulling a small local or Operation Lifesaver train. When working the extra board, you are expected to be qualified, or at least get a manager to ride with you in unusual circumstances, per the rules. We even got to run the DD40X on a business train. As long as AMT people are behind me taking care of what ever it is they do, we have no worries, or liabilities. We still got guys out here who ran pax faster than AMT could ever hope outside of the Corridor. Ok, they did break the rules, but back then, you were expected to get in on-time. Even with the hot meat trains, getting over the road in one piece was expected.

SooLineRob
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Re: Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

Post by SooLineRob »

Mr Hogger Ken,

If you're quoting my posts to dispute what I said, your examples are off topic. This post is about freight crews being used to dogcatch/recrew outlawed Amtrak trains; not adding freight power, detour movements, nor extra passenger specials.

Instead of trying to use the quote function for the above three posts, I'll summarize (again) what I said...

Freight (only) Engineers wouldn't be used to recrew an outlawed Amtrak train unless an EMERGENCY condition exists.

I never meant to imply "freight" guys couldn't actually move and run a passenger train. Sure they can. Every freight railroad has their own version of a pocket streamliner, and freight guys run those daily without incident. Freight guys Pilot detoured Amtrak crews all the time.

However, having a freight guy actually run an Amtrak train (making all scheduled stops, troubleshooting and correcting problems, and skillfully handling the train) is another (off) topic. In addition to the timeslip/penalty/arbitrary disputes that would follow such a decision...

Sorry for any confusion.
"If I don't have it, or can't get it, neither should YOU." - America today.

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