tonfire72 wrote:If anyone has scene the recent video of the UPS truck getting wiped out at a crossing where the lights and gates failed to function you might think twice about "quiet zones." Reports are out that the warning system failed due to ice and snow buildup. Hmm...they don't get much ice and snow along Bayview Road, do they?????
A lot of misinformation here, let's talk facts.
First, while it has no bearing on the real issue, to be accurate it was a FedEx truck, not UPS.
As for the crash, I have seen nothing more since the initial news reports. BUT:
1. The crossing involved with that incident was not in a quiet zone
2. The reports stated there had been a false activation. That's when the gates and lights activate, but without a train coming.
3. A signal maintainer arrived, and shortly afterward the protection cleared. While it was not so stated, it's logical to believe the maintainer over-rode the system to allow the backlog of highway traffic to clear. At some point after that, the collision occurred. In the video, the maintainer's truck can be seen on the right shoulder beyond the crossing, near the cabinet.
4. So the above would suggest several possible causes. Since we don't have all the facts I'll just list some options and let the proper parties reach a conclusion.
A. It's possible the maintainer screwed up by jumping out the crossing without properly determining no trains were due.
B. It's possible the dispatcher gave the maintainer permission to bypass the protection forgetting there was a train coming
C. It's possible the train crew was told to stop and protect the crossing and failed to do so.
D. It's possible the maintainer DID re-activate the crossing but some factor, either human or in the system, did not properly reset the system.
E. It's possible it was none of the above
5. Crossing protection is designed to fail into an active mode - if something goes wrong, the lights and gates are supposed to default to "on". Yes, activation failures (no lights and no gates despite a train being there ) DO happen, but they are far less common than lights on and no train.. If the power is off, the batteries take over. If the batteries get low, the lights come on. If the batteries run down altogether, there is no juice to raise the gates back up and they stay down. The gates come down by gravity, not by force from the motor.
6. Ice and snow, per se, do not interfere with crossing protection in the manner seen. There are many different types of protection systems used, and I have no idea what was in use there. I don't know, maybe there is some combination of factors which would allow that but offhand I don't understand why.
7. Last, since that was NOT a quiet zone, it stands to reason the train in the video WAS sounding its horn. And even in a quiet zone the horn is allowed to be sounded in an emergency. SO - really that incident has no bearing on the Hamburg plans.
I will state that I'm not a fan of quiet zones. Unless somebody was living near the tracks back in the 1800's before the railroad was built, they moved there knowing there were trains nearby. The argument that there are more trains now than in the past is silly - numbers go up and down, but there has never been a time where that crossing saw one or two trains a day. It's always been a mainline situation and whether there are 25, 50 or more trains a day, it was like that when they moved in.