• Event Recordrs

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by freshmeat
I could use a little help here.

I'm employed by BNSF as a trainman. I was recently involved in a crossing grade accident where no one was injured. After the incident, no one took the crew's statements and the tapes were not pulled from the event recorder. We were simply required to pull the train down to the next crossing and demonstrate to the trainmaster and highway patrol that the horn, bell and lights were operational AFTER the accident. After that demonstration, we were told to finish our run. What a sweet'ems that TM is!

In light of today's legal system, it is entirely possible that the company will be sued for negligence and BNSF has demonstrated it will do everything to shift the burden of liability to the employee personally. Here is what I need to know.

On a lead qualified locomotive for Class I railroads, how long is the data on an event recorder retained. For example, flight data recorders only record the last so many minutes of a flight. How long do event recorders retain data.

Thanks in advance,

  by thebigc
Freshmeat, I'm moving this one to General RR Operations.

  by shlustig
AFAIK, there is no Federal requirement for retaining event recorder data, regardless of whether or not the lcomotive is involved in an incident.

As a matter of policy, some carriers require that the event recorder be read out immediately after an incident and the data retained for the life of any ensuing litigation. However, this policy varies between the carrier's operating dept. and claims dept.

The same applies to radio / telephone line tapes. Again, as a matter of policy, we used to retain the master tapes for 31 days and then re-use them if they were not impounded.

Unless things have changed, the only Federal holding requirement applied to maintenance records and to train dispatching sheets.

Hope this helps.
  by keotaman
freshmeat wrote: ... How long do event recorders retain data.
On our eastern commuter road, they hold 72 hours.

  by DutchRailnut
Most event recorders have 48 Hours of continous running time, however the event recorder only works when the locomotive is operated and in real life they may contain as much as 72 hours from start.
For example a locomotive that operated 6 continuous hours a day has 8 days of events on recorder.
There is no requirement to download the recorder unless a FRA event takes place.
In your case the trainmaster may not have had the download card on him so he can ask other official to download it within 24 hours , so event is still preserved.

  by conrail_engineer
Eight days is also what I have been told. I've never gotten with a RFE to ask how far back they go...

Pulling the tape is generally, in the end, at the discretion of the investigating official. As a trainee, my train picked a switch midway through an interlocking...the speed on the turnout was 15 mph and (me being new) I was creeping along at 8. They pulled the tapes on ALL THREE units, including one foreign one they had to wait four hours to get a key for. (I was not charged).

On the other hand, I was involved in a double fatality involving drunken trespassers; and I was sweating bullets because I was running hot; due to the excitement (I had been set up four months) I didn't follow protocol. Instead of dumping the air, I only brought the handle to over-reduction...the trespassers were on the conductor's side and I was standing with him looking at the unfolding incident. I had reached around the control stand and hadn't dumped the air as I thought I did...

...yet nobody pulled the tapes. Go figure. There was no concern about alcohol/drugs as we were debriefed extensively by LE, so on a supervisor's judgement call, nobody downloaded the black boxes.