• Self defense and the RR

  • 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 Kick'em
This is just a rambling of mine, but with the election of a liberal democrat (gasp! a conservative republican RR man!), a sinking economy and the likelihood of rising crime - I have become very aware of my 2nd amendment right to bear arms in self defense.

Railroads don't seem to attract good, safe neighborhoods, nor do railroads usually traverse through such real estate. We are constantly made to work in or near high-crime, usually low-income residential areas. Likewise, the industries we switch in the middle of the night are often fraught with crime. I know of several who have been mugged, pistol-whipped, and jumped. In a secluded, dark area near our class yard that we often meet the carry-all for a ride back up to the CO, I stumbled upon two cars parked beside each other with all of their lights off. Nothing happened, but I had to wait nearby for 10-15 minutes for my ride. If they were doing something which they did not want witnesses, I would have had a bad day.

The company forbids the carrying of weapons, even though they knowingly put us in these situations. We have 1 RR cop for about 200 miles of rail. What good is that? Now we can't even carry our phones to call if we need help.

Anyone here have any stories to share? Anyone here brave enough to say if they choose to "take their safety in their own hands" rather than leaving it to the RR police?
  by scooterz66
I have heard a story or two (one from the guy it happened to) about people being shot at. The one said about all he could do was duck and cover. The other jumped in a open box car and told his engineer to get the **** out of there.
  by lvrr325
I've read stories about that, if anyone gets the Hot Times On The High Iron newsletter he told about that in one of his columns. An engineer I know here told me about how bad one yard was, that some guys carried anyways, and the trainmasters and other superiors there who knew what things were like, kind of looked the other way. When guys would climb right up on the engine and try to rob you, it was kind of necessary. I suppose if you followed the Vic Mackey (The Shield TV show) code of justice, you could make things work out in your favor. "That's his gun, I wrestled it out of his hands and it went off...."

And there was the story a guy told me about the NYS&W shops, along the now CSX mainline in Utica NY, before the public housing project across the street was torn down. They heard a sort of a tap tap tap sound against the wall a couple times one night. Then a guy comes running and slides under the half-open door like he's trying to steal home plate and explains some druggie in the project is firing off an automatic weapon at the building. Don't know how true that was, I was only down there once when the housing was in, but it gave me bad vibes the whole time.
  by Noel Weaver
After reading some of what's here, I have to wonder how I made it working in the South Bronx, the worst areas of New
Jersey and Brooklyn and other dangerous parts of New York City and other metropolitan areas. I also walked the streets in
these areas many times enroute from the nearest subway station to the yard or motor shop and NEVER did I ever experience
any problems. How did I ever survive all this stuff?
I think the rule not allowing railroaders to carry weapons is a good one, I once had a brakeman on a job out of Oak Point show a weapon, I immediately refused to work with him while he carried the gun on the job. With my knowledge of him
having the gun, what would have happened to me if this guy decided to fire the thing at somebody along the tracks that
might throw a rock at the engine or do something else.
I worked the River Line in Northern New Jersey when we had to pass through a nasty part of Hoboken and the railroad had
their police follow or shadow us with constant radio contact through the entire area. We were not give the signals through
there until the dispatcher knew the police were already there.
There is no need for railroaders to carry guns.
Noel Weaver
PS Whoever is the occupant of the White House in Washington, DC is not going to change the neighborhoods that the
railroads pass through one least little bit.
  by lvrr325
I think you said the key word. RR police personnel were available to shadow you through trains in those areas, or at least close enough to assist when there were problems. In Upstate New York, the crime problem is less dire, but still a potential problem in certain areas just because the neighborhoods the RR happens to run through aren't that great. For years there was exactly one CR RR cop to cover from Buffalo to Albany. His territory included the Tier, too. And when CSX took over, they laid him off at least for a while (direct per a yard clerk at the time). So if you're in Rochester or Utica and a RR cop is hours away and it's entirely possible you'll be accosted by someone.. I can see where a guy would carry. It's probably better to be alive and unemployed than dead or hurt and unable to work.

That said, everything I posted was related to me at least secondhand, and I have no way to know how much exaggeration is in those tales. But both came from railroad employees. One of them still works for CSX today.
  by Kick'em
"Noel Weaver
PS Whoever is the occupant of the White House in Washington, DC is not going to change the neighborhoods that the
railroads pass through one least little bit."
I know, that's the problem.

One of our clerks had her cousin beat within an inch of his life 1 or 2 blocks from the yard. Not a long walk from there to the yard. A switchman I frequently work with, probably came 30 seconds or a minute from getting jumped. Two guys approached him and started asking him if he's ever been in a lot of fights, if he's ever been mugged, ever been jumped, and were continually getting in his personal space. Just in the nick of time, a fellow 6 foot 300 pound coworker shows up. This is from the horse's mouth.

What good would our one RR cop do from 50 miles away? Identify the body? Call and inform his wife and kids?

Concealed Carry permit holders are among the most law abiding citizens in this country. Your coworker may have saved your life and probably would not have shot "the thing" at someone for throwing rocks, but probably would for doing "something else".
  by atsf sp
I've read stories of people out west shooting trains just for fun. But not the engine, just the loads.
  by roadster
Ok I know this is going to turn into a Pro/anti gun lobby fight room. and nothing to do with trains. The political orientation of the White House resident has no bearing on "bad" neighborhoods, or if the company will let me carry while working. The last 8 years are clear evidence of that. I am a gun advacate and retired Police Officer. I will tell you 1 thing. A carry/conceal permit IS NOT a permit to kill. Without the proper training of handlng and the laws involved(and a gunrange on Saturday doesn't do it) you would be putting yourself and your co-workers at greater risk. You best defense is being aware of your surroundings and if you feel the area is unsafe, return to the engine, secure the doors and call the Dsp. for Police assitance. Not to mention the tools on hand supplied by the RR with which one can defend oneself(I always carried a couple extra fusees with me, not to mention my lantern). If they have guns most likely they would have shot you before you could have used it and they'd have your gun for their next victim. Sharp edged weapons would fair much better. During my accedemy, our instructors demonstrated that a suspect could cover 40ft and attack an officer before the officer could utilize his gun. An attacker has already determined if they'll kill you. That instant of hesitation for you to decide will kill you. I will not work with someone knowning they have a gun onboard. (and I haven't even touched on the accidental discharges)
  by Gadfly
I know personally of a trainman on NS that knocked a fellow OUT with his LANTERN once. He was pretty sure this person (by his demeanor and the nature of the threat) was about to rob him or do him harm, so he cold cocked him right there . Laid him OUT, too!!!!!!! :-D The cops were called, this piece of scum had warrants, got arrested, and nothing came of it with regard to the employee; he was praised for quick thinking. :P Those old METAL lanterns were pretty good as a weapon! LOL!

  by DutchRailnut
I think a brake hose is a pretty deadly weapon, and carry them is perfectly legal on railroad.
  by roadster
Brake hoses are good, but are fairly hefty. I always liked the rubber strap used to hold the airhose at a proper clearance. There's always some laying around. Here's a could stories for ya. Conductor in Lyons NY, in 2006 was getting ready to throw a switch when he heard a wizz and tig of a bullet striking the switch target. He retreated to the engine Cab, and Police arrived and found 2 individual hiding in a wooded area. Stated they were getting even for a female friend who had been struck by a train a year before. Lyons is a rural village with a pop. of about 3,000. Also in 2006 a Buffalo Lines West Conductor was walking his train at 2am after they thought they had hit a person on the tracks West of Buffalo. The conductor felt something shove his shoulder, felt a burning pain and fell to the ground hearing someone run away. He had been shot by unknown person puting a gun barrel directly on his shoulder. (CSX officials originally accused him of self inflicting the injury) In Sept. '08, conductor of a train stopped in a rural area near Erie, Pa. was in the 2nd unit when he observed a person climb up the rear stairs of the lead engine and creep towards the engineers door. The Conductor bashed the person in the head with his lantern(plastic or not, those batteries are still hefty)knocking him down and nearly out. The suspect turned out to be a Trainmaster watching for rules violation. The conductor was commended for protecting RR property. The Trainmaster was admonished. Just goes to show, wether in urban or rural surroundings the world is a dangerous place. Common sense and situational surroundings awareness are your best weapons.
  by MBTA F40PH-2C 1050
I am going to send this over to RR operations, that way everyone can chime in with their stories if they like
  by Engineer Spike
I work in a rail yard in Albany, NY, which is next to the projects. There have been times that the natives have frown restless. We have a retired engineer who is a Navy sub vet. When the shooting starts we make like Dr. Gus and run silent, run deep. Keep the lantern off, and work on the side away from the projects.
  by sd80mac
lvrr325 wrote:For years there was exactly one CR RR cop to cover from Buffalo to Albany. His territory included the Tier, too.
Cr had 10 cops stationed at Buffalo. I know that CR had couple at Albany. I cant speak for Syracuse whether office were already there or CSX had set up office there.

After NS/CSX took over, Most of older cops retired, then NS/CSX laid off most of them. Right now, as far as I knew from few years ago, CSX have 3 guys at Buffalo. And there were at least 2 at Syracuse (3-5 years ago) I have no idea about Albany lately, so i cant speak about albany. Same for NS, I cant speak for that either.
  by Penn Central
While I support second amendment rights, employers do have the right to determine what is permitted in the workplace. This does have limits. In the Sunshine State, where Noel and I reside, a law was passed that permits employees to have legal guns in their car when they are at work. The logic behind the law was that employees had the right to defend themselves going to or from the workplace. The law was immediately appealed in the courts, but was not struck down. Noel and I walked down many of the same streets, like Longwood Avenue in the South Bronx and past the projects near Meadow Street in New Haven. While we were not attacked, other railroad employees were. Could some of those attacks have been prevented by a gun? Probably.
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