• So how often do you get to ride along?

  • 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 mtuandrew
As mentioned above, I volunteer for one of those museums that'll let you operate their equipment if you volunteer. In my case, it's the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. Though my first "cab ride" and chance at operating the car in my avatar (Twin Cities Rapid Transit #1300) came just last year, I was under the direct supervision of the shop foreman. Besides, we're not a common carrier nor linked to any such railroads, therefore not subject to the same rules. The train museum in our town is subject to full FRA certification though, and has largely substituted caboose rides for cab rides.

Whatever the case, definitely a humbling experience to operate a 20-ton, 200-hp car that's just celebrated its hundredth birthday.
  by WSH
Well, I'm certainly envious of a lot of your stories, mostly of the GG1 story! I'm 28 now and I remember back in the day getting to sit in the piolets seat in a commercial jet but I've never had the oppertunity for a locomotive cab ride.

This is going in a little different direction but do the restrictions apply to someone wanting to just hop in a cab and take a photo? It seems there are quite a few idling train cab photos on the internet, I don't know if these are taken by employees or railfans.
  by BR&P
Unfortunately, we have a combination of two things. The first is the old saw about a few bad ones ruining things for all. Most engineers, even if they granted a cab ride, are/were responsible enough to not turn operation of a passenger train over to a teenager. The second thing is the trend in recent years to take any incident with tragic or disastrous results and respond with more and more regulations. I have no doubt that while Mr. Sanchez may have been trying to give one or two fans a treat, his actions will actually wind up costing untold hundreds of fans THEIR chance at a cab ride in the future. I'm not dumb enough to say nobody will ever get one but it will certainly not be nearly as common or easy in the future.

As a kid growing up around branchline operations on two railroads, a couple friends and I knew most of the crews and were welcome to ride by many of them. Cab rides were routine although I don't believe we ever were invited to run the train. A few conductors did not mind our boarding the caboose as it moved slowly by, and on a couple occasions we performed a couple easy switching moves with the regular engineer, while the rest of the crew was playing cards. Can't imagine that happening today and in hindsight, had anything gone wrong it would have gone badly for the crew. (But then again they had been good teachers!)

And my first turn at the throttle, some 20 years or so before certification, was at an industrial railroad while being given a cab ride in an SW-1. The engineer sat me down, showed me the basics, and I spent probably 10 to 15 minutes running. While what he did was technically wrong, I had already become a railroad employee (not with that company) and he closely watched my actions. And it certainly did not involve the traveling public. Even so, it's doubtful something like that happens as often these days - and even less once the fallout from California hits us all.
  by D.Carleton
Years ago I would counsel younger fans who bragged openly about doing this or that in the cab of a moving locomotive. I assured them no such thing ever happened and they should stifle themselves. When they insisted I reminded them their actions were illegal and open knowledge of such an event could land them and our railroader friends in a lot of trouble. “So what happened?” “Uh… nothing.” Good answer.

Nowadays we have yahoos posting their exploits on YouTube such as happened in Chicago. Loose lips sink careers and ships. If we cannot be discrete then we deserve the consequences. Do not let your friends become collateral damage.
  by GN 599
Spokker wrote:I would ask to have this moved to the proper forum, but it will most likely be deleted because I fail to see a forum for bad railfan behavior.

So how often do you get invited to ride in the cab of a locomotive? How often do you accept? We've heard testimony and saw evidence that demonstrates how easy it was to do on Metrolink.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/a ... 746S07.DTL
Sanchez: I'm REALLY looking forward to getting you in the cab and showing you how to run a locomotive

Teen: (Oh my god) dude me too. Running a locomotive. Having all of that in the palms of my hands. Its a great feeling. And ill do it so good from all my practice on the simulator.

Sanchez: heh heh heh
Man, it must be a dream to handle a locmotive like that, to endanger the lives of hundreds of commuters.

I hope we can have a good discussion before this thread is deleted outright. Unfortunately railfans are saints and never do anything wrong and I will be banned. Moderators, please show you have some guts and move this to the proper forum.
I must be a grouch because I dont let teens on my trains to try their hand at being an engineer. Theres nothing wrong with a cab ride, but offering throttle time is out of line. There are a lot of railroad museums that offer ''engineer for a day'' type programs. Running a restored first generation diesel at your leisure will be far more benificial than sneaking a ride on a stinky old trash 9. Plus your donation for the operation time will go to a good cause. :wink:
I've posted this before, but I had my first cab ride about the age of 5. I rode the Valley many times, around the "terminal" are of NJ. (South Plainfield to Weehawkin Jct.) I had learned to run the various locos, and AB systems, by the time I was 13. I've had the opportunity to ride/run on most of the pre-Conrail roads, in the NJ area. I have often given rides to fans. I was fortunate enough to have been given many rides, and I know how that effected my decision to go running. We "sold" cab rides on the Suzy, in exchange for delivered dinners, on many an occasion. To this day, I'll invite someone up, if they have manners, and are respectful of my directions to them. If they wanna go for the ride, it's okay with me, if the conductor consents. It's not a big deal to me, but it's a big deal for the person getting the ride. (at least it was to me, back in the day) I'll ride ya in the yard, on a local, or even over the road. I don't "text" on the job, or anywhere else, for that matter. (why text, when you can call & talk?)
I could tell you about a road foreman and a senior manager of operations, on a regional road in a northwestern state, that recently decided to allow some chicks into the cab, complete with open containers of beer, and let them run the train while enjoying their bottles of suds. (generously, the RFE donated his lap, for the student engineers to run from)The train handling wasn't bad, I imagine, or the passengers on board might have commented about it, to the president or vice president of the railroad, who were also back there, in the coaches at the time....... :P
  by UPRR engineer
NellieBly wrote:
If you were flying to Asia on a 747, would you accept an invitation to "come fly the plane for a while"?
Yes.. yes i would.
  by SooLineRob
I just attended a "safety" class ... and an e-mail was received towards the end of the class concerning the NTSB hearing on Metrolink/Chatsworth...

...and it was made VERY clear:

Any crew member who violates Emergency Order 26 (electronic devices), or allows unauthorized person(s) in the cab (cab rides) will be DISMISSED IMMEDIATELY; and turned over to the FRA for the appropriate PERSONAL fine.

In addition, any crew member who observes/allows/condones another crew member to violate EO26, or allows unauthorized person(s) in the cab will be held equally accountable; DISMISSED and personally fined.

In other words ... Conductors: your Engineer brings his father-in-law along for a ride, and Engineers: your Conductor gets caught texting/surfing on the engine ... EVERYONE'S DONE.

I suspect like the FAA has done, the FRA will be watching "youtube" and "railpictures" ... be forewarned.
  by slchub
UPRR engineer wrote:
NellieBly wrote:
If you were flying to Asia on a 747, would you accept an invitation to "come fly the plane for a while"?
Yes.. yes i would.
And talk about fun! When I was a flight attendant back in the 90's I sat in the F/O's seat on a repositioning flight for awhile and "played" around with the autopilot and gentle turns here and there. But like anything else, the newness would wear off and it becomes a job after awhile. Same with operating an Amtrak P42DC. While it was thrilling when I first started, now I have grown comfortable and enjoy what I am doing, but the "thrill" of running a train is simply not there any longer.