• Cab Ride From Hell -- BNSF Cornfield Meet on Tape

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by NV290
conrail_engineer wrote:
thirdtrick wrote:
NV290 wrote:I have yet to hear a valid argument as to why cab mounted microphones used only for accident invesigations are a bad thing. It's the people who don't like to call signals, to not use thier cell phones, to sleep, etc who have a problem with them. In other words, people who are lazy and/or don't like to follow rules.
yeah, but wouldn't it be a shame if they fired you for not calling all those clear signals just because your voice can't be heard above the deafening background roar? if they're so concerned about safety, how about installing a microphone for the radio!
And how about the tedium of having to watch what you say, twelve hours, six or seven days a week? Who wants to live that way, with the constant fear that an offhand remark or observation may be flung back at you weeks or months later, as a chargeable offense?

Airline crews do it? But most airline trips are not twelve hours or longer. The sheer AMOUNT of time spent out there makes constant fear of the Thought Police a real irritant.

If you think it's a good idea...fine. Come in and work like that. Because when they start recording my every word...I will find something else to do.
As i said, there would be no reason to watch what you say as the system would only be used for accident investigation. In an accident, they simply want to hear that you were calling the signals, that both crew members were alert and that they responded properly to things ahead. There not going to be interested in what you think of your boss or how much you hate the company, etc, etc. The NTSB cares nothing about conversations that don't concern the incident itself.

The NTSB may not care, but rest assured, the company will. It is happening where I work and all I can say that the results are not pleasant.

  by l008com
So here's a question, one thats on topic too. If the train with the camera in it hasn't hit the breaks, that would have caused it to get to the switch first, and then instead of a head on, the train that went through the signals would have side swiped the camera train. Wouldn't this have been a "better" (better meaning less bad) crash?
  by Komachi
** Cocks head to the side and scratches scalp. Has a "Wha?" look on face **

To quote Wayne Campbell, "Exsqueese me? Baking powder?"

Let me see if I understand what you're saying here...

If the locomotive with the camera POV (Point of View... in other words, the one we see the accident from) hadn't braked, it would have reached the switch first, and the oncoming train (the one that approaches the camera POV) would have only sideswiped the train, not met at a near-head on?

Is this what you're asking?


If the camera train arrived first, yes, it would have cleared the switch or had a sideswipe with the oncoming train. But, you forget something...

there's a train of X number of cars and maybe a few more locomotives behind our view point (I doubt this was a light engine movement). So, it still would have resulted in a wreck.

  by l008com
I didn't mean that it would have prevented the accident! I just meant that even if two locomotives side swiped each other on a switch, wouldn't that generally be likely to be a lot less sever an accident versus a head on?

  by route_rock
thats what happened here was a side swipe technically.

I agree with the cameras not being able to record in the cab.Management wouldnt look this up my rear! We had problems with managment putting up video recorders and microphones in the EXIT signs in a locker room. HORSE MANURE they wouldnt look at it.

Did you know BNSF stated that those cameras only came on when the whistle blew or an emergency application was occuring? Wow I didnt hear the whistle that long in that tape.Also when that unit goes by my terminal it data dumps its record to the RFE. Who can review everything on said record.If you want to be recorded fine. I follow the rules. I dont sleep and I call out signals. But I believe I have a right not to be watched 24/7.

  by conrail_engineer
I would add to that...that no one KNEW wtf was happening at that second.

The guys were approaching the siding, on signals. The signal dropped. Procedure is to bring the train to a safe stop - not to dynamite the brakes - and watch for other abnormal issues that may have caused the signal to drop.

They may or may not have realized right away that the train approaching had run the signal. They would have been hard-pressed to figure whether that train would be able to stop short of the foul point...and if it had? And the crew on the camera-train had big-holed the brakes? And the train broke or tore out the turnout with the sudden braking forces?

At some point they clearly DID see that the train was going to run into them. The instinct is to put the train in Emergency. ONCE THAT IS DONE, THE BRAKES CANNOT BE RECOVERED FOR 5-10 MINUTES.

Had the crew sped up, the head-end may or may not have missed contact. The opposing train WOULD have hit, and his consist may have come off the rails...piling onto the train entering the siding. The more speed on EITHER train, the more violent the collision. (Forces multiply by a factor of 4.)

It could possibly have been (in the engineer's split-second appraisal of the situation) that he was mistaken. That train may just have been crowding the signal...and there could have been a standing or rolling car on the siding. And if he hits? And someone gets killed? He's liable...for accelerating, not braking, when his signal dropped.

Railroad operations, and dealing with emergency situations, is complicated, friend.