• Can freight engineers move Amtk trains these days?

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Of course I would find this one interesting. In today's operations Amtrak crews often do not stay on the same railroad for
their entire trip. An example Albany to New York they operate on CSX between Albany and CP-75 just north of Poughkeepsie,
Metro-North from Poughkeepsie to CP-12 and finally Amtrak from CP-12 to Penn Station. If an Amtrak engineer got relieved
by a CSX engineer the CSX engineer would be qualified on the characteristics between Albany and probably CP-12 but not
from CP-12 to Penn Station. A Metro-North engineer would be qualified between CP-12 and CP-75 but no further in either
direction.
Here's what BNSF special instructions from July 13, 2003 dictate on this issue:
"BNSF Crews Operating Amtrak Trains
When a BNSF crew relieves or helps an Amtrak crew, a freight locomotive must be used to handle Amtrak trains. When Amtrak crews are being relieved or helped by BNSF crews Amtrak personnel must handle all 480-volt AC power and set up
Amtrak locomotives in the trail position. The speed in which the train will operate is the maximum speed allowed on that
territory for freight train service. BNSF crews are prohibited from handling, adjusting or performing work between or under
cars when Head End Power (HEP) 480 volt AC is energized.
Amtrak-Qualified BNSF Engineers Operating Amtrak Trains
Addition of a freight locomotive will not be necessary when one or both of the following apply: When the BNSF engineer who
is to relieve or help an Amtrak crew is Amtrak qualified. When a BNSF engineer is accompanied by an Amtrak qualified
engineer or qualified kAmtrak supervisor. The locomotives need not be set up in the trail position. All other requirements
as listed in the section ""BNSF Crews Operating Amtrak Trains"" will still be in effect."
In my 10 years working between Selkirk and Buffalo I was once asked in Buffalo if I could or would run an Amtrak train east
and I said no because I did not work passenger in that territory and I was not qualified from CP-169 to Rensselaer.
I don't think it is a good icea for a freight railroad engineer to work an Amtrak train in territory where Amtrak has their
own engineers and I believe that is the entire system in these days.
Noel Weaver