Author Topic: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more  (Read 506 times)

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Bob Bufkin

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One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« on: March 18, 2012, 05:02:28 PM »
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CSX freight Q216-16 took out a car and tow truck at the crossing at Riverdale, MD yesterday.  This is what's left of a bench I usually sit in.  I also usually park behind that tree.  Just glad I wasn't there last evening.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 08:22:38 PM by Bob Bufkin »

davefoxx

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2012, 07:51:18 PM »
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Well, it would have been a good show, but I'm glad you're still with us, Bob.

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Bob Bufkin

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 08:35:16 PM »
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Here's the whole story.


So, here is the recent incident scenario. Drunk driving a Lexus Eastbound on Queensbury Rd. Makes a r.h. turn on the dual lane CSX right of way towards the red traffic lights (Riverdale CPLs). RDP Police respond and take the driver into custody. RDP Police call Greg's Towing their contractor to remove the Lexus from T#1. Greg's responds and positions one of their "UD" trucks on the crossing with the rear wheels straddling the outside rail of T#1. The TT driver extends the winch line to the Lexus and just as he attached it....ding..ding..ding...t​he gates drop and Q216 come into sight at track speed (50mph) with about 1/4 mile of reaction distance. Everyone on hand runs for the side lines. Q216 hits the car first, then the TT. The TT was "punted" over 100ft taking our signs, shrubs, benches etc. The Lexus was still attached to the tow cable and was drug about 200' ending up between T1 and T2 slightly wedged into one of the auto-rack cars. I was there, parked where the TT ended up, for about an hours prior to the incident, left to go to 7-11. There was a man and a woman sitting on the bench. They were there when I drove by 15 min later when I headed home. As I pulled in my drive way at home 12min later , Scott Barber called me and gave me the news that he heard on the police frequency. Needless to say I headed directly back to RDP. I found the couple that was sitting on the bench. They were OK, luckily they were watching the attempted recovery, and ran too. They did describe how various debris blew past them as they ran. There were no vehicles at all parked along that stretch of the parking lot when this incident happened....extremely unusual on a Saturday night.

My question is why in the hell didn't the local police notify CSX immediately to prevent it.

Philip H

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 09:59:23 PM »
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Bob,
In my experience RPD is not that swift.
Philip H.
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 10:29:22 PM »
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Good grief, I've used that bench many times (and was hoping to again this Friday!).  I saw an almost identical incident there one weekend night about 2 years ago: someone drove their car onto track 1 and not more than 5 mins later a southbound came on track 2.  It missed the car by no more than 2 feet.

Greg's towing is right under the bridge behind the station, so they should know how busy this line can be.  If I were a TT driver called to such a job, I would not set foot on the tracks until I had personally called the railroad to report it.

Ian MacMillan

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 12:49:45 AM »
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 :facepalm: ugh numbnuts.

Could be RR dispatch as well. I've had PD incidents when I worked in the southern part of the state where our dispatch contacted PanAm, but their dispatcher either forgot,was too busy, or just didn't get to it in time, and a train goes through your scene. Had one where the PAR dispatcher had the Downeaster go through at restricted speed when it was requested that they hold all traffic. Needsless to say it was a little shocking to look up and see a P42 coming out of the blind curve.
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nscalemike

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 12:53:10 AM »
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Every time we have any type of call that can cause us to be on the railroad tracks we notify CN.  We don't always tell them to stop traffic, sometimes only request a restricted speed, but we give them a heads up and find out when the next train is due to give us some idea of our time window.  Usually the calls are for suicidal people on the tracks and the railroad typically is more than helpful,  bad press if they kill someone I guess.

C855B

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 01:01:39 AM »
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Excuse me for stating the obvious, but why are first responders not trained in the art of using a jumper cable to shunt the signal circuit? Hmm?
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Ian MacMillan

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 05:33:36 AM »
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Excuse me for stating the obvious, but why are first responders not trained in the art of using a jumper cable to shunt the signal circuit? Hmm?

Well aside that its a HUGE FRA no no, it may only shunt the crossing circuit and not the whole block circuit. To train people to learn how to find out where the island is, where the approach circuit is, where the block circuit is, and were the IJ's are, and to shunt inside or outside of that IJ depending on if its in the island, outside in the approach circuit, or if its the signal circuit is actually more difficult than making a simple phone call when people are rushing around thinking more about the scene than their surroundings because of tunnel vision.

That and every possible responder would have to be trained on every section of rail in their response area as to if it is a block circuit with crossing circuit or just a crossing circuit railroad line. Based on my being in on scene public safety as a LEO for 10yrs I could easily see someone shunting a crossing circuit in the heat of the moment thinking that is all that is needed and then something happening.
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C855B

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 10:44:53 AM »
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I briefly apprenticed under an SP signal maintainer 35 years ago, so very possibly my knowledge is outdated or, for that matter, forgotten. I was trained that any shunt anywhere within the block would activate the train protection. It could also be that in our area the signal systems were too simple, being ABS; I had no CTC training. Anyway, I had this theory demonstrated several times, chasing down falsing situations which were things such as metal strapping wedged in a turnout.

But that said, I cannot imagine that a signal circuit would be unable to detect a single car (rail car) left on the rails that just happened to be sitting within road crossing protection. If it were me and it was a busy line like this, I'd put the shunt down anyway without regard for where it was in the circuit(s) while I was calling the RR emergency #, and let the FRA stew over whether it was better to just let the collision occur.
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cv_acr

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Re: One of my favorite railroad benches is no more
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 02:55:05 PM »
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Obviously that's not the case for this particular location, since the railroad signals were specifically mentioned, but there are "dark territory" lines out there still where attaching a jumper between the rails will accomplish precisely nothing.