Grade Crossing Accidents.

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Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby railfan365 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:30 am

One day this week, I saw a piece in the daily news - just a photograph with a caption. It showed the front end of a freight locomotive with a crew member standing on the front catwalk insepcting a small track that the train had hit in Vermont. The caption added that the driver of the track had ben hospitalized with multiple injuries.

While this isn't the first thread to address stupidity of pedestrians and the drivers of road vehicles, I still can't help but wonder: What goes through a driver's mind when they're at a crossing that they just blindly go in front of a speeding train? It makes me think of the time that a Long Island Railroad train that I was riding in ran over a car in Mineola because the woman who had been driving the car went half-way over a crossing and turned left onto the westbound track. The woman, who was pulled to safety before the train hit, was found to have been confused and should not have been driving.
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby Desertdweller » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:08 pm

This is a question I've often asked myself. The answer is, they weren't thinking. At least, not thinking about the possibility of being struck by a train.

I've been involved in a number of accidents with vehicles at grade crossings. No one said they were looking for or even thinking about the possibility of being struck.
Usually, the windows are rolled up and the stereo/radio is playing loudly.

My first one, a lady was slowing down and I thought she was going to stop. She just kept going. She told me she had just bought the car the day before and didn't want to jar it by going over the tracks too fast. She had the windows up, music on loud, A/C on full blast, and was eating fried chicken at the time.

Another woman stopped. Then pulled out in front of me and was hit. She said she pulled onto the track to see if a train was coming. One was.

Two boys ran into the side of my locomotive. They were blinded by the rising sun, and took a chance that the crossing was open. It wasn't.

A log truck pulled onto a crossing in front of me and had the nose taken off the truck tractor. The driver admitted he never slows down or looks for trains at that crossing.

Same story from an old feller who crossed in front of me in a big Buick. He was hit, spun around in the air, hit my loco amidships with his rear end and broke my main reservoir pipe, then landed upside down in a deep ditch. Although he lived near the crossing, he was amazed that a train was traveling across it.

One night I was making a train up in a yard in South Carolina. Back and forth over a crossing, bells and horn blowing each time. A little car, driven by a woman, ran across the crossing in front of me when I would have sworn I had the crossing so occupied there wasn't room left for her to do that. She made it, then continued down the street, swerving wildly. I wondered where she was going that was so important she would do something like that.

Another time, in Mississippi, I was switching an industry across a busy state highway. A woman came tearing down the road at my train, driving a big old Ford LTD wagon. She didn't appear to slow down at all. Instead, just short of the crossing, she turned left onto another road that intersected the one the train was occupying.
She left rubber tire tracks on the asphalt, but they weren't from braking. They were skid marks left by turning!

A few months later, at that same crossing, some old guy drove straight into the train and was killed. It was my old crew working that day, but I had just left on a transfer.

So, yes. These people may be thinking about something, but it isn't their driving.

Les
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby scharnhorst » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:30 pm

even at slow speeds people will jot out infront of a train. We used to have morons do this when I worked for Sperry Rail Service all the time in Quebec, Canada and the police were just as guilty or they would just opt not to pull people over and issue tickets.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby Freddy » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:15 pm

scharnhorst wrote:even at slow speeds people will jot out infront of a train. We used to have morons do this when I worked for Sperry Rail Service all the time in Quebec, Canada and the police were just as guilty or they would just opt not to pull people over and issue tickets.

Dang! The Sperry Car! I'm glad I don't have to stay in touch with where you guys are at during the day, anymore.
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby scharnhorst » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:04 am

Freddy wrote:
scharnhorst wrote:even at slow speeds people will jot out infront of a train. We used to have morons do this when I worked for Sperry Rail Service all the time in Quebec, Canada and the police were just as guilty or they would just opt not to pull people over and issue tickets.

Dang! The Sperry Car! I'm glad I don't have to stay in touch with where you guys are at during the day, anymore.


I stopped working for them a few years ago after having a few near misses my self.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby edbear » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:56 pm

When I worked for the Boston & Maine, the circumstances of the train-vehicle altercation were reviewed. It was very unusual that the railroad would be at fault. If it were a commercial vehicle the B & M would attempt to reach a settlement with the owner. Most of the time these would be settled without going to court. A lot of judgement was exercised with private vehicles, especially if the circumstances were particularly tragic, the cases were not pursued. If the private driver was a real goofball, drunk or high on drugs, and got by unscathed, a settlement was attempted....but a lot of people like that don't have much money. While a highway vehicle is no match for a locomotive, the railroad does incur expenses like incidental damage, time lost with a replacement crew, drug and alcohol testing, etc.
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby scharnhorst » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:50 am

Just straying for a second on the topic but I remember seeing a memo once in a CONRAIL Yard office up in either Syracuse, NY or Massena, NY that stated that employees driving company owned vehicles i.e. trucks and hi/rails were being instructed to make for ditches during bad weather if they were starting to skid on ice or if the employee could not stop for a deer running out in front of them to hit the animal if the driver was unable to slow down. According to the memo it was cheaper to replace a truck and pay for property damage than it was to have someone lose there life in an accident.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby Gadfly » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:13 pm

scharnhorst wrote:Just straying for a second on the topic but I remember seeing a memo once in a CONRAIL Yard office up in either Syracuse, NY or Massena, NY that stated that employees driving company owned vehicles i.e. trucks and hi/rails were being instructed to make for ditches during bad weather if they were starting to skid on ice or if the employee could not stop for a deer running out in front of them to hit the animal if the driver was unable to slow down. According to the memo it was cheaper to replace a truck and pay for property damage than it was to have someone lose there life in an accident.


I KNOW NS would do! They'd quote their moto that says, "All accident are preventable", then take you to investigation for scuffing their vehicle! If you're already skidding, HOW do you "make for the ditch"? On the railroad, WE always lose! :(

GF
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby sd80mac » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:10 pm

scharnhorst wrote:Just straying for a second on the topic but I remember seeing a memo once in a CONRAIL Yard office up in either Syracuse, NY or Massena, NY that stated that employees driving company owned vehicles i.e. trucks and hi/rails were being instructed to make for ditches during bad weather if they were starting to skid on ice or if the employee could not stop for a deer running out in front of them to hit the animal if the driver was unable to slow down. According to the memo it was cheaper to replace a truck and pay for property damage than it was to have someone lose there life in an accident.



why would u turn to avoid deer?? if driver does that, s/he make things worse for her/himself... slam on brake and stay straight ahead! if somene's behind you, dont slam but slow down as much as you can without getting rear-ended or causing the car behind u go into ditch. the insurance would pay for the damnages without jack-up your preimum... if you turn and missed the deer but hit the tree... your preimum GOES UP!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby scharnhorst » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:05 pm

sd80mac wrote:
scharnhorst wrote:Just straying for a second on the topic but I remember seeing a memo once in a CONRAIL Yard office up in either Syracuse, NY or Massena, NY that stated that employees driving company owned vehicles i.e. trucks and hi/rails were being instructed to make for ditches during bad weather if they were starting to skid on ice or if the employee could not stop for a deer running out in front of them to hit the animal if the driver was unable to slow down. According to the memo it was cheaper to replace a truck and pay for property damage than it was to have someone lose there life in an accident.



why would u turn to avoid deer?? if driver does that, s/he make things worse for her/himself... slam on brake and stay straight ahead! if somene's behind you, dont slam but slow down as much as you can without getting rear-ended or causing the car behind u go into ditch. the insurance would pay for the damnages without jack-up your preimum... if you turn and missed the deer but hit the tree... your preimum GOES UP!!!!!!!!!!!



your miss-reading this the order was to make for ditches in bad weather and if it came down to deer the order was to hit it.
no matter the weather or the country I'll still be trackside!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby sd80mac » Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:49 am

scharnhorst wrote:
scharnhorst wrote:being instructed to make for ditches during bad weather if they were starting to skid on ice or if the employee could not stop for a deer...


your miss-reading this the order was to make for ditches in bad weather and if it came down to deer the order was to hit it.


ok i get what you are saying.. but it is not how you said it in your original post. What you said was to go for ditch if they start to skid OR could not stop for deer.
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby MR77100 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:40 pm

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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby EMDSD40-2 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:50 pm



If those are your videos there's no need to try and make them more dramatic than they really are. During my time as a railroaders I saw much closer events than the ones in those videos. Events like the ones in the videos merely cause railroaders to yawn. It's the ones at fifty feet or less at fast speeds that got our attention. I, and other railroaders, have always had problems with railfans who try and make a multiple day occurrence much more than it really is by adding creative wording to the titles of their videos. I don't mean to sound too harsh, but this has always been a pet peeve of mine when fifteen seconds between the vehicle crossing and the train passing is called a close call with complimentary exclamation points while fifty feet of distance or less is what really makes a railroader's hair stand up. Forgive me for speaking bluntly.
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby Freddy » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:06 pm

EMDSD40-2 wrote:


If those are your videos there's no need to try and make them more dramatic than they really are. During my time as a railroaders I saw much closer events than the ones in those videos. Events like the ones in the videos merely cause railroaders to yawn. It's the ones at fifty feet or less at fast speeds that got our attention. I, and other railroaders, have always had problems with railfans who try and make a multiple day occurrence much more than it really is by adding creative wording to the titles of their videos. I don't mean to sound too harsh, but this has always been a pet peeve of mine when fifteen seconds between the vehicle crossing and the train passing is called a close call with complimentary exclamation points while fifty feet of distance or less is what really makes a railroader's hair stand up. Forgive me for speaking bluntly.

Same here. I've seen closer one's as a maintainer with gates down and me standing in the xing!
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Re: Grade Crossing Accidents.

Postby Gadfly » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:22 am

How about being aboard the engine at 79 MPH and seeing a car DISAPPEAR beneath the nose of the engine? [E8 cab unit] :( Now THAT'S close! :)

(She got across with mere INCHES to spare!

GF
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