Ran through my first switch today :-(

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Ran through my first switch today :-(

Postby Blackjack2 » Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:05 pm

Well, after 3 years without any mishaps, it finally happened. As conductor I ran through my first switch :(

Was a totally a stupid manuever on my part....and the LAST piece of work we had to do on our shift too!! We were running around a covered hopper in order to spot it. Took my engineer through the switch, stopped then threw the switch for the siding (which we were going to come back through on). My engineer and I were discussing setting out the car on the industry track and agreed we'd better chock the car as the spur is on a pretty good hill. The engineer said he'd back up so I could ride the unit back to the enginehouse where I could grab a metal chock. Well, I told him "okay back" then SNAP. My first reaction, after I got that sick feeling in my stomach, was "Don't tell me I just did something THAT stupid! Well, needless to say I did.

Luckily nothing went on the ground. Just snapped the rod in the switch. Nothing else broken.

I immediately notifed my supervisor, who was extremely cool & kind about the whole incident. He asked if it was my first time running a switch, then said "welcome to the club kid." I think he knew that I felt terrible.

But, I'm determined to file it as a learning opportunity. Do you fellas remember your first screw-up? What was it? Maybe some of your stories will help someone like me avoid doing the same thing!!
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Postby Aji-tater » Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:28 am

You have several positive things here. First, nobody hurt or killed. Second, apparently you don't work for one of those lines that want to fire you for any mistake. Third, it was only a run through switch, not a cornered car or a derailment. You just learned a lesson that even when you're tired and it's been a long day, you have to force yourself to stay sharp and focused. Don't let it eat at you, but don't forget it either.

For what it's worth, it happens to about everybody sooner or later, you're far from alone and it does not make you an idiot.
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Postby GN 599 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:46 pm

We used to have a "rubber" flopover switch (no not a spring switch) that we would run through with students on purpose. It was great especially if you had a guy who wasn't over his derail. They replaced it about a year ago though. I miss that switch :( .
What a long strange trip its been.
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Postby zoomdude » Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:52 am

we stil have alot of rubber switches here in detroit. almost all of livernois yard has them. i like em
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:59 pm

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Postby Rocko » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:23 pm

Engineer and I went by a dark signal back in October. We picked up another train at a nearby town. Had a train placement eror in the train we picked up. Egineer and I discussed it and unknown to us a few officials were setting up a dark signal test five miles ahead of us early that morning just at sunrise when we went by their dark signal. Needless to say it was a learning experience and I hope it will never happen again. Most importantly, I have been enjoying my four months off with job insurance pay.
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Postby Gadfly » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:40 pm

AH! The good old "whammy' or run-off insurance comes in handy! :P

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Postby 10more years » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:20 am

Don't feel bad. Stuff happens.

I ran over my fourth person last week.
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Postby conrail_engineer » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:13 am

Get in the HABIT of following the rail with your eye - that you can see IMMEDIATELY whether the switch is lined for your move.

Luckily you'll have a second chance. Depending on who you are and who's in charge, you don't always get it on my railroad.

Over ten years, only done it once - I was two months on the job and it was a puzzle switch; I lined the wrong switch handle.

That was back when the carrier was a whole lot more cool about those things...although, even then, we had luck on our side. We were in a foreign yard; and before supervision could show up, we outlawed.
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Postby kickum » Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:08 am

After five years I got careless one night switching on the lead. I kicked a car and went to grab the switch for my next move before the slack of the train ran out. I got the switch stuck half way and boom one wheel on a loaded open top scrap car sits on the ground.

It was in the middle of the night and I didn't have job insurance. However I was able to rerail it in 20 min with a couple big wedge timbers and a few bangs on the switch. Which I don't recommend to just anyone. :wink:
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Postby jz441 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:21 pm

Don't feel bad... These things happen. As long as your local management is cool about it, it's no big deal. I have seen people get terminated for getting one axle over the derail, and I also have seen people rear end a train and still keep their job.
It all depends on a superintendent... Some are rootless, and some keep big things big, and small things small.
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