Stop and Protect

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Stop and Protect

Postby Tadman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:07 pm

Elsewhere it is reported that Amtrak has been enduring bad crossing signals in Michigan so it must stop and flag at least four gates. This is adding 20+ minutes to train that has a critical window to meet at Porter, where westbound trains join the ultra-busy NS line. Miss this window and you get stuck behind a rock train headed into Chicago, facing delays up to 90 minutes.

Why is it that things must be done this way? Couldn't the railroad hire a security service that stations men at/near that crossings who then flag for the train that slows to perhaps 20mph but doesn't stop - twice at that - for this procedure? Perhaps even hire the local police to put some guys on overtime and station them in cruisers which then block the crossing at appointed time?

I realize the above is expensive, but is it more expensive than having 200+ people miss their arrival time significantly? Either in terms of dollars outlay or lost revenue from people that refuse to try this again?
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:30 pm

Tadman wrote:Elsewhere it is reported that Amtrak has been enduring bad crossing signals in Michigan so it must stop and flag at least four gates. This is adding 20+ minutes to train that has a critical window to meet at Porter, where westbound trains join the ultra-busy NS line. Miss this window and you get stuck behind a rock train headed into Chicago, facing delays up to 90 minutes.

Why is it that things must be done this way? Couldn't the railroad hire a security service that stations men at/near that crossings who then flag for the train that slows to perhaps 20mph but doesn't stop - twice at that - for this procedure? Perhaps even hire the local police to put some guys on overtime and station them in cruisers which then block the crossing at appointed time?

I realize the above is expensive, but is it more expensive than having 200+ people miss their arrival time significantly? Either in terms of dollars outlay or lost revenue from people that refuse to try this again?


Keeping the signals and protection in good working order at all time is a better solution to this problem.
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby STrRedWolf » Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:08 pm

Stop-and-Flag/Protect orders are usually done last-hour until they can actually get a crew out there to fix what is the problem with the crossing arms. Sometimes it's just a power outage and the backup generators are running dry, sometimes it's something more serious/broken.

That said, if I remember FRA regs right, if somebody's flagging, the train has to creep through the crossover at a low speed. So posting someone there when a conductor can flag it and the train creep through is a waste of money and manpower.

The only exception to this has been some lines of the Denver RTA... which is a different forum.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:35 pm

For better or worse,there are many reasons that knock out crossing protection,then it becomes the RR's problem to get it working again.
When a Signal Maintainer is working on the needed repairs,will help flag the crossing if a train approaches,otherwise the Crew is required
to flag the crossing.
In rare cases,you might have local police/state police help a real busy crossing in a town or city,when a vehicle takes out a major part of the crossing,
blocking a lane of the road.
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby Railjunkie » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:57 am

As Noel stated the easiest is fix the problem. IF you have flag protection at the crossing you must be notified by paper ie Form M Form D EC-1 ect ect. this would relieve the crew from flagging the crossing. There are even rules as to what a flag person is, railroad employee, police. How they should be dressed.

You must be able to contact the flag before you occupy the crossing. So you are still slowing down.

All railroads are the same but different in the way they handle this.
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby train2 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:38 pm

A police officer/security person would not have the right radio for contacting the train. Only a qualified RR person could be in position with ability to contact to relieve the stop order. Once they are in place, if contact is made you don't have to slow down, at least on my Class one.
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby AgentSkelly » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:00 pm

train2 wrote:A police officer/security person would not have the right radio for contacting the train. Only a qualified RR person could be in position with ability to contact to relieve the stop order. Once they are in place, if contact is made you don't have to slow down, at least on my Class one.


I’ve seen BNSF Police do flagging at failed crossings..,
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:49 pm

Keep in mind a police officer or maintainer, unless properly identified and in contact with train crew , is not a substitute to protect the crossing.
the crew of train is ultimately responsible, unless a proper person takes over that responsibility and communicated this to the crew.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:09 pm

What about Crossing Watchmen (Flagmen) with their round black and white STOP signs and red lanterns? They don't communicate with train crews, except by being seen. Their presence is communicated to the crews by Timetable Instructions or notices, etc.
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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby DutchRailnut » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:39 pm

Ok when is last time you seen any such employed ?
rules change .
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Stop and Protect

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:02 pm

On one occasion I called the posted 800 number to report gates down at a nearby crossing. The person who answered (promptly) told me, when I mentioned stop-and-protect, that he calls the dispatcher even before notifying M/W so the dispatcher can issue a stop-and-protect order. I believe that from there the railroad notifies the local police, who can then wave road traffic across, knowing that every train will approach the crossing prepared to stop. I guess we don't know yet whether the gates at Crozet were malfunctioning and had been down for some time, but if someone had known to look for the 800 number and call it, road traffic would have been waved across and the passenger extra would have approached the crossing prepared to stop.
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