16.7.13

GETTING THE CHRONOLOGY STRAIGHT.

Destination: Freedom publishes a chronology of events in the Lac-Megantic train wreck.  At Trains (public access), Fred Frailey quotes a Union Pacific crew member on the work involved in properly parking a train.
“Do you realize what it takes to properly secure a train on a grade? I’ve done it countless times. Parking the train on the grade, the hoghead secures the locos while the conductor secures a sufficient number of handbrakes on the train itself. It’s a very time consuming process with engineer and conductor working in coordination, as well as a pain in the ass, but that which has to be done. And I can only imagine what one person must have to go through to secure a 10,000-ton train. Running back and forth. Tying the handbrakes on locos and train, then going back up into the train and kicking off the independents and Big Air to see if you’ve got one that won’t roll away if the air doesn’t bleed off. My god, it’s a hell of a job with two men, my friend, even if the hog law isn’t nipping at you, and it’s even more stressful if the 12-hour clock is ticking. Only when you are quite certain the thing is as tight as Dick’s hat band can you set the 20-pound reduction that should allow you to get off the train with a clear conscience.”
That squares with my observation from last week.  "Park a train for crew rest with the operator on short time, though, and there's lots of potential for bad things to happen."  Mr Frailey observes that regulators on both sides of the 49th Parallel have a propensity for preventing the last accident, and the effects on railroading, particularly on one-operator and remote-controlled trains, might be meaningful.

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