27.10.04

THE RULE FOR TODAY IS RULE K.
Employes must expect the movement of trains, engines, cars or other movable equipment at any time, on any track, in either direction.
(That's from the General Code of Operating Rules in use by the Western Trunk Lines.) It's advice that others would do well to keep in mind. Yesterday I was returning from a meeting in Chicago on the 5.04 semi-fast, first stop Downers Grove Main Street. We were getting up to track speed near the Cicero Yard, but as the train was meeting an eastbound equipment train, the engineer put our train into emergency. A conductor informed us shortly that we had had an "incident" involving a pedestrian. The incident turned out to be a dead pedestrian. News accounts are sketchy, but my best guess is that somebody in a hurry waited for the eastbound train to clear, then took off, right in front of the train I was riding. One person dead, a thousand people delayed for three hours (why were the Cicero police so hesitant to release the train) and a bit of an adventure transferring all those passengers from one train to a replacement train through one door (to prevent injuries Metra used the wheelchair lifts on one car as a gangplank: everybody had to walk to that car, then transfer to the replacement train, an evolution that took 40 minutes.)

Anyone who must cross railroad tracks as part of a daily routine ought to be familiar with the advice offered by Operation Lifesaver. Walk in front of a train? It won't hurt for long.

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