Level-crossing Safety

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by MasonJar, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    CBC has this story about proposed improvements to level crossings in Brockville, Ontario:


    The only thing I do not agree with is the reduction in speed of the trains from 100+ km/h to 80km/h. What difference will this make? The train still will not be able to stop, and getting hit at 80 km/h instead of 100+ is not any "safer"...?

    I do think it is a good idea that the bylaw prohibiting horn-blowing be recinded.

  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    It used to be that trains were allowed to sound the horn while approaching a crossing. That may have saved Sabrinas life. I don't think Brockville was wise to stop trains from sounding the horn in their community. I agree with Andrew that reducing the speed to 80 will be of any help.
  3. cpr_boy

    cpr_boy Member

    Common sense?

    These deaths are tragic, but I can't understand how people are so impatient to wait a few minutes for a train. YOU are going to loose big time when going up against a train. I see many near-misses at grade crossings during my railfanning adventures.

    I think more responsibility has to be placed on the individual rather than making changes to an already safe system of warning bells, crossing gates, etc.

    Just my 0.02
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    In this case, and other recent cases at multiple track crossings, people have been hit by stepping in front of a second train after the first has cleared. No one seems to look for a second train, especially when it comes from teh opposite direction... :(

    I don't know if they are as common now, but when I visited England when I was younger there were gates that would entirely close the road and sidewalk when a train was coming. When there wa no train, the gates would close off the tracks so you couldn't walk on them. This might be difficult to implement in Canada with our snow.

    In the end though, I tend to agree that more onus must be put on the individual.

  5. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    i think it is time to stop banning the horn, rather hear the horn at 2 am then see the flashing lights of of police, fire and ambulance at a crossing.
    people have to start looking both ways at crossings, learn to protect themselves , common sense would go a long way
  6. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    Yes we do still have them - we also have what called half barriers which are exactly what their name suggests. They were the cause of a huge accident recently that cost a lot of lives when someone decided to commit suicide by driving around the barriers and then parking on the track in the path of an oncoming HST
  7. siderod

    siderod Member

    Rant About Stupidity

    I mean no offense to anyone here, nor do i intend to make anyone unhappy, but this is how i feel about the subject...

    In my honest opinion, people in general as well as people as a species are stupid. We may very well be the smartest things to ever inhabit the earth, but we're also the stupidest. Confusing, eh?

    Allow me to elaborate...we may be able to put a man on the moon (still debated, i might add), and we may be able to do alot of things that people in the stone age couldn't, including nation-wide rail service (though i bet even the egyptians couldn't make amtrak run on time or be profitable... :p )

    Now, i must ask...if you were sitting at a grade crossing and knew little to nothing about trains, yet you knew what a railroad track looked like, and you knew what a crossbuck meant, what would you do? Here are your choices:

    1- Remain in your vehicle, safely behind the protective crossing gate and obeying the warning bells and lights, and wait the passing of the VIA Rail passenger train (or other train, for that matter), which i might add, is moving at well above 75MPH and laying on the airhorns as it rolls through. Once the train is by (minuite or 2, depending on length and speed), and the lights have gone off, look both ways and proceed across the tracks and on your way, still alive and with all body-parts fully intact.

    Or, option #2...

    2- Remain in your vehicle, look towards the head end of the train, obviously moving very quickly, and making alot of noise. Proceed past the crossing gates, bells and lights, and try to get across the tracks, before the locomotive and following train, weighing some ungodly large amount, covering well over 100 feet per second. Most likly, you'll fail and, in the end, you'll become the new hood ornament on some locomotive, and cause the head-end crew serious trauma.

    Sadly, most people who think they have something to gain and nothing to lose pick option #2. I refer to these people (in public, anyway) as "people of a lesser inteligence then the ground they walk on".....sure, some of them might be professers or scientists, but they just made the stupidist mistake you can make...actually, they made several...

    First off, they decided to start a fight between (metaphorically speaking...) 2 GM Products. One of which weighs about 6000 pounds, is about 25 feet long, seats 4 comfortably and has a 5-star government crash-test rating. The other one, weighs about 100000 tons, is about 7500 feet long, seats 4 (or more) confortably and doesn't need a goverment crash-test rating. I'll leave it up to your imagination which will win. Second mistake they made was assuming the train will stop. Seriously, i've talked to people that were walking the CNR Mainline and asked them what they planned to do if a train came along. Their exact words were something along the lines of "Oh, there arn't many trains on this line...besides, they'll stop for us. In Nova Scotia, Pedestrians have the right of way, remember?" I lauged...there are over 30 trains a day on that line, moving at a track speed of 55MPH in that area...it takes a mile and a half to stop on a good day. And, pedestrians only have the right of way on crosswalks on streets...needless to say, CN police were alerted to their location shortly there after. Thirdly, they needlessly endangered themselves as well as endangering the lives of countless other people. Even if the headend crew arn't killed, they're going to be traumatized for life.

    I don't think that making larger gates on the grade crossing is going to help any. Nor do i feel that more lights and bells are going to help any. In my opinion, what they need to do is spend money on advertising. Operation lifesaver is, in my opinion, the BEST thing to ever happen to railways. I think that large billboards should be covered with the images of cars after getting hit by a train. Also, i feel that more of those operation lifesaver clips should be produced. I think that they should do like CP did....take a fully loaded train on the mainling at a gradecrossing in the area where this clip is to be aired and park a vehicle in front of it, then video tape the results and show it to people in the area of the accident. That way, they know the area and know it's not staged or faked. Also, perhaps when filming, invite the people of the town out and show them first hand what can happen (from a safe distance of course). I think that, conbined with advertising, TV advertisements and billboards would help this. Banning the horns is asinine...it's totally counter-productive and hypocritical....i can give you a real-life example...

    The WHRC shortline in my area hauls gypsum. Short trains....3 RS23 locomotives and 22 hoppers. They come into the unloading town, Hantsport, at about 10-15 miles per hour. They pass through 2 main-street crossings at this speed. The company that runs the unloader, Fundy Gypsum (FGC), rents an RS23 to switch the unloader. They cross over one side-street grade-crossing at 3-5MPH. Traffic is light on that street, most of the time. Fundy gypsum is permitted to lay on the horn, doing a full long-long-short-long grade crossing signal, where as WHRC, moving at 3 times the speed, with 3 times the motive power and twice the load, isn't permitted to even TOUCH the horns, or be faced with a disturbing the peach fine. Tell me, does that make sense? a short train crossing a hardly-traveled road is permitted to lay on the horns, yet a long train moving at a decent speed across two rather heavy-traffic roads isn't permitted to blow the horns at all, for 'fear' of being charged? That seems uberly stupid to me!

    Now, i apoligize in advance to anyone i may have annoyed or irritated in this rather long and opinionated reply, it was not my intent. Yes, i do feel strongly about this. I've gotten several people charged for crossing in front of trains and endangering lives, including my own...i just don't think the goverment realizes the problem. It's not the railway's fault........it's our own stupidity.

    Again, i apoligize to anyone i offended...it wasn't my intent. Please, don't send hatemail....
    AR :wave:
  8. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Well said AR. What you say makes total sense to me. I only wish this was printed in the Brockville local newspaper.
  9. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    I have tried to contact Operation Life Saver in Canada and they do not seem to answer emails. I do not think the ideas expressed by the people in Brockville will work.
    Education is the best bet, next bet is more Education, and last if not least More Education. Forget the quiet zones, forget the gates, the people of this world need to be educated. NO one in the right mind would risk walking across a runway while jets are landing and taking off. so why walk across or drive across tracks. the lights and horn are there for a reason. but we reading this already know that. lost cause here
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Personally, I just don't get why people do this. I think it's pretty obvious that if you get hit by a train you'll be toast. People who wouldn't race across the 401 on foot, will still race a train across a grade crossing. Like I said, I don't get it. Education is a good idea, but simple common sense should make it pretty obvious. Are these people looking to get some kind of kicks? Or is this natural selection at work?

  11. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    you would be amzed how people try and cross the 401, they have less 1% chance i think of making it across all lanes in the Toronto core of the 401.

    I think that the biggest thing that jury should of thought of was safety training class for kids. bring the Operation Life Save to the classrooms. That would be the most common sense thing, slowing down the trains, if you are hit chances are you are still dead, or a veggie. I think they should stage accidents, put more police on the loco and give tickets. But education is the big one.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

  13. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Hello Stuart Canada. To contact Operation Lifesaver, go to the Railway Association of Canada Website. Better yet, if you know who the railway police are in your community, contact them.

    I find it amazing the number of people who slalom through the cross bucks when they are down and the lights are flashing. People think they are invincible and don't realize the speed at which those trains are travelling.

    You can put up as many barriers, flashing lights, bells, and crossing gates as are possible, and it still won't make the crossing safe. What makes the railway crossing safe are the actions of people. Imagine the impression that is created on a young person if older people are walking across the railway tracks when the barriers are down, the lights are flashing and the bell is ringing.

    Unfortunately, I have seen people walking through the railway crossing in Brockville where the young girl was killed. The lights were flashing, the barriers were down and the bell was ringing. Is it any wonder that more young people aren't killed at railway crossings when they are learning habits like this from older people?

    Bob M.
  14. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    I emailed them and got no answer i will try again later this week.
  15. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Well commented on Guys.

    One comment from me, Common sense is NOT common any more :( :(

    Stupid , and I am first,, unfortunatly rules most of the population.

    If I approch an activated crossing I stay as far back as I can (derailments DO happen and I dont want to be in the way)

    Safty first should be your concern!
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I am usually found waiting to see if there is another train coming so I can watch it...! ;)

  17. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Where i live we only have one railroad crossing in town. It is used barely during the day time, and is used alot at night. This crossing leads back to a mine. They only haul coal out at night and bring the empties in the day time. No crossing gates are installed. This crossing is where the old PRR Main Line used to run until they realigned the main line. Don't know when they did it though.
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Do you remember an accident in Toronto, probably over 30 years ago, when a TTC bus stalled on a level crossing? The driver got the passengers off, but they took refuge behind the bus when the train came. (Forget location: might be Riverdale or Scarborogh.)
  19. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Unfortunatly I have to admit that siderod is completely correct. I also agree completely about sounding the horn at crossings. Having a near hit (near miss means that they almost missed) experiance with a second train I speak from experiance.

    While I understand that this is a very serious subject, it reminded me of a story I'd read many many years ago. It seems that a certain suburb had an unusually high surge in the birth rate. upon further study it was discovered that aproximatly nine months earlier a new 6:15 commuter train started running through the community, loudly sounding its horn. When residents were polled the most common responce was that "it was too early to get up, but too late to go back to sleep."
  20. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Yes David, about 1977 , back in December of 1980, I was in training for the TTC , and the OTC , (Operations Training Center ) made a point that new operators where taken to that spot. Danforth and Midland R/R crossing. I met the operator poor guy, he kept telling the passengers, but they took know notice, ????? go figure that out??

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