Re: Norfolk Southern's "public relations" ???
Author: Jerry Loy
Date: 06-27-2008 - 14:44
> I'm wondering about this. Shouldn't NS's
> know a bit more about everyday operations
You just clearly demonstrated why your very own idea is so bad. The last thing a corporation wants is a foamer spilling his brains. Just because all the foamers in the world think they are "experts" about all things RR, does not make them qualified to be a spokesperson.
The job of a spokesperson is to give out as little information as possible to keep the peace and quite the media/neighbors. Just look at any police or fire department and see how little they say.
As a spokesperson you get paid to know what NOT to say. "The derailment is under investigation" is a whole lot better than:
"It might have been caused by the train or the rail, or perhaps vandalisms. If it was the train is could be bad train handling by the engineer. He sits on the right side of the cab while the conductor, or historically the fireman is on the left. The engineers job is to control the brakes, throttle and dynamic brakes of the train. The engines in the middle of the train that you saw are called DPU's. I don't really know what they do, but I understand they help the main engines move the train and have been told they cut down on fuel use vs. having them as "helpers" on the back of the train or all the engines on the front. That's the way they would do with steam locomotives. Perhaps a brake line went bad and the locomotive just kept pulling, or and angle cock was closed and not noticed before they left the yard. That should not happen with a FRED, the little red light thing that blinks on the back of the train. It communicates with the engineer the brake pipe pressure at the rear of the train.
If is was the rail is might have been a broken rail. This can be caused by many things. A bad weld, a internal defect to the rail, a bad joint, misaligned switch perhaps, wide gauge - when the ties don't hold the rail where is should be and the train fall between the rails. A low or wet spot could be the cause, but once again I can't elaborate on that because I don't really understand the consequences of those things. Oh, and maybe it was a burn mark on the rail head.
Of course we must never overlook the chance of vandalism, a investigation will have to take place to find out the cause if that's the case. But is could be a signal that was messed with or something on the rail, or something else that someone did."
I know that you were referencing the particular situation of the train- on the NS but the long winded answer is going to be about the same. "let me inform you of all that I know"
The public does not really give a crap. They are not infested with with disease of foaming. Do you really think they care what a locomotive model is? how old it is? How many the particular engine is? What the correct name of a type of car is?
Perhaps a better answer from the "go-and-ask-him-questions-about-railroads-guy" should have been "It's not part of our freight operation and is likely used by a contractor to do work on or maintain the right-a-way"
Would that have been better? I do agree that a spokesperson needs to come across as being informed and in this case did not. Perhaps he should have done some more research, but let's not forget that it's a private company (the RR) and they don't have to answer questions at all. Can you imaging the response if you asked Kellogg's (the cereal maker) about some piece of equipment they used in their factory and what it is/does?