Re: New on Jan 4 NTSB update re: Amtrak 501-Not Much New?
Author: david vartanoff
Date: 01-09-2018 - 22:59
"Obviously, 99% of you people have never been aboard
a moving locomotive." "Then there is the fact that if you pass a yellow,
you must immediately reduce speed to lees than 30
MPH, prepared to stop before passing the next signal."
some 53 years ago when I got occasional cab rides on an IC Electric Suburban train, I saw a flashing yellow as we approached a station where we not stopping. I enquired of the motorman what that meant. He explained it was a warning that our next signal would be a yellow (actually Y over R over Y IIRC) which was authority to switch from main one to two the to the South Chicago Branch at a slower speed than the 65 we had been doing earlier (a rush hour "Special"making 2 stops after leaving downtown, then entering the branch running down the median of a surface st.
So, unlike the previous signals we had encountered earlier which were a single Green (indicating clear) the flashing yellow was as I understood it a warning to slow down approaching a yet slower speed restriction at the switches. The motorman also said this aspect was common in southern Illinois where IC had until recently allowed 100mph running--the idea being that the flashing yellow at an earlier signal got a train to slow down before seeing the full yellow requiring even slower movement.
As to calling signals, in 1962 riding a C&NW train from Milwaukee to Chicago I heard the engineer and fireman one or the other calling the signals the whole way, and more recently, CSX reiterated the requirement that engineers call the signals on the radio after the disaster at Georgetown Junction (Silver Spring) MD. Supposedly tapes are kept in JAX for some period. In my trade, a primary rule, is check/double check that the ciruit is dead before touching any wire or device.