Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making
Author: Ernest H. Robl
Date: 04-02-2024 - 18:35

Okay, I have never worked directly for a railroad, but, as a journalist, I have spent hundreds of hours traveling on locomotives, both in the U.S. and Europe. For decades, I also always traveled with a scanner in my car and with me when I was on passenger trains. I could give many more paragraphs detailing my experience on and around railroads, and why that is relevant to what follows.

The one person on an engine works in Europe because trains are shorter, there are many more staffed locations along lines, and scheduling of shifts is quite different. (In many cases -- each European country is slightly different -- a locomotive engineer will work a maximum of three to four hours before getting a break -- and then working maybe another three to four hours. However "work" may also include time traveling to the start point of the shift and then traveling home from the destination. European signal systems are also quite different, with much shorter blocks, and safety systems that require constant input from the train operator.

In the U.S., I have seen all sorts of things go very wrong on railroads, in a wide variety of situations -- and often in very desolate territory. (Yes, things go wrong in Europe, too, but the circumstances are mostly different.) It is in these situations that you really need two people on the train. (Yes, they can help double-check each other even in routine circumstances.)

Let's say something goes wrong on a very long train in the middle of nowhere. You're not sure quite what the problem is, so one person has to go back and check. That person is going to be carrying a portable radio which has a limited range and which may not always be able to establish a connection with the nearest dispatcher base station. Once that person -- the conductor -- finds the problem, he can contact the engineer, who can then use the much more powerful locomotive radio to let the dispatcher know the situation, and if necessary, request assistance -- all before the conductor makes his long walk back to the engine.

If the problem involves having to set out a car, one person on the engine cannot do this by himself. And, I could cite plenty more examples. And, if at all possible, you never want to have an unattended running engine sitting in the middle of nowhere.

Yes, whether you have one or two people on the engine, you still need these people to conform to certain standards of safe behavior.



Subject Written By Date/Time (PST)
  Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Morning News 04-02-2024 - 11:03
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Guest 04-02-2024 - 15:41
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Ernest H. Robl 04-02-2024 - 18:35
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Wes 04-03-2024 - 07:10
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Mr. A. Lert 04-03-2024 - 08:27
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making tundraboomer 04-03-2024 - 08:27
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making chatbot 37a 04-03-2024 - 09:20
  Re: Freight railroads must keep 2-person crews, according to new federal rule 2 years in the making Guest 04-03-2024 - 17:14
  Buttigieg announces new federal rule that freight railroads must have 2-person crews Hogger 04-03-2024 - 12:52


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