Thursday, November 20, 2014

Train passengers in Buenos Aires jumped from a MOVING TRAIN yesterday after it caught fire

I know this morning's delays on the Richmond Hill and Lakeshore East lines were hella annoying, with mechanical failures and a missing foreman, but at least none of the trains CAUGHT FIRE.



Anonymous said...

Just an fyi for those interested, the problem with foreman is that we have to contact them by radio before we enter the track that they're working on. It's usual not an issue when they're in a vehicle equipped with a decent enough radio. However, anytime that they have to go down to the track level and away from their vehicle they only have access to a relatively low powered handheld radio. If we can't get a hold of them we can't go through. GO really needs to get it together and modernize the system in this area by incorporating it into the future train control system they are planning to install. Not doing so would be just plain dumb.

Signed; You ride the crazy train, I just drive it :)

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, driver, Metrolinx has to operate within the regulations of the railroads. Since both CN and CP use analogue radios, GO must also. Whereas CP uses repeaters for foreman-train communication (at least in some areas), CN relies on simplex communication on the standby channel.

Canadian railroads have no real impetus to change their radio system configuration. What they have works well enough, and to change would be an extraordinary cost (could you imagine changing radios in every locomotive in their fleets?). On lines that are exclusively operated on by GO, it would make sense to give the foremen a P25 radio on the Metrolinx system so reception is loud and clear regardless, but that presents some additional cost as well.

I don't know exactly what happened in this incident, but it seems like an easy solution would have been for the GO crew to call the RTC, and have the RTC try to contact the foreman on the standby channel. The RTC would have come from a strong radio tower (with height advantage) instead of a ground-level locomotive/cab car, and would've been able to trigger the foreman's squelch for sure.

By the way, isn't it about time we came up with a gender-neutral pronoun for foreman?

Anonymous said...

Re; calling the RTC. I'm fairly certain that the crew would have done so if they were stopped for several minutes at the foreman's flag. I can't say for sure since I haven't talked to that crew about that specific incident, but that is the standard procedure in those kinds of situation. I mean we don't just sit there doodling our thumps or play cards with one another :)

Problem is the RTC still has to contract the foreman to make sure the track is clear. And while the RTC has a much stronger radio to communicate with, I've heard of from others and even seen first hand of instances where even he cannot receive a response from the foreman for extended periods of time.

This a fairly common problem that happens on a daily basis - difficulties contacting foreman. Metrolinx has started planning for the implementation of positive train control. There's no reason why a foreman's limits couldn't be include as a restriction within that system. Such a thing is tied into other PTC systems across the world but not necessarily all. It would certainly be far more reliable than the current system of initiating radio communication and then receiving and repeating instructions word for word. However I'm fearful that it may be omitted since that is exactly the kind of oversight that seems to occasionally happens at GO.

You ride the crazy train, I just drive it.