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Re: Railroad Crossing Protocol ? ? ?

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When responding to train incidents or vehicle recoveries on or near train tracks, what assurances do you get before commencing work to ensure that a train or trolley wouldn't be coming through? Do you contact your local police? Do you call the 1-800 number on the rail control box? 


I've been working on a program regarding RR train response and was wondering your response protocol. Your comments are appreciated. Thanks.      R.


Randall C. Resch

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In our county, we have one main freight line that runs around the perimeter of the lake and right down through the city. It leads up to the salt mines up north. Just to give you an idea of how tangled the railway is with the surface streets in the city, there are 13 lighted crossings in a 3 mile area. Thats not including the crossings on the outskirts of the city.The main stretch of highway through the city runs parallel with the tracks with nothing more than a granite curb and painted ground markings between them. And because of this we have quite a few incidents involving a crossing or the railway itself on a regular basis. We have a protocol set up with the county dispatch and the railway that when P.D or F.D. calls them to shut down the line for an auto accident or vehicle on the tracks, they ask what tow company will be responding. The railway dispatcher themselves then calls that tow company directly to verify that the line is clear. They also send out a supervisor to the scene ( they have a local office ) to ensure there is no damage to the rail system and to also verify when the scene is cleared out. Being a single rail line that is only used by one railroad company, this is rather easy to deal with. If there was multiple rail companies using the line I dont think it would work so well. But I can tell you, Getting a phone call directly from the rail line telling me it is safe to work on the tracks is way more comforting than just taking the word of an officer on scene who may be dealing with multiple people involved, witnesses and what not. Not to say that I feel they would lie to us persay, but there is a lot on his or her plate at an accident scene. Maybe he meant to call but got sidetracked.   

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