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Stay Off the Tracks until they are shut down

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GO Train collides with tow truck Friday in Oakville leaving passengers stranded

 

Tow Truck struck by GO train_Super_Portrait.jpg

 

No one was injured but hundreds of passengers were left stranded after a GO Train struck a tow truck on the tracks in Oakville Friday night.

 

The crash occurred on the westbound tracks near Burloak Drive and Wyecroft Road at about 7:30 p.m. The truck was partially on the tracks when it was struck.

 

Halton police said the train came to a safe stop and "thankfully there were no injuries reported by any of the GO Train employees, the passengers on the train, or the involved tow truck driver."

 

The tow truck was parked partially on the tracks hooking up a disabled vehicle when the railway crossing arms came down, police said.

 

It was too late for the driver to move the tow truck out of the way.

 

The incident caused "major delays and disruption" to GO Train services, Halton police said in a statement. As for the stranded passengers, GO Transit officials arranged for buses to transport them to their destinations.

 

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Had a recovery at a major crossing once. Called the police who called NJ Transit. 2 hours later after rush hour trains they shut the line down for me to winch the van up the hill as I sat across the crossing. Only place I can be to recover the owners van. Poor fellow was so worried the van would slide down the hill sat there for a little bit till I tossed a few rocks under the tires.

Any RR crossing if you are there for even a hookup call the number at the crossing if not call local PD. Trains IMO have a little more weight and I've always land, air, or water respect yield to tonnage.

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I've written on this subject many times through the years and have counted as many as 2x operator fatalities working railroad right-of-ways. I believe this is the same 2015 Go train crash that took the life of canadian tow operator Randy Muzzi working a previous accident near the tracks. While I don't like to be critical of any operator's recovery or tow in a malicious way, I always look for lessons learned from previous accidents, scenarios and operator injury or deaths when it comes to railroad recoveries. In this picture alone, I'd ask, "With a perfectfully good set of tow dollies, and considering a train may not have gotten the message that a tow truck was on-scene, why didn't the operator hook the vehicle up from the opposite end and install dollies?" Also obvious is the sposted sign, "Do not stop on tracks", not mre than 20-or-so feet from the point of impact. Trains and metro-links always have the right-of-way where towers need to find other ways to remain off the tracks if at all possible especially at controlled crossings. It's my policy to not work any rail incident until the area police are on-scene and I have conversation with the railroad police to confirm. But even then, there's no guarantee that the message from the rail dispatch to the train's conductor was received. No matter what, rail scenarios are really scary. Unfortunately for the tower in this incident, a claim that the train didn't stop may not fly when choosing who most likely caused this crash.      R.  

Edited by rreschran
Spelling

Randall C. Resch

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It is a case of sheer, untrained laziness... There are so many towers out there that seem to think that setting up dollies is the hardest thing in the world. That is a constant complaint I hear from guys around here. " Oh I had to dolly this one " I have seen guys do everything in their power to avoid dollies to the point they will wait 30-40 minutes for a carrier rather than load up dollies for the 5 mile tow. It drives me nuts.. It is usually the new guys who never had to use the old school all steel pan style dollies.. All you old timers like me know what im talking about. Modern dollies to me are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not to mention what would have been so wrong with rolling the car back a few feet if you were so against dollies? We have a major freight railway that litterally cuts right through downtown here so we have many, many crossings and exposed rail that runs along main arteries of traffic. I get at least 2 calls a month for vehicles on the tracks and the FIRST thing I ask when i arrive on scene is if the railroad has been notified. It happens all the time here so P.D. has it pretty much down pat BUT I ALWAYS VERIFY before putting myself or my equipment anywhere near the tracks. Always remember, complacency KILLS


There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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I went back into my archives of train versus tow truck strikes to find that as many as 7x on-site rail related recoveries had police on-scene and an emergency message was allegedly call to the rail dispatcher or railroad police. NO matter what is said regarding that the rail company has been notified, ALWAYS expect that another train could be coming through at a moments time.     R.


Randall C. Resch

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On 1/19/2020 at 5:09 PM, GRUMPS The Towman said:

Not to mention what would have been so wrong with rolling the car back a few feet if you were so against dollies?

This, 100%.  Even if someone is so opposed to throwing dollies, there were options on loading this vehicle that did not involve being in the train's right-of-way.

 

Richard

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I cannot form a comment with knowing the basics of why the vehicle was located there. I am sure there is more to this one then meets the eye. I have at least a few scenarios in mind along with as many ways I would have avoided the tracks.

 

Working On Tracks Scares Me even though I have a routine I follow from the minute I receive the call. Never rely on one source to tell you the Tracks are Dead or Not Hot... Even then have an escape, get your yourself and if possible the truck out of harms way don't attempt to save the vehicle which was on the tracks first. It's Not Worth It, Your Life is Far More Important...

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On the contrary, it really shouldn't matter why it's there. This would have been one of your great Safety Discussions. An experienced operator's job first sees the dangers, formulates a plan of safety, and then applies tactics and techniques to keep themselves AND others out of harm's way. At the very least, it makes for a great debate.    R.

Edited by rreschran
Spelling - Freakin' Fat Fingers !

Randall C. Resch

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Randall, I did not explain properly my interest in the vehicles situation. Basically was the vehicle occupied or abandoned. Either way I would have likely pulled it away from the tracks. Even dragging it if there were no keys. And someone is going to freak out and say drag it... Are you crazy! There would be no difference dragging a vehicle a few feet to access the front and not be past the track warning arms then to drag it onto a carrier which is done quite often daily.

 

Still there is a small percentage of me that has to wonder if the driver didn't attempt to go around the arms.

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I see no issue with "dragging" (I prefer to call it sliding a vehicle when i explain it to a customer) a vehicle when done properly. even without skates, the speed of the winch is not going to flat spot tires or hurt the parking pawl in the transmission (It is designed to be one of the strongest parts of the driveline system). your sliding it 10-15 feet, not a 1/2 mile at 30 mph. Even if you decide to grab it from the rear with your self loader and pull it back, it is just a matter of steady motion and pressure. dont jerk on it. ease on the throttle. 95% of the time it gets skated when I have to do it but there has been an odd occasion here and there where it is not possible.  


There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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18 hours ago, GRUMPS The Towman said:

I see no issue with "dragging" (I prefer to call it sliding a vehicle when i explain it to a customer)

"Professionally relocating" the vehicle was a term that I learned in my first WreckMaster class from instructor Will Cain.  Its also a billable service that sounds a lot better than "dragging"

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3 hours ago, ESC said:

"Professionally relocating" 

I like it. Alot of times it is how you explain it to the general public/customer that gets their panties in a bunch. Not so much the actual act. Some might say,   " Im just gonna drag it back a few feet then snag it from the front." Whereas I would say " I am going to slide your vehicle back a couple feet so I will have room to load and secure your vehicle from the front." 


There are Tow Truck Drivers, Then There is Towing and Recovery operators...... Which one are you??🤨

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@ESC I agree totally and I am sure I would refer to the procedure of relocating the vehicle in different terms were I not among Tow Operators. I'll change it up from now on as I would prefer to remain professional though the outcome is the same.

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