Author Topic: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable  (Read 3569 times)

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The Court of Appeals of Indiana has paved the way to once again permit Indiana law enforcement officers to enforce I.C. 8-6-7.5-1 which states that a railroad corporation must not permit any train to obstruct public travel at a railroad-highway grade crossing for a period in excess of ten (10) minutes, except where such train, railroad car or engine cannot be moved by reason of circumstances over which the railroad corporation has no control. The case is State of Indiana v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, 02A03-1607-IF-1524.  There are several loopholes which might change this in the future, but for now, the ticketing can re-commence.  See the ICOA decision attached.

Bob Durnell

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 05:05:48 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but does it REALLY matter what a STATE court thinks about a situation of FEDERAL jurisdiction?  MY guess is that at some point this would end up in front of a Federal court, and they will do whatever they want with it, regardless of what the State of Indiana thinks. 

Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 06:49:47 PM »
Itís always been enforceable but police have better things to do than worry about what crossing is block.  If it becomes an issue for days on end then they might respond to public pressure but even then they can only take down the engine number and write it up.  They canít climb on the engine, collect your ID, etc..  They might get paid eventually but I believe the money goes somewhere other than the town or city it was written in.  So, in essence the city is wasting tax payer dollars that they will not see in return if the tickets are ever paid. 

Up here in south bend, the idiot mayor wants a federal investigation into trains sounding horns 19 times over a couple days time in a newly reinstalled quiet zone.  I donít think thatís gonna happen. 


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NSHuntingtonDistrict

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 09:10:52 PM »
Can't wait for a Barney Fife to wave his ticket book at my train and threaten to haul me away.
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pr1952

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 10:11:23 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 10:41:20 PM »
Can't wait for a Barney Fife to wave his ticket book at my train and threaten to haul me away.

Professional law enforcement officers don't threaten anyone, they just enforce the law.


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INRD Fan

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 10:45:27 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR

These tickets are not issued to the Engineer nor Conductor, they are issued to the Railroad entity itself.  Since trains are not considered automobiles, no drivers license is required nor are the railroad employees required to present a drivers license if they don't voluntarily do so.  The tickets can be mailed to the entity; it is not required that the officer board the train and hand them a copy.


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Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 10:47:41 PM »
With this question I will make it very obvious that I do not work for a railroad-but why can't a cop climb up to the cab and issue a ticket to railroad personnel?
PR
One, the crew canít be issued a ticket.  Therefore, he/she has no right to be on railroad property. 

For the record, Iím not saying railroad crews are untouchable or above the law, etc..  most will talk to the police and let them know whatís going on and how long theyíll be if they have an idea.  However, if the officer comes across as a dbag, not talking to you because I canít hear you. 


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INRD Fan

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 10:49:20 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but does it REALLY matter what a STATE court thinks about a situation of FEDERAL jurisdiction?  MY guess is that at some point this would end up in front of a Federal court, and they will do whatever they want with it, regardless of what the State of Indiana thinks.

That is precisely what the Court ruled: that the federal acts cited do not preempt the state law in the Indiana Code. As mentioned, it will be interesting to see if it's appealed to the Supreme Court to see if they affirm or reverse - if they'd even hear the case.


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INRD Fan

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 11:09:38 PM »
Itís always been enforceable but police have better things to do than worry about what crossing is block.  If it becomes an issue for days on end then they might respond to public pressure but even then they can only take down the engine number and write it up.  They canít climb on the engine, collect your ID, etc..  They might get paid eventually but I believe the money goes somewhere other than the town or city it was written in.  So, in essence the city is wasting tax payer dollars that they will not see in return if the tickets are ever paid. 

Up here in south bend, the idiot mayor wants a federal investigation into trains sounding horns 19 times over a couple days time in a newly reinstalled quiet zone.  I donít think thatís gonna happen. 


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Railroad counsel has successfully litigated in several jurisdictions over the past few years that state laws have no jurisdiction to enforce grade crossing statutes.  They tried that in this case and the Court of Appeals of Indiana said they disagree, so until the case is appealed and the Supreme Court agrees to hear it, it shall be law. 

Regarding Police have better things to do: as a 19 year veteran law enforcement officer, I take it seriously when my men can't get to a shooting, a fire, an EMS assist run, etc, due to their access being blocked.  That being said, in 19 years, Ive never wrote a ticket to a railroad as Ive found just asking them what's going on works better, and Ive yet to meet a crew who was blocking a crossing just for fun.  I have, however, given many conductors rides with wrenches and air hoses back and forth to expedite getting them on their way. 

Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.




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Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 11:43:44 PM »
Railroad counsel has successfully litigated in several jurisdictions over the past few years that state laws have no jurisdiction to enforce grade crossing statutes.  They tried that in this case and the Court of Appeals of Indiana said they disagree, so until the case is appealed and the Supreme Court agrees to hear it, it shall be law. 

Regarding Police have better things to do: as a 19 year veteran law enforcement officer, I take it seriously when my men can't get to a shooting, a fire, an EMS assist run, etc, due to their access being blocked.  That being said, in 19 years, Ive never wrote a ticket to a railroad as Ive found just asking them what's going on works better, and Ive yet to meet a crew who was blocking a crossing just for fun.  I have, however, given many conductors rides with wrenches and air hoses back and forth to expedite getting them on their way. 

Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.




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Oh, I know the RRís think federal laws trump state and local and since there is no federal law pertaining to blocked crossing times they donít feel itís enforceable.  That still doesnít keep police from issuing tickets because state laws say they are suppose to if they feel its necessary.  Many cities up here have done this over the years recently when traffic really spiked after the recession. 


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INRD Fan

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2017, 06:28:39 AM »
Oh, I know the RRís think federal laws trump state and local and since there is no federal law pertaining to blocked crossing times they donít feel itís enforceable.  That still doesnít keep police from issuing tickets because state laws say they are suppose to if they feel its necessary.  Many cities up here have done this over the years recently when traffic really spiked after the recession. 


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Very true.


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Cmdr_Suds

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 07:10:12 PM »
...Regarding where the money would go for those infraction tickets, it'd go the same place they all go: divided up between about 20 different funds including the court, the highway department, $3 to the law enforcement training fund, and about 17 other programs or agencies.
A speeding ticket receipt from several years back
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INRD Fan

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 08:47:22 PM »
A speeding ticket receipt from several years back

Good example.


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Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 11:00:39 PM »
Is the same type of bs categories with a speeding ticket attached to a blocked road crossing? 

For example, a seat belt violation which is $25 or 30 up here isnít broken down into the same categories or is it? 

DNA sample wth?  Public defense fee?  Even if you donít use one.  Why am I not surprised. 


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ventrue

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2017, 09:16:22 PM »
I donít have a JD, just taking a guess here, but it seems the next Court to hear the appeal would be the Indiana Supreme Court and then move to the federal system starting with the applicable Federal District Court, just to be clear.


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ScottFlood

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Re: Ind Supreme Court: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS NOT enforceable
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2018, 07:41:44 PM »
Today, the Indiana Supreme Court struck down the Appeals Court ruling that allows local police to ticket trains that block crossings.

The unanimous decision said that a 1995 federal rule trumped Indiana's 1865 rule. Local jurisdictions can no longer ticket trains, and the chair of the House Transportation Committee said he doesn't see a way to write a state law that could overcome the federal statute.

Here's the story:
https://indianaeconomicdigest.com/main.asp?SectionID=31&SubsectionID=124&ArticleID=93582

Bob Durnell

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2018, 08:34:22 PM »




"Democratic Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr."     People are frustrated," McDermott said. "It shows that the court, in my opinion, is very out of touch with the problems that real Hoosiers face."

No, Mayor McDermott, it shows that the Court is in touch with the LAW, not pulling rulings out of their butt to appease local angry voters.  Contrary to what a large portion of this country believes, including the mayor of Hammond, it's the job of the courts to INTERPRET the law as written, not make new law.  If you're angry about stopped trains, get your FEDERAL representatives to change the language of the current statute.

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2018, 09:41:12 PM »
As hard as it is to believe, people working for the railroad donít go to work thinking how many people can we piss off today by blocking as many crossings as possible. 


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CSX_CO

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2018, 11:51:41 PM »
As hard as it is to believe, people working for the railroad donít go to work thinking how many people can we piss off today...

Itís amazing how remarkably good at pissing people off that Iíve become though.  Public and otherwise.

ďWe now return you to your regularly scheduled crossing blocking, already in progressĒ

IU_Tower

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2018, 12:19:36 AM »
Itís amazing how remarkably good at pissing people off that Iíve become though.  Public and otherwise.

ďWe now return you to your regularly scheduled crossing blocking, already in progressĒ

Now why doesn't that surprise me RD.

Have you upset your new neighbors with the MG yet? Ripping off 250 rounds in rapid succession?
 

Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2018, 08:19:01 AM »
Itís amazing how remarkably good at pissing people off that Iíve become though.  Public and otherwise.

ďWe now return you to your regularly scheduled crossing blocking, already in progressĒ


Now why doesn't that surprise me RD.

Have you upset your new neighbors with the MG yet? Ripping off 250 rounds in rapid succession?

Anyone thatís stable who owns an mg could be my neighbor any day.  Might be a bit of a drive to Indy everyday though. 


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trainmaster53

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2018, 12:55:02 PM »
The Thing that Everyone is forgetting here, Is the Railroads come under the Federal Railroad Administration. This is in the hands of a Government Agency. Not Local Government. If these Town and Cities are worried about enforcing something, Then go after the People that Blow through Grade Crossing. I see it happen every day. And it is BS.

Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2018, 06:03:21 PM »
The Thing that Everyone is forgetting here, Is the Railroads come under the Federal Railroad Administration. This is in the hands of a Government Agency. Not Local Government. If these Town and Cities are worried about enforcing something, Then go after the People that Blow through Grade Crossing. I see it happen every day. And it is BS.
Crossings are definitely blocked longer after an idiot gets tattooed at a crossing.


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DRLOCO

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2018, 09:06:36 PM »
laws, like railroad rulebooks, are only as good as the people that interpret them.  I have had 2 instances in my career where I have been threatened with arrest for not providing a drivers license, once upon striking and fatally injuring 2 motorists at a crossing, and once because I blocked a crossing due to a ripped out air hose that had to be replaced.
In both instances, the officer of the law insisted that he was correct and I was not.  In the latter It went downhill pretty fast.
He asked for license and registration.  I replied, this is not public property, this is not a motorway, this is not a car and I do not have to provide that information. I did say that the blue card on the engine is about the closest thing to a "Registration" I could provide, but that under NO circumstance could he have my drivers license-again reiterating that I was not on a road, he was trespassing on my train...etc.  HE then started fondling the butt of his revolver and said "Well then you're going to jail."  I said, "Fine, let's go!  I look forward to it, and when the RR police, who has the authority of a federal marshall fines YOU for the violations of the interstate commerce acts that you violate by arresting me, we can hold hands in the clink."  He blinked, cocked his head and said he needed to step out to call his dispatcher.  I did the same, and at the time the dispatcher office was 2 doors down from the RR police office.  Our dispatcher said that our Police officer could be there in 10 minutes (I was really close to the downtown CSX office).  By the time the officer came back in the cab again, I informed him that my police department was enroute to remove him from the train.  In a spot of perfect timing, the dispatcher came on the road channel asking "Q348, is the police/trespasser still onboard?"  "Yes, Dispatcher." "Ok, thanks, let me know when he departs."  The Officer then said he'd better get going.  as he was returning to his car, the CSX police cruise pulled in and blocked his exit.  I assume they had a friendly conversation, but we had to go (after all the crossing was still blocked all this time).
The other one was a really bad car-train accident, and I don't want to talk about that. Suffice to say I still have that one on permanent replay in my nightmares.

So, yeah sure, the LAW can be whatever it wants to be...the PEOPLE who interpret the law are the problem.
We always say at the railroad, it's usually not the rulebook that gets you fired, it's the *manager's interpretation* of the rulebook that gets you fired.
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BourdonBoy

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2018, 11:21:05 PM »
Thank you for sharing these occurrences. They are great examples for us all.


On a personal note, I am sorry to hear of the burden you continue to carry because of the fatalities you witnessed. I feel the same for anyone in your position who has had to face such things. Peace to you and to them.

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Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2018, 08:17:17 PM »
I donít know if thankfully is the correct term to use but up here it appears local law enforcement seems to have a grasp on these situations.  I donít know if itís because how often trains and pedestrians collide or if the training they receive.  From stories and situations Iím familiar with they pretty much wait for a manager or railroad police officer to show up before asking to see if they can speak to the crew.


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Bob Durnell

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2018, 08:09:43 AM »
laws, like railroad rulebooks, are only as good as the people that interpret them.  I have had 2 instances in my career where I have been threatened with arrest for not providing a drivers license, once upon striking and fatally injuring 2 motorists at a crossing, and once because I blocked a crossing due to a ripped out air hose that had to be replaced.
In both instances, the officer of the law insisted that he was correct and I was not.  In the latter It went downhill pretty fast.
He asked for license and registration.  I replied, this is not public property, this is not a motorway, this is not a car and I do not have to provide that information. I did say that the blue card on the engine is about the closest thing to a "Registration" I could provide, but that under NO circumstance could he have my drivers license-again reiterating that I was not on a road, he was trespassing on my train...etc.  HE then started fondling the butt of his revolver and said "Well then you're going to jail."  I said, "Fine, let's go!  I look forward to it, and when the RR police, who has the authority of a federal marshall fines YOU for the violations of the interstate commerce acts that you violate by arresting me, we can hold hands in the clink."  He blinked, cocked his head and said he needed to step out to call his dispatcher.  I did the same, and at the time the dispatcher office was 2 doors down from the RR police office.  Our dispatcher said that our Police officer could be there in 10 minutes (I was really close to the downtown CSX office).  By the time the officer came back in the cab again, I informed him that my police department was enroute to remove him from the train.  In a spot of perfect timing, the dispatcher came on the road channel asking "Q348, is the police/trespasser still onboard?"  "Yes, Dispatcher." "Ok, thanks, let me know when he departs."  The Officer then said he'd better get going.  as he was returning to his car, the CSX police cruise pulled in and blocked his exit.  I assume they had a friendly conversation, but we had to go (after all the crossing was still blocked all this time).
The other one was a really bad car-train accident, and I don't want to talk about that. Suffice to say I still have that one on permanent replay in my nightmares.

So, yeah sure, the LAW can be whatever it wants to be...the PEOPLE who interpret the law are the problem.
We always say at the railroad, it's usually not the rulebook that gets you fired, it's the *manager's interpretation* of the rulebook that gets you fired.

I'm a little curious about the not having to show the officer your license, because I have had to produce my driver's license in situations where a road going motor vehicle was not involved, simply for positive identification purposes. I am just wondering why that would not apply to crew members on a train. I understand that your driver's license has nothing to do with operating the train, but it does identify you, unless you can show them some other piece of legal identification. 

Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2018, 10:03:56 AM »
I'm a little curious about the not having to show the officer your license, because I have had to produce my driver's license in situations where a road going motor vehicle was not involved, simply for positive identification purposes. I am just wondering why that would not apply to crew members on a train. I understand that your driver's license has nothing to do with operating the train, but it does identify you, unless you can show them some other piece of legal identification.
You only have to show them your railroad id.  Your license has your home address and other private information on it.  Once they put it in the report, it becomes public information and then you have lawyers, victims family members, etc.. tracking you down.  I know guys who donít even carry their drivers license at work.


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Bob Durnell

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2018, 11:18:52 AM »
OK, that makes sense.  Your Railroad ID would positively identify who you are, which is all they really need to know at that point.  Has anyone in the industry ever printed up information to be given out to local law enforcement to help get them up to speed on the ins and outs of dealing with situations involving railroads?

OrangeAndBlack

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #30 on: September 27, 2018, 12:52:19 PM »
Perhaps Iím overrating this, but the railroads better be careful what they wish for.

This case has made news outside of the area it was adjudicated in. I live in Terre Haute and it made the news here. Trains have been ticketed here in the past. And although I am sympathetic to railroads, it *is* a giant pain in the butt when a train stops at Baker Yard and blocks the entire south side of Terre Haute up into downtown and it is a problem for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. (The soon to be opened Margaret Street bridge will help out a lot with this problem.)

Non-railroad people do not and will not understand why these rules are as they are. Trying to explain the vagaries of interstate commerce to someone who simply sees getting stuck at an intersection is hopeless. Trying to explain why a community has historicallly let them down by not building a simple bridge or two to deal with the problem (as in Terre Hauteís case) is also futile.

All it will take is one member of Congress to realize they can score political points off this issue to introduce a federal law that says its legal for states and communities to ticket trains and to introduce guidelines for crossings the railroads would hate to deal with.

It would pass too because it would be popular with voters. Whether it would survive a court challenge is another matter, but this win for the railroads could be a loss in the long run.

Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2018, 06:21:43 PM »
Perhaps Iím overrating this, but the railroads better be careful what they wish for.

This case has made news outside of the area it was adjudicated in. I live in Terre Haute and it made the news here. Trains have been ticketed here in the past. And although I am sympathetic to railroads, it *is* a giant pain in the butt when a train stops at Baker Yard and blocks the entire south side of Terre Haute up into downtown and it is a problem for law enforcement and emergency vehicles. (The soon to be opened Margaret Street bridge will help out a lot with this problem.)

Non-railroad people do not and will not understand why these rules are as they are. Trying to explain the vagaries of interstate commerce to someone who simply sees getting stuck at an intersection is hopeless. Trying to explain why a community has historicallly let them down by not building a simple bridge or two to deal with the problem (as in Terre Hauteís case) is also futile.

All it will take is one member of Congress to realize they can score political points off this issue to introduce a federal law that says its legal for states and communities to ticket trains and to introduce guidelines for crossings the railroads would hate to deal with.

It would pass too because it would be popular with voters. Whether it would survive a court challenge is another matter, but this win for the railroads could be a loss in the long run.
The main issue other than a train breaking down is the fact dispatcher and crew are not following their own company policy and cutting the crossing(s).  There are circumstances that canít be avoided occasionally but if itís constant/daily then it is a problem.  Once or twice a week, suck it up and find another route.   A good crew knows exactly how many feet are between signals, crossings, hold out spots, siding lengths, etc...  Two fairly new guys maybe not but they should have a list of the distances on them to reference plus the timetable.  Anything over 15-20 mins and we are cutting at least one crossing but even with the large amounts of trains very seldom is a train brought into town blocking a crossing.  Thereís holdouts west of Elkhart thatís 13, 18, and 26 miles out.  All depends on your length of train and whatís in front of you. 


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Rick

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2018, 06:25:02 PM »
OK, that makes sense.  Your Railroad ID would positively identify who you are, which is all they really need to know at that point.  Has anyone in the industry ever printed up information to be given out to local law enforcement to help get them up to speed on the ins and outs of dealing with situations involving railroads?
I donít know.  These accidents happen so often up here itís probably second nature for the local pd. 


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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2018, 11:25:20 PM »
I can readily think of two different engineers who gave their licenses to the police after fatal crossing accidents.  One had his car insurance company arbitrarily cancel his insurance when he was told he'd failed to report being involved in a fatal accident.  The other didn't get his insurance canceled but he had a lot of threats.  It was never a good idea to show your driver's license.

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2018, 11:51:02 PM »
The main issue other than a train breaking down is the fact dispatcher and crew are not following their own company policy and cutting the crossing(s).  There are circumstances that canít be avoided occasionally but if itís constant/daily then it is a problem.  Once or twice a week, suck it up and find another route.   A good crew knows exactly how many feet are between signals, crossings, hold out spots, siding lengths, etc...  Two fairly new guys maybe not but they should have a list of the distances on them to reference plus the timetable.  Anything over 15-20 mins and we are cutting at least one crossing but even with the large amounts of trains very seldom is a train brought into town blocking a crossing.  Thereís holdouts west of Elkhart thatís 13, 18, and 26 miles out.  All depends on your length of train and whatís in front of you. 


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I hear you. I totally get it.

But most people don't. And good luck if a politician thinks he can score political points off of this issue.

Honestly, it was probably better for railroads when they fought this issue out of public eye on a case-by-case basis. Now this Supreme Court decision has shone light on it and has some folks fired up.

hobodano

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2019, 11:20:23 AM »
https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/hammond-lawmaker-crafts-bypass-to-ruling-on-train-caused-traffic/article_4f41616f-511f-5515-b558-d6af2cf40ef4.html

Hammond lawmaker crafts bypass to ruling on train-caused traffic delays

INDIANAPOLIS ó The Indiana Supreme Court last year ruled that local police are barred by federal law from issuing $200 tickets to railroad operators when their trains block street crossings for longer than 10 minutes.

In the wake of that decision, municipal leaders and public safety officials have identified a growing number of regularly blocked crossings throughout the Region, causing untold delays for motorists and potentially preventing first responders from quickly reaching individuals in peril.

Now state Rep. Carolyn Jackson, D-Hammond, believes she has a solution that could pass court muster.

Instead of fining rail companies for blocking street crossings, Jackson's House Bill 1090 would impose a $200 fine on rail companies that fail to provide local police with advance notice they intend to block a street crossing for more than 10 minutes.

Under the legislation, local police then would share the notice with area fire departments and ambulance services likely to be affected by the blocked crossing. Jackson's proposal is awaiting action by the House Roads and Transportation Committee.
Fairly familiar with southern Indiana trackage

crblue

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2019, 11:49:31 AM »
Instead of fining rail companies for blocking street crossings, Jackson's House Bill 1090 would impose a $200 fine on rail companies that fail to provide local police with advance notice they intend to block a street crossing for more than 10 minutes.
Yes, this will work quite well. The railroad companies always know in advance of their intentions to block a crossing due to a derailment, broken coupler, inoperative switch, signal problem, train vs. automobile accident, etc. All of those reasons are known well in advance.

Sheesh. As my father often said, we have the finest part-time legislature that money can buy.

trainmaster53

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Re: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2019, 02:48:57 PM »
And Again that to may go Back to the Court of Appeals and may Not be able to be Enforced Either. Time will tell. Also Local Law Enforcement Cant Board the Train to Write the Ticket. That Has to be Mailed to the Railroad.