Author Topic: Ind Court of Appeals: Blocked Grade Crossing Statute IS enforceable  (Read 3805 times)

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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Wes Lewis

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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.

OrangeAndBlack

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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.