steam locomotive tragedy

Discussion in 'General' started by geep07, Nov 4, 2022.

  1. geep07

    geep07 Member

  2. palallin

    palallin Member

    From the SRC FB page:

    Strasburg Rail Road Co. statement regarding incident at Leaman Place Junction, 2 November 2022
    On Wednesday, 2 November 2022 at 11:23 AM, steam locomotive #475, owned and operated by Strasburg Rail Road Co. (SRC) was involved in an incident at Leaman Place Junction where the locomotive struck a rail-mounted excavator on a stub siding track. The excavator was placed on the stub track the previous evening for storage by the Maintenance of Way (MOW) crew working in the area. Our internal investigation has concluded that after placing the excavator on the stub track for storage, the MOW crew member failed to realign the track switch and to secure it in normal position. When running the locomotive around the passenger train on the Main Track runaround where the stub track switch is located, the locomotive crew did not notice the misaligned switch and entered the stub track at approximately 10 MPH, the speed limit for that track, striking the stationary MOW equipment and coming to a stop after a short distance. Both the excavator and locomotive incurred moderate damage.
    On any given day we have as many as 75 employees working in our operation and several thousand guests ride our trains. We take seriously the safety of everyone who interacts with us in any capacity, every single day. Our decades long history indicates that despite the unique and complex nature of our operation, we have an outstanding safety record when taken in context of the number of employee hours worked, trains operated, and passengers and freight hauled each year. We also take seriously the rules and regulations that apply to our operations. We are cooperating with FRA as they investigate and will comply with their requirements and recommendations. Additionally, we are using this opportunity to perform root cause analysis and identify training gaps, operational monitoring practices, or other factors that may have contributed to this accident.
    SRC is proud to have an excellent, dedicated, professional staff who care deeply for the people who work on and ride our trains every day. We acknowledge our mistakes when they are made and learn from them any time they happen. Our front-line staff enjoys the full support and backing of our management team, and we work hand-in-hand to achieve our goals. We do not excuse mistakes, but we acknowledge the humanity of those who make them, as we all do. We live in a world where people are judged too quickly and dismissed by many employers over minor mistakes. We intend to lead by example, helping the valuable, committed members of our team who were involved in this incident learn and grow from their actions. We ask for your consideration before joining the mob mentality of ignorant or irrational criticism. Instead, we welcome continued support from our community, railroad and otherwise.
    Brendan E. Zeigler
    VP – Chief Mechanical Officer
    Strasburg Rail Road Co.
  3. Rob R

    Rob R Member

    Unfortunate, but at least no-one was hurt.
    The bent tinwork can be sorted with time and money, people can't.
  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I have an unpopular view of that incident that I shall not go into here.

    Ultimately, the rule book will determine who's at fault. In this case, by GCOR rules, there are at least two operational errors. If the FRA is involved (and I believe they are), what the FRA says (in regards to discipline/etc) will go, regardless of what the railroad wants to do. Those of us that know the rules can see immediately what caused this accident and where the fault lies. The employees at fault, and the RR, should be very glad this turned out the way it did. It could have been far worse: Serious injury or death. (What if a MOW worker was in between the track hoe and that trailer with his back to the movement? He would either have mangled legs, or worse.)

    Complacency can kill or maim.

    Prior to my retirement, the FRA made operational infractions such as the above a personal responsibility to the employee responsible for the infraction in that fines can be levied to the individual railroader if desired. Such fines are typically into the 4 figures. Previous to this ruling, it was my understanding the fine was levied toward the RR.

    Obviously, what happened should not have happened, and it would not have happened if the parties involved had been in compliance with the rules.
    qaprr, dwoomer, Ozarktraveler and 3 others like this.
  5. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    Bet that engine crew made that same move hundreds of times previously. Complacency prevented them from stopping short.
  6. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Complacency is the bane of railroading. One must CONSTANTLY combat complacency. Early on I formed the habit of consciously making a visual on EVERY switch ahead of the movement I was involved in, whether as Engineer or riding the side of a car during switching. Such is essential in yard work and it saved my butt over and over again.

    In fact, there were times on a shoving move, from my engineer's seat I saw a "bad" switch before the ground crewman riding the side of the car and started stopping the move in time to avoid running the switch. Typically, as soon as the crewman riding the side felt the slowing, that would snap them out of their complacency and they would say a quick "That'll do" over the radio. (Had 'em thank me later for it.)

    I know first hand what complacency can do on a railroad. Fortunately for me, I was able to salvage those situations without major incident.
    qaprr, dwoomer, Ozarktraveler and 2 others like this.
  7. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    +1 on this. It's amazing how many farmers are killed every year by being complacent with their equipment safety. I've had my share of close calls.

    At least no one was hurt. The steel can be repaired and we can move on with life.
    dwoomer, gjslsffan and Ozarktraveler like this.
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member Staff Member

    Other than MT op rules. Switches lined and locked with a MW lock away from men & equipment. A case of their butts in the cab and their heads far far away.
    Ozarktraveler and dwoomer like this.
  9. fredman23

    fredman23 Member

    6.27 and 6.28! Fortunately the two SD-40s I put on the ground felt no pain. And the three-year Level S finally went away.
    Ozarktraveler and gjslsffan like this.
  10. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Yup. Restricted speed/limits are the best rules in the book if you comply with it. They can also get yer azz fired!
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  11. geep07

    geep07 Member

    The Norfolk & Western #475 owned by Strasburg RR has been repaired and is now back in service for the Strasburg RR.
    Repairs where done by Strasburg RR crews. Hats off for a job well done and in a short period.

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