Old 04-24-2008, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default A Study In Grade Crossing Safety!

Hi all,

Nick Benson's recent senior project reminded me that I should probably update everyone on the progress of my thesis since I asked for help in this forum several month ago. It is too large to add here as an attachment, but if anyone would like to read it, I will be glad to email a copy to you (and feel free to spread it to whomever - that's the whole point of this thing . If you would like some lighthearted bedtime reading (I jest!), just email me at nomclean@uncc.edu or PM me with your address.

It is not railfan reading per se, but it is stuff that anyone who's into railroads should find interesting and perhaps thought provoking(?).

It is entitled: "Railroad Grade Crossing Accidents: The Psychological and Physiological Implications of Trains Striking Motorists and Pedestrians"

It covers the following topics:
1) Medical Consequences to Motorists and Pedestrians
2) Psychological Consequences to Railroad Train Crews
3) Psychological and Perceptual Implications in Motorists and Pedestrians (Why Try to Beat the Train?)

It is based on a large literature review of past research, interviews with crews, and a student population survey. It's obviously a very complex topic, but I've tried to take a comprehensive look at a couple of aspects of crossing accidents.

I hope to spread it around in the future. A survey of my fellow UNC Charlotte students revealed a disparagingly sad lack of railroad awareness. As part of the project, I have had a series of enlarged photographs on display in the concourse of one of the main buildings at our campus all adorned with eye-opening stats and quotes about crossing safety. In the words of one railroader I spoke with, If one life is saved, it's all worth it!

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 04-26-2008, 03:46 PM   #2
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Nick;

I think the same day you posted this, I caught six college kids in Columbia not using their brain. First, if you didn't hear, a few weeks ago, four college kids jumped on a train near the campus here in Columbia. Three ofthem went for a 65 mile ride hanging on to the side of a coal hopper. One of them went for a 35 mile ride before he lost his grip and fell under the train. They picked him one piece at a time.

Cut to this week where I ride over the Devine Street crossing and look up to theAmtrak station. There I see six kids playing on and around the tracks. So I park my red Nissan Extera station car, the one with the big white call leters of my TV station on the side, get out my car and set up up down track pointing it at them.

For fifteen minutes, I shoot them walking on the tracks, skateboarding on the platform, throwing rocks, etc. etc. Keep in mind that I'm not trying to hide from them. They can clearly see me and the video shows them looking at me every so often.

Meanwhile, I also called 911 and when the LEO pulls up, I pull in right behind and shoot the officer giving the kids a VERBAL WARNING. No written warning, no ticket, not even enough forhim to write an incident report. So I ask one of the guys, paraphrased, on camera, "Hey, did you hear about the guys that jumped on the train here a few weeks ao? One of them got killed."

Blank stare, blink, blink of the eyes, "Oh.... umh.... yeah, him." We used it as a Caught On Camera moment on that nights news.

By the way, I'd like to see what you have.


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Old 04-28-2008, 01:21 AM   #3
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Joe you totally kick *ss.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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Nick I downloaded your thesis and so far I'm enthralled. Very nice piece indeed.Didn't raealize it was going to be a Stephen King novel.
If you don't ace this thing gimme your profs address so I can rough him/her up.
Good work.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damaged
Nick I downloaded your thesis and so far I'm enthralled. Very nice piece indeed.Didn't raealize it was going to be a Stephen King novel.
If you don't ace this thing gimme your profs address so I can rough him/her up.
Good work.
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Todd,

Thanks! It is rather gruesome at times though...as is the nature of crossing accidents. I presented the thesis to my committee last week, and got an A! So no need to roll your sleeves up. Glad you're enjoying it though. Please spread it around.
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:03 AM   #6
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I've read through a bit of the thesis and have to say that the portion I saw is very interesting. Nick has given me permission to post a copy of the thesis to my server so others may read it:

MS Word Format:
http://ottergoose.net/nickmclean/gra...gaccidents.doc

PDF:
http://ottergoose.net/nickmclean/gra...gaccidents.pdf
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:24 AM   #7
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Thanks Nick!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #8
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Nick, may I post a link to this document in a thread at Railpage Australia, please?
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJ
Nick, may I post a link to this document in a thread at Railpage Australia, please?
Certainly!
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:23 PM   #10
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Nick and Ottergoose

thanks for making this available :thumb up:

I haven't had a chance to read it all as yet but I found myself going straight to the 'effects on the crew' section and I was appalled to discover that some rail companies appear to leave their footplate crew hanging in the case where the victim's family sues (have I read that correctly?).

Having been 'related' to four on-track suicides (by which I mean friends of myself, my son and my wife), I've since held the view that the real victims in most cases are not the one's killed by the train - but rather the one's whose lives are immeasurably changed on the train.

I wouldn't blame an engineer if he hung on to the horn and shut his eyes for 15 seconds every time he went near a grade crossing.... at 70 mph the outcome is not going to be any different.

I would recommend this as a 'must-read' to all here

regards

andy
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:15 PM   #11
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I apologize if this is mentioned in the paper, as I haven't read all of it yet, but, is pedestrian/auto safety a factor in locomotive design?
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
I apologize if this is mentioned in the paper, as I haven't read all of it yet, but, is pedestrian/auto safety a factor in locomotive design?
Actually, That's not something that I touched on. Would be interesting to know though.
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
I apologize if this is mentioned in the paper, as I haven't read all of it yet, but, is pedestrian/auto safety a factor in locomotive design?
Well, I know cars are designed in part to reduce the effects of pedestrian impact, or at least I've read of efforts to do so.

http://www.cardesignonline.com/safet...ian-safety.php

But how would you build an engine that would not kill a person that it hit at 40mph?
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
Well, I know cars are designed in part to reduce the effects of pedestrian impact, or at least I've read of efforts to do so.

http://www.cardesignonline.com/safet...ian-safety.php

But how would you build an engine that would not kill a person that it hit at 40mph?
Cover the front of it with 12' of foam rubber / airbags? There was a TV show on recently that tried to develop some type of airbag system to minimize the damage done to an automobile if it were to run into one, although the clip I saw seemed to make it overly elaborate.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
There was a TV show on recently that tried to develop some type of airbag system to minimize the damage done to an automobile if it were to run into one, although the clip I saw seemed to make it overly elaborate.
IT was SmashLab on Discovery. they had rapidly inflating airbags on the front of the loco, and valves built into the bags deaden the impact, and i think it was also built to push the car off to one side of the tracks. I applaud them for trying, but it failed miserably. it shot the car down the tracks and then flipped it over in the culvert beside it. The speed of the test i think was 25 mph, and it was based on the engineer/conductor being able to react in time to activiate it, which most times, isnt the case. It was very elaborate and not practical whatsoever.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
I apologize if this is mentioned in the paper, as I haven't read all of it yet, but, is pedestrian/auto safety a factor in locomotive design?
I'd have to say no because, well, they aren't suppose to be there. Since locomtives were first being designed, the major emphasis has been on crew safety. Steam locomotives never had an issue with front end collisions but began to realize the danger of an open cab where one could fall out of the space between the locomotive and tender. This combined with efforts to make the steam engine cab more comfortable in cold/poor weather brought with it enclosed cabs that were more like modern ones. Next came the E and F units which, of course, have the cabs as high as possible but still at the front of the locomotive. Next came the Geeps, with the long hood where the engine is located being condisered the front like the boiler of a steam locomotive. Today modern cabs are more like the cabs of an E or F unit but with more safety features such as stronger materials and the anticlimber. When I think of locomotive safety I think of modern passenger engines such as the P42 or the MP36 which are also similar to the E and F units because of increased visibility. The only thing I can see that was ever done for the benefit of a car/pedestrian was rounding off the pilot instead of having a sharp point like the 'cow-catcher' of century old steam locomotives.
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Old 04-30-2008, 07:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
I apologize if this is mentioned in the paper, as I haven't read all of it yet, but, is pedestrian/auto safety a factor in locomotive design?
How the heck would you design a locomotive to protect the safety of a "pedestrian"? (In quotes because you should have written trespasser.)


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Old 04-30-2008, 08:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
How the heck would you design a locomotive to protect the safety of a "pedestrian"? (In quotes because you should have written trespasser.)


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