Old 10-24-2008, 12:19 AM   #1
Slopes09
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Default MORE BAD PR: Metra engineer accused of letting teen run trains

Why do I have feeling we're (as in railfans) about to get a lot more bad PR... :-/

Between this and the California incident, people are probably going to think we're idiots.

Remember people, whenever you railfan, you represent your hobby. After these last two incidents, lets try and not portray a foamer image. Try and appear sane. Show people that the railfans they see in the news are exception, not the rule.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...run-train.html
Quote:
A Metra engineer faces disciplinary action after being accused of allowing a teenager to operate commuter trains, the Tribune has learned.

Two other engineers also have been suspended for allegedly permitting the teen to enter locomotive cabs, according to a report recently filed with the Federal Railroad Administration.

Metra declined to confirm the specific charges, citing the engineers' right to a fair hearing. The agency also is declining to name the line upon which the incidents occurred or say how the teen accessed the cabs without other Metra employees spotting him.

"We did have a situation involving some of our engineers, and they have been taken out of service without pay," Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

Pardonnet would not say when the incidents took place, but said Metra learned of them two weeks ago and immediately suspended the three trainmen.

A Federal Railroad Administration spokesman said the agency would be paying close attention to the upcoming hearings and could consider its own disciplinary action if federal regulations were violated.

"It's a matter of great concern to us, and we are monitoring the situation," administration spokesman Warren Flatau said.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the labor group that represents the accused Metra employees, had no immediate comment.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:24 AM   #2
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It may give us a bad rep, but at least more people will know what we're doing when they see us out there.
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Old 10-24-2008, 03:20 AM   #3
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I have a feeling this is just Metra blowing things out of proportions and taking the 'fun' out of the job. I'm sure it wasn't as if there was a railfan riding near the cab, the engineer poked his head out and said "hey kid, you wanna take the reins for a while, I'm gonna stretch out my legs, be back in 20."

What probably happened was there was an young railfan (I would venture to guess like 13 or 14) who was really enjoying himself. The engineer noticed and asked him if he would like to pull the horn or sit behind the throttle for a minute or two at a point in the run where nothing needed to be adjusted. Also, I'm the sure the engineer was hovering right behind the kid so that if anything needed even the most remote adjustment he could do so without risking anybody's safety.

When I was young the above situation played out a handful of times when I would go to New York City on the train with my mother. There was minimal risk and the engineer got a good feeling from pleasing a young fan. No harm, no foul.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:03 AM   #4
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ooooooooooooooooooh no... some teen running the choo choo???

I bet they took it joyriding, through the bad part of town, to score dope for their pregnant girlfriend...

Maybe they'll make it into a movie, like the one with Wilford Brimley stealing a train, only this one won't suck...

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Old 10-24-2008, 05:28 AM   #5
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John, try more like 18, in the cab, and actually running the train because he knew the engineers. He wasn't just blowing the horn. But at the same time, nobody was at risk because the engineer was still sitting right there.
I'm sure this happened plenty of times in the past and before, nobody really got all worried over it. Now, with terrorists and paranoia, everything is made out to be a big deal. It's the world we live in.
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Old 10-25-2008, 04:43 AM   #6
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As I suspected, Joe was correct.
Metra learns from MySpace page about teen operator
I have a funny feeling I know who it is, but to protect that person, I'm not going to speculate.
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:53 PM   #7
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And yet another article from the Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1637529.story

Quote:
Permitting any unauthorized personnel in the locomotive is a violation of Metra policy and federal regulations because it can create a distraction. The operating cab is considered a sterile environment where cell phones, newspapers, music and all other non-essential activities are prohibited to ensure safety.
A train is on a fixed course. Yet, a school bus, with dozens of screaming children, isn't a distraction for a bus driver who could easily veer out of his/her lane of traffic and cause an accident? Why isn't the "cab" of a bus created to be a "sterile environment?"

We live in an odd world of rules, that's for sure.
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Old 10-26-2008, 03:12 AM   #8
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Well, the Feds implemented "sterile cockpit" rules for airliners many years ago after an airline crew basically flew into the side of a mountain while engaged in a political debate. Now, crews are not allowed to discuss anything unrelated to flying the airplane any time they are below 10,000 ft. It has proven to be a good practice that perhaps should be extended to all operators of mass transit machinery, including trains, busses etc.

This is not to say that non-employees shouldn't ever be allowed to observe operations. It just means the approval of such riders has to be more formal...to include a briefing about when they can and cannot interact with the crew. Over the years, I've had numerous locomotive cab rides and on several occasions (before 911), was permitted to ride jumpseat with professional aircrews. I learned alot and really enjoyed that "inside" experience. But in all cases, I briefed with the crews beforehand and I recognized full well how I had the potential to create distractions for them if I didn't behave properly at critical times.

I guess what I'm saying is that activity such as this shouldn't be prohibited, but must be better controlled than it apparently is at present.
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:02 AM   #9
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[/quote]A train is on a fixed course. Yet, a school bus, with dozens of screaming children, isn't a distraction for a bus driver who could easily veer out of his/her lane of traffic and cause an accident? Why isn't the "cab" of a bus created to be a "sterile environment?" [/quote]

Better yet, you drive with out your seat belt on and get a ticket, yet millions of kids ride the bus each day with out wearing a seat belt!
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