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Don't text while driving a train!

  1. Sep 15, 2008 #1

    jtbell

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  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2008 #2
    I have to nitpick because I know you're into trains. One does not 'drive' a train. You 'operate' it. :wink:
     
  4. Sep 15, 2008 #3

    mgb_phys

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    I would beg to differ, http://www.aslef.org.uk/ "the train drivers union since 1880"
     
  5. Sep 15, 2008 #4
    Is this a regional semantic? Maybe in the U.K. they drive while in the U.S. we operate?

    Anyway, it's kinda obvious that jtbell was playing on the expression. If the alternative was given as a title, it'd sound a wee bit more interesting, albeit misleading: "Don't text while operating... a train!" You can just see the (kind of humorous) initial interpretation of texting while doing a triple bypass.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

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    YIKES!!!

    Is there any sensor after a signal on train tracks to alert other trains sharing the tracks that for some reason, one has missed heeding a signal? I don't know how much evasive action a freight train really can take, but if you knew another train had missed stopping for a signal and was heading your way, maybe they could at least stop rather than keep moving forward or perhaps start going backward to minimize any impact even if the impact itself is inevitable once a train misses a stop?

    That, or when the engineers board the train, have someone at the station lock up their cell phone in a box the engineers can't open themselves, so until they are ready to get off the train at another station, they can't get anyone to open it. :grumpy:
     
  7. Sep 15, 2008 #6

    lisab

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    It's hard to believe that the safety of all the passengers depends on one guy noticing one light. What if he has a medical emergency...or even something not that serious, like a fit of sneezes?

    Is this how all trains in the US run...with no "plan B" if the engineer messes up? Yikes!
     
  8. Sep 15, 2008 #7

    Evo

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    How did these teenagers get this "engineer's" cell phone number? How old was this engineer?
     
  9. Sep 15, 2008 #8
    It is a matter of choice by the railroads

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/traffic/la-me-control14-2008sep14,0,5390210.story

    The east coast rail lines have been using collision-avoidance methods for years.

    There is a conductor on the passenger trains who is also responsible for stopping the trains. The French company that operates the California metro liner choose to blame the conductor.

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i9pBP3gdj7HT4uYJJHiWPFNNU0UQ

    No one has mentioned that the warning from dispatch could have come much sooner.

    The U.S. always seems to be behind on the technology learning curve, or at least behind on implementing new technology.

    In Europe trains have disc brakes and can stop much faster. The eighteen wheelers in Europe have anti lock brakes to keep the trucks from doing the infamous jack knife.
     
  10. Sep 15, 2008 #9

    Astronuc

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    A story a few days ago indicated that the teens had somehow befriended the engineering, and they had asked questions about train operations and so on. I knew some engineers when I was younger, but I'd never would interfere with the operation of a train.

    Some systems uses a warning system in the cab that would alert the engineer that he ran a red light. It might have been too late in this guys case because it sounds like he ran the light just before the freight approached. He probably looked up and saw he was about to hit. Doesn't sound like he had time to hit the breaks based on the telescoping of the locomotive into the trailing cars, unless the force of the freight recoiled the passenger locomotive into the lead passenger car.


    Same reason that people shouldn't talk on their cells or text while driving.
     
  11. Sep 15, 2008 #10

    mgb_phys

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    If it's anything like the UK. A warning system was invented for Brunel's Great Western Railway and first fitted in 1906, it sounds an alarm and puts on the brakes if you pass a red signal - it became mandatory after a bad accident in 1997!
    91 years is a pretty quick response for British Rail.
     
  12. Sep 15, 2008 #11
    Why Americans did not use it :confused:
     
  13. Sep 15, 2008 #12

    Art

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    I think I read though they went for the cheaper system (TPWS) which doesn't work for trains travelling faster than 70 MPH as opposed to the more expensive (ATP) system which works for trains travelling up to 200 MPH.
     
  14. Sep 15, 2008 #13

    Evo

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    The train was going 42 MPH.
     
  15. Sep 15, 2008 #14

    Art

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    I wasn't commenting on this specific instance just that the UK system is not entirely foolproof but certainly a hell of a lot better than having none.
     
  16. Sep 15, 2008 #15

    Astronuc

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    Good chance the passenger engineer missed a previous approach light, and he was therefore speeding. He should have been slowing for a red light and getting ready to stop.

    The conductor is actually responsible for the conduct of the train. The engineer is an operator. The dispatcher apparently warned the conductor, but too late it seems.
     
  17. Sep 15, 2008 #16
    There is a mix and match of overhead signal bridges, track side signal s, and semaphores used in this country. Different companies use different signals.

    I have a friend who retired from CSX a few years ago. He was an operating engineer. His biggest gripe was the mix of signals and how they varied. It is not unusual to run on a rail line owned by another company. There are a lot more than just stop or go signals.

    Below is just a sample.

    http://modratec.com/mud_sig02.php
     
  18. Sep 15, 2008 #17

    Art

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    Before the UK introduced their fail-safe system a report found trains were running 600 red lights a year which is pretty scary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  19. Sep 15, 2008 #18
    Welcome to the real world, Lisa in aviation that would be the pilut.
     
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