Facebook Page
Operation Lifesaver February 16, 2005 Page 2

Operation Lifesaver "Officer-on-a-train"

Fullerton, California

February 16, 2005

Story and photographs by Richard Elgenson
RailNewsNetwork writer



After the train stopped to reverse movement to travel west, I switched to the BNSF locomotive which was now the trailing end of the train.  Moments after we crossed Orangethorpe Avenue, an eastbound BNSF container train met the special train.



BNSF locomotive engineer Eric Lehmuth was available for interview and stated that he has been interested in trains his whole life and has been an engineer for approximately one year.  He said what most other engineers reveal.  Locomotive engineers routinely observe unsafe behavior of automobile and truck drivers as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.  He does not want to "ruin anyone's life" by hitting them with any part of his train.  He also corrected another reporter by stating "trains are not driven, they are run."  Engineer Lehmuth also talked about working hours for train crews.  Engineers and conductors can work up to 12 hours straight at which point they must be relieved by another crew.  They then must have at least an eight hour rest period. Other circumstances warrant a ten hour rest period.



Once back at Fullerton Station, the train again made another east bound run, this time with Metrolink (LASD) Sheriff Steve Smith aboard.  He asked engineer Lehmuth to obtain permission from the BNSF dispatcher to take the train all the way to Atwood, thus allowing for faster train speed of 50 miles per hour.


This eastbound run took seven minutes.  From a motorists point of view at a highway-rail grade crossing, it is difficult to tell how fast a train is approaching.




After this uneventful eastward run, the train was stopped at Atwood and run back to Fullerton.

Operation Lifesaver Fullerton Page 3