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Officer-on-the-Train Pacific Harbor Line

Operation Lifesaver "Officer-on-the-train"

at Pacific Harbor Line

Wilmington & San Pedro, California

April 11, 2007

Story and photographs by Richard Elgenson
RailNewsNetwork writer

Wednesday April 11, 2007 was the date for an Officer-on-the-Train law enforcement exercise scheduled to take place in the Wilmington/San Pedro area on the Pacific Harbor Line.  Participating railroads included Pacific Harbor Line, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak, Metrolink, and Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway.  Pacific Harbor Line is the most important short line on the west coast if not the whole country serving the twin ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as a neutral swithching operation handling intermodal, liquid bulk commodites, automobiles, minerals, agricultural commodities, steel and heavy equipment.  According to PHL President Andrew Fox, this railroad handles about 120 movements per day over 18 route miles and 59 track miles, dispatching trains for themselves, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific.  PHL, a unit of Anacostia Rail Holdings Co., calls itself the "rail gateway to the world" serving the third highest volume container port facilities complex in the world.  The people who run Anacostia are very astute business people operating short lines various locations thoughout the nation. 


The first order of business at Officer-on-the-Train events is the law enforcement briefing  On this day, the briefing duties were handled by Union Pacific Railroad Police Department Lt. Tim Nehrling, Union Pacific Railroad Police Department Officer Jorge Villaescusa and Los Angeles County Sheriff Steve Snith.  A total of 27 law officers from the UPRR, BNSF Railway, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Police Department, LAPD Hazmat and Port of Los Angeles Police were on hand to participate on motorcycles and in cars.




Soon after the briefing, the special train arrived.  As soon as the train began its work, the officers deployed ahead of the train to their targeted highway rail grade crossings.


Below left, a tractor has just run under the descending gates at Harry S. Bridges Boulevard.


Below, truck and vehicular traffic on the S. Avalon Blvd grade crossing.



Below, a Los Angeles Port Police unit has pulled an SUV over on A Street.


Further along up the road, the special train is about to cross Figuroa Street.  Below right, UPRR PD Officer Jorge Villaescusa is issuing a citation to a blue van.


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