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Operation Lifesaver



The first westbound run took almost 15 minutes since the train operated at about 30 mph.  We detrained and walked the length of the train and occupied Metrolink 800.  Someone asked why there was a small camera was in the windshield of #800 and it turned out to be a video camera of all eastbound movements fed to a monitor in the Silver Lariat car.  The first eastbound movement started at 10:26 am and immediately we encountered a restricted speed problem due to stopping short of signals to the west.  Sheriff Smith had suggested 65 mph speed for the first eastbound run, but we could not.  We had to stop at Union Pacific Control Point Walnut and call the dispatcher for permission to pass the red signal.



Everyone in the cab was intensely looking for the warning gates to start to close and then see if any motorist attempted to illegally cross the tracks.  One thing I noticed about engineer Angel Velazquez was his excellent vision.  Train crews call out colored signals as they see them and Angel was calling out signals long before I could see them.  The train proceeded through the City of Industry station and we kept going eastbound until we sat on the single track and waited for our green signal again. 


Between Fairway Drive and Nogales street, an eastbound container train met the O.L. train.  This provided a moment which causes train crews a small amount of anixity.  There were northbound motorists waiting for that eastbound train to clear the  Nogales Street crossing and unaware of the O.L. train approaching.  I heard engineer Angel blowing the horn.  After the eastbound train cleared the crossing no motorist tried to cross in front of the O.L. train.  This train crew was very observant of all aspects of operating the O.L. passenger train.


Above, law enforcement stopped this unfortunate motorist.

The second westbound run did attain 65 mph speed.  There was debate amongst the crew and Metrolink Sheriff about which speed was better for this operation.  The crew rightly pointed out that a faster train warns the highway-rail grade crossing earlier and thus motorists are stopped sooner.  Few if any motorists tried to run the crossing at our fast speed.  A slower train can get closer to a crossing before the warning devices are activated.  Engineer Angel Velazquez maintained that either way it is difficult for a motorist to look up or down a track and be able to tell the speed of an oncoming train.  According to Operation Lifesaver statistics, half of all collisions occur with a train speed below 30 mph.  The train crew extended the westbound run about one mile so that we could catch a fresh green signal and have unrestricted speed eastbound. 


At 11 am Sheriff Smith announced that this would be our last run as they needed to reassemble the troops for debriefing and collection of statistics.  This also provided a break during which everyone was treated to lunch aboard Silver Lariat.  The train was again parked at the City of Industry station until it was to return to Los Angeles.  Before the train stopped, the train crew invited me to return to Los Angeles with them.  I hesitated for a moment thinking that my car was going to remain at City of Industry.  With Metrolink trains on this line, my return was assured. The O.L. train remained at City of Industry for about 20 more minutes before law enforcement finished their paperwork.  According to Metrolink Sheriff Steve Smith, the local law enforcement officers issued 46 moving violations and 11 pedestrian violations.

"Officer-on-a-Train" continued

Set 1   Set 2   Set 3   Set 4   Set 5  

Set 6   Set 7   Set 8   Set 9   Set 10  

Set 11

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