Union Pacific Is Very Sorry for Blocking Major Galleria-Area Roads for 7 Hours Today

Categories: Spaced City

train crossing070111.jpg
A crew had to stop where they were.
Galleria area drivers had a nasty morning today because a Union Pacific train was dropped dead in its tracks blocking Richmond and West Alabama for almost seven hours.

Union Pacific spokesperson Raquel Espinoza tells Hair Balls the train's crew had reached the end of their 12-hour shift, and federal law barred them from going any farther.

The solution is to have a backup crew ready to switch out, but because of communication problems and delays in the train's schedule, the stop came and there was no one there to replace the crew.

So why'd it take so long to get someone else? Plenty of potential backups in Houston, right? How long's it take to roust a few out of bed and get over to the west side of town?

The problem with that, Espinoza says, is that there was again miscommunication, and while an investigation is still under way it's likely that the dispatcher assumed the train had stopped in a place where it was blocking no traffic.

"It took us a while, and we apologize for that," Espinoza says.

She says "if normal procedures had been followed, the blocking of those crossings would not have happened. We realize those are major crossings and we apologize for anyone inconvenienced."

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4 comments
Upyours
Upyours

If it was signaled territory, and I am assuming it is, then the crew knew exactly what they were doing.  If they don't have "lights" to clear the crossing, they know well before it comes to this.  Despite popular opinion, dispatchers cannot "drive" the train.  At some point the crew has to be held accountable.

tired dog
tired dog

Or do we have a labor dispute here and the trainmen just wanted to make the bosses in Omaha look bad?

Katy
Katy

Haha... Yeah, there's gotta be more to it.

There are loopholes and exceptions to federal regs. Clearly, if you're in the middle of doing something - like traveling through a major metropolitan area with nobody to take over - when your 12 hours ends, you don't have to immediately drop what you're doing and stop.

"Oops. 12 hours is up. Time to stop the train, regardless of what is going on around me."

If this ISN'T some kind of labor dispute or effort by the crew to make a point, they need to be canned.

tired dog
tired dog

Gimme a break; the feds would drop the hammer if the crew had cut the crossings?  Seems like exigent circumstances to me, but then I'm not a featherbedding six figure / year freight engineer or conductor.

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