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Trespass and Communications

Rich Gent - Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today I was walking my dogs by the railroad track and saw a white Dodge pick-up driving on the Maintenance of Way (MOW) road.  It was not railroad personnel, at least the truck did not have a railroad logo on it.  So, I called it in to the Risk Management Center.  The lady asked what I was calling about and I said I wanted to report a trespasser on railroad property.  I told her the railroad milepost and the sub-district as well as the location from the nearest town, the direction of travel, etc.  She seemed satisfied with all this information.  Now normally in the past when I have reported a trespasser the Dispatcher is on the radio and almost immediately notifying trains in the area; this time absolutely nothing.  So, I figured no trains in the area.  Then about 10 minutes later a Westbound Stack train rolls past.  I packed up the dogs and headed back home.  When I got back on the main road to head home, I noticed the local sheriff on the branch line which connects to the mainline where the trespasser was at.  So, obviously either the dispatcher sent the sheriff to the branch line or the sheriff didn't know that there was a main line too.  An obvious communication breakdown.  I guess it boils down to the risk management department being literally in a different time zone and communicating to a sheriff who is not fully trained on railroad operations.   Hot Rail is developing a solution to this communication break down called the Common Operational Picture (COP) which the military has been using for years.  Keep watching this webpage for developments. 

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