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Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Law enforcement officials undergo train-crash training

Law enforcement agencies worked with officials from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway on Wednesday in the rail yards in east Lawrence. The training exercise was to help officials investigate accidents involving trains.

Law enforcement agencies worked with officials from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway on Wednesday in the rail yards in east Lawrence. The training exercise was to help officials investigate accidents involving trains.

September 24, 2008

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Wayne Harbourn, resident manager of field safety for BNSF, shows law enforcement personnel a simulated accident on the tracks in east Lawrence, as local and state law enforcement agencies worked with officials from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway on Wednesday.

Wayne Harbourn, resident manager of field safety for BNSF, shows law enforcement personnel a simulated accident on the tracks in east Lawrence, as local and state law enforcement agencies worked with officials from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway on Wednesday.

Officers undergo train-crash course

State and local law enforcement officers were in Lawrence on Wednesday for a crash course on train collisions. Enlarge video

Law enforcement officers from across the state were in Lawrence this week for a two-day crash course on train collisions.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway provided the officers with information during the 16-hour training about what they need to know when investigating train wrecks. According to the railway, a train's involved in a crash with a car, pedestrian or another train every two hours in America.

"Our work with law enforcement is very vital," said Randy Wells, Lawrence-based BNSF field safety support coordinator.

Wells said it's not a matter of if but when an officer will have to investigate a train crash.

Train officials set up a mock crash between a train and a car near Eighth and New York streets, during Wednesday morning's hands-on portion of the training. The 18 officers in the course were shown how to investigate and fill out the official paperwork.

"This is going to be your only true time that you get a chance to get the information on (trains and crashes)," said Josh Kellerman, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper who assisted with the training. "So that first one you go out to, you're going to be already prepared : on what information you need to gather."

The officers, from 11 law enforcement agencies in the state, also got a train ride from Lawrence to Eudora and back, to gain an understanding of the challenges that train crews face, Wells said.

"With the near misses and the fact that there's an incident every two hours, it gives (officers) a different perspective," he said. "It just gives them both sides for a complete investigation."

Train officials also explained to officers how their signaling system works and the dangers they face when they're physically on a train or railway investigating a crash.

With the possibility of train traffic doubling in the next 10 years, it's important officers are prepared to safely respond to train accidents, Wells said.

Three Lawrence police officers and two Douglas County sheriff's officers participated in the training.

Comments

Stacy Napier 5 years, 6 months ago

Frwent, Randy Wells is the local coordinator for Operation Lifesaver. This class is put on by Operation Lifesaver. WallytheWairus, BNSF#2852 is still used as a switching engine. It was built in 1975. The other loco. was built in 1986 I believe.

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ss18 5 years, 6 months ago

Looks like a waste of tax money to me. I say cut the police and sherrif's budget in half.

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Shane Garrett 5 years, 6 months ago

If I am correct that locomotive is a GP-38. And #2852 had the asbestos taken out of it by my crew back in 1999-2000 in Galesburg, Il. Nice to see it still up and running.

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madmike 5 years, 6 months ago

People that go aroung the blockades on railroad crossings are culling the herd, but creating one hell of a mess for the personnel that have to walk the track afterwards, with chicken tongs and plastic bags, picking up the pieces

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see similar attention given to Operation Lifesaver. This is an organization supported by most of the major U.S. railroads to alert citizens to the dangers present on railway property. People in a hurry continue to go around lowered grade crossing gates and flashing lights and many are killed. Other people wonder why the "train didn't stop" utterly failing to realize the physics of this impossible feat, there are thousands of tons of locomotives and railcars moving at 40 or more miles an hour. This newspaper has twice published photos of persons tresspassing on railroad property for some imagined artistic notion and consequently violating the law as well as placing the trespassers in serious danger. Moving trains on continous welded rail can be very silent, unless of course, gthe engineer has time to sound the locomotive's horn. As some of us remember, there is a local group wanting trains moving through North Lawrence to be prevented from doing this at great peril to citizens near the tracks.In modern times, the presence of railroads has become very obscured by people who have too much to do, too many places to be at once, headphones, cell phones, various berries to check out the latest drivel on the internet.These distractions have proven themsleves to be deadly in the case of accidents where persons walking on tracks or trying to beat a moving train at a crossing have resulted in the deaths of many unsuspecting people. How about some informative information from Operatin Lifesaver to at least make some effort to educate people to these dangers.

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Lynn731 5 years, 6 months ago

Time well spent. Information they all need to know, and thanks to the railroad for providing it. Thank you, Lynn

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