In response to letter “Common sense needed on rails”: It is clear the writer knows nothing about railroading. He states more people in the cab of the locomotive are safer, but did not say why. As a retired railroader, the only reason in today’s world to have more people in the cab is to visit with them. There are safety devices to stop the train if the engineer has an emergency or falls asleep, if the crew sees a problem with the rail ahead it is probably too late to stop.
Most, but not all, rail accidents are caused by human error, like not following the speed limited posted or running a block signal. Some are caused by bad rail or equipment failure; BNSF has inspectors who are consistently inspecting the rail plus a lot of new technology to detect wheel and bearing issues with rail cars.
In the last 35 years I was railroading the accident rate has improved 1,000 percent, so what’s the answer? I say let the railroads do their jobs to improve service and safety. They do know what they are doing; they have been doing it over 150 years very successfully.
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