Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

The news story said nothing about the locomotive derailing, but said it damaged switches. That means it ran through trailing point switches that were not lined for the locomotive. That will cause the breakable link in the switch machine linkage to break, as designed. A competent track repair tech can repair that in about 15 minutes, with a $100 replacement link. $30,000 per switch? I don't think so.

However, if there was additional damage to the track, the costs could escalate fast.

Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

"After getting inside, the person took the locomotive onto the tracks, damaging two switches worth about $30,000 each."

The cost of a railroad switch is definitely not a commonly known fact. So where did that number come from? Did the railroad tell the police the cost of the switches, and the journalist is simply quoting the police report? Did the journalist look that number up? Police reports (at least the ones I've seen) will include a line on the report where a crime victim can indicate the value of the property that was damaged/stolen. So, if the railroad gave that number to police, is the railroad saying "This switch cost $30k" and just didn't write down that the cost to repair would be different? Is the journalist just assuming they would have to replace the entire switch? (buying to replace instead of repairing what is broken is common these days, wouldn't necessarily blame anyone for assuming that is what the railroad would do).

Something else I'd like to know: "Because the locomotive was locked, it is likely the perpetrator broke in through the locomotive's window." Was the window broken? Or are windows easily opened? If the window was indeed broken, the article probably would have read, "The perpetrator broke in through the window" rather than precede it with the uncertain phrase "it is likely". Also, the locomotive was broken into between March 24th and 28th. Was there a four-day period where the railroad simply didn't know it had a locomotive missing? Did they find it exactly where it was parked?

I could ask more questions! And I have no idea the answer to any of these questions, and I imply nothing one way or the other. Frankly, the journalist is smarter than me with regard to this story because it sounds like they've read the police report! I'd love to read that police report.

@0-Gauge CJ posted:

"After getting inside, the person took the locomotive onto the tracks, damaging two switches worth about $30,000 each."

The cost of a railroad switch is definitely not a commonly known fact. So where did that number come from? Did the railroad tell the police the cost of the switches, and the journalist is simply quoting the police report? Did the journalist look that number up? Police reports (at least the ones I've seen) will include a line on the report where a crime victim can indicate the value of the property that was damaged/stolen. So, if the railroad gave that number to police, is the railroad saying "This switch cost $30k" and just didn't write down that the cost to repair would be different? Is the journalist just assuming they would have to replace the entire switch? (buying to replace instead of repairing what is broken is common these days, wouldn't necessarily blame anyone for assuming that is what the railroad would do).

Something else I'd like to know: "Because the locomotive was locked, it is likely the perpetrator broke in through the locomotive's window."

Just my opinion but, rarely is a locomotive "locked", i.e. locked cab doors, unless the railroad has add pad-locks on the outside of the door frames (which are fairly easy to break).

Was the window broken? Or are windows easily opened? If the window was indeed broken, the article probably would have read, "The perpetrator broke in through the window" rather than precede it with the uncertain phrase "it is likely".

Unless the perp had a pretty tall ladder, the cab side windows are NOT easily broken into anyway, especially since they are FRA mandated safety glazing (darned near bullet proof), being laminated glass and Lexan inside.

Also, the locomotive was broken into between March 24th and 28th. Was there a four-day period where the railroad simply didn't know it had a locomotive missing? Did they find it exactly where it was parked?

I could ask more questions! And I have no idea the answer to any of these questions, and I imply nothing one way or the other. Frankly, the journalist is smarter than me with regard to this story because it sounds like they've read the police report! I'd love to read that police report.

Wouldn't we all? Maybe that Police Report is available on-line? Then again, some Police Reports are sort of a joke when it comes to railroad related crimes.

Curious thread. I’ve had employer owned construction equipment (yellow iron, bucket trucks and etc) started overnight and operated and usually damaged while being stolen or simply moved or set afire. Few of these “actors” knew how to operate these machines or vehicles but they could make them move. Mostly kids or twisted individuals. “Down at the shore” recently, a local aviation mechanic recently (before 2020) took a plane for a joy ride, he was not a pilot but got airborne and then crashed onto a beach and miraculously survived. I think all of us could fire up a JD tractor and move it even if we couldn’t turn it off. It’s a singular manufacturer key issue too.

Last edited by WRW

I live in this neck of the woods. They leave the engines right on the side of the road in the downtown area there is no yard. The train only works a day or two a week. This isn’t the first time. Back in 2019 they had the same thing happened to them in Ocala. I believe it was another one of their engines. Ran her right down the middle of the street through downtown in the broad daylight, went another 10 miles, then put her in reverse and put her right back in the same spot......Got away Scott free.

Last edited by Jesse ferguson

As far as getting into the cab windows... many years ago I was a volunteer on a local tourist railroad.  We ran on the tracks of a shortline freight railroad and occasionally used their power when our steam locomotive wasn’t operating.  I recall one instance where we were given permission to use their engine, an ex-Conrail GP10.  The freight crew had locked the cab doors and we couldn’t reach anyone to come and unlock it. One door was padlocked and the other locked from the inside. So...

One of our volunteers managed to push back the side windows (they were latched together but slid in their tracks) with a broomstick from the walkway, and climbed around into the cab through the window.  Dumb move as if he had fallen, it’s quite a drop from the cab to the ground...

In response to Hot Water’s comment regarding locomotives being locked: I can’t speak for every railroad, but with NS, we lock them up in these circumstances...

1. It’s a train tied down somewhere on the mainline.

2. Yard engines in not so friendly areas (we have quite a few of those areas here in Atlanta).

3. This one is a little off topic, but DPs (mid train and end of train) are to be locked up so no one can get inside and mess with anything.


All of our yard engines (standard cabs and the SD60s) have the equivalent to a pad lock. Wit’s the wide bodies, we lock the back door from the inside then the front has a lock that slides in front of the door that basically just keeps you from opening it.

And just like you said, if they were to break into a window on the side they would definitely need a ladder lol. Even then the glass isn’t going to be easy to break.

For all of you wondering about the cost of switches, the Marshall & Swift Cost Estimating Guide, commonly used by commercial real estate appraisers, indicates railroad switches to cost anywhere from $26,000 to $58,250, depending on weight of the rail.  Those estimated costs include: rails, ties, ballast, spikes, and alignment.  The cost estimating guide also notes that the cost per switch is in addition to the cost of the rail (which sounds like the underlying rail/ballast/etc. of the switch).

A few years ago I had to appraise several railroad car repair facilities that included rail yards and had to estimate the cost of the yards, as one of the approaches to value.  The cost estimating guide was helpful, but I had to call a manufacturer to estimate the cost of the transfer tables that was on one of the sites.  The transfer tables had a staggering cost associated with them, which again depended on several size / weight factors.

NWL

For all of you wondering about the cost of switches, the Marshall & Swift Cost Estimating Guide, commonly used by commercial real estate appraisers, indicates railroad switches to cost anywhere from $26,000 to $58,250, depending on weight of the rail.  Those estimated costs include: rails, ties, ballast, spikes, and alignment.  The cost estimating guide also notes that the cost per switch is in addition to the cost of the rail (which sounds like the underlying rail/ballast/etc. of the switch).

That may explain the quoted $60k in damages. If I'm being honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I made the same mistake.

In the 70's, Dad had a D-8 Cat and was building a pond at my uncles place. One day he went to the job, and the Cat was gone. Easy to "track" down, he followed it through the field, across a creek, across a gravel road and up a ditch and found it almost a mile a away at another farm. The owner had hired a guy from Topeka to take out a few trees, and he didn't have a way to haul his machine out there, so he "borrowed" Dad's, and didn't think he'd mind. He almost went to jail.

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×