Wheatbelt level crossing 'campaign' on train lighting

 
  Qclass Beginner

Hi

https://www.countryman.com.au/countryman/news/i-answered-the-door-the-night-my-brother-and-his-two-friends-were-killed-ng-b881734614z

With that article by Lara Jensen and Landline last year, there is a campaign about to get rotating beacons fitted to locomotives and solar powered lighting to grain trains (that are plastered with graffiti so how will that work when paint covers the lights?), when no other country, especially the US which is full of trains, has these mandates.

So I come here looking for support as the rail industry seems to be very quiet on the matter.
I sent this letter in [marked with *** to indicate beginning and end of] to The West and it seems no one is bothering to fight the facts.

I went to argue the case on their facebook page too but was quickly banned for posting facts and arguments that obliterated their campaign.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/3081926652027624/

Can anyone write The West letters@thewest.com.au and The Countryman countryman@wanews.com.au to help us in stopping this madness. I do believe measures can be taken to make things safer, but putting lights on train wagons is not it, nor rotating beacons on locomotives that are already brighter than trucks with headlights and flashing ditchlights.

In her article they admitted a lack of Stop sign was the problem. Not unlit trains.



I guess maybe you guys have noticed the campaign in The West Australian by a small group of people who wish to install rotating beacons on locomotives because their family members were "victims" of "underlit" trains....
I sent a response to The West Australian in response to a very biased letter and letters campaign by this group and others who are pushing for it.
[url=https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2867343660229801&id=100008625846562&__cft__[0]=AZU17LAuG0rY4VQQX7jlv9OC0UX6p8tWLuMQPLUsP8_8E0XMvStoMsoyyJh1CVleVim_NTt94giv3GEd8s6noqsERWilBISKD2eHNaS8NyX1KSJ0oa4PXmzgfR5Q3rsJ6_ciFvSK9ktVrguDPdLet1Hz&__tn__=-UK-R]https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2867343660229801&id=100008625846562[/url]

The letter was NOT published even after many letters contradicting the truth has made it The West's letter pages claiming unlit trains are dangerous etc


***I dispute the facts being printed in your paper in the last several months regarding grain trains not being well lit , with calls made in the letter section for rotating beacons, of which no other country in the world even uses.

As a former train driver who spent years in the wheatbelt driving trains, I observed vehicles who could see trains and drove straight through visible stop signs.
Bill Black's letter was printed on Jan 25th Tuesday this week where he claimed trains are poorly lit.
The headlights on locomotives are highly visible and extremely bright, actually more brighter than your road trains heading east west on Gt Eastern Highway.
All wagons have reflective adhesive attached making then highly visible.
The back of trains are even lit up with "tail lights".
Trains "do not go sailing through" these passive unlit level crossings. They are required by law to sound a loud blast of the locomotive horn and have headlights and flashing ditch lights set to ON. The ditch lights flash for about 30 seconds when the horn is sounded, making it impossible to miss your so called "poorly lit" train.
And then quite a few rail lines in the wheatbelt with these crossings are out of use now because it is too expensive to maintain them. The rails are from the 1930s!! And Bill Black alleges these companies are highly profitable. If they were, we would see new rail lines constructed or the old ones replaced. But this is not the highly profitable iron ore or coal where railways in Queensland and North West WA are built specifically for this task as profits are high.
I am concerned that the real issues being ignored here are:
The unwillingness of the Western Australian Government and Department of Transport to install the same sensors used in traffic signal intersections on the WA Mainroads network at level crossings,
And the lack of Traffic Police which has gradually been defunded over the last two decades which of course contributes to a higher death toll on our roads, which Mr Black correctly asserts.
A woman died on Octover 31st 2021 in Queens Park after her vehicle was parked on the level crossing.
While this is a world wide issue, the technology is there to install at the same cost of sensors that are installed at traffic intersections to change traffic lights upon vehicles sitting on the sensor area.
This would make far more sense so a train can be stopped because a sensor is tripped to ensure needless collisions do not occur on Western Australian railways.
This is especially pertinent with the running of driverless trains nowadays, such as in the Pilbara and Western Sydney.
At night it is impossible to see anything around a corner so if there is an obstruction at a level crossing, the only way a train driver would know is if someone has alerted the train controllers.
With sensors in place and signals attached to heavy traffic road crossings where trains such as the Indian Pacific and dangerous goods trains proceed with highly toxic contents, risk of unintentional collisions can be reduced to very low numbers, if not zero.
Sincerely,
Daniel McAloon ***
Just in case you need a little bit more evidence to see different rail operator's sounds and lights to give proper warning before level crossings....


https://youtu.be/Y6u_kIQT4N8

There are more videos on YouTube.
Hide quoted text
On 27 Jan 2022 12:54 am, Daniel McAloon wrote
Note for your viewing- see the lights on grain trains!! They are VERY BRIGHT!!!!!


https://youtu.be/UuK7r4VQJ1U

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  Qclass Beginner

I do believe remote level crossings could have locked gates on them that only open where a train is not on the circuit or need a release (with circuit) from train control. Will save lives. But I think trees need to lighted first before rail wagons are as motor vehicles seem to have far more crashes with them. Oh and power poles....
  M636C Minister for Railways

I do believe remote level crossings could have locked gates on them that only open where a train is not on the circuit or need a release (with circuit) from train control. Will save lives. But I think trees need to lighted first before rail wagons are as motor vehicles seem to have far more crashes with them. Oh and power poles....
Qclass
Interestingly, this need for rotating lights was raised before in the mid 1960s.
I understand that at least two X class locomotives were fitted with rotating beacon lights as an experiment.

Around 1967, all locomotives of the AA class and the R class and the first 23 locomotives of the L class were fitted with "Pyle Gyralight" rotating headlights. As far as I know, these were never actuated as rotating beacons. The surviving L class locomotives from the group 251 to 273 mostly still have the Gyralights if somebody could find or install the "on/off" switch.

Peter
  Qclass Beginner

I do believe remote level crossings could have locked gates on them that only open where a train is not on the circuit or need a release (with circuit) from train control. Will save lives. But I think trees need to lighted first before rail wagons are as motor vehicles seem to have far more crashes with them. Oh and power poles....
Interestingly, this need for rotating lights was raised before in the mid 1960s.
I understand that at least two X class locomotives were fitted with rotating beacon lights as an experiment.

Around 1967, all locomotives of the AA class and the R class and the first 23 locomotives of the L class were fitted with "Pyle Gyralight" rotating headlights. As far as I know, these were never actuated as rotating beacons. The surviving L class locomotives from the group 251 to 273 mostly still have the Gyralights if somebody could find or install the "on/off" switch.

Peter
M636C

Comment from a Trains forum post which makes sense, because ditch lights were installed in all locomotives around the year 2000.
https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/145123.aspx
Alex,
 Gyralites/MARS lights provide a wide 'sweeping' light pattern(either circular or 'figure 8', depending on model).  They were commonly used a a warning device on passienger trains.  Many early freight engines used them as well.  One of the problems with them was the mechanical geared movement that provided the 'sweeping' action - they ground up the gears.
 I always thought they were much better a a warning device than the roof mounted amber 'flashers'.  The current 'ditch lights' with the flashing option when the horns are sounded may be the best warning device yet.  They are low enough so that they are at motorist 'eye level'.and are really noticed.  Back in 1997, I was rail fanning with some friends and we were waiting at a grade crossing early in the morning for a WC train.  There was still some ground fog and as the SD45 approached the crossing, those flashing ditch lights really stood out!  I really like them.
Jim
  M636C Minister for Railways

I do believe remote level crossings could have locked gates on them that only open where a train is not on the circuit or need a release (with circuit) from train control. Will save lives. But I think trees need to lighted first before rail wagons are as motor vehicles seem to have far more crashes with them. Oh and power poles....
Interestingly, this need for rotating lights was raised before in the mid 1960s.
I understand that at least two X class locomotives were fitted with rotating beacon lights as an experiment.

Around 1967, all locomotives of the AA class and the R class and the first 23 locomotives of the L class were fitted with "Pyle Gyralight" rotating headlights. As far as I know, these were never actuated as rotating beacons. The surviving L class locomotives from the group 251 to 273 mostly still have the Gyralights if somebody could find or install the "on/off" switch.

Peter

Comment from a Trains forum post which makes sense, because ditch lights were installed in all locomotives around the year 2000.
https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/145123.aspx
Alex,
 Gyralites/MARS lights provide a wide 'sweeping' light pattern(either circular or 'figure 8', depending on model).  They were commonly used a a warning device on passienger trains.  Many early freight engines used them as well.  One of the problems with them was the mechanical geared movement that provided the 'sweeping' action - they ground up the gears.
 I always thought they were much better a a warning device than the roof mounted amber 'flashers'.  The current 'ditch lights' with the flashing option when the horns are sounded may be the best warning device yet.  They are low enough so that they are at motorist 'eye level'.and are really noticed.  Back in 1997, I was rail fanning with some friends and we were waiting at a grade crossing early in the morning for a WC train.  There was still some ground fog and as the SD45 approached the crossing, those flashing ditch lights really stood out!  I really like them.
Jim
Qclass
I'd agree that flashing ditch lights are the most effective warning currently available. I think that the ditch lights could be a bit brighter than they are now. I first saw ditch lights on the British Columbia Railway in 1986 (I went to the Expo) and at the time I thought they were amazingly bright (although at that time, they didn't flash.) They were arranged in a triangle with the headlight, so after some experience, a car driver could tell how far away the train was. This would apply with ditch lights in Australia too.

The reason for the figure eight of Mars and Gyralights was that bulbs of the time would not last being flashed, so moving the lamp and reflector gave the effect of flashing from a given point (a level crossing in front of the train for example). In the same way, a rotating light on a marine lighthouse is seen as flashing from a distant ship.

My point in mentioning the Gyralights is that as far as I know they were never actually used (except as fixed headlights). In the model fitted to the AA, L and R the upper light rotated in a figure eight while the lower light was fixed. It seems strang that with so many locomotives fitted, that they were never actually used.

The only working Mars light I ever saw in Australia was on the MT Newman carriage "Sundowner" which had a red Mars light as a taillight. This stopped working after the side taillights were accidentally knocked off the car destroying the lighting circuit. But I spent several minutes watching the light, I think late in 1975 or early in 1976. It had a strangely hypnotic effect if viewed close enough that the figure eight pattern could be seen.

Peter
  Qclass Beginner

I do believe remote level crossings could have locked gates on them that only open where a train is not on the circuit or need a release (with circuit) from train control. Will save lives. But I think trees need to lighted first before rail wagons are as motor vehicles seem to have far more crashes with them. Oh and power poles....
Interestingly, this need for rotating lights was raised before in the mid 1960s.
I understand that at least two X class locomotives were fitted with rotating beacon lights as an experiment.

Around 1967, all locomotives of the AA class and the R class and the first 23 locomotives of the L class were fitted with "Pyle Gyralight" rotating headlights. As far as I know, these were never actuated as rotating beacons. The surviving L class locomotives from the group 251 to 273 mostly still have the Gyralights if somebody could find or install the "on/off" switch.

Peter

Comment from a Trains forum post which makes sense, because ditch lights were installed in all locomotives around the year 2000.
https://cs.trains.com/trn/f/111/t/145123.aspx
Alex,
 Gyralites/MARS lights provide a wide 'sweeping' light pattern(either circular or 'figure 8', depending on model).  They were commonly used a a warning device on passienger trains.  Many early freight engines used them as well.  One of the problems with them was the mechanical geared movement that provided the 'sweeping' action - they ground up the gears.
 I always thought they were much better a a warning device than the roof mounted amber 'flashers'.  The current 'ditch lights' with the flashing option when the horns are sounded may be the best warning device yet.  They are low enough so that they are at motorist 'eye level'.and are really noticed.  Back in 1997, I was rail fanning with some friends and we were waiting at a grade crossing early in the morning for a WC train.  There was still some ground fog and as the SD45 approached the crossing, those flashing ditch lights really stood out!  I really like them.
Jim
I'd agree that flashing ditch lights are the most effective warning currently available. I think that the ditch lights could be a bit brighter than they are now. I first saw ditch lights on the British Columbia Railway in 1986 (I went to the Expo) and at the time I thought they were amazingly bright (although at that time, they didn't flash.) They were arranged in a triangle with the headlight, so after some experience, a car driver could tell how far away the train was. This would apply with ditch lights in Australia too.

The reason for the figure eight of Mars and Gyralights was that bulbs of the time would not last being flashed, so moving the lamp and reflector gave the effect of flashing from a given point (a level crossing in front of the train for example). In the same way, a rotating light on a marine lighthouse is seen as flashing from a distant ship.

My point in mentioning the Gyralights is that as far as I know they were never actually used (except as fixed headlights). In the model fitted to the AA, L and R the upper light rotated in a figure eight while the lower light was fixed. It seems strang that with so many locomotives fitted, that they were never actually used.

The only working Mars light I ever saw in Australia was on the MT Newman carriage "Sundowner" which had a red Mars light as a taillight. This stopped working after the side taillights were accidentally knocked off the car destroying the lighting circuit. But I spent several minutes watching the light, I think late in 1975 or early in 1976. It had a strangely hypnotic effect if viewed close enough that the figure eight pattern could be seen.

Peter
M636C


The agenda driven group gets even more publicity.

Cannot one consider that an automobile driver may have made a mistake/error?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3081926652027624/


They reposted this video from GWN...

https://www.facebook.com/gwn7news/videos/738847107489114/?extid=NS-UNK-UNK-UNK-IOS_GK0T-GK1C

In the original article in The Countryman back in 2020 (link in OP up top) it was stated signage was to blame and also that 'all they wanted was Mainroads to be held accountable'. In fact they want a lot more!!!

I have heard about Gyra lights from other drivers and I am not sure how long they were used for in Western Australia, but they are annoying and distracting.

At night it is advantageous to have less distractions visually and you aren't the first person to say they are hypnotic.

Right now I think the level of driver behaviour leaves a lot to be desired.

Instead of focusing on train lighting, you would save one hundred times more lives if Police were restored to the roads and drivers took more care on the roads. Driver awareness being the key phrase here. If they respected the fact that there are risks whilst driving and avoided driving whilst intoxicated or impatient and selfish, then we would reduce the fatalities on the roads.

If the Government is not prepared to protect other road users by putting a reasonable amount of traffic police on the roads I doubt they will be forced to legislate for Christmas tree trains which I think are totally unreasonable.

Analysis of road accident statistics indicate that stationary trees are of much higher risk to car and truck drivers than 'underlit' trains. They compare road trains to trains saying road trains are better lit. Vehicles have to overtake and drive next to the se road trains, not trains! Thus they are lit appropriately.

Daniel
  Qclass Beginner

One person on the GWN Facebook post (video one post above) who is a train driver states:

People need to be observing of crossing and signs ,lights ect .As a trainee driver for the past year every single shift we have some one pull across in front of us weather it's a rural or town crossing people are always trying to race to beat us .we have have flashing ditchlights, spot lights and toot the horn every crossing. It's not hard to stop as a car driver look both ways
  Qclass Beginner

Well The West finally published a response to the endless letter campaign by Lara Jensen.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2889356301361870&id=100008625846562
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

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