KOMO TV4 Seattle Rail Security 11/7 @ 11pm

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Or what's distorted, misrepresented, or otherwise lied about in the pursuit of better ratings and market share, of course. You won't be missing much, believe me...

Stan Lytle

New Member
The preview shows a KOMO reporter and cameraman entering an unlocked, unattended, running locomotive. If I was the railroad, I'd turn around and use KOMO's video as evidence against them for trespassing. They also show some tank cars going by, I'm sure contents will be discussed, so just in case anyone who would like to do harm doesn't know what's in them already, they will now. Not that there aren't other ways to find out, but I'll HELP rail security by NOT mentioning how.

Stan Lytle

New Member
They won't mention anything about that, to do so would kill their slant on their story. The complete story never makes good news.


Active Member
You don't think there is a reverser in the cab of the locomotive? Every locomotive I've been in had one in it, even all of the trailing units.

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
the dupes arent locked cos it would take too much labor, over time, to be locking and unlocking all the units all the time. Uncle Pete, i heard, started locking some that run down along the sunset route. dont know about that for sure. the fact is that KOMO showing "hey -- i can get into a unit!" -- how is that more significant than -- "hey -- i can buy a ticket into this stadium! look! security compromised!" the whole terrorism/homeland security thing is so overblown, i imagine if so many people want to set off bombs it would be happening much more than it does. these sorts of stories are just to increase viewership (read: sell advertising) as some others have alluded to here.


Like I said, it's all about ratings and market share; they're not about to let telling the truth get in the way of that. I would have loved to have been proven wrong this time, though; unfortunately, I've seen too much of this crap (and not just on railroads, either) to expect otherwise from the so-called "news media".


Photo Critiques Welcome
Locomotive security is an issue railroads handling hazardous shippments are already looking at. Finger print authorization and remote enable/disable of locomotives are two approaches.


You don't think there is a reverser in the cab of the locomotive? Every locomotive I've been in had one in it, even all of the trailing units.

No they don't all have them. Usually they do, some even have two, but I've gotten on trains that were tied down and no reverser was to be found on any of the units. That's why I have a couple spares with me, one of which is always in my pocket. The worst case was one time called for a light power move of eight engines. None of them had one and they just came out of a shop for some warranty work.

I've seen some UP engines with exterior locks on the nose. I think the only people who have keys for those are the mechanical dept. I know TE&Y people in my terminal don't have keys for them.



A.K.A Kaivo
Locomotive security is an issue railroads handling hazardous shippments are already looking at. Finger print authorization and remote enable/disable of locomotives are two approaches.

Newer GE's have factory satteliite start. They can start any unit (GE) from Erie.

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
in the comments section on the KOMO webpage, BNSF put this official statement (I am assuming it was in fact the company):

"BNSF is extremely disappointed that the KOMO report relied heavily upon accusations from a plaintiff’s attorney who is neither a homeland security expert nor a railroad operations expert. In fact, Mr. Jungbauer stands to financially benefit from disparaging the railroad’s reputation and tainting jury pools in the Seattle area.

We are appalled that KOMO would unlawfully enter restricted areas to produce sensationalized accusations and exaggerated hypotheticals to attack rail safety and security. We take these issues very seriously.

The report failed to recognize that there are numerous ways to immobilize a parked train such as removing essential equipment, tieing down handbrakes or isolating electrical fields on the locomotive.

To ensure BNSF operations procedures are being properly followed, a voluntary audit of our operations was initiated on Friday, Nov. 4. The audit found that every lead locomotive in the area was properly secured.

Most of BNSF’s high volume main line track is controlled by what is called Centralized Traffic Control (CTC). On CTC track, a train cannot move on the track, nor can a switch from a siding be thrown to allow a train to move onto the main line without the dispatcher seeing it on their computer screen.

In regard to security, security, all employees operating trains on mainline track or doing maintenance work on main line track are informed of the status of security alert levels and are required to report their security concerns to supervisors. Those security concerns are then investigated by BNSF Police.

Since 9-11, railroad security has been coordinated 24/7 with first the FBI and later Homeland Security after that agency was created. We have our own police force and also have long relied upon a partnership with local, state and federal law enforcement to help monitor and provide security for the railroad.

BNSF’s computer system tracks every railcar, locomotive and train on its network, whether each car is loaded or empty, what each car is carrying, and how long each car or train is at a given location.

For obvious security reasons, we are unable to discuss details of those security efforts with the news media as doing so would compromise them.

In terms of hazardous materials, the vast majority of materials that are required to be classified as hazmat when transported include many of the kinds of items people use every day including batteries, perfume, paint etc.

Less than 3/10ths of 1 percent of all rail shipments (this is true for both the industry and for BNSF) are the type of products that can be turned into the toxic or poisonous clouds of greatest concern to public safety.

There are special placement, handling and monitoring procedures for rail shipments of what are called Rail Security Sensitive Materials (RSSM). BNSF complies with those security procedures for the limited shipments that require them.

BNSF would not haul many of these materials if not required to do so by federal regulation. But since railroads are required to transport them, BNSF and the rest of the rail industry do so much more safely than when the same materials are moved over the highway. We also strongly support non-hazardous alternatives be developed to eliminate the issue entirely."


Photo Critiques Welcome
Trains ran an article about the work being done to secure locomotives a year or so ago. The FRA was going to require carriers who handle hazardous shipments to install security devices. The FRA has reports about biometric security on their website.

It's a slick move for the "Problem Solvers". Sensationalize something that is already being addressed and next year they can crow about how they made it happen.


New Member
I doubt that statement really came from BNSF. Poorly written for an official response if it did. I watched the Komo story and I will say this the BNSF spokesperson did a really lousy job responding to the story on the air. The best response he could muster was to challenge if the video was legitimate. I would BNSF could do much better than that. Personally I don't have a problem with this type of investigative journalism. The story was unfounded then the BNSF spokesperson should have provided an emphatic response. Instead he looked like a kid trying to shift the blame onto someone else.


Guy with the green hat
KOMO aired a sequel to the story tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 8, '11). I only caught the tail end of the program, but in the little that I did see, they quoted the comments that were (allegedly) posted by BNSF, and said something to the effect that "BNSF doesn't care, so we're taking this to the government".

They also mentioned a BNSF train that was stolen by a homeless man several years back, and showed another clip of a "runaway" CSX train, which I am guessing is the "Crazy Eights" incident (which inspired the movie "Unstoppable").

I imagine the sequel will be on KOMO's website tomorrow.

Also, while issues here do need to be resolved (I'm not even going to try to be the one who resolves it. There's too much that I don't know to even have an educated opinion right now), sometimes it's good to sit back, take a deep breath, relax, and maybe even laugh a little. History repeats itself, and this isn't the first time that the railroad and the press are at odds with each other... :D http://www.archives.gov/education/history-day/migration-history/images/anti-railroad-poster.gif

Have a good one. :)
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New Member
Well, in a post 9/11 world, security is a legitimate concern. So, on a conceptual basis, KOMO/the people have a legitimate concern.
It's good the railroad industry is working on this sort of issue already. Yet, still, the mere idea of leaving a engine cab unlocked seems worrisome. Yeah, I get all the other preventative measures that are in place to stop something like KOMO said can happen.
As BNSF, I would do a couple of things: a) re-examine security measures - what the heck...couldn't hurt even if BNSF thinks they have all necessary measures in place already. A second look never hurts; b) file charges against the KOMO crew who entered the engine cabs. Might as well let them get a taste of one of the passive security measures (i.e., laws against trespassing) so they know BNSF is using every security measure available to them.


KOMO Railroad Security Broadcasts

I have to say, they do have a point or two at KOMO. I work on a tourist narrow gauge in Maine, and we always lock the cab, take the reserver and brake handle out, dump the air, and tie down the hand brake. What part of this doesn't BSNF get?:)

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