The last part of the Pacific Harbor Line Officer-on-the-Train event
took place at an unusual highway-rail grade crossing. Several
streets and an arterial highway intersect with two surface rail tracks
with a two track rail bridge flyover. A train was heading off of
Terminal Island on the flyover and PHL engine number 46 was heading
towards the Badger Bridge and Terminal Island.
Below left, PHL engine number 45 is seen crossing Henry Ford Avenue on
the tracks which form another wye. This engine was also heading
to Terminal Island via the western most surface track.
Eventually, the special train crossed Henry Ford Avenue and changed its
direction towards Terminal Island via the western most surface
track. Several law enforcement motorcycle units were stationed to
cite any violators.
Also present was PHL President Andrew
Fox and Don Norton PHL Director - Marketing and Administration along
with Port of Los Angeles motorcycle Officer Moto. At one point I
asked Officer Moto why a red pick-up truck was stopped and he replied
that the truck was at a red light. He elaborated that when trains
are crossing the surface tracks parallel to the flyover tracks,
motorists sometimes run around the concrete median along northbound
Henry Ford Avenue into opposing vehicular traffic to leave the
area. While the special train was there, no motorist attempted
After the special train, PHL officers
and law enforcemnt left, I walked back to my
car which was 1/4 mile south at an oil field entrance driveway.
time I got back to the complicated intersection, the crossing gate was
a train soon appeared on the eastern most surface track. I
one pick-up truck moving towards me through the closed crossing.
from behind my vehicle, at least two other north bound vehicles,
including a black pick-up and a small red Ford drove around the
concrete median, past the red traffic signal, through the closed
crossing and left onto north Henry Ford Avenue, just as Officer Moto
had described. I waited 15 minutes for this crossing to reopen.
Below, the Pacific Harbor Line crew poses on engine number 42. On
the left is Assistant Engineer (Conductor) Jess Gallagher and
Engineer/Manager Operations Support Gregory Peters.
After the event was over, I contacted
PHL President Andrew Fox with a few questions. Mr. Fox stated
that PHL is a 24 hour per day, 7 day per week operation on 40 miles of
track with approximately 60 highway-rail grade crossings. I asked
if safety was any different on a short line versus a high speed
mainline? His response was
issues are the same. Because our trains move more slowly, maximum
25 mph, drivers often take more chances because they are more confident
about beating the train or they are more impatient because they think
the train will block them for a longer period of time."
The violations cited or
witnessed during this Officer-on-the-Train event are as
warned/advised 5; vehicles towed 9; vehicles got away 46; pedestrian trespassers
7; and pedestrains that got away 5.