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Operation Lifesaver "Trucker-on-the-train"

on BNSF and UP in Southern California

June 9, 2011

Story and photographs by Richard Elgenson
RailNewsNetwork writer

Before we left aboard the train, there was one order of business to attend to.  Special guest Billy Parker was given a large card, signed by many of the day's guests.

The train ride.


On either end of the passenger cars was a BNSF freight locomotive.  As I was taking the photographs at the western end of the train, the engineer was walking towards Harry Fischer and I.  He invited us into the cab to take a view of the controls.  He told us that this locomotive, a Generel Electric ES44C4,  was one with an unpowered center axle.  Out of the 6 axles, only 4 have traction motors.  The unpowered axle is part of a variable traction control system.  I believe this arrangement is A-1-A., with the A meaning powered and the 1 non-powered.  As far as the cab, if you have been one, you have been in most of them.  You may note, the control stand is old school style using the left hand for throttle and braking.  For a period of time, locomotive manufacturers had a "desk style" arrangement of controls.  As I understand, train engineers preferred the old style control stand arrangement.


Once Metrolink, BNSF and Amtrak synchronized their watches, er, cell phones, er, smart phones, we left.  The first part of the "Trucker-on-a-Train" was on the BNSF Railway, from Commerce, CA, to La Mirada, CA.  Once the most important people synchronized their smart phones, the train departed the City of Commerce Metrolink Station and BNSF facility.

We made one outbound pass and then reversed direction.  The plan called for the train to visit Los Angeles Union Station.  We got there around 1:00 PM with a 1:30 PM departure to then head out on the Union Pacific Railroad to the City of Industry. 


Officials, law enforcement, truckers and volunteers networked and viewed the enforcement area from the comfort of the train.






La Mirada Ham Watch has been involved in the "Officer-on-a-Train" events for many years.  They are in the yellow vests.

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