Security for Train Station Attendant

I forgot to write this one earlier, been busy with work but it’s been on my mind.

I got on a later train a few weeks ago and had to wait for my ride at the North Chicago station (as noted in a previous post, I get on and off at this station frequently because it’s closer to my home than the one in my town).

I have to say before I continue, thanks to Metra or whoever it was that brought the North Chicago station back into usable status, we were stuck with nothing to shelter us from the coming cold and lots of elderly people use this station.

Anyway, back to why I am writing this…  While you added security cameras all over the place I have to call you out on placing the silent alarm or whatever alarm that is on the frame of the exterior door. All the way across the floor from the attendant.

If someone were to come into this place to cause harm, the attendant would have no way to actually get to the alarm to set it off and alert the police or whomever that alarm is sent to.

Which bring me to this..  That day that I ended up waiting there, this guy walks in the building in an Eskimo like suit that was way too much for the weather that evening ask all weird questions like “Is there any job opening?” when the attendant asked for what he replied “Fort this post.” knowing that the lady was the attendant.

He then proceeded asking about the train schedule, when the attendant asked him where he was going; he said he did not decide yet. Hmm.. I was sitting around the cube wall they installed as a divider so he did not see me, I think.  So I decided to lean forward and asked him where he was heading. He got all nervous looking and started to say he wasn’t sure but that he was heading south.

I stood up and started talking between them, after about 5 minutes of this run around he decided to walk out but went to stand behind a sign at the intersection close to the back Abbot entrance. Hmm..

When my ride got there, we drove to the intersection and turned so that we were facing him with the headlights shining the entire intersection and just waited.. He was lucky enough that there was a bus coming which he got on or he would have been sitting there waiting on the cops who I was getting ready to dial when the bus pulled up and he jumped it.

So Metra, if you ever get to read this, please make sure you provide better security for the train attendant at the North Chicago Station, especially later in the evening. This is a very secluded area.

Here is a map of the area showing just how secluded. I’ll try to get some actual pictures of the building and post it up.

North Chicago Security Fail

North Chicago Security Fail

North Chicago Train Station Location

North Chicago Train Station Location

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People Running in front of trains

This morning almost turned out to be a nasty one. This young guy just ran back to his car and try to beat the train. All I can say is he is one luck guy that this was not the express train that passes about 5 minutes earlier.

I am not one that sits there and take pictures or videos of people’s ill fate but now that I think back I should have and used it to report it.

However, I don’t think it’s the job of commuters to have to report these things, the police station is about two blocks away from the station I get on and I think in the almost 8 years that I’ve been riding the train to work I’ve seen them circle the station about 4 times and it’s just to check the parking fee box.

Looking at it, siting at a train station looking for violators that run in front of trains is about the same as sitting at a hiding spot waiting for someone to pass speeding, in fact they don’t really need to sit there. All it would take would be to get a camera installed and require station attendants or conductors to get an ID of the person and get a report filed.

This morning I was almost witness to two incidents, one at North Chicago and one at Glencoe.

Is there a law that deals with this?

Yes, in Illinois it’s 625 ILCS 5/11-1011C.  This statute says:

(625 ILCS 5/11-1011) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1011)
    Sec. 11-1011. Bridge and railroad signals.
    (a) No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given.
    (b) No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
    (c) No pedestrian shall enter, remain upon or traverse over a railroad grade crossing or pedestrian walkway crossing a railroad track when an audible bell or clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device is operational giving warning of the presence, approach, passage, or departure of a railroad train or railroad track equipment.
    (d) A violation of any part of this Section is a petty offense for which a $250 fine shall be imposed for a first violation, and a $500 fine shall be imposed for a second or subsequent violation. The court may impose 25 hours of community service in place of the $250 fine for a first violation.
    (e) Local authorities shall impose fines as established in subsection (d) for pedestrians who fail to obey signals indicating the presence, approach, passage, or departure of a train or railroad track equipment.
(Source: P.A. 96-1244, eff. 1-1-11.)

Interesting Tidbits

  • A typical locomotive weighs approximately 400,000 pounds or 200 tons.
  • A train may extend three feet or more outside the steel rail, which makes the safety zone for pedestrians well beyond the rails themselves.
  • Trains cannot stop quickly. It is a simple law of physics: the huge weight and size of the train and the speed of the train dictate how quickly it can stop under ideal conditions

Anyway.. I’m on the train writing this and my connection is not too good at the moment but I will post some more info as soon as I am free and have better connection.

Update

I did some research today into the legalities and the above quote was all I could find regarding this issue. Now if only the police would start doing their jobs. I would say even just a quick 15 minute park when a train is supposed to be there and just do it randomly, it doesn’t have to be every train. This way people don;t know which train the police will be there and will stop doing this.

The freeze is coming and no working station for riders

Sorry folks, it’s been a while. Been super busy at work and nothing interesting has been happening on the train… But I have to write this article to voice my concern. Hopefully, Metra get to see this and does something about it.

I get on at the North Chicago train station occasionally and for some months now I have been noticing that the station is closed and now that the big freeze is about to come people will need a place to shelter.

With winter storm Blanche on the way bringing feet of snow with it and the temps already in the 30-40 degree range, customers will need a place to get out of the weather. Currently we are getting rainy days and people have to stand outside cold and wet in these low temperatures and windy days. Of note, there are several elderly people who use this train station on a daily basis.

This is all people currently have while they wait for the train at the North Chicago station, a concrete picnic table that get’s super cold or just stand in the wind and freeze.

I will also be sending these into the local news papers, hopefully something gets done quickly.

North Chicago Train Station Seating Area

North Chicago Train Station Seating Area

North Chicago Train Station Standing Space

North Chicago Train Station Standing Space

 

 

 

North Chicago Train Station Floor Area

North Chicago Train Station Floor Area

North Chicago Train Station Seating

North Chicago Train Station Seating

Oven Roasted Turkey Ride

Welcome to the blog. This is where I will post my musings as I commute to and from work…  Have a train ride story to share? It can be something funny, crazy, complaint, compliment, any train you ride anywhere in the world; share it here.

Turkey Baking

Turkey Baking

Ironic that my first blog post will be a complaint after all my other stories on Facebook have been crazy or humor based. This one will be a bit lengthy others will be mostly a short post.

So I board the Metra from Chicago Ogilvie Transportation Center today and it was like I walked into an oven waiting to roast some turkeys. I wondered if it was Thanksgiving already and if we were food of some sort. Continue reading