Consider the march of technology. A local newspaper columnist once wrote about the traffic radar equipment being introduced in the City of Kingston. In the past, a speeder could reportedly beat a speeding ticket if it could be demonstrated in court that the police officer had not calibrated the radar set with the supplied tuning fork before beginning work that day.
'Forget it. They use this new radar to calibrate the tuning forks.'
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It seems that the railway rule books are usually a couple of decades out of date with cutting-edge reality. Historically, railways were often profitable and safe because of their tendency to be conservative.
This online portion of the CROR (2015) currently (2021) states:
Every conductor, assistant conductor, locomotive engineer, pilot, foreman, snow plow foreman and such other employees as the company may direct, shall, when on duty, use a reliable watch that indicates hours, minutes and seconds and shall;
(i) be responsible to ensure that it is kept in proper working condition so that it does not reflect a variation of more than 30 seconds in a 24 hour period;
(ii) set it to reflect the correct time if it reflects a variation of more than 30 seconds;
(iii) before commencing work, compare the time on their watch with a railway approved time source. Where a railway approved time source is not accessible, obtain the correct time from the RTC or by comparing with another employee who has obtained the correct time. Every crew member assigned to train, transfer or yard service shall compare the time with one another as soon as possible after commencing work.
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While every employee is held individually responsible for always having the correct time, one wonders if the prescribed personal timepiece is actually the least reliable source of railway time within a fusee's throw of the locomotive - given all the GPSed electronic telemetric gadgetry therein.
By the same token, employees flagging the headend of a steam-powered train (with the fire therein always threatening to melt the steel around it), ironically, were required to have matches.
Obviously, when one is 'all alone' out in a snowstorm, one must know the correct time, or be able to light a kerosene flagging lantern without using the locomotive's resources. You are individually responsible. You and your crew will also be held collectively responsible.
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I am interested in the concept of time(s). Like many of you, I also enjoy reading old rulebooks and timetables as they allow me to imagine other (probably idealized) periods in railway history. Very small settlements like Schreiber, Ontario once had prosperous watchmaker shops to supply, and to regularly inspect and regulate, the timepieces of all the local running trades personnel and other employees affected by the rules.
... So what could be better than a 'history book' of the time rules which was designed to provide the 'bureaucratic memory' to the AAR and its members?
|from: GWR Company Servants: Janet KL Russell; 1983; Wild Swan Publications.|