WEST NYACK, N.Y. - Two CSX employees who left their southbound Hudson River Line train unattended to eat breakfast, while it was blocking a grade crossing, were arrested Monday morning by an officer of the Clarkstown, N.Y. police department. They were charged with obstructing a railroad crossing and obstructing governmental administration, second degree.
According to police department spokesman Sgt. Harry Baumann, the men, Reginald Henderson of Edison, N.J. and Arthur King of Dumont, N.J., were found at the West Nyack Deli. When approached by the officer, they seemed unconcerned about the blocked grade crossing on Pineview Road, a dead-end with no other way in or out for 20 single-family homes. “They were not even forthcoming on identifying themselves,” said Baumann.
The men were transported to police headquarters and arraigned at 4 p.m. that afternoon. They were released on their own recognizance. According to city documents, CSX sent a relief crew to remove the train at 9:45 a.m.
“We certainly regret any inconvenience experienced by the community as a result of the blockage,” said CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan. “We very much appreciate the work law of enforcement agencies throughout our system and try to cooperate with them in every way possible. As to the events of Monday, we are in the process of reviewing what occurred, talking to police, talking to the crew, reviewing records, and will take whatever internal actions are appropriate.”
According to Sullivan, the train was stopped due to track maintenance farther down the line. West Nyack is 20 miles north of New York City on the west side of the Hudson River.
What's the big deal? I worked for Penn Central as a brakeman back in the early seventies and have lost a train or two during my tenure there. One payday the conductor and i go to a local bar near the train yard that we had dropped some cars off at and proceeded to drink our lunch between rounds of pool. After a couple of hours we go back to get our engine and it's gone. We had to get a track crew to take us back to our yard in Pennsy. They found the engine three days later on a side track with a thoroughly inebriated engineer.
Another time we where taking a train up state and had to round a mountain with two hundred cars attached to the engines, earlier we had a card game and drinking contest in the caboose while we where waiting for some of our load to be ready. When you rounded a mountain like that the sightline from the rear, middle and front of train had to be maintained so the brakemen rode the cars holding on to the ladders so you could relay signals from the front and rear of the train. Problem was the engineer decided that was the time to lie down on the engine floor and take his afternoon nap, while the conductor had the luxury of sleeping in a bunk in the caboose. The 18 year old brakeman having no clue as to what was going on just hung on for quite a few miles until the train came to an stop.