Is it proper for a servicing railroad to leave our property without returning the hook in the hasp of a switch? When our manager questioned the servicing railroad’s employees, they replied: “that is our standard practice, we do it everywhere.”

Great question!

Our Founder and Principal, Chuck Leonard took the lead to answer your question.

He said, “The answer given to you by those employees was incorrect. A quick online search revealed that the servicing railroad you mentioned (whose name we removed for privacy purposes) is part of a conglomeration of railroads that use the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR), the standard of operation used by most North American railroads. By submitting to the FRA that they use GCOR, the railroad MUST  follow the rules as set forth, unless they are modified and any modification is documented. Even though the incident occurred within the confines of your private industry (essentially, all railroads are private property, too), that does not provide relief from rule adherence.”

GCOR 8.8: “When not in use, switches must be locked, hooked, or latched if so equipped. Before making movements in either direction over these switches, make sure the switch is latched or secured by placing the lock or hook in the hasp. However, when making train movements in facing point direction, lock the switches equipped with a lock.

– Chuck retired with over 42 years in the rail industry. He founded Rail Safe with the intention of bringing the safe operating practices and procedures developed by Class 1 railroads to private industry.