September 28, 2005

What the hell??!

This story is just too weird on several levels.
EAST MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Passing freight trains disrupted the 2005 Quad Cities Marathon, prompting a race organizer to drive a pace truck onto the path of an approaching locomotive.

After runners were forced to stop and wait as two trains made their way through East Moline on Sunday, Joe Moreno sped over to an intersection near the 22-mile marker and parked his truck on railroad tracks, blocking a third train from passing.

"I don't know how fast it was coming, but you could hear it coming from a distance. It was blowing its horn," Moreno said Monday.

The train stopped less than a block away from Moreno's truck.

Moreno says he then sat in the vehicle with the doors locked -- for nearly an hour and a half -- as several hundred runners crossed the tracks. A railroad employee tried to get Moreno to move his truck, but it wasn't until police arrived that the former East Moline mayor agreed to move the vehicle.

"With every minute, I was buying time for the runners," Moreno said.

Richard Stoeckly, vice president and chief operating officer of the Iowa Interstate Railroad Co., said the disruptions were the result of a "breakdown in communication" between race organizers and the Cedar Rapids, Iowa,-based company.

The disruptions did not affect the marathon's elite runners, Moreno said, adding that a passing train also interrupted the marathon in 1999.
Egads! I know Moreno is an avid runner, but..... I mean, how would this story change if the train turned the former East Moline mayor into a grease spot?

And what sort of planning routes a marathon race across active railroad tracks with no effort to prevent it being stopped by slow moving freight trains?? I mean, I have this picture in my head of hundreds of runners jogging in place as the lights blink and bells clang and a slow moving freight lumbers by for about 10 minutes. Wouldn't it be great to travel all the way from California or Kenya to run in some dinky town in the midwest only to have to wait for a freight train to pass in the middle of the race?

And this is the mindblowing part.... this was not the first time this had happened! And they STILL didn't change the route or make any arrangements with the railroad?! Michael Brown could do a better job than THAT!


At 9/28/2005 8:47 AM, Blogger diehard said...

The railroads are arrogant and full of themselves. They are above the little people. Very Tyranical!
Kind of like the not Lisa Madigan!

At 9/28/2005 11:32 AM, Blogger bug said...

An article on Monday stated that they had been working for 9 months with the railroad to make sure a train didn't come along again. Someone must have not read their emails.

At 9/28/2005 4:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Boy... what a mess. But what a story! No wonder the AP picked it up and is distributing it nationally.

I mean, trains interupting a marathon, a former mayor locking himself in his truck DIRECTLY IN THE PATH OF A FREIGHT TRAIN... the fact that it had happened before.

It does indeed seem believable that the railroads feel that they don't need to listen to anyone. That might explain how this happened as well as why Moreno was inspired to take such drastic actions. Perhaps he or the organization had tried to ask the RR to not run during that time and since it seemed that they had done so to spite them, he just got fed up and took matters into his own hands.

At 9/28/2005 8:14 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope, see today's Ed column in the Dispatch and the commentary by a lady whose husband is a locomotive engineer for another perspective.

Frankly, knowing the railroads' mentality like I do from my own business experience working with them, I'd recommend the race re-route itself to avoid the tracks. That is the only solution. The Railroad and the Post Office are two solid institutions that tell you what to do and never the other way around.

Parking a car on the tracks with a human inside -- is a stupid stunt and was the wrong judgement call to make by anyone.....

I thought Joe had more brains than that----wow.


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