Delays of Fire Apparatus at Crossings
The vexatious delays which sometimes occur when fire apparatus are compelled to cross railroad tracks in answering alarms and long freight trains block their passage have been referred to many times in these columns. One of the departments which has recently had much trouble in this respect is that of Fresno, Cal. Serious delays occurred at a fire in that city last month, the apparatus being held up by a freight train blocking the only available crossing in one instance fully ten minutes.
In commenting on the problem Chief Thomas Baird writes FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING as follows:
“We find that it is a difficult problem, one which requires considerable study in order to arrive at a solution which will be a satisfactory one to all parties concerned and still give the desired results. As a matter of fact we have not as yet been able to solve it to our entire satisfaction but we have arrived at one agreement with the railroad company to the effect that in the future no trains will be brought into the yards until they have sufficient cleared track space to be able to pull them into the clear without having to stop on crossing. They have agreed to pull as far into the yard as possible and not come to a stop until the crossing is cleared. This procedure is what has caused all the difficulty.
“We find that the railroad companies, locally, arc very anxious to work with us in every way possible and are anxious to find a solution for the problem. As long as we are confronted with the grade crossing I believe that the solution we have arrived at will prove to be as satisfactory as any other which could be considered. Trains will always be moving until they have cleared all crossings and this is about all we can expect. In our opinion the only solution which could be more satisfactory could be to construct either viaduct or subways and this we are not able to bring about at this particular time.”