Call the 1-800 number is what you should do if you ever think there is an obvious issue. However, be careful that you don't call in any "maybe" defects - crews HATE having to walk back for a "sticky brake" which isn't really an issue.tadman wrote:If a civilian were to observe a blatantly obvious defect like a wheel off the track or flames, calling the 800 number or 911 is about the only thing one can do, right?
Rollby inspections are generally looking for the obvious - shifted loads or loads with straps flying around, dragging equipment and wheels which are locked up and not turning.
In my experience last summer in the field at a Class One, there was no particular procedure beyond looking for these obvious issues. To begin I wrote down the leading engine in my job briefing handbook, then scanned the train making sure all the wheels were turning and nothing was amiss with the lading or dragging on the ground. I also liked to count the cars so that I knew how many from the top any defect might be. I never saw any issues. Afterwards it just takes a quick jump up into the section truck and call the train crew on the radio - with that engine number you marked down - and let them know they looked good on the rollby.
My only observed defect in years of railfanning was an applied handbrake on Q327 departing Grand Rapids. The last car in the train was used as a yard skate (to kick cars into a track and not roll out the other end) and wasn't released. By Jenison it was sparking and definitely not turning. A quick call to the 1-800 number with the location, train ID and defect location and within 5 minutes the RN was calling the crew to get them stopped so the issue could be addressed, which was simply to release the handbrake and give it a rollby once back underway to make sure the car was still safe to transport - now with huge flat spots!