2014-08-06

Blue Flags Save Lives

Photo: HemiAdda2d
Thanks for your patience. There is a reason CR has sat idle for the last few weeks. In railroading, a locomotive or track that is blue flagged may not be moved or moved upon for any reason for the protection of workmen who are often under or between cars. In other words, blue flags mean that someone may be injured or killed if the equipment or connected cars are moved. Violation of a blue flag will often result in a suspension or a Trump-like dismissal. It may sound draconian, but rules are often written after someone has died for want of a common sense protection found in such rules. A clear, layman's explanation can be found in Blue Flags, an article by Charles H. Bogart, published by Trains magazine.

Ed: Regular readers of CR may wish to read further.

In May, I found myself in the position where I decided to blue flag Colorado Railroads. If I hadn't relieved myself of this responsibility (yes, it's not just a joy), I would have had a hard time balancing needs. The consequences wouldn't have been life and limb, but since I tend to sacrifice the important for the sake of the urgent on occasion, I wanted to avoid the hazard altogether because it was one of those situations where those kinds of mistakes are amplified.

Photo: Roger Durfee
At that time, someone in my extended family learned they had a terminal illness. Days ago, that person took their last breath. This person was a great encouragement to me and always showed support and kindness in everything they've said or done for me and my wife and kids. The last 5 weeks in particular have been tough because nature of the illness robbed us of communication with each other.

Now that this person has crossed into eternal life with Jesus, the wounding is complete and the healing can begin in me and mine. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my family as we set about finding "the new normal" for us and resume what we can when we can. For now, the blue flag is about to come off the blog and we can resume the wonder that is Colorado Railroads together!◊