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Railroad Association Says TSA's Hacking Memo Was Wrong 121

Posted by timothy
from the switch-in-time-saves-none dept.
McGruber writes "Wired reports that the American Association of Railroads is refuting the U.S. Transportation Security Administration memorandum that said hackers had disrupted railroad signals. In fact, 'There was no targeted computer-based attack on a railroad,' said AAR spokesman Holly Arthur. 'The memo on which the story was based has numerous inaccuracies.' The TSA memo was subject of an earlier Slashdot story in which Slashdot user currently_awake accurately commented on the true nature of the incident."
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Railroad Association Says TSA's Hacking Memo Was Wrong

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  • Lying again? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sadness203 (1539377) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:12PM (#38834049)
    I'm not surprised... TSA is a cancer.
    • Re:Lying again? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Suki I (1546431) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:23PM (#38834185) Homepage Journal

      I'm not surprised... TSA is a cancer.

      Just like the rest of the government.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:36PM (#38834311) Homepage Journal

      I'm not surprised... TSA is a cancer.

      TSA THREAT LEVEL ORANGE

      Talk like that will elevated it to PLAID

    • Re:Lying again? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:10PM (#38834607)
      No, TSA is just justifying its budget. Nothing to see, move along, move along.
      • Re:Lying again? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe.jwsmythe@com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:41PM (#38835229) Homepage Journal

        You are absolutely right. If there is no threat, there is no job. So they will make themselves worthwhile any way they can.

            Consider the current "Terrorists want to blow up your plane with binary explosives!" [theregister.co.uk]. You can't carry [tsa.gov] a soda on a plane, unless you purchased from a TSA approved vendor inside of the security perimeter. And dear god, a mother can't bring a bottle of breast milk [usatoday.com].

            Even lighters [tsa.gov] were banned for a while, but after enough complaints, they again allowed them.

            Terrorists must be anyone who isn't an old rich white guy. If they talk funny, look different, or behave differently due to cultural differences, they must be terrorists. The evil enemy that all Americans must fear.

            The terrorist behind every Bush fear subsided. Then we killed the leader of the terrorists we were told to fear.

            They are trying to find the next threat. If there isn't a threat, there isn't a need for DHS, is there? Those new threats will keep coming. They may be foreign nationals with a misguided grudge. They may even be regular, but insane, Americans. [google.com]

            If they don't get enough real threats, they'll overstate some minor threat. They weren't clear what the real threat was. It could have been a local kid, who bounced through an off-shore server, who managed to log into a control box.

            My question is, why the hell would they leave those controls accessible by the Internet in general? Why was it connected to the Internet at all? Assuming there was a good reason for it, why weren't they restricted to select IPs? Rather than freaking out and blaming "the terrorists", why don't we focus on the problems like "our infrastructure shouldn't be accessible by the whole Internet".

            Hell, when I stick a server online with a previously unused IP, I get people trying to hit it in no time. If you want some entertainment, put an older unpatched distribution up with root logins enabled, and set the password to "password". I'd give it 10 minutes before it had new people running it.

            Lets not forget who the new terrorists are. All those people who agree with, or fall into the category of 99%. Domestic terrorism is our greatest threat. They must be stopped. We're going to need bigger prisons and more guys with badges and guns.

            Oh wait.. I forgot the right line. "I trust our government. Terrorists are behind every Bush. Protect me government. I'll give up any rights you ask me to."

        • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:52PM (#38835989) Homepage Journal

          "My question is, why the hell would they leave those controls accessible by the Internet in general?"

          Exactly.

        • by Dun Malg (230075) on Friday January 27, 2012 @08:05PM (#38846707) Homepage

          Terrorists must be anyone who isn't an old rich white guy. If they talk funny, look different, or behave differently due to cultural differences, they must be terrorists.

          No, it's not like that at all. See, for example, Senator Paul getting escorted out of the terminal for refusing a pat down. The problem is that there isn't any official attempt at profiling. Instead, they have a completely asinine random selection system for triggering detailed searches, and despite the fact that it's bloody obvious that a 6-year old girl or an elderly woman in a wheelchair with a colostomy bag aren't going to have any explosives on them, they still search them. The only profiling by TSA gate personnel is unofficial, unsanctioned, and largely driven by pigheaded individual ignorance on the part of the TSA agent. No, the system as it is now has the TSA agents who follow the rules searching obvious non-threats based on a random die roll, and the rule-breaking TSA assholes doing their own seat of the pants profiling and doing detailed searches on Sikhs because they wear turbans, and Bangladeshis because they look suspiciously dark skinned. Neither approach is even remotely reasonable or effective.

          What they should be doing is what all other reasonable countries with a terrorist problem have been doing for decades: First, you take the fucking badges of the TSA. They aren't fucking cops, and nothing about their job should give them the impression they have power. Second, you replace insane regulations against box cutters and baby bottles with what we had pre-9/11. 9/11 isn't going to happen again, because no one will ever cooperate with lightly armed hostage takers anymore. Third, you hire trained, intelligent interviewers. These interviewers take each group flying together (i.e. a whole family) and ask them a few simple, relaxed questions about their trip and destination. This technique is sufficient to pick out the suspicious from the innocuous. People planning criminal acts on an airplane have certain characteristics: they're usually male, young, flying alone, don't have much baggage, can't usually provide plausible details about their plans at the flight's destination, and on top of it are often very nervous. Note that none of this profiling involves skin color, ethnicity, or country of origin. It does, however, work extremely well. When's the last bomb or hijacking of El Al?

          But we'll never see that. TSA is makework bullshit security theater, and everyone knows it.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @10:44PM (#38835939)

        Scary thought:

        We don't buy into the BS, so they purposefully let something bad happen like a shooting at an airport or something. "See?! We're NEEDED!"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @09:38PM (#38835585)

      don't be surprised the next time you fly if you're pulled to the side for "extra screening" due to that comment.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:12PM (#38834055)

    I really wish the /. crowd would lose the dissonance about huge governemnt.

    Hate the TSA.

    Hate the Patriot Act.

    Hate the loss of privacy and freedom.

    LOVE the idea of even more government power by putting it in charge of health care.

    • by X0563511 (793323) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:15PM (#38834085) Homepage Journal

      There's a difference. Putting them in charge of health care is a matter of ensuring our wellbeing. The others are about violating our rights.

      • by Brett Buck (811747) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:17PM (#38834101)

        Heh, I wish I had mod points - but I am sure the point will be lost on most of the mods. +5 Funny!

      • conspiracy theory Time! The rich are pushing government to do health care. If controlled by the government (that is controlled by corps) then they can kill off the poor (sorry, we could not save your son. The ingrown toenail was to bad. No, you can't see him. Health care requires that we turn in his organs. But you should feel better, your son just save the CEO in the next room.).
        • Totally off-topic:

          I had an ingrown (two actually, one each foot) nail. 1/4" deep past the skin (nail grew with a sharp curl on the sides, so it grew down like a knife-edge). I delt with that for over a year before we finally had an opportunity to get a doctor to cut them out and burn back the nail bed to prevent regrowth.

          Local infection (drainage etc) but never receded even to the knuckle, we kept it at the surface. We did a damn good job at keeping that at bay, all things considered. ... fun times! Thanks for the reminder! (that shit hurt)

      • There's a difference. Putting them in charge of health care is a matter of ensuring our wellbeing. The others are about violating our rights.

        Really, you believe that. Putting the government in charge of health care is a matter of increasing the amount of power bureaucrats have over our lives. What makes you think that self-serving bureaucrats who, when put in charge of ensuring our security, take the opportunity to infringe on our rights in order to increase their power won't use the opportunity, when put in charge of our well-being, to further increase their power by infringing on our rights?

    • by pseudofrog (570061) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:22PM (#38834163)
      Oh yeah. Cause for-profit industry is doing a great job bringing affordable health care to the masses.

      We're all better served by folks with pre-existing conditions being denied basic coverage, huh?
      • by characterZer0 (138196) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:30PM (#38834263)

        health care != health insurance

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:40PM (#38834353)

          health care != health insurance

          True, but in the United States, without health insurance, you cannot get adequate health care.

          • medical care (Score:4, Interesting)

            by ProfBooty (172603) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:09PM (#38834599)

            I have relatives from out of the country staying with us. One of them had a medical issue. We took her to several doctors, got x-rays, and perscriptions. Everything was surprisingly cheap, unless we were purchasing brand name medication.

            Of course, surgical procedures and chronis conditions may be another story, but we didn't pay all that much more than 200 bucks for 3 doctors visits, medication, and the x-rays. I figured it was going to be closer to 1,000 based off what I see insurance is billed for on my own visits.

            • Re:medical care (Score:4, Interesting)

              by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:59PM (#38834917)

              I have relatives from out of the country staying with us. One of them had a medical issue. We took her to several doctors, got x-rays, and perscriptions. Everything was surprisingly cheap, unless we were purchasing brand name medication.

              Of course, surgical procedures and chronis conditions may be another story, but we didn't pay all that much more than 200 bucks for 3 doctors visits, medication, and the x-rays. I figured it was going to be closer to 1,000 based off what I see insurance is billed for on my own visits.

              If providers would bill me what they bill to insurance, it might actually be worthwhile to drop to a major medical plan with a $5K deductible and pay out of pocket for routine costs (which fortunately for me has meant annual routine checkups and one x-ray in the past few years).

              However, when I wanted to self-refer myself to a specialist for a specific problem, they quoted an office visit rate that was nearly 10 times higher than what they bill to insurance and any treatments would be billed at similarly high rates. I asked them about a discount for self-pay and they said that their policy was firm, the insurance rate is a negotiated rate with the insurance company and if I wanted to self-pay, I'd have to pay the full quoted rate.

              So I ended up going to my primary care physician under insurance, insurance paid me to go through several sessions of his prescribed physical therapy before he was willing to refer me to the specialist that I wanted to go to in the first place.

              Health care would be much more affordable if health care providers had to charge self-pay patients their lowest negotiable rate for that treatment.

            • by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:01PM (#38834937) Journal

              I went into the ER for severe abdominal pains a couple of months ago and was there for about four hours. One doctor, two nurses, one dose of Dilaudid, and some lab tests on one vial of blood for various possible causes of the pains racked up some $3000, and they weren't able to pin down the cause. Insurance covered two-thirds of it, but I still had to shell out for a little over a grand. (I have a PPO, so I expect to pay more in most cases, but if I'd known it would be that much out of my pocket, I might have tried to tough it out.)

              • by flimflammer (956759) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:03AM (#38836301)

                You were somewhat lucky. A friend of mine was in the ER for a stomach ache about 9 months ago. He had some kind of stomach flu or something and was in there for several hours. Couple X-Rays, medicines, and prescriptions later and his final bill came to over $13,000. He was uninsured, too, so he was stuck with the whole thing.

                • by RubberMallet (2499906) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:49AM (#38837031)

                  And then there's me. I live outside the US as an expat working in Europe. I pay into the national healthcare. My back gave out and I had to be taken to hospital (I couldn't even walk). I was there 12 hours. I had x-rays, blood tests, and an MRI along with various meds to ease the pain and several examinations. Cost to me out of pocket.. zero.

                  My partner collapsed at work. An ambulance was called and she as taken to the hospital. Treated kept overnight and released the next day. Cost to her.. zero. Not once did anyone ask for money. She was sick, she was treated (and treated very well / efficiently).

                  We didn't have to think about things like... can we afford the ambulance, can I afford the MRI... what is this blood test going to cost me? We just got treatment and were healed up.

                  If I was in the US... ALL of those questions would have to be asked... I am thankful I was sick in a country other than the US.

                  • by El Torico (732160) on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:54AM (#38837459)
                    Which country was this? I'm interested in working there.
                    • by RubberMallet (2499906) on Friday January 27, 2012 @06:47AM (#38837691)

                      Pick one in Europe. My examples were from Germany and the Netherlands. My experience in France was similar (although I didn't need to be taken to hospital there). The medical does cost, as in you do pay for it out of your taxes, as a percentage of your income, but from that you get what amounts to virtually free medical.

                      It breaks down something like this in Germany (simplified of course):

                        - you pay a percentage of your salary into the state health care pot (you can opt for private health insurance if you want, but I don't bother... the small benefits are not worth it to me)
                        - when you want to visit the doctor, you pay 10 Euro out of your pocket for the first visit in a quarter, all subsequent visits in the quarter are free.
                        - medicines/prescriptions are often free (for common ailments/treatments), and when you do pay, it's a small amount.. like 3 or 4 Euros (in some cases it's more, but it's uncommon, and usually not a lot more)
                        - extended medical care/treatments such as emergency room visits, ambulance services, specialized treatments like the MRI I had are all covered.
                        - dental is covered for basic care (fillings, getting a tooth pulled), but you pay extra for cleanings and prosthetic
                        - as far as I'm aware, there is no pre-existing condition silliness in the medical system here either... doesn't matter if you were sick elsewhere and have some chronic illness... you're sick? you get treated, end of story.

                      This is VERY similar to the way it works in the Netherlands too, although, medical there is cheaper (you may less off your salary than you do in Germany.. in my experience, but prescriptions cost slightly more).

                      There are of course exceptions, and I'll bet someone can provide some way it breaks down... and hey, it's a system managed by people.. it's not perfect by any means, but dang-it, it's so much better than the crap you get in the US, that the small cracks are irrelevant.

            • by Adriax (746043) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:03PM (#38834955)

              1 night hospital stay in california for a bleeding ulcer. My hemoglobin count had dropped to 8 (average healthy is 15) by 48 hours after the first symptoms.
              Treatment consisted of 3 student doctors bickering over whether I deserved a single blood pack, then an EGD where they cauterized the ulcer ("The clot came loose completely by itself and at no fault of our own, so we had to close it."), and finally a boot out the door.

              Total cost without insurance because I had just moved there 4 months prior and disney didn't offer it, $17k and I never did get that blood pack.
              The hospital tried to blow past the financial assistance when I was admitted too, "I'm legally required to tell you about the assistance options you have, but you'll never get it so just sign here to decline..." Luckily I'm still pretty darn coherent even missing half my blood and got all the proper forms filled out.

            • by hrvatska (790627) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:36PM (#38835195)
              Around where I live (central NY) you pay more than what the insurance companies pay. The insurance companies negotiate special rates with all the in network providers.
        • by Qzukk (229616) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:48PM (#38834415) Journal

          health care != health insurance

          This needs to be +50, because neither the R's nor the D's understand it and continue to make serious policy decisions based on their misunderstanding that will affect us all.

        • by Shavano (2541114) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @11:06PM (#38836059)

          Medical charges without insurance in America are off the charts. This doesn't seem consistent with the idea that health care is something private industry can do efficiently.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:31PM (#38834273)

        Oh yeah. Cause for-profit industry is doing a great job bringing affordable health care to the masses.

        The government isn't going to make health care more affordable, they're just going to make someone else pay for it.

        • by Fned (43219) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:43PM (#38834381) Journal

          The government isn't going to make health care more affordable

          I'm not so sure about that. [theonion.com]

        • by ProfBooty (172603) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:12PM (#38834619)

          Increase the output of doctors from medical schools by increasing federal funding. Have lots more internists and GPs, or more nurse practitioners. It might not make the AMA happy as it may depress salaries.

          Of course if billing wasn't as complex, then providers could lay off all the people they have on staff to deal with those issues.

        • Actually, in most countries with socialized healthcare, the government DOES make healthcare more affordable. This is due to the fact that since they're footing the bill and are already in debt, they don't want to have to spend more on healthcare than they need to -- because unlike other budgets, it's hard to kick back some of the healthcare budget into perks for government employees without a huge backlash from the electorate.

          So what you get is big pharm saying "here are these drugs for $X." and government saying "Not if you want to sell them in this country, they're not. You get our contract only if you sell them for $Y*."

          *usually, YX.....

          • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:56PM (#38834899)

            This is due to the fact that since they're footing the bill and are already in debt, they don't want to have to spend more on healthcare than they need to -- because unlike other budgets, it's hard to kick back some of the healthcare budget into perks for government employees without a huge backlash from the electorate.

            Yes, but we are talking about America where half the nation thinks its fine when the guys they voted for (because they told them what they wanted to hear) literally borrow trillions per year, and do not "backlash" when it is found that the money just went to the corporations that supported the guys they voted for.

            They think that they are "entitled" to shit so cant for the life of them figure out what can be cut enough to balance the budget, let alone pay for their new spending idea.

        • by mjwx (966435) on Friday January 27, 2012 @12:30AM (#38836399)

          Oh yeah. Cause for-profit industry is doing a great job bringing affordable health care to the masses.

          The government isn't going to make health care more affordable, they're just going to make someone else pay for it.

          The facts dont agree with you. The average American with their god like private system pays over $13,000 for insurance. The average Australian pays around $4000 for top private health care with our evil government backed Medicare system. And yes, I included the Medicare levy in that figure. Based on a family of four, parents aged 35-45 avg income A$66,000 used for Medicare levy calculations.

          The public system in Australia is good enough that a lot of people, especially young people dont have to get private. This alone puts the private insurance rate for basic cover at $500 for a single 25-35 yr old, top cover starts around $1000.

    • by uniquename72 (1169497) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:42PM (#38834829)
      I really wish the Republican crowd would lose the dissonance about huge government.

      Love the PATRIOT ACT.

      Love the loss of privacy and freedom (habeas corpus & due process suck!)

      Love any and all military action.

      Love vast expansion of the deficit, as long as it's by Republicans.

      Hate the idea of taxes being spent health care (except Medicare part D, a givaway to Big Pharma) and education.

      I'd venture to say that most of the /. crowd leans more libertarian than Republican. This is the "dissonance" you're seeing.
  • Fearmongering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guruevi (827432) <(eb.ebucgnikoms) (ta) (ive)> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:15PM (#38834083) Homepage

    I think the railroads are the last form of transportation where TSA is not allowed and they want their grubby little hands in the pot. There is literally a conspiracy going on to track every citizen where they are. They can already track your car with all the camera's (to monitor traffic or give you tickets) and license plate detection in unmarked and regular police cars as well as pull you over, detain you indefinitely and search you without cause if you are 200mi from a US border or airport. Now they want in on the train stations too so all railways would be included in their 200 mile zones?

    I say, kill the beast while you still can. The TSA needs to be shut down immediately.

  • by CelticWhisper (601755) <celticwhisper&gmail,com> on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:22PM (#38834157)

    I'm sure TSA is unhappy about this. They've long been talking about their intent to spread out into other modes of transportation. Since Amtrak's police have been throwing them out of train stations lately, they've no doubt been searching for any politically-convenient justification they can find to invade rail transit. Doubly so since Amtrak ridership is at an all-time high with people taking trains for the sole purpose of avoiding TSA.

    For the politically-active among us, this is perhaps a good opportunity to write to U.S. congresspeople to alert them about TSA's misrepresentation of this report, as well as state congresspeople to encourage them to pass state-level legislation reining in TSA (Tenth Amendment Center has a pre-written Travel Freedom Act [tenthamendmentcenter.com] that works at the state level to criminalize invasive TSA screening procedures).

    TSA isn't going to stop their reign of sexual assault and desecration of Constitutional rights until and unless the people stop it for them. Public opinion has been turning against TSA lately, especially with the three elderly travelers who were strip-searched late last year (about which TSA blatantly lied). Now is as good a time as ever to push your elected officials to stop TSA. The site in my sig is a good resource, as is Freedom To Travel USA [fttusa.org]. Please do anything and everything you can to help stop TSA.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:22PM (#38834165) Homepage Journal

    Thats what u.s. 'deep government' backed by private interests have used to keep suppressing freedoms and keep progress and plurality outside not only u.s. but all nato members :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio [wikipedia.org]

    Every nato member got one of these founded in their own country. these underground organizations then staged assassinations of non-u.s./nato aligned political figures, journalists, activists. in most cases, extra steps were taken to set up leftist (or whatever opposing faction) terrorist organizations which were actually under control of these gladio clones. these terrorist organizations then staged terror attacks while claiming to be doing these for the political views that gladio wanted to alienate public from. for most of the cold war, this was left ideas. and not surprisingly, in all countries these terrorist attacks were used to alienate public from those political views, marginalize their ideas, and also implement various 'security' measures and laws to limit freedoms.

    i dont need to tell any american that after soviet union ended and there was no way that this scheme would work, suddenly the 'terror threat' from islamist groups replaced these - and you all know what happened after 2001. ...................

    this is no different. in case you have noticed, we are having an extremely ridiculous amount of 'cyber threat' bullshit coming out of not only private interests, but also the government. they are basically just applying the same policies they used to control every aspect of life, to internet. internet was 'way too much' free for them.

    i think we dont need to even dwell on the fact that tsa is just a cog in this machine. but, they are floppy at it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:28PM (#38834241)

    wow, i guess face book comments are also good sources of information...

  • Not surprising.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b5bartender (2175066) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:28PM (#38834247)
    So that's the second [sj-r.com] false "cyberattack" in so many months..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:29PM (#38834255)

    Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:38PM (#38834329)

    Trains carrying toxic chemicals will be derailing. School buses will be rammed by freight trains at inoperative crossings.

    How will we know the difference between an attack and normal operations?

  • by forkfail (228161) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @06:50PM (#38834435)

    ... still makes it sound like some major incident with their nomenclature.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:02PM (#38834531)

    The original currently_awake comment wasn't informative, it was merely a correct guess, and an extremely fuzzy one at that.

    Slashdot comment threads will always be more accurate than authoritative information, as long as you grade them relative to a stopped clock.

  • Really TSA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @07:16PM (#38834643)
    Was this really TSA? Let's see:
    • False story... check
    • Spreading FUD... check
    • Blaming hackers... check
    • For something that didn't happen... check

    Yep, TSA alright.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:14PM (#38835035) Homepage Journal

    To /. crowd: what are the plans continuing to maintain the existing reader / commenter base of this site once the government shuts down the Internet?

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 26, 2012 @08:36PM (#38835201) Homepage

    There was one event a few years ago where some attack on a network resulted in a signal outage. That was because the long-haul links to wayside signal controllers went over an IP network.

    But those aren't safety related. The safety logic is all local, in wayside boxes. That's where the train detection to signal control logic is. The long-haul connections are for dispatching - which train goes where, setting up routes, etc. Both the dispatching and safety information have to agree to produce a green light.

    An outage of the links to the dispatcher turns signals red and stops trains. Such outages happen occasionally, and they're a huge headache, but not a safety issue. As a backup, trains can be given train orders by voice radio, but they're limited by slow-speed operation in that mode.

    • by havana9 (101033) on Friday January 27, 2012 @07:20AM (#38837859)

      An outage of the links to the dispatcher turns signals red and stops trains. Such outages happen occasionally, and they're a huge headache, but not a safety issue. As a backup, trains can be given train orders by voice radio, but they're limited by slow-speed operation in that mode.

      Failing voice radio, there are also the emergency wired phones near the signals, one of the engineers call the next station for orders. when the train arrives in station the station manager phones the next station to ask if the line is clear.

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