Caltrain to mount cameras on front of trains

Video cameras to be added to locomotives or cab cars to improve security and record accidents

Video cameras mounted on the fronts of locomotives could be installed by Caltrain in August, pending a clarification of how the recordings would be saved or retained, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board voted on Thursday (July 7).

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Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

GoPro cameras record in HD and cost less than $200 each. $200 X 20 locomotives = $4,000. To be generous I will allocate $96,000 for salary and materials to hire an expert (intern) to develop the system for storing, reviewing, & cataloging the footage.

I just saved taxpayers $1.4 million.

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Posted by Mark Simon
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

Are those cameras certified to function and maintain functionality in all-weather environment installed on the exterior of trains operating at 79 miles per hour. Here's a link to the agenda for yesterday's JPB meeting. The issue in question is agenda item #14.
Web Link

Mark Simon

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Posted by local parent
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

Why not some sophisticated so called cow catchers so we can avoid the tragedies...

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Posted by Cameraman
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

I can just imagine...Investigating an accident like the one last night, oh the go Pro broke. And tveryone asks.. well we saved all this money, look at what we got. Yes theyre nice cameras, and yes they can be replaced easily, and yes the quote may be high. However, in my line of work i charge customers a lot of money because junk was installed and ended up breaking.

You have a choice, apologize every time the equipment is used due to being cvheap, or aplogize once for the price of putting in a quality design.

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Posted by Aaron
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm

"Some residents told board members that a recent news article claimed that sensitive videos of accidents and suicides could end up on the Internet." Why can't the Weekly/Palo Alto Online just come out and say that this story was reported first by the Daily Post. You're always taking stories in their paper and re-writing them. You should credit them as your source. Nobody else mentioned the possibility that these Caltrain videos could go viral until the Post reported it.

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Posted by Faren Squaren
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Maybe nobody reported the risk of the videos going out on the internet, but it was the first thing I thought about when I heard about the idea of cameras on trains. I suspect many many others had the same thought. The Post (which I like) does not have a monopoly on the obvious.

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Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm

bru is a registered user.

This is an interesting subject.

Towards what end are these cameras being deployed? Whatever reasons there are there will be recordings of these deaths that would need to be handled appropriately.

The one thing that I think we often just ignore is the possibility of sabotage or terrorism. Doing something to the tracks and aiming a huge train into a residential area would be a huge disaster. It is a shame that the world has gotten to this point, at least in terms of having to think about this possibility.

If there is significant fear that such an event could happen I hope this has been thought about investigated and not just ignored because the trains are already there and people take them for granted. Is there any public information about what the risks are and what can be done, or what cannot be done to prevent such an event?

Maybe another reason to think very carefully about deploying High Speed Rail in densely populated areas. The kinetic energy of a system increases as the square of the velocity ... (mass)(velocity)^2 / 2. Is spending the money and putting these things underground where they cannot go off the tracks the wise thing to do?

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Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

What happens when the Gopro breaks before a suicide? You treat it like every other suicide that's happened on Caltrain and will continue to happen until you get your video system installed.

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Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for the link Mr. Simon. You can either buy waterproof GoPro cameras or purchase a clear plastic housing to protect it from the elements (similar to the lens that protect the lightbulbs, even at 79 mph).

It doesn't have to be Gopro. That's not the point. The point is that sometimes its make a lot more sense to accept some minor degree of reduced functionality in order to save a truckload of money.

Think about it like it was your own money. If you had the option to buy a broom for $10 that was suitable for 99% of your cleaning purposes, would you ever even *consider* spending $150 on the dream broom, while you were struggling to keep the roof over your head.

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