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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Trains and Safety

    This isn't exactly a field report, but I was just reading Uncle Bob's tip of the week about train safety. One thing not mentioned is that many rural train crossing still do not have crossing guards. Some have lights only and others just have the signs marking railroad tracks. Always stop at tracks even when the crossing guards are not down, they do break down.

    Stop reading if you're squemish.

    I've lived within a block of rural train tracks for most of my life. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad taking blankets out of the house to help with an accident where a lady did not stop for a train, her vehicle was struck and she was expelled from the vehicle and wound up going through a chain link fence. Remember, these are often rural tracks and the first responders will often be people from the area or volunteer firefighters, not professional rescuers.

    The next year there was another accident. Not so bad, but the tracks needed repairing. They were repaired incorrectly and we wound up with a train (literally) in our front yard. I can still smell the smoke and hear the thumps and brakes shreaking from that train leaving the tracks and scattering throughout are yard and street. I wasn't home (thank God) for the accident that finally convinced the Parish/State (not sure who's responsibility that is) to put up crossing guards. Several children were killed in that accident.

    Trains are nothing to mess with. I have respect and a certain amount of fright for them. They can not stop and often when there is a crash people on board the train are injured as well both mentally and physically. All the crewmen died during that train derailment I mentioned above.

    Sorry for rambling - this is just a topic that's close to my heart.

    Laura
    Last edited by lhuff; 05-31-2007 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Added link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Thanks for sharing, Laura.

    Boy, those experiences would make me appreciate the power of trains, too. How awful. But it's good to be aware of. We have numerous train crossings throughout our town and I have seen people try to beat the trains across. Since the trains are in town, they are going pretty slow so it's easier to gauge their speed and your chances. But still....I always think these people are stupid. Better a wait than dead, I say.

    Anyway, I'm glad you shared because people do need to be more aware of these types of situations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,500

    Default Look at the SUV in the photo!

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    One thing not mentioned is that many rural train crossing still do not have crossing guards. Some have lights only and others just have the signs marking railroad tracks.
    Good point.

    (Photo by Gerald Thurman)
    Look at the SUV in the photo above. He/she pulled too far forward and the crossing guard is sitting on top of the car! (In fact, it is even better -- after the guard came down, the driver must have tried backing up, the -- guard is twisted back away from the vertical)!!!!

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Observation

    You can tell who lived in my neighborhood from the time of the train derailment versus the newcomers. Those of us that lived through it remember how far those things can fly and will stop 2-3 cars lengths back from the tracks or refuse to leave our driveways.


    Since the trains are in town, they are going pretty slow so it's easier to gauge their speed and your chances.
    That's another thing. Out in the country the trains are often going very fast which makes it harder to judge distances.

    Laura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,319

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    That's another thing. Out in the country the trains are often going very fast which makes it harder to judge distances.

    Laura
    Of course! We don't tend to have the fancier, high-speed trains here like the one Mark posted a photo of (see above). However, even the slower trains can be dangerous. That was my point. Whether the train is moving slow or fast, don't challenge them. I've seen people speed up to zip across before a slow-moving train that is coming, and I've still seen the engineer respond by trying to slow down the already-slow train and how the car was still just missed by a few feet. Even a slow-moving train will seriously damage a car and cause injuries. It's just not worth it. But, with a fast one, this issue is even more important to be aware of.

    I also appreciate you sharing that being 2-3 car lengths back may not be far enough when dealing with the faster trains. Since I'm not as familiar with the fast trains, that will be good to know when I'm at a crossing with one going by.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Freight Trains

    The one that derailed in front of my house was a freight train carrying fully loaded tanker and box cars. Whatever was wrong with the tracks caused the cars to go flying off the tracks when they hit it. I can't imagine how far one of the fast trains would have gone. Even scarier was that that several of the tanker cars leaked and you could still smell those chemicals for 10+ years after on hot summer days. Hey - maybe that's why I'm insane! :)

    Laura

  7. #7

    Default Deceptive speeds

    Since the trains are in town, they are going pretty slow so it's easier to gauge their speed and your chances.
    This is precisely what you shouldn't try to do. One of the main reasons folks die in train collisions is that when trains LOOK like they are going slow -- even in towns -- they often aren't -- they are often moving faster than we think. The force of a train hitting an auto is roughly akin to your vehicle crushing an empty pop can. We divert our attention to thread our way through the lowered gates and meanwhile the train is slipping up on us. Once the train is in your face, there's nothing you can do. And again, be especially careful around double track systems where trains may be coming from both directions.

    The main point, made repeatedly in this thread, is don't take ANY chances with trains. "Uncle Bob"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    1,364

    Default Always be wary

    Here in the UK we have a mix of different types of crossings but most of the ones you'll come across are fully automated with barriers on both sides of the road. However don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. There was a level crossing 1/2 mile from where I used to work which sometimes used to get stuck down and cause traffic chaos for hours until they came and fixed it. One day one of the truck drivers delivering to us claimed that he's almost been hit by a train as he crossed it but I just laughed it off. Until the time I was crossing it myself - no bells, no lights, no barrier - and happened to glance to my right. The sight that greeted me will live with me for a long time... a freight train was bearing down on me at a huge rate of knots. Stupid bloody barrier nearly killed me and Railtrack (the shambles of a company who the last goverment handed the management of the railway infrastructure to) refused to believe that it had ever happened. To this day I'm always a little scared about crossings and always edge up to them, look both ways, then cross. Just something to think about - treat the things with respect folks!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,319

    Default And that's exactly the point I was making.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Bob View Post
    This is precisely what you shouldn't try to do. One of the main reasons folks die in train collisions is that when trains LOOK like they are going slow -- even in towns -- they often aren't -- they are often moving faster than we think. The force of a train hitting an auto is roughly akin to your vehicle crushing an empty pop can. We divert our attention to thread our way through the lowered gates and meanwhile the train is slipping up on us. Once the train is in your face, there's nothing you can do. And again, be especially careful around double track systems where trains may be coming from both directions.

    The main point, made repeatedly in this thread, is don't take ANY chances with trains. "Uncle Bob"

    I made that point repeatedly myself. I clearly called people who tried to do this ridiculous and said that it was better to wait then be dead. So, yeah, I agree and said so in my posts. Even saying "Whether the train is moving slow or fast, don't challenge them."

  10. #10
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    I used to ride the train daily.
    I demo'd to my kids that most trains take less than a 11 count to pass the crossing.
    Not worth challenging.
    No excuse in the world to get hit by a train.
    Not matter what speed the train is moving,, it's a fatal speed to a car or truck, or pedestrain, or a bike.

    Also, if you travel by train,,, every train has a thief.

    Every train, everywhere.
    Last edited by RoadTrippers A & R; 06-13-2007 at 09:45 PM. Reason: Typos ect

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