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Train Tracks


Question Posted Tuesday October 3 2006, 7:00 pm

I don`t get why its so dangerous to walk by "the tracks" My school's started a campaign to keep kids away from local train tracks. I mean, why are they so bad, wouldn't people hear a big, noisy train coming and get outa the way before they get hit?

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Erronius answered Thursday October 5 2006, 4:55 pm:
The right-of-way on most tracks are not maintained for pedestrians. Its VERY common for crews and repair gangs to get injured, especially twisted and broken ankles, from the ballast. So if you are up there screwing around and break your ankle or twist it...I hope you can crawl off the tracks fast enough when a train comes by at high speed. Especially when you consider that many large, loaded trains take over a mile/mile and a half to stop.

You can concievably get stuck, ties and rail shift.

While its easy to hear a train coming on a single track, if there are multiple tracks/spurs and lets say more than one train, you very well might not hear another train coming on another track. If there is several Engines idling nearby, they are so loud that good luck hearing another train coming by on the next track.

Often people assume that once they are a few feet away from the strack they are safe. You can misjudge and be hit by a piece of a car jutting out, or by freight that extends out.

People have been killed just playing around on uncoupled cars. Kids playing around and undoing the hand brakes can allow a car (many are over 60 tons empty if I remember right) to coast onto other tracks, or into crews/trains/cars further along the track. And heaven forbid if you get caught in the couplings between two cars, its happened before. Its not common, but its happened. Also, you would really be surprised at how quiet a 'loose' car coasting from its own weight can be.

NM all the hazardous freight and chemicals that the RR's carry, which make those areas dangerous by default.

Kids shouldn't be on the tracks anyways, it isn't even remotely close to being a playground.

I come from a RR family, almost all of us work for one RR or another, or are retired from railroading. And I can tell you, from hearing stories from both family and train crews themselves, that the crews often can see who they are about to hit and there isnt anything they can do other than sound their horn. Its far too common to hit people/vehicles on the track, and when a train does hit you, you probably aren't going to walk away from it.

So, in answer to your question of "Why are they so bad?" I'll answer: If people would stay away in the first place, and be careful, there wouldn't be a problem. Yet every year people get killed on the tracks, its an immutable fact.

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Sherry answered Wednesday October 4 2006, 1:12 am:
Your right, but what if someone got their clothes stuck in the train tracks? Or got injured and couldent move?

And some people, when in shock, dont move out of the way. They just freeze up and then well, they get hit.

It's just all the "What-ifs" that get people to start these campaigns...it's for saftey reasons.

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