The train always wins…

A couple of weeks ago I saw a young man in his vehicle hurry to beat the train that crosses 18th Street North at 12th Avenue North.  The train wasn’t moving too quickly, but it still was plenty dangerous for the young man to cross when he did.  There are no crossing arms at that train crossing and it is a fairly rare occurrence to see trains crossing there, but it happens on occasion. If a collision had occurred at that location at that time (in the 9 AM hour), not only would he have been severely injured or killed, but he would have also likely caused damage via flying car parts to nearby cars and property, and injury to nearby drivers and pedestrians.

After the incident, I made a point of reiterating to my students the importance of using caution at train crossings.  I worry that it only takes one foolish mistake with a train to end a life.  Let’s face it – in these types of collisions the train always wins.

Today a man died in a truck-train collision in West Fargo.  It is unclear at this juncture whether the vehicle was intentionally parked on the tracks or whether it was an accident.  Initial reports say the crossing arms were working.  This incident, like the incident from a couple of weeks ago, causes me to reiterate one of the most basic safety messages there is for communities with railways running through them:  EXERCISE CAUTION AT TRAIN CROSSINGS!

It is never worth taking the risk when it comes to trying to beat the train.  That is an “all-in” bet that is not worth the few minutes that taking the risk will save you.   There is a reason that train crossings are marked and that there are often physical crossing arms blocking passage at train crossings – they are inherently dangerous and folks can be foolish.

Don’t try and make better time by trying to cross the tracks when a train is coming – the odds are stacked against you and too often such gambling markers are called in by speeding tons of steel that aren’t content just to break your kneecaps.  Be safe out there folks and remember what I said – the train always wins.

Day one thousand four hundred and six of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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4 Responses to The train always wins…

  1. tim haering says:

    Thanks, Safety Mom.

  2. Katherine says:

    When I worked with a woman who was married to a train engineer, she talked of the horror of those who work on trains. They know they cannot stop a train quickly and they know if they collide with someone the chances of survival are not good. People need to remember trains rarely go off the tracks. Vehicles and people have to on the tracks.
    She also said anyone who stops on the street fewer than two railroad car lengths from a train going through an intersection would not have a chance if a railroad car did lose contact with the track. It can happen. When something the size of a railcar moves independently, it’s best to not be in the way.

  3. Katherine says:

    Make that cars or people have to stop on the tracks.
    It’s just best to respect all vehicles on the road.

  4. tim haering says:

    I came expecting a new column, but the train one is still here. So I’ll add the after-thought I nearly left last night: 4 great train songs:

    Long Train Runnin’ – Doobies

    Train kept a-rollin’ – Aerosmith

    City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie

    The Rail SOng — Adrian Belew

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