From Pine View Farm

If It’s a Tie, You Lose 2

I worked for the railroad for 24 years.

Trains are big, heavy, dangerous things.

Except for passenger trains. They are big, relatively light, dangerous things that can go very fast.

A train engineer will tell you that, after wrestling a 100-car freight train with three engines up the Bryn Mawr grade, an 18-car passenger train with two units is a piece of cake.

It can take a mile to stop a passenger train gong 125 miles per hour.

It can take three miles to take a 125-car freight train going 50 miles an hour.

It is not a good idea to challenge a train.

Not even a slow one.

Train Wreck

(And I know this crossing. It is definitely slow track.)



  1. Bill

    January 18, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Those cars are driven by the same type of people who think it’s a good idea to pass across the bow of a container ship, freighter, or other ocean going vessel. Ships have no brakes and can require as much as 2 miles to come to a stop (if they can actually come to a stop) . Due to wind and current, a captain never knows for sure where his ship end up when attempting such a maneuver.

    Back when I taught boating safety, I had an interesting series of slides taken from the bridge of a vessel in the Chesapeake. The series showed a “yacht” passing in front of the container ship. It made quite an impression on our students to see the yacht disappear from the captain’s view. My question for the students was, “What if you’re piloting the yacht and your engines suddenly stop at this point?” I added another slide that showed the bow of a large ship slicing through the water. When I flashed that slide on the screen I commented, “You’re most likely dead.”

  2. Karen

    January 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Any fool that trys to beat a train is begging for whatever they get. Ocean-going vessels aren’t something that I’ve ever had to deal with, but the logic is the same, I think.

    If the owning company of the trains damaged by some idiot trying to beat it would sue the pants of them & win, it could make people think. Probably. Maybe. Oh forget it. There’s no cure for stupid.