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Emerson Professor struck by train while on bike

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Emerson Professor struck by train while on bike

Old 10-26-19, 12:09 PM
  #26  
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I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi for 10 years or so. A single railroad track ran through town that carried freight only. About once a year someone drove or walked in front of a train resulting in a fatality. I can almost understand complacency and a resulting fatality with double tracks. It is beyond my power of imagination to see how a person could accidently find themselves in front of a train with only a single track. Suicide I can accept although I don't understand it. There are numerous mental pathologes resulting from chemical imbalances so I can imagine such a pathology entering into a situation where someone walks into a train.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:41 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Same with auto/truck traffic. Rule #1 . IF YOU CAN'T SEE, YOU CAN'T GO.
saw it happen today

see post 8452 here
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Old 10-26-19, 10:40 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
In a single locomotive push-pull train there is a locomotive on one end and a cab car at the other end. The engineer moves to the appropriate control cab.

Beverley grade crossings and station are “quiet zones” - no horns except in an emergency. There is no report of a horn used.

The trains enter the station sounding bells, which could are not much louder than an idling diesel-electric locomotive.

It will be months and months before a report is released.

-mr. bill

Is this a NIMBY situation killing people from time to time? Look at this from 2004: https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=11844

I'm sure that's old news to you but I don't think I've ever heard of a locality given the power to override basic safety procedures. It's nuts.
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Old 10-26-19, 11:49 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Is this a NIMBY situation killing people from time to time? Look at this from 2004: https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=11844

I'm sure that's old news to you but I don't think I've ever heard of a locality given the power to override basic safety procedures. It's nuts.
Train whistle ban in Madison WI:

https://badgerherald.com/news/2001/1...histle-ban-su/
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Old 10-27-19, 07:01 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Is this a NIMBY situation killing people from time to time? Look at this from 2004: https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=11844

I'm sure that's old news to you but I don't think I've ever heard of a locality given the power to override basic safety procedures. It's nuts.
NIMBY-ish. Barriers are required of course, but often they must be upgraded to retain the quiet zone. So a community must not only say no, they must also mitigate the risk.

Current quiet zones.

In these tugs of war over competing interests - “traumatized” engineers versus a community fighting against “unbearable” whistles, is there really any concern for the victims?

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 10-27-19 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 10-27-19, 10:54 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm surprised they allow people to ride the bike across the tracks in the station rather than forcing people to get off their bikes and walk across the tracks which may promote more vigilance.

Busy rail stations usually have a couple of different solutions (for pedestrians).
  • Single end entry/exit. This allows one to simply walk on the platform from track to track without actually crossing rails.
  • Underground walkways. A bit of a pain to go down and up, but again, no way to get on the rails.
  • Our local Amtrak controls the crossing to only allow crossing at certain boarding times.
  • Pedestrian bridges (usually over all the tracks)
The Ontario depot is not a passenger stop, Amtrak doesn't stop here AFAIK anymore and one of the two crossings nearby was closed to cars to facilitate loading and switching for a local petroleum jobber. There are crossing arms on the remaining crossing and they have repaired the tracks there regularly with concrete forms, still the auto traffic just zips over them so they've improved rhem a few times and make it as smooth as they could. In front of the depot area on the other side there are sidings for the onion sheds and Kraft-Heinz's Ore-Ida Foods, which are the life's blood of our town. As I've pointed out several times over the years, we were the place of origin for Tater Tots. Tots, onions and corn are what we do here.
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Old 10-28-19, 07:31 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
This sort of thing has since been preempted by federal law, at least for freight. A freight trains is required to sound its horn at a crossing unless what is known as a "quiet zone" has been established. Establishing one usually costs a lot of money. The municipality is responsible for the cost of the installation and maintenance of the additional safety measures required. That's why you usually only find them in wealthier communities.

The reason for preemption was to eliminate a patchwork of local ordinances like this described in the article. Allowing local jurisdictions to regulate horn usage is akin to allowing local jurisdictions to regulate cell pone usage while driving. Every few minutes you could be operating under a new set of rules as you cross municipal boundaries.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:11 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
This sort of thing has since been preempted by federal law, at least for freight. A freight trains is required to sound its horn at a crossing unless what is known as a "quiet zone" has been established. Establishing one usually costs a lot of money. The municipality is responsible for the cost of the installation and maintenance of the additional safety measures required. That's why you usually only find them in wealthier communities.

The reason for preemption was to eliminate a patchwork of local ordinances like this described in the article. Allowing local jurisdictions to regulate horn usage is akin to allowing local jurisdictions to regulate cell pone usage while driving. Every few minutes you could be operating under a new set of rules as you cross municipal boundaries.
See also--the origin of time zones.
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Old 10-28-19, 07:31 PM
  #34  
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If you cross a railway track without looking, you're fodder for the Darwin awards.
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Old 10-28-19, 07:50 PM
  #35  
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There is a single party responsible when that person gets hit by a train*-- and that is the very person that gets hit by a train. Trains are not sneaky.

They do not attack with stealth or guile. They go where the rails go, and are limited in the speeds at which they can do so.

The fact that newer trains are quieter than old ones is not a defense. Are there two metal bars on the ground? Then assume a train is coming. It's spectacularly easy to not get hit by a train.

Getting hit by a train requires a person to be in a very specific location at a very specific time... and not be paying any attention at all.

Once again, the train was the mechanic of death, complacency was the cause.


*there are those rare instances where the unfortunate victims played no active part in the event, like the San Bernardino Train Disaster of 1989. Those who lost their lives did so as a result of complacency, but it was not their own.
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Old 10-29-19, 05:02 AM
  #36  
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Uncontrolled crosswalks at a busy train station. What could go wrong?




-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 10-29-19 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 10-30-19, 03:02 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
If you cross a railway track without looking, you're fodder for the Darwin awards.
Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
There is a single party responsible when that person gets hit by a train*-- and that is the very person that gets hit by a train. Trains are not sneaky.

They do not attack with stealth or guile. They go where the rails go, and are limited in the speeds at which they can do so.

The fact that newer trains are quieter than old ones is not a defense. Are there two metal bars on the ground? Then assume a train is coming. It's spectacularly easy to not get hit by a train.

Getting hit by a train requires a person to be in a very specific location at a very specific time... and not be paying any attention at all.

Once again, the train was the mechanic of death, complacency was the cause.


*there are those rare instances where the unfortunate victims played no active part in the event, like the San Bernardino Train Disaster of 1989. Those who lost their lives did so as a result of complacency, but it was not their own.
I think these two comments miss an important point--in a multi-track situation, the presence of a stopped train on one track can screen the moving train on the other track from the view of a person crossing in front of the stopped train. The person crossing will have no way of seeing the moving train until he/she is already in its path. While it is therefore always a mistake to cross in front of a stationary train, it is completely predictable that if you put a crossing right in front of where trains regularly stop, someone will make this mistake at some time. A crossing that essentially invites this mistake is inherently badly designed. My guess is several people a day will cross in front of a train in that type of crossing, and it's only the unlucky one with bad timing that gets hit by the express.

You add into this mess the fact that a train station is somewhere where people are often hurrying not to miss a train which obviously is a place where people aren't likely to be carefully weighing their odds. Apparently, this is what killed the person I knew in California, she didn't think because she was in a rush.

It isn't just a question of fault. Human beings make mistakes, but some of them are so predictable that you have to design things to discourage them. Better to have a train park across the crossing than right next to it.
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Old 10-30-19, 03:46 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
It isn't just a question of fault. Human beings make mistakes, but some of them are so predictable that you have to design things to discourage them.
This. 1000x this. This wasn’t a tragic accident. This was a foreseeable accident.

-mr. bill
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Old 11-01-19, 02:49 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I think these two comments miss an important point--in a multi-track situation, the presence of a stopped train on one track can screen the moving train on the other track from the view of a person crossing in front of the stopped train. The person crossing will have no way of seeing the moving train until he/she is already in its path. While it is therefore always a mistake to cross in front of a stationary train, it is completely predictable that if you put a crossing right in front of where trains regularly stop, someone will make this mistake at some time. A crossing that essentially invites this mistake is inherently badly designed. My guess is several people a day will cross in front of a train in that type of crossing, and it's only the unlucky one with bad timing that gets hit by the express.

You add into this mess the fact that a train station is somewhere where people are often hurrying not to miss a train which obviously is a place where people aren't likely to be carefully weighing their odds. Apparently, this is what killed the person I knew in California, she didn't think because she was in a rush.

It isn't just a question of fault. Human beings make mistakes, but some of them are so predictable that you have to design things to discourage them. Better to have a train park across the crossing than right next to it.
Well I didn't miss that. I saw the photo of the site and situ, and yes I see how there's a train in the way.

Additionally, is not just a visual issue; vibration and sound are important to the senses, and other trains can screen this, too.

My point stands unaffected. The problem is identical to crossing roads around trucks. You simply do not enter a lane without knowing it's clear. You learn these things as a child when you're too short to see over cars.

Fault lies entirely with the guy who gets hit.
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Old 11-01-19, 04:30 AM
  #40  
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In the case I witnessed I blame the father for the sons crash - and it will haunt them both for the rest of their lives. The daughter too I’m sure has been traumatized. But road crossing was designed by a moron and I fear another crash due to the exact same circumstances will occur and I also blame the designer the politicians and citizens that went along with the design and now the police who responded and aren’t closing the intersection and myself for not knowing how to help make necessary changes. Whose young son or daughter will be next in the exact same spot? The fault is not with the juvenile w/o the knowledge and experience to know better. That crossing is a trap. An ambush.
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Old 11-01-19, 04:50 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
Well I didn't miss that. I saw the photo of the site and situ, and yes I see how there's a train in the way.

Additionally, is not just a visual issue; vibration and sound are important to the senses, and other trains can screen this, too.

My point stands unaffected. The problem is identical to crossing roads around trucks. You simply do not enter a lane without knowing it's clear. You learn these things as a child when you're too short to see over cars.

Fault lies entirely with the guy who gets hit.
And if the elevator door opens to an empty shaft, you're entirely at fault if you step into the shaft. Some things invite people to do things they'd know were wrong in a different context. This is a pedestrian/bike crossing at a train station,
how could anyone think it was a safe place to cross? And the sound masking issue may have been worsened by a whistle ban at that station.

Whose fault it is isn't a very important issue outside of the tort system. The point is that if the crossing isn't redesigned in some way (probably very simple, btw), it's extremely likely that someone will be killed making the same mistake. Human beings in a hurry are going to be predictably overconfident in the safety of a crossing at a train station.

I love how these incidents always bring out lectures on the obvious from perfect people who never have made mistakes.
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Old 11-01-19, 06:18 AM
  #42  
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I'm trying to understand the concept of these "cut throughs." In the accompanying photo, is it that pave area below platform level? If so, why do they exist? Seems at odds with "crossings" which require trains to sound their horn on approach.. federal law as I recall. These seem like invitations to tragedy.

Edit: further research revealed there are areas that can be designated as "quiet zones" by the FRA but certain requirements must be met. In our fair city, where noisy train horns are frequent complaints, the necessary upgrades would run into multiple millions of $$.

Still don't understand cut throughs though.
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Old 11-01-19, 12:07 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
I'm trying to understand the concept of these "cut throughs." In the accompanying photo, is it that pave area below platform level? If so, why do they exist?

Still don't understand cut throughs though.
It's only slightly recessed below the platform. It's likely done for clearance reasons. You want as much space as possible under the locomotive.

Walkways like that are not favored, but they are sometimes necessary for access. You cannot always build an overhead or underground walkway.

Here is the overhead view. Pretty narrow corridor. You also have to consider ADA access when considering something like a ramp.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Be...!4d-70.8856218

There are "Look Before Crossing" signs at the cut-throughs.

And MBTA rules prohibit bike riding in a station.

Last edited by indyfabz; 11-01-19 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 11-01-19, 02:55 PM
  #44  
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@indyfabz: thanks for the reply. The one 360* view shows it well.
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Old 11-02-19, 08:48 AM
  #45  
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I learned my "double rail" lesson as a kid. I grew up less than a mile from a station, and often crossed the tracks on my bike. On one very memorable instance, I was waiting for a moving eastbound train on the near rail to pass. As soon as it did, I quickly took off only to be surprised by a westbound train on the far rail that I couldn't see or hear. A few seconds difference and I'd have been a statistic.

"If you can't see you can't go"
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