Railfan safety It is all our business

Jim Wiggin Jun 9, 2006

  1. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    My favorite now is the sudden "fashion" of taking pictures on tracks. Recently in PA I saw a teenage couple taking pictures in the middle of the main line. Hint, when you see a guy in Jeep with a scanner and a camera beside tracks, you might realize he is waiting for, oh I don't know, a TRAIN? A couple of us foamers were like, "Hey, you realize this is an active line?" They responded by saying yeah, we'll move when the train gets here. I told them how that doesn't work in Illinois. The modern trains are not as loud, and if your no where near a grade crossing or a location where the engineer needs to sound his horn and bell, coupled with the fact he is going faster than your cute little minivan you showed up in, you don't have a chance to "move when we hear the train." They looked at me like I had lobsters growing out of my ears as Gene Sheppard would have said. Since we were near Scranton, I chalked it up to them being true Dunderheads.
     
  2. Seated Viper

    Seated Viper TrainBoard Member

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    Since I started my research on US outline railroads, as part of replacing my old UK outline model, I've found a number of things that the real roads over there do differently. One of the main ones is that our tracks are fenced, usually climb-proof (well, that's the idea!) and with locked gates for staff access, while you folk don't seem to have very much in the way of fencing. I wonder if that might account for the sort of idiocy Jim mentions here.

    Regards,

    Pete Davies
     
  3. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Yes, that probably is a contributing factor. However, it is and has always been an extremely expensive proposition to fence in all the railroad right of ways in North America. Some urban areas do attempt it in high population areas but the vast distances in the rural countryside between urban centers just makes it out of the question. Many of the photos of this nature that I have seen were taken in a rather bucolic setting where people least expect a train. And there has been an increase in people getting hit in the last few years. In 2010, 451 pedestrians were killed and 382 injured while trespassing on train tracks, versus 417 deaths and 343 injuries in 2009. Total trespasser deaths rose 8.2 percent and trespasser injuries rose 11.4 percent in 2010. States with the most pedestrian-train casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2010 were California, Texas, Illinois, Florida and New York. These figues come from the 2010 Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics.
     
  4. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

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    Probably. To boot, in my neck of the woods, they put up a fence around a busy commuter line, which cut off a favorite short cut for some of the local pedestrians. A couple of days later, someone cut a hole in the fence. So we don't just have the idiocy in question, but the idiots have no qualms about damaging private property so they can continue to perform their idiocy.

    And in the unfortunate event that they do get killed one day, it's the railroad's fault. One cannot allow idiots to shoulder their own blame!
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    How many times have I seen fencing vandalized in such a fashion?

    I'm quite certain those same idiots and their representatives expect the railroad to have crews constantly repairing the damage their own clientele created. And would endeavor to convince a panel of twelve suckers to agree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2012
  6. alexkmmll

    alexkmmll TrainBoard Member

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    Anyone have any tips for those railfanning on bikes?
     
  7. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Railfaning on pedal bikes? On current active lines? Or abandoned ROWs that have been converted to bike paths? I bike on bike paths all the time in NH that were former B&M ROWs. Typical safety stuff. Wear a helmet, I like to wear those bike gloves, stay hydrated. Protect your self from insect bites and watch for wild life. For me in NH that includes bear, Moose and snakes. Last outing I found a baby Northern Water Snake. Not poisonous, but he was a cranky little fella. I stopped to play with him but after a while of him striking at my hand, I let the little guy be.

    I typically don't bike when railfaning an active line. Jess my Jeep is a mobile command station and has all that I need by way of equipment and biking with much of that is cumbersome.
     
  8. superheater

    superheater TrainBoard Supporter

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    I rode the train conductor to the tail of the train. There laying between the rails where bicycles kids left while they were walking in the woods.
     
  9. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
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  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thirty years ago my wife and I "chased" NS 611 and 1218 several times and drivers in the motorcades stayed safe. As the years progressed, things started getting out of hand with greater volumes of highway traffic and the birth of SuperFans who gave no quarter on the road or trackside.

    At that time I lost interest in the madness, finding that I enjoyed the day more by finding one excellent photo location, taking my shot and going home. I'd rather have one good photo than a dozen mediocre ones.
     
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  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Same here! :)
     

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