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Train drivers in New Zealand share their stories of hitting people on the tracks.

246 comments
94% Upvoted
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I live in NZ and have seen the results of someone getting whacked twice.

The first happened on a major school route. Parents were angry, train driver was near suicidal for killing a kid, so the council put up automatic barriers to stop people crossing when a train was coming.

Guess what, kids are retards and jumped the barrier. There's just no way trains that big can stop and yet another kid got wiped out.

Parents complained the council didn't do enough.

No idea how the drivers deal with it to be honest, about 30 or so people saw the first guy get hit and most ended up having to take a wee while off work/school given it just painted the entire footpath red.

I knew a guy who worked security for my store and was a former NYC subway train operator he quite his job after a women committed suicide by leaping from the platform.

He said for weeks afterwards there was a dent (a faint outline) of the women's body visible from within the train...it haunted him.

He lasted a few more months before he eventually left.

On another note to avoid accidental deaths as described in this video maybe they could attach a high pressured hose to the front and sides of the train so that if they are within 100 feet of hitting someone they can spray them to get their attention.

I think a high pressure air cannon would work too.

Maybe if it made noise, too. some sort of multi-tone, deafeningly loud air whistle.

6 points · 6 months ago

Had to read the article just to make sure it wasn't something for women to use on guys like me.

Just get 3M to build them an accidental force field.

3 points · 6 months ago

meta

Spraying to get someone's attention is close to worthless.

The most cost effective and reliable way is to put the railway system behind doors and fences. Quite a few subway and metro systems have put doors on platforms to remove the possibility to access the tracks. The doors open and close when there's a train opening and closing its doors. There can be less than 1 feet between the platform walls and the train. This narrow space is double checked before a train departs.

So stopping people from entering the track is the only practical, viable and sane solution. Modifying trains and adding more complexity such as shockwaves of air from the train or a fixed installation on the platform is not reliable, effective or cheap to maintain. Thick fences, walls and platform doors is the best choice.

A reasonable alternative to doors on the platform is detectors that automatically stops a train if someone gets too close. The detectors would surveil the platform and track, looking for people who are a risk. Look at Nürnberg U3, a fully automatic system and the other lines are being converted too. But such a system would not work on a normal railway network. And there might be doors in the future once all the trains are automatic since doors are still the safest solution. Nürnberg's reasoning behind chosing detectors over doors is that it's considered difficult for a driver to make a perfect stop and that is seen in the manually operated subway networks that have platform doors. Misaligned doors is common. So as long as automatic and manually operated trains are in service and traffic the same stations, detectors is the practical choice but is not as safe as doors.

I've almost hit one myself, two teenagers took a shortcut and crossed the two tracks instead of walking in the tunnel underneath the tracks. He and his friend had just stepped out of a commuter train standing by the platform on the other track. They jumped down behind the commuter train and stepped right out infront of me as I was passing the platforms at 160 km/h and increasing, on a steep slope and a viewing distance of less than 300 meters due to it being a rather tight curve and steep slope on either end. My stopping distance would be up to 2000 meters due to being one of the steepest slopes in the country's railway network. Only one of them crossed and he managed to get up on the platform with less than half a second to spare. He didn't see me until he was standing in the middle of my track.

Don't think about far fetched solutions, keep it simple and it would cost less and have a MUCH lower failure rate. A failure should have safe outcome, for example a door that stops working doesn't increase the likelihood of someone dying, it would only cause an inconvenience. An air cannon that fails can hurt someone due to missfiring or not prevent someone from entering the track. A door that won't open will cause neither. A door that is open when it should be closed can make the station not allow any trains to enter.

4 points · 6 months ago

well I'd say the most cost effective and reliable way is for people to stop fucking around with train tracks....but that wont happen

edit: /s, obviously would be better to make it so its not even possible

In London if that happens the driver gets paid retirement.

1 point · 6 months ago

I had just thought of that as I was watching the video

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Or maybe have a drone that scouts in front of the train a quarter mile or so and warns the operator in time to stop or rams the pedestrian.

The train driver should be the one mad the parents didn't teach their kids well enough to be careful around trains. People love saying "kids are just stupid you can't do anything", it's not that simple. There are plenty of kids out there that could not be getting themselves into these dangerous situations via good parenting, even if some portion can't be helped.

You can't stop stupid.

The fact that people try and stop stupid or allow stupid people to do stupid things and get away with it.

I don't care about stupid people dying, I just wish the driver was disconnected in some way... But life's not perfect.

I care about stupid people dying, because I think that people are usually a victim of stupidity rather than an active advocate of stupidity. And, I don't think people deserve the death penalty for being stupid and/or doing a stupid thing.

But that's just me I guess.

27 points · 6 months ago

The real victims here are the engineers. No-one should have to feel responsible for someone's stupidity causing death. I feel for these train drivers. I couldn't care less about a moron standing on a track, watching a train on another track, all with his headphones in so he can't hear the horns, or bells. THAT is stupidity, and not the engineers fault in any way. The moron gets a swift end and the driver lives with it. It's very unfortunate.

I would advocate teaching people to be more observant and situational awareness.

Indeed. The engineers are dealing with a veritable "force of nature", but the guilt, just imagining if you had been doing a half MPH slower over the past few miles, you might have missed.

You can't stupid-proof everything in society, though. How much did those barriers cost? And then they didn't even solve the problem.

Same here. It's not even stupidity imo. In this situations it's just you cant imagine something like that happening to you.

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Safety systems aren't in place just because people are stupid. Being careless can easily result in similar situations. It's easy to look at one specific incident in hindsight and see all the ways it could be prevented. But preventing all the ways in which something could go wrong is impossible.

Carelessness in a dangerous or critical situation is the essence of stupidity, and stupidity is the essence of water fools.

Carelessness is the result of many factors, complacency being a major one which is independent of stupidity.

We're not talking about carelessness, we're talking about carelessness in a dangerous or critical situation.

Most of time it's not to stop stupid but protect themselves from lawsuits from stupid people.

Nice thing about NZ is that lawsuits against people and businesses is reserved only for massive negligence. Suing barely exists here.

It doesn't exist in most countries. America is the exception where it goes in overdrive. Some North-east Asian countries are great at following America though.

That simply isn't true though. Germany, Sweden, Israel, and Austria all have higher rates of lawsuits, the US is just slightly above the UK. This "Americans sue everyone for any little thing" circlejerk is stupid and goes to show how few people even bother to google something that can be proved false incredibly easily.

It's not a circlejerk. It's the truth.

Power of suit is not in everyones hands in America, that's the problem.

How can you say it's the truth when the data blatantly says otherwise. I'm not making up numbers and I encourage you to look into it yourself.

America has a lot of problems but the idea that you can't look at someone the wrong way without being sued here is complete bullshit.

As for "power of suit" which is not a term anyone's ever heard before I assume you mean ones ability to sue someone else. Which you may have a point but isn't what you were claiming in the comment i replied to.

In NZ you can't sue for an accident.

Yeah you know what they say... "Speak ill of the dead"

I don't want to sound arrogant or harsh but it simply is natural selection. If anyone who reads this is a parent or will be one in the future, make sure that you teach your kid life principles and don't just shift it towards kindergarten/school etc. Teach them about safety, respect and all other important things in life which isn't taught in school.

Took me a while to figure out why people who saw it had to suddenly take a wee.

Comment deleted6 months ago(2 children)
8 points · 6 months ago

Tunnel

It is infrastructure spend. The entire country has 5 million people, spending money in small towns to build under/overpasses is expensive.

Probably a similar story in many places around NZ, but it sounds like Silverstream?

That's the one.

I remember that. I was at St Pats at the time. Lived in Silverstream so used that crossing many times a day.

About 14 years ago I was riding on a southbound train from Upper Hutt pulling into Trentham Station when a guy sitting on the steps of the pedestrian over bridge suicided in front of the train.

I still remember hearing and feeling the extremely loud bang as the train ran over his legs. He was still alive, right under where I was sitting. When they pulled him out he was absolutely covered in red/purple grazes head to toe (well, not toe, because his legs were both severed). He was still breathing but he died on the way to the chopper that had landed in the car park.

Victim support were awesome. The people affected the worst would undoubtedly be the driver, and the guards that found the guy, but also the people waiting at the station. As you do, you watch the train approaching, and to completely see a man jump in front and get run over and tangled under the train would be the most horrific sight. The looks in their eyes …

I was at St Pats at the time.

We probably went to school together lol.

Although I don't recall the Trentham one, the gates installed at Silverstream happened due to the death of one of my classmates and I also lived in Silverstream so witnessed that mess first hand.

Small world eh. He was a few years younger than me, in my brother's year group I believe. It hit the community hard that's for sure.

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94 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I am even having a difficult time writing this. I recently investigated a suicide by train this past summer. I was called to a rail bridge where a women had stepped onto the tracks purposely.

I was able to locate the point of impact and followed the small bits of pieces her body left behind as the train dragged her underneath and along the tracks.

I don’t say this to sensationalize what had happened but only to give a real account of what I saw. But imagine taking a body and dragging it along a very large cheese grater. That’s what I sent home to her family.

My job has caused me to see many forms of death including feeling a persons last breath as they die. But until then, I never knew what destruction of a human body truly was.

Please take this PSA to heart. This is not a means to die you ever wish to have.

Edit: sorry was late when I originally wrote this. I just now caught my spelling error and corrected it.

Christ that’s horrible. What do you do for a job?

28 points · 6 months ago

Gonna step out on a limb here and say maybe an investigator.

Investigators usually investigate after something happens. The fourth paragraph states that she/he has watched people die as well...

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8 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I have had different roles over the years. But all have some footing in emergency service response. It’s caused me to be first on scene with my primary role looking after the wounded and in some cases dying. I have seen some interesting stuff over the years.

I can honestly say I have felt the last breath of a human but I have felt the first breath as well.

My job has changed since then to more of an investigation role but it still keeps me on the front lines.

Edit: total years in emergency response so far: 29. I still have 12 to go before I choose to retire. I still love my job.

I did firefighting briefly after the military, much respect to you first responders, they're the real heros out there.

how do you do something like this? like what drives you or how are you not kept up at night by shit you have seen? im a little bitch when it comes to needles and blood so your whole job sounds like hell to someone like me. props on being able to handle all that.

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2 points · 6 months ago

I am not really sure but it hasn’t had a huge affect. There are a handful of calls I have had that still cause me to pause and sometimes I get a little emotional but it doesn’t cause me to be catatonic. I don’t really recall ever being kept up at night or having “bad” dreams.

I have asked the same question you have and sometimes the fact I don’t get that emotional scares me.

But I do have a weakness. I have had love ones show up on scene screaming and crying for their now deceased family member. That I find very difficult and I have ended up crying and sharing in their pain but once I am separated from them I gain my composure fairly quick and it’s back to doing my job.

Again, how I am not sure. My very first call I had ever done in an emergency responder role was attending a motor vehicle collision where a 8 year old boy went through the windshield. He was still alive. I manage to stabilize him and get him to hospital where he was then taken by helicopter to a paediatric trauma centre. He died a few days later.

I have some horrific stories. But I also have funny ones. And amazing ones. I try to remember the amazing ones more.

But to answer your question as to what drives me, I love trying to make a difference and a lot of the times I do. I am selfish that way.

Was probably a first responder on that occasion... Total respect for those that see what society keeps hidden.

he's a dairy queen manager.

OP is Mark Cuban = Confirmed.

My guess is coroner.

2 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Saw a guy who was sliced in half and then some during the morning train. I must have arrived a few minutes after it happened. I was in my 1st year of uni but there were a lot of kids on the train heading to school, all between the ages of 10-17. Surprised they let the train move without putting a tarp over the big parts, the train slowly went by the corpse. Must have been horrible for the kids.

139 points · 6 months ago

Give train drivers paintball guns to shoot at pedestrians on the track. Boom.

Or some sort of inflatable mattress in front of the train that hits the person in the back of their knees and makes them fall down on it...

Something like this. I'm not an engineer, as shown by the quality of my drawing, but it's an idea...

Your idea is probably better though. And cheaper, and funnier.

41 points · 6 months ago

Hahaha I like it! First shoot 'em with a paintball and if they don't move ram into 'em with a mattress. Fool proof plan.

"Move or I'm going to shoot! .... wait a minute"

16 points · 6 months ago

I wrote more about this as a reply to OP a few comments down.

As a locomotive engineer my initial reaction is that this is a cartoon fantasy. Is it viable in some sort of NASA-designed, sci-fi funded fantasy land where everything is possible and we have infinite money? A weak maybe.

Are any and all measures that are not this idea much cheaper and more realistically implemented? Yes.

tl;dr reaction, the cushion would have to be the length of of a basketball court :)

Cheers.

5 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Ah, thanks for your comment! Really interesting to have an input from someone who knows what they're talking about.

I guess my genius $1bn idea isn't that smart... I'll stick to my other really smart idea then, the inflatable mattress that deploys and stops an airplane from crashing

Are any and all measures that are not this idea much cheaper and more realistically implemented? Yes.

Can you develop a bit? Thanks in advance

6 points · 6 months ago

Can you develop a bit? Thanks in advance

Road crossings, warning signs, tunnels, bridges, crossbars, public education. Louder horn, although we're go a bit shy of shattering glass for perfectly valid other reasons.

Anything capable of removing a person from in front of a train would be extremely costly. It would also have to be installed at either end of each locomotive. There are a lot of locomotives, and waaaaaay fewer crossings.

It's also not the companies sole responsibility to spend billions of dollars saving a few lives. Viability is finding the least expensive, most efficient way. Fantasy cushions doesn't exactly fall on the side of realistically viable, compared to a fucking steel bar that stops people from walking across a fucking train track.

One would imagine people Not Wanting To Die would be one, and bank on that.

If someone climbs up and grabs a hold of the High Voltage line that we drive under, no amount of safety precautions will stop him.

If you go long enough into safety precautions you'll start to find out how institutions actually put a number on human lives. It is not much.

Edit: And if we're installing robot arms and cushions, why not just install them on the road crossings themselves, to poke and prod at morons who get in the way?

They have cow guards, why is a human guard that far-fetched (speaking as a real engineer).

9 points · 6 months ago

Impact forces? How soft would it have to be and how big would that become? What would be the maximum velocity safety ranges for this thing and would that become cost efficient?

It also can't go too low, or it will catch on ground level(a lot of things on trains adhere to this). It won't be able to be installed on any locomotive, since many of them rely on being capable to couple with each other and the buffer sort of needs to be front and center... well, sides.

Depending on how big it is IF it would be installed on a brand new vehicle, how long would it make that machine? Locomotives and train cars are short for a reason.

Maintenance comes to mind. If it is soft, what are the risks it breaks down? Would it have to be replaced after impact? Can it be delivered within hours from the machine coming in for cleanup, service and repairs?

There are a hundred different locomotive profiles. Would this be able to attach to all of them or would a refit be required? I can see any and all companies turning down this retrofitting.

I'm basically convinced that from a cost efficiency point of view alone it'd be better to just double the security on risk areas, or build more bridges and tunnels. I could also probably come up with far more angles this is not viable.

And so on and so on :)

Edit: Cow guards also destroy cows.

Are you assuming it's inflated all the time? They have those slides on planes that inflate in a few seconds when it crashes.

Lots of factors... The biggest one it seems I wasn't aware of, that a cow guard is there to protect the train, not the cow (seems obvious in hindsight).

Which type of cattle guards are you talking about, the kinds the mount to the front of trains, or the type that span an open pit so livestock can't cross a certain threshold?

If the former, those are not meant to save the cow. They just deflect it from going under the train and causing a derailment. People would still die from those types of guards, and quite gruesomely I presume.

The latter would need pretty wide spacing of bars and I imagine would present a safety hazard in and of itself when people do inevitably try to traverse them.

Interesting, thank you. A cow can derail a train?

cow guards are made to protect the train, not the cow

That makes sense.

This would encourage me to jump in front of a train...

among other things

F=ma

That would have to be a Giant mattress.

The G forces would probably still kill them

good idea in concept tho

Top speed for freight trains is 50 mph in the US, lets say its going 40 mph in the city. Thats roughly 58 feet/second

Put a mattress that compresses 10 feet. 10/58 = 0.18 seconds.

58 ft/s divided by 0.18 seconds = 322 ft/s2

Thats roughly 10 G's. Human is good to go. Big ass mattress is success.

Hate to break it to you but ok let’s say they put that plan into motion. Someone gets on the track the train starts stopping, the person gets hit with a mattress, not only will it not be soft because of the speed in which trains do go, it’s not like a car slowing down, they still are traveling somewhat fast, but also if it knocked someone down then it’s just helping them get run over . Knocking someone down on a train track isn’t something that would help.

Yeah but I mean you go from a 100% fatality risk to... less.

When I say it knocks them down, I mean it makes them fall on the mattress. Picture a giant mattress hitting you in the knee: chances are you'll fall on it rather than on the tracks.

Then again I'm not an engineer.

I like this idea. I'll see you on Dragons Den.

Eh the world may never know. No sense in arguing over it:)

At the speed, it'd most likely amputate the persons legs tbh

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But then if the driver wasn't able to hit the person with the paintball, he/she will carry the guilt forever.

2 points · 6 months ago

Then put 3 paintball guns into the front of the train activated by a switch

I really like this idea.

Seriously if they had like 30 guns lined horizontally across the front they could press a button and get a guaranteed hit

Legit a good idea.

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They need to give train drivers rubber bullets or flares so they can sit out the train and shoot people with them.

I'm thinking more like a riot water cannon in the front, with a long enough spray that people get wet 100 m away and realise that there is something coming behind them, if they don't move in time the water jet could be angled in such a way that it shoves them off the tracks...

10 points · 6 months ago

The tank holding the water would freeze in winter, run out, or break regularly.

Source, I drive trains and everything is covered in ice and snow in winter. Every tube, hose, nut, bolt, wheel and brake detail, unless the locomotives run warm and are maintained constantly.

Nothing on the railroad is maintained constantly. Unless you're in Japan.

There's lots of fluids they could use that don't freeze

100m at 135km/h still isn't enough time.

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16 points · 6 months ago

All the safety measures in the world can't stop the stupidity of some people. I was taught from a young age you never fuck around near train tracks

Safety measures can remove this specific problem. In Denmark it was decided by the government that train tracks should no longer cross road or path. Since then every cross over have been replaced by bridge or tunnel, so you never have a reason to be near or on the tracks. Obviously this does not prevent people from killing them selves, but it prevents accidents and i have not heard of one since these measures were introduced.

[deleted]
5 points · 6 months ago

There is a road bridge local to me here in Scotland that was notorious for suicide jumpers into the river below, a couple years back they built much taller fences all along the sides of the bridge and this has reduced it greatly too. Taking your own life is a terrible thing but it annoys me when they include a train driver in their death.

Is it reducing suicides or just pushing the problem elsewhere?

Kiwirail has like 1,400 level crossings, conservatively it would be a several billion dollar project to grade segregate all those. Auckland's 20ish crossings alone could cost up to $600m to grade segregate.

Denmark is very small and very dense, allowing and making economical far more expensive improvements.

I agree about not being able to stop stupid, but at least in the US, there are no real safety measures in some areas. I grew up in an area where the train basically ran all the time, right through the middle of town. You were taught to check and never trust the railway lights. I traveled to a different state, in a much larger city, and there were practically no markings warning about a train. It was just there, level with the road. In another state I was walking and I basically came to an intersection that looked like a train yard - 10 tracks to cross. Ten! And there were no crossing lights or anything.

My best friend died from being struck by two trains when we were 15 in highschool still. We rode the same bus home and one day he asked the bus driver if he could just get off the bus early and walk the block and a half to his house. This was a very small town (3k pop) so the bus driver allowed him to.

I was sitting near the middle of the bus looking out the window as he walked down the road towards the tracks. The lights were on and the crossing guards were down. He had his headphones in so he couldn't hear. I watched him walk up to the crossing guard, look to his right and he saw a train about a half mile down the tracks so he thought he had plenty of time to go under so he did. He took two steps and a high speed passenger train came from his left and struck him. I saw him get hit so i immediately told the driver and got off the bus to go and try to help him. his body had been thrown onto the other tracks where the train that was coming from the right ended up hitting him too.

I was the first person there to him and saw it all. I'll never forget it. It's been 9 years but i still have nightmares and i've been diagnosed with PTSD. I've never shared this story with any of my family or friends. just my therapist. I think about him every day

That sounds absolutely awful my friend. I dont know anything constructive to say but I just thought that I would let you know that I feel for you. Good luck

What a true friend you are, just think if you hadn't been such an attentive friend you would have heard through the news/someone else and wonder what really happened. I hope you're as OK as possible after something like that and I hope there's something more to this life so he knows just how much you care.

I’m really sorry for your loss.

I always liked the idea of having a spring-loaded arm or panel on the front of the train that could slap someone off the track at the last second. It would hurt like a motherfucker but you'd be alive at least. Combine with Tesla's accident sensing tech and you could make it fully automatic. Detect a person on the tracks, engage Slap-o-matic.

Would make for good videos too.

24 points · 6 months ago

slap someone off the track at the last second

My physics math is non-existant, but wouldn't a slap traveling at 100kmh still impact with the force of an object traveling at a 100kmh?

Similarly, the force required to make a body move out of the way of something traveling at that speed would... probably be enough to murder anything made ouf of flesh and bone?

I'm not saying that a hyper-advanced robot arm with enough reach wouldn't be able to snatch a person out of the way while simultenously compensating for the impact velocity. However, I would wager quite a bit that the cost of this equipment would outweigh the cost of simply building a tunnel or a bridge at every crossing. Specifically since it would have to be installed on every single locomotive, and that is a huge multiplier.

Instinctively, and I say this as a train driver, this sounds impossible and/or highly inefficient.

At lower speeds? Maybe, but at the speeds this would be viable I brake quickly enough to make it statistically insignificant.

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IMO maybe a large "wedge" would be better??? Kind of like a snow plow, but much longer, and it pushes you away, but up, rather than just straight out.

You mean a cow catcher? Don't think those actually do much besides keep the train from being damaged, but I'm not a train guy.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cowcatcher

10 points · 6 months ago

ITT: we invented a cowcatcher again?

yes, but significantly longer. And has a thick layer of foam on top of the steel.

For example, look at the "limited" damage by the Mythbusters cow catcher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4qZTdMOJBk

yeah, its a steel car, but if it had hit it straight on, the energy has to be absorbed.

https://youtu.be/QpP7gMPzC78?t=169

I don't think any human is going to survive that impact

Yeah, but you'll look prettier in your casket

At speed yeah, but if the train is emergency breaking already. Ultimately it would reduce the severity of the impact. In the same way Mercedes have that pedestrian protecton system.

Can't imagine it would work because it would still hit them with an extreme amount of force. Had me thinking of this though... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmXYJOyAGc0

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12 points · 6 months ago

They need to do one for Toronto with the suicides. Christmas/New Years was a shit show for the TTC and those unlucky drivers had to go home knowing they couldn't do shit to stop the train.

there is a taxi-cab confessional with a former cop who details his worst crime scene, which was a kid that fell onto subway tracks. he said it's awful because the body gets twisted up and pinned between the train and the tracks. for all intents and purposes, the person is already fucked and 99% on their way to death, but being pinned and twisted keeps their body in tact.

he said he had to tell the kid the second the move the train to release him, he'd die. so this kid is fully conscious and aware that he is going to die any minute, with nothing that can help him.

Forgive my ignorance, is the idea that once the train moves, blood pressure is lost and they die?

Yes. For example the wheel might simultaneously cut and pin their leg to the track, pinching off blood flow. Roll the train back and all that blood flows out of the person very quickly.

The trapped body part builds up toxins and when released will kill you. We were taught at work, if you dont see/hear the incident,you're not allowed to remove object.

http://www.nswmining.com.au/getattachment/Events/Health-Safety-Conference/Conference-Downloads/Jim-Delaney-Training-Officer,-Coal-Services-Mines-Rescue.pdf

Oh wow I do work with Dr Middleton. Haven't seen him in a while though. Nice guy.

My aunt got hit by a train in New Zealand (Balmoral IIRC) while on her bicycle and was in the hospital for a while.

Don't fuck around with trains.

12 points · 6 months ago

Never really understood accidentally getting hit by trains. They're kinda fucking huge and rather loud.

Isn't it also just a fucking thing to look before you cross?

Yeah. It is. Pretty much every crossing I've come across in NZ has either signage or barrier arms on it.
Looking both ways is vital, and if there is a train one way, then the assumption must be that there is a train going the other way.

Despite being loud and huge and bright, they're also fast.

Personally, I have changed my poor habits and now at any crossing, road or train, I give it my full attention. No headphones, no texting (on the rocks about calls, usually ask to wait), no distractions.

Has it saved my life? Yes. Noticing cars that didn't see me, or didn't stop in time. Trains don't stop in time, ever. Freight trains especially. Very quick, even at the slower speeds going through populated areas.

3 points · 6 months ago

I've been looking both ways, multiple times, before crossing anything, before I went to school as a kid. I don't understand why it's so hard for people.

You have to check multiple times, human perception can be a bit funky at times so checking at least twice mitigates some of that.

I have a fear of crossing train tracks. When driving and I can’t see along the track I’ll be driving very slowly.

I can’t understand people not looking both ways when crossing.

headphones, a 16 year old girl recently got killed by one while crossing with music playing.

My mom grew up in missouri and she talks about how the train drivers used to have shotguns with rock salt loaded in them.

I remember hearing about this teenage girl that was killed while laying on railroad tracks sunbathing with earphones in.

You can't fix stupid. No matter what you do, some people are just going to die because of their own stupidity. Unfortunately, it totally blows for the train conductors.

2 points · 6 months ago

Really? Of all the places she could've sunbathed, she picked train tracks? Why? The threat of being obliterated by a train aside, that can't be a comfortable spot to lay down to begin with.

I am locomotive engineer for possibly the most busy commuter railroad in the United States. I have had 2 incidents, one fatal the other not and countless close calls. It is a stunning and emotional incident that people handle differently but it’s never easy. In both of my incidents the person was on the platform and jumped as I passed, luckily the second time I was slowing down already to make a stop. Nothing can prepare you for it.

Wonder if they could create a special net in front of the train that deploys when needed and scoops the person up.

3 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I think that the solution is to installl a cluster of large very sticky inflatable air bags to the front of the train. Proximity detection will cause them to inflate and safely stick the human to the bag cluster like a fly on a sticky paper trap.

Probably one of the funniest ones in this thread lol

3 points · 6 months ago

People often down understand that a Train is not a Car if the Train drives at 100 km/h (62 mphs) the braking distance is around 1000 m (0,62 mile) you can pretty much always add a 0 behind/in front of the speed to measure the breaking distance. If a Train needs to brake it's already to late for everyone who is standing on the tracks.

The train drivers should have a strong laser pointer. They would then have a better chance of getting the attention of the distracted people on the tracks.

if a train horn isnt going to alert people, im not sure a laser will make a difference.

3 points · 6 months ago

It actually might. People are usually looking down at their phones so if you could focus a beam of light on their hands or something, it might get them to look up. Personally, I like the idea of paintball guns or water cannons.

What a dumb way to die.

3 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

The solution is tunnels and bridges. Super expensive, but it's the best solution. In Denmark it became illegal a few years back for train tracks to cross roads and walking paths. Since then they have been working to remove all these places and there are very few left. I haven't crossed a train track in 5 years i think.

New Zealand is entirely covered by accident insurance from the ACC. Since both parties of every case is guaranteed compensation, it could be cheaper to convert all the crossings above a certain accident rate.

Sure, depends on the country. Denmark is very small and densely populated, so pretty much every cross over is at risk. Would say you should avoid having any pedestrian crossings, especially in and around large cities.

what about a sprinkler system on crossings. people hate getting wet.

Wouldn't work if it's already raining :) Just avoid crossings all together, it's a dated way of doing infrastructure. When you have bridges and tunnels you don't have to wait either.

Infrastructure will take a while. Beside there is less lollygagging in the rain which means water works.

Instead of gravity fed, you shoot the water horizontally.... well an arc like a water fountain.

We have a similar system for trucks in sydney (for oversize vehicles).

https://youtu.be/NoTMC-uxJoo?t=49

I do like the method in Adelaide where they have pool style safety fences that automatically close. Even if you do "just make it" through the first one, once you cross, you get stuck in the cage of shame on the other side. As it's a proper "double back" you're kind of forced to look both ways. The downside is that people just cross the road where the cars go.

The solution is tunnels and bridges.

I'm not sure that's the be-all and end-all for everywhere. For example, this railway line bisects the highstreet. You'd be unable to make that into a bridge or tunnel without doing major work on both the path and the surrounding businesses.

At least in the crossing linked, it's manual with someone watching via CCTV, and trains are only allowed to proceed through once crossing control says it's ok, but like heck you're going to replace that with a bridge or tunnel.

I find it outrageous that such a crossing was constructed to begin with, someone really fucked up in planning either the track or city. One thing is the danger, but the noise must be horrible as well.

I see no problem with a bridge in this case(you could even dig a tunnel). The bridge is already there, you just need a larger one to accommodate the traffic. Bridges are major work, but it looks like it wouldn't have to carry vehicles, so not too bad either. It obviously helps there is a person controlling the crossing, but a freight train or large regional train needs 300-500 meters to break, so this seems very impractical for everyone. I'm sure some engineers could find a way to elegantly cross the rails in this case.

IIRC the regulations in Denmark where created when the second child in a year was killed on a crossing, so maybe that's what it takes.

I find it outrageous that such a crossing was constructed to begin with

So this is a port town, meaning that the highstreet existed before the railway came. the railway came afterwards (in the 1800s), meaning this crossing has been bisecting the highstreet for a few hundred years. In that time it's not really killed anyone who was being silly on the crossing.

About 100m off to the right is the train station, meaning that trains are able to amble through this crossing at a super slow speed, slow enough that they could, if required, come to a halt before reaching the crossing itself.

As for a bridge, remember if it's going to be required then it'd need to have accessible ramps or an elevator pair installed. That's no small modifications.

That's a lot of money to spend on something that's had no deaths.

Comment deleted6 months ago(3 children)
40 points · 6 months ago

Thats great, but its the follow on effect it has on people. You've got a driver who has just killed someone. And you've got the emergency services who have to scoop up your remains

Comment deleted6 months ago(0 children)

Wait this is a bit off topic, but a train driver's official title is locomotive engineer? I would have assumed a locomotive engineer was something completely different. Kind of like a Pilot and an aeronautical engineer.

Engineer is a North American thing. It does make sense in the original root of the word, in that they're in charge of an engine.

Also, steam train drivers were basically Engineers. They had to know everything about their engine from the welding, steam calculations, mechanics, and had to pass a whole bunch of exams. Impressive trains and since they were around for so long the title has stuck.

I live in Oregon and used to take the MAX for a little over a year, I was always astonished by how dumb people can be crossing the tracks without looking or trying to beat the train to the platform so they dont miss it. I remember one time in particular a guy had his earbuds in and was riding his bike across and got within feet of getting hit by the train, all because he didnt want to look up for 2 seconds and look for a train.
Its like you have to be the dumbest son of a bitch to get killed by a train as a pedestrian, they literally can only drive on a rail that you can easily avoid.

Odd side thought: when engineers have to hit the breaks and slow down, how much fuel does that cost them? Bringing a train to a full stop is likely a fairly expensive thing in both delays and fuel usage. Granted when it takes a good part of a mile to stop.....breaking does limited good.

They don't break until they hit basically. By the time a train reacts to the brakes, it's too late.

Could they put a big paddle-arm on the front of the train? If they're about to hit someone, they hit a button and a sensor triggers it to swing at the right time, painfully but non-lethally flipping the person out of the way

People get hit by buses here all the time too, like way too often.

Use a paintball gun out the window. Pop them a few times at 50m.

someone should give the conductor a bb gun to shoot stupid people with headphones on.

They should engineer a scoop for the front of the train to turn fatalities into deflections.

[deleted]
1 point · 6 months ago

My dad is a locomotive engineer. I stopped asking him about this since he has so many stories, most with upsetting endings. One time a kid was walking on the tracks with earphones on, he had to lay down on the horn hoping they'd hear it. You have to be a special kind of person to work a job like that.

Worst life ever

Life of an Engineer

get paintball guns and shoot em

where's the Safety

This is just sad!!

Dude introduced at 0:33 looks exactly like a skinny Michael Ray Bower.

Approved Bot
2 points · 6 months ago

Jump to 00:33 @ The Life of a Locomotive Engineer - Rail Safety Week 2017

Channel Name: Tracksafe Foundation NZ, Video Popularity: 99.10%, Video Length: [04:13], Jump 5 secs earlier for context ^@00:28


Downvote me to delete malformed comments. Source ^^Code | ^^Suggestions

Through freight conductor here, I have only been doing this for 3 years and in that time I have unfortunately hit two people. One was at 55 miles an hour and basically evaporated the dude. The other we were going about 20 miles an hour and the poor girl had head phones in walking down the rail... I don't like thinking about her.

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Here in wellington there's a $30,000 fine for going on the tracks. Just the other day I saw a group of intermediate school children jump off the platform and run across laughing.

They need an airsoft gun with a high rate of fire. If someone was hit they would flinch and react in some way. The high rate of fire would allow them to better ensure a hit. Airsoft guns have an effective range of about 60m limiting trains to 25-30m/s would give 1-2 seconds to react.

What this tells me, even if I'm completely aware of my surroundings (and when am I ever really), is that I should signal my awareness much more. These people are constantly on edge because people seem so distant and unaware of what's going on. The thought alone must be horrifying.

why don't they have some kind of a water cannon on board that they can control and blast warning shots in such situations. I know its not going to solve all of the cases, but it might help

Someone posted about this in the comments on Youtube, but...

...Paintball guns. Have a fuckin dude pop out and just unload some paintballs in to some moron that's standing on the tracks and is completely unaware of an oncoming train. Even if they don't hit the person directly, they should still see them whizz by or hit something in the immediate vicinity that gets their attention.

Education and general awareness are the best tool to prevent someone from being stupid and getting obliterated by a train; not paintball guns, rubber bullets, water sprayers, airbags, spring loaded arms, etc.

I ride trains pretty regularly for work. I ride up with the engineer mostly, and we’ve had some close calls. But this one time, we hit a guy and I’ll never forget the sound it made when the guy bounced off the plow. He was dead on impact I’m assuming. It’s unsettling for a bit, you just have to realize that there’s absolutely nothing you can do. You can’t swerve a train. People shouldn’t be on tracks.

I approve this message

The first 35 seconds of this video makes being a locomotive engineer sound like one of the best jobs in the world.

Different every day. You're basically your own boss. If you like solitude, then it's right for you. One guy loves it so much he's been doing it for 32 years.

Just edit out the parts about all these dumbasses with zero situational awareness who keep getting themselves killed on the tracks, and this could be an effective recruitment video.

Serious question: Could it be a good idea if those train conductors had bb guns or airsoft rifles so that when they are close to someone on the tracks they can go outside the window and shoot them? At first I thought they could throw something at them but they'd have to be very close and there might not be enough time. With an airsoft gun or rifle they could hit the guy with a bb from much further away and that way they'd have enough time to avoid getting hit. (I'm not a gun loving american if anyone is wondering, I don't actually like guns but if it's just a bb gun I think anyone would prefer to get hit with a bb than a train)

give them a paintball, airgun of some sort

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

The amount of people suggesting BB guns is hilarious.

[deleted]
1 point · 6 months ago

I wonder who the target audience for this video is?

*English subtitles for people speaking English

Ah... Americans.

[deleted]
1 point · 6 months ago

Pretty sure since its made by a New Zealand rail safety organisation it's for New Zealanders.

[deleted]
1 point · 6 months ago

I'm from New Zealand and the only reason I can think of for having the subtitles is for our internationals.

Ow iksint us prutty duffikilt tu indastand. (Our accent is pretty difficult to understand)

I wonder who the target audience for this video is? English subtitles for people speaking English

People with earphones in their ears.

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