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

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.

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