[Tweeters] trespassing on railroad tracks

THOMAS BENEDICT benedict.t at comcast.net
Mon Jan 10 18:26:48 PST 2022

The fact that nearly half of all locomotive engineers have, at some time in their career, operated trains which have hit people, known as 'trespassers', on the tracks gives you an idea of how frequently this happens. And it's not just the engineer who's affected. The conductor is the one who has to get off the train and locate the remains. It's really quite sobering, at least for me, and has tempered my enthusiasm for rail travel. Here's a couple of articles about the subject, if you're interested.



Tom Benedict
Seahurst, WA

> On 01/10/2022 5:33 PM dgrainger at birdsbydave.com wrote:


> We have a relative who is a Conductor, the person in charge of the

> entire train. He has worked on rail for all of his life. Know that no

> railroad employee ever has a cavalier attitude towards accidents on the

> tracks. I also know that there are many hundreds of tons of steel moving

> that cannot stop on a dime.


> On 2022-01-10 16:46, Gary Bletsch wrote:

> > Dear Tweeters,

> >

> > Thanks to Mark Tomboulian for broaching this topic. Just the other

> > day, I too noticed a party of birders (or perhaps photographers)

> > standing on the railroad tracks near the Swinomish Casino. One of them

> > was actually sitting on the rails. Their view of the Emperor Goose was

> > at best marginally better than the one I enjoyed by standing on a

> > gravel walking path. I reckon I was 300 meters from the bird, and the

> > trespassers had closed the range to perhaps 285 meters.

> >

> > Common sense would tell us all that any reasonably fit person could

> > easily, almost effortlessly get out of the way of an oncoming train.

> >

> > Common sense does not reign supreme in human affairs. Over 400 people

> > die in the U.S. every year after being hit by a train, according to

> > the FRA. From reading newspaper accounts of such deaths from time to

> > time, I have come to suspect that a lot of the incidents involve

> > intoxicated people and the mentally ill. Others involve clueless teens

> > walking the tracks while listening to music on headphones. Then there

> > is the mistake of thinking that there is one set of tracks, when there

> > are really multiple rail lines running parallel; the victim hears the

> > horn blast, jumps off one set of tracks, and gets hit on the other

> > side.

> >

> > US News and World Report states that a 40-year-old Tacoma man died on

> > New Year's Day after being hit by a train while trespassing.

> >

> > A railroad employee presumably does not wish to expend energy trying

> > to ascertain whether a given trespasser has the wits to get out of the

> > way. I can't say I'd blame him-once he's responded to one such

> > incident, he'd rather not do it again. Clueless teen, drunken

> > vagabond, die-hard birder--they all look the same to Burlington

> > Northern.

> >

> > As I understand it, trespassing is a misdemeanor, so a conviction

> > could involve jail time and a hefty fine.

> >

> > I doubt that any birders or photographers are going to be hit by a

> > train. I also doubt that anyone in the Padilla Bay area will end up

> > being cited for trespassing. However, the railroad might decide to "do

> > something." Right now, it is easy to view the Emperor Goose and all

> > the other birds out there at the southwest corner of Padilla Bay. I'd

> > hate to get out there and find all the roadside pullouts blocked off

> > and a barrier erected along the tracks!

> >

> > Yours truly,

> >

> > Gary Bletsch

> >

More information about the Tweeters mailing list