View Full Version : Teaching the children...

07-21-2005, 07:43 PM

While out railfanning I took this picture. There were no officials to tell these people that they were trespassing. :roll:

07-21-2005, 08:25 PM
I think they are checking for change they put on the tracks to be flattened by the train. This is very dangerous in itself because the items can be shot outwards and strike somebody.

Two darwin award candidates right there.

Brandon Smith

07-21-2005, 08:27 PM
Yes, I am sure they were checking for coins. There are a lot of trains that run through here. Not a good thing to teach your children. :(

07-21-2005, 08:29 PM
Ugh, the adults in these cases need to be arrested for child neglect (along with tresspassing), and the kids need to find new parents. :evil:

I see it whenever I go to Rochelle, there always seems to be 2-4 people standing on whichever set of tracks there isn't a train on, sometimes the stupid railfans invite their kids to join them on the tracks :x .

Don't you wish stupid people had license plates hanging around their necks or something?

07-21-2005, 08:34 PM
Oh yeah, like "Here's your sign.". It is people that stand on public property taking pictures that get the harrassment. :rolleyes:

07-22-2005, 02:04 AM
Oh yeah, like "Here's your sign."

Well, if they'd been wearing their signs, you could've stopped them. :lol:

07-22-2005, 02:40 AM
Thats always smart...People always feel bad for these people that were hit by trains yet they had no business to be on the tracks. I dont feel bad for those people. Its the poor crew that hits them.

07-22-2005, 05:38 AM
They are morons (the two people in the tracks in the photo). That's a horrible thing for the parent to be teaching the kid. I saw it in Lockport, IL not long ago. The Amtrak got a slow order due to them, which ruined the Amtrak running really fast. Grr.

Ken Carr
07-22-2005, 05:41 AM
As a Operation Lifesaver presenter I recently renewed my certification for the current year. This year part of the certification and latter discussion was about this type of activity. Along with the different activities associated with trespassing along the rails the placing of coins, soda cans, even rail spikes that are placed on the rails, and the photos of the aftermath were surprising especially of a rail spike that once launched by a SD-40 penetrated the passenger door of a ford Tempo waiting at the RR crossing.
The example in class was placing a corn seed between thumb and forefinger and squeeze as hard as you can, the result corn seeds all over the classroom. Some people just don't get the danger and the damage

07-22-2005, 11:09 PM
From When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin:


This item demonstrates how stupid the average American is. Every ninety minutes someone in this country is hit by a train. A train, OK? Trains are on tracks; they can't come and get you. They can't surprise you when you step off the curb. You have to go them. Got that?

There are five thousand highway/rail-crossing accidents annually. To counter this problem, the Department of Transportation issued the following rules for people to follow at railroad crossings.

Don't drive around lowered gates. "Okay, got it."
Don't cross in front of a train. "Never thought of that."
Don't walk on the tracks. "Check."
Be aware that trains can't stop quickly. "Good to know."
Always expect a train. "This one would probably be tied in to the fact that these are railroad tracks, is that right? Correct me if I'm wrong on this."
Look for more than one train. "Frankly, this is one I never thought of. Maybe if I remember the others, this one will take care of itself."

07-24-2005, 04:18 AM
So...no one here has ever stepped on railroad property without permission? Sorry. While I don't see what the huge deal is here, I do see it's tying right in with the giant trend of 'safety' that's going around.

I know by age 12 I was following the railroad tracks into town to hang out at the local railroad yard. Tresspassing? Yeah, I guess so. Never had any problem with the employees, never was told to get off the property. Got quite a few cab rides and became a fixture around the B&O yard til CSX closed it down. I shot plenty of pictures with a crappy 110 camera well inside the yard. Sometimes yard masters would tell when something 'odd' was coming in and where it'd be parked. Day or night, no big deal. Some of the friends I still have today were met while 'trespassing'. One of our 'oldheads' at work tells of climbing onto coal cars as a child to get coal for the stove. He's one of the safest people I've ever worked with. He's worked for the railroad since the early 60s, retiring from Conrail.

Since my parents knew what I was doing, I guess they should've been arrested for neglect and I should've been taken away. Great logic.

Truthfully, it helped with my interest in this that's lasted my whole life. Yeah, we put change on the tracks. No one ever lost an eye over it. But today the whole country has the mentality that if something bad happens to one person, it must be going to happen to EVERYONE so everyone get's punished.

The other day I saw a commercial with children asking 'Would you get in a car without a seat belt? With out an airbag?' Wanna bet that in the next 10-15 years we'll all be required to wear helmets while driving or riding in a car? It's coming.

On the other hand, I have no sympathy for the ones who go around the gates and/or walk into a speeding train. I just try to give people the benefit of the doubt til it happens and not judge everything as an accident about to happen.

just my 2 cents.

Oh and here's another George Carlin quote-
"/i know this sounds like old fart talk, but I think today's kids are too soft. They have to wear plastic helmets for every outdoor activity but ******* off. Toy safety, car seats, fire-resistant pajamas. Soft, baby boomer parents, with their cult of the child, are raising a crop of soft, fruity kids."

It goes on, but that's the gist of it.

07-24-2005, 01:17 PM
I agree, there are very few people who have not trespassed on RR property one time or another. Even I have trespassed a couple times while railfanning. But, with NS owning all the mainline track around here, I know that if I even try to trespass, it could get ugly, and besides, it is illegal, so I don't do it. (Fortunately, there are plenty of bridges with walkways going over tracks around here).

07-25-2005, 12:59 PM
I did tons of 'tresspassing' on RR property as a kid, sometimes with one of my parents walking by the tracks on the way to school. The track was used about 4 times per week and the trains went about 15 mph.

When i got a little older my dad and i would take trips up to the mainline tracks. Sure, we tresspassed. We'd walk along the access roads or explore some of the abandoned buildings or foundations along the tracks while watching the trains go by. We wouldnt do anything stupid like walk between the rails or cross in front of a train. If anything, i think these expeditions taught me to be careful and respect the power of trains, to the point where i almost get an uneasy feeling when i see one coming down the tracks. Thanks to these expeditions i could guarantee you that i'm way more sensible around trains than the average 20 year old.

I think theres a difference between parents who teach their kids responsibility (even if they may be tresspassing at the same time, as dumb as it sounds) and those who make a terrible example to their kids by crossing in front of trains or exhibiting other stupid behavior.

just my 2cents.

07-25-2005, 03:13 PM
There's one more element to the discussion - the legal system that makes a corporation "negligent" and subject to punative damages when someone does something stupid on the tracks. Why do you think so many locomotives are being equipped with cameras? The paintiff attorney can create all sorts of stories about the negligent engineer not stopping his train but when a video shows a car driving around the gates its, "game over."

07-25-2005, 04:00 PM
So you're all OK with tresspassing on railroad property? OK.
So I would assume walking through people's backyards or onto government property is ok, right? Breaking into closed shops is fine, as long as you don't touch anything?

Of all of those, tresspassing on railroad tracks is the most dangerous, it's just the one you are least likely to get caught for.

07-25-2005, 04:27 PM
Just remember the two adult women (mother & daughter) walking their dogs along the tracks. They paid for their trespassing with their lives. Maybe no one taught them when they were younger to play on or by the tracks with permission. :(

07-26-2005, 01:11 AM
"So you're all OK with tresspassing on railroad property? OK.
So I would assume walking through people's backyards or onto government property is ok, right? Breaking into closed shops is fine, as long as you don't touch anything?"

This is where two of my own hobbies begin to clash. Not sure if anyone here knows what Urban Exploration is but it has a fairly large following and they are aware of the railfan side of things. For the ones who don't know, UE involves the exploration of, for the most part, abandoned buildings and that sort of thing. Is trespassing involved? Yep. Do UE'ers have a problem with it? Generally not. Can it be dangerous? Sure. But they do it. And generally they accept the consequences if something happens or they're caught. Some take it further and infiltrate still occupied facilities (and no, not people's homes). There are bad elements to all groups. Vandals, etc., but they tend to be the exception to the rule. There are 'bad' railfans. The important thing is admitting it was their own fault and not the location owner's for not erecting a 12 foot high electric fence with razor wire. I've gotten scrapes and cuts while UE'ing. Never once did it occure to me that I might need to find a lawyer and press the issue. It's all about taking responsibilty for your own actions. You can read more on the whole UE thing at http://www.uer.ca/forum_showcats.asp?fid=4
The majority are just photographers documenting what once was so future generations can see it. Sound familiar? Some people still have a sense of adventure is all.

If you want to take the legality thing further, in 2004, an estimated 16,654 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes - an average of one almost every half-hour. Does that mean alcohol should be banned across the board? No. I don't drink any more and even I don't buy that argument. Some people do, though. A dangerous product, but one that's perfectly legal when used responsibly.

"Just remember the two adult women (mother & daughter) walking their dogs along the tracks. They paid for their trespassing with their lives. Maybe no one taught them when they were younger to play on or by the tracks with permission."

Again, back to my statement on how if one bad thing happens to one person it'll happen to everyone. It's not true. No one taught me that if I jump off a high building onto some concrete, there's a good chance I might die. My parent's never taught me that getting hit by a train might end the same way. I figured it out on my own. Seems like every time this happens, someone has to shift the blame somewhere other than where it needs to be-railroads, parenting,etc. You know, if we're at the point where someone needs to be taught the obvious consquences of gravity or a thousand tons of steel versus a human body, we're already too far gone. Everybody stay in the house with their kevlar vests and helmets and DO NOT MOVE. There is no way to gaurantee absolute safety, despite what anybody says. A little common sense goes a long way. Sadly, that seems to be a thing of the past any more.

"Can you imagine a world without lawyers?"-Lionel Hutz, The Simpsons

And I realize from some peoples stand points, wrong is wrong and there'll be no swaying them. And also, for the record, people DO walk through my yard. Who cares?

Another 2 cents worth.


07-26-2005, 01:54 AM
I often chase folks off tracks in my town. I don't write a lot of trespassing tickets, but I could, and maybe I'll start.

At about 230am 7-24-05 I had to take photos of a 15 year old boy struck by a train in my town. The train didn't leave the tracks and hit him, he was ON THE TRACKS! So make light of trespassing if you want. But, I'm guessing this boys parents would give anything to go back in time and pay a trespassing ticket if it ment not having to have a cop on their front porch breaking bad news to them.

Ptlm. Jim Butler

07-26-2005, 02:04 AM
I have to agree with E3429 on what he wrote, especially the Simpson's quote.

I had a collection of oval pennies made that way by the Burlington Northern. Eventually I lost interest in it. My father (a railroad employee) taught me how to do it, but he also taught me to look both ways. I can remember listening to rails for the ping of an on-coming train. I spent summers looking for date nails, and walking mainline tracks all over MT and ID like a personal Stand By Me.

This can be equated to guns (setting aside the tresspassing component). A healthy respect and proper instruction can prevent the majority of "accidents." There is a safe way to be around tracks, we do it everyday. But "accidents" do happen; a broken metal band could be swinging; a piece of ballast could bounce out of a hopper; derailment could happen infront of your eyes.

I have posted pics and written threads regarding people crossing the tracks. Sure they are tresspassing, but who hasn't put a foot or two inside a siding to peer down the tracks for a train? I find it interesting that to get a 2L bottle of soda, someone will cross 6 tracks when an overpass is two blocks down. I think since we strive for respect (or just to be left alone) we are conscientious about our actions. Chances are, someone just getting to the other side, isn't going to have the book thrown at them. They probably won't even see a ticket.

Just today a man was in the spotlight for finding a decomposing body along some tracks. He was walking his dog next to a rickety old track that sees a single car about once a month. Who knows if the remains would have been found. Should he not be a "hero" since he was tresspassing?

Yes, there are unnecessary deaths by folks walking trackside. But these are probably people who would absent-mindedly step off a NY curb into the path of a bus.

07-26-2005, 02:15 AM
Yep, all kinds of different sides and opinions on this thing. Most people comply to the no trespassing rule, it is too bad others do not care. :cry:
Local taking a stroll.jpg

07-26-2005, 04:44 PM
That guy looks like he just wants to get across the tracks.I'd do that too because I wouldn't want to walk to the nearest crossing.

07-27-2005, 02:55 AM
I've seen some pretty bad things on the rails. I was in Shepherdstown, Wva. setting up for a shot moments after a southbound passed when I saw five idiots attempt to cross the immense bridge over the Potomac River. To their surprise a northbound intermodal was waiting on a siding about a half mile away. They were still crossing the bridge when I heard the horn. I immediately called the cops.... Here is my pic... This is only HALF the bridge BTW!