Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stay off Rail Tracks

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Stay off Rail Tracks

Article excerpt

I was horrified to see the photos accompanying Brian O'Neill's June 15 column about a local band couch surfing across the country ("Couch-Surfin' USA: The Band Played On"). One of these photos showed the band playing on railroad tracks while a freight train whizzed by on the adjoining track less than 10 feet away.

I can't stress enough how dangerous such behavior can be. A train coasting downgrade makes almost no noise and can creep up on you with hardly a sound. It is extremely difficult to judge the speed of such a large object coming directly toward you.

A fully loaded freight train traveling at 50 mph can take nearly a mile to come to a complete stop, and it has no ability to swerve or deviate from the path of the steel rails. Loads of steel, lumber or pipe can shift in transit, leaving overhanging materials. …

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