January 26, 2005

Trains and Automobiles Do Not Mix

This morning a nutcase in a jeep automobile caused a major train wreck in Los Angeles.

I'm associated with the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation (CTRC).  One of our projects is the restoration of a 1923 mainline steam locomotive.

On February 12, 1937 that locomotive (and the train it was pulling) were involved in a similar wreck - a drunk driver and his wife drove their car onto the tracks and walked away.  The engineer and fireman were killed.  The Interstate Commerce Commission report and photos are visible online.

India is often considered a lesser developed nation when compared to the United States.  However, in India grade crossing - places where roadways and tracks intersect - are relatively rare.  In the United States grade crossings are quite common, and so are the collisions.

311 people died in the USA in 2002 at railroad grade crossings  We are spending millions of dollars per year on worthless security measures at airports; we could get a lot more value for that money by improving railroad grade crossings.  And if trains can run faster and more safely then perhaps more people would get out of their automobiles and we might actually reduce our national addiction to oil.

Posted by karl at January 26, 2005 4:50 PM