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In the current fad of blaming SUVs for crashes rather than operator headspace, and to go along with the "Flying Camaro" story, but far more tragic, is this:

It happened about 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Harlem Line when a train filled with passengers collided with a Mercedes, which was stopped on the tracks when the gates at the two-track Commerce Street crossing near Valhalla came down.

The driver was outside the vehicle when the train hit, shoving her SUV about 10 car lengths, the official said. The third rail pushed up from the track and rammed through the entire first car of the train, remarkably missing passengers. Some 400 feet of the third rail pierced the first car, breaking off into roughly 80-foot sections. At least one of those sections penetrated the second car, as well.

The fire was fueled by the gas from the Mercedes SUV, according to Sumwalt.
"The inside of that first car is melted and charred," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said, adding that he trouble sleeping after seeing the carnage.

Doctors and political leaders have remarked that the death toll and extent of victims' injuries could have been far worse but that does not undercut the severity of the crash.
One patient remained in critical condition midday Wednesday, a doctor with the Westchester County Medical Center said at an afternoon news conference.


http://www.aol.com/article/2015/02/...139268/?cps=gravity_3526_-8423584337487394408
 

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You know, when I first saw this story, I couldn't comprehend why there was such a huge fire that demolished the train car so completely.

The answer is the third rail, which caused almost all of the damage. If the MTA used catenary, there would have been no issue.
 

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In the current fad of blaming SUVs for crashes rather than operator headspace, and to go along with the "Flying Camaro" story, but far more tragic, is this:

It happened about 7 p.m. Tuesday on the Harlem Line when a train filled with passengers collided with a Mercedes, which was stopped on the tracks when the gates at the two-track Commerce Street crossing near Valhalla came down.

The driver was outside the vehicle when the train hit, shoving her SUV about 10 car lengths, the official said. The third rail pushed up from the track and rammed through the entire first car of the train, remarkably missing passengers. Some 400 feet of the third rail pierced the first car, breaking off into roughly 80-foot sections. At least one of those sections penetrated the second car, as well.

The fire was fueled by the gas from the Mercedes SUV, according to Sumwalt.
"The inside of that first car is melted and charred," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said, adding that he trouble sleeping after seeing the carnage.

Doctors and political leaders have remarked that the death toll and extent of victims' injuries could have been far worse but that does not undercut the severity of the crash.
One patient remained in critical condition midday Wednesday, a doctor with the Westchester County Medical Center said at an afternoon news conference.


http://www.aol.com/article/2015/02/...139268/?cps=gravity_3526_-8423584337487394408
Horrific accident. Interesting that the "official" said the driver of the MB was outside of the vehicle when the train struck. By every other account, including the driver of the vehicle behind her, she got out of her MB when the rr crossing came down on the back of her car, then got back in her car and proceeded to drive further forward. It was at that point when the train struck her and the SUV.

This accident hit close to home as I commuted from Greenwich, CT to NYC via Metro North (New Haven Line) for 5 years. At first I had reservations about sitting in the first car in case of a head on collision with another train. Those concerns quickly passed, but every once in a while you would think about it. I've been on trains involved in multiple incidents over the years including a train that caught on fire, one that struck a person walking on the tracks, one where the suspension failed in a car, and a few mechanical failures that left us stuck on the tracks for long periods of time without heat/ac. But I could never have envisioned something this horrific happening. My heart goes out to all those involved.
 

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You know, when I first saw this story, I couldn't comprehend why there was such a huge fire that demolished the train car so completely.

The answer is the third rail, which caused almost all of the damage. If the MTA used catenary, there would have been no issue.
The New Haven Line does use overhead wires instead of third rail in CT. The changeover occurs in New Rochelle, I believe. So, all trains on the New Haven Line are "dual mode".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
What was going on with this woman?

Radio, TV, & net reports I've heard say the RR barriers are designed like garage doors, to reverse when they impact something. They're also supposed to be easy to drive through, snapoff type.

Reports also said the emergency exits did not open and people had to bust out windows to debark. WTF?

Always carry a crow bar with you. If you don't need it to exit a burning train, you can apply it to the thug who's thinking about you as his next meal.
 

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You know, when I first saw this story, I couldn't comprehend why there was such a huge fire that demolished the train car so completely.

The answer is the third rail, which caused almost all of the damage. If the MTA used catenary, there would have been no issue.

I saw this, and was a little confused.
There's a 3rd rail... at a railroad crossing?? Isn't that a bit dangerous? I guess I'm used to seeing 3rd rail used in metro/rail systems that are completely isolated from traffic.
 

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I saw this, and was a little confused.
There's a 3rd rail... at a railroad crossing?? Isn't that a bit dangerous? I guess I'm used to seeing 3rd rail used in metro/rail systems that are completely isolated from traffic.
If taking the train to the city, I use this rail line... No, the third rail does not extend through the intersections. My guess is it was when the train pushed the Mercedes 10+ car lengths - i.e. pushed the car out of the intersection and into the "train only" area where the 3rd rail picks up again.
 

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If taking the train to the city, I use this rail line... No, the third rail does not extend through the intersections. My guess is it was when the train pushed the Mercedes 10+ car lengths - i.e. pushed the car out of the intersection and into the "train only" area where the 3rd rail picks up again.
Well, I assume as much. What I mean is that railroad crossings are reasonably accessible to pedestrians, right? So, they can easily end up walking on the tracks, where the 3rd rail is accessible. And if that happens.... BBZZZZZZZZZT!!! Instant fried pedestrian.

Are the rails somehow blocked off to prevent people from walking the rails?

The only rail line where I live that uses 3rd rail is BART, and it's a fully enclosed system. All other rail has catenary or use diesel locomotives.
 

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I saw this, and was a little confused.
There's a 3rd rail... at a railroad crossing?? Isn't that a bit dangerous? I guess I'm used to seeing 3rd rail used in metro/rail systems that are completely isolated from traffic.
Obviously, the third rail doesn't go through the intersection, but it picks up shortly thereafter.

Yes, it is extremely dangerous. There are many incidents of trespassers getting BBQ'd on Long Island, and snow/icing causes horrific chaos.
 
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I was surprised the third rail extended that far north on the Harlem line. The Hudson line is back on diesel I believe once you're north of Manhattan, electrified south of there.

EDIT: Hmm, ok according to Wiki the Hudson line is electrified up to Croton-Harmon (has to be 3rd rail as I know there is no catenary on the Hudson line). And the Harlem line is 3rd rail electric up to Southeast, then diesel.
 

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Mercedes owners are a bunch of friggin' idiots.
 

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The story I am told is the woman foolishly pulled onto the tracks while stopped in traffic. While she was sitting there the barrier came down and hit her car. She gets out to check the damage, then gets back in to move the car and almost immediately was struck by the train.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The story I am told is the woman foolishly pulled onto the tracks while stopped in traffic. While she was sitting there the barrier came down and hit her car. She gets out to check the damage, then gets back in to move the car and almost immediately was struck by the train.
It's night. You're in the middle of a RR crossing.

You are BETWEEN the crossing gates. The gates are down.

The choo-choo has a big bright humma humma headlight. Maybe two.

You're so worried about your Mercedes that you...hmmm. Nothing follows.

I guess the lesson here is:
It is better to hit a train
Than it is to be hit by a train.

http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f39/camaro-hit-train-driver-walks-away-195098/
 

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The story I am told is the woman foolishly pulled onto the tracks while stopped in traffic. While she was sitting there the barrier came down and hit her car. She gets out to check the damage, then gets back in to move the car and almost immediately was struck by the train.
This is what it looked like to me on NBC evening news yesterday. Only God knows what she was thinking about getting out of the SUV to check for damage instead of getting off the tracks ASAP.
 

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If she wouldn't have been on the tracks it would be a non-issue.

The people who died in the train I feel sorry for since they were innocent.
However I don't feel sorry for the MB driver.
I feel sorry for her 3 children that don't have a mom now.

The story I am told is the woman foolishly pulled onto the tracks while stopped in traffic. While she was sitting there the barrier came down and hit her car. She gets out to check the damage, then gets back in to move the car and almost immediately was struck by the train.
Fox News had the guy who was sitting behind her in traffic on the phone last night. He said she wasn't on the tracks, but was under the barrier. The barrier came down on the back of her car, she got out to check the damage and looked right at him. He said he moved back a little so she could back up, but for whatever reason she drove forward and the train struck her vehicle.

Real bad deal for all involved. That's an awful way to go out.
 

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Well, I assume as much. What I mean is that railroad crossings are reasonably accessible to pedestrians, right? So, they can easily end up walking on the tracks, where the 3rd rail is accessible. And if that happens.... BBZZZZZZZZZT!!! Instant fried pedestrian.

Are the rails somehow blocked off to prevent people from walking the rails?

The only rail line where I live that uses 3rd rail is BART, and it's a fully enclosed system. All other rail has catenary or use diesel locomotives.
No, nothing stops people from walking down the tracks**. I've never seen anyone walking on the tracks nor have I ever heard of anyone getting electrocuted on them. Either they are somehow grounded enough that touching them won't kill you or people are actually smart enough to just stay off them.

** most of the Harlem Line tracks are fenced, but nothing stops people from entering the tracks from intersections. And you can easily climb the fence anywhere.
 

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What was going on with this woman?

Radio, TV, & net reports I've heard say the RR barriers are designed like garage doors, to reverse when they impact something. They're also supposed to be easy to drive through, snapoff type.

Reports also said the emergency exits did not open and people had to bust out windows to debark. WTF?

Always carry a crow bar with you.
If you don't need it to exit a burning train, you can apply it to the thug who's thinking about you as his next meal.
By emergency exits, you mean the windows? The train doors can be used to exit the train in an emergency, as can a number of the windows. Neither deploy automatically. I'm guessing that with the third rail putting 700 volts through everything it touched in the car and the fire set off inside the car, that the conductor could not open the doors remotely. They can be manually opened through an access panel, though. As for the windows, someone has to physically remove the dedicated emergency exit windows. The emergency windows are clearly marked, but with the chaos that was going on inside the car at that moment, I'm sure there was a lot of panic and confusion, along with smoke and fire. Thus, crowbar not needed to exit, but still may be handy for dealing with unruly passengers.


Well, I assume as much. What I mean is that railroad crossings are reasonably accessible to pedestrians, right? So, they can easily end up walking on the tracks, where the 3rd rail is accessible. And if that happens.... BBZZZZZZZZZT!!! Instant fried pedestrian.

Are the rails somehow blocked off to prevent people from walking the rails?

The only rail line where I live that uses 3rd rail is BART, and it's a fully enclosed system. All other rail has catenary or use diesel locomotives.
I agree that the use of a third rail at that location is kind of odd, although it have been done due to simplicity and the lack of Amtrak sharing those tracks. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the New Haven Line portion of Metro North uses catenaries until it hits somewhere around New Rochelle in New York (about 20 minutes outside of Manhattan), where it switches to third rail. The entire New Haven Line, except for a couple of offshoots, is pretty much an enclosed system. By that, I mean there are no road crossings and it is fenced in. There are rail under/overpasses to cross some roads, but no road-rail intersections. This is particularly true once you get closer to NYC and the New Haven and Harlem Lines come together. However, the Harlem Line serves a much more suburban/rural area that is much less densely populated, so there are some road crossings. Some diesel trains are used, but they too have to be third rail capable to enter the underground tunnels leading into Grand Central Terminal in NYC (another reason third rail is necessary once you reach NYC).

Walking on the tracks is illegal and considered trespassing. Walk on the tracks at your own risk and accept the consequences. One can easily avoid the third rail, but it's the train that sneaks up on you and takes you out that's the real issue. As I stated earlier, when I commuted to NYC from CT, a train I was on struck and killed a person walking the tracks. I've been told that you never hear the train coming. It just sneaks up on you and by the time you notice, it's too late.
 
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