Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stay off the tracks!

I'm sitting on the 565 this morning, delayed as we make all the Metrolink stops to LA.  Seems a bicyclist went around a crossing gate in Norwalk and was hit by a Metrolink train.  Back in November, 565 hit a woman who ducked under a crossing gate in Anaheim (fortunately I was not on the train....i've been spared that experience so far).  Last Friday, a man chasing a runaway dog was killed by a train in Del Mar.  (The dog was unhurt.)

People:  you have got to stay off the tracks.  The gates don't go/stay  down unless there is a train coming.  on this busy corridor, just because one train has passed doesn't mean another isn't coming. If they are down, obey them!  Just stay away!  Trains are surprisingly silent, and they travel very quickly.
These are such tragedies, and so preventable.

Though it is true that the Del Mar crossing is very dangerous.  The train comes off a blind curve and cuts RIGHT across the narrow, busy coast boulevard, full of pedestrians.  People don't want to wait for the gate, but don't realize that the train comes so fast and silently around the curve. I don't see how (other than complete realignment of the tracks, to who-knows-where) you can make that a safe crossing.

Running on the bluffs or hiking in the Rose canyon in the San Diego corridor, one sometimes needs to cross the tracks. I admit, I do this on occasion;  there's no proper crossing where the trails go over the tracks, so one has to jaywalk.  I always choose a place where I can see as far as possible in both directions.  I stop.  I look at the nearest signals (they will be lit if there is a train nearby).  I look up and down the tracks.  I listen (the tracks will start to hum even when the train is quite a ways away). And I get across the tracks as quickly as I possibly can.

We can live easily with trains.  It just takes some respect--and some common sense.