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Old 21st November 2012, 05:21 PM   #41
Charlie Wilkes
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
A thread in the politics section made hinted at a dubious correlation/causation involving red states being less safe to drive in. The metric might have been the wrong one and some of the postulated causes were less than plausible especially next to more sound reasons.
The quintessential tough-on-crime-for-everyone-else red state driver...

http://www.argusleader.com/article/2...on-fatal-crash
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Old 26th November 2012, 01:57 PM   #42
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http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20...0accident.aspx

This is paywalled, so I will quote the relevant bit;

Quote:
<SNIP>

The agency said it has obtained two videos of the accident, one from the camera in the locomotive cab and a second from a dashboard camera in a police cruiser that was behind the trailer that the train struck. The agency also obtained the event recorder from the lead locomotive. Based on the information from these sources the NTSB assembled a timeline of the events:

Twenty-one seconds before the collision the south traffic light at the crossing turned green as it was supposed to.

Twenty seconds before impact the bells and lights activated. The agency said this time period met federal minimums for grade crossing protection. At that time the lead truck, which was ahead of the truck and trailer involved in the collision, was crossing the south rail.

Thirteen seconds before impact the crossing gates began coming down.

Twelve seconds before impact the front of the accident truck crosses the north rail.

Nine seconds before impact the engineer sounds the locomotive horn as a warning for four seconds. The crossing is part of a quiet zone in Midland.

Seven seconds before impact the crossing gate hits the trailer/float carrying the veterans, impacting flagpoles on it.

Five seconds before impact the engineer places the train into emergency. Seventy-five seconds later the train comes to a complete stop.

<SNIP>
SO, the driver was on the tracks already before the lights, the lights came on as they should.

If you wonder why the engineer did not go into emergency any sooner than he did; Putting a train into emergency is a great way to derail it, and usually it is a last resort.

Note it took 75 seconds to stop the train even in emergency, so even if the train had been in emergency when the lights came on, it still would have struck the float.
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Old 26th November 2012, 02:38 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
It really shouldn't matter, you don't enter a RR crossing if you can't clear it.
Speaking as someone who grew up in a town on the edge of the great plains, where (at the time) the B&O, Pensy, Erie, and (one other I can't remember) freight lines went across the road to my grandma's house, you betcha.

A coal train coming out of the foothills with 130 3-hopper cars loaded is not going to stop any time soon. No, just no.

The ones with 90 2-hopper cars full of taconite, even more so. (ETA but they were going the other way, toward Pittsburgh)
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Old 26th November 2012, 03:06 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
It really is just this simple.

Lights, horns, whistles, cops, gates, none of that is relevant. They only exist to attempt to dissuade the people who are so brain-dead that they ignore this simple rule.

A while back I noticed that rows of plastic uprights were being installed between lanes for about 40 ft. either side of all the two lane RR xings around here. This was because, in spite of gates, horns, bells, and whistles, people were still trying to get across the tracks ... by going into the other lane after oncoming traffic had stopped for the warning systems.

You can't cure stupid.

I've seen those in my area as well.

I doubt that I will live to see the discovery of the upper limit in stupidity.
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Old 26th November 2012, 04:28 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
I doubt that I will live to see the discovery of the upper limit in stupidity.
I think situations like these deserve a corollary to Hanlon's razor.

Quote:
Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by hubris.
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Old 26th November 2012, 07:23 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20...0accident.aspx

This is paywalled, so I will quote the relevant bit;



SO, the driver was on the tracks already before the lights, the lights came on as they should.

If you wonder why the engineer did not go into emergency any sooner than he did; Putting a train into emergency is a great way to derail it, and usually it is a last resort.

Note it took 75 seconds to stop the train even in emergency, so even if the train had been in emergency when the lights came on, it still would have struck the float.
Where does it say he was already on the tracks? It says that 20 secs before the crash the lights and bells started. And that 12 secs before the crash he drove onto the tracks.

There were two floats. The first was exiting the tracks as the warnings started.
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Old 26th November 2012, 07:56 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
SO, the driver was on the tracks already before the lights, the lights came on as they should.
That's not how I'm reading that. The accident truck didn't cross the rail until 12 seconds before impact - 8 seconds after the lights were activated. It was the lead truck that was on the tracks when the lights were activated 20 seconds before the crash.
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Old 26th November 2012, 08:45 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Stacko View Post
Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
I doubt that I will live to see the discovery of the upper limit in stupidity.
I think situations like these deserve a corollary to Hanlon's razor.

Quote:
Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by hubris.

There is a degree at which these two attributes begin to converge.
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Old 26th November 2012, 08:56 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
That's not how I'm reading that. The accident truck didn't cross the rail until 12 seconds before impact - 8 seconds after the lights were activated. It was the lead truck that was on the tracks when the lights were activated 20 seconds before the crash.

As you so cogently pointed out earlier ...

Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
It really shouldn't matter, you don't enter a RR crossing if you can't clear it.

My only disagreement is with the word "shouldn't".

It doesn't matter. Placing yourself in a position where you are unable to continue across a railroad track is no different than just stopping on one for the hell of it.

There's just no way around this. Unless somebody rear-ends your vehicle and pushes it onto the tracks or your brakes lock up and you skid to an uncontrolled halt on the tracks ... some factor beyond the driver's control ... there is no excuse. At all.

The driver of that float was personally responsible for every injury and fatality resulting from the accident.

Nobody else was, nor any other agency or circumstance.

Last edited by quadraginta; 26th November 2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 26th November 2012, 09:08 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
That's not how I'm reading that. The accident truck didn't cross the rail until 12 seconds before impact - 8 seconds after the lights were activated. It was the lead truck that was on the tracks when the lights were activated 20 seconds before the crash.
Ah! I see.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:40 AM   #51
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I'd give the float driver some leeway had he begun crossing the tracks before the lights warning lights & bells were on but found that, due to not being used to towing something behind him, he had misjudged the amount of room needed on the other side of the track and found the float stuck on the tracks. Yes, it would still be negligence and completely his fault, but I could at least understand it and feel a lot more sympathy for the driver. It'd been a stupid mistake due to a stupid miscalculation that is easy to make.

However, that doesn't seem to be what happened. The warning lights and bells were on before he attempted to cross the tracks. It was idiotic to even attempt to cross the tracks at that point, regardless of how much space was on the other side. The driver either wasn't paying attention to the lights and bells at all, in which case I doubt he was thinking much about how much room was on the other side of the tracks, or the driver outright chose to ignore the warning lights.

Given the timeline, I have no sympathy for the driver.

ETA: This is assuming that the lights are placed in such a way that the driver must have been able to see them. Thinking about it some, given the speeds that parades travel at I guess it's possible that if the warning lights are placed far enough away from the train tracks that the driver could have passed the lights but not yet started crossing the tracks before the warning lights were on. So the driver may have not been capable of seeing the lights.

Last edited by bonzombiekitty; 27th November 2012 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 27th November 2012, 09:10 AM   #52
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I want to know- What kind of Parade stops at red (traffic) lights?
In every Parade I've ever seen, traffic is cleared and blocked from the route, and the parade ignores the traffic signs and lights, with the exception of, say, a 60mph freight train activating the crossing signal--only Canadian Moose argue with freight trains)
So why was the float in front stopped at the light ahead? And can't the Midlanders get a timetable from BN/ATSF?
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Old 27th November 2012, 09:23 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
I want to know- What kind of Parade stops at red (traffic) lights?
In every Parade I've ever seen, traffic is cleared and blocked from the route, and the parade ignores the traffic signs and lights, with the exception of, say, a 60mph freight train activating the crossing signal--only Canadian Moose argue with freight trains)
So why was the float in front stopped at the light ahead? And can't the Midlanders get a timetable from BN/ATSF?
Were the floats on the parade route or were they on the way to the parade route?
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Old 27th November 2012, 09:35 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
ETA: This is assuming that the lights are placed in such a way that the driver must have been able to see them. Thinking about it some, given the speeds that parades travel at I guess it's possible that if the warning lights are placed far enough away from the train tracks that the driver could have passed the lights but not yet started crossing the tracks before the warning lights were on. So the driver may have not been capable of seeing the lights.
I've never seen a crossing arranged in such a way that something the size of a large truck can have completely passed the signals and still not started crossing the tracks; it seems to leave a HUGE safety risk that defeats the entire purpose of having signals at the crossing. As far as I am aware, crossings that have gates, bells, and lights tend to have these directly in front of the tracks.

But assuming this was an odd crossing; in that scenario the driver still should have been able to see the gates coming down on the other side of the tracks; that certainly should have alerted him in time.
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Old 27th November 2012, 09:45 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
I'd give the float driver some leeway had he begun crossing the tracks before the lights warning lights & bells were on but found that, due to not being used to towing something behind him, he had misjudged the amount of room needed on the other side of the track and found the float stuck on the tracks. Yes, it would still be negligence and completely his fault, but I could at least understand it and feel a lot more sympathy for the driver. It'd been a stupid mistake due to a stupid miscalculation that is easy to make.

However, that doesn't seem to be what happened. The warning lights and bells were on before he attempted to cross the tracks. It was idiotic to even attempt to cross the tracks at that point, regardless of how much space was on the other side. The driver either wasn't paying attention to the lights and bells at all, in which case I doubt he was thinking much about how much room was on the other side of the tracks, or the driver outright chose to ignore the warning lights.

Given the timeline, I have no sympathy for the driver.

ETA: This is assuming that the lights are placed in such a way that the driver must have been able to see them. Thinking about it some, given the speeds that parades travel at I guess it's possible that if the warning lights are placed far enough away from the train tracks that the driver could have passed the lights but not yet started crossing the tracks before the warning lights were on. So the driver may have not been capable of seeing the lights.
I'm pretty sure I read in a news account that the driver was a truck driver for one of the oil-related businesses in Midland. Assuming that is correct, it mystifies me that he wouldn't have been more careful about railroad crossings, and he should certainly be used to hauling a trailer, though probably not one full of people. I'm pretty sure trucks hauling hazmat, as well as buses, are required to stop at all railroad crossings.

My guess would be that the driver was so focused on keeping up with the truck in front of him that he completely tuned out the crossing signals. A disastrous mistake, regardless of the cause.
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Old 27th November 2012, 11:41 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I've never seen a crossing arranged in such a way that something the size of a large truck can have completely passed the signals and still not started crossing the tracks;
The whole truck doesn't have to have passed the sign. Just the driver. If the sign is set 10 feet away from the tracks, then the driver could have gone passed the sign as it was activating, leaving about 5 feet before the track. If they are just crawling along, then it would take several seconds to move that 5 feet.

Unlikely situation, yes, but I'm trying to envision the best case scenario for the driver.
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Old 27th November 2012, 12:14 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
... only Canadian Moose argue with freight trains ...

I expect few of them win the argument.
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Old 27th November 2012, 12:55 PM   #58
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Here is the site on Google Maps; https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Garfi...ed=0CAgQ_AUoAA
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:19 PM   #59
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Speaking generally, not to this particular incident, of all the ridiculously bad driving I ever witness, this has to be the worst. It totally confounds me that anyone would ever drive across a rail line when the other side wasn't clear, yet I see people do this all the time.
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:24 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by bonzombiekitty View Post
The whole truck doesn't have to have passed the sign. Just the driver. If the sign is set 10 feet away from the tracks, then the driver could have gone passed the sign as it was activating, leaving about 5 feet before the track. If they are just crawling along, then it would take several seconds to move that 5 feet.

Unlikely situation, yes, but I'm trying to envision the best case scenario for the driver.
Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post

It looks like the barrier arms and signals are less than 6ft from the actual rail line. The traffic stop line is further back from the signals; about a car length back from the track. I would presume the law prohibits crossing that line unless it is clear on the other side?

In other words, any law-abiding driver will pull up to the traffic stop line, and wait until it is clear on the far side of the tracks before moving forward. From this position the signals and barrier areas are clearly visible.
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:33 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by gumboot View Post
Speaking generally, not to this particular incident, of all the ridiculously bad driving I ever witness, this has to be the worst. It totally confounds me that anyone would ever drive across a rail line when the other side wasn't clear, yet I see people do this all the time.
Same over here in the UK - there seems to be some reality distortion field in regards to level crossings and crossing them safely.
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:38 PM   #62
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Agreed. The only way to deal with this is to wait for clearance.

I think psychology enters in here; He was not thinking of the usual things drivers think about because he was in a parade.

That sort of psychological mis-framing is the cause of lots of the accidents in the NTSB reports archives. (I'm weird and I sometimes read accident reports when I am bored!)
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Old 27th November 2012, 01:44 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Same over here in the UK - there seems to be some reality distortion field in regards to level crossings and crossing them safely.
To be fair you have MANY fewer level crossings than we have here, and I wouldn't expect drivers to be as familiar with them. But familiarity doesn't seem to help.

Sometimes people race to their deaths;

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Warning, you see the van hit but in extreme distance.

Both children dead on the scene, Mom died a few days later.

This was in Hammond IN.
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:39 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
I want to know- What kind of Parade stops at red (traffic) lights?
In every Parade I've ever seen, traffic is cleared and blocked from the route, and the parade ignores the traffic signs and lights, with the exception of, say, a 60mph freight train activating the crossing signal--only Canadian Moose argue with freight trains)
So why was the float in front stopped at the light ahead? And can't the Midlanders get a timetable from BN/ATSF?
The light was green, it turns green when a train comes so vehicles don't get stuck.
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:46 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
To be fair you have MANY fewer level crossings than we have here, and I wouldn't expect drivers to be as familiar with them. But familiarity doesn't seem to help.

Sometimes people race to their deaths;

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Warning, you see the van hit but in extreme distance.

Both children dead on the scene, Mom died a few days later.

This was in Hammond IN.
Wow, it's astonishing anyone could be that stupid.
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Old 27th November 2012, 06:42 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
I want to know- What kind of Parade stops at red (traffic) lights?
In every Parade I've ever seen, traffic is cleared and blocked from the route, and the parade ignores the traffic signs and lights, with the exception of, say, a 60mph freight train activating the crossing signal--only Canadian Moose argue with freight trains)
So why was the float in front stopped at the light ahead? And can't the Midlanders get a timetable from BN/ATSF?
They probably wanted to stay with the part of the parade that was going to be stuck waiting for the train to pass, instead of having a gap. I would have thought they'd have planned ahead so that the parade wasn't crossing the tracks at the same time a train was due. Not for safety, just so they wouldn't have to stop the parade. Seems like poor planning.
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Old 27th November 2012, 07:00 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
Wow, it's astonishing anyone could be that stupid.
Ask a locomotive engineer about how many times per day he has somebody on the tracks crossing, or zooming across just a head of him. We seem to have no dearth of very stupid people who drive.
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Old 28th November 2012, 06:01 AM   #68
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This catchy music video is apropos (wait until 2:20 onwards).

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Old 28th November 2012, 09:11 PM   #69
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Here comes the lawsuit.

Quote:
Veterans sue railroad over fatal crash in Texas

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Two Army veterans and their wives on Wednesday sued the railroad company whose train hit a truck carrying veterans and their spouses during a parade in Texas.

Four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were killed and 16 more people were injured in the Nov. 15 collision. They had been riding on a flatbed truck in the parade organized to honor wounded veterans for their military service and were in the process of crossing the tracks when the crash happened. Officials have said the truck entered the crossing after the warning signals began sounding.
http://news.yahoo.com/veterans-sue-railroad-over-fatal-crash-texas-203401463.html

I have a lot of respect for vets but this is absurd. Suing the railway company reeks of a cash grab and from what I've read they did everything by the book. Pathetic.
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Old 29th November 2012, 07:29 AM   #70
bonzombiekitty
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Originally Posted by Wirelight View Post
I have a lot of respect for vets but this is absurd. Suing the railway company reeks of a cash grab and from what I've read they did everything by the book. Pathetic.
Agreed. Everything so far has shown that things on the railroad's end functioned within the regulations of the law - all of which seem perfectly reasonable to me. There's nothing that has been shown to indicate that this accident does not lay completely on the driver of the truck.
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:41 AM   #71
DGM
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Quote:
The lawsuit accuses Smith Industries of having a driver who, among other things, failed to keep a proper lookout and didn't exercise reasonable care for the veterans on the truck's trailer.

Quote:
The driver of the truck, 50-year-old Dale Andrew Hayden of Midland, is an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is employed by Smith Industries.
They are also going after the trucking company.

This sounds like there were some (most likely small) issues at the site involving the railroad.

Quote:
It also says the train did not brake or otherwise attempt to slow and the railroad hadn't fixed what it claims are hazardous conditions posed by the road grade.
I have to agree. The railroad was likely named because of it's much deeper pockets.
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Last edited by DGM; 29th November 2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 29th November 2012, 09:50 AM   #72
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There is a reason lawyers are sometimes classed with the slime mold on the tree of life.
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Old 29th November 2012, 11:25 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Click on the quoted Google Maps link, above.

Zoom in on the intersection and RR crossing.

Now, turn off the 45 degree viewing mode.

You will see a different image. That different image shows a crew cab dually pickup truck pulling a long trailer. The truck and trailer are stopped behind another vehicle on Garfield waiting at a red light to cross Front St. The rear end of the trailer is on the RR track.

Talk about an accident waiting to happen...
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