Boneheadology 1

This Webpage was featured on the July 26 radio show "Let's Talk Trains"

While Employed as both an EMT and then a Paramedic, I had the unfortunate experience of having to go to a few incidents involving Trains, Vehicles, and People. As a railfan, I can't even begin to account for the amount of time I have sat and watched people do stupid stuff, ranging from hopping trains or going around the gates, or what have you. I have decided that if I can capture these boneheads/morons/whatever, I will post those pictures here. If any of you have near-miss or just plain idiocy pictures, E-mail me:  David Epling and I will gladly post them here. Below the pictures are an Editorial written by Doug Smith, Engineer/Conductor, Union Pacific Railroad. Please read with an open mind. As a Matter of Record, Central California Rails, Myself, and my Contributors do NOT Endorse Train-hopping

This idiot decided he didn't want to wait for the train. and RAN IN FRONT OF IT. Justin Tognetti photo
Yes...a BNSF Signal crew...YES there is a train coming across the BNSF/UP Crossing. Cullen McCormick Photo
This guy just didn't want to wait, that gondola is rolling...John Manter photo

This guy actually stopped behind the other cars, then pulled into oncoming traffic and sped across the tracks. Ted Curphy photo...
I don't know what this guy is thinking, the locomotive is CCT #44 and the Road is Main St in Stockton...
These women decided they did not want to wait for the train to clear, it moved as the blonde was climbing down...
Lookout, CA on June 13, 1999. SP 4449 and McCloud 25 are standing side-by-side a few hundred feet to the right, and fans are taking their positions to catch the Daylight's departure. It's so heartwarming to see a father showing his son the proper way to act around railroad property.. Evan Werkema photo

5th Ave. in Oakland, CA on November 3, 1998. Evan Werkema photo
Petaluma Bonehead, note the traffic officer, the car was towed. Tom Porter photo
Petaluma Boneheads, these people have to be able to see the train. Tom Porter photo
The lady driving this truck asked the Oakland Terminal, if it was ok to cross their tracks, OTR said yes...instead of using the grade crossing 50 feet beyond, she chose this spot. Howard Wise Photo

This Bonehead turned ONTO the tracks in Pinole Ca.  Hope they had cheap car insurance.  Larry Strong/Contra Costa Times Photo"
Another Bonehead tried to 4-wheel across the tracks in Florida. AP photo
This Bonehead tried to 4-wheel across the tracks in Elk Grove, no injuries. Paul DeRouen Photo
These boneheads are "railfans" trying to get a photo of the recent UP steam move to Roseville. Ron Webb Photo

This bonehead placed his camera ON the tracks in front of the recent UP steam move through Colfax. Roni Gehlke Photo
This bonehead decided to step in front of Caltrain at Burlingame. Kevin Hecteman Photo
These boneheads are sitting on the tracks at Tehachapi. the gentleman on the left is off the tracks. Frank Caron Photo.
Lodi California, at Pine Street, the BNSF grain Train is moving 25 mph on Double track, between the BN hopper, you can see three of five people standing in the middle of the second main track, the tall shadow on the right is a teenage male who was touching the side of the train as it rolled past

Here we have the Railwatch Poster Child
Same Railwatch Poster Child, different view
At the same crossing Industrial Way at Ortega Jct.
At the same crossing Industrial Way at Ortega Jct.

No rear-view mirror? photo contributed by John Regan, photographer unknown
This idiot must be a member of Railwatch
These idiots are sitting on a 65kph curve in New Zealand, the track sees 22+ trains a day. John Regan photo
These idiots are blind as a bats. Frank Caron photo

A Cement Mixer Truck drove through the protection and struck the side of this train at Rolleston New Zealand. John Regan photo
The driver of this car had a .09 blood alcohol level. that is over the limit for California. AP photo
This guy apparently did not want to wait for the Amtrak in the background. he'll never wait again. AP photo
This idiot didn't want to wait for the train to clear the crossing, so he jumped on it while it was stopped. Troyce Brooks photo.

Same train started moving when this girl was on the platform, she almost fell off. Troyce Brooks photo
A bicyclist just barely beating a train, click HERE to download the complete MPG from Stockton Tower Website.
This Taco Truck was in a hurry to get to his Corner...John Manter Photo
These idiots saw that the train was stopped. they didn't see the approaching Lodi Local behind it

Same train...different idiot
Same train...different idiot
Same train...different Idiot
Same train...different idiot

Some Idiot in a truck thought he could outrun a 79mph train. he lost, but amazingly survived the meet. Roni Gehlke Photo
This Idiot is not only stupid but deaf and blind. Frank Caron Photo
Same train, different Idiot. Frank Caron Photo
These idiots...I don't even know where to Start, this UP train was entering the UP East yard at Ortega Jct.

This Idiot couldn't wait for BNSF train waiting to enter the UP yard.
Same Train...Different Idiot. this one almost bought it, the train moved just as he jumped.
Ijams Road in Northeast Stockton. SP crossing. I actually worked 2 Auto VS. Trains at this Crossing.
This car couldn't wait to beat this UP train on SP tracks. the Street is Pine Street.

Editorial Against Train Hopping
By Doug Smith

People still train-hop, but it's been proven time and again to be illegal and extremely dangerous. Besides the dangers from the physical plant of the railroads themselves, you also have to contend with the usual "clientele" who choose this method of transport.

There is one group of special notoriety called the FTRA, or Freight Train Riders of America, which is purported to be a highly organized gang with the usual initiation rites, etc.

I occasionally see graffiti from this group on the sides of freight cars (Unlike normal graffiti, I've never seen their monikers take over the entire side of a car like the usual taggers and bangers do; you have to be up close to see it and since I work for a railroad, I do).

At least one alleged member of the FTRA recently went to jail for the serial murders of several transients in the Northwest. Even if you don't run into an FTRA member, the class of people that ride the freights are usually of the type that won't care what they have to do to you to get what they want from you. This can include murder, assault, battery, and rape.

As far as the danger from the equipment goes, even with the world's best engineer at the throttle, a normal freight train is just a cavalcade of kinetic variables, exponentially increased by the amount of tonnage.

Some carman on my railroad just lost his toes and part of his foot while working on and around a train and he's supposed to know what he's doing. Can you make the same claim? You run the risk of slipping off equipment and being run over, of being caught between moving parts, of being crushed by shifting loads, and the list goes on and on.

If you are caught by the law, you run the risk of jail time. I know my railroad does NOT take the offense lightly. If you get hurt, you stand a great chance of being a long way from medical help if anyone even notices at all.

I remember in R&R (IIRC) a few years ago, two fans recounting their experience of finding a transient's body. The fellow had his leg traumatically amputated by the wheels and basically bled to death before he was found. Not any way I'd want to go, thank you.

Finally, this is my workplace, not your playground. It's dangerous enough without you adding to it. I don't know you, who you are, or what your intentions might be. You have no right to put my life and limb in danger in pursuit of your entertainment. There may have been a time when this was a romantic pastime, but I doubt it.

My Dad speaks of living during the Depression and seeing freight trains passing through Shelbyville, Kentucky, on the L&N with at least two or three people riding on each car. They weren't looking for romance and adventure. They were just trying to get someplace to find a job to support themselves and their families.

With employment being as high as it is today, I doubt you're going to find too many altruistic folks with the same aims now as in yesteryear. Indeed, there are groups of hobo-hobbyists out there, but I think you'll find them in the minority amongst freight train riders.

As an aside, there are the Combat Railfans of Arizona, members of which have done this, photographed it, and posted it to their website. While I do not condone their actions, they have certainly made it safer for you to ride the rails vicariously.

Doug Smith
Union Pacific Railroad

This page addresses a serious issue. ALL Railroad accidents involving the right-of-way are preventable. It is simply a matter of paying attention to what is going on around you, or being in a hurry to get anywhere. most grade crossing incidents happen because some Idiot is not paying attention, or is in too big of a hurry to wait for the train. After a ton of thought, I have added to this page a downloadable copy of the MPG named traingirl. This Video is Not bloody. but it is shocking. to download this video click HERE.

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