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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

GNW Watch Report: Turkey, Trains and Talk...

This evening, my wife and I attended the monthly meeting of the Great Northwest Watch and enjoyed a nice turkey dinner prepared by Luby's along with great sides provided by the various attendees in potluck fashion.
Here, GNWCIA Board Director Richard Garcia (2nd from left) gets in on the serving line.

Following a tasty Thanksgiving treat or "Festive Fall Feast" if you prefer, we were fortunate to have a presentation on Operation Lifesaver. Buck Russel is a presenter for Operation Lifesaver which is an organization started in 1972. As a non-paid volunteer, Buck finishes his day job as an engineer on a train and speaks to any group that will take the time to learn a few important things about train safety.

Buck Russel from Operation Lifesaver

There are a few things you should know that honestly, I just never thought about. First, almost everyday, someone somewhere is getting killed by a train. Have you ever found yourself walking along the train tracks maybe placing a penny or a nickel on the rails to get a flattened souvenir after a train passes? Well, I didn't know it but what you are doing is trespassing, and you can be cited.

Don't believe me? Another thing I didn't know is that the train company has the largest private police force in the world. If you recall from the old western movies, the Pinkerton's were a private security company that ran security for the trains. Well, it is the same deal today.

Just not as many train robberies.

Or women tied to the railroad tracks.

But the fact remains that 78 percent of the people that get hit by trains today are trespassing in all sorts of silly ways. Anywhere from people using the tracks as a place to jog - while wearing an iPod cranked up loud, or riding a motorcycle or ATV along the tracks. Think about it, how can you hear a train coming if you are riding a loud motorcycle on gravel or the thumpity-thump of the ties?
Everyone seems to have this romantic image of the movie, Stand By Me, when the little boys are running across the railroad bridge as the train chugs behind them; suddenly at the last second they jump for their lives. Good times! Right?

Wrong. A train going 55 MPH (and trains in Texas get up to 70 and even 80 MPH in some stretches), takes just under a mile to stop.
Buck gave us a really good way to think about the weight of a train. Imagine what a 3,000 pound car does to a 12 oz can of soda when it runs over it. Well, that train does the same thing to you and your H3 as your as a Toyota Tundra does to an empty Dr. Pepper.If your group, school or church needs to hear Buck speak (and he is a fantastic public speaker I might add), the cost is free and he is happy to do it. E-mail him. If you aren't in San Antonio, contact the Texas Operation Lifesaver or the national organization.

Following the presentation, Chief Roger Burton gave us the round-up of various stats for the neighborhood. The Great Northwest Watch meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month (though not in December). They usually provide very informative speakers and are open to all residents, even if you aren't involved in your particular street's watch. The next meeting will be the last Wednesday of January. Please come and join us.

1 comment:

Blonde Goddess said...

My step-dad is a train engineer for the civil service. He would make comments about people jeopardizing their lives in careless ways and how it would upset him because he knew he wouldn't be able to stop the train in time to avoid killing them.

I think it's great you posted this today and hopefully it will be read by someone who needs to be cautioned.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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