Railway Preservation News

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Author:  QJdriver [ Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

Last night at 7:57pm Mountain Time, on channel 9, Denver's NBC local affiliate, I caught the tail end of a segment on hopping trains, by NICK CANNON, on a program titled "Caught on Camera". This was an Oh-So-Clever camera in a hat story about how hopping trains is a fun and funny adventure, although they included disclaimers stating that it is dangerous and illegal.

Anything for ratings, eh ??? Anybody with one good eye can see that this is like waving a red flag under a bull's snout to curious kids, bored teenagers, dopers, drunks, degenerates, fugitives, the homeless, etc... The worst thing about it is that they demonstrated boarding moving trains in the most dangerous way possible, which is:

Catching the trailing end of the car or engine. The ONLY time this is kosher is when you're boarding the LAST CAR, the Way Car, or the trailing end of a light engine !!!! I didn't see the whole segment, I'm guessing that the idea is that an unauthorized individual is less likely to be seen by doing this. The thing is, if ONE thing goes wrong, that person is much less likely to survive because he will go in between the cars. Most likely nobody will see him in time to give him any medical attention, in the unlikely event he isn't killed instantly.

As I'm sure all you old heads know, by boarding the leading set of steps, you will go against the side of the train if you bite it, and probably will live through it. If you miss the steps on the trailing end of the movement, you will land on the track and roadbed, and again most likely survive.

I don't have any way to talk sense to NBC about this. If any of you can fire up your fancy computerized jazz, or better yet, get a responsible human being to listen to reason, PLEASE get them to bury that story ASAP, ADAP (As Deep As Possible) !!!

While the star of the show will sooner or later pay for his nit wit hobby, (and I will shed no tears for him), the public does not need to get any more screwball ideas. Advertising the story all over again with a retraction won't help, either, it's like trying to suck a fart back up your ass....

I think they showed this all over the USA in prime time. If it got coverage in Canada, it's even worse because of the fierce cold and high number of remote locations served by rail where an injured person might not be found for months. And if anybody gets the idea to try hopping trains in MEXICO, not only is the equipment not so well maintained (loose steps or grabs are common), but the odds of being raped, robbed, and murdered, are extremely good.

Of course, one would expect adults to know better.

Author:  Les Beckman [ Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

Sammy -

Somewhere along the line, the public got the idea that hoboing was/is "glamorous". At our museum, they decided to put a large poster up on display. They have even made graphic posts around the museum showing the different "signs" that hobo's had for various things. We even show a video which talks to old hobo's about their travels. I tried to explain that to hop on a moving train was dangerous, and we should not be showing it to the public. Of course, this fell on deaf ears. Yes, I realize that during the depression of the 1930's, this was the only way some people could move around the country in an effort to find work. But the danger still existed. Probably even more so. Thanks for pointing this bad program out. I doubt complaining about it will do much good. There is even a current advertisement for some type of automobile maker where the girl riding in the front seat of the advertiser's car while riding next to a freight train with open door box cars, suddenly sees herself riding in the door of one of those cars. Like I said, we still think of it as glamorous. Would be nice to change the attitude, but I hold out little hope that it will get done.


Author:  tom moungovan [ Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

As you get older, you hopefully acquire some wisdom from life's experiences.

This practice was always fraught with danger and it's even a much harsher world out there now.

I used to get tacit OKs from SP crews in Mojave and hopped several westbounds over the hill to Bakersfield and then would hitchhike (another nearly gone practice) back. I'd do this on Saturday mornings in the mid 60's while stationed at Edwards AFB because it was cheap and a lark at that age. Wouldn't dream of thinking about it now. Glad that I took the camera on one such trip, they were still using train numbers.

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

Anyone else have a problem with the current Subaru commercial that shows a couple following alongside a freight train with the woman wistfully imagining that they were hobo-ing on the train? Another dangerous promotion of the practice as far as I'm concerned.

Author:  WVNorthern [ Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

I remember a lengthy discussion of the Subaru ad on the TRAINS Newswire forum. About half were horrified that the commercial was encouraging a dangerous activity. The other half were like "Chill out--it's only someone having a fantasy in a tv ad". In case you are unfamiliar with the ad, the link is below. Oh yes, the CA line it was filmed on was chastised too.


Author:  Bobharbison [ Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

PaulWWoodring wrote:
Anyone else have a problem with the current Subaru commercial that shows a couple following alongside a freight train with the woman wistfully imagining that they were hobo-ing on the train? Another dangerous promotion of the practice as far as I'm concerned.

I agree hopping trains is not a good idea. Illegal and dangerous in more ways than one. Assuming you don't get cut in half getting on board, if you run into any other riders, they tend to be rather unsavory characters who would probably love to rob you and leave you for dead just to get the iPhone you're live blogging the adventure on.

That said... When's the last time you saw a car commercial that didn't show something unsafe, stupid, illegal, impossible, or all of the above? "Professional driver on closed course" translates to "don't try this at home" and "This shit's not real..."

Speaking of jumping onto trains... Check out this car commercial.


Author:  sousakerry [ Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

Just follow it with the movie "The Emperor of the North Pole" Lots of scenes in that movie of what will happen to you if you hop trains. Well maybe not some of the beatdowns by an irate conductor but plenty of accidents do happen.

Author:  QJdriver [ Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

They should at least devote equal time to showing pictures of riders who missed their step --- nice and gruesome and sensational, maybe the public might get a clue then.

In Emporer of the North, they used vintage equipment that was meant to be boarded by employees while the train was in motion, and which had the proper safety appliances for this. We have been prohibited from boarding any moving equipment for about 20 years or so, and there are many less hand and footholds on modern trains. In my time we were taught how to do it safely, and we had to demonstrate this ability for a rules examiner before being allowed to mark up for the first time.

The bit with running next to an open boxcar door isn't quite so bad, because you probably won't be cut in two if you don't make it, and you probably won't freeze to death and fall off if you do. Those who want to find an empty boxcar with an open door to jump into will have to look far and wide these days, too.

Again, I know that nobody pays any attention to me or my warnings. However, like any other safety issue, if I saw it and said nothing, then I would be at least partialy at fault for anybody who got hurt later on...

Author:  rlsteam [ Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

Even the popular "Polar Express" movie has issues in this regard. I saw it for the first time a few days ago while serving as the "conductor" at a library showing for children of the community. With such scenes as a "hobo" riding atop a passenger car with a campfire, the main character passing between coaches while jumping over the exposed couplers and track (where were the diaphragms, or the apron?), the enginemen riding on the pilot while a young girl handles the throttle lever, etc. (I could go on and on), it's not a film that encourages railroad safety.

All that aside, what first caught my attention was when the "know-it-all kid" claims that the film's locomotive model, Lima-built Pere Marquette 1225, was built by Baldwin. It went downhill from there (and uphill, too, vastly exceeding the maximum North American main line gradient of around four percent).

Author:  QJdriver [ Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FOR SHAME NBC !!!!

When I was in 9th grade back in the early 60's, our school library had a bunch of back issues of Life Magazine. Being interested in photography, I studied them all every lunch period. I don't recall the specifics, but I can still close my eyes and see a photo they ran of a migrant worker who missed his footing while boarding a freight, and was found cut in two the next morning. One of my friends (also a train freak) was likewise quite impressed, neither one of us ever tried hopping trains.

So, here's my take on this so far: If we can't stop them from showing this stuff, why not create a website of gory pictures showing what can happen if you don't make it on the first try ??? Maybe a tourist line or museum with some extra server space would support this as a way to discourage people from climbing on their equipment ??? Considering the public's fascination with the grotesque, it might even get your site some extra traffic, although I'm sure that somebody would find something to whine about. Even getting the whiners involved would publicize the idea that you can be dismembered by trying to hop aboard moving trains....

I definitely think that we should NOT show people the safe way to board moving equipment. That would be as irresponsible as showing folks how to make car bombs without hurting themselves.

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