OT- Railroad Train Stopping Distance.
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  1. #1
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    Default OT- Railroad Train Stopping Distance.

    The railroad that comes through Kirkwood, MO, where JST works and past my shop in Webster Groves parallels Greenwood Ave. in Maplewood. There is a straight stretch there but curves on each end limit sight distance. Some years ago a little boy was killed when playing on the tracks with his back to the oncoming train. I have occasion to drive down Greenwood, often alongside a train. Frequently they are coal trains, many full hopper cars with two locomotives in front and one pusher. I sometimes match speeds just out of curiosity. They usually are going in the neighborhood of 30 MPH.

    The question is, how far away would the engineer need to see the boy to get stopped in time? I posted here because we have at least one resident train driver.

    Bill

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    A train engineer friend of mine told me about 30 years ago that he had hit cars before with his train at crossings, resulting in 6 deaths. He said there was nothing he could do, as his loaded train took close to a mile to stop from full speed. Don't know if that number still holds true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Weeks View Post
    A train engineer friend of mine told me about 30 years ago that he had hit cars before with his train at crossings, resulting in 6 deaths. He said there was nothing he could do, as his loaded train took close to a mile to stop from full speed. Don't know if that number still holds true.
    Operation Lifesaver has been running some public safety radio spots
    as of late, and they quote the same "1-Mile" number.

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    I read somewhere that the coefficient of friction of steel wheels on the track is akin to a rubber tire stopping on ice, except that they don't want to make flat spots on the steel wheels, but rather keep them rolling while the brakes are on. Small wonder they take so long to stop.

    I think maybe safety advertisements could display this fact, to give the general public a better grasp of the physics, because most people are used to brakes being quite effective in stopping their cars or their bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuFlungDung View Post

    I think maybe safety advertisements could display this fact, to give the general public a better grasp of the physics, because most people are used to brakes being quite effective in stopping their cars or their bikes.
    They already do.
    Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

    How much more plain can they make it ?
    Time to Wait | Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

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    I wonder why brembo doesn't offer a factory performance brake option?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    They already do.
    Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

    How much more plain can they make it ?
    Time to Wait | Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
    That's all good but most people can't recall the data or do the math on the spur of the moment. They may underestimate the speed of the train, and figure it has time to stop. Daredevil types in particular might be prone to this, if 'advice' isn't good enough for them.

    However, people do act on instinct, and instincts are refined by experience. Since most people have NO experience driving a train, or stopping one, but DO have experience stopping a car on ice, then they can better understand instinctively (if they are old enough) that stopping a train on a bright sunny day is like stopping a car on black ice. That, you can recall in a flash. much faster than you can think it through. And those 1 or 2 seconds can make all the difference.

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    Way to many variables to give a set answer. Just the temperature of the rail, reaction time of the operator, reaction time of the air system, last the weight of the train plus many more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuFlungDung View Post
    That's all good but most people can't recall the data or do the math on the spur of the moment. They may underestimate the speed of the train, and figure it has time to stop. Daredevil types in particular might be prone to this, if 'advice' isn't good enough for them.

    However, people do act on instinct, and instincts are refined by experience. Since most people have NO experience driving a train, or stopping one, but DO have experience stopping a car on ice, then they can better understand instinctively (if they are old enough) that stopping a train on a bright sunny day is like stopping a car on black ice. That, you can recall in a flash. much faster than you can think it through. And those 1 or 2 seconds can make all the difference.
    They used FOOTBALL FIELDS in the video, apparently you've proven that even
    that much dumbing down doesn't work.....Jesus.

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    When I was a kid I was taught not to play on or around train tracks. I don't even trust rural crossing signals, I always stop and look both ways like I am driving a school bus. Most of the trains in my area are loaded with coal, rock, sand or gravel and probably barely hitting 25 mph, they also seem to me rather long. If you catch the front end of one at a crossing be prepared for a 10 minute wait till it clears the tracks.

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    The biggest factor is the speed, followed by the weight of the train in total,
    then the terrain.. are we on a grade going uphill or down, in a curve or out on the plains going straight.

    When the engineer applies the brakes in "emergency".. that brake application happens nearly instantaneously the length of the train. It applies the maximum amount of brake shoe pressure on the wheels of each car possible.

    Putting the train "in emergency" is what an engineer does in a situation where he wants to stop as quickly as possible with no regard to train handling... i.e. a child on the track.

    I would say a loaded, 19,000 ton, 135 car coal train traveling at 30 mph would be able to stop in a half mile if it was put in emergency.

    Anymore, the brakes on these unit coal/sand/grain trains are leaps and bound ahead of what they were in the past. The train being in a curve would also help slow it down... friction in that curve is immense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuFlungDung View Post
    I read somewhere that the coefficient of friction of steel wheels on the track is akin to a rubber tire stopping on ice, except that they don't want to make flat spots on the steel wheels, but rather keep them rolling while the brakes are on. Small wonder they take so long to stop.

    I think maybe safety advertisements could display this fact, to give the general public a better grasp of the physics, because most people are used to brakes being quite effective in stopping their cars or their bikes.
    Not only is the avoidance of flat spots an issue, but if you throw the brakes into emergency, there is a good chance that this could cause a derailment.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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    Was talking to a guy awhile ago that managed track out in California, he said people getting killed on the track isn't that uncommon there especially with concrete ties and welded rail, they are extremely quiet and people with headphones never hear it coming from behind them.

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    I remember hearing that on dry, flat rack a train going 60MPH requires one mile to stop.
    Locking up the wheels and throwing sparks will actually increase stopping distance. Just like a car with locked wheels takes longer to stop. Hence antilock brakes. Modern locomotives have antilock brakes as well but only for the loco. All the car brakes are air brakes and the idea is to apply them as hard as possible but not allow the lightest loaded car to lock it's wheels up.
    Bill D

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    There are too many variables to allow any simple answer.

    Bottom line is; Don't Mess Around With a Train. And Don't Play on Train Tracks.

    As for wearing headphones and listening to loud music while in ANY situation that could be potentially dangerous, I refer you to Darwin.

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    A couple years ago a train hit a local named "cheetah".

    He lived across the tracks in low income apartments. He would short cut across the tracks to the quicky mart to buy.... beer.

    Well after the train hit him the residents of the apartments raised a stink. TV reporter came out. THey found the spokesperson. Interviewed "the trains fly through here, got no respect. Wake us up with horn, they got to get out of the way if we are on the tracks (train get out of way of drunks)".

    To anyone above that says educate the public. Good luck.
    Last edited by Mebfab; 03-05-2018 at 04:23 PM.

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    There is just nothing else I can say...

    UP: Selfie Tragedy Forever Impacts Those Left Behind

    Dennis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    A couple years ago a train hit a local named "cheetah".

    He lived across the tracks in low income apartments. He would short cut across the tracks to the quicky mart to buy.... beer.

    Well after the train hit him the residents of the apartments raised a stink. TV reporter came out. THey found the spokesperson. Interviewed "the trains fly through here, got no respect. Wake us up with horn, they got to get out of the way of we are on the tracks".

    To anyone above that says educate the public. Good luck.
    Instant justice, no middle ground, no jury sway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    They used FOOTBALL FIELDS in the video, apparently you've proven that even
    that much dumbing down doesn't work.....Jesus.
    Football fields, miles, metres, whatever. Provides no visceral feeling for how the engineer feels when he puts on the brakes to stop for unthinking YOU, when you are on the tracks. That would be the hypothetical you, not the literal you.

    If one method of warning doesn't work, then try another. Or try all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuFlungDung View Post
    Football fields, miles, metres, whatever. Provides no visceral feeling for how the engineer feels when he puts on the brakes to stop for unthinking YOU, when you are on the tracks. That would be the hypothetical you, not the literal you.

    If one method of warning doesn't work, then try another. Or try all.
    Like a really, really LOUD HORN ?

    I know, make the first car a water tanker, and put a fire nozzle up front !

    There is a support group for train engineers that hit people, to help
    them cope. IIRC it may be part of the aforementioned Operation Lifesaver group.

    BTW you might want to research what an "anti-climber" is,
    as well as "Crash Post's". Should provide some interesting reading.


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