I was watching the 8pm news on MSNBC on Monday night when I heard about this moonlighting story (i.e., first image above). During that I heard them mention 828 railway-related deaths in the U.S. in 2017. I thought I misheard. Rewound, played it again. NO, I had heard correctly.
Then it got me thinking. 828. Not that high when you think of the SIZE of the U.S. and the miles and miles of tracks involved. But, it does come to 2.3 deaths a day.
So, I Googled. Found this “Federal Railroad Administration” (FRA). Never heard of them before. They have a database. Hence the report. I can’t get the individual incident reports. But, this was a good start. Have a look
Search on ‘trains‘.
I had posted this in my “Fun & Trivia With Anura Guruge” blog
in 2011. But, that blog does not get many hits or my attention.
So I am reposting it here since it is pretty amazing and
is related to the other train accident post from a few days ago.
They continue to have this type of accident in Sri Lanka, in many instances the outcome not being as good as in this case. As far as I can remember we have had people getting hit by trains — largely because people have used rail tracks as public roads. In the 1960s when I was growing up there we had folklore about getting run over by trains — the worst fear being that of getting one of your feet trapped in a junction point (‘switch’) and then being helplessly trapped as a train approached! People would actually talk about the best strategies for such scenarios — I kid you not. It was considered best if your free leg was outside of the rails, because you could then really lean over and just lose the bottom part of your leg. We really used to talk about such things. Yes, we also played chicken with trains — something I continued to do until I was about 16, even once doing it in India.
It still baffles me how these people don’t FEEL the train coming behind them — even if they don’t hear it. These lumbering trains, on not that well laid tracks, create one heck of a lot of ground vibration. Well, you have to watch the video:
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
They are in theory PROTECTED by some State statute but nobody enforces it.
The ‘Lady’ responsible for taking care of these just does NOT care. She has other, more amusing distractions.
I talked to an Alton ‘Parks & Rec’ employee, who I know, who happened to be there about it. He agreed it was a SHAME.
They should be painted and painted CORRECTLY — at least one red arm. The lens should be replaced.
This in unbecoming of Alton.
Click pictures to ENLARGE.
Attribution WILL be enforced.
As, at a minimum, a railway buff & historian these abused and neglected railway semaphores in Alton, New Hampshire — my hometown, where I pay a fair chunk in property taxes — aggrieves and aggravates me.
Four years ago, when they were as peeled as this I finally managed to get the Town to paint them — though I never realized that they would paint them ALL black!
Now they are peeling again — badly.
These semaphores are SUPPOSEDLY ‘protected’ by the State because of their historic significance. But Alton does not seem to care. If they give me permission I will clamber up there and paint them on my OWN dime. I have been fighting this battle for 4 years — and I am so fed up. IF you could please help me. PLEASE call (603) 875-0109 and plead with them.
by Anura Guruge
This, the Waterloo Station, was MY railway station, for quite a few years of my life. I commuted to London 3 times a week for 2 years to get my Master’s and then for about 6 months when I worked for Sperry Univac. Given that I lived in Hampshire (very different to New Hampshire where I now live), this was my London station.
Related Images From Recent ‘Red Poppy’ Posts.
Alton (N.H.) Parks & Rec: Deanna & Others Complain About Lack Of Summer 2015 Programs + Pathetic Web Presence.
by Anura Guruge
A Few Related posts:
** All Black semaphores in Alton.
** Semaphores in need of urgent attention.
>> Alton Library presentation.
>> Mr. Shaffer’s last “Bring a Loved One for Lunch”.
>> Alton’s “Northeast Security” ….. ……
++++ Search on ‘Alton’ for all the other posts >>>>
Click to ENLARGE.
Click to ENLARGE and read here.
This ‘thread’ is on the “Alton Community” Facebook. Interesting cast of characters commenting.
IF not for the fact that I have a fairly shrewd idea as to how SHE keeps her $60,000/year job I would be confused as to how she manages to get away with what she does. Nice.
I am trying hard not to say anything too disparaging about her because one of her kids is in Teischan’s class. But she has driven me to distraction and beyond when I tried to get our historic and now near derelict railway semaphore signals, at Alton Bay, repaired and painted.
As folks are commenting Alton’s Park & Rec efforts pale into insignificance compared to those offered by New Durham and Wolfeboro. It is a simple fix. Lets get a new Director. This one has been marking time ( …. ) for too long.
IF Sri Lanka Stupidly Decides To Leave THE Commonwealth I Will Start Claiming, Horrors Of Horrors, That I Am Southern Indian!
by Anura Guruge
‘Sri Lanka’ & ‘Ceylon’ or check Category for other posts >>>>
Sometime last month Gambia, a tinpot nation in West Africa left the Commonwealth of Nations, i.e., MY Commonwealth, i.e, THE BRITISH Commonwealth. I heard about and it didn’t bother me a jot. Who has even heard of Gambia? Gambia doesn’t count. My honest reaction was, and true to form it was a good ol’ Commonwealth expression, ‘GROBR‘ — Good Riddance of Bad Rubbish. (Does it sometimes show that I used to be a rabid conservative WAY to the RIGHT of Margaret Thatcher?)
Well, now, supposedly inspired and emboldened by Gambia’s irrelevant (not to say irreverent) move the always MISGUIDED anti-British faction in Sri Lanka are jabbering about Sri Lanka leaving THE Commonwealth.
Sri Lanka Better Not.
As far as I am concerned it is the British what made us what we are today: for the better or the worse. Yes, I was born 5 years after Independence. But, I always knew on which side my bread was buttered (with butter from the Commonwealth).
If nothing else they gave us a superb, democratic parliamentary system. That is why we had the world’s FIRST FEMALE PRIME MINISTER. Without the British Sri Lankan women would still be confined to the kitchen. They also gave us a great education system, though I am not a great example, I am still thankful that my initial education was in Ceylon in what was a very British system. And we still have a wonderful railway system.
Without the British we would never have had CRICKET. If Sri Lanka leaves the Commonwealth I will lobby the ICC, daily, to expel Sri Lanka from the ICC. I think most Sri Lankan males like cricket even more than they like sex — and obviously they must like their sex given our through-the-bloody-roof population growth.
I get daily e-mail articles from the Sri Lanka’s equivalent of Ann Coulter, though I am sure that she is not blonde and probably nowhere near as semi-attractive as the vampish Coulter — which alone is saying something. This woman is something else. I send ranting e-mails back to her but she won’t take my bait. I am sure I know what her root problem is. She sure doesn’t subscribe to my ‘an “O”-a-day keeps the doctor away’. She wants Sri Lanka to leave the Commonwealth. I had another e-mail from her to that effect this morning. I nearly choked on my coffee.
So, I hope I made my feelings clear. IF Sri Lanka leaves the Commonwealth I will no longer be from Sri Lanka. I am not sure whether I am physically capable of ever saying I am Indian. That might kill me. So, I might have to say that I am Bangladeshi. That would be easier. That I now have final confirmation, of something I have kind of always knew, makes all of this that much easier. I am adopted. So, I am not a Sri Lanka citizen and I am adopted to boot. So, what the heck.
OH! Sri Lanka is hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month. First time SL is doing so. So, this is the reason, in addition to stupid Gambia, that all this anti-Commonwealth garbage is being uttered by ignorant folks. Yes, it is true that SL in turn is getting abuse from the so-called Commonwealth White-Nations for its supposed human rights violations. Please give me a break. There was a civil war for 30 years.
..by Anura Guruge
Last Related Alton Parks & Rec. Post:
>> The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore … — Nov. 22, 2012.
I think I get the gist of this. Not really sure who these ‘department directors’ that he is talking about. I didn’t think they were that big to have multiple directors. That they were giving out $3,000 bonuses caught me by surprise. I did not realize Alton gave out bonuses such as this. I guess I live and learn.
…by Anura Guruge
Δ The Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH — In Desperate Need Of Attention — Aug. 9, 2012.
Δ Lakes Region (NH) Economy Booming Per Local Builders — Oct. 18, 2012.
Δ Alton, NH Property Tax Rate: Highest It Has Been In Last 5 Years — Nov. 19, 2012.
A bit of background: The desperately sorry state of these semaphore signals were brought to my attention in early August of this year. I contacted the lady who runs Alton Parks and Recreation, this building being a part of their domain. I kind of knew her given that our kids went to the same school. She indicated that they hoped to get to it ‘this fall‘. Given that I don’t like to ask people to do things without offering to help, I did offer to do any research required to determine the correct colors and marking (this not being too much of a chore given that I do love all things trains).
Come October I found out that the chief maintenance person at ‘Parks & Recs.’ had taken a 3 week vacation. I was getting concerned. From the little I know, it gets difficult to paint outside when the temperature is below 40°F, and I had heard that NH had had its first frost. In mid-October I happened to meet the ‘lady in charge’ at a school function. A major impediment according to her was that the maintenance folks wanted a ‘Cherry Picker’ [i.e., hydraulic bucket lift] to do the painting! The irony that the builders that build that station or much of the railways in the NE did not have ‘Cherry Pickers’ escaped her. Those semaphores, which actually have a ladder attached to them (as can be clearly seen in the picture) probably have never had any work done to them via a ‘Cherry Picker’. Since she was reluctant to ask the Alton Fire Dept. for help, she said that she would consider hiring an outside contractor. I contacted, unsuccessfully, three local builders to get a quote.
A few days later I called the Alton Town Administrator, E. Russell Bailey, and left him a voice mail. He never called me back. A couple of weeks later, actually on Election Day, November 6, the local newspaper reporter stopped by after the polls closed for some pizza. I started telling him about the poor semaphores since he is local and grew up in Alton. He stopped me mid-sentence and said it had been brought up at the last Selectman’s Meeting and permission had been given to use a town ‘Cherry Picker’ (which I assume was from the fire department). I even read about it, albeit just one sentence, in the paper the following week.
Then towards the end of last week, I think it might have been Thursday, I got an e-mail from ‘Parks and Recs’ asking whether I had seen the freshly painted signals. I had not. The next day I went looking armed with my ‘point-and-click’ camera. I was mortified. Both arms were black. It was like an omen. ‘Black‘ is so symbolic. As it happens, Alton which I think prides itself of preserving some historic railway artifacts actually has another semaphore signal — basically at the back of the Town Hall. We drove around to have a look at that. That is not in great shape either, but you could clearly see the Red Arm. So that is where we are. They never asked me to research the colors and obviously they couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves. Now it is possible that this could be color blindness problem. But, I think I finally found a plausible explanation. Please refer to the last picture.
So today, after Thanksgiving and doing a post on a cardinal that turned 80, I did some quick research on the Web.
Quickly found this picture of the Alton Bay Station taken on 14 October 2008. You can clearly see that one arm is red.
Then I also found this, though this is NOT of the Alton semaphore, though you can immediately see that it is a similar set of signals.
Then I found this. Bingo. A ‘Boston and Maine‘. Looks very similar to the application in Alton. I think it is what might be characterized as a ‘yard signal‘. The red arm acts as a stop signal for the main line. The other arm has to do with local operations. I really haven’t researched it. I am more familiar with the British style, two quadrant, signals which act in tandem like a two digit binary number giving you 4 possible modes of operation.