Stupidity knows no bounds.
One of my readers in the UK (www.macfilos.com) sent me a little blurb about a mishap on one of the heritage railway lines close to Norfolk, East Anglia, UK. It seems that we here in the US are not the only ones making a “sport” of running red lights and trying to beat a train at a grade crossing. I always thought the Brits had more sense than that. Alas, I seem to have been mistaken.
It appears that some gentleman in a Mercedes tried to beat a steam locomotive at a grade crossing on the North Norfolk Heritage Railway. According to the Norfolk Constabulary the red lights and the audible warning signal were operating, but the driver of the automobile chose to ignore those. The Class Y14 steam locomotive going about 8 miles per hour hit the vehicle and pretty much demolished it.
Photos by the Norfolk constabulary
Class Y14 number 514 on a better day. Photo by North Norfolk Railway
Fortunately there was nary a scratch on the locomotive. Seems the driver of the Mercedes is fine also. Probably wondering why the locomotive did not swerve to avoid his Mercedes! Like my father used to say: “Mercedes hat eine eingebaute Vorfahrt.” Loosely translated: “A Mercedes always has the right of way.”
On a serious note. In this country trying to beat trains at grade crossings is a serious problem. The death toll is staggering. In the US in 2017 there were a little over 2100 grade crossing accidents with 275 fatalities, according to Operation Lifesaver! THE TRAIN ALWAYS WINS! The average US freight train takes about 1 and 1/2 miles to stop on full emergency. An 8 car passenger train traveling at 80 miles per hour will take about 1 mile to stop. So think about this next time you sit at a grade crossing with the lights flashing and the bells ringing.