How close is too close?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Renovo PPR, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    I was photographing on the mainline just north of Johnstown, Pa near Mineral Point. I found a place where the road comes to about 10 feet from the tracks. At this point they had a metal bar gate that was about 5 feet from the tracks. I choose this place to take my photographs since it offered an idea spot to photograph.

    Don’t worry my truck was safely parked at the bike trail parking lot where my wife and daughter went biking. In any event the West bound trains were moving on the first and second set of tracks. The third set was the track near me.

    The westbound trains all waved as I shot their photographs. Then I could hear the sound of an eastbound train. As soon as it rounded the curve I started shooting bracing myself on the gate. It offered a great perspective for photographs. However this time I about jumped out of my skin as the big Norfolk Southern blew its horn. I shot several more photographs then when I felt it was close enough I moved four steps to the side of the road.

    Since this is the first time I got the horn I was wondering was I too close?

    [FONT=&quot]Here is the Photograph below.
  2. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    The engineer probably thought you were too close, or was trying to cover himself, just in case. At any rate, those engines are enormous and at 10 feet they seem huge. A train club I used to belong to was housed in an old CSX building, probably no more than 15-16 feet from the tracks. The Amtrak train would come through and the sound was incredible, not to mention the wind.
  3. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    he may have been warnin you to not go any further or maybe for your enjoyment.the CSX engines around here blow there horns for us railfans :D.and myltlpny is right,they are MASSIVE up close.i myself might get scared at 5 ft.--josh
  4. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    I get real nervous when someone is closer than 25 feet from the track and we only run at 10 mph max. It is not something you can control. Even though you know the guy is ok. it is just the possibility that a bee sting, animal etc could startle the guy and make him jump the wrong way.
    Keep in mind that most things on trains stay put most of the time but when they don't bad things happen.
    Brake shoes are held by a metal clip that sometimes breaks and the shoe goes flying. I've seen windshields broken by this when a car pulls too close to a crossing. This was when I was in the automobile business. We also had a car damaged by a bag of potatoes falling out of a box car. Not to mention TOFC (trailers OFF flat cars.)
  5. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    funny yet lucky incident

    the only incident i've ever seen is when my brother got a little drunk and had to cross tracks at an intersection.but the extra 30ft of boat that he was pullin wasnt all the way across.well the 5:00 east bound was headed his way and he didnt know it.and as some "crazy lady" waved at him the train smacked the outdrive off his boat and launched it a hundred yards!! :curse:.apparently the "crazy lady" was waving for him to move!man,i still make fun of him for that!although it could've been worse...--josh
  6. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Probably just to make you aware of the train, whenever I railfan, trains don't always hoot bcoz I move my arm up and down. Trains are dangerous things, one of my parents friends got sucked under a train because he was standing over the "yellow line" on the platform.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you think you are too close - maybe you are...! ;)

    Seriously, if you are not comfortable where you are, move back, and use the telephoto on your camera. Remember that the train hangs out over the tracks, so if you're only 5 feet from the rail, you probably have less than 2 feet clearance - and stuff can hang off the side or stick out.

    Lastly, I would caution you from my own railfanning experience that despite their size, the new diesels can be extremely quiet, so if you are looking the wrong way - watch out...!

  8. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Another thing- watch out with that zoom!

    When I was still working on a local tourist train we stopped to let off passengers for a photo run past. One gentleman was on the tracks and someone had to actually go pull him off because he was watching through the view finder and "forgot" that the train is actually closer than it looks.

    What ever camera you use just remember to actually look how close the object is- especially if you are on the tracks.
  9. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Our engineer wanted to be sure you were aware of him, and is required to warn folks around the tracks of his presence. Older locos had an actual air valve with which we could moderate the volume, but the new horns are electric switched - it's LOUD or nothing. Sorry if we frighten or annoy you...we're just trying to keep everyone alert and SAFE. Happy Fannin' Bob C
  10. Renovo PPR

    Renovo PPR Just a Farmer

    Cool I was just hoping I didn’t make him mad or anything. I know they are use to the many camera bugs in the area east of Johnstown to Altoona. I was at one of those yellow metal pole gates where they have a road to get between the tracks.

    While I’m aware of the dangers such as derailment even possible loss of equipment and or cargo I figure it is one of those things in life were you assume the possible dangers.

    I seldom if ever cross or even walk on the tracks so I don’t have to worry about one of those big boys hitting me. However this was the first time I wasn’t at a crossing so I knew it was for me, I just didn’t want to piss him off.

    [FONT=&quot]This is just a great place outside the Johnstown Platform to get down and close to the track even if that means I get the horn.[/FONT]
  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.



    I think if someone is on the Gauge and they are irritated by the sound of a loco, then they are in the wrong place!

    By the way, what you said about the valve on older locos to make the horn softer is interesting- which goes to show you really do learn something new everyday. By the way, was that only on NS locos, or for all or most railroads?
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, it does depend... ;)

    At the Chocolate and Railway Festival in Smiths Falls, Canadian Pacific provides a couple of big diesels to explore - parked on the wye near the VIA station. Last year, you were allowed to blow the horn(s). Not so great for the neighbours who live literally across the street...!


    PS Be sure to visit Railway Museum when you go to the Festival!
  13. MadModeler

    MadModeler Member

    (Bolding mine)

    Don't be sorry! Never apologize for doing your job! And thank you for doing your job. It is very reassuring to know that people are doing their best to watch out for our safety.:thumb:
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    OK, I'm getting interested in this now!! As both an avid railway and chocolate fans, my two sons and I would probably enjoy this Chocolate and Railway Festival very much !

    We just returned from Lancaster County, PA, where we also had a chocolate & railway festival in that we rode on the Strasburg Rail Road (and saw other railroad attractions) and also visited the chocolate sites at Hershey, PA!

    I expect this would be a good event for my two sons (ages 4 & 6) & I? I wonder how long it would take to drive to Smith Falls from Toronto? (I'll check Mapquest).

  15. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Yes, you were way too close. The crew doesn't know why you're there. You could be throwing rocks or planning to kill yourself. Not only for their sake, but your own, there could've been a chain or metal banding hanging loose from a car on the train. Five feet away and there'd be two pieces of you right now. You can argue that you were on the road and therefore legal and I'd have to agree, but just because you're legal doesn't mean you're safe.

  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Good point about the metal banding, I was going to post a warning about that. Flat cars in particular will frequently have metal banding used to secure a load to a pallet. The metal banding is pulled tight enough to slightly stretch and then clamped. If the band breaks, it will whip around and will limited only by the length of the metal. If it is a long band going around a 10 foot load and breaks, you could see it whipping as much as a 10 foot radius around the car.

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