I grew up in rural southeast Oklahoma in a little town called Valliant. Crossing through the town was a railroad track that allowed access to trains carrying “wood chip” and other materials to the local paper mill. The train track split the town and ran directly across highway 70. During those years trains would frequently traverse across the highway. I had always heard about the horrors of train accidents and occasionally would hear my dad telling my mom about a train accident. When I turned 16 my dad would caution me that when I crossed that train track I better come to a complete stop and check both ways. See, back then we didn’t have the fancy lights and precautions that warn drivers of an oncoming train. However, even through all these years, there hasn’t been a guardrail that would lower across the track. In fact, this was quite common in these rural areas. My first blush with the deadly nature of trains was when my high school coach of two years tragically lost his life in an accident where a train hit him.
As I looked over the news this evening I read what a nightmarish situation for a parent. According to the APNEWS.COM –
An Amtrak passenger train carrying about 170 people struck a car that had skirted a gate at a road crossing near Detroit on Thursday, killing all five people in the sedan, authorities said.
According to the article, the victims were a 14-year-old girl and four young men: an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old from Taylor, a 19-year-old from Woodhaven, and a 21-year-old from Stafford, Va., according to police
This is a truly a tragic accident. I suppose I’m older and less fearful of a train track these days, but I still have a healthy respect for the deadly power of a train. However, the words of my parents still ring in my ear about the dangers posed by these beasts and constantly remind my 17 year old of this fact. So take some time, remember the devastating power of trains and pass it along to your teens.