Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

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Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby MaineCoonCat » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:32 pm

NECN is reporting that a "female juvenile" was hit by a MBTA train in Lawrence. No details yet..

Update at 1835 EDT. NECN reported about 20 minutes ago that the girl was 13 years old and had died,

Update at 2000 EDT,
As of 1758 EDT, WHDH Channel 7 wrote:Fire officials responded to the scene on Inman Street shortly after 4 p.m.
The MBTA announced that trains leaving North Station will be terminating at Andover for Haverhill passengers. There is busing from Andover north for all stops.

No other information is available at this time.


http://www.whdh.com/story/27178694/teen-struck-and-killed-by-commuter-rail-train-in-lawrence
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby SemperFidelis » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:13 pm

Let's try to do the right thing and pray for,the family of this girl, the train crew, and the first responders involved in this incident...

And then let's all watch as, inevitably, a few people rush to say the nastiest things possible about why this girl was trespassing and offer classless conjecture as to why her family didn't teach her about more about railroad safety. These folks will then try to outdo one another about how they will think more than anyone else (certainly more than those who niavely noted the suffering of the departed) of the train crew's suffering than they will that of the departed or the suffering of her family, the suffering of those people having been brought upon themselves by not understanding as much about railroading as many of us claim to. It's kind of a sad pattern in fatility threads that I've noticed.

Sorry if I'm on a high horse right now. Dismounting...now.

I just wish one fataility thread could not follow the well-worn path into the above-noted pattern. Everyone involed is going to hurt for a really long time and I'll pray before I pass out here tonight that peace comes to all involved as soon as possible.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby BandA » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:09 am

This deserves a careful, dispassionate analysis. What are the trends, are trespassing injuries increasing? Is trespassing in general increasing? Are these people new to the country/language barrier/never heard of railroad safety? Should legit crossings be created? Should ped bridges be built? Sensors, remote cameras, double fences w/razor wire? Just patching the fence and vowing enforcement isn't gonna work. Publicly disseminating the results of an accident reconstruction is also necessary and helpful.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby millerm277 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:39 am

Tragic for all involved.

BandA wrote:This deserves a careful, dispassionate analysis. What are the trends, are trespassing injuries increasing? Is trespassing in general increasing? Are these people new to the country/language barrier/never heard of railroad safety? Should legit crossings be created? Should ped bridges be built? Sensors, remote cameras, double fences w/razor wire? Just patching the fence and vowing enforcement isn't gonna work. Publicly disseminating the results of an accident reconstruction is also necessary and helpful.


This is much more clear-cut than most incidents in my opinion, assuming that nothing significant has changed in the past two years since the Street View imagery.

Inman Ave indicates that the fence is basically not really there at all, considering the poor condition and multiple sections missing entirely. There also appear to be well-used "paths" on Garfield Street (also visible on the satellite view) where trespassers from the parking lot at the end of Inman Ave would come out on the East side of the tracks.

I note what appears to be a closed/off-limits/unsafe pedestrian bridge two blocks south running from Boyd to Garfield. People in the large residential area on the West side of the tracks have to walk about a mile out of their way to make the walk legally currently as opposed to what illegally crossing or the former bridge allows. Directly on the East side of the tracks is significant retail, as well as the most direct route to walk to the town High School.

I would be amazed if there wasn't a large amount of trespassing, all things considered. I am sure that when it was closed the people who used it didn't throw up their hands and say "oh well, I guess all my trips to the other side will take 15 minutes longer", and that's probably stayed an accepted thing to do in the area. Having things on the other side a short walk away makes it worse as well. The difference between a 5 and 20 minute walk is much larger than between a 45 and 60 minute walk in annoyance.

As for a solution, I think that is obvious: Do what needs to be done to reopen the pedestrian bridge. Patch the fence as well, but I agree that isn't a solution on it's own.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:42 am

millerm277 wrote:Tragic for all involved.

BandA wrote:This deserves a careful, dispassionate analysis. What are the trends, are trespassing injuries increasing? Is trespassing in general increasing? Are these people new to the country/language barrier/never heard of railroad safety? Should legit crossings be created? Should ped bridges be built? Sensors, remote cameras, double fences w/razor wire? Just patching the fence and vowing enforcement isn't gonna work. Publicly disseminating the results of an accident reconstruction is also necessary and helpful.


This is much more clear-cut than most incidents in my opinion, assuming that nothing significant has changed in the past two years since the Street View imagery.

Inman Ave indicates that the fence is basically not really there at all, considering the poor condition and multiple sections missing entirely. There also appear to be well-used "paths" on Garfield Street (also visible on the satellite view) where trespassers from the parking lot at the end of Inman Ave would come out on the East side of the tracks.

I note what appears to be a closed/off-limits/unsafe pedestrian bridge two blocks south running from Boyd to Garfield. People in the large residential area on the West side of the tracks have to walk about a mile out of their way to make the walk legally currently as opposed to what illegally crossing or the former bridge allows. Directly on the East side of the tracks is significant retail, as well as the most direct route to walk to the town High School.

I would be amazed if there wasn't a large amount of trespassing, all things considered. I am sure that when it was closed the people who used it didn't throw up their hands and say "oh well, I guess all my trips to the other side will take 15 minutes longer", and that's probably stayed an accepted thing to do in the area. Having things on the other side a short walk away makes it worse as well. The difference between a 5 and 20 minute walk is much larger than between a 45 and 60 minute walk in annoyance.

As for a solution, I think that is obvious: Do what needs to be done to reopen the pedestrian bridge. Patch the fence as well, but I agree that isn't a solution on it's own.


From WCVB Channel 7's report: (text bolding and italics done by me)
“There were some witnesses, we can't say who they are, it's an active investigation,” Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said.

Two freight trains were stopped on the adjacent tracks and the girls would've had to climb in between the cars to get through.

People who live on Inman Street, say people cross the tracks all the time.

“Many people make take the short cut, make this as a short cut,” Vega said.


Lawrence mayor Dan Rivera says he'll look to see if there's anything the city can do to make sure this doesn't happen again.

“I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about how safe or not safe it is, we'll look it, and whatever we need to do to make this a safer place we'll do that,” Rivera said.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:55 pm

millerm277 wrote:I note what appears to be a closed/off-limits/unsafe pedestrian bridge two blocks south running from Boyd to Garfield. People in the large residential area on the West side of the tracks have to walk about a mile out of their way to make the walk legally currently as opposed to what illegally crossing or the former bridge allows. Directly on the East side of the tracks is significant retail, as well as the most direct route to walk to the town High School.

I would be amazed if there wasn't a large amount of trespassing, all things considered. I am sure that when it was closed the people who used it didn't throw up their hands and say "oh well, I guess all my trips to the other side will take 15 minutes longer", and that's probably stayed an accepted thing to do in the area. Having things on the other side a short walk away makes it worse as well. The difference between a 5 and 20 minute walk is much larger than between a 45 and 60 minute walk in annoyance.

As for a solution, I think that is obvious: Do what needs to be done to reopen the pedestrian bridge. Patch the fence as well, but I agree that isn't a solution on it's own.

I've briefly looked around (Lawrence Assessors db,OLIVER: MassGIS's Online Mapping Tool) to try to find out who owns the above identified bridge to no avail. Is it owned by the city? The Image ? Other? Anyone care to hazard an "educated guess"?
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby BandA » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:18 pm

very basic question. Who is responsible for the maintaining the fencing? (and whose property is it on?) It probably wasn't needed when the track was built. Railroads in MA usually aren't responsible for their bridges anymore, including pedestrian bridges.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby TomNelligan » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:20 pm

That footbridge, which I remember using as a photo platform back in the 1980s when the neighborhood wasn't as rough, has been closed off for at least 20 years, so it's not a new issue.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:09 pm

TomNelligan wrote:That footbridge, which I remember using as a photo platform back in the 1980s when the neighborhood wasn't as rough, has been closed off for at least 20 years, so it's not a new issue.

I'm certain that when the inevitable lawsuit gets going and the plaintiff's lawyers' ¹"scattergun of culpability is fired", that bridge issue will be raised.

[¹] Sue evertbody and see what sticks.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby doublebell » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:25 pm

If I remember correctly, that bridge was shut off to keep the bad guys from using it as an escape route.

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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:01 pm

Please also remember the person at the controls of that train. One cannot imagine the thought of knowing you are going to take a life and being powerless to prevent it. It can happen anywhere, even at places where it is legal to cross. May God bless everyone involved.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:26 pm

doublebell wrote:If I remember correctly, that bridge was shut off to keep the bad guys from using it as an escape route.

John, the guy in the white car with the wing on back.


Something tells me that the cops had better start aerobics and distance running as part of their ongoing training routine then..
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby RussNelson » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:36 pm

There are penalties for trespassing, and you can make them higher (e.g. New York), but that doesn't do any good unless people get caught.

The railroad crews must know where people cross, because watching the tracks ahead is part of their job. So for every fatality, there must be more near misses, and many more far misses. You can buy a GPS data logger with a pushbutton for well under $100. What if every engine was equpped with one of these with instructions to push the button whenever an employee sees somebody cross. After a few months, you would have a pretty good idea where all the hotspots are. Then you could correlate past fatalities with hotspots to see if they're causative.

So then you engage in mitigation. Is there a hole in the fence? If it gets fixed, will people cut it open again? What kind of incentive do people have to cross illegally? Is it possible to remove that incentive? Can a few visits from Operation Lifesaver help with matters? Maybe post some signs with pictures of splattered corpses? Maybe a sign that says "The last date someone killed themselves on our tracks was 10/28/2014"? Maybe it's possible to teach the trespassers how to cross safely? ("Eastbound trains won't blow their whistle here. You need to look down the line. Don't EVER climb between the cars of a stopped train -- trains can start AT ANY TIME, and you can't see trains on the other tracks. Westbound trains will blow their whistle, but you can't see them coming, so you MUST remove your earphones/headphones.") Maybe trains can blow their whistle for hotspots just like they blow their whistle for legal crossings?

Seems like there are a lot of things that railroads could do if they could figure out what is causing fatalities without having to wait for a fatality analysis. And they don't need to save everybody, because people are fundamentally stupid, fragile, careless, and everyone believes themselves to be above average. All they need to do is start saving statistical lives. Over time that will translate into real lives saved.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:43 pm

RussNelson wrote:So then you engage in mitigation. Is there a hole in the fence? If it gets fixed, will people cut it open again? What kind of incentive do people have to cross illegally? Is it possible to remove that incentive? Can a few visits from Operation Lifesaver help with matters? Maybe post some signs with pictures of splattered corpses? Maybe a sign that says "The last date someone killed themselves on our tracks was 10/28/2014"? Maybe it's possible to teach the trespassers how to cross safely? Seems like there are a lot of things that railroads could do if they could figure out what is causing fatalities without having to wait for a fatality analysis.

I believe graphic images of dismembered bodies or body parts would do the trick as part of a "scared straight" program.
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Re: Girl hit by commuter train in Lawrence - Fatal

Postby RussNelson » Sun Nov 02, 2014 12:17 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:I believe graphic images of dismembered bodies or body parts would do the trick as part of a "scared straight" program.

But my suggestion is that near or far misses are predictions of fatalities, and you can measure near or far misses much more cheaply than you can fatalities. And you can measure the change produced by a mitigation method. So you don't have to "believe" anything -- you can measure it.

Another possible mitigation method: show a picture of a morose engineer holding his cap in his hands with the caption "We can't stop a 2 million pound train; we can only be sad when we kill you." Lots of possibilities, so you need to measure to find the effective ones.
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