22 comments on “A litany of accidents.

  1. Wow, a stray train wheel rolling through the station. I can’t even imagine how many tons one of those weighed back then. It would have demolished everything and everyone it came into contact with.

    And how does a wheel even come off an engine? It’s not like they were attached with just a bolt and a wingnut. I’d imagine someone back at the machine shop got an earful that day.

    • I could only see the Coyote running for his life as the wheel carves a huge crevasse in the platform behind him. Beep beep!

      I did wonder how the wheel came off and I also wondered how the train behaved once it did. I know they have a lot more wheels but if a driving one came off I can’t imagine that the driver didn’t notice. Frightening!

      • You know, I think stuff like that wasn’t all that unexpected.

        My grandmother used to tell the story of how, when as a young child growing up in rural Washington state, a boarder at her house left the back gate to her family’s property unlatched. Her little sister got out of the back yard and crawled up onto the nearby train tracks. Of course, a train came barreling down toward her. Another sister saw what was going on and ran out and pushed her little sister out of the way. However, the older sister was struck by the train and killed. This was around 1915. Can you imagine something like that happening now? It would make national news.

        As I’m sure you’ve discovered reading old newspapers, technology and safety hadn’t really “joined forces,” so to speak, before about 1950, and people tended to die in a lot of gruesome ways. I guess it was just an accepted fact of life.

        Now, of course, we just mangle ourselves on the roadways on a regular basis.

        • Safety requirements were pretty slack then, I agree. I also think that people used to be a lot more likely to take responsibility for their own actions too.

          In your sad story the gate was left open. The person who left the gate open was at fault. Over here there was a spate of incidents with trains (at the start of last year I think) and a small child was struck by a train on a line running behind his home. Immediately the cry went out to fence all train lines, a ridiculous suggestion. Nobody said that the child should have been better supervised or that the homes fence should have been fixed so he couldn’t get out, but any of those minor things would have prevented the unnecessary death.

          I think we need less regulation and more personal responsibility!

          Can you imagine the committees/inquiries/new departments that would be formed to deal with the blame of the loose train wheel if that ocurred today?!

          • If that happened today they’d just shut the entire rail system down and force the railroads to do a complete overhaul.

            If anything, fencing all trains lines would have reduced safety, because everyone would have assumed there was less need for vigilance. Children, unfortunately, are always going to have a predilection for getting into places they shouldn’t be. That’s what parents and other authority figures are for – to watch out for them.

          • I dunno, if you listen to the news etc it is the government and teachers responsibility to make sure kids grow up safely. So many parents want a mini-me and no effort, maybe they should have got a puppy not a kid!

            In the courts at the moment is a story about a girl who was taking her exclusive private school to court for her failure to get good marks. I will be interested to see what the ruling is. It will be a sad awakening for that kid and her family to find out that she needed to actually do some work to get good marks, just attending classes and looking pretty will not get you anywhere! Responsibility, people!!

  2. I’m still trying to get my head round the second one. If the car at the back overtook the front one, how were it’s front wheels still at the back ready to mount the back wheels of the car in front? Also, it sounds like both front wheels mounted both back wheels which sounds more like a sex act to reproduce a model to me. If I can’ get a handle on this it’s probably just as well I don’t drive.

    • I think that a better description might have been tailgating rather than overtaking, unless it was only one wheel of each car that managed to make contact. The thought of high speed car mating is a scary one, all the more reason to drive a big car I say 😉

    • Yeah, sorry about that! I can barely believe this is true, what a terrifying thing to see racing towards you. I expect that it was a ground level platform, what my brain wants to see though is a (however unlikely) wooden platform being completely destroyed with large splinters of wood raining down on the surprised witnesses 😉

      • All the platforms in Alaska featured sturdy structures made of (you guessed it) wood!

        Almost all the train stations had two platforms— one open-faced platform for certain trains going one way, and a closed station with attached platform where you could purchase tickets, check bags, drink beverages from the vending machine, et. al.

  3. I’ll bet the cars in 1926 couldn’t go as fast either. You’re right about ‘flimsy’ though. I once backed into a late model car with my 20 year old Corolla. Corolla and I left only a tiny dint in the ‘skirt’ of the bumper but it cost heaps to fix! Thank god for 3rd party insurance.

  4. Some years ago a friend of mine was driving down a country road when she was overtaken by a car wheel, all on it’s own. She was just wondering where it could possibly have come from when her car assumed a rather jaunty angle and she realised it was hers! It turned out the garage that replaced her tyre a few days before hadn’t tightened the wheel nuts properly and they had come adrift… fortunately on a quiet road and not whilst hurtling down the motorway. I have always envisioned the incident happening in the style of Wylie Coyote and Road Runner!

    • The whole world looks better for seeing it through the veil of cartoons doesn’t it? I love that “she was just wondering where it could have possibly come from”. Gravity has comic timing 🙂

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