Remember the movie Magnolia?
July 15, 2000 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Remember the movie Magnolia? One of the themes running through the movie was of amazing coincidences and chance. This story of a people getting hit by trains near San Francisco this week mentions one such coincidence. A man was hit by a train, and on that very train was the chairman of a "nonprofit group whose goal is to reduce the number of train-related collisions, deaths and injuries." The additional fact that this safety group leader was enroute to give a speech on grade-crossing safety makes it approach urban legend status, but it did indeed happen.
posted by mathowie (5 comments total)
Wow. but you know what? A lot of ironic/strange coincidences things have been happening lately, stuff that I'm involved in, somehow. I'm sure it happens all the time, but I just took notice. Well, maybe not as clear as this, but subtle little things.

Most amazing coincidence happen to you?
posted by tiaka at 5:39 PM on July 15, 2000


After reading Matt's post and the article he linked to, my first admittedly coldblooded thought was, "isn't this normal?" Yes of course my heart goes out to the families of those who survive these terrible tragic events, but in today's modern age with highspeed transit, I'm surprised we don't have more fatalities. Perhaps those obnoxious railroad crossings that seem to always happen at the most inopportune times do serve a purpose: they save lives.

Still, allow me to put this into perspective. I live in a state comparable in size and population to California. I live in the second largest state in the union in fact (THE largest technically. We Texans don't count Alaska =). The predominant difference between Texas and California, is we Texans are by and large not as much in a hurry to get from one place to another as Californians are.

According to that article, last year, 86 California pedestrians died trespassing onto railway property, in most cases despite the big flashing lights and signs and other warnings and obstructions, not to mention heavy fines and other penalties if you're caught doing it.

Here in Texas, it's a little different. In the past four years combined, we've had 87 fatalities. That is including derailments, train collisions and the like. Not just pedestrians. Granted, the numbers for 1999 and 2000 have not been put up on that webpage yet. Still, this is staggering.

The California pedestrian-involved deaths for one year almost equal the total deaths involving trains here in Texas between 1995 and 1998. That's practically unfathomable for me to comprehend. Jesus Christ! You guys need to slow down! Smell the roses! Watch a car rust. Take a siesta. There's a reason why Texans live longer. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2000

Ehh, I should point out that although Texans are generally slower about things there are also a serious lack of trains in this state (I'm typing live from Austin). There may be more train-deaths in CA, but there are also a hell of a lot more trains, local transit and otherwise.
posted by bryanboyer at 9:29 PM on July 15, 2000

There's a lot of train tracks here in Dallas, and it seems there's a train going over those tracks whenever I don't want there to be one, so I wasn't aware there was a noticable discrepancy between the states in that regard.

Hmm... I wonder what I'd have to type into a search engine in order to get comparative statistics between Texas and California regarding the number of trains...
posted by ZachsMind at 11:38 PM on July 15, 2000

Many train deaths are also attributable to people trainhopping. Trainhoppers are much more frequently headed to or from CA than they are from TX, and cross country hoppers are more likely to take routes through the midwest or northern states than to deal with Texas heat.
posted by kitsch at 8:31 AM on July 16, 2000

« Older   |   The 'biggest band in the world' Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments