Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

First, kill all the railfans. LA Times column questions role of teen hobbyists in Metrolink crash

Before somebody notifies Homeland Security, the headline is a play on a line from Shakespeare. 

Scott Gold has a column in the Los Angeles Times which deals with the great national menace of rail hobbyists. Now, I do not chase trains, but I will admit that when I am taking pictures of trains I lose 30 IQ points. Some railfans are nuts and some railroads are nuts in their persecution of employees who might lean toward that behavior.

It’s mostly harmless, but Gold describes it as a culture unparalleled except, perhaps, by al Queda. Here is the link. Take a deep breath and we could open a  discussion thread. Leave a comment if you like. 

For myself, it is almost as if a bunch of teenage kids with an odd hobby is being held responsible for a terrible tragedy> How convenient an excuse to overlook the engineer’s probably state of exhaustion.

It is also a clever play to dismiss including rail options in serious discussions of transportation policy. Lord knows, all of Europe must be run by railfans. 

What say you?

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

3 Responses

  1. robbie says:

    I don’t think it’s that bad. I think he is partially true when he says that some people go too far: stealing equipment, etc.

  2. I don’t really chase trains, but I always perk up when I see one🙂 As far as blaming railfans, well that’s just really stupid.

  3. Steve T. Sobel says:

    First of all, I am a railfan and well over 40 years old! Like everyone today, there’s always a few bad apples around. Mr. Gold needs some education about railfans, that most of us are decent people. Take a heck of a lot of pictures, many of excellent quality, and have been recognized as additional “eyes” for the railroad! As for the engineer of this train the NTSB has not released any information as to the condition of the engineer at the time of the collision. Therefore no one should assume anything even as far as him being exhausted!

    Then there’s those text messages. What we now know, thanks to Sanchez’s cell phone provider that he sent 24 text messages and received 21 over a 2 hr period during his morning shift, then during his afternoon shift he sent 5 and received 7!

    This is what all of us need to find out why so many messages were sent, who began this exchange in the first place, what was written on every text message and the age of these young supposed railfans?

    Until then, anyone, including Scott Gold need to quit the talking until solid evidence is made public. The media does enough talking these days, too much as far as I’m concerned!

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