Skip to comments.Girl, 14, struck and killed by train in Martinez
Posted on 03/03/2014 9:19:40 PM PST by Political Junkie Too
Family members, friends and school officials are mourning the loss of a 14-year-old girl who was struck and killed by a train in Martinez when, according to her mother, she tried to retrieve a cell phone she had dropped on the tracks.
The two jumped out of the way, but "she dropped her phone and went back to retrieve it," Dena Betti wrote. "She didn't judge the approach, and the train creates a vacuum, we were told, and it sucks you in. We are beyond devastated.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
This is a local tragedy out here in the Bay Area.
Asking the engineers and physicists out there. Is this true?
All the news stories across the web are repeating this quote. Can a freight train really create a vacuum that can "suck you in?"
Trains roll down tracks all over the country, all the time. Trains pass train stations without stopping, all the time.
Can a freight train, loaded with rolling stock, really travel fast enough to create a vacuum strong enough to suck a 14-year-old girl into its wake?
Sad. Prayers up for the family and friends.
I have heard of a guy riding a motorcycle too close to the trailer that was being pulled by a semi and the vacuum created pulled him in and was run over by the trailer’s wheels.
Mythbusters was unable to find any such suction effect from a passing train, iirc.
Yes, there is a wave front that collapses back to the side of the train, and it could move hundred pound girls.
While the language is not exactly accurate, the real-world answer is yes. (MS in Engineering here.)
That said, I doubt that a freight train was going 65mph in Martinez, CA, where the accident occurred.
The track is too curvy, and the terrain is too rolling.
I'm not saying that the train operators are using this as an excuse to cover up something else, but I do wonder how fast a train has to be going in order to create such a wave, and whether a train could have been going that fast on that part of the track.
I love Mythbusters, but sometimes they screw up.
The physics is simple: Anything that size moving with significant speed disrupts the air. A LOT. The pressure wave that forms in front of the train collapses down the sides, creating low pressure. The low pressure is not a vacuum, but it can certainly suck stuff in. This is why debris will follow along with a train (or semi for that matter) that passes at a significant rate of speed.
Have no idea what the speed limit for trains is there or how you can find out.
Didn’t know squat about the terrain. Based on what you said, the low pressure may not have been near enough to suck her in.
How fast would a train have to go to create a vacuum wave, and could it reach that speed after coming around that curve to the west, or if it were approaching that curve going west after travelig along that bedroom neighborhood?
Too tired to do the math, but at 10 mph there would not be much of one. At 35? Maybe. At 60? Ya better believe it!
Wow, who hurt you and left you a vicious, heartless, hypocritical, angry, gutted and burned out husk of a human being who can't feel a sad emotion if it skewered him with a ten foot harpoon and stuck him to a giant sign that said "WTF is wrong with you?"
SHE WAS A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO MADE A MISTAKE. SHE DID NOT "DESERVE" TO BE KILLED.
Go buy a flashlight and look for your soul.
I thought it was pretty good evidence that a train does not have any significant suction effects, but there is turbulence there that is unpredictable, so standing near a passing high speed train is dangerous.
What would the train operators have to “cover up”??? If you’re on the freakin’ tracks, you’re trespassing in the first place.
I was talking to an engineer down at the Redondo facility back a few years while I was marveling at the fact that a pressure washer didn’t get all of a guys skull contents off a train after he’d been struck by the Coast Starlighter at ~90 mph. He said he feels sorry for the cows and coyotes ‘cause they just don’t know, but the people he gave up on long before... They’re “just stupid”...
You are right.
I’ve learned that some people are deficient, and the underlying thing to that is that it makes them feel superior—even happy—that although a misfortune happened, it didn’t happen to them, and they don’t know better than to laugh or judge.
Do you really believe this poor child deserved to die for a mistake like the one she made?! Really? Damn but if you are not a piece of work.
At 35 MPH the wave front effect would be noticeable, they usually run about 50 where allowed, they can run faster.
Depending on schedule, they do not stop at every station, and in the express section of a run can easily be at 50 MPH fairly near a station they are not scheduled to stop at.
How sad. I used to live in downtown Martinez.
Amtrak goes thru Martinez, there is a station there. BART doesn’t go thru there.
Eddy currents, going down each side of the train? Trying to visualize this.
It was a Burlington Northern freight train. Burlington Northern freight trains go within half a mile of my house and they only seem to do 30-35 mph - that’s on a straightaway that parallels the freeway.
When we were kids, when the train would go by, we’d often run down to the tracks and stand about 10 ft away and watch it go by.
I’m sure a fast-moving train would produce buffeting air currents that might cause a person to stumble or fall, but I’d be very surprised if that freight train did.
At the most, she deserved to have the living sh*t scared out of her.
That fateful night the car was stalled
upon the railroad track
I pulled you out and we were safe
but you went running back
Teen angel, can you hear me
Teen angel, can you see me
Are you somewhere up above
And I am still your own true love
What was it you were looking for
that took your life that night
They said they found my high school ring
clutched in your fingers tight
I often notice, as a truck breezes by me on the left at high speeds, a kind of “push” from the bow wave immediately followed by a collapse in pressure which draws my car back alongside the truck as it passes. A quick correction on the steering wheel is sometimes needed to keep from angling into the rear wheels of the truck.
Check out pictures of dolphins who have learned the neat trick of riding with a water ship’s bow wave to conserve their own energy. Just behind the wave, the current is angled opposite to the forward wave and anything caught behind the wave crashes into the ship.
That’s what I think could have happened to the girl.
Shame on you. You probably don’t have kids, do you? You essentially applauded the death of a 14 year old girl. Perhaps she was trying to get her cell phone because her parents would have flipped if she lost it. Perhaps she didn’t have the knowledge of trains because she was ONLY 14 YEARS OLD.
What about those ‘bullet trains’ in Japan which do 200mph+? That must be one hell of a frontal wave!