Duck Duck Snow Goose

Taken by Mr. EOS just now, a flock of Canada Geese in the yard, with one snow goose in the middle. Hard to see but he’s there. See it yet?



In the comments section, reader and surveyor Earth Image talked at great length about the Metro North railroad accident in Valhalla last night. His comments are valuable and important enough for me to add this photo here to make sense of his comments. Darned that I can’t add the photo to his actual comment, but that’s Word Press for ya!

Read his comments then come back and look at photo.

Google Earth image Valhalla Metro North Crossing.
Google Earth image Valhalla Metro North Crossing.

15 thoughts on “Duck Duck Snow Goose

  1. Sorry to steal your great thread about snow geese with a news flash:

    I had previously surveyed the rail grade-crossing in Valhalla. It is a blind curve, where the road through the cemeteries takes a sharp right north-bound to cross the Metro North tracks and enter the Taconic Parkway at a red-light intersection.

    The view of the north-bound trains is blocked by equipment sheds and trees. My guess is that the lady SUV driver was talking or texting and missed the warning bells of the gates about to close.

    The mystery is how the third rail carrying the train’s power supply got into the train car.

    The following slide and the one after it help to explain.

    Note to NTSB investigators;

    The lead car t-boned the SUV against the third rail, exploding the gas tank and ripping up the third rail, which was still live. The third rail then accordion-ed through the passenger area.

    Lesson already posted by EOS* (Ed.note: in another blog EI and I read, I posted a comment that said I never ride in the first or last car). Never ride in the head car. I e-mailed EOS the street view photo.

  2. My dad’s father graduated from the Univ. of Maine in 1913 as an engineer. He began work for the Pennsylvania Railroad surveying and eliminating dangerous grade crossings with overpass/underpass bridges. During WWII he was the State’s chief of stream encroachment for the PA Dept. of Forests and Waters. During my life in the 1950’s he had become the State’s Chief of Public Water Supply.

    So I grew up having the chance to follow him around the State on inspection field trips. Checking my own notes, I surveyed this grade crossing at Valhalla in Feb 1988. I remember being at the crossing in the falling darkness near 6 pm, when nearly silent trains at high speed would come out of nowhere to barrel through the grade crossing. Same time as last night’s accident.

    1. I was watching News 12 coverage last night and they had the phone the man who was in the car right behind the woman on the tracks. His account was that she seemed lost, she got out of the car and then got back in and drove forward (oh my). I’ve heard so many differing accounts depending on the channel but if I were the NTSB, I’d interview the man who called in. He’s the only eyewitness to the events that unfurled. There’s some discussion that because of an accident on a different road, she was looking for a cut through and ended up where she was unfamiliar.

      Much has been made of “another” Metro North accident but I don’t see how any conductor could have stopped an express train going 60mph. The accident was unavoidable.

      The third rail issue confuses me, not sure I understand how it could have come up and into the first car.

      Thanks for your thorough analysis of the location.

  3. If you study the linked photo, you will see that the third rail is visible in front of the train, but not visible once it disappears into the SUV , which was pushed into it for 10 rail car lengths. Look behind the accident — the third rail is missing, meaning it was ripped out and possibly harpooned the passenger compartment from below.

    Metro-North cars can received power from overhead wires at about 13000 volts, or a ground mounted third rail at 600 volts. The hot rail on the side is lifted about 12 inches off the ground, an a “shoe” from the car rides up under it.

    At grade crossings where cars roll over the actual steel rails, the third rail is dis-continued in the roadway opening.

    I too heard the News12 coverage, thanks to your posting last night. The story flooded my mind with visual images from my memory having been there on foot at dark, yikes, 27 years ago.

    The roar and whoosh of the train, and the vibrating ground as it passes, are hard to forget.

  4. The train accident completely unnerved me and most of my friends. My husband takes the train every day, trying to get on an express to Mount Kisco. He loves to sit in the first car and positions himself on the station platform way up front to exactly where the first car pulls up. An equal number of his fellow travelers walk to the back end of the station platform to get on the last car. I drive into the city. I heard that at least two of the men killed are from Bedford Hills.

  5. The black box will tell all. My guess is that there was no time for the train to brake ahead of impact, and that it might have been going 65 mph at impact – nearly 100 ft per second.

  6. Catherine: my husband is a daily commuter too, from Bedford Hills. He was shaken when he got home last night, hitching a ride from a lawyer friend who lives in White Plains and who offered to bring him here. The 5:45 is his go-to train but had a meeting which caused him to miss the 5:45. One death is being reported as Eric Vendercar, from BH. Worked at Mesirow Financial. Tough loss.

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