A Ventura County, CA teen was killed Tuesday while walking on railroad tracks near Emma Wood State Beach. Amanda Shoemaker was not alone on the tracks – she was walking with her boyfriend, and several other teens were behind them. Shoemaker and her boyfriend did not hear the train coming. One of the teens who did ran to them and yelled at them to get off of the tracks. Shoemaker’s boyfriend was able to jump off of the tracks in time, while she was not. She died from multiple blunt-force injuries.
It might seem strange that someone could be walking on tracks and not hear a train coming. This is one of the modern railroad dilemmas: pedestrians are often unaware that trains may be turning the corner of the tracks they are on at any minute, and assume that if a train were to turn the corner, they would hear it. Modern trains, however, are deceptively quiet for how fast they travel. The speed limit at the site of this accident was 50 mph, though authorities have yet to determine whether or not this limit was being followed.
This is a tragic event for everyone involved: young Amanda who lost her life, her boyfriend who had to witness it, her parents who have lost their child, and even the train engineer who had to witness the vehicle he could not stop destroy a life. It is imperative that railroads start leaping forward in their implementation of safety technology to prevent tragedies like this from happening, through satellite control and greater automated alert systems to counteract the silence of the modern train.