A group of climate protesters got a lesson in basic physics during an attempt to stop a moving freight train loaded down with coal.
The incident occurred after activists attempted to stop the cargo in Massachusetts late Monday night. It doesn’t appear anyone was hurt, despite the potentially deadly nature of the stunt.
According to WBUR, the protesters jumped away from the tracks when the train was a mere 50 feet away.
“A train carrying coal to NH nearly ran over a dozen climate activists who tried to block it in Worcester,” WBUR’s Miriam Wasser tweeted. “This happened after someone farther south on the tracks called the emergency hotline twice to report there were people on the tracks.”
#BREAKING A train carrying coal to NH nearly ran over a dozen climate activists who tried to block it in Worcester. This happened after someone farther south on the tracks called the emergency hotline twice to report there were people on the tracks. pic.twitter.com/uaUa12mauQ
— Miriam Wasser (@MiriamWasser) December 17, 2019
The protesters belong to groups that have made a habit of blockading coal shipments in New England, including Climate Disobedience Center and 350 New Hampshire Action.
According to 350 New Hampshire, the train crew knew protesters were on the tracks and simply refused to stop.
— 350 New Hampshire (@350NH) December 17, 2019
Of course, anyone who knows the first thing about trains can tell you that these industrial behemoths can’t stop on a dime. Depending on the cargo weight and speed of the train, it can take miles for one of these massive machines to come to a complete halt.
Until the train stops, there’s not much that can slow it down.
With a full load, trains can weigh millions of pounds.
At speed, the momentum of these machines means that they can even shred tractor-trailer rigs like tissue paper. If that sounds impossible, just watch the video clip below.
WARNING: The following video contains profane language that some viewers may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
OK, Firefighter Smokey here again with a lesson. My Father drove trains for Santa Fe for several years before the merger with BN, when he left them in a buyout. He’s told me about hitting cows, sofas, even cars, and drilled into my head, DO NOT try to beat a train! pic.twitter.com/k0LEk31UDT
— Sheepdog Smokey (@PissedOffTexan7) December 12, 2019
If a train is able to tear an 18-wheeler apart like that, protesters don’t stand much of a chance.
Despite the danger in their particular type of climate activism, these protesters succeeded in stalling a train earlier this month. A post from the Climate Disobedience Center celebrated that blockage.
Coal train blockade at Ayer, MA, 3:45 this morning, temp approx 10F. Twelve arrested, including members of @350MassAct & @XRboston. Photos by @wenstephenson, who was among the arrested. #NoCoalNoGas https://t.co/fa0MFzkSXM pic.twitter.com/O5klEAvkof
— Climate Disobedience Center (@ClimateDisobey) December 8, 2019
What this post failed to mention is the time the train spent idling because of the protesters. Running engines still consume fuel, and the extra fuel needed to get a train up to speed once the protesters were removed surely added to the trip’s total carbon footprint.
Perhaps most hypocritical is the technology these climate activists use to spread their message.
Unless these protesters are running their electronics off a solar charger, there’s a good chance that the trains being stopped are delivering coal that will go to power the very devices used to further their cause.
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