Dramatic Video Shows Entire Pennsylvania Family Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train


A dramatic video of a family narrowly avoiding being hit by a train is making its rounds across the internet.

The video shows members of a family in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, having their pictures taken on the train tracks by a photographer.

The kids are seen running and playing in the tracks when someone yells, “Here comes a train!” as the locomotive speeds into view.

There is a mad scramble, and one by one, each family member jumps off the track. One child barely crosses the track before the train speeds by.

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The camera sits above the Norfolk Southern tracks and is one of six owned and operated by Virtual Railfan in Pennsylvania, WHTM-TV reported.

Brock Kerchner, the state coordinator for rail safety group Operation Lifesaver of Pennsylvania, told the news station the family of eight is lucky to be alive.

“You wouldn’t stand in the middle of an airport runway with a plane bearing down on you to take a picture, so why would you do it on a railroad track?” Kerchner said.

“This is a place for the trains. You always expect a train anytime —  there’s no schedule.”

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Playing in the middle of train tracks is especially dangerous because it is hard to hear oncoming trains, according to Kerchner.

“You’re in front of an object that’s making sound, that’s moving toward you, you’re not gonna be able to hear it until it’s passed you. You’d be very surprised how quiet a train can be with a steel rail and the steel wheel,” he said.

“You’d think that, ‘Hey, there’s this large 1,000-ton train coming at me, I’m gonna hear something, I’m gonna see something.’ You’re not. Thinking that you can feel it or you can hear it beforehand, you’re not gonna be able to.”

In fact, every three hours across the country, a person or car is hit by a train, according to Kerchner.

The track safety guidelines posted by Operation Lifesaver remind people that it is illegal to walk on train tracks at places that are not designated as pedestrian crossing zones.

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Mike Cyr, president and CEO of Virtual Railfan, also warned against taking pictures on train tracks that are in use.

“The fad of doing photography on the tracks stuff like that can go south real quick, and that video — that proves it right there,” Cyr said.

“Carrying that poor kid over the tracks, one wrong move and you don’t have any time to correct it again.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith