Family nearly hit by train while taking portrait

Family nearly hit by train while taking portrait

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — What was supposed to be a family portrait to remember nearly turned into tragedy.

A Pennsylvania family was posing on railroad tracks when a train came barreling towards them, interrupting an afternoon of pictures and walking along the tracks.

As the train first came into view, the children scattered and a man ran onto the tracks to grab another small child.

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Within seconds, the train was there.

Brock Kerchner of Operation Lifesasver of Pennsylvania said it's a situation they work to avoid.

“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 told WHTM.

Walking on tracks is illegal and considered trespassing.

Kerchner said trains, to the untrained mind, are also difficult to track, as steel wheels on steel rails are rather quiet at a distance.

"When you're in front of it, it's extremely hard to hear that train and if the train's around a corner, you're never gonna see it in time. It's actually also an optical illusion; if you do see a train coming, you can't tell how fast it's going."

Kerchner also pointed out that it takes a 100-car train traveling 55 mph more than a mile to stop.

"They can blow the horn, they can ring the bell, they can put the brakes on and that's all they can do in that case," said Kerchner.

Virtual Railfan's camera captured the video. It's one of six across Pennsylvania.

"We have cameras at hot spots all over the country, so you can literally tune in and everything is live. The fad of doing photography on the tracks, stuff like that, can go south real quick, and that video proves it right there," said Mike Cyr.

No one was hurt in this case, but officials said it serves as a good reminder to pay attention when approaching train tracks, no matter if you are in a car or on foot.