Train part catapults into Palo Alto car | October 12, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 12, 2012

Train part catapults into Palo Alto car

Large, heavy piece smashed into parked car after flying over homes, street

by Sue Dremann

A mysterious object that slammed into a parked Chevrolet Suburban in Palo Alto earlier this week has been identified as part of a train. But the part is from a Union Pacific locomotive, not a commuter train, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said on Thursday, Oct. 11.

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Posted by Andreas, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I live on Park Blvd. The trains go past my backyard. In 14 years, I've found two railroad spikes in my yard. These sprung loose from the railroad ties, flew over, and landed in my yard. They travelled easily 20 yards and over a 12-14 foot hedge. The spikes are big and heavy. Yes, if they had hit someone, it would have killed them.

Posted by Jan H., a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

My son is a rail fan, and he said it sounded like the part was something from the housing of a fan on the engine. However, such a loss would have caused the train to stop somewhere farther down the tracks.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 11, 2012 at 6:51 pm

An hour ago on the original thread, Railroader had interesting input about a failed dynamic brake fan on UP 9989.

Web Link

Maybe the editor will concatenate this.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I told my Aunt Tesse to not take the keys without telling me when she did her midnight run.

Posted by Old Palo Alto, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2012 at 12:06 am

Here is the train part that hit the truck. Not the blades were broken off and the bolts that hold them on are in tact.

Web Link

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 12, 2012 at 7:31 am

Excellent find, Old Palo Alto. Whether 1250 or 2000 rpm, that thing would really go flying, as seen in the YouTube link on other thread.

Posted by Jake, a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

"old Palo Alto"

Way to go! That looks like it could be 99.9% the part.

Posted by humm, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

If so, should we conclude people take higher risk to live or be around rail roads?

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I don't have enough zeros in my basket to quantify the risk increment.

Posted by Trench it. A solid wall would contain thrown objects., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm

One more good reason to trench the train. Good grief!

Posted by engineer from UPRR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

The railroad spikes don't come out of the ties and fly over. People put them on the rails and the train will hit them at a high speed. Thus, they go flying outwards and I've seen it as an engineer. If dumb people stop putting objects on the rails, then the objects won't fly into your yard.

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