Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Take Your Chance Railroad Crossing

For impatient drivers like me.
  [vote for,

I seem to waste hours of my life at level crossings (railroad crossings), and I'm fed up with it.

How about, as well as waiting in the conventional queue, we get the option to drive down a red slip road, with a barrier at the end. The barrier would be marked with a skull and crossbones, and a notice saying "danger of horrible death" or suchlike.

Being as we live in times which are both biometric and litigious, there would almost certainly be a automated scanning machine marked "If you wish to cross here at your own risk, please complete the retina scan now."

Once the scan was completed, and you'd effectively waived your rights to sue anyone if you were subsequently injured, you could proceed past the barrier, and cross the track whether or not there was a train due. I'm sure people would take care to look both ways, having been warned.

The front of every train would need to be solid steel, several inches thick, so that any collision would be catastrophic for the car, but inconsequential for the train.

I'd risk it.

Fishrat, Dec 20 2003

not the easiest name to spell! :) http://www.evelknievel.com/
[po, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Skyfreaks http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/cowcatcher
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Federal Railroad Administration http://www.fra.dot.gov/Content3.asp?P=338
"The FRA's Highway-Rail Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Program is committed to reducing the number of collisions at highway-rail grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way, where approximately 900 deaths occur every year." [Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

train collision statistics http://www.safe-a-r...lazing/OL/media.cfm
hmmm. [ato_de, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Kansas statistics http://www.cdc.gov/...wrhtml/00038936.htm
Stupidity is it's own cure. [ato_de, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Top Gear Train Crash http://www.youtube....watch?v=aNREwYW8fTo
The Renault becomes nothing more than a ballast plow. [reap, Aug 06 2008]


       & your passenger?
po, Dec 20 2003

       There is an implied wrecklessness about getting into a car with me to begin with. I'd count that as a waiver. Fancy a lift, [po]?
Fishrat, Dec 20 2003

       How about a ramp? Just lead the lane up to a big launch ramp. Call it the Evel Knievel Lane.
Letsbuildafort, Dec 20 2003

       are we taking the short-cut or the scenic route?
po, Dec 20 2003

       Firstly I don't think people should be able to kill themselves that easily, just to save a few minutes.   

       Secondly, no matter how armoured the train there would still be the chance of damage, and the tracks could also be damaged. Not only would you be killing yourself but there would be a risk, however small, of you taking a train full of people with you.
RobertKidney, Dec 20 2003

       Do you have whatchamacallit-thingies at *all* railroad crossings?   

       Where I was born of a jackal and raised - there's quite a few unwhatchamacallit-thingy Crossings.
thumbwax, Dec 20 2003

       //whatchamacallit-thingies // do you mean gates and lights?   

       I have a terror of stalling the car on a train line.
po, Dec 20 2003

       //I don't think people should be able to kill themselves that easily// Come on, [RobertKidney], there are a million quicker ways to kill yourself which don't involve a retina scan and barrier with skull and crossbones.
Fishrat, Dec 21 2003

       Yes but most of them have to be deliberate rather than due to impatience. After a while the skull and crossbones would seem routine.
RobertKidney, Dec 21 2003

       living in Canada and hearing just about every month about train and car collissions, I can tell you the train always wins and does not need to be steel reinforced.
python, Dec 21 2003

       //does not need to be steel reinforced. //
No, but an inflatable cowcatcher probably wouldn't hurt. [Link] Much.

       Now what we really need is an effective 'carcatcher' mounted on the front of the locomotive. If any driver is foolish enough to get in front of the train he will be held securely in his car until taken to the station and given a jolly good smacking.
akubra, Dec 21 2003

       Maybe we can top the 1,000 mark with this idea. <link>
Klaatu, Dec 21 2003

       //I seem to waste hours of my life at level crossings (railroad crossings), and I'm fed up with it. //   

       I don't see how this saves time. If the gates are down, there is a train coming or already in the intersection. By the time you do the retinal scan, the train would have arrived and you'd still be waiting for the train to pass.
GenYus, Dec 22 2003

       [Fishrat], really now, I'm surprised at all this fuss. What you need is a Train Crossing Tea Ceremony so you can learn to relax...
k_sra, Dec 22 2003

       Lets have a chill-out party for fishy!
po, Dec 22 2003

       <dribbling> OK, I'm chilled out now... and in the festive spirit. I'll add some tinsel around the scull and crossbones, I think.
Fishrat, Dec 23 2003

       once you completed the retina scan wouldn't the train already be there though? just like GenYus said
ModernDivo, Aug 05 2008

       Working on the railroad, I can tell you from experience. The train always wins.   

       What you are missing here though is that usually the car becomes a ballast plow (like the one in [link]) and there is a requirement to re-ballast the line, re-grind the track and fit the engine with new bogies to replace the one that has some nice flat spots on the wheels caused by the emergency braking.   

       A train-car collision usually costs the taxpayer at least $25,000(AUD).
reap, Aug 06 2008

       A train would turn your car into a pancake or cut you in half. Car tunnels that go under train tracks would be more practical.
travbm, Nov 05 2015


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