Pedestrian Injury Resulting from Standing in the Foul of a Commuter Train

A pedestrian waiting for a southbound train on Track 1 walked through an opening in the guardrail surrounding a ground-level platform, and into the "foul" of Track 2, defined as the four-foot-wide area on either side of the track that the train occupies as it passes through the area. The pedestrian was facing north and using a cell phone at the time, and wasn't aware of an approaching northbound express train on Track 2, where the pedestrian was standing in the foul of the track. The engineer of the northbound train applied the full service and emergency brakes, rang the bell continuously, and blasted the locomotive horn, but the pedestrian did not react and was hit from behind by the northbound train, suffering debilitating injuries.

ESi completed an accident reconstruction and dimensional analysis for the railroad company, using a FARO 3D Laser scanner to capture the dimensions of the station and the electric propulsion coach car. A similar train was used to collect videos showing the approach of the northbound train from a location near where the pedestrian was standing in the foul of the track. Videos were also captured from the interior of the train to show the perspective the engineer would've had as the train approached the station. These were used to show the visual challenge the engineer faced in order to identify a pedestrian in the distance at the time that he first applied the brakes.

ESi also analyzed data downloaded from the train's Event Data Recorder (or "black box") to establish the braking capability of the train and when the brakes were applied. Our reconstruction of the accident showed that the train was not capable of stopping prior to reaching the off-limits location where the pedestrian was standing, based on the available time and distance. We were also able to demonstrate that the pedestrian had no reason to walk out onto Track 2 and would have been able to observe the train she was anticipating from the safe area within the guardrails.

The visual materials and report we created for our client were used to obtain a settlement at mediation that the client commented was very reasonable and fair.


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