Having lived 'on the tracks' in Paso Robles, El Paso and now here in Stockton, there hasn't been too much concern about the Big One crashing through the backyard fence and into the bedroom or living room. But there has been a reasonable, non-stressing level of concern. We had heard the story from friends who live on the other side of the tracks about the derailment that happened about 30 years ago in the same area. We knew it might again, but like the inevitable earthquake, you pray you will be spared. Thankfully, we were!
Yesterday's 6 p.m. derailment across the fence took everyone by surprise. We had just left minutes before to attend a baby shower and heard the news later that night as people called wondering if we were okay. There were cars parked on the tracks behind us, but that wasn't unusual. I found out what happened this morning and walked over with my camera to see the damage. What a mess! No one was killed, thankfully, but some people saw it coming and had to run to get out of the way. One woman was working in her backyard when a box car broke through her back fence and landed yards from her, close to her house. Sixteen cars bit the dust. They'll be working into Monday to fix it.
My surmisings: the recent heat wave warped the track just enough to put a wheel over the edge. One of my pictures of the rails in back of the house shows a definite out-of-alignment stretch right where the train jumped the track, although they're using engines and cars on it today (south of the accident) to bring in more bed rock and railroad ties
You can see all the pictures here: Derailment
Guess I should mention that one of the crunched cars was full of sulfuric acid and another full of chlorine gas. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Psalm 46:1,2