Why Trains Crash

By | 27 June 2005

stop the trains. a crash appears imminent.
i'm playing with machines that control
whether trains crash into each other.

german trains crash head-on.
and, wow, do those trains crash:
into the water, into buildings,
into mass quantities of fish,
and into each other.

why the carnage?

trains take enormous amounts
of time and space to come to a stop

then, in a thunderous, grinding crash,
the trains collide. the two locomotives
rise up at their meeting and erupt in steam
and smoke; flames billow from the wreckage.
carriages, jammed after impact,
trap many passengers inside.

(speedometer malfunctioned/the morning was overcast
and visibility poor/the procedures were either
misunderstood or poorly designed/human error

has been blamed for the crash.)

the trains were freshly painted. the locomotives hit
with a crash which was followed by a roar as one
of the boilers exploded, sending debris in all directions.

witnesses said the trains were on the same track,
heading towards each other. an investigation into the cause
of the crash – and why the trains were on the same line

is underway.


two trains crash somewhere in russia, one carrying a nuclear payload.
a nuclear explosion follows the crash and the world is on alert.
eventually a train will derail or a truck will crash:

a mobile chernobyl. a nuke train.
the logic of failure: why do trains crash when the signals are working?
why does a nuclear reactor melt down with all operators alert at their posts?

even professionals make mistakes.


please don't let the trains crash.
don't have any more circus trains
crash into passing parades
and spilling over into the zoo.
repair broken music boxes and other toys.
i was always finding ways to crash the train, like gomez addams.
when two trains crash head on with each other, not only do the potential energies
add together, but solving this school algebra (versus calculus) equation shows that
the trains crash when t = 350/60 hours (no need to simplify).

i'm not making excuses. i've loved trains my whole life.


so trains crash, the roads are congested
and you don't know if your food is fit to eat.
livestock is diseased and plants are modified genetically.

so trains crash, water can't be drunk and cities lose electricity.
ferries sink, bombs are planted on buses,
automatic teller machines self-destruct.

show me the trains and give us all engines.
yes, this is where we wreck stuff.
my ideas are: let us be able to drive
the trains, lorries, buses, planes, etc.
and crash them if we want:

a collection of some of the wildest crashes
and most outrageous stunts.

you can jump half-pipes,
play chicken with subway trains,
crash through windows and perform realistic tricks;

i will be spending new year's eve standing on top
of the hill at alexandra palace,
waiting to see planes fall out of the sky.

(this will happen only if you mess up)


damn, those trains gonna crash!
the men at the bar suddenly paid attention. what crash?

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