Teen survives tractor vs train crash
Wed, 27 Jun 2012 7:00p.m.
On Sunday, March 18, just after 11am, an 1,000 tonne freight train went through the Manawatu township of Halcombe, as they do many times a day.
As it neared an uncontrolled level crossing on the Hughes family farm, 18-year-old Jennifer Hughes was also approaching on a tractor. She didn't see the train or hear its horn.
Her father, driving a tractor in front saw everything. Paul Hughes watched helplessly as the train hit the tractor at top speed.
A volunteer fireman, Mr Hughes then did the most important rescue of his life.
Watch the video to see Rachel Tiffen’s report.
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18/03/2013 1:16:23 p.m.
It has been a year today and i am soooo proud of how much you has accomplished jenn. you are an amazing person and we are thankful the you are still here with us. love you x
3/07/2012 6:51:31 p.m.
I am HORRIFIED that people can be so judgemental and instantly point a finger and blame someone. this young girl is lucky to be alive and all this sounds like you are doing is knocking down all the hard work she has put in geting her self to where she is not many people can stand up and say i cheated death there family has been through enough with out nasty comments like that!!
1/07/2012 10:47:26 p.m.
have a even driven a tractor before if not it not very nice to judge someone elses actions as u werent there you dont no what happened u are just presuming u no what happened. the video wasnt even filmed on the side of the track she was going over for on and the train shown in the video is going 1/4 of the speed it was on the day it hit her as the one in the video is stopping to let another train through. so next time you want to judge someones actions think about what you are saying before you afend people id like to see you in a tractor and see if you could accelerate fast enough to get out of the way...
1/07/2012 10:36:36 p.m.
i think you need to stop and think what you are saying before you tell someone you dont even no what she should have done that day you dont no how she looked or were she looked there was no straight there was a corner in both directions and there was 120metre visable from the way the train was coming her father was out of the other tractor infrount of her and even he did not her the train coming until it had tooted at her. who told you she was not in gear why would she look then put the tractor in gear if she saw the train why would she have pulled out did you noy understand that she was half way across when the train hit her. she was in first gear that about 1.0 kmph its not like driving a car it takes 3 or more seconds to change gear how on earth do u expect her to change gear and move off the track in less than 7 seconds. that crossing is one of 1700 in nz that was the only axcess to the farm at that time u say put up a convex 1 whom is going to pay for it and 2 it 120 metres away you wont be able to see much anyway you also say ring the train company they were crossing that crossing at least 20 times that day do you expect them to ring everytime they wanted to cross it if every farmer rang to ask when the train was coming so they could cross the uncontrolled line the phones would never stop ringing. u say take off quickly i take it you have never driven a tractor its not like a car it does 1.0kmph in first gear low even if she flicked it up to first high it would have only increased her speed by 1.0 kmph that 2 kmph a tractor feels ever single bump and going any faster that 4kmph over that crossing would just about bump you out of your seat. the train driver has chosen that for a job and hitting things is not unusal for them and aparently they were not aloud to contact the train driver the driver was not even aloud out of the train at the accident. dont cross with out a spotter ae her dad was right there he didnt see or here the train what was a spottergoingtodo
28/06/2012 8:12:50 a.m.
If watch carefully the side I presume the train came from has a bend and this gives about a 7 second window for this crossing, while the other direction is much longer. Given the tractor driver sits higher than the cameraman, its possible the window a little longer than 7 seconds if the driver looked the bend direction last. If was crosing from the other direction the window is shorter due to less visability from the inside of the bend.I'm guessing while the teen may have looked both ways they may have looked right (down the straight) last, then got the tractor into gear (looked like probably manual), then pulled away carefully in first. All these bits of time together and the teen ran out of time.If going across uncontrolled crossings then you need to take care, and urgency. Check the shorter side last. Best to watch the short side as you go across. We have had the police harp on about speed kills, but lack of urgency can kill too as it almost did in this case. If likes of a manual vehicle, best to put the vehicle in gear while stationary, check both ways with the shorter side last, and then take off quickly while watching the short side. By watching the short side it will allow to brake to stop before the crossing if spot anything, or accelerate if gone too far to brake before the crossing. This will give you a much safer window to cross.When driving its important to know your suroundings and while a tractor is big and heavy its a toy in size vs a train. If you think the crossing is bad, often farm vehicles like tractors can be towing - ie much longer to cross. Crossing from the inside of a bend is also worse.Another uncontrolled crossing I know put a large metal (convex) disk up off the track at the bend so they could see further in the reflection. Can keep the grass cut on the bend to increase visability as the grass can obstruct visability as it may have done here.
28/06/2012 3:41:15 a.m.
Forget lotto, go ask if the train driver is ok....
28/06/2012 3:25:15 a.m.
WOW, thank life you are still with us.... but i have to say, what are you doing, why are you even working there. its called the silent death, you cant take a machine over rail lines without a spotter, let alone making some form of contact with the rail company. lesson and kama
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