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Metrolink / BNSF Collision:
Steve Grande's Response to Coverge Criticism

http://www.trainweb.com/derailments/2002d23c.html

I have heard that some malicious posts have been made in some rail forums regarding the coverage by TrainWeb of this incident. Some said that we should have been helping the injured rather than taking photos. Those that are making these accusations are being very judgemental without any concept of the sequence of events. I was on the scene as fast as I could park my car, which was less than a minute after the collision. The passengers emerging from the train only seemed to have minor cuts and bruises. At that point, I had no idea that some passengers had much greater injuries. I thought about calling 911, but before I could even get my cell phone out, I could hear the sound of sirens from many emergency vehicles approaching the scene. Within minutes, there were dozens of emergency personnel at the scene helping the accident victims. I'm not sure what I could have done there other than get in the way of the trained rescue personnel. Photo sets #1 and #2 were taken by me. Other TrainWeb staff members then arrived while I returned to the office. They took photo sets #3 through #11. I never saw those injured people while I was on the scene and by that time there was a tremendous number of emergency workers on the scene. Our personalities are not like the characters in the movie "Medium Cool". If we thought there was anything that we could have done to help the injured passengers or the emergency workers, that would have taken priority over taking photos.

Another complaint that I have heard is that some of the photos show too much gore and should be removed. I know that there are no photos of dead passengers, no photos of anyone lying in a puddle of blood, no photos of open wounds, body parts or severed limbs. I don't see photos that look any different than what I have seen from all the major media outlets covering 9/11, wars, accidents and other major disasters. A lot of rational people have reviewed the photos and none of them have felt their sensibilities offended. The purpose of the photos is to give the visitors to our page insight to the human side of this story and an understanding of the severity and impact this had on the passengers that were riding on that train. The photos are background material to the story and you will find that they are not a main feature of the story, appearing neither in the run of text nor in the highlight photos. If our purpose was to capitalize on the gore, we could have gotten a lot more graphic photos than what we took and placed them on the main page of TrainWeb. That wasn't our point at all and that is why they are just mixed in with the rest of the large number of photos that we took at the scene. We would also like everyone to know that we did not "have our cameras in people's faces" as some have claimed. What might look like a close-up shot was actually taken with a telephoto lens. We stayed out of the way and we stayed out of everyone's face.

A third complaint is that some people thought I was rather cold to state that I would be taking a train trip on Wednesday despite having witnessed this accident. The only point that I was trying to get across with that statement is that passenger rail accidents and injuries are very rare despite the 2 incidents over the last few days. My faith in the safety of rail travel has not been shaken. I don't believe that the safety of rail travel should be shaken for anyone else either. I stated that I have no hesitation and no second thoughts of taking my scheduled rail trip on Wednesday to show that I really believe what I said about rail safety. All of us at TrainWeb are very strong supporters of rail travel and want the public to understand that rail travel is still one of the safest modes of travel. Before passing judgement on TrainWeb, one should read what we have to say about the safety of rail travel. You can do so by visitng www.trainweb.com/travel/safety.html.

All of us at TrainWeb have devoted much of the previous six years of our lives to the promotion of rail travel and to generate an interest in all areas of rail. We cover as many rail events as we can and bring the stories to our readers. When we travel, we take photos and write about the entire trip so that more people will understand the joys of train travel and will be encouraged to take such trips themselves. We belong to many rail passenger advocacy and historical rail organizations and provide them with both financial and promotional support. TrainWeb hosts the websites of many rail advocacy and safety organizations at no charge. TrainWeb also hosts and promotes the rail related websites of more than 400 organizations and individuals at no charge so they can bring their rail knowledge, education and opinions to you. Of these people that are making vicious judgements of TrainWeb, how many of them are working so hard to promote an interest in rail travel and to educate the public about railroading in general? Rather than puting their energies into critizing the way TrainWeb covers a story, would it not be more productive if they put their energies instead into the promotion of rail travel and educating the public about railroading? At TrainWeb, we are trying to be constructive, educating and helpful. What are they trying to do?

Click here to view TrainWeb's coverage of the Metrolink / BNSF collision.


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