11/6/12

Kansas Train Law . . .


There is a law here in Kansas that is not that dis-similar from other outdated and silly laws around the world but I only want to talk about one particular law - the Kansas Train Law.

The law is simple: "If two trains meet on the same track(s), neither shall proceed until the other has passed."

In other words - I can't move until you move but you can't move until I move and, in the meantime, we're likely face-to-face with no place to go but backwards anyway so "proceeding" is not the right word anyway. The law's intent is simple and from a simpler time - courtesy, patience, safety, etc. You can't just steam (or coal, or electric, or magnet) your way over the top of someone else and you should not presume any amount of standoff ensures you the right of way. But at the end of the day someone HAS to go first. One train or the other HAS to move.

It MIGHT make more sense for the engineers/conductors (who actually helms a train, anyway?) to get out, walk down the track and talk in out. But we're not sensical, level-headed, patient people. If we changed our train law to insist on dialogue and true problem solving vs. blind courtesy and patience, we'd have to IMMEDIATELY re-write the law to clarify you could not fistfight, name call, hair pull, or fail to put your emergency brake on before leaving the train to begin with.

Bottom line . . . patience is better that stubborn, common sense reliance is easier than actual problem solving, traveling and shipping by rail is not as simple as it might otherwise seem, and I need to better learn my train terminology.

Be careful out there!