Following the Railroad
In your normal life as you know it now, following the railroad tracks can often be dangerous for a number of different reasons. However, just like the roads that we do travel every day, railroad tracks crisscross the nation. Yet, most homeowners don’t want to look at them or hear the trains going by, leading to the tracks often being buffered off by trees. This seclusion from prying eyes actually makes them perfect for travel during a post-disaster situation.
As depicted by a number of different books and movies on the subject, after the thin veneer of civil society is shattered, the main roads will become swollen with roadblocks. Not only will these impede your escape plan from dangerous cities, but they are a great place for looters to gather in order to take everything from you and your family, including your lives. Making it more apparent to travel with a group in such a scenario instead of wandering the tracks, all alone. However, no matter how dangerous they can be, there are a number of compelling reasons to travel the railroad tracks during a disaster.
The Benefits of Railroad Travel
- Obscured by trees and other structures, the railroad is often hidden from prying eyes and any sound you make is buffered. Many who live around railroad tracks often forget they are there, making them the path much less travelled.
- By having a buffer of trees on either side of the railroad tracks makes for an excellent opportunity to quickly dip in and out of cover if you need to remain unseen. However, the trees can also conceal dangers as well.
- Just as few people remember where the railroad tracks are, even less know where the railroad tracks go. Having at least a rough idea of where the tracks nearest to you end up can make all the difference.
- Depending on the severity of the situation, the railroad may or may not be functioning. If the trains are no longer running, this significantly cuts the dangers of travelling the railroad.
- Due to the uneven terrain, it may seem slower to travel the railroad, but in cities that serve as big railway crossroads, the tracks are typically well maintained. However, tools like rail bikes (bikes designed to run smoothly on railroad tracks) can make travel even faster than roads in a post-disaster scenario.
The Dangers of Railroad Travel
- Just like in normal times, the railroad tracks are an excellent place for a debilitating injury. Poorly maintained tracks are often responsible for broken or sprained ankles and falling on the tracks can easily knock someone unconscious. When travelling alone while the trains are still running, those who get knocked unconscious on the tracks might not wake up again.
- When the trains are still running, don’t always count on hearing them coming. Locomotives do not always pull cargo around; they are also used to push train cars around. With a train engine being nearly a mile behind its cargo, you will quickly learn how quietly train cars can sneak up on you without engine noise to warn you ahead of time.
- They may not look it, but train tracks can be as sharp as a scalpel. The top of the rail on the inside often forms thin strips of metal worn down by trains referred to as the flash. While easy to miss, they can be dreadfully sharp to any ankle skin that comes in contact with them.
- One of the biggest dangers of the railroad during a disaster or any other time is the people you can meet there. While not all people are the same, typically the kind of people you meet hanging around the railroad tracks are not typically the type of people you want to spend time with. They may happen to be the type of people who may beat and rob you.