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Nashua;33.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-04-21 05:37:19
Thursday, August 1, 2013

How fast is a train going? Count the railroad ties in the video

Associated Press reported long before officials did that the Spanish train which had the horrific crash last month was speeding. How did they know? Arithmetic!

Europe Desk editor Fisnik Abrashi used an AP photo picked up from a local newspaper to count how many cross ties there were on the tracks between the pylons, and editor Bob Barr, a railroad buff, researched the typical distance between ties on European railroads.

Each method gave AP a range of possible speeds: one was 89-119 mph; the other 96-112 mph. The speed limit was 50 mph, so AP was able to report far ahead of official announcements that the train was traveling about twice the speed limit.

Here's the story from Poynter.