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After all of the subway carnage this past week, we were really interested in the Times' sober and compelling story on how such accidents affect the men and women who work on the trains.

First things first is this terrifying quote from a Transit Workers Union rep concerning the number of 12-9 (the TWU code for train-hitting-people accidents): "A ballpark figure might be one to two a week, with a larger number around the holidays." To which we respond: Sheesh, we knew that these kinds of accidents were common, but we had no idea it was that common.

Beyond the fact, the story itself is worth reading (though if you don't deal with gore well you there are a few paragraphs on the top of the second page you might want to just skip over). Mostly it deals with how psycholgically harrowing it can be to be driving tons of steel at 30 mph only to be unable to stop as something jumps in front of you.

"Imagine spending the whole day on that train," a motorman named William Martinez once said in a Bronx diner near the end of the D line, his route for several years. "It's an exercise in staying awake. I was telling somebody it's like watching the same movie 1,000 times, but having to watch for that one detail in it that's different every time."

All of which is to say, no matter what we think of the never ending contract negotiations, we really do respect our train conductors and motormen.

Photograph by Ken Knudson for PhotoLink via the New York Times