Train wreck

Train wreck

A train wreck most often occurs as a result of an accident, such as when a train wheel jumps off a track in a derailment, or miscommunication, as when a moving train meets another train on the same track, or when a boiler explosion occurs.

Legal consequences

Because train wrecks usually cause widespread property damage as well as injury or death, the intentional wrecking of a train in regular service is often treated as an extremely serious crime. For example, in the U.S. state of California, the penalty for intentionally causing a non-fatal train wreck is life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. For a fatal train wreck, the possible sentences are either life without the possibility of parole, or death. In U.S.A. a train accident/incident occurs every 49 minutes .

As metaphor

The term is sometimes used metaphorically to describe a disaster that is foreseeable but unavoidable. For example, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's asserted that a government shutdown would be a "train wreck.

The term "train wreck" is also used metaphorically to describe something disastrous yet inevitable, or distasteful yet morbidly fascinating ("You don't want to stare, but you just can't look away"). Train accidents typically produce a wide variety of passenger injuries, prompting emergency room personnel to use the slang term "train wreck" to describe a person with multiple medical problems.

In software development, method chains of the style: getThis().getThat().getTheOther() are referred to as "train wrecks". The term is pejorative because their use breaks the Law of Demeter in addition to being stylistically cumbersome.

Within Dance Music circles, a "train wreck" occurs when a DJ or mixer blends two songs together, but doesn't sync the rhythms accurately, creating an overlap in bass beats. If the DJ does not correct for this before switching over to the audience speakers, the reaction of the audience is akin to a train wreck.

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