Is it true that a flat penny lying helplessly on a train track could wreak unimaginable havoc to train that step on it? There are many life-threatening propositions about a flat penny on train tracks that most people blindly believe without any effort to confirm if they are true or not.
In this post, we will unveil some factual details you should know about a flat penny; why people flat their penny, and how to flat your penny. We will also see if there are any dangers or negative effects attached to flattening a penny on train tracks.
- 1 Why Do People flatten Their penny
- 2 Is it safe to flatten a penny on a train track?
- 3 What happens if you flatten a penny on a train track?
- 4 What would happen if a train ran over a coin on the tracks?
- 5 Could placing a coin on train tracks derail the train?
- 6 Is it true that a small object on train tracks like a penny can crash a train?
- 7 Has anyone ever died when a train ran over a penny placed on a train track?
- 8 Is it illegal to flatten a penny on train tracks?
Why Do People flatten Their penny
Flattened pennies are mostly deployed as commemorative or souvenir coins in the United States. They are often seen in museums, amusement parks, and other tourism hubs.
It is believed that people flatten their pennies as part of their mission to have a coin that helps them remember past historic events. They also flatten their coins and patiently wait until someone shows interest in purchasing them.
How To Flatten a Penny
There are three ways to flatten your penny; they include the following
• Hitting It Repeatedly With a Sledge Hammer: This method requires you to place your penny or coin on a very sturdy surface while you hit it constantly with a sledgehammer.
Ensure you hit the same spot throughout the flattening exercise to get a better result. Don’t forget to put on your safety goggle as a protective measure because the coin might shoot out in your direction.
• Explore Coin-pressing Machines: Here’s another way to flatten or press your penny. Get your coin-pressing machine at any e-commerce store so you can flatten your penny. You can get a quality machine for at least $600.
Alternatively, visit any amusement parks or malls in the country and make use of the readily available coin-pressing machines.
• Flattening Your Penny Using Train Tracks: Here’s the third and easiest way to press your penny. It doesn’t require much energy because the whole work is done by moving trains.
How Do You Flatten a Penny on a Train Track?
To explore this method, you must:
- Set your penny on a train track
- Stand in a far distance and watch patiently until a train runs over it.
- Go pick up your coin as soon as the train has completely left the scene.
Though this method isn’t expensive or tedious, it’s very risky due to some reasons we will discuss later.
Is it safe to flatten a penny on a train track?
It’s not safe to flatten your penny on a train track because you might end up stepping on the dangerous ‘third rail line’ in the case of an electric train track.
The overhead or 3rd rail line carries an electric current powering a moving train, so stepping on it could lead to being electrocuted.
A coin might shoot up and land on your skull due to the intensity with which the train steps on it, although this doesn’t happen too often.
In a nutshell, it is generally unsafe to drop any object on a train track because the object might become a fast-moving projectile that could affect the train in the long run.
What happens if you flatten a penny on a train track?
Below are some things you should expect when flattening a penny on a train track.
1. The penny will turn to its thinnest state: The coin would be flattened to its tiniest state as a result of the pressure exerted by the moving train. This is why flattening a penny on a train track is the most effective method.
2. The Penny Might Fall Off the Track: Another possible event that could occur if you place your penny on a train track includes the coin falling off the track immediately the first coach runs over it.
The vibration emerging from the train and the massive breeze between the truck and the wheels are strong enough to blow the penny to either side of the track.
It could equally shoot off the track with full force once the train marched it, especially if it doesn’t stay conveniently on the tracks.
3. The Penny Might Remain Unchanged: As much as this doesn’t occur too often, we can’t completely overlook the chance of the train not stepping on the penny. In this case, your coin will remain in its initial and normal shape unless another train runs over it.
What would happen if a train ran over a coin on the tracks?
The first and most likely event is that the penny will be flattened until it reaches its thinnest state. It might even shoot out of the track after it changes in shape and weight.
Sometimes, it depends on the number of tires that ran over your coin. Your coin may appear a little bit flattened if only one tire ran over it.
Meanwhile, the coin may fly off the track as a result of the heavy wind emerging from the train. In this situation, your coin won’t be elongated or flattened leaving you with no option than to try again.
Could placing a coin on train tracks derail the train?
It’s believed that flattening a penny on a train track could derail a train, but that’s far from the truth. A penny on a train track can’t wreak any havoc to a train owing to its light and small size.
Contrary to popular belief, a coin on a train track can’t derail or crash the train as it is very small in size. Rather than derailing a train, the penny will be at the receiving end of the train’s weight and speed as it will flattens continually till it becomes as thin as paper.
Is it true that a small object on train tracks like a penny can crash a train?
No, small objects like a penny can’t crash a train. They are not sturdy enough to damage a train. The same can’t be said about bigger objects like vehicles, trucks, and bricks. They have what it takes to derail a train if placed on their tracks.
Meanwhile, it is advisable never to drop any object on the tracks, whether big or small. Your safety should be paramount to you, hence it’s better to desist from activities that might endanger your life if things go wrong.
Has anyone ever died when a train ran over a penny placed on a train track?
No. There is no record of anyone killed by a penny placed on the track. As much as there is a high tendency that the penny could fly off the track, it hasn’t led to someone’s death.
However, several people had lost their lives in the process of placing or picking their flat penny from train tracks because they failed to look out for incoming trains before heading to the track.
For the records, Railroads.dot.gov suggests that over 400 people die annually for trespassing or walking on train tracks. Some of the numbers are a result of people’s desire to flatten their penny on railroads.
Is it illegal to flatten a penny on train tracks?
Flattening your penny on train tracks is illegal and prohibited in United States, South Africa, and some European countries.
Train tracks are legally regarded as private(government) properties, meaning the public is prohibited from getting close to them.
Moving close to train tracks or stepping on them is illegal and you would be charged for trespassing. In the same vein, dropping your penny on train tracks is unacceptable and it attracts punishment.
Railroad police and trained security officers are keeping a close watch on railway tracks. They are constantly looking for people violating the railway’s rules and regulations.
If you are found guilty of violating any of the rules, you will be forced to pay a certain amount of money. You might equally end up serving a one-year jail term, should you fail to pay the fine within the stipulated period.
Apart from its illegal status, flattening your penny on train tracks is dangerous. Hence, you should explore other options discussed above to avoid being harassed by the authorities.