Train Injury Case

BNSF_run-in (0;00;08;26)

We just got word of a settlement in a train injury case that kept us busy for a good portion of last Fall. We learned a lot about train operations in the process, making this an interesting job from start to finish. After weeks of trying to understand the finer points of how draft gear works, I had an "a-ha" moment when I stopped by the Portland Nursery, which happens to have a decommissioned caboose on site. Being able to crawl under the car and see how the parts fit together was invaluable in deciding how to represent them diagrammatically. We also got ample opportunity to refine a multi-tool animation workflow that included working in SketchUp, Keynote, Illustrator and After Effects.

The legal team really cared about their client, and left no stone unturned in their quest to present evidence in a compelling manner. Congratulations to Kirklin Thompson and Pope for concluding a long and difficult case, and for reaching a favorable settlement for their client. Here is a sampling of the four animated exhibits that we developed for the project:

2. Animated 3d diagram describing the concept of "slack" in train draft gear.

3. This animated infographic shows composition of the train, and loading of each car. The slack run-in caused a momentary acceleration at the plaintiff's location. A pair of faulty couplers caused this shock to be much greater than it would have been under normal conditions. Using data from the accident reconstructionist report, we created a moving graph to compare the two scenarios.

4. Snapshots from an animated timeline that explains the sequence of events surrounding the injury. Known time points are connected with physical locations along the track.

Ady Leverette was a designer and a principal at Fat Pencil Studio between 2011 and 2018.