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Caught on camera: Pennsylvania family nearly hit by train

HARRISBURG, Pa. – What was supposed to be a family portrait to remember, nearly turned into tragedy.

The Pennsylvania family was posing on railroad tracks when a train came barreling towards them.

"There’s a train!!”

Kids scatter, as a man runs onto the tracks grabbing a small child, hurrying back across -- within seconds, the train is there.

The video is exactly what Brock Kerchner with Operation Lifesaver of PA works to avoid.

“You wouldn’t stand in the middle of an airport runway with a plane barreling down on you to take a picture so why would you do it on a railroad track?" said Kerchner.

Walking on tracks he says is illegal, and considered trespassing.

“When you’re in front of it, its extremely hard to hear that train and if the train’s around a corner, you’re never gonna see it in time," said Kerchner. “It’s actually also an optical illusion, if you do see a train coming you can’t tell how fast it’s going.”

Steel wheels on steel rails are rather quiet at a distance, Kerchner says. Adding that it takes a 100-car train traveling 55 miles per hour, more than a mile to stop.

“They can blow the horn, they can ring the bell, they can put the brakes on and that’s all they can do in that case," said Kerchner.

Virtual railfan’s camera captured the video - it’s one of six across Pennsylvania.

“We have cameras at hot spots all over the country, so you can literally tune in and everything is live. the fad of doing photography on the tracks stuff like that can go south real quick, and that video that proves it right there," said Mike Cyr.

“There were split seconds there, if she hadn’t seen it when she did, we’d have an absolute disaster on our hands," said Kerchner.

No one was hurt in this case, but officials say it serves as a good reminder to pay attention when approaching train tracks, no matter if you are in a car or on foot.