There’s something about old safety films. We’ve all got clips we remember from growing up; for me it was a particularly harrowing one about flying a kite near power lines. But every now and then, one comes to the fore and captures the hearts (or nightmares) of millions, and today it’s Latvia’s job to do just that.
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A cutesy stop-motion film created to highlight rail safety has been doing the rounds on Twitter this week, and it’s easy to see why. The clip (linked below), which was created by Latvian Railways, starts off pretty harmless. It shows three kids attempting to squash a penny on the train tracks.
But, after that goes to plan, their pranks begin to escalate. First, it’s a stone that’s instantly crushed under the wheels, and then things start getting weird when they place a log across the tracks.
The train crashes with the log and tumbles off the track. The three kids run for safety, only to be followed wherever they go by the rogue train. They run down the street, and the train follows. They try to hide around a corner, and the train follows. There’s no escape from it!
Then, we’re treated to a glimpse at the kind of high-tech trains you can find in Europe as the locomotive even chases the kids up a flight of stairs. It’s impressive stuff.
The whole thing reaches a head when the three rascals attempt to hide in their apartment, only for the train to burst through the door. The driver then hops out and yells “What now?” in Latvian.
It’s all very odd, and I guess is designed to teach kids not to mess around on train tracks?
But the best part about this weird film is that it isn’t even the only one! It’s one of a series of clips that were created more than 14 years ago to encourage people to act responsibly around railways.
There’s another that shows someone blindly wandering across the tracks to get to the grocery store, only for a train to come careering off the rails and into their house. Another shows someone dishing out dollar bills before getting stuck on a rail crossing. They’re then struck by a train and shipped off to hospital on the back of a bike.
The films are fascinating, and are each well worth a minute of your time. Heck, you might even come out of the experience knowing a little more about rail safety, or at least an appreciation for the joys of stop-motion animation. Either way, it’s worth it.