The Pourhouse, a new restaurant in the neighbourhood, are controlled by a foot pedal. A small novelty that would barely be worth mentioning but my brother went on to say, as he performed an up and down pushing motion with his right foot, that using the foot pedal had made him feel like a train engineer. I immediately knew what he meant and a vision of an engineer frantically pushing down on a pedal to stop a runaway train came to my mind, but my brother was already ahead of me as he remembered the term "dead man's pedal" which referred to a safety device on trains. According to my brother, if the engineer's foot came off the pedal, the train would stop, thus avoiding a crash should the engineer faint or suffer a heart attack, and the engineer would often put his loaded lunchbox or some other heavy weight onto the pedal to weigh it down so that he could catch a snooze or get blasted on drugs during the trip. As my brother pulled more information from his memory, he gave us some sketchy details about the Hinton train disaster, a collision between two trains that occurred near Hinton, Alberta in the 80s and that was the result of the two crew members at the front of a freight train being incommunicado for a longish period of time, long enough to miss a switch and go barreling into a passenger train. My brother's version had the crew members high on drugs at the time of the crash but reports I found on the web say they were probably just asleep and since they, and a lot of other people, died in the crash, we'll never know for sure.
Face-to-face conversation can be like that—one minute you're talking about everyday events and the next thing you know you're picturing a dead man's pedal, a lunchbox and a train crash.
In case you don't have a friend or a brother who stores a huge amoung of information, some of it correct, in his memory, here's a detailed, if slightly boring, re-enactment of the crash: