opinion that his proposal would have been an efficacious “remedy” (Mt. Zion, 169 Ill. 2d
at 117) was “based on mere speculation and conjecture” and did not “create a question of
fact” (Damron, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 909).
Dr. Berg agreed that accidents such as Choate’s “essentially involve a young
boy attempting to jump onto a moving freight train” in order to “try to show off.” Tr.
1279-80. His proposed engineering improvements (i.e., the construction of channeling
fencing between Ridgeland and Central and the construction of a new pedestrian overpass
at Austin) might at most have reduced the risk that people would seek to cross the tracks
at an unauthorized location between Ridgeland and Central. But they would have done
nothing to abate the condition that injured Choate, which was the ever-present risk that
trespassing children would try to jump onto a moving train wherever they could gain
access to the tracks. There is a world of difference between crossing railroad tracks and
attempting to board a moving train. Tr. 1282-83. As Choate’s own counsel remarked
during trial, merely “crossing over . . . tracks” has “nothing to do with . . . hopping a ride
on the train.” Tr. 1405.
Even assuming that new crossings and channeling fences conceivably could
address an unmet “demand for travel” across defendants’ tracks (Tr. 1239), only a
comprehensive system of barriers, overpasses, and guards along every one of the
countless miles of defendants’ rights-of-way could prevent trespassing children from
trying to jump onto a moving train. Yet Dr. Berg “completely ignored [this] factor in
reaching his determination.” Royal Elm Nursing & Convalescent Ctr., Inc. v. N. Ill. Gas
Co., 172 Ill. App. 3d 74, 79 (1st Dist. 1988).
The trial court’s willingness to let the verdict stand notwithstanding Dr. Berg’s