whistle signal and the flashing red lights. Defendant's evidence shows that the whistle signal began when the train, moving at 50 miles per hour, came to the whistle post 895 feet east of the crossing. Since 50 miles per hour is 73 1/3 feet per second, this means that the whistle signal began at least 12 seconds before the train got to the crossing. The red lights were flashing on the southern blinker light standard when the automobile was stopped beside it, and at that time the red lights were flashing on the standard on the north side of the crossing, in plain view of the driver. Combined with the sign 'Stop on Red Signal', these flashing lights constituted ample warning to the stopped driver that a train was coming.
Plaintiff makes much of evidence which tends to show that the blinker lights flashed at times when there were no trains coming and argued that this excessive flashing without the promised consequence amounted to inadequate warning, as in Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Co. v. Landrigan, 1903, 191 U.S. 461, 24 S. Ct. 137, 48 L. Ed. 262.
The trial judge removed this element from the case by affirming defendant's 32nd point for charge:
'I charge you that you should disregard entirely the evidence that on other occasions the blinker lights at Bishop Avenue might have operated excessively or at times when a train was not immediately approaching. There is no evidence that these facts, if they are facts, had anything to do with the happening of this accident. You should therefore give no consideration whatever to all of this evidence.'
Plaintiff assigns the affirmance of this point as error.
There is no evidence to show that the driver of the car or his passengers knew that there was anything unusual, excessive or defective about the operation of the blinker lights.
The nub of plaintiff's argument is that by blinking at times when trains did not come, the railroad cried wolf, like the boy of whom Aesop tells, who gave his neighbors so many false warnings that they did not believe one which was true.
The analogy fails, however, because these warnings (if they were in fact excessive) would not be false warnings to one who did not know them to be such. Stewart v. Norton, 1951, 6 N.J. 591, 80 A.2d 111. As to this driver (and the passengers) the flashing of the lights was a perfectly valid warning, confirmed by subsequent events, that a train would arrive at the crossing in a short time. Excessive operation of the lights, if it did occur, had no causal connection with this collision.
It is this lack of knowledge of defective or abnormal operation of grade crossing warning signals that distinguishes this case from the Landrigan and similar cases, where it was clear that the person on the highway frequently used the crossing and was familiar with the fact that the warning signals at the crossing operated for long periods irrespective of the movement of trains.
In finding for the defendant the jury found that adequate warning was given. Such a finding is clearly supported by the evidence. In view of the whistle and blinker light warnings the jury was amply justified in finding that whatever it may have been that caused this collision, it was not negligence on the part of the defendant by reason of any failure to give adequate warning.
As an additional ground for a new trial plaintiff contends that the court did not charge properly in reference to the effect of possible excessive speed of the train. The answer to this is that there was no evidence of excessive speed on the part of the train. The railroad had placed a limit of sixty miles an hour on its trains at the place of the accident. Under the evidence the highest rate of speed of the train was fifty miles an hour. There is no speed limit imposed on trains by law as there is on motor vehicles on public highways. There is no law which requires that a train be operated at such a speed that it can stop if a motor vehicle appears suddenly in front of it at a grade crossing. The only relationship of speed to the present case comes from its connection with the warning of the train's approach. In reference to this, the charge of the court was:
'Railroad trains, as we all know, sometimes travel at high speed. This high speed may be quite proper, but because of it and the great weight of a train it makes the crossing of railroad tracks by vehicles at grade crossings quite a dangerous thing. Because of the dangers involved in the use of grade crossings the law imposes upon railroads a duty at such public crossings to give adequate warning to users of the crossings of the approach of trains. This duty to give a warning varies with the circumstances at each crossing, because some crossings may be more dangerous than others. The law says in somewhat general terms that it is the duty of a railroad at grade crossings to give timely and sufficient warning of the approach of trains, taking into consideration the circumstances of each crossing, such as the physical characteristics of the crossing, the ability of the travelers to see an approaching train, the rate of speed of the train and the amount of vehicle traffic at the crossing.'
This properly and adequately covered the problem of the speed of the train at the Bishop Avenue crossing.
Plaintiff complains of the fact that during the trial one of the jurors expressed to several others the opinion that the Bishop Avenue crossing was 'not dangerous unless you are careless.' During the voir dire this juror and another answered that they were familiar with the crossing. It is entirely likely that a person having knowledge of something will have an opinion about it, and it is equally likely that, having an opinion, he will express it. Such things are the natural and probable consequences of knowledge. It is too late for plaintiff, having known that two jurors were personally familiar with the crossing, having had advance warning of this knowledge, and taking the chance involved in accepting this knowledgeable juror, to come in now and complain of him.
Plaintiff complains that because the jury reached a verdict in less than 30 minutes, after a five-day trial, it exhibited a capricious disregard of the evidence, and particularly since the jury had the exhibits for an even shorter time. As to the exhibits, it should be noted that the jury carefully examined many of the important ones during the trial. As to the verdict itself, the jury apparently did not have much trouble in agreeing upon it. The fact that a jury reaches a conclusion quickly and easily does not necessarily indicate that it has acted capriciously or has disregarded the evidence. The jury heard the evidence, much of it repetitive, and reached a conclusion which, being quite consistent with the evidence, did not necessarily require prolonged deliberation. Having reached that conclusion, there was no further issue for it to resolve. There is in this no capricious disregard of evidence.
Plaintiff's other reasons for new trial have been considered but are without merit.
Plaintiff's motion for new trial will be denied.