It is just a thought, but I have read that headline many times and recently it was there again, this time the gist was that someone on the platform of my local station had been hit by said train.
Now the black side of my humour that helps me cope with unfortunate events made me wonder if the article would go on to say that the train had been euthanised following the incident, but there is a serious point to this; why do such headlines imply that the train is at fault? Trains do not roam around looking for people to hit; people move in front of them and are hit.
Why it is always the vehicle that gets priority in the headline; ‘Bus hits, Truck hits etc. The same applies when a cyclist collides with another vehicle, although here you might get “Cyclist hit by …”, but why is there always this implication that the lesser was hit by an aggressive larger thing?
Language has interested me for as long as I can remember. The art of communication became a fundamental part of how I earned my living for many years and still, to a degree, does and I know that I can be a bit of a pedant at times. My journalist friends will argue that Man Hit By Train is short, punchy and draws the reader in. It is also accurate in the sense that the man (or other gender) was indeed hit by said train.
The headline might give the bald facts, but not the truth. There will be a number of circumstances by which the person and the train came into collision, but none of them will involve the train taking any initiative.