CN, UP officials warn drivers, pedestrians | News, Sports, Work

-Photo Messenger by Bill Shea

The Union Pacific Railroad train crossed Fifth Avenue South in Fort Dodge earlier this year. Level crossings — places where road and rail meet — can be dangerous, and railroads across the country call for their attention during Rail Safety Week.

The crew of a Union Pacific Railroad freight train were speeding west through Webster County on a recent night at the same time a driver was heading south on Samson Avenue. They meet where rails and roads intersect.

The resulting collision can be likened to a car hitting a soda can.

In this case, the smashed car was pushed several hundred feet down the rails. The driver was injured, but was able to speak to deputies and emergency medical technicians at the scene last Thursday.

Just like the incident that the Union Pacific and Canadian National Railway, another rail line with a line through Webster County, are trying to prevent by promoting Rail Safety Week this week.

“Everyone is responsible for rail safety and this is why CN wants you to get involved and help us save lives.” Stephen Covey, chief of police and chief security officer for Canadian National Railways, said in a written statement.

“We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe, whether that be by acting as role models around trains and rails, speaking up when we witness unsafe acts or simply sharing rail safety tips with family, friends and colleagues.” he added.

Railroad tracks emphasize the importance of safety at level crossings and the danger of violations on the rails.

“National Rail Safety Week is a great time for families to sit down and stress the importance of being alert and free of distractions around railroads,” said Connie Roseberry, assistant vice president and chief safety officer for the Union Pacific Railroad.

An organization called Operation Lifesaver used to sum up the key to railroad crossing safety in three words: Look, Listen, Live.

Operation Lifesaver urges drivers to look for flashing red lights, arms crossed blocking the rails and the train itself. Trains are often closer and moving faster than they seem.

The organization also urged drivers to listen to the bells at crossroads, the horns of locomotives and trains themselves. Despite their enormous size and high horsepower, the trains are quieter than many think, according to the Union Pacific Railroad.

Walking onto the rails is a violation, according to the Union Pacific and Canadian National.

Even being near the tracks was dangerous because the train carriages extended three feet from either side of the tracks.

Drivers and pedestrians should know that trains can take up to a mile to stop, according to both railroads.

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