BRAWLEY – Union Pacific (UP) Railroad brought their Safety Train to Brawley on Thursday, May 14, to raise safety awareness to those illegally crossing railroad tracks.
Union Pacific Railroad Police and Operation Lifesaver joined in the safety operation entitled UP CARES to observe behavior by motorists and pedestrians crossing the tracks when the stoplights and safety barriers are lowered.
UP CARES promotes crossing accident reduction, education, and safety.
“This is our team effort to promote safety in our community,” said Bob Kern, UP Manager of Road Operations. “Operation Lifesaver is a conglomeration of state regulatory agencies and the railroads. We are all working together to promote safety around the railroad tracks.”
The event took place at B Street and the railroad tracks just about 3:00 p.m., just as school was dismissed. Students were crossing at different locations along the tracks. For safety reasons, people are encouraged to cross tracks at designated railroad crossings and to watch for stoplights.
“It is difficult for trains to stop quickly if someone or a vehicle tries to cross the tracks when a train is coming,” said Kern. “Trains are very heavy and have a lot of horsepower and torque. It takes them hundreds of feet to stop.”
UP Railroad Police were stopping motorists that crossed the tracks when the lights were red and the barriers down, giving offenders warnings and tickets.
Students that crossed when the lights were on and the barriers were down were given warnings. The students that crossed the tracks at non-crossing areas were given warnings, also.
Ted Williams, UP conductor, expressed concern for the students.
“Some of these kids like to play chicken with the trains,” said Williams. “They don’t realize the time it takes to stop a train. It can prove to be fatal.”
Since 2001, the UP CARES program has reduced crossing accidents by 37%, according to UP.
“A common mistake is made by those crossing tracks when the safety lights are on and the barriers down,” said Williams. “A train may be stopped for a moment and another train is fast approaching on a second track. People see the one train stopped and think it is OK to cross the barriers, not realizing there is another train fast approaching. The results can be deadly.”[envira-gallery id=”57344″]