Rail safety week

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:23 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It can take more than a mile for a train traveling 55 miles per hour to stop. Most people don’t realize the odds when they attempt to race across tracks as trains approach. This week is rail safety week, a time when motorists are reminded of how dangerous it is to try to race through crossing gates.

If you think you can make it across before the arms come down, you are probably wrong.

“A 12-million-pound train vs a four-thousand-pound car. Chances are you certainly will not just walk away unless you are that lucky individual,” said Tammy Wagner regional grade crossing specialist.

There have been three fatalities due to trains this year in the state. The most recent happened last night in downtown Fargo.

“They choose to race the train across the tracks and again tragedy may be the end result,” said Wagner.

Crossings like those in downtown Bismarck have active warning systems with gates and lights since the area has heavy traffic. However, in rural areas there is only a sign, making it harder to see an oncoming train.

“Not all railroad crossings warrant the active warning devices, so its a priority basis,” said Wagner.

In May one man died while crossing the tracks in downtown Bismarck, another is recovery from colliding with a train on his ATV in August.

“In some communities trains can operate 55, 75, 79 it depends upon the location of those particular trains. And where motorists are traveling where trains are traveling,” said Wagner.

Nationally there are more than 500 deaths from train accidents every year according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

There are 4,369 railroad crossings in the state.