I grew up around the Railroad. My father was a Locomotive Engineer for Southern Pacific for 30 years. The Railroad has been good to my family.
But I remember some days when my father would come home shaking and in tears. Someone had died. And it was the train that killed them.
Because the train can’t stop. Not for at least one mile.
And my father was behind an unstoppable train and had to watch it kill a child or adult who was on the tracks. He had to watch a car full of kids race a train and then die. This was unbearable to him.
Because I have a personal story about death and train tracks, I’m asking you all to ponder these important facts:
- Someone is hit by a train in the US every three hours.
- Railroad tracks are private property. Walking or playing on them is illegal – trespassers can be arrested and fined. The only legal, safe place to cross tracks is at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
- Never walk down a train track. It can take a train a full mile or more to brake – even after it has hit something – that’s nearly 18 football fields to stop. Even if an engineer does see someone or something on the tracks, he can’t stop in time.
- If your vehicle stalls on the tracks while a train is approaching, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction the train is coming from.
- Don’t get trapped on the tracks. Many think that only one train goes through a crossing at a time, but some accidents occur once the first train has passed and the second comes through on a parallel track.
And another warning I want to give you is to please take care when driving your children around. Not only are mothers some of the most distracted drivers, but a very close personal friend of mine lost her twin because of a car accident with a train while her mom was driving.
Norfolk Southern has created a public safety campaign titled “Train Your Brain” that is dedicated toward training the general public to be smart at railroad crossings. For more information about Brainy or the Train Your Brain campaign, you can visit www.facebook.com/brainysworld.