• Special to the Daily Leader
Union Pacific Railroad urges hunters to resist the temptation to hunt on railroad property this season. Wildlife tend to migrate and feed along the edges of freshly harvested fields making these areas prime hunting spots. With many fields adjacent to Union Pacific tracks, hunters find it very tempting to hunt on or near the tracks.
“As part of our ongoing UP CARES initiative, we want to remind hunters that walking on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along,” said Dennis Jenson, assistant vice president-chief of police.
“It can take a mile or more to stop a train and by the time a locomotive engineer sees you on the track, it would be too late,” said Dale Bray, director – public safety.
“Locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are next to the tracks, you can be hit by the locomotive, a rail car or anything that may be hanging loose from the car,” Bray added.
Union Pacific is committed to public safety through various outreach channels such as community events, media, Union Pacific Railroad police, employee resource groups and Operation Lifesaver. The UP CARES (Union Pacific Crossing Accident Reduction Education and Safety) public safety initiative brings together communities in a collaborative and caring effort to promote railroad grade crossing and pedestrian safety.
UP CARES activities include:
• Grade crossing enforcement with local, county and state law enforcement agencies;
• Safety trains that provide local officials a firsthand look at what locomotive engineers see daily while they operate trains through a community and
• Communication blitzes that educate the community at events or media outreach.
Hunters are not the only ones drawn to railroad tracks – hikers, bikers, fishermen and snowmobilers are, as well.
Through August of this year, nearly 26,000 people have been caught trespassing on Union Pacific Railroad property. Trespassers on railroad property can be arrested for violating trespassing laws. If they are caught, they could serve jail time and/or have to pay a fine.
Anyone choosing to walk on or near railroad tracks could face a tragic consequence. Last year, 428 people died and 346 were injured while trespassing on railroad property throughout the United States according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Do not become a railroad statistic; stay away from railroad tracks this hunting season.