We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Opinion: A fully-loaded train is not to be taken lightly

At 50 mph, it takes a fully-loaded freight train 1.5 miles to come to a full stop. By the time the train engineer sees a vehicle or pedestrian on the tracks, it is often too late.

Opinion.png
We are part of The Trust Project.

This is Rail Safety Week, and even though the safety of people who use the roads at Minnesota's 4,000-plus railroad crossings has improved in recent decades, there are still about 36 crashes per year, including five fatalities.

That’s down from the early 1990s, when over 100 crashes and 10 fatalities per year happened at rail crossings in Minnesota.

But the Minnesota Department of Transportation says people still need to be very careful around trains:

  • At 50 mph, it takes a fully-loaded freight train 1.5 miles to come to a full stop. By the time the train engineer sees a vehicle or pedestrian on the tracks, it is often too late.
  • Driver ignorance and impatience are the most common factors contributing to motor vehicle/train crashes.
  • The chance of death or serious injury from a motor vehicle/train crash is 11 times greater than for other highway collisions.
  • Because of their size, approaching trains appear to be traveling at a slower speed.
  • Railroad tracks and property close to the tracks (railroad "right-of-way") belong to the railroad. People who don't have permission to be on railroad property are trespassing. Even if there isn't a "No Trespassing" sign, it's still illegal and dangerous to be on the property.

Follow these safety tips:

  1. Yield the right-of-way to trains at highway-rail crossings. It's the law.
  2. Never drive around lowering gates, it's illegal and deadly.
  3. Only cross tracks where they are marked with pedestrian crossing markings.
  4. Never race a train to the crossing, even if it is a tie, you lose.
  5. Expect a train on the track at any time, trains do not follow set schedules.
  6. Look out for the second train when crossing multiple tracks.
  7. Immediately get out of your vehicle if it stalls on the crossing, get clear of the tracks and call 911.
Related Topics: COMMENTARY
What to read next
When Jay Clark and Tammy Soma Clark began Rochester's Apples R Us in 2009 they only had 300 trees planted, now in 2022, they have over 12,500 with plans to plant a third orchard section by 2024.
The couple and their two dogs were found dead at a residence in Lakeview Township, near Detroit Lakes, on Sept. 27.
The two will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, since longtime incumbent Commissioner Larry Knutson didn’t file for reelection this year. The big district basically covers the eastern half of Becker County.
School board approves two out-of-state travel requests