State warns of dangers of approaching railroad tracks

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police and “Operation Lifesaver,” the nonprofit railroad safety organization, are reminding those who enjoy outdoor recreation to stay away from the railroad tracks.

State law prohibits anyone from entering and remaining on railroad right-of-way without consent of the railroad company.

“Unauthorized use of railroad tracks is both dangerous and illegal,” Col. Kyle Overturf, director of the EnCon police, said in a news release this week. “That means you don’t fish or hunt from the trestles or tracks, or use them as an access or short cut. Whether you are fishing or bird watching, keep a safe distance away from the railroad tracks.”

James Peay, the state director of Operation Lifesaver, said state residents are injured or killed every year while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way.

“We think the way to help prevent these needless deaths and injuries are education - education and more education about what trains can and cannot do,” he said. “Trains can’t swerve or stop quickly, environmental conditions can muffle their sounds, and they can approach without your knowledge. Flying debris and banding that holds on the flat cars can become unsecured and strike anyone within the right-of-way.”

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