Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Railroad Safety Tips

Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

Due to recent incidents on the railroad tracks in Abingdon, Virginia. The Abingdon Police Department would like for the community to follow the advice of Operation Lifesaver with these railroad safety tips.

·       The only safe place to cross is at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate. If you cross at any other place, you are trespassing and can be ticketed or fined. Cross tracks ONLY at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.
·       Railroad tracks, trestles, yards and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fine. If you are on the rail road tracks, you are trespassing and subject to criminal prosecution.
·       It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who suddenly sees someone on the tracks will likely be unable to stop in time. Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
·       Trains overhang the tracks by at least three feet in both directions; loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
·       Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
·       Flashing red lights indicate a train is approaching from either direction. You can be fined for failure to obey these signals. Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and DO NOT cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it's safe to do so.
·       Stay off of railroad trestles. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges! Never walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, rights-of-way or through tunnels.
·       Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad equipment at any time. A slip of the foot can cost you a limb or your life.
·       Be aware trains do not follow set schedules. Any Time is Train Time!
·       Know the law: Crossing anywhere other than at approved grade crossings is a crime in Virginia.
Code section § 18.2-159 states:
“Any person who goes upon the track of a railroad other than to pass over such road at a public or private crossing, or who willfully rides, drives or leads any animal or contrives for any animal to go on such track except to cross as aforesaid, without the consent of the railroad company or person operating such road, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. A second violation of the provisions of this section occurring within two years of the first violation shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor. A third or subsequent violation of the provisions of this section occurring within two years of a second or a subsequent violation shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This section shall not apply to any section of track which has been legally abandoned pursuant to an order of a federal or state agency having jurisdiction over the track and is not being used for railroad service.
For purposes of this section, track shall mean the rail, ties, and ballast of the railroad.”

For more information, visit the Operation Lifesaver website-

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