LITTLE ROCK – Union Pacific Railroad urges hunters to resist the temptation to hunt on railroad property this season. Wildlife will 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.
"Too many people have been injured or killed trespassing on railroad property over the years. As part of our 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 Robert Morrison, Union Pacific 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 is too late to stop," said Dale Bray, Union Pacific director of public safety. "Locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail. If you are too close to the tracks, you can be hit by the locomotive or a rail car," he 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.
Anyone choosing to walk on or near railroad tracks could face a tragic consequence. Last year, 411 people died and 361were injured while trespassing on railroad property throughout the United States according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
People who enter railroad property can be arrested for violating trespassing laws. They could serve jail time or have to pay a fine.