Authorities educate public about dangers of train tracks

More than 900 people were killed or injured after trespassing on train tracks last year

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Chicopee police and fire departments, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, were out near the train tracks off of Chicopee Street. It’s a spot where people, including school children, frequently cross the tracks.

The effort is part of “Operation Lifesaver,” an effort to educate the public about train safety and keep people from being struck by trains. More than 900 people were killed or injured in the United States after trespassing on train tracks last year.

Railroad tracks are private property and walking or playing on them is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Trespassers can be arrested or fined but the ultimate penalty could be death.

“We’re going to try and talk to pedestrians that are crossing the tracks, using it as a shortcut,” Richard Towle explained. “With the trains coming through here… they say in the railroad world ‘expect a train anytime any direction.'”

It can take a train more than a mile to come to a stop. The only legal and safe place to cross tracks is at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings.

Vandalism to tracks is also a problem. It can lead to a train derailment.