Union Pacific patrols railroads tracks with officers in St. Land - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Union Pacific patrols railroads tracks with officers in St. Landry Parish

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In St. Landry Parish,  the Union Pacific railroad is patrolling railroad tracks for people who rush to beat trains and for pedestrians walking along tracks.

The effort today is about saving lives as, Union Pacific reports, every few minutes in the United States, someone is killed by a train.

"One thing we see most of all is impatient drivers. And when they come to a railroad crossing, instead of stopping for the gate arms or the red lights, they try to beat the train and try to get across the crossing," said Jeff DeGraff a Union Pacific spokesman.

Pedestrians can also a problem for Union Pacific. Not only is it illegal to walk on train tracks, but it can also be deadly.

Union Pacific Special Agents say violations are common, happening more often than you might think.

"It's usually people going around crossing gates trying to beat the train, not stopping at the train signals, stopping on the tracks and things like that. And what kind of violations come along with that? It's normally a traffic violation," said US Special Agent Josh Guillory.

A fully loaded freight train weighs several hundred tons and often travels 50 to 60 miles per hour, which means they can't stop enough to avoid a collision. Officials stress that IF anyone is on the tracks when a train is passing, they could die.

"We try to educate drivers and make sure they know that when you come to a railroad crossing if the lights are flashing or if the gate arms are coming down just stop and wait and allow the train to pass by and then you will be able to stop safely and you wont have any problems"

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