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News Release
Oct. 5, 2012



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Recent rail-related incidents prompt urgent safety warnings
MnDOT reminds public to use caution around railroad tracks


ST. PAUL, Minn. – In the wake of two recent rail-related incidents, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and railroad passengers to always use caution and observe the law when they are near or crossing railroad tracks.


The two recent incidents are prime examples of why trespassing on railroad property and operating a vehicle at a rail crossing are dangerous.


One incident occurred when a pedestrian trespassing on railroad property was struck by a train near Randall, resulting in life-threatening injuries. Another case involved a train striking a garbage truck in Buffalo, resulting in injuries to the truck driver.


"A freight train moving at 50 mph may need more than a mile to stop,” said Bill Gardner, MnDOT’s freight, rail and waterways director. “Once train engineers see a vehicle or pedestrian in a crossing or on the tracks, all they can do is apply the emergency brakes; however, it’s often too late for them to stop in time.”


So far in 2012, there have been seven fatalities involving pedestrians trespassing on railroad property and seven fatalities at rail crossings, compared to four fatalities involving trespassing and seven fatalities at rail crossings in all of 2011.
Most collisions with trains are preventable. Driver inattention and impatience are cited as the most common factors contributing to motor vehicle/train crashes.

MnDOT urges the public to be aware of the following rail safety tips to make sure they are not in the way of a train.

Motorists should:


Bicyclists and pedestrians should:









Pay Attention or Pay the Price