Several recent deaths involving pedestrians and trains are prompting a reminder about safety around railroad tracks.
In the past week, four people have died in Wisconsin in train-related incidents. They are just the latest of several fatalities this year. While three of those are believed to have been suicides, state Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale says people still need to be very aware that trains are becoming more common in Wisconsin. He says “the volume of trains on Wisconsin rails has gone way up, for a lot of different reasons, and there are tracks that are seeing trains where there hasn’t been one in sometimes decades.”
Through June 30 of this year, there were four train-related fatalities in the state. During the same time period in 2013, there were none. The state does not formally track suicides though.
Many of the people killed this year have died while trying to beat a train at a crossing or while walking along the tracks. Plale says it’s important to heed warning lights and gates at crossings, and it’s sheer stupidity to think you can beat a train. “I know people get complacent, and some people just get stupid and think they can beat the train. Well, you pick a fight with a train, you’re gonna lose.”
AUDIO: State Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale (:16)
Even away from crossings, walking on or along railroad tracks is still trespassing and illegal. Plale says you should find another route to take.