ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Everyone knows what a passing train sounds like, however it can be hard to tell how long the train will take to get to you.
This is the message that the non-profit organization Operation Lifesaver wants people to know as they’re crossing railroad tracks. The group’s main purpose is to secure the safety of railways, and make sure damages aren’t done to the tracks.
The Minnesota Operation Lifesaver organization is making headway on a problem that has been occurring nationwide. During the spring, high school prom attendents and graduate students flood treelines and parks to get their photos taken. A new trend in these commemorative keepsakes has been to take rustic pictures on, or near, train tracks.
Minnesota Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Sheryl Cummings says that, even though the pictures might look pretty, they present a real problem to public safety.
“Whatever they’re trying to get from these photos, no picture is worth the risk,” she said.
Cummings went on to talk about recent statistics, citing the Federal Railroad Association’s claim that in 2016 over 900 pedestrians were killed in train accidents. The Executive Director says the most dangerous things about trains is that they can’t stop.
“If a train’s going 55 miles an hour then it will take it a full mile to stop,” she said. “And nobody can jump out of the way in time.”
Operation Lifesaver’s website lists ways on how to stay safe, including statistics and facts surrounding trains. The group wants to remind people that even if it seems like you’re not trespassing, you may still be breaking the law.
Often times railroad companies will buy out the nearby treelines to make sure tragedies don’t happen. So, the best way to know if a person is trespassing is to call and ask.
For more information on train safety, you can go to https://oli.org/ .