Employed as: Other, non-employee, for N/A
Posted: 06 January 2012
IDIOT DRIVERS BEWARE:
Union Pacific conductor Mike Howes radios instructions Friday. Police
and railroad officials stepped up enforcement around rights of way as a
message to stay safe near trains. (Andy Holzman / Staff
Photographer)With six people killed by trains in the San Fernando
Valley this year, police on Friday issued new warnings about rail
safety and stepped up efforts to cite people for violations.
The new enforcement effort came even as Anaheim authorities were
investigating the death of a man hit in his car by a freight train
Police on Friday cited a total of 34 drivers for railroad violations
and six pedestrians for trespassing, including several homeless
individuals who had cut through fences to set up encampments, police
Anyone not using designated railroad crossings, such as those walking
parallel to the tracks - even on the shoulders - can be considered
trespassing on private property, police said. Pedestrians and drivers
who go around lowered gates can also be fined.
Of the six train deaths in the San Fernando Valley this year, two were
by suicide. Three were reported within just the last two months.
"The force of a 30-car freight train hitting your car is equivalent to
the force of your car crushing an aluminum soda can," said Capt. Ivan
Minsal of LAPD Valley Traffic. "You're talking about tons and tons of
force coming across that rail against your 5,000-pound car or your
Last month, a 72-year-old woman was killed by a freight train in
Pacoima. Police believe she was talking on a cell phone and did not
hear the approaching train.
"That phone call can make you lose your life," said
Union Pacific Railroad spokeswoman Lupe Valdez. "You'd be surprised
how quiet these huge trains can be."
An engine weighs about 400,000 pounds and carries 5,000 gallons of
Passenger trains typically travel about 68 mph. Cargo trains move about
55 mph and can take up to one mile to stop.
The trains extend about three feet from the tracks on both sides, but
that doesn't include hoses, pipes or equipment attached to the cars,
Officials recommended that pedestrians stay at least 15 feet from the
tracks, and to get out of cars stalled in a train's path.
"Trains always have the right of way," Minsal said. "They're the
big guys ... you will never win."
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