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'Never try to beat a train': 95% of railroad fatalities occur from people trespassing

(MGN Online image)

ROSEBURG, Ore. – They’re written about in songs, they provide transportation, and they’re a big part of our country's economy.

But train tracks can also be dangerous.

Kathy Crowley, a bookkeeper at Nelson & Pyle in Roseburg, looks at train tracks every day while she's at work.

She also notices people getting a little too close to the tracks.

"Just yesterday I’ve seen them walking down those railroad tracks, in the middle of it, and you kind of wonder, why are they doing that? They don't need to be on the track."

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 95 percent of railroad fatalities occur from people trespassing and at intersections where a highway meets a railroad.

There are ways to avoid railroad accidents.

"If you're in a vehicle or a pedestrian crossing a railroad track, never try to beat a train, anticipate that a train will actually appear slower than it actually is," said Claudia Howells with Oregon Operation Lifesaver.

And you may not know it, but it's illegal to trespass on railroad property.

"That means no walking on railroad tracks, no taking photographs on railroad tracks, which is actually a big problem," said Howells.

It’s a problem that can put people in danger.

"It wouldn't just hurt them either,” added Crowley. “If they had them wreck when they're here, that train would come all the way down here if it derailed, so that would be my fear too."

If you're caught walking on railroad tracks, you can be charged with criminal trespassing and be fined more than $6,000.

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