Walking the Deadly Rails

Česky: Dřevěné železniční pražce a koleje

About every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Since 1997, more than 7200 pedestrians have been killed, and 6400 injured by trains in the United States. It is now the leading cause of railway death in the county.

Now, bear in mind that these individuals are ‘trespassing’ on railroad property. None of these individuals failed to be aware that trains came down these tracks at high speed, but many of them did not see trains as a threat. In some cases, the individuals, taking shortcuts across tracks, wore headphones.

The Federal Railroad Administration has had a great deal of difficulty with the problem. The railroads have resisted providing data to permit government regulators to analyze and perhaps deal with the problem, and many government agencies lack the power to regulate pedestrian issues.

With the sheer mileage of railroad tracks in this country(roughly 141,000 miles), it is impossible to fence them all off. But, protection over problem areas….areas in residential neighborhoods, is certainly possible.

It wasn’t until 2011 that new federal rules require reporting of railway accidents by GPS coordinates. It will take several more years before there is enough data to identify problem areas, and then there will be the issue of trying to get protection.

In the meantime, even when traveling through a known problem area, trains often do not slow down…as they have no legal requirement to. do so.


  1 comment for “Walking the Deadly Rails

Comments are closed.