Many people think railroad tracks are public property. They use the tracks to gain access to recreation areas or they may even use the tracks as a recreation area. For some unexplained reason, others think it's their constitutional right to use railroad property. The fact is, railroad tracks are private property and only persons authorized by the railroads can be on that property. Many thousands of people have died thinking they would be safe around railroad tracks. (Read the following paragraphs to find out why they were dead wrong!)
Railroad bridges often times look like a convenient way to access a favorite fishing or hunting place. They don't look dangerous just standing there when no train is present. Besides being illegal, when you're up there and find yourself confronted with an approaching train, you suddenly have only two choices-----jump! or get hit by the train! You can't run fast because there's no sidewalk or walkway-----just empty spaces between the ties to trap your legs. Even if there is a maintenance walkway, it's not far enough from the rails to keep you from being struck by the train.
Railroad tunnels pose similar hazards to railroad bridges. There's no sidewalk and you can't move fast. When a train is in the tunnel there is an average of 14 inches clearance from the side of the train to the walls of the tunnel-----not enough to safely fit a person!
Railroad tracks are often used by joggers, hikers, people walking their pets, or as a pathway to ride motorcycles or other all-terrain vehicles plus a wide variety of other activities. What's the danger? These people are all concentrating on their own activities-----not a train! Many joggers, for example, run with headphones and never hear the engineer's warning. Motorized vehicles also drown out the locomotive horn. Many people that do hear the warning fail to escape the danger. A lot of them mistakenly think the train can stop for them. Some think the train coming up behind them is on the other track (like automobiles driving on the right hand side of the road). They don't know that trains run on any track in any direction at any time! In Arizona State, during 1997, 17 pedestrian's were killed because they chose to ignore the facts that railroad tracks are private property and trespassing upon them is often a deadly mistake. Last year (1997), a total of 35 trespassers lost their lives in our state.