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Train Ride Focused on Railroad Crossing Safety

BNSF Railway is educating people on the dangers at railroad crossings. Memphis police officers helped in that education process by giving tickets to those that don't understand the danger.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - BNSF Railway is educating people on the dangers at railroad crossings. Memphis police officers helped in that education process by giving tickets to those that don't understand the danger.

14 people around the state of Tennessee were killed in train accidents while trespassing on train tracks last year. One of those deaths happened right here in Shelby County.

"By the time a locomotive engineer perceives a danger from a motorist it's too late," said Michael Flynn, a police officer with BNSF Railway. He says that's one of the reasons the company decided to embark on "Operation Lifesaver."

The mission is to end collisions, deaths, and injuries at railroad crossings.

"We want people to understand the seriousness of these crossing systems and understand the dangers trains present," Flynn said.

Freight trains can weigh anywhere between 18 to 19,000 tons, and travel as fast as 60 miles an hour. Flynn said a fully loaded freight train is not going to stop quickly. In fact, it can take the length of eighteen football fields to stop a train.

Flynn said, "A lot of drivers are impatient, they don't want to wait on the train. Everybody's in a hurry, they don't want to wait on a train and they're willing to take a risk."

"You're supposed to stop, look, and yield to a train," he added. "Failure to do that can cost you your life."

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