Railroad officials working with police to patrol train track crossings

Railroad officials working with police to patrol train track crossings

Union Pacific Railroad crews and Nebraska State Patrol were keeping a close eye on drivers in Fremont Thursday.

They wanted to see if anyone would try to beat the safety gates at the street-level train track crossings.

"The few minutes you're going to be inconvenienced by stopping for the train, it's not worth your life, or the life of your passenger," said State Trooper Brady Rump. "It's best to just wait and let the train pass."

The program is meant to promote safety, and spread awareness. The campaign is to show the importance of being responsible at railroad crossings.

The patrolman on board the train looks for drivers who are breaking the law.

Once the trooper spots one, the patrolman calls down to someone on the ground who then tickets the driver for ignoring the warning signals.

Police say no one was cited during Thursday's exercise, but lately there has been an uptick in people trying to rush the gates in Fremont

"We're always on alert for all of our crossings," said Raquel Espinoza, a spokesperson for Union Pacific Railroad. "We want to educate all motorists."

Railway officials say freight trains going 55 miles per hour take more than one mile to come to a complete stop. It's why they say it's so important for you to stop your car before a crossing the tracks, especially when a train is near.

The program isn't just about drivers. It's about protecting people on foot too.

Two years ago, Hannah Dreher, a 10-year-old at the time, got hit by a train in Council Bluffs.

She said she just didn't see it coming.

She survived after being badly hurt.

"The kids shouldn't go, they should be way more careful than i was around the train tracks," said Dreher during an interview in 2015.

Union Pacific plans to do more safety campaigns in the future.

Fremont Police, the Dodge County Sheriff's Department and Union Pacific Police are also involved in the safety program.

In Fremont, it'll cost you a $100 dollar ticket if you're caught trying to beat the train track safety gate while behind the wheel of a car.

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