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Railroad Police Battle Trespassers
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Concerned about people walking the railroad tracks, trespassing in railcar assembly yards and generally being careless around trains, officials of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Rail Company are moving to discourage such activities.

Monday of this week, May 18, they were due to dispatch locomotives carrying their own railroad police officers to observe and stop this kind of irresponsible behavior - they even invited news media representatives along to publicize the campaign.

You can see it any day in Riverbank, officials agree, someone walking along the tracks, which is not only illegal because it constitutes trespassing on railroad company property but very dangerous because that person may be walking away from the locomotive and never hear the warning siren. Forget about the train stopping in time. It takes a quarter mile or more for a train to come to a stop once the brakes are applied, depending on the speed of the train.

Over the last 15 years, the city has had its share of fatal accidents at railroad crossings. They include a high school student walking home who failed to beat a train across the tracks at Patterson Road and First Street, the young woman with a car full of children who stopped too close to the crossing and was unable to back up because of traffic on Claribel Road at Terminal Avenue and the driver who actually stopped on the tracks on a dirt farm road intersecting Santa Fe Road a few miles north of town.

At a recent Riverbank City Council meeting, a citizen protested the use of train sirens within the rail yards at night. A BNSF speaker reported they were getting more cases of people crossing the rail yards at night on foot. The locomotive engineers were forced to sound their horns to alert them to train movements, the representative said, even though the intruders were trespassing in the first place.