To drive home the point, Operation Safety has coined several easy-to-remember phrases into their campaign: Stay Off, Stay Away, Stay Alive; See Tracks? Think Train.
Williams also pointed out that trains overhang the tracks for at least three feet on each side and that railroad property extends for 25 feet on either side of the tracks. If you are on the tracks at any place other than a crossing or on railroad property, you are breaking the law and could be ticketed and/or fined.
Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) investigator Chip Pew also participated in the lecture. Pew has the somber duty of investigating train incidents, many of which are fatal.
Williamson and Pew shared that even with emergency braking; the average 12 million-pound freight train traveling at 55 miles per hour will take approximately one mile, or the length of 18 football fields, to stop. A car only takes 200 feet to stop and a semi truck only 300 feet. When a train collides with a vehicle it's like a car running over a can of soda pop. If your car gets stuck on the tracks, get out and go in the opposite direction of the point of impact – 45 degrees in the direction the train is coming from. The reason is to get out of the path of debris. It will be scattered to the sides and down the tracks as the train drags it along.
Shelbyville freshman Caylee Wheeler has been on trains before, but heard some things she did not know about train safety. “I thought that being in the upper level (domed car) was very exciting and fun. I learned a ton of train safety facts that I didn't know. I did not know that 25 feet from each side of the tracks is railroad property. Also, I learned that it is illegal to cross the tracks anywhere but an actual train crossing.”
Another freshman, Tessa Bland, remarked, “This was my first time on a train. It was fun and fantastic. But I learned trains are dangerous and you can be hurt very badly.”
For more information about train safety, or to schedule a lecture for your group, visit http://oli.org/.