Union Pacific Railroad police teamed up with Fresno police Wednesday to crack down on motorists who tried to dash through rail crossings as the red lights flashed and protective crossing arms dropped into position.
Union Pacific Officer Tim Souza said police issued 35 citations to drivers at crossings at Shaw, McKinley and Olive avenues throughout the morning and early afternoon. “Those are typical problem areas for us,” Souza said. The citations covered violations such as stopping on the railroad tracks or driving under or around the crossing arms as trains approached the crossings.
Five pedestrians were also cited for trespassing on the railroad tracks, and 14 others were given warnings, Souza said. UPRR and Fresno police conduct such railroad-safety enforcement operations about once every month.
Union Pacific reported four pedestrian trespass incidents — including three people killed by trains — in 2014 in Fresno, along with one non-injury collision between a train and a vehicle on the tracks, Souza said.
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BNSF Railway, the other main freight railroad with tracks running through Fresno, also conducts frequent safety enforcement operations on its tracks in the Fresno area, said Lena Kent, a spokeswoman for the rail company.
Railroads reported to the Federal Railroad Administration five road-rail incidents in Fresno County last year, including two fatalities. Five more people were killed as they reportedly trespassed on railroad tracks.