Union Pacific Trying to Change Record of Crossing Accidents in the Basin

Union Pacific Trying to Change Record of Crossing Accidents in the Basin

By Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9

West Texas is one of the most dangerous places in the nation for railroad crossing collisions but Union Pacific is hoping to change that. Over the past five years, there have been almost 60 train collisions at railroad crossings in the Basin. Most of which have flashing lights and guardrails.

Union Pacific has a program called UP Cares. Through the program, they educate the community on railroad crossing safety. On Monday in Big Spring, Union Pacific Police and Big Spring Police were out in full force catching drivers ignoring the railroad crossing laws.

"When the lights come on and the gates come down, that crossing is technically closed. You don't go through it unless you're waived through by law enforcement or by a member of the train crew,"

John Schumacher, Special Agent with Union Pacific, said.

Schumacher explained the main problem is people not paying attention and 18-wheelers not completely crossing the tracks.

"Sometimes these are short stage crossings. There's not enough room for your truck to fit between the stop light and the tracks. When you stop,  you're going to have 10-15 feet of your trailer still on the tracks," Schumacher said.

But what if you find yourself stuck on a crossing when a train is headed your way?

"Exit your vehicle and get clear of the track and start going at a 45 degree angle towards the train. Because if the train hits your vehicle, it's going to throw it and if you're running away from it, it may throw it on top of you," Schumacher said.

You can also call the 1-800 number that's on the silver box by every railroad crossing. This will notify Union Pacific and they can stop a train if they're heading in your direction.